Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29
Like Tree39Likes

Thread: Article: The Russian Mindset

  1. #1
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    USA, Earth
    Posts
    1,197
    Rep Power
    9

    Article: The Russian Mindset

    The Russian Mind-Set::Moscow's virtual community for English speaking expats and Russians

    The author makes some interesting assertions about Russian culture.

    Would the Russian denizens of this forum say the author is correct? Or not?

    Discussion? Comments?
    alexsms likes this.

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин Suobig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Moscow, Russia
    Posts
    268
    Rep Power
    8
    "Russians seem to value the status quo and are reluctant to change."

    Don't agree. If we don't easily accept liberal ideas doesn't mean we are conservative. Look on the history of the XX century and find any sign of conservatism in what happend in Russia.

    "Traditional Russian values and core beliefs include: "

    I'd call it "list of what differs russians from the others". Let's see:

    love of children - nothing exceptional
    respect for the old - nothing exceptional
    sense of humour - we love good joke, but who doesn't?
    strong people-orientation - it's common for all human beings
    importance of friendship - agree
    generosity - agree
    pride - agree, but "We"-pride is higher in Russia then "I"-pride
    patriotism - american patriotism is higher, but russian is different - less words and symbols, more self-sacrifice.
    love of literature and arts - agree
    nostalgia - agree
    self-sacrifice - agree
    apathy - being in apathy is a shame in Russia
    conservatism - as already said, disagree
    aversion to change - yeah, that's why we accepted communism, then rejected communism, then accepted liberalism, then rejected liberalism. That's why we sent first object and first man into space. Because we hate changes.
    caution - no way. Cautious nations don't have word "авось" in their's dictionary
    collectivism - agree
    pessimism - no, we are very optimistic (see "авось" )
    cynicism - no. It's some modern thing and I believe it's temporary. Just reaction for the dramatic changes of recent 20 years.

    I would add: love to science and scient-fiction. Ray Bradbury is, I believe, among 3 most popular american writers in Russia.
    fortheether and Deborski like this.

  3. #3
    Почтенный гражданин dtrq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    243
    Rep Power
    5
    Ray Bradbury is, I believe, among 3 most popular american writers in Russia.
    I guess Steven King another one, but who's the third?

  4. #4
    Почтенный гражданин Suobig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Moscow, Russia
    Posts
    268
    Rep Power
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by dtrq View Post
    I guess Steven King another one, but who's the third?
    Mark Twain

  5. #5
    Почтенный гражданин Suobig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Moscow, Russia
    Posts
    268
    Rep Power
    8
    Article about dacha is correct. In our awful soviet past every family could receive for free 600 square meters of land for lifetime with a right to propagate to childer. That's how bad evil communist tyrans treated us. I have no idea why we are growing fruits and vegetables on that land. May be because of our peasant traditions, may be because idleness was not common in the past - you have land, it should work.

    Article about banya is also correct. There was a tradition of visiting public bathhouses (like in Ancient Rome), where unfamiliar people bath together. Nowadays people prefer finnish saunas, hot and dry. In russian banya pool with cold water isn't common - after steam room people jump into lake if there's one near (even in winter, these are very special feelings ), or snow if it's winter. But usually it's just a bowl with cold water nearby, or, nowadays, a cold shower.
    Deborski likes this.

  6. #6
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wonderland of Russia
    Posts
    1,197
    Rep Power
    22
    Dammit!
    Deb, that's all wrong (well, truth be told, almost all but still...)

    Behaviours You May Find Puzzling
    Russians can seem very rude and that they rarely smile in public.
    Russians aren't rude at all unless they are forced to be rude.
    Please, tell me what is considered to be rude? What made the author think so? Not saying "please"? Something else? I'd like to see a short review on this topic.

    We rarely smile in public (well, it depends what you think is rare)
    We don't smile all the time, that's the truth. A smile is either a sign of my own emotions towards a person I'm talking with, or a courtesy smile.
    They can easily be differentiated from one another and personally I don't like these fake smiles you see when you come to an office and the girl smiling at you.
    She's not my good old friend, nor have I have done anything good or hillarious to give me a smile but she's already smiling. This isn't good. She may express the attitude in some other way, like through intonations or a faint smile, not a real one. I always smile at small babies, they're sooooo sweet, they already deserved my smile by the sole fact that they are existing

    70 years of history taught people not to trust anybody and to guard their own territory.
    Bullsh!t

    Just recall the famous Soviet poster "Ne Boltai" (Do not Chatter)
    Bullsh!t Bullsh!t, wrong translation. It's "Don't blab out (secrets)".

