The World's #1 Russian, Ukrainian & Eastern European Discussion & Information Forum - RUA!

This Is the Premier Discussion Forum on the Net for Information and Discussion about Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Discuss Culture, Politics, Travelling, Language, International Relationships and More. Chat with Travellers, Locals, Residents and Expats. Ask and Answer Questions about Travel, Culture, Relationships, Applying for Visas, Translators, Interpreters, and More. Give Advice, Read Trip Reports, Share Experiences and Make Friends.

Author Topic: How Russians Think  (Read 66704 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
How Russians Think
« on: June 08, 2008, 07:35:12 PM »
языковая картина мира
(Russian language view of the world)


The first time I was dispatched along with a group of other media professionals to the Soviet Union, it was via Kyiv on Aeroflot.  Borispol was primarily a military airport as there wasn't much of a "tourist" trade back then and the stewardess' staff had collected our cameras and any writing tablets/portable tape recorders and then lowered the shades 30 minutes out so that no one could view the airport on final approach.

Much has changed since those days when our bus from the tarmac to the terminal also had drawn shades so that nobody could get much of a look at the Ukrainian Soviet Air Force activities on the field. 

But what hasn't changed is the way Russians think.  Armed with a boatload of preconceptions and excitement my Russian Ukrainian adventure was underway.  Our team had been given copies of the "The Russians" by Hedrick Smith, at that time considered the ultimate guide to understanding how Russians think and how to view life in the Soviet Union.



Hedrick Smith was Moscow Bureau Chief for The New York Times from 1971 to 1974-and awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for his coverage from the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe.  In the book Smith used his skills as a superb interviewer and writer to probe and painstakingly piece together an amazing jigsaw puzzle of habits, humor, and idiosyncrasies that present a Soviet reality that few in the West experience first hand.  It was a groundbreaking work and set the standard for journalism about Russia for the decades to come.

Later Smith published another important book, "The New Russians."

Both of these books by Hedrick Smith canonized the way the West looks at Russia.  And they are extraordinary, even monumentally masterful books. 


Then late in 2007 Professor Anna Pavlovskaya, Moscow State University Doctor of History, Lecturer in Russian, European and American Studies, and Head of the Department of Cross-Cultural Studies wrote her own thoughts on Russians...as a Russian.

To say that I like Professor Pavlovskaya's book, "Culture Shock!  A Survival Guide" to (Russian) customs and etiquette" is an understatement.  Not only does it dovetail nicely with the important work of Hedrick Smith, but as a Russian, she takes readers further inside the Russian mind and soul.



It's not difficult or long reading, the paperback is 305 active and interesting pages which can be read quickly, then enjoyed long afterward.  In this thread I'll share some of her observations about what makes Russians....well, Russian. 

You can respond, debate and share your own experiences as we go along.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2008, 07:43:50 PM »
Chapter One of Pavlovskaya's book opens with a cartoon.  The cartoonist has drawn the interior of a plane and the passengers are clapping upon a safe landing.

The stewardess comes on the intercom with the announcement, "Please stop the clapping!  The Captain has a hang-over."

Have you experienced such applause on landing with your trips to the FSU?

Did applauding for a routine landing strike you as different or odd?

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2008, 07:48:43 PM »
Winston Churchhill on Russia, "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."


Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2008, 07:55:36 PM »
Why do Russians find it so hard to leave?  And for those who leave, what creates the strong pull to return?

Prof Pavlovskaya describes it this way, (For Russians) "emigration is not simply a desire to leave and go somewhere, it is first and foremost a rejection of the motherland, an unwillingness to live there."

"In the past leaving the country meant that a citizen was unable to return.  People left not because they wanted to go somewhere else, but because they could no longer live in their homeland."

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2008, 01:00:39 AM »
Are Russians always gloomy?  Why don't they smile in public?

Professor Pavlovskaya explains that "only idiots and fools smile for no reason."  The mindset is that you're mentally unstable or making fun of others when you smile at them for no cause.  In Russia laughter or levity without reason is a sign of stupidity.


A true American-Russian story about smiling:
When McDonalds first began opening restaurants in Russia the staff was taught to smile and warmly greet customers.  Needless to say, this was a disaster and the American McDonalds trainers had to quickly rethink that strategy.  Step into a McD today and your cashier will likely skip the smile and hello to look you straight in the eye and ask for your order.  Polite, but sans smile.


