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Are those Russians strange or just different?


Natalia Konovalova
Director of http://www.asap.ru


Russian character as any other has been modified and formed by many historical and geographical peculiarities. Actually, history may tell and explain much. Unfortunately not many of us know it. Centuries of constant wars, internal struggles have forced the character of the Russians and put the essence of their strange patriotism. Severe weather conditions were the reasons for working and living together to protect from natural disasters.

Fairy tails can tell much about each nation. If you look through the tails of the Russians you'll see that the main hero is Ivan-durak - an unremarkable person doing silly things with no sense (at a first glance) His main power is in the lack of practice and pragmatism. This is a certain national hero who is sincere and very simple. He is pitiful, wordless.

One of the most remarkable qualities of the Russians is their being very sociable. For centuries the Russians peasants lived in a community that functioned as a support for the poor and didn't let the strongest get higher position than their neighbours. So, as you may see this system worked long before the Socialism was revolutionary established in Russia. Under these conditions the mutual support principle dominated the natural survival instinct.

Many foreigners admired these <collectivism> between the Russians. The American senator at the beginning of the 20th century wrote: "Individualism is ineradicable quality of Anglo-Saxon character. The Russians has a race tendency to work together. The Russians are working perfectly together when the Americans, English or even Germans fail to find common grounds because of constant quarrels and blaming each other"

The feeling of collectivism let the Russians interfere into other people's privacy. Foreigners living in Russia can't help being surprised by the same situation. When they get out for a walk with a kid without a cap on in a cold weather they will be blamed by everyone in the street for the irresponsible attitude towards their kid's health. To give some advice in the street is a regular thing for Moscow.

The remarkable quality of any Russian person is his patriotic feelings. It maybe a hidden, quiet, shy form of patriotism. The Russians are very critical and demanding to themselves. But you should not forget that it's just the other side of honesty and self- esteem. You should not take words like: "No one can live in this country" for simple. The Russians are often blaming life (there are a lot of reasons for that) but they won't bear same critics from any foreigner.

There is a very complicated attitude towards laws and rules in Russia. Some time ago I was walking in a park in a very crowded district of Moscow. I noticed many tables that prohibited walking with pets in the park. But under those signs there were not even tens but thousands of dogs walking. And this was natural because there is no other place there (in the district) to walk. So, those tables were senseless and even impracticable.

If you are aware of this attitude of Russians towards laws and rules, you won't be surprised with the students smoking near the table "No smoking" This is a very important thing to know. For example, note that it's not customary here to let passersby go on zebra crossing. So, be careful!

People are very informal to each other here in Russia and many people treasure friendship. Be prepared to get a detailed report on your question "how are you?" A formality of foreigners sometimes offends the Russians.

Many foreigners can't help being surprised with the sincerity of the Russians when they talk about private life. So, don't get surprised when unknown people in a train will tell you their whole life story. An American traveler in the 19th century wrote: " the Russians on a trip are very talkative. They are as curious as the Scottish - they are so sincere sharing their private and intimate things and that's even confusing"

In spite of many years of official atheism, religion plays a very important role in lives of many Russians.

The dominative is Orthodox Christianity. People are standing in the church, sometimes for many hours. When entering the church, men should take off their hats, women on the contrary should put on a scarf. It's not customary here to go to the church in bridges, shorts or open dress. Some churches do not let women dressed in pants enter the church. But of course now the official church has become more loyal. If you want to ask the Saint about anything, you should buy a candle and put it to the icon. Of course you can't speak loudly in a church, make photos, video and stare at other people.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natalia Konovalova - the director of http://www.asap.ru project. Visit her site to get more information about Russian customs and traditions, flowers and gifts tradition in Russia, FSU, share your own experience travelling to Russia. You can get free consulation, flowers and traditions advice mailto:natalia@asap.ru


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