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Thread: WHAT IS FAMILY LIKE IN THE RUSSIAN CULTURE?

  1. #1
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    WHAT IS FAMILY LIKE IN THE RUSSIAN CULTURE?


    Hi!

    This is my first question: WHAT IS FAMILY LIKE IN THE RUSSIAN CULTURE?

    I hope you answer it. I am anxious to know the answers.

    Thank you for your help! I appreciate that.

    Angelica

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    Angelica,

    Your question is quite broad, and therefore somewhat difficult to answer.

    I've been hoping that one of our resident Russians would answer, or JB for example who I'm sure can give you a good idea of Russian family life from an American perspective...but...

    I'm no expert, and I'm not Russian. I can only tell you my own experiences from my past marriage to a Belarussian, and integration into her family.

    Alesia's family is extremely close...a sense existed that family members are the only people you can truly rely on, and trust. Trust is key and very important. Her family, I felt, was much closer and more reliable (to each other) than most American families I know. They would of course argue with each other, as most families do...but there was always a sense (and certainly the reality) of absolute loyalty and self-sacrifice to each other in the event of difficulties and problems. There was always a strong sense of this, more so than in America families, in general, I think.

    I miss her family, partly for these reasons.

    I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but I hope it helps.

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    http://www.womenrussia.com/russians.htm#Family%20life
    They have pretty accurate information I should say.
    ~ Мастерадминов Мастерадмин Мастерадминович ~

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    JB
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    My experience is that family life is more important in Russia than in America. Family members (even distant relatives) rely and depend upon each other more than Americans do. If a Russian needs help or money or anything, he can usually count on a relaive helping him, even at the last minute. I've rarely seen anyone kick out their grown children even when the adult child was causing a problem. Even if family members constantly fight and antagonize each other they will band together to defend a family member against an outsider (neighbors, police, government, etc.)
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterAdmin
    http://www.womenrussia.com/russians.htm#Family%20life
    They have pretty accurate information I should say.
    Thanks for the link, reading this article is as funny as reading the Xenophobe's Guide to the Russains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB
    My experience is that family life is more important in Russia than in America. Family members (even distant relatives) rely and depend upon each other more than Americans do. If a Russian needs help or money or anything, he can usually count on a relaive helping him, even at the last minute. I've rarely seen anyone kick out their grown children even when the adult child was causing a problem. Even if family members constantly fight and antagonize each other they will band together to defend a family member against an outsider (neighbors, police, government, etc.)

    Thank you for this! It is very good!

    Angelica

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    family

    I watch a tv show on pervi canal, called Zhdi Menya....which means 'wait for me'

    as my wife says, such a show is impossible in America. Because basically the premise of the show is people sometimes get separated and the show reunited people...for example, maybe someone lost contact with a cousin back in world war II, and now they can be reunited 50 years later.

    in america, no one gives a crap about some old acquaintence from 50 years ago....but on this show, Russians show over and over again, that family is important to them.

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    Re: family

    Quote Originally Posted by Superman

    in america, no one gives a cr@p about some old acquaintence from 50 years ago.....


    I disagree. We had a similar show for many years. And it pleases me very much to see old friends again.

    You should never believe that family and friends are not important in America. They are VERY important. We just have a different sense.

    America is a very mobile society, and it is not as common nor necessary for generations of family members to live together and depend on each other, as Russians had to do during Soviet times to survive. I think this accounts for much of the difference.

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    JB
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    I had trouble trying to convince an inlaw that Americans do love their children even though they may not live close to them. I was explaining how the American custom of sending kids away to college and then expecting them to get a job and live on their own is considered good for the kid's character and teaches them how to survive and prosper. But my Russian inlaws thought this was horrible and couldn't understand how American parents could "abandon" their kids.
    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

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    Re: family

    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    as Russians had to do during Soviet times to survive
    Dobry, Russian history started a bit earlier Soviet times and believe me, our life was much more easier during Soviet times than before.
    Gib immer 100% bei der Arbeit: 12% am Montag, 23% am Dienstag, 40% am Mittwoch, 20% am Donnerstag, 5% am Freitag ...

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    Re: family

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    as Russians had to do during Soviet times to survive
    Dobry, Russian history started a bit earlier Soviet times and believe me, our life was much more easier during Soviet times than before.
    Understood and of course, JJ. Of course there was Russian history prior to the Soviets. And Russian family life was certainly important then, also. I did not mean to imply differently.

    I was referring specifically to the Soviet urbanization of the big cities during Soviet times, with government-assigned apartments, shortage of urban living space, and the need for families to live together to survive because of this, and other conditions.

    I was focusing on the most recent generations as they are more socially relevant to current culture, than say 300 years ago. I think that even today in Russia, fewer families are living together than they did in the Soviet Era. More children are living separately from parents, and there is a huge boom in the cities of apartment buying/selling, wheeling-dealing, partly to enable children and parents to have their own flats.

    JB is absolutely correct. For Americans generally, it's considered a sign of a healthy, strong, reliable person to move away from parents, get a good job, and live successfully independent. An American parent would be proud of a son or daughter living independently...and the parent would feel like a failure if the child still lived at home, at say, age 30.

    For us this is a very good thing...an independent child, who has 'left the nest'. I'm NOT saying this is "right or wrong", and I'm NOT implying anything about Russian family culture...the realities of living conditions were, and are, different in Russia. Only that this is the general American view of American family life.

    I do not expect a non-American to agree with this general American view, but I do hope a non-American will understand our view and not condemn, belittle, or think badly of us...our motives are noble.

    And I'll restate...I miss my ex-wife's Belarussian family very much.

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    I dont see how american family is less important for the americans, than it is for russians. People in Russia do help and cling to their relatives and friends but that's just because nothing can be done by a single person in a reasonable straighforward law-abiding fashion. Even grocery shopping was a bit of an adventure back in the USSR days.

    My parents kicked me out when I was 15 to one of the best higher schools (or colleges as you call them) in the country 3000 km away from home, and I've never questioned their love. The majority of students in that place were from all over the country as well. So I would not say that approach is purely american.
    I've got a TV, and I'm not afraid to use it

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    I think Dobry was right to the point in his description of his in-laws family. Sending or not sending kids to a college, living or not necessarily living together, I think the bond is stronger. It is all shown very well in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We are not Greeks, but there is a lot in common If you haven't seen that movie do it now

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    I was going to point out that American parents sometimes eat their children...but I seem to be catching some back draft to my opinion.

    Oh you know, you can always say this or that, is just anecdotal.

    but the reality is their is a cultural difference, and whether its poverty induced or not, I think it is most accurate to say, that Russians are more family oriented than americans...and sometimes Americans can learn from other cultures.

    with that said, for those of you with close families in America, good for you.
    I think that is a good thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman

    but the reality is their is a cultural difference, and whether its poverty induced or not, I think it is most accurate to say, that Russians are more family oriented than americans...and sometimes Americans can learn from other cultures..
    Just don't forget, Superman, that America is an complex amalgam of many cultures...not just English or western Europe. Our culture developed from this mix, and it is impossible to stereotype any cultural attitude in America. So,when you say, "Americans can learn from other cultures," remember that America is already a huge mix of English, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Hispanic, Norwegian, Vietnamese, African, Persian, Indian...and the list goes on for several pages. I myself am Irish-American...and I think I'm severely under-represented!

    So, we've already learned much from other cultures, and we've naturally adopted other cultures to our own American cultural mix. It's a basic principle for us. The words of the Statue of Liberty...aren't just words for us...they are our cultural foundation...which is a mix of almost every culture in the world.

    Non-Americans often forget this.
    Our culture has developed from this strange mix of people. Many Russians are in that mix.

    But yes, the current culture in Russia, I think, is more family-oriented than in America. But I also believe that the reasons are socio-economic, born of necessity for survival, and date back deep into Russian history.

    The socio-economic conditions that precipitated the Russian value of strong family-ties haven't existed as much in America, therefore the same value is not seen as often.

    But this is a comparison between "apples and oranges"... the very different development of two very different cultures, under very different socio-economic conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    I also believe that the reasons are socio-economic, born of necessity for survival, and date back deep into Russian history.

    The socio-economic conditions that precipitated the Russian value of strong family-ties haven't existed as much in America, therefore they are not seen as often.
    I live in Canada, which is similar to the US in terms of culture mix. I don't think however that the cultures do really mix well... A lot of the immigrants live in very closed communities and neither do they absorb Canadian mainstream culture nor do they affect it much. That's besides the food Maybe we will see the effect in a few generations time, but at the moment I feel that I am different even though I made a good deal of effort to integrate and never lived in a Russian community.

    I think you can't explain these closer family ties by simple economic reasons. Russians are not the only people who differ from should I say Anglo-Saxon Americans in this aspect. Look at the Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, etc... After all, mass immigration to another continent, on the scale of what happened when the US was created, was hardly possible in Russia just because it would break families. When it happened in Russia it was always a family tragedy, because to get separated in Russia means tragedy. I still have my mother back home and believe me this is the biggest problem I have in my life.

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    Agreed, Mike.

    Please don't read me too literally...I'm speaking in very general terms, giving my opinion, and there is no "black and white"...and "socio-economic" is an extremely broad term, not only economic.

    But, if you have other hypotheses about why such differences exist, or how they developed, please share you thoughts. I'm listening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    But, if you have other hypotheses about why such differences exist, or how they developed, please share you thoughts. I'm listening.
    Let me think...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobry
    But, if you have other hypotheses about why such differences exist, or how they developed, please share you thoughts. I'm listening.
    Let me think...

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