4 Common Misconceptions About Russian Culture

Stereotypes exist in every nation and culture, while some of them are more bitter and unpleasant than the others. Certain characteristics are consistent within a group of people, but truth be told, the generalizations are not fool-proof. In the same way, there are a few stereotypes and misconceptions regarding the culture of russia and its people. All in all, the point is that most of those are either exaggerated or entirely false. Here are a few common misconceptions about Russian culture and its people and the truth about them.

Misconception 1: Russians are addicted to Vodka and are alcoholic
It is true that Russians do drink a lot of alcohol, but it doesn’t support the statement that “All Russians are alcoholics”. The phrases “Vodka is our enemy, so we consume it up” and “There cannot be enough vodka for us” sum up the type of stereotypes imposed on the Russians in this regard. It is true that russians start drinking when they are young as it is the best thing that keeps them warm in the cold weathers. All in all, while alcoholism is clearly an issue in Russia, the situation has been improving since 2004.

Misconception 2: Russia is dominated by Mafia
Many people think that Russia is a home for mafia and it is highly dangerous to be there. Honestly speaking, there ‘was’ mafia in Russia in the eighties and has ended by 2000. These days, Russia is like any other place in the world and is not dangerous as it might seem. It you how to keep yourself away from the bad places and do things a normal traveller does, you will be definitely fine. And even if there is mafia somewhere in the country, they would be busy dealing with each other and you wouldn’t experience their aura as a normal traveller.

Misconception 3: The Future of Russian Economy is at risk
Just a few years ago, the GDP of russia was growing fast and many people have managed to find their way over the poverty line. But things have become critical since financial crisis hit the country and made it blatantly obvious that a solid economy cannot be built based on the natural resources of oil and gas. On the other hand, the youth of the country have experienced a kick start and started to something productive and innovative to sustain themselves. Put together, Russia has huge amounts of human resource which has been brought out after the recession hit the country making the future of the country look more bright than ever.

Misconception 4: All Russians are communists
When it became a part of the Soviet Union in 1922, Russia was ruled by a communist government. Before this, it wasn’t a communist state and it hasn’t been a communist state since 1991 when the Soviet Union has collapsed. And ever since, most of the russians have been democracy loving people with a large part of the population trying to restore the Monarchy in Russia. That said, communists are definitely there in Russia but they are hugely dominated by the democracy loving people.

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Russian Culture

The Russian culture has a rich and long cultural roots deeply steeped in ballet, painting, literature and classical music. Although many outsiders see Russia as drab, it has very visual cultural past; from the ornate religious symbols to its visual past. The culture also encompasses food, traditions, art, cinema and attitudes. It is both a pride for Russians and a major draw for all travelers planning trips to this country.
Homeland

The culture places a high value on family and the homeland. The Soviet rule left its mark on the culture, developing a fundamental mistrust and fear of those outside the extended family and any other familial connections. Russian families are large and very friendly. Family here is not limited to the husband, wife and children, it goes all the way to include grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, nieces, nephews and sisters. The members communicate with each other frequently especially on occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.

Russian Superstitions

Russians believe that Mondays are difficult days, so they do not start any new and important undertakings on this day. Instead of starting out something afresh on Monday, you better sneeze. This means that you will get a gift later on in the week. Tuesday is the perfect day to make any major changes in your life and to begin new ventures. This is a great day to travel as well. However, you should not borrow money on Tuesday evening.

You cannot move into a new house on Wednesday as it brings bad luck. On Thursdays, you should do all you need to get done. Wash your face before the sun rises and you are assured of cleanliness and good health. You cannot clean your house on Friday until after midday. If anything, any work considered to be the woman’s work should not be done on Fridays. If anything is started on Saturday, then it can only be done on Saturdays. Having breakfast early morning on a Sunday leads to tears. You should also not clip your nails on Sunday or you will lose happiness and money.

Holiday Celebrations

Russians love to serve a festive dinner for guests on occasions like New Year, Easter and birthdays. The main attributes for a holiday dinner include cold appetizers, meat, hot dishes and cake for dessert. Housewives will cook everything by themselves as they are expected to be good cooks. Alcohol is very important and Russians do not serve hard liquor with desserts and wine with meat dishes like it is the norm. Instead, any type of alcoholic beverage will be served on the table and guests can pick what they want.

