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Author Topic: How Russians Think  (Read 66697 times)

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Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2008, 11:29:24 PM »
How Russians view Elections and other events involving multiple choice:

(From the book "Culture Shock" by Professor Anna Pavlovskaya, Moscow State University)

"Elections have never help much interest for Russian people.  First of all, Russians do not like choices."

After communism many new products flooded Russia.  Stores were overflowing with things which were previously hard to find.  But as Dr Pavlovskaya points out, "many citizens complained that there were too many choices.  Why do we need so many kinds of cheese, smoked sausage and toothpaste?"

"This reaction is similiar to how Russians react to elections.  Following the arguements and debates of political candidates (and then having to choose one of them!) arouses almost no interest at all in Russia.  On top of that, there is very little faith in the outcome of elections."





Footnotes:
Upon arrival in the west Mrs Mendeleyev had a hard time understanding why there were so many brands of sour cream, bread, and laundry detergent.  "Surely one is enough" is a phrase we heard a lot.  Today the modern cities of Russia have most of the same choices as in the west.

For centuries there were no elections and then after the Revolution, elections had a predetermined outcome.  Even today, when the government pays employees of factories to vote, Russians realize that their vote is more for show than for making a difference.  It reminds me (Mendeleyev) of an opposition billboard from the most recent presidential election which read, "It will be bananas, but we'll get what we deserve."


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2008, 11:39:18 PM »
Quotes and miscellanous:

"Drinking is the joy of Russia.  We cannot exist without that pleasure."  Prince Vladimir of Rus


"Time sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a snail; but a man is happiest when he does not even notice whether it passes swiftly or slowly.”  Ivan Turgenev


"Russia on its path has oftentimes discussed and overdiscussed what had happened earlier, instead of moving forward. The result is always the same: It is very difficult to move forward when you're looking backward."  Former Yukos owner and now jailed Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky
 

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2008, 11:32:35 PM »
Russians and Religion:

Professor Pavlovskaya points out that religion is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Russian life for the outsider. 

Many look at Russia and don't see it as a very religious society any longer.  They believe that decades of communism erased a large part of Russia's religious heritage. 

That's because they look at religion from their own perspective and not from the eyes of a Russian.

Russians, even atheists, are instinctively religious.  That's difficult to reconcile with western rational thinking, surely one plus one must equal two.  But Russians often live in the "grey" of life, not always in terms of black and white.

Whether the layout of Lenin's tomb or of the way the state promoted communism, even during the Soviet period life was often dictated by communism adopting the terminology of religion.  Professor Pavlovskaya says that still today, more than any other single factor, religion is intertwined with Russian history, culture, and the future.

Today even many "atheists" follow the fasting rules of the Orthodox church before Christmas and Easter.  Government cafeterias, school cafeterias and factory cafes adopt fasting menus the 40 days before both holidays.  Can you name even one Western country which does the same?

Using our Western eyes we view religion in terms of those who practice it devoutly.  Wrong approach.  We must turn East and view culture in terms of those who practice it religiously.  Religion.  Culture.  In Russia the two have been woven together over the centures unlike anything comparable in the West.

Even the beloved term for the homeland is not Great Mother Russia, Powerful Mother Russia or Rich Mother Russia. 

It's "Holy Mother Russia."



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2008, 12:01:54 AM »
Just in case you wondered?

- Do Russians really stand in church for 2-3 hours?

Yes, the worldwide Orthodox faith teaches that one must stand at attention before God when Scripture is read or when praying.  Since the liturgy is primarily Scripture and prayers, Russians see no need to sit down.


- Why don't Russian churches have pews/seats?

See above.  Orthodox belief is that one should stand whenever prayers are being spoken/sung, the Scripture is read/sung, and Holy Communion is presented to the people.  Thats over 95% of a 2-3 hour Russian service so there's not much time left for sitting. 

By the way, it's also an easy way to tell the difference between a Roman Catholic church or Orthodox church in Eastern Europe.  If a church has pews it's not Orthodox. 

(Generally there is a bench running along the walls of most Orthodox churches.  Those short seating spaces are for the very elderly or the handicapped who cannot stand for hours on end.)


- My lady always covers her head with a scarf when entering a church.  Why?  

Scripture says that a woman should cover her head when praying.  Since so much of the liturgy consists of prayers, she covers her head.