    There is also an inherited notion from "village Russia" that people who smile for no reason must be simpletons
    No! The original saying is "Смех без причины - признак дурачины". Laughter, not smiling, you know!

    They are often not used to people being polite and nice to them
    They are used to it. In Russia every day we say hello to all the acquaintances we meet, when entering a public room, etc.
    Otherwise we may be considered rude.

    Russians seem to have very different concept of what it means to stand in a line. They tend to be pushy while getting on public transport and in the metro you will find that people try to get on while others are still trying to get off.
    Well, this depends on the person. If someone in Russia will try to be pushy at me when getting into a bus the very next second he will learn to fly

    Houses entrances, rest rooms and some other public areas may not be well cared for.
    Depends on the owner. It's not common.

    People - both men and women - still drink beer in pubic. While this is not publicly frowned upon...
    This is not publicly frowned upon. If it were, we wouldn't drink beer in public. We don't drink either vodka or wine in public. Only beer.

    Something like that.
    The article seems to be aimed at creating a negative image of a Russian. F!ck it!
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  7. #7
    Почтенный гражданин Suobig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Moscow, Russia
    Posts
    268
    Rep Power
    8
    I don't think it's aimed at creating negative image. It's just bunch of stamps and observations with no effort to verify or analyze. Hundreds of such articles exist, nothing interesting.

    I don't understand that stamp about russians standing close to each other while speaking. This explanations "This may be a remnant from the Soviet past when people had to be very careful about what they said and always made sure that no one else was listening." is ridiculous. USSR was not Oceania from "1984". You could speak out loud anything that was not unethical or illegal. As well as in any other country. There were some ideological topics that should had been discussed with care. But danger of such things is greatly exaggerated.

    We just don't understand what "personal space" is. Of course, I would not feel comfortable standing in front of someone who's not my girlfriends with our faces closer than lets say 50cm. But I don't have any special "lets talk" distance. Well, it would be a bit weird if I speak with someone who's 5m from me, if i can come closer.
    Deborski, iCake and dtrq like this.

  8. #8
    Подающий надежды оратор
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    29
    Rep Power
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by Suobig View Post
    It's just bunch of stamps and observations
    The good news are that Westerners finally forget some old cliches like drunken bears playing on balalaika )
    Deborski likes this.

  9. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    С.-Петербург
    Posts
    1,829
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    Would the Russian denizens of this forum say the author is correct? Or not?
    Мне статья понравилась. Автор довольно глубоко и широко изучил нашу жизнь. Но есть моменты в статье, которые не надо воспринимать буквально. Например, приметы. Я ни разу не видел человека, бросающего соль через плечо. Может, такая традиция и была, но лет сто назад где-нибудь в деревне у крестьян или у купцов.
    Ещё момент: автор назвал нищих попрошаек в транспорте военными ветеранами. На самом деле это чаще всего профессиональные "нищие", использующие военную форму как профессиональную одежду.
    В общем, моя оценка 4+ или 5- (по пятибальной системе).
    alexsms and Deborski like this.

  10. #10
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    USA, Earth
    Posts
    1,197
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by Medved View Post
    Dammit!
    Deb, that's all wrong (well, truth be told, almost all but still...)

    Behaviours You May Find Puzzling
    Russians can seem very rude and that they rarely smile in public.
    Russians aren't rude at all unless they are forced to be rude.
    Please, tell me what is considered to be rude? What made the author think so? Not saying "please"? Something else? I'd like to see a short review on this topic.
    I think the author was writing mainly to an audience of English-speaking ex-pats who have no experience with Russian culture. I agree, a lot of his conjectures about why Russians smile less than Americans, or stand close, etc, are crap. I never thought it was "rooted in the oppressive Soviet past."