Okay, so when do I smile in Russia?
Smiling is reserved for those who know you.  It's okay to smile if someone you met smiled first, otherwise keep a calm and polite look until you've developed a relationship with that individual.


 

Nice polite look from a good family friend, but no open smile.  After all, she has no idea who will see this photo and it would be out of character to smile for no good reason. 

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2008, 09:21:44 AM »
In the west we mark special occasions by taking family members to a nice restaurant.  Eating out is part of western culture.

In Russia, eating out for a special occasion could be a sign of disrespect.  After all, if a birthday or anniversary is important, then why wouldn't we want to prepare a bountiful meal and invite as many family and friends over to over the meal, the tea afterward, and the hours of laughter and conversation following the meal?

Professor Pavlovskaya points out that for Russians, "the celebration of a family meal is a specific and important ritual.  Eating together is a sign of friendship which takes your relationships onto a new level." 

She goes on to write that, "a well laid table is a sign of respect for guests."  Even in times of hardship Russians will find a way to provide a well provisioned table even if it meant they might go hungry after guests have departed.  "That is why a Russian host will be offended if a guest eats only a little....as if their admiration and respect is being turned down."


Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2008, 09:28:23 AM »
A polite guest even when you don't feel like eating:

On New Year's Eve (a year ago) we received a call from Ludmila one of my former 'guides' from the Russian Ministry of Culture/Communications during my posting in Moscow.  She had learned that we were in town for the holidays with my American daughters.  She wanted to greet us for the holiday and to meet those daughters.  The call came mid-morning New Year's Eve.  Here are some details about that day:

1- Our family tradition is to enjoy a large and very long (overnight) New Year's with lots of extended family packed into the apartment of a cousin.  Near Red Square, we enjoy the traditional walk the next morning to the Square and tomb of the unknown soldier on New Year's day along with crowds of others doing the same.
2- We were due to arrive at cousin Natasha's home around 5-6pm and help with preparations.
3- I was sick, getting over a touch of flu and had only stopped making those frantic dashes to the toilet just a few hours earlier.
4- While the last thing I wanted to do was eat, I knew it would be necessary to at least appear to be nibbling at things when the family celebration started that evening.

While dearly loving my former guide Ludmila, the knowledge that a huge table awaited our arrival was making my stomach begin to churn all over again.  My lovely and kind wife, knowing that to turn down such an invitation would be tentamount to rejection, agreed for us to arrive at Ludmila's at 5pm to eat dinner at her home, and then we'd try to be at cousin Natasha's home for the family celebration around 8pm.  My MIL put me back to bed with the orders to "get some rest because this will be a big night for your stomach."  Holy moley, was she ever correct.

Upon arrival at Ludmila's home we were greeted by her family, her guests, and a table groaning under it's weight with dishes of all kinds.  More waited in the kitchen because the table was full.  One of my daughters grinned at me and said "good luck Dad."  I'm told later that the food was delicious.  I ate some but couldn't taste it.  I'm sure it must have been delicious.   My poor wife, in spite of the knowledge that I'd been sick, kept moving things off my plate onto hers almost as fast as it was continously piled onto mine.

When we exited Ludmila's home, almost 9pm and behind schedule, our hostess and her guests were truly sorry that we were leaving and wanted us to stay all night.  I just wanted to find the nearest bush and upchuck some food.  That happened several times on the way to the bus stop, and between the bus stop and Metro, and again during the two minutes walk from Metro to Natasha's home.

We arrived at Natasha's for the overnight celebration and immediately were escorted into a room with a table.  Piled high with food and we had brought more with us.  I headed for the bathroom...knowing that a guest just has no way to escape a Russian table.


Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2008, 10:04:56 AM »
Visiting a home as a guest:

Having guests is important to a Russian host.  An ultimate sign of endearing friendship is the sign of others who are willing to gather in your home for tea, a meal, etc.

It is a great honour to have a foreigner in your home.  Russians love to travel, even if the only traveling they can afford is thru the eyes and experiences of someone else. 

Try this:  Next time you are in your lady's home take some photos of the Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Yellowstone Park or of the beautiful Canadian Rockies for example.  Be prepared to leave the photo copies as gifts and maybe along with postcards or other small souvineers from the experience.  Then tell your hosts about the area.  Explain in detail how you traveled to the park, what you saw and experienced along the way, how it felt upon arrival and go into detail about your time spent there.