- Except for those beautiful bells outside, why are there no musical instruments in an Orthodox church?  

The church believes that the human voice is the most beautiful and most acceptable sound in praise to God.  Instruments just get in the way.  That's why Orthodox choirs are so professional and sound so good.  They must learn to perfect music without the aid of instrumentation.





- I visited my lady's church in winter and was surprised that there was no central heat.  Whats up with that?

Think hard, likely you didn't see much of electrical lighting either.  Newer churches have both but older churches were often built before central heating or electricity was around.  They were designed to hold body heat and the more parishioners attending, the warmer the temple.  Churches were also designed to make the most of outside light coming in and on prayer candles providing most of the light. 


- I was surprised on a visit to central/eastern Russia to see that Islam has such a large place in Russian life.  

In places like Kazan (Tatarstan Republic), Islam is the official religion.  It is estimated that close to 7-8% of the Russian population practice some form of the Muslim religion.




- Does Russia have a large Jewish population?

Outside of Israel there are more Jews in Russia than in any other part of the world.  Jewish populations have long been an important part of Russia's history and culture.


Offline DevilDog

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2008, 09:30:22 AM »
mendeleyev: Have you ever read any of Martin Cruz Smith's crime novels? I've managed to get my hands on Gorky Park and Red Square somehow here in Iraq, and I was wondering what you thought about its portrayal of life in both Soviet and post-Soviet Moscow. I personally thought they were excellent novels, and the main character, Chief Investigator Arkady Renko, strikes me as a Soviet Everyman-type character. I've considered ordering the other Arkady novels from Amazon, but I don't trust the postal system here one bit.  :)

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2008, 10:00:53 AM »
Hi DevilDog, yes he is an fun-to-read writer!  Both Gorky Park and Red Square are well researched and he does a good job at weaving a realistic background into the setting of a novel.  Obviously in novels an author will take some liberties but the old saying of "you must know the rules before you can break them" applies.  Much of what he protrays is very realistic in terms of setting/background.

I would highly recommend December 6, it's a little different from Smith's typical settings of his characters in Russia.  December 6 is set in Japan just before the outbreak of WWII.

Stalin's Ghost looks very interesting and now that you've mentioned it I think I'll be going soon to the public library to check it out.  I think Stalin's Ghost came out last year?


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2008, 12:09:07 AM »
Understanding Freedom is one of the section headers of Professor Pavlovskaya's book, "Culture Shock."

On page 111 and following Dr Pavlovskaya writes that the concept of freedom has never held much interest for the Russian mindset.  The average Russia is more interested in stability, adequate control of crime, and of educational opportunity.

That is why so many of the older folks yearn for a return to the more predictable days of the Soviet era.  Life may have been tough and freedoms severely limited, but at least there was stability and order, clean streets, and controls on food prices.

According to the professor, "And what of freedom?  It was the writers, political figures, intelligentsia and dissidents who toiled without freedom and under the constant scrutnity of the KGB.  For most citizens, freedom was just an empty word."




Even today special elite troops of the Interior Ministry exist to protect the Russian government from those inside Russia who would threaten the government.  The OMON (Отряд милиции особого назначения) motto is "We know no mercy and do not ask for any."  They're not kidding by the way.


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2008, 12:29:38 AM »
Small talk...."don't beat around the bush"

Russia is not a "romance" language and the very structure of the language tends to inhibit "small talk."  Russians will come out and say what they mean very quickly.  Likely the truth is not "sugar coated" when delivered by a Russian speaker.  It's just not part of the language construction.

Neither is it part of the Russian mindset.  Western businesspeople are often surprised at how Russians will abruptly begin a negotiation or discussion without the customary pleasantries or opening dialogues.

Professor Pavlovskaya writes that "foreigners are invariably astonished or even shocked by the openness of Russians about their private affairs."  It seems that very few topics are off limits.  Whether discussing salaries, health benefits, the state of one's health, or even of relationship matters...Russians will manage to let you know all the minute details of their private life."

She goes on to say that "however Russian openness lives side by side with secrecy and suspicion." 

She uses the example of mushroom picking, a national sport in Russia.  Families will flock to the forest in summer to pick mushrooms and when encountering other families will engage in conversation as if they've know each other for years.  Yet they'll cover their mushroom baskets with a towel to keep others from knowing how many mushrooms they've found. 