    However, I have heard from other Americans before that they think Russians are "rude." I never thought Russians were rude personally, so I asked people why they made this observation and from what I can gather, it's just a cultural misunderstanding on the part of (mostly) Americans. Americans do not tend to be as direct as Russians are, and they will mistake directness for rudeness.

    Americans and other English-language speakers seem more passive to me. For example, if they want a drink of water they will say, "Would you please get me a drink of water?" Whereas a Russian would probably just say "I need water" or "I want water."

    I think sometimes we misunderstand each other precisely because of cultural differences. Americans say "I'm sorry" all the time and I've heard from lots of Russians that this makes us seem insincere, but in America it is considered proper and polite.

    Generally, I think reading motives into the behavior of foreigners is a bad idea. What might be perceived as "rude" in one culture is honesty/directness in another, and what might be perceived as "insincere" in one culture is politeness/kindness in another.

    I agree, the author is reaching a bit and sounds like yet another westerner trying too hard to psychoanalyze Russian behavior. I think a lot of the behaviors he is describing are not a direct result of Soviet times, but reach back far further than that and are not wrong or a sign of oppression but just cultural.
    fortheether, alexsms and RedFox like this.

  11. #11
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    USA, Earth
    Posts
    1,197
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by Suobig View Post
    I don't think it's aimed at creating negative image. It's just bunch of stamps and observations with no effort to verify or analyze. Hundreds of such articles exist, nothing interesting.

    I don't understand that stamp about russians standing close to each other while speaking. This explanations "This may be a remnant from the Soviet past when people had to be very careful about what they said and always made sure that no one else was listening." is ridiculous. USSR was not Oceania from "1984". You could speak out loud anything that was not unethical or illegal. As well as in any other country. There were some ideological topics that should had been discussed with care. But danger of such things is greatly exaggerated.

    We just don't understand what "personal space" is. Of course, I would not feel comfortable standing in front of someone who's not my girlfriends with our faces closer than lets say 50cm. But I don't have any special "lets talk" distance. Well, it would be a bit weird if I speak with someone who's 5m from me, if i can come closer.
    It took me a long time to get used to Russian concepts of personal space. But I never once thought, "oh, yes, this must be a sign of the oppressive Soviet times." I think that is a very strange, and unfair, observation to make. It seems like a lot of westerners will try to psychoanalyze Russia, as if they need to have some time or place to explain what caused the people to behave a certain way. And maybe Russian history has a role in shaping Russian behavior, but if so, it certainly goes back much further than the comparable blink-of-an-eye that was Soviet times. Some cultural behaviors may be more a result of the intermix of different ethnicities in Russia, too. The vikings certainly brought their own culture with them, as did the mongols, and the turks, and other ethnic groups which became part of the Russian melting pot.
    alexsms likes this.

  12. #12
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    USA, Earth
    Posts
    1,197
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by Юрка View Post
    Мне статья понравилась. Автор довольно глубоко и широко изучил нашу жизнь. Но есть моменты в статье, которые не надо воспринимать буквально. Например, приметы. Я ни разу не видел человека, бросающего соль через плечо. Может, такая традиция и была, но лет сто назад где-нибудь в деревне у крестьян или у купцов.
    Ещё момент: автор назвал нищих попрошаек в транспорте военными ветеранами. На самом деле это чаще всего профессиональные "нищие", использующие военную форму как профессиональную одежду.
    В общем, моя оценка 4+ или 5- (по пятибальной системе).
    Я тоже никогда не видела человека, бросающего соль через плечо.

    Но столько раз, мои друзья настояли, чтобы я сесть за минуту молчания перед отъездом в путешествие