The above exercise will go on for hours if you are willing to answer questions and talk about the experience.  Russians are intelligently curious about places they've never been.  They see the West as exotic and full of wonder.  By allowing them to come along on the trip via your story, you will have opened their world and at the same time deepened your friendship with your hosts.

In a very good way, Russians view foreigners in their home as sources of friendship and entertainment.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2008, 10:13:46 AM »
How to be a good guest:

It is customary to take a gift for the lady (mother or grandmother) of the house.  And some small sweets for a child.  You can obtain these locally but for a child, the chewing gum from America or the candy bar from the Netherlands is far more wonderful and exotic (even if available locally) than something purchased around the corner.  For the hostess flowers (odd number) or a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates are great.

Russians love chocolate and enjoy trying chocolates from other parts of the world.  A small box of chocolate from Belgium, Canada, Germany, etc, makes an exotic and exciting gift for your hosts.


Note:  Who is the "hostess" if multiple females live in a home?  It doesn't matter if your wife owns the apartment and her mother or grandmother simply live with her for convenience and economy.  The eldest female in the home is the hostess.  To her goes the honour and respect given to a hostess. 

So in the case of a gift for the hostess if your lady owns her own apartment but an older female relative lives there also, you will want to take two gifts.  One for the hostess and another for your lady.

As you might imagine this hierachy will effect relationships in more areas than just who is hostess of the home.



Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2008, 10:23:33 AM »
The village water pump:

Someday, whether on a trip to the family dacha, or if you visit a family in a small Russian village, you'll be introduced to the village water pump. 

It's much like the hand water pump we remember from German, English, Canadian and American farms back in the 1950s. 

There are some rules of etiquette should you encounter such a pump.  Remember that it's not a plaything, its the lifeblood of a community.  Always carry the water buckets for the ladies.  If and elderly person is at the pump, offer to pump their water for them before getting your own.  Just simple stuff.  And enjoy the experience while being thankful that your life daily life is much easier back home!

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2008, 10:06:37 AM »
Russians and winter:


Leo Tolstoy wrote that when it came to fighting off invading armies, Russian winters were the "bludgeon of the people's war."

But surely there is more to a Russian winter than using snow, ice and cold as a weapon!   :)

Mendeleyev's favourite movie of all time is Dr Zhivago.  In that movie one is treated to endless snow drifts, ice storms, blowing winds and severe cold.  Its beautiful, both on a movie screen and in real life.

Professor Pavlovskaya points out that John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the USA, visited Russia in the 18th century and expressed his surprise at the "barbaric" way in which Russians enjoy winter.

One would likely disagree with Adams in the "barbaric" statement, but there is no doubt that Russians seem to love winter.  They are a hardy people who live in a land designed for the hardy.


Mendeleyev's tips on buying a winter coat for Russia:
1- Wool 'breathes' better than any other fabric.  The constant tension between heated indoors and cold outdoors causes the body to sweat.  That moisture, if not allowed to escape, will cause severe illness.  Thus fabrics like heavy leather are an invitation to pneumonia.  Stay with wool.

2- A winter coat needs to be full length--well below the knees.  The wind will make you appreciate a full length coat.

3- It should button right up to the neck.  Don't buy one of those coats with the v-shaped top which will expose your throat and neck to severe cold.  The throat is usually first to go when sickness arrives so make certain the coat can button all the way up.  Don't settle for less. 

4- Your coat should not be snug, a little room is necessary for the extra clothes you will wear underneath as you "layer" clothing on and off during the day.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2008, 12:08:24 AM »
Russian Fairy Tales:



Russian Fairy Tales have been a part of Slavic culture for centuries.  Most of the great Russian poets also wrote fairy tale stories.  Generally a fairy tale combines humour and a moral for the story.




HOW THE FOX LEARNED TO FLY

The fox and the crane met each other:
Well, little fox, do you know how to fly?
No, I don't know how.
Sit down on me, I will teach you.

The fox sat on the crane.
The crane took her higher and higher.
Well, little fox, can you see the earth?
I can barely see it!

The crane shook the fox from himself.
The fox fell onto a nice soft haystack.
The crane flew down:
Well, little fox, now do you know how to fly?

I still don't know how to fly.
She sat down heavily.
Sit on me again, I will teach you.
The fox sat on the crane again.
The crane took her even higher than before.

Again he shook her from him.
The fox fell into a swamp.
It was hard for her to get out.
So the fox never did learn how to fly!





THE CROW AND THE CRAYFISH

A crow flew over the lake.
He saw a crayfish lying there.
The crow grabbed the crayfish
and carried him into the forest,
He wanted to sit on a branch somewhere and have breakfast.
The crayfish saw that he was in big trouble!!

"CROW, CROW!"
"I knew your father and mother, and they were good people."
cried the crayfish.
"Uhu" said the crow without opening his mouth.

"And I knew your brothers and sisters as well.
"and they were also good people!" added the crayfish.
"Uhu" said the crow again, without opening his mouth.

"However, although they were good people," said the crayfish,
"they were not like you."
"I think that there is no one in the whole world
cleverer than you!"

Liking these words so much,
the crow began croaking at the top of his voice.
And the crayfish fell into the lake!!




Statues and monuments to Russia's favourite fairy tales are a popular sight.





The Story of the Snowmaiden

Once upon a time there was an old man and his wife.
They had everything they wanted,
A cow, a sheep, and a cat on the hearth,
but they didn't have any children.
Often they were sad and grieved.

One day during winter the white snow fell up to their knees.
The neighbor's children rushed out onto the street.
They slid on their sleds and threw snowballs,
and began to make a snowman.

Grandfather looked out of the window,
watched, and said to Grandmother:
"Well, wife, we sit here looking at the neighbor's children in our old age,"
"Let's you and I go out and build a snowman too."
And the old lady became merry as well.
"Well, let's go, Grandfather, onto the street."
"but why build a snowman, when I already have you?"
"Let's build a daughter, Snyegurochka!" (Snow Maiden)

No sooner said than done!
The old people went out into the garden and began to build a daughter.
They used two deep blue beads for eyes,
made two dimples in her cheeks,
and a piece of red ribbon for her mouth.
How good, their snow daughter, Snyegurochka.
Grandmother and grandfather looked and looked at her,
they loved her, and couldn't take their eyes off of her.

All of a sudden Snyegurochka's mouth began to smile,
her hair began to curl.
She began to move her arms and legs and then she walked through the garden and into the izba!(small wooden house)
Grandmother and grandfather couldn't believe their eyes,
they were so surprised they couldn't move!
"Grandfather!" cried Grandmother,
"Yes, it is, we have a living daughter, our dear little Snyegurochka!"
And into the izba they rushed, and what a joy it was!

Snyegurochka grew, not by the day, but by the hour.
And with each day, Snyegurochka grew more beautiful.
Grandmother and grandfather wouldn't let her out of their sight.
They doted on her.

Snyegurochka was as white as the snow,
her eyes were like deep blue beads,
her blond hair reached down to her waist.
But Snyegurochka didn't have any color in her cheeks or lips.
Still, she was so beautiful!

Spring came,
the leaves came out on the trees,
the bees flew about the fields,
the skylark sang.
All the boys were as happy as could be,
and the girls sang gay songs of spring.
But Snyegurochka grew sadder and sadder,
She looked out of the window and wept.

Then came bright summer,
the flowers blossomed in the gardens,
the grain ripened in the fields.
Snyegurochka grew more and more sad,
she avoided the sun,
she would stay in the cool shady places,
and best of all, she liked the rain.

Grandmother and Grandfather were very worried,
They kept asking her:
"Are you ill, little daughter?"
"I am fine, Grandmother." she would answer,
but she remained in her corner, feeling sad,
she wouldn't walk on the street.

One day her friends came,
they were going into the forest to gather berries,
raspberries, bilberries, and wild strawberries.
They came and called to Snyegurochka:
"Come with us, do come Snyegurochka!"
Reluctant Snyegurochka was to go into the forest,
reluctant Snyegurochka was to go into the sun,
but Grandmother and Grandfather insisted:
"Go, go, Snyegurochka,"
"go, go, little daughter,"
"you will have fun with your friends."

Snyegurochka took a little basket,
and went into the forest with her friends.
Her friends walked about the forest,
wove garlands of flowers, and sang songs.
But Snyegurochka found a cool stream and sat by it,
she sat looking at it, and dipped her fingers in it,
playing with the droplets.