Offline Olga_Mouse

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2008, 05:03:47 PM »

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.


Erm... There's more to the original story, actually  ::)

1) The story happens on December 31.

2) 4 male friends have a tradition to go to the public banya (bath? sauna?) on that day.

One of them has to fly to St-Petersburg that evening.

3) For Russian men going to banya means drinking vodka :-\ 

December 31 also means drinking vodka.

So banya + December 31 = A LOT OF vodka.

4) All 4 get drunk.

Then they try to remember which of them 4 needs to fly to St-Petersburg?

5) They put the wrong man on the plane.

6) When he lands in St-Petersburg (without realising it), he gives his Moscow address to St-Petersburg driver.

The rest is correct - apart from "lived happily ever after" (have you seen the sequel, filmed in 2007?)
Leaving Russia is not an emigration, rather an evacuation.

Offline iheartrw

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2008, 06:34:24 PM »
Erm... There's more to the original story, actually  ::)

1) The story happens on December 31.

2) 4 male friends have a tradition to go to the public banya (bath? sauna?) on that day.

One of them has to fly to St-Petersburg that evening.

3) For Russian men going to banya means drinking vodka :-\ 

December 31 also means drinking vodka.

So banya + December 31 = A LOT OF vodka.

4) All 4 get drunk.

Then they try to remember which of them 4 needs to fly to St-Petersburg?

5) They put the wrong man on the plane.

6) When he lands in St-Petersburg (without realising it), he gives his Moscow address to St-Petersburg driver.


Wow! Switch the cities to American ones, and it's deja vu all over again  :happy0023:

Offline Catman

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2008, 09:27:27 PM »
The mushroom picking is the same here with Ukrainians in Canada. They will talk about how many pails they picked but will never tell you where. Never ;D

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #36 on: June 22, 2008, 04:55:04 PM »
Quote
The rest is correct - apart from "lived happily ever after" (have you seen the sequel, filmed in 2007?)

Olga my friend, that will teach me to use English euphemisms!    ;)  A euphemism is often used to give a non-specific description without revealing the storyline detail.  In this instance it allows readers to understand that things turn out okay without ruining the entire storyline in case they wish to experience the movie for themselves.

Thanks for the reminder of the 2007 sequel.  It can be found on YouTube and viewed entirely by sections.  Just type in An Irony of Fate 2007 and select number 1 to start.  There are English subtitles.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #37 on: June 22, 2008, 08:16:16 PM »
A Black Day

My MIL sometime speaks of a "black day" so one day I decided to ask my wife what her mother meant by the term.

For starters I knew it had nothing to do with the "black closet" found in many Russian apartment homes.  A black closet is simply a closet at the end of the hallway which has no light inside, hence the term "black closet."  For many families this is the closet which stores not only winter coats, but also has shelving to hold all sorts of miscellaneous things which need storage.

Given that traditionally many European countries have taxed a home based on the number of rooms, a black closet is exempt because it has no lighting and is therefore not livable.  This is one of the reasons why so many Russian bedrooms have furniture "wardrobes" for closet space instead of built-in closets.

But I digress.  What is "a black day?"

Professor Pavlovskaya points out that even today, many older Russians will dry out bread to save for a "black day."  It is these older Russians who know of hunger and of hard times. 

They remember the early years after the Great Patriotic War when food supplies from America had stopped coming.  Those rations of corn mush and dried fruit (calculated between 900-1100 calories) which had come from farms in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa had served as the primary daily rations for the Russian Red Army while the CCCP worked in tandem with the Western allies.  But after the war the Western food rations slowed to a trickle and finally to a halt.

During the 1980 American grain embargo again many Russians, especially the elderly and very young, felt what it was like to go to bed hungry.  I've listened to elderly babushkas insist that American Jimmy Carter was a "murderer" because of  the severe sickness or death of someone close to them during the Soviet crop failure and Carter's refusal to sell grain until human right's abuses were addressed.  The duck population along the Moscow River almost disppeared completely during that period and the river had to be restocked in later years to make up for the drop in fish population during that time.

At the fall of the Soviet Union many older pensioners again felt the daily pangs of hunger while the Russian economy stumbled it's way to becoming a market economy.

Especially among the elderly who have experienced a world most of us will never see, the fear remains of another "black day."

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2008, 08:42:55 PM »
Given fears of things like "a black day," why don't Russians save money?

Whew, thats a whopper of a question!

Professor Pavlovskaya says this about it:  "The fear of hunger and the ability to save money are two separate things" to most Russians.

Huh?

1- Because of Communism many elderly Russians never fully connected the dots between bread and money.  Money was something you were paid by the state.  Bread was a basic right of every worthy Soviet citizen.

2- After numerous currency devaluations/defaults, middle aged and elderly Russians have learned that bread will always be bread, but money maybe not be money tomorrow.  So, why save it?  Better to spend it today while it's still worth something.

3- Younger Russians (and Ukrainians) below age 32 or so have experienced only a free-wheeling consumer oriented buying frenzy.  This generation knows nothing of extreme hardship.  They have also experienced a time when parents were "given" their homes by the state and often think that they too have no need to save for things like a home. 

It's not good financial planning but sure swells lipstick and perfume sales across the FSU.




As Professor Pavlovskaya says "the fear of hunger and the ability to save money are two separate things."



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #39 on: June 22, 2008, 09:16:20 PM »
How to tell Time in Russian:

We will tackle that issue someday in the language thread.

But the more important question is "how do Russians FEEL about time?"  Spend any length of time in Russia and you'll experience the unexpected but totally welcome overnight guest.

This was an area where my MIL and I had to attempt some adjustments and compromises.  Note that I use the term "attempt."  When first married Aya would tell me that we were going to visit some relative or family friend for "a few hours."  Translated into street Russian that meant we would stay overnight.  Until learning how the game was played, I would tend to be upset over the arrangement. 

To my thinking a toothbrush and clean underwear were indispensable to an overnight stay.  I can assure you that this concept is very foreign to most Russians.  Why would you need such things?  You can borrow cousin Alexi's toothbrush and your underwear will cover your a_s just as well over two days as it does in one day!

I had a hard time with both.  I love our extended family, but using someone's toothbrush......and my underwear, well, it just feels better to wear a fresh pair each day.   :)

In Russian culture the eldest female in a home, no matter who owns the home, is the family "hostess."  Quickly learning that the battle needed to be waged with my MIL, it has taken me years to bring her along to our current understanding.  And just what is our current understanding?

None.    :'(

I have learned that when we leave in the late afternoon or evening to visit someone, it is prudent to sneak my toothbrush and fresh undies in a cloth carry bag along with a book, reading glasses, mp3 player, camera, etc.  No matter what pronouncements are made regarding the "schedule" it's likely we'll stay much longer than initially announced.

And it works the same when guests come to your home.

Professor Pavlovskaya writes that one Russian woman visiting relatives in America was surprised that at a dinner party advertised as between 5-9pm actually ended at 9pm.  The RW was shocked that guests....went home.

The good professor advises us that when in Russia "the party will continue for as long as there are people who want to carry on."

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2008, 09:26:37 PM »
Being "Late" in Russia:

This one statement has to be the understatement of Professor Pavlovskaya's book: "Russians have a very relaxed attitude to time."   

Relaxed.  Now that's a very nice way to put it!   :bow:

In truth extreme weather can turn a cross town trip into an all-day ordeal.  Trains from one city to another can be delayed.  Car accidents happen all the time.

I have no handy solutions to this dilemma and neither does the good professor.

When traveling for an appointment take a book along just in case the meeting doesn't start on time.  Try to not become discouraged and learn to 'roll with the flow' of things.

They're really not late.  They're relaxing.


Cafe hours posted.  As you can see Russians express time in what Americans call "military" time.


Russian submarine clock.

Offline jlogajan

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2008, 09:08:32 AM »
Does Russia have a large Jewish population?

Outside of Israel there are more Jews in Russia than in any other part of the world. 
Not even close.   There are 5 million Jews in Israel, 5 million Jews in the USA.  There are only about 200,000 Jews in Russia - being only sixth in total Jewish population.  France, Canada, and the UK have more Jews than Russia.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2008, 01:52:20 PM »
Jlogajan, you are correct.  I've gone back to Professor Pavlovskaya's data and concluded that she must have used numbers prior to 1945 which would perhaps have been more accurate back then.

In researching after your reply I've noticed that some studies do count "mixed" populations where there exists two parents of which only one is Jewish and perhaps the good professor was looking at that kind of data.  However, as you know official Jewish demographers do not count a mixed person as Jewish in normal circumstances.  In Soviet Russia for example a person of mixed ethnicity would have been counted as Jewish.

In Ukraine for example one study stated that approximately 10% of the Jewish population had converted to Christianity.  While of Jewish ethnicity those persons tend to be excluded from the total population count.  Still they're very small numbers as you point out.

To see an interesting scientific study of the Jewish population, you might enjoy this:
http://www.jafi.org.il/education/100/concepts/demography/tolts_article1.pdf

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #43 on: June 23, 2008, 02:07:18 PM »
Personal privacy

The peasant communal living styles obviously influenced the way Soviet communal living was structured.  One's entire life was lived in full view of everybody else.  Therefore you actions were sometimes governed on how something might appear to your neighbors.

Professor Pavlovskaya points out that caused people to make certain "not to stand out, to live as everybody does, so as not to make neighbors jealous."  In Soviet times it also meant to live in such a non-descript way so that no one would have reason to be suspicious and report you.

According to a Russian superstition, "the jealousy of those around you will lead to loss and unhappiness."  She goes on to state that "Russians are extremely worried about the 'evil eye'."

One French specialist working for a Russian company sent joyous messages to his co-workers about the birth of a new child.  His Russian colleagues criticised him, saying that his happiness could be stolen by making others jealous of his new joy.


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2008, 02:27:39 PM »
Privacy implications:

When first married I moved into my wife's Moscow apartment.  Soon I would experience the truth that some had tried to forewarn me:  The eldest in a home, no matter who owns the home, are considered host/hostess.

It wasn't long before I went out and purchased a simple latch lock for our bedroom door.  My MIL had no intention of knocking first before entering and on numerous occasions it was more than embarrassing.

We waged a battle.  One week I traveled to Kyiv on an assignment and upon returning found the latch had been removed.  Sitting down with my wife I tried to clarify some things.  Who owned the apartment?  Wife.  Who paid the bulk of the expenses?  She and I. 

Who then, had the right to decide whether a lock could be installed on our bedroom door?  The hostess (MIL).

Thank goodness over time (a very looonnnnngggg time) that issue has been resolved.

But it was a cultural shock and I'd already lived in Russia well over a year. 

More than just a few western men have invited MIL over for a visit and found after a few weeks that MIL tended to take over some of the household decisions.  It's not that she is a witch, nor is your wife weak, they may simply be living the way they have for centuries.  The eldest in a home is considered the host or hostess.

Privacy also extends to the apartment building itself.  Thin walls lend themselves to the neighbors knowing a lot about your family.

The strongest point of any Russian home is the entry door.  Heavy, often made of steel, and with multiple locks the tradition of the door goes back to the feared visits by the KGB during Stalinist times.  The door would eventually surrender to well equipped OMOH type forces, but not before giving inhabitants a couple minutes time to gather up some clothing in order to prevent being shipped off to Siberia in one's pajamas.  In more recent days the heavy doors prevent looters and robbers from easy entry.

In the photo below are two doors.  The one on the right has a wooden exterior typically framed with steel plating under the wood.  The one on the left is just plain steel.


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2008, 12:34:56 AM »
Visits in special situations:

The Slavic peoples, whether Christian, Jew, or Muslim, tend to be kind, caring, and hospitable toward others.  Just as you would take a gift(s) for a home visit, you should do the same on special occasion visits.

Whether traveling to the home of a distant relative, to meet someone you've not seen for a long time for a brief visit at a Metro stop, or to visit someone in the hospital, it is customary to take along a gift of some sort.

The occasion to give a gift to someone we'd meet only briefly at a bus stop happened about two years ago.  Having just arrived from the USA, my wife's mother informed us that Sergei and Galina (friends who had been our wedding sponsors/attendants) who live in Kaluga were sending some chocolates and things for us because they would be traveling and not available to host us in their home that month.  We in turn had brought gifts for these close friends with us.

Sergei had arranged for a distant relative whom we had not met to make the delivery.  It didn't really cross my mind to have some gift for his distant relative until my wife brought it up.  Fortunately we had some nice chocolates which would suffice.  The meeting lasted less than 5 minutes at a bus stop but the gift was a courtesy to assure that Sergei and family would receive the items we had for them and the distant relative could feel included in the process.  Sergei's relative allowed herself to be a "mule" by carrying something back and forth for the benefit of someone else and a gift was appropiate.



