Should We Love Russia?

What makes Russia appaling or endearing? For its dimensions and eventful history, Russia never leaves anybody indifferent.  As for my part, I was born in Poland and I was raised in the hatred of  Russians. My Polish relatives still felt the scars of Soviet-backed rulling and kept telling me that Poland can’t have any good from Russia.  My childhood in France was filled with “good-American-heroe-and-evil-Russian-spy” TV serials. But my childhood could have been better in Komsomol youth group, sleeping in a tent, singing around a fire, reading Pushkin, than watching TV serials. I live in Russia for 8 years now, and I don’t plan to move  from Moscow any soon!

If  you are a foreigner coming to Russia, the biggest no-no is to criticize it.  In 99% of case you would say a commonplace, without understanding the context.

Russian country girl doing the bubble thing

Russian country girl doing the bubble thing

In 1939, Winston Churchill said of Russia:  “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

Of course, public life in Russia can be taugh.  Suffice it to read some independent (at least I hope) blog like LR on Russia to discover the dark side of  it. But while LR talks about life of everybody, I am to illustrate life in Russia with my own experience. A Russian saying states that every Russian thinks that life in Russia is horrible, but personnally, for him, all is fine.

I put in down there some bits of what can be life in Russia…

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Comments
7 Responses to “Should We Love Russia?”
  1. What Russia is really about?

  2. Law in Russia:
    “- Law in Russia is important.
    – Why ?
    – So nobody obeys law!
    – But if nobody respect it, maybe we should remove all laws?
    – No, if you remove law in Russia, everybody would do what he likes, and there would be chaos!
    But if there is law, everybody do exactly the contrary, and so, there is order.”

  3. Thing that makes me love Russia.
    You never know what to expect from some people. I was visiting the park Sokolniki with all my three children last January. It was very cold outside. We decided to visit the Ice Sculpture Museum. I came to the entrance and asked for a discount, as I haggle everywhere, plus I am entitled to some discount with my Moscow family card. Then I recognized the cashier, as she was the same who worked in another city event, the Moscow Festival of Sand Castle, in Kolomenskoe Park. I told her how we also appreciated this event last sumer. I got a decent discount – 2 USD for 4 of us – We entered the museum. It was stunning! On an area of 1000 sqm, we saw fantastic sculptures of transparent ice! Dragons, fairies, castles, actors, horses, towers, all made of ice! We were heading to the exit, when the cashier stopped us:
    -“Hey, you, the father of three!, you must be frozen! It’s -10 degres out there! Sit at our cafe! I’ll bring you doughnuts, cakes and warm teas!” . We sat at a round table. The cashier was in fact the director of the museum. We enjoyed warm drinks and sweets. Needless to say, kids were happy, and so was I. I spent a tremendous day, and this kind gesture was definitely an happy hour in Russia.

  4. Thing that makes me love Russia.
    You never know what to expect from some people, again ! I eat everyday in a corporate cafetaria. It’s just the opposite side of the street. I take my tray, put some dishes on it and go to the cashier. She’s a smiling and nice looking red-head woman in her 50’s. She noticed one day how happy I was to receive a free coupon for a coffee expresso once I ordered food for a large amount of money. If you order for more than 10 bucks, you are entitled to a free coffee expresso, or a tea. Although my average daily expense for lunch is 5 USD, she always gives me a free coupon. I thanked her many times, saying how happy I was to have my favourite drink. This attitude is typically Russian. She infringes the rules to see a happy person. I could not say “happy customer”, because her gesture is not “commercial” but sincere. This coffee makes my day…

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  • © Sebastian Zelechowski, Moscow 2011
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