Evening came.
The girls played even more merrily,
wearing their garlands,
they built a bonfire and began jumping over it.
Reluctant was Snyegurochka,
to play with them at this.
Her friends kept asking her to join them,
so she walked up to the fire.
She stood ther trembling,
her face as white as could be,
her hair fell loose about her.
"Jump, Jump, Snyegurochka!
Cried her friends.

Snyegurochka took a deep breath and jumped!
Over the fire was a hissing sound,
and Snyegurochka....
VANISHED!!
Rising from the fire was a wisp of steam.
It formed a cloud, and rose higher and higher,
into the sky.

Snyegurochka had melted.





Note:  The Snowmaiden now serves as helper to Grandfather Frost during the Christmas holidays.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2008, 12:46:23 AM »
When a "Square" isn't square.


The photo on the Mendeleyev Journal masthead showcases Russia's most famous plaza, "Red Square." Taken by the very talented photographer, Alan Kuehner, you can see right away that while beautiful, Red Square is anything but "square." Click on his name to enjoy more of Alan's photos of Russia.

Go head and look. No, you aren't imagining things.  Even if a historic location is in the shape of a horseshoe, a circle, shaped as a U, or any other shape other than a "square," it's likely to still be called a "Square" when translated into English.

This is really a translation issue as "square" is the most common term we English-speakers use to translate the word. That is bad translating however as Russian's use the term Площадь (plah-SHIDT) which means "plaza." As you'd expect from the term "plaza" it simply denotes a location, usually important, and has nothing to do with shape or size.

Take "Red Square" for example. Well, that's what we call it. Russians say Красная площадь (KRAS-naya plah-SHIDT) which is confusing for us Westerners because it literally means "Beautiful Plaza." The terms 'red" and "beautiful" come from the same root in Russian and in previous centuries there was nothing red about "Red" Square as those walls surrounding the Kremlin were mainly white and the plaza paving was either dirt or dark stone in later years.

So take it all in stride as you step onto "Red Square." It certainly is a beautiful plaza, and today the colour is red, too. True, it might be puzzling to learn that a square is really a plaza by any other name, but enjoy the view and tell the first Russian you see that it sure is a beautiful plaza.

They'll understand.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2008, 12:29:10 AM »
On communal living:

In her book Professor Pavlovskaya has a section on communal living.  It's short but very interesting to learn that so many Russians still exist this way.

What is communal living?  Its the sharing of an apartment or home by more than one family unit.  Certain rules and schedules are generally worked out by the residents to make life more manageable.

My cousin Gera and wife Natasha live in a communal apartment in the center of Moscow.  Each room (bedroom) is worth almost $100K so they can afford one bedroom and that must do for two adults and two children.  Aunt Lyuba just purchased one of the bedrooms and she is a widow and the grandmother to my little niece and nephew so in reality they make us one family unit of 5 people, using 2 rooms of a modest 3 bedroom home.

The kitchen is scheduled and posted.  Gera's family has set times when they can use the kitchen during the day and the other family has times for the kitchen also.  The entry has three coatracks in the entry and each family must hang coats and place shoes only in the space provided for their family.  Even the shelves in the refrigerator are designated per family.

The bathroom is both scheduled and there is "free" time also.  Baths are generally done according to an agreed upon schedule.  Simply using the toilet during the unscheduled or "free" time is normal, but each family has their own toilet seat which are separated by colour and hang on the wall until needed. 

Cleaning of the common areas such as the kitchen, toilet and entryway is done by weekly rotation.  There must be common agreement on the playing of music and loudness of television volumes.  Laundry (done in the bathroom) is also scheduled.

The history of communal living goes back much further than Soviet times.  As far back as serfdom, Russians were used to communal living situations.

Slowly but surely, communal living for most is disappearing.  But for those who can't afford any other options this complicated arrangement remains.


Offline Jinx

  • Watched
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1563
  • Gender: Male
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2008, 11:32:14 AM »
 Mendeleyev,

 Nataly says the fairytale you posted connected with the fox and the crane is wrong. It has nothing to do with teaching the fox to fly, it has to do with that vase in the middle of them.