Visitors and foreigners from other cities

Russians show special goodwill and generosity to guests from other countries or cities. A real Russian will accommodate new guests in their house instead of reserving hotel rooms for them. If you visit Russia and stay with a friend, they will be happy to show you around, guide you to the interesting places to see and accompany you during sightseeing.

Cuisine and Food

Russia has a wonderful and unique cuisine, traditions, recipes and customs. They have breakfast about seven or eight every morning, lunch between one and three in the afternoon and dinner at around seven or eight in the evening. Dinner is the only time when the family interacts with each other. They watch TV together at dinner to keep track of news.

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Russia’s Climate and Geography

 

Due to its vast size, it is tough to provide any general sort of information about the climate of Russia, but it is important to note that Summers are warm to hot while winter in some areas can get cold.

Due to the sheer size and compact configuration, Russia has a largely continental climate. Greater than half of the country is north of 60 degrees north latitude while little coverage of Russia is south of 50 degrees north latitude, and, due to this extensive regions experience six months of permanently frozen snow that covers subsoil up to a depth of several hundred meters.

The mean annual temperature of almost all of European Russia is below freezing including the vast Siberian-Russian province.

Russia experiences two seasons- summer and winter and a short interval of moderation between them. The Russian Far East, which is under the influence of the Pacific Ocean, has a monsoonal climate which reverses the direction of the wind in winter and summer, sharply differentiating temperatures and a narrow subtropical band of territory provide Russia well-known summer resort area on the Black Sea.

During winter high-pressure systems cause winds to blow from south-west and south in all but the Pacific region of the Russian landmass.

During summer, the low-pressure system brings winds from the north and north-west to most of the lands. This meteorological combination decreases the wintertime temperature difference between south and north.

The average January temperature in St. Petersburg is -8 degrees C and in West Siberia is -27 C and -43 C in Yakutsk while Mongolian border the winter is barely warm.

The temperature differ during summer for instance in arctic islands the temperature during winter is usually 4 C and 20 C in the south most regions while in north central Siberia (Verkhoyansk) the temperatures get as high as 38 C.

Due to little exposure to ocean influences, Russia experiences moderate amounts of precipitation. Along the Baltic coast, the annual rainfall is 600mm while in Moscow is 525mm.

Geography

The country covers an area of 17,075,200 area.sq.Km and showcases diverse landforms. The country is divided into various geographical zones.

Plains

The Volga plains extend from the western borders of Europe to the Ural Mountains.

The Siberian province is a combination of tundra, with rising plateaus, rolling hills punctuate by scattered mountain ranges.

Mountains

The major mountain ranges in Russia stretches along the eastern, southwestern and southeastern borders.

Far south-west is the Caucasus Mountains which stretches across the lands and Mt. Elbrus, which is the country highest point, is located here. 18,481ft. (5,633m).

The Ural Mountains stretches from the Arctic Ocean to Kazakhstan’s northern border. The Kolyma Mountains which are found in the far northeastern extend about 1,126km (700mi) south and north to the east of the Kolyma River and parallel to the Siberian coast.

Rivers & Lakes

The country has more than 100,000 rivers with a length of 7miles or more. The most important rivers include the Dvina, Volga and Dnieper (west), the Yenisei, Ob, and Lena (central) and the Amur River in the Far East.

Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and is home to more than 1,700 species of animals and plants and two third of which are not traceable in any other part of the world.

Steppe

It is characterized by grassy plains without trees and punctuate by mountain ranges and are best for human settlement.

 

Taiga and Tundra

It accounts for the over 60% of the country’s area and extends from the western borders then east toward the Pacific Ocean.

Tundra stretches from west to east and covers 4,349 miles (7,000km). It is a marshy and treeless plains and is well known for its nights through summer and days of total darkness through winter.

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Mythbusting Russia

While I finish setting up, please enjoy this quick video about Russia and her citizens. It may help to clear up any stereotypes or misconceptions you might still harbor.

 

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