  13. #13
    Властелин Medved's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wonderland of Russia
    Posts
    1,197
    Rep Power
    22
    Americans do not tend to be as direct as Russians are
    Bingo! That's it!
    That's exactly what an American told me several years ago when I just started to learn English.
    I guess the roots of this opinion come from the lack of knowlege of the right, roundabout English
    What we learn at schools and further is just simplified, direct English.
    Of course high-educated translators or like, they know the other sort of English but commonly we know only this version of the language.
    So in my view, the folks just mistake language constraints for rudeness.
    maxmixiv and Deborski like this.
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  14. #14
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    USA, Earth
    Posts
    1,197
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by Medved View Post
    Bingo! That's it!
    That's exactly what an American told me several years ago when I just started to learn English.
    I guess the roots of this opinion come from the lack of knowlege of the right, roundabout English
    What we learn at schools and further is just simplified, direct English.
    Of course high-educated translators or like, they know the other sort of English but commonly we know only this version of the language.
    So in my view, the folks just mistake language constraints for rudeness.
    I think it could be based in language as well as culturally. Well, since culture and language are so tightly interwoven that makes sense. English is a rather passive language. In my experience Russians are usually very direct and honest. It has never offended me because my personality is very much the same, perhaps as a result of my Scandinavian/Viking heritage. I am a very direct person. This is frequently misunderstood and people have told me they thought I was "rude" when my intent was completely the opposite.

    Just this past weekend I was with some friends in Canada, and one of them told me I was rude because my "approach" when I asked her a question was not "subtle" enough. It was a silly situation, actually. She had an argument with a mutual friend on Facebook and I asked if the person was OK. She got very upset with me about how I asked and said that I should have phrased the question differently, more like, "I am acquainted with so-and-so. Can I ask how she is?" She totally judged my entire personality based on that one little interaction and now she won't speak with me! And all I was trying to do was show concern for a mutual friend. I can't wrap my mind around this passive way of talking. It would never have occurred to me to back into the question like that. I don't understand why just asking "is she ok?" was wrong.

    But that is just a simple example.
    Medved and RedFox like this.

  15. #15
    Подающий надежды оратор
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Russia
    Posts
    18
    Rep Power
    3
    Russians love to comment and give advice. Don't be surprised to get unsolicited advice on how to dress your children in winter or on the necessity of wearing a hat in cold winter.
    Автор попал в самую точку. Россияне очень любят давать советы, хоть это и бесит всех и высмеивается постоянно. Даже поговрка есть: "у нас каждый суслик - агроном"
    Deborski and RedFox like this.

  16. #16
    Властелин
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    1,156
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    Я тоже никогда не видела человека, бросающего соль через плечо.


    They aren't Russians though =))
    Deborski likes this.

  17. #17
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    USA, Earth
    Posts
    1,197
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by sergei View Post
    Автор попал в самую точку. Россияне очень любят давать советы, хоть это и бесит всех и высмеивается постоянно. Даже поговрка есть: "у нас каждый суслик - агроном"
    Americans do the same thing, though not usually to complete strangers. Once you are considered a "friend" though, they may start giving unwanted advice about how to run your business, how to treat your wife and kids, etc. More than advice though, I would say America is the land of opinions. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks their opinion is important and equally valid. We also have a saying: "Opinions are like assh*les. Everyone has one and they all stink."
    RedFox likes this.

  18. #18
    Властелин
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Russia
    Posts
    1,024
    Rep Power
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Suobig View Post
    Article about dacha is correct. In our awful soviet past every family could receive for free 600 square meters of land for lifetime with a right to propagate to childer.
    I haven't checked it but some культуролог once told me that during Stalin's time дачи were distributed among the political elites and intelligentsia (so it was kind of a 'status symbol', of course it was not a place to grow staples there). Only later дачи are becoming as we know them now. As far as I remember there is something like дачный посёлок писателей in Большое Переделкино near Moscow (so these are this kind of дача).
    Deborski likes this.

  19. #19
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    С.-Петербург
    Posts
    1,829
    Rep Power
    0
    Мне понравилось в статье несколько моментов.
    1. Что страна не фундаменталистская. Это значит, что незнание традиций не приводит к летальному результату.
    2. Автор не выдаёт свои гипотезы за истину.
    3. Многие наблюдения точны и не поверхностны.
    Deborski likes this.

  20. #20
    Властелин
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Russia
    Posts
    1,024
    Rep Power
    19
    The article is under the Survival guide section (so there are some useful tips and the general discourse seems rather practical than 'political, negative, etc...').

    There are some inaccuracies in the author's observations (some of them are just technical, some are cultural).

    1. Russians love and value going to the theatre, opera, ballet and concerts. The arts are avidly devoured by all sections of society - the idea that plays or classical music could be "difficult" or unpopular is rarely encountered. They also enjoy attending readings of literature and poetry - i wish it were true, but this is a false statement. The classical arts tradition and school are strong in Russia, but the active participants (apart from performers and artists) are 'the culturati'. The usual pastimes are TV, football, dacha, shashliki, beer, package holidays, you name it. Classical arts is generally regarded as a more sophisticated pastime, sometimes (not always) within the elitist context.

    2. Redcurrants usually grow in gardens and private dachas, not in forests (just a technical inaccuracy).

    3. The reason why people stand close to each other in lines is more difficult to explain. In fact the explanation is obvious from a paragraph somewhere above: When you go to pay utility bills at a Russian bank, you may find that when it is almost your turn one or two people show up who had "reserved" a place in the line and then took care of something else at another counter or just sit down while waiting for their turn. So there is always a chance that someone may take a place BEFORE you in the line and on the subconscious level people try to control the space before them in the line.

    4. Very often such questions arise from "fellow professionals" who are keen to know how their profession might be valued abroad. It must be added that they often ask questions about how much they earn in this or that country to compare the information with their own wages, irrespective of the professional interest.

    5. While Russians devote considerable time and cost to their own personal wardrobe and grooming.... - Better to replace it with While MANY RUSSIAN WOMEN devote considerable time and cost to their own personal wardrobe and grooming...

    6. many women had (and still have) the dual responsibility of adding to family income through a full-time job and of caring... - Better to replace it with Most of the women had (and still have) the dual responsibility of adding to family income through a full-time job and of caring...

    7. The mindset of the younger Russian generation is not as much pro-anything, as it is anti-communist. - this premise can be discussed if people about 27-30 and over are meant (the rule of thumb could be Это те, кто был пионером). If they are younger they often have no idea what communism in practice means, in which case such 'anti-' feeling would be purely theoretical.

    8. You might hear children shout something like "Hey Smirnova" or "Hey Smirnov". - Could hardly be imagined with pre-school kids. I would argue this is mostly true for high school kids (старшеклассники в средней школе).

    9. you can ask for "Gospozha Tatiana Smirnova" (Mrs. Tatiana Smirnova) or "Gospodin Sergey Smirnov" (Mr. Sergey Smirnov). - Incorrect. Must be you can ask for "Gospozha Smirnova" (Mrs. Tatiana Smirnova) or "Gospodin Smirnov" (Mr. Sergey Smirnov). - only last name is traditionally used with Господин/Госпожа.

    10. The shortened names Sasha and Zhenya are used for both females and males. - It must be added that there are many other names which take the same form for male and female in Russian.

    11. about Вы (Vy)... Note that this word starts with a capital letter, which is similar to the French "Vous" and the German "Sie". - Incorrect. Better to say: Note that this word OFTEN starts with a capital letter, which is similar to the French "Vous" and the German "Sie". (Capitalization of Вы is used to signify a higher degree of respect in Russian, while in German it's the only correct 2nd person singular polite address form. I am not sure about French, but as far as I can tell in French the use of 'vous' et 'Vous' is absolutely the same as Russian "вы" и "Вы.)

    12. there are only 31 letters plus two silent symbols. Incorrect. There are 33 letters in the Russian language. Though it helps to warn that 2 letters serve as silent symbols.

    13. Do not cross your legs with the ankle on the knee or put your feet on the table. It is considered impolite to show others the soles of your shoes. It's not about the soles of one's shoes. Such body language is generally regarded as suspicious licence, legs on the table is regarded as licence - who is going to clean the table afterwards? - it's a cultural thing.
    fortheether and Deborski like this.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 106
    Last Post: June 23rd, 2014, 06:23 AM
  2. Word for a person stuck in a Soviet mindset?
    By kybarry in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: August 31st, 2011, 06:10 PM
  3. Translation of Russian Playboy Article
    By SoeurSourire in forum Translate This!
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: October 16th, 2007, 03:39 PM
  4. Wikipedia article about Russian-native pronunciation
    By vox05 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: October 8th, 2007, 07:11 AM
  5. Russian Mapmakers and Mythmakers (Article)
    By kalinka_vinnie in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: December 6th, 2005, 12:45 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary