Confronting stereotypes of culture: Russian Stereotypes
Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Updated: Sunday, October 17, 2010 08:10
"Where are you from? From Russia? It must be so cold there!" That's the first thing we usually hear when we meet foreigners. "Do you ride the Siberian express? "Do you have McDonald's?" or even: "Are there any cinemas in Moscow?" - these are popular questions too.
It seems that Russia is considered to be a remote, snowed-up country, a native land of bears and KGB. This point of view is hardly exhaustive.
Still, we don't want to break the stereotypes, because they are an essential part of the image of Russia. We just want to say: they are just stereotypes
It's extremely cold in Russia.
Actually, it's not true. Russia is a big country, and the climate here varies. It's quite warm in the South, by the Black Sea and by the Caspian Sea.
It's really cold in Siberia. The climate in the European part of Russia is moderate. The global warming is also a topical problem in our country.
This autumn the temperature in Moscow reached the recordbreaking mark: it was +25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) in October.
Speaking about Moscow, winters here are usually rather cold - the average temperature is about -15/18 degrees Celsius (about 5 degrees Fahrenheit), but they don't last all year long.
We also have summer, when you can wear t-shirts and sunglasses or even get sun-burned.
Vodka is our national drink.
Yes, it is. As well as tequila in Mexico and schnapps in Germany.
But it doesn't mean it's the only thing Russians drink. Beer is as popular as vodka, especially among the young generation.
I suspect that Russia has got hardly any rivals in the quantity and variety of beer ads. These commercials provide images of good-looking and successful people, whose secret is: they choose this beer-brand.
There is no good party without beer. There is no holiday without beer. The real idyll is wheat field, summer sun, clear blue sky... and beer.
The popularity of this drink has become a serious problem. Lots of teenagers and youngsters suffer from alcoholism, which is not that easy to cure, and don't even realize it.
Russian fashion is very special: people wear big fluffy hats, fur coats and valenki (warm woolen boots) because it is always very cold in Russia.
Hey, wake up! Fluffy hats were fashionable in the past times. My mom keeps one as a remembrance of the past.
People mostly in small towns wear fur hats but they are not big and not that fluffy. Some middle-aged women wear fur coats but you'll hardly meet one in the center of Moscow.
As for valenki, they are still popular in the countryside, especially among farmers. In winter some old people in villages wear valenki even at home. Others put them on before going outdoors. They put on rubbers on valenki in order to keep them dry.
So, these boots are very good if you live in a village where there is always a lot of snow. We actually follow fashion and try to look stylish.
Many young people like such popular brands as Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, etc. Of course, the way you dress depends on how much money you have.
But many people want to be more or less fashionable except for those guys who don't care what they wear and have their own ideas of how to dress.
Russian mafia controls everything.
Yes, there is criminality in Russia. Is there no criminality in America?
Our criminals don't control the whole planet, thanks to James Bond. The truth is, Russian mafia exists only in American movies, such as From Russia with Love.