A totally different kind of visit was made to a long term care hospital of one of MIL close friends.  A fellow professor at the university with MIL, this lady was recuperating in a Moscow facility.  While open and very good friends with the family the lady adheres to a strict Muslim diet.  Since our visit was near an Islamic holiday and as we didn't know a great deal about the specifics of Muslim fasts (they do fast as do Orthodox Christians) we decided to forgo the idea of chocolates and played it safe with seasonal fruits.

The hospital was a typical Russian medical facility and it felt as if we were stepping back into the 1950s.  The rickety lift made it up several floors where a couple of "medical sisters" (nurses) directed us to the correct corridor and we found the room of MIL's friend.  There weren't many western style metal/movable hospital beds in this facility and we found ourselves sitting on an old (sagging in the middle) single twin-style bed across from the bed of MIL's friend in a giant room with 12 foot+ ceilings and no AC in the summer.  Priceless.

The fruit was probably "just what the doctor ordered" (western idiom) and in Russian style she produced a clean plate, a teapot, and we cut up some of the fruit and enjoyed some of it together with tea over the next hour of visiting.




For most occasions a bottle of "Soviet" champagne is a safe choice and a sure bet to be appreciated.  Since champagne is a trademarked name, this bottle is labeled as "Soviet Sparkling" and can be found in food stores all over Russia.


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #46 on: June 26, 2008, 01:21:29 AM »
Attitudes toward Gender:

On the whole, Slavic societies have distinctly separate roles for men and women, yet believe in equality.  It's an equality with differences, very unlike American attitudes of equality with artificial sameness.

Often the root words and derivatives which flow from it reveal much about a society's view of something.  Watch closely:  for example the term for wife is жена.  Now let's see how many other related words take on the same form:
marry = женитесь; female = женский; feminine/womanlike = подобный женщине; woman = женщина.

In Russia however the women are proud of these distinctions and have no plans to reverse roles with men or take up the femininist movement so popular in the west.  Most RW feel they are "above" the feminist movement and have no desire to stoop down into that gutter.

But that doesn't mean they are weak or oppressed or frail.  As Professor Pavlovskaya writes, "the absolute majority of Russian women work full time and not just for financial reasons, but because they are eager to put into practice their skills and talents, to do something useful and important."

Have you ever met a RW who didn't value education?  Not likely.

There are Russian/Ukrainian terms to describe a female artist or doctor or engineer or professor.  But don't dare use them!  A woman professional wants to be known as a professional and viewed as equally trained and important.  Use the male terms for professional titles when addressing or speaking about female professionals.  It will save you a lot of grief!

Professor Pavlovskaya also notes that old style politeness still exists in Russia.  A man should open doors because it's expected.  He should take the outside curb when walking on the sidewalk, offer a hand when boarding the bus, take a woman's coat, and stand to his feet when his lady (or her mother) enters the room.

Things Russians are not used to seeing(and which will make some RW uncomfortable):
A man taking out the trash.
A man washing dishes.
A man changing a diaper.
A man cooking a meal.
A man doing the food shopping.
A man cleaning the home.
A man doing laundry.
A man babysitting.

Oddly enough however, most younger RW enjoy their man doing those things so long as he understands her role as wife and feminine keeper of the family.

Offline Catman

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #47 on: June 26, 2008, 12:56:02 PM »
When I was in Kiev a year ago with my then UA girlfriend she couldn't believe it when I took out the trash from our apartment.

Offline Manny

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2008, 02:12:52 PM »
Things Russians are not used to seeing(and which will make some RW uncomfortable):
A man taking out the trash.
A man washing dishes.
A man changing a diaper.
A man cooking a meal.
A man doing the food shopping.
A man cleaning the home.
A man doing laundry.
A man babysitting.

My wife would love to see me doing all those things. I manage to take out the trash, switch the dishwasher on and occasionally pick up a few bits at the supermarket, but she may wait a long time for the rest.  :chuckle:

Online Markje

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Re: How Russians Think
« Reply #49 on: June 26, 2008, 04:34:57 PM »
My wife would love to see me doing all those things. I manage to take out the trash, switch the dishwasher on and occasionally pick up a few bits at the supermarket, but she may wait a long time for the rest.  :chuckle:

Traded your mustang yet, for a comfertable minivan type car? ;D
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