Kitchen Conversations in Russia

Kitchen Conversations in Russia

Length: 1147 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Kitchen Conversations in Russia


Russians say, “Russia is a country of kitchen conversations.” From time to time people get together in the kitchen and hold long conversations. Using very ordinary attributes, Russian people created a unique custom that can tell a lot about Russian character, perhaps more than volumes of history books. Over the course of last century, “kitchen conversations” affected Russian society at all levels and became a symbol of freedom from communist thought control and Russian people’s dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in their country.

A Russian proverb says: “we don’t value what we have and cry when we lose it.” Russian people recklessly lost their freedom when they gave the power to communists in 1917. Among the great many consequences of this upheaval was a major economic crisis, part of which was a massive housing shortage. As a result, millions of people were cramped into what was called “communal apartments.” Generally, those were large apartments with a long corridor that led to a kitchen, a bathroom and several bedrooms where different families used to live. Since they had to share a kitchen and a bathroom, they basically had to share their lives. Everything that happened in society and neighbors’ lives was discussed in the kitchen. Moreover, neighbors actively meddled in other neighbors’ lives, often without any permission. Malicious tricks and helping hands, peaceful coexistence and furious quarrels, ridiculous misunderstandings and deep compassion transformed the kitchen in a theater-like place where tragedy and comedy intertwined into farce and the audience shared heroes’ drama.

Most people used to live like this for more than thirty years (some still live like this today) when the government decided to build more housing in the 1950s and families in communal apartments were gradually resettled into single-family apartments. New apartments had a small kitchen and no dining room, but people gathered in the kitchen anyway. First of all, people thought about the kitchen as a common area where it was convenient to spend their free time. Secondly, people got used to talking about important events in their life in the kitchen. Lastly, small kitchen space made people physically closer to each other, which created informal and sincere atmosphere and gave them freedom to speak openly without regard to communist authority.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Kitchen Conversations in Russia." 123HelpMe.com. 28 Feb 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=32775>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Importance Of Kitchen Remodels Essay

- It has been said that kitchens are the hearts of homes. Kitchens are in constant use, whether it's during the day or at night. The use of kitchens has extended far beyond food preparation, though. A kitchen is a room within a home where memories are made, conversations and stories are shared with family and friends, and where our children learn how to make chocolate chip cookies and other delicious snacks and meals. Kitchen’s are becoming more popular as it is one of the most used spaces in a home, and it is for that reason why kitchen remodels are delayed or avoided....   [tags: Kitchenware, Kitchen]

Research Papers
1032 words (2.9 pages)

Ines in the Kitchen Essay

- In the short story “Ines in the Kitchen,” Cristina Garcia narrates the life of Ines who seems to be in conflict with herself. As the protagonist, Ines is confused about her emotions and the decisions that have to be made. Therefore, she struggles with her life, her relationship with her husband, and her memories of the past which haunt her. Only Ines can really understand what she goes through every day that passes by.(give examples) However, on the other hand, her husband, Richard, is a man who likes to have specific guidelines for his woman and cares about his appearance....   [tags: Ines in the Kitchen Essays]

Research Papers
576 words (1.6 pages)

Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife Essay

- Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife        Amy Tan's The Kitchen God's Wife is the story of a relationship between a mother and daughter that is much more than it seems. This touchingly beautiful narrative not only tells a story, but deals with many of the issues that we have discussed in Women Writers this semester. Tan addresses the issues of the inequality given women in other cultures, different cultures' expectations of women, abortion, friendship, generation gaps between mothers and daughters, mother-daughter relationships, and the strength of women in the face of adversity....   [tags: Kitchen]

Research Papers
1223 words (3.5 pages)

Russia 's Newest Law : Russia Essay examples

- Russia’s Newest Law On July 21, 2016 Russia put a hold on the Christian religion. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin believed one way to stop terrorism was by limiting what christians can do with their faith. This law states that no christian can evangelize outside of the church; not online, in your home, or out in public. Emailing your friend to come to church with you was even illegal. If you don’t report to authority of an suspension you have of someone evangelizing outside of the church, you can be put in jail up to one year....   [tags: Christianity, Religion, Human rights, Russia]

Research Papers
1286 words (3.7 pages)

Kitchen Essentials List : Kitchen Cookware And Essentials Essay

- Kitchen Essentials List: Kitchen Cookware and Essentials Purchasing kitchen cookware is much harder than it seems. Nowadays, there are many kitchen products that you can buy for your customized house. However, it can be confusing to separate quality from junk. This article will help you to learn more about high-quality kitchen essentials. Chef's Knife It is one of the essential kitchen items that should be about 9 inches long. A high-quality chef knife is heavy, sharp, and easy to use. Its function is to cut vegetables, meat, and other ingredients during cooking preparation....   [tags: Knife, Kitchen knife, Cooking utensils, Bread]

Research Papers
729 words (2.1 pages)

Growing-Up Explored in Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen Essay

- Growing-Up Explored in Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen The first time I read Kitchen, I knew I was experiencing something very special. Not since my initial reading of Catcher in the Rye have I witnessed such a perceptive look at the joys and pains of growing up. These coming-of-age novels capture our attention with plots that, while twisting and turning in creative, off-beat ways, remain believable. The writers of these novels tell us their stories with a subtle style more exciting than that of textbooks and assigned reading, a style not unlike a good one-sided conversation....   [tags: Yoshimoto Kitchen Essays]

Research Papers
1482 words (4.2 pages)

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto Essay

- Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto The path of life is not easy. It is scattered with struggles and hurdles which we must overcome. A rose plant is a good metaphor of life; the flower is soft with a pleasant fragrance but the thorns are prickly and hurt us. Likewise, life has good things like laughter, happiness, hope but it also has some things that hurt us, obstruct us. In Banana Yoshimoto’s novella Kitchen, Mikage Sakurai faces quandaries in her life which hinder her. However, she fights them back with hope and determination....   [tags: English Literature Kitchen Essays]

Research Papers
1252 words (3.6 pages)

Russia Q&A Essay

- Introduction Russia is a democratic republic with 83 federal units. The country is bordered by 14 countries including Norway, Finland, Estonia, and Poland. It is one of the largest countries in the world with a land area of 17,000,000 squire kilometers and a population of 143 million people. The country is well endowed with natural resources like minerals, forest cover and water resources. Russian mighty and power was acquired during its membership in the Soviet Union were it emerged as a super power....   [tags: Russia]

Research Papers
1606 words (4.6 pages)

Conversations of Thought Essay

- Conversations of Thought There are written and read conversations taking place this very moment. The written conversation is one that happens between me (ongoing thought- conversation) and what is written onto paper. The read conversation takes place when a person, other than me, picks up what I’ve written and reads it. Thought-conversation is going on in my writing to you today; there are some going on in collegiate assembly halls, and in the conscious minds of many. However, I cannot—nor can you at the moment—read (make believe you’re not reading this right now---oops, I’ve just Ong’ed you) or hear most of these arguments, debates, agreements, disagreements, assertions that carry on....   [tags: Conversating Thinking thoughts Essays]

Free Essays
1480 words (4.2 pages)

Essay about Russia

- Russia, officially known as the Russian Federation is an Eastern European country that was once under the control of the Soviet communist party in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, until its collapse in December 1991 as the nation started transitioning towards democracy. However, the transition from socialist to democratic for Russia proved to be severely fatal as there was direct military involvement along with public widespread protest during the Constitutional Crisis of 1993....   [tags: Russia Essay]

Free Essays
1187 words (3.4 pages)

Related Searches

Thus, kitchen conversations soon became one of the most important customs for the nation.

Actually, it is a very simple custom. Friends gather around a table in someone’s kitchen to eat and talk. Food is usually very ordinary and is not important. But the drink is. There are two essential drinks in Russia: vodka and tea. Both contribute a lot to make a kitchen conversation free of any limits. Popular wisdom says, “Tea warms a soul”, which means that tea prepares your soul to communicate with another soul. Vodka, a Russian would tell you, just helps one relax and postpone one’s difficulties, which is also helpful for a good conversation. These ordinary attributes mixed together with a good conversation made a special combination that contributed to Russian society and culture.

For many years, kitchen conversations have kept Russian soul outside official control. Communists made great efforts to silence their own people but were still unable to prevent free speech inside people’s homes. Moreover, starting with the political “thaw” in the fifties and sixties, an underground culture developed on the basis of kitchen conversations. Books, audio- and videotapes that were forbidden by authorities were passed from person to person. Soon, underground publishing was born. Underground editions, often handwritten but usually typewritten and Xeroxed (unauthorized Xeroxing was illegal in the Soviet Union), included Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago”, Solzhenitsyn’s “One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” and “Gulag Archipelago”, Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita”, and many others. Art exhibitions and even small concerts took place in many kitchens. Cultural and spiritual discussions were a source of inspiration for many writers, musicians and artists. Some of their creations (pictures, movies, books, songs, etc.) were performed in public only years, even decades, later. The topic of conversations often turned to politics. In spite of dangers of such talks, many people wanted to express their discontent with communist regime and dissent with the official ideology. People talked about alternative political, economic and social structure, made mostly utopian plans to make their country better, and finally made their plans to leave the country for good in search of greater freedom. They listened to forbidden radio stations broadcasting in Russian from abroad (such as Radio Freedom or Voice of America), hoping to find more unbiased news about what happened inside and outside their country. Starting in the late 1960s, authorities tried to reply by arresting and sending many people to jail, prison camps or psychiatric asylums, but they could not jail the whole country. Even from the Iron Curtain there was an escape hatch.

Even ordinary people, who had nothing to do with intelligentsia or political dissidents, contributed to the opposition by creating many political jokes, which ridiculed increasingly senile Soviet political leadership and many absurdities of everyday life under socialism. (Here is one of the most popular political jokes about the first communist leader Lenin, officially portrayed as a saintly figure. A homeless boy tells another one: “You know I met Lenin in the street yesterday.” “And what did you say?” “I said, ‘Grandpa Lenin, please give me a piece of bread.’” “And what did he say?” “He just looked at me and gave me the finger. But his eyes were so kind…”) People were telling these jokes with their doors and windows closed and often jokingly apologized to “comrade major” who was supposedly listening to them through a bugged electrical outlet.

Times change, but old customs die hard. With the opening of political climate in the late 1980s, kitchen conversations acquired a new meaning for the Russian society. Communists gave up their power, and the nation was able to obtain its long awaited freedom. The new times changed the content of kitchen conversations but did not change their significance to people. Just as before, Russians get together in their kitchens and talk to each other about things that were not and will not be broadcast on TV or printed in newspapers. They are still endlessly trying to answer the three principal questions: “Who is to blame?”, “What is to be done?” and “Where to begin?”. As a result, kitchen conversations became both a symbol of constant dissatisfaction with official power and ideology and a symbol of discussions not followed by concrete actions, argument for the sake of argument. Despite that, people still believe they will find answers to those questions, and then Russia will become a country of freedom and wealth. Thus, they keep this custom and pass it to the new generation, which they believe will pass it to the next one. After all, kitchens are still small and dining rooms are hard to find.
Return to 123HelpMe.com