Why Are all Russians in Russia Crazy?
The myths behind Crazy Russians
Most Russians unfortunately often become misunderstood as well as regrettably misconstrued in Western Film and Media. This misrepresentation usually occurs because not many people have a greater understanding of any Russians to challenge this perception. Yet Russians do travel throughout the world. As the Russian economy continues to expand many more will travel in the foreseeable future.
The world will see two big sporting events that will open Russia up to the world stage – The Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and The Football World Cup in 2018. Both these sporting events in Russia will help promote Russia o the rest of the world which remains an interesting prospect.
And these sporting events remain a good thing for the good of all sports as well as Russian culture. It will help widen the worlds understanding of these proud people. In addition the potential relaxation of visa requirements for traveling to Russia will help people freely travel to the country. Although as yet it's unsure if this policy will become widely accepted in connection with the sporting events in Russia.
However firstly it’s necessary to consider what a myth is particularly when applied to Russian culture? A myth functions in a similar way to a stereotype. A myth exists as a shortcut to non-thinking. It helps people sort, as well as organise the many sources of information experienced in every day from various sources including digital images, social media and newspapers. