He writes under the name American SnarkyNomad: Almost always, when I tell people that I was in Russia, they ask me why I go there at all. What they represent about Russia - a grandmother in a queue for bread in fur caps covered with snow. It is clear that the grandmother, fur hats and snow have not gone away, but because travel or just a trip to Russia still not widespread, the consciousness of foreigners scored just stereotypes about Russian 50-ies of the last century, and even before last. Much has changed over the past 60 years.
On the other hand ... These stereotypes are not without foundation, and sometimes are sheer truth. And by the way, after my visit to Russia, I realized that some stereotypes still incredibly truthful. This country is more certainly than the old stereotypes, but if you still want to know if love Russian vodka, and the truth is that the whole city covered with snow in winter, well ... let's find out!
1. They like vodka.
And so, all Russian - alcoholics, and they are 2 steps away from alcohol poisoning, right?
Not really. Yes, vodka is still the queen of the holiday table, but in the early 2000s boom in retailing beer produced because of low prices and the choice of the fortress. Beer was not even considered as an alcoholic drink, until recently, was considered light and refreshing drink. Cola. Although, I think it is even to some extent reinforces this stereotype, in the sense that the Russian did not even consider beer an alcoholic beverage, it is too weak for them.
The idea that things change. Yes, like a Russian national drink, but they also like beer and wine, and bars and clubs are packed with popular Western brands.
They drink a lot. I mean, really a lot. Whatever Russian family I was not invited to dinner, they always got the vodka from the refrigerator and drank it. We drank as if it was their last night on Earth. Have you any idea what a 9 shots per half hour dinner? I yes.
Moreover, mother and daughter drinking champagne. The same amounts.
Plus, even if not the biggest Russian alcoholics in the world, but they are close to it. Alcoholism was declared a national problem, and when you assume that in most cases binges leave men (whose life is significantly shorter as a result), you realize that a lower percentage of drinking women, a sort of compensation. Therefore, such a picture, like a drunk guy with a stun belch at the wedding becomes true.
2. They have a stone face evil.
I'm really glad I will say that this is the wrong interpretation of the facts. Unfortunately, the majority of visitors (tourists) can see Russian in places such as offices, hotels, bureaucratic offices, passport control - that naturally strengthen prevailing opinion that the Russian did not seem polite and friendly.
But as soon as you should network at the common table with them, they will feed you until the stomach will not burst, and pour the vodka until your liver can not be smashed to pieces. What's the trick?
This can be compared with a glass barrier. As they followed him, they will not see the interest in satisfying your needs as soon as the barrier disappears, they will tell you the whole story over a glass of tea in the kitchen.
Well, so you really could say "Today I learned something new," it is necessary to indicate, perhaps, on the most important thing: Russian do not smile to seem friendly. They smile only when really see / hear something funny and saw before him a true friend. And you realize that live with a straight face that's fine, because They do an excellent job with the chores without having to smile everywhere. Sometimes, in the US, I was jealous of this feature of Russian society.
3. Bureaucratic nightmare.
I'll be the first to say it is 100% true. Any attempt to deal with the bureaucracy or some red tape - it's heartbreaking procedure that will test your faith in humanity at the highest level. Trying to get out of this situation is the same optimistic that stay sober over dinner with Russian.
Everything from visa and ending train tickets and throughput of documents will take you 43% of time longer than you expect, 28% still would be less successful, and 34% more expensive. So, be prepared. Then get ready for something else. Keep a stash, then to wash down all the sadness and frustration.
One exception - the train. A more "modern" European railway system, in comparison with the Russian Railways looks like a ride in a carriage along a dirt road in a rickety wheelchair.
A friend of mine knows how to solve these troubles with the red tape and taxes. "Speed tax" (bribes) - works very effectively. But if you do not plan to pay a bribe, then suffer all the "amenities".
Speaking of bribery ...
4. All police - corrupt.
This is partly true.
Police, government and all others like them have a terrible reputation in Russia, hinder the development and encourage cruelty. And it is in some sense true. The first day in Russia was remembered as a terrible check passports, or "give a bribe", which, incidentally, is spread over the entire post-Soviet space. It is very annoying! But I was lucky. I am very polite and intelligent, that all attempts to pull my money were unsuccessful. I caught only in Moldova.
Keep your passport away, boys. Imposes only copies. Good luck!
5. The mail-order brides.
One Correction: brides online correspondence. And basically they are common in Ukraine.
I took this very skeptically, admitted that there are only isolated cases. But when I was in Odessa, I saw a huge advertising where luxury Ukrainian girl wants to get married it is for you.
But it concerns a second opinion about the fact that all Russian and Ukrainian girls are incredibly beautiful. I used to think that this is nonsense, because People around the world are different, and most of them look great, simply because evil, know how to dress and look after themselves. Here there is a highlight.
Of course, this may be a genetic predisposition, but I heard another explanation, while I was there. During the Second World War, Russia lost 20 million people. When the war ended, the people themselves who chose his narrowed? Of course, beautiful.
I can not say whether this is a real reason or not, but looking at the girls think it's part of the truth.
6. There's really very cold.
Something like that. If anything, the Earth has its own axis, guys. Without going into details, I will say that the oceans maintain a moderate temperature while on all continents present temperature variety.
So, if we are talking about Russia, in remote locations away from the ocean, for example, South Siberia, ocean heat just does not come (well, maybe some tiny percentage). Although the weather there can be very pleasant, and sometimes hot.
But still, there is very cold. Colder, perhaps only Antarctica. Record the lowest temperature in the inhabited area is divided between Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk - -67.7˚ S.
7. They love bears.
And who does not?
It's silly, but Russia has long been associated with bears. So I thought it should be useful - to tell why.
Everything is very simple. These forests are home to a lot of bears. They are big and strong, and are a symbol of fear and ferocity. For a while, the bear was an element of the coat of arms, but in the end, they replaced it with a two-headed eagle, apparently preferring to anatomical accuracy.
Western countries teased Russia, associating it with the clumsy beast. Perhaps these people simply not given the chance to try to run away from the bear.
And yes, a bear can sfotatsya in almost every city. This is more kitsch and tradition, so I can not imagine the modern Russian, who would say what they "bear fans."
8. They love dolls.
Yes, they really are widespread among the souvenir shops in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In this sense, they have become a tourist product, rather than just traditional toys. But when you consider that still the majority of the tourists it yourself Russian, the dolls are not just toys that cram foreigners.
Some of the popular styles dolls were the images of Soviet leaders, which is a bit strange. Times were, come new leaders, and thus adds a new figure. This series has become the biggest. Stalin became smaller and prettier with every leader.
9. They like their writers.
Yes it is. Russian very proud of their writers. Poets, composers and other talented people. And this is understandable. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky worldwide find best writers. And not only them.
They put chic monuments on the graves; in the former homes hang a plaque; Russian and can even quote anything from books.
But as modern cultural achievements ... If you ever hear Russian pop music in the past 2 decades, 100% sure, you immediately have to turn it off. Russian, turn to the classics. You're good.
10. They still love the Soviet Union.
Uh ... In one sense - yes. For many Russian Soviet era - a time when things are great scientific discoveries, it has been economic growth, etc. They even created their own version of Winnie the Pooh! In fact, many critics consider it the best in the world.
And all this took place after World War II, the most destructive war in human history. It's like a rebellion from the ashes.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia's GDP has fallen by half in the lawless country, depression; it has lost half of its territory, millions of Russians are stuck on the other side of the borders of several new independent countries; part of the nuclear weapons allegedly were missing, and the oligarchs captured the most profitable industries. And this is only a brief overview of all that has gone. Soviet history as a symbol of the rise and fall of the Russian people.
However, for non-Russian citizens of the story is not so encouraging. Of course, it is obvious that the Baltic states were suffocating repression and the Soviet regime. As soon as they joined the EU, their economy began to grow rapidly, although they encountered some problems, as the former Soviet Union. And I'm not even talking about the Gulag.
It is easy to understand why the views are diametrically opposed to each other. The Soviet Union, of course, was not a paradise, especially for foreigners. But I think you can understand why the Soviet Union, despite the horrors of Stalinism and ubiquitous labor camps, remains a sweet memories and feelings. I'm not saying that I agree with this policy, but I am saying that it is possible to understand, and I think that really need to ignore all these atrocities that proud of those times.
This post involves more as an educational, I hope that this information will not just strengthen Russian stereotypes, but, of course, given the prospect. Behind these stories it is much more than just a coincidence stereotypes. Of course, I had a great time in Russia, and the people were very interested in what I was thinking about Russia and how it is to live in another country. Life is life, wherever you are. I mean, who does not like to slam on ryumashki during dinner? Only Idiots. I think I caught from this Russian tradition ...
Just stay away from the police, and all will be well.