Much has been said and written about the Russian character.
Traditionally the Russians have been known as industrious, tough,
suspicious and brave. Russian soul is regarded by foreigners as the
mix of a drunken poor writer and a furious brown bear. These
stereotyped characteristics have been noted by observers from all over
the world. There are experimental ways of investigating stereotypes.
One of the most obvious is to ask a group of people what traits
characterize some nation. Results of such studies on the whole agree
fairly well with what might have been expected; there is even
considerable agreement between different people in any one nation
regarding the most characteristic traits of their nation.
The Russians like to sit down for a nice long chat. Infrequently, but
from time to time in their history, this has taken the form of a
"parliament". Russian debates go on not just for a year but for
hundreds of years. They are still arguing about whether they should
have anything to do with Western European culture and all the
contamination of pure Russian hearts and souls that this entails.
The mysterious Russian soul has long ago become "the talk of the town"
among those who have ever encountered Russia and the Russians. The
Russians prize the quality of "soul"(dusha) above all others.
Providing someone has dusha, he, she or it is home and dry. People
with dusha tend to drink too much, cry, fall in love, and fall into
rivers off bridges on their way home from a night out with the boys.
In Russian eyes this is a reassuring feature.
They have a tendency to "open their soul" to complete st...
... middle of paper ...
... reality. Thus for many years,
gullible Western believers in the socialist paradise were led by the
nose to view examples of "Russian hospitals" (i.e the one
well-equipped hospital in the whole country used only by the
Politburo), "Russian schools" (the same story), "Russian workers'
flats" and so forth. The habit of concealing the modest, not to say
shameful, truth behind a bit of stage scenery was started by Catherine
The Great's favourite general, Potemkin, who once lined the route of
one of her royal progresses with "villages" which were, in reality,
mere painted facades.
No matter how many negative qualities foreigners find in the Russian
character, they agree completely in one very important item: No matter
how unpatriotic one is, feeling of a Russian self is the strongest
feeling that is ever in a Russian.
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