 The fox and crane were sharing food they found, the fox presented the food on a flat plate and the crane couldn't eat it, so the next time when the crane brought food, he came with this vase like container and the fox complained that he couldn't eat from it....something like that  :-\

Offline Chris

  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 14263
  • Country: england
  • Gender: Male
    • CAD Drawing and Surveying for Office and on Site - Point - Shoot - Drawn - Instant Floor Plans
  • Spouses Country: Chernivtsi, Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2008, 03:01:37 PM »
Mendeleyev,

 Nataly says the fairytale you posted connected with the fox and the crane is wrong. It has nothing to do with teaching the fox to fly, it has to do with that vase in the middle of them.

 The fox and crane were sharing food they found, the fox presented the food on a flat plate and the crane couldn't eat it, so the next time when the crane brought food, he came with this vase like container and the fox complained that he couldn't eat from it....something like that  :-\


Jinx

I have heard Nataly's story too, in fact they used to teach it in schools here when I was a kid, here it is:-

Fox and Crane were good friends, so once the Fox invited the Crane to her house. She said :“Come to my place, please. I´m preparing a special banquet for you.“ The Fox cooked gruel from semolina, milk and sugar.

She put it on a plate and decorated it with cocoa, butter and sugar.The Crane tapped and tapped into the plate with his beak, but he coudn´t eat any gruel. He simply coudn´t get the gruel with his beak, so the Fox ate all the gruel herself.

Next day the Fox came to the Crane’s place. The Crane prepared a soup, poured it into a jug and said :“Eat it,dear Fox, it is delicious.“ The Fox wanted to eat ,but she coudn´t push her maw to the jug. She tried it,but she ate nothing. So the Crane ate all the soup. The Fox was annoyed, because she went home with empty stomach.

Since the time the Fox and the Crane haven´t been friends any more.
===================================================

but I think the one Jim posted is a slightly different one and could well be correct and refer to a different Fairy Tale.

In fact Aesops Tales quote this version too:-

The Fox and the Stork


At one time the Fox and the Stork were on visiting terms and seemed very good friends. So the Fox invited the Stork to dinner, and for a joke put nothing before her but some soup in a very shallow dish. This the Fox could easily lap up, but the Stork could only wet the end of her long bill in it, and left the meal as hungry as when she began.

"I am sorry," said the Fox, "the soup is not to your liking."

"Pray do not apologize," said the Stork. "I hope you will return this visit, and come and dine with me soon."

So a day was appointed when the Fox should visit the Stork; but when they were seated at table all that was for their dinner was contained in a very long-necked jar with a narrow mouth, in which the Fox could not insert his snout, so all he could manage to do was to lick the inside of the jar.

"I will not apologize for the dinner," said the Stork:

"One Bad Turn Deserves Another."
===================================================


So there are probably dozens of them all meaning something very similar.

Chris

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2008, 11:56:21 PM »
I think you both are correct!   :)

Jinx, I'm getting old and memory fading fast so perhaps Nataly could also refresh us on the story of the fisherman from the statue found in the Kremlin fountain just off Red Square.  Aya has told this story more than once to our daughters over the past years and if I admit to this day that I wasn't paying attention....your friend Mendeleyev will be mounted in concrete somewhere with a water spout too!   :-X






Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2008, 12:06:24 AM »
One more note on Communal housing from the book "Culture Shock:"


Professor Pavlovskaya writes that there is a popular movie "The Irony of Fate" which uses the idea of all those endless seas of apartment homes which all look the same.

In that movie a man from Moscow travels to St Peter for New Years Eve.  He gets drunk that night at the restaurant and finally climbs into a taxi, giving the driver his home (Moscow) address.  The driver takes him to the address (St Peter) and the man walks from the car to the apartment building.

It looks like his house, the entryway smells like his apartment building, and he takes the lift up to his floor number.  His key works and he steps into "his" apartment.  The floor plan is the same and it is furnished just like his apartment.

After a quick bathroom stop he stumbles to the bedroom and falls on the bed, quickly going to sleep.

Meanwhile the real apartment dweller, a beautiful and sexy young lady, comes home.  She discovers him and the rest as they say, it in the movie.

