Indeed, the former romance left the fleet, but not because the sailors "deteriorated", but because the living conditions changed. A sailor, like any person, is a product of his time, and it’s useless and pointless to blame for changing it for the worse, the so-called “educational work”, as the development experience of our society has shown, most often represents imitation of vigorous activity and cannot seriously influence a person. The defining function of social behavior is the impact of society.
Historically formed and passed on from generation to generation, maritime traditions left the fleet mainly in the late 40s and early 50s, when mass forced renewal of the fleet personnel began, which the authorities did not hide. Then the best representatives of the old generation of sailors were expelled by closing their visas for any reason and without such, for example, for good knowledge of the English language. So in the 60s, a new generation was already working on the ships, knowing about traditions close to Kichigin’s heart, only by hearsay.
The recruits, whose interests were shaped by post-war devastation, introduced a mercantile stream into new attitudes and customs. But can you blame them? They made them a low standard of living, meager wages. A sharp, increasing over time, the difference in living conditions here and in the West, constantly observed by sailors, only strengthened mercantile interests.
M. Kichigin writes that “currency is rust, rooting the fleet”. Maybe. But just try to cancel it - and the fleet will rise, because the majority of sailors work for her. Otherwise, it will have to be compensated by an astronomical increase in salaries to the level adopted in the Arctic fleet, which the state cannot do. So "rust" is an external manifestation of the action of objective social laws, according to which our, alas, far from perfect society develops. Among them is the meager salary of our seaman, who is 10-15 times lower in purchasing power than our foreign colleagues.
In world shipping, ships flying under dummy flags are common, with the result that shipowners receive additional profits, saving money on the “colored” teams. And on ships under the French flag you rarely see a Frenchman, under English - an Englishman, etc., since the salary level of coastal workers in these countries is much higher. Now Poles have appeared in their fleet, sometimes by entire crews. Apparently, now the turn of the Soviet sailors. Moreover, the ministry is against individual hiring - only with whole teams. The average shipowning company offers experienced captains a salary on a medium-tonnage vessel for about 3 thousand US dollars "gross". I wonder: how much of the amount will go to our captain, and how much to the ministry?
By the way, "stuff" is not the privilege of the sailors. One has only to look at our specialists, who are sent abroad and who prefer to save on their health and amenities, if only to buy more goods. And the main attention of our tourists abroad is absorbed not by historical monuments, but by shop-windows. It is difficult to blame for this: our low standard of living is not their fault.
Of course, some efforts in the “educational plan” should be made in order not to fall completely, but it is not worth overly relying on them. As it has long been known, being determines consciousness, and as for the old traditions, then, as they say, "not to be fat, I would live."
The last thing I want to accuse or justify someone of something, but only to try to explain the main reasons for the “mercantile spirit” of seamen to amateurs who like to throw at seamen with “rotten eggs”.