Online Markje

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6399
  • Country: nl
  • Gender: Male
  • MCMLXXIV
    • Mark's unix pages
  • Spouses Country: Crimea
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
You can change anything in life, but a BMW only for a BMW
My first trip to my wife: To Evpatoria!
My road trip to Crimea: Roadtrip to Evpatoria

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2008, 09:30:00 PM »
Thank you Mark!  You have saved the day with the fairy tales.


Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2008, 09:32:44 PM »
Also a very big thank you to new member Net_Lenka for her helpful messages regarding this thread.  Lena has give us this link to more correctly show the movie I referenced earlier. 


Here is more information on the movie:
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/101611/The-Irony-Of-Fate-Or-Enjoy-Your-Bath/overview

Lena's account of the movie is more accurate and it is so nice that she shared the link to YouTube.  We hope she will contribute often.   :)  Lena, thanks and welcome.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2008, 09:50:00 PM »
The modern day role of St Petersburg:

"If Moscow is the heart of Russia, then St Petersburg is it's head."  (Professor Pavlovskaya, Culture Shock).

I will admit that this quote struck me as odd.  In my time living in Russia I've always thought of it in reverse.  In my mind Moscow serves as the head and St Petersburg the heart.  But it's not my book and I'll respectfully defer to Doctor Pavlovskaya until I can consult with someone.

(Some hours later....)

My mother in law, who still speaks of the northern capital as 'Leningrad,' agrees with Professor Pavlovskaya.  Perhaps it's because they both teach at Universities and are united in cause? :reading:

But nonetheless, I've been outvoted.  So, what does the book "Culture Shock" have to say about about the head of Russia?

She says this:  "St Peter was founded as a distinctive symbol of new life.  It was built by foreign builders in the European style and designed to be the intellectual centre and more civilised imperial city." 

She goes on to say that Russians visit St Peter more than any other Russian city in order to learn more about the Russian contributions to art and history.






Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2008, 12:03:17 AM »
Master of the Russian Land:

That was the title which Tsar Nikolai II gave himself when it came his turn to fill in the line for 'occupation' in the first ever all-Russian census taken in 1897.   

Russians seem to love strong rulers.  Professor Pavlovskaya points out that when the Serfs were granted personal freedom in 1861, most of them thought the Emperor had made a mistake.  They didn't understand the concept of freedom and continued to live communally and work as serfs.  It was a life they understood.

Is this why so many could forgive Stalin for his misdeeds, believing that he was simply too busy running the country to realize that his henchmen were killing off everyone else?

As the book "Culture Shock" points out, Russia is a huge country.  A strong and centralized government is necessary to manage the affairs of something so big. 

One could also ask how a centralized power could control something so large.  This morning at 9am in Moscow it's already 8pm in the evening in Russia's eastern regions.  Other than brute force, how do you govern such an expanse?

And as a multi-cultural country, many argue that Russia needs a strong guiding hand to keep all the players in check and to moderate between competing factions and interests.

That is how many Russians think about strong rulers.

  Vladivostok (Владивосто́к) Russia's far east capital.

Offline anjutka

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1552
  • Country: 00
  • Gender: Female
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2008, 08:22:35 AM »
   

1 Russians seem to love strong rulers. 

2 Is this why so many could forgive Stalin for his misdeeds, believing that he was simply too busy running the country to realize that his henchmen were killing off everyone else?



1 yes, i am agree.Now remembering how I came here 4 years ago 8) One year ago or something like that I ask my collegs "When you was waiting new colleg from Russia what you expect,what you finally get  ;)and etc?"And their answer was that they got actually what they expected 8)I remember in the beginning everybody was  saying that in my departmet is Army :), but for my eyes in my department just -  order (порядок) I am very sure that if I did not make such order,I could not get the result   which everyone expect from me. I don't remember how it call, but something like anticrises management,when clear target,clear rules,and short time.   
I think while Russia ,not lets say in the crises ,but did not get level which EU countrye have for example, there always need to have strong president and  etc.   

2 Thats another question.. We forgive Stalin because everything should be forgiven someday.........Its have nothing together with remembering all.......
1 Life is not rehearsal... 2 sorry for my english;-)) 3 Thinking only always positive way=be healthy and happy))))) 4yes, and I am 41 yo ;-))))))))))))) 5 In life there are no rules!!! 6 but he should not be older 45 yo )))) 7...? ;-)

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2008, 11:08:46 PM »
Anjutka it is so nice to have your perspective on this thread!   Please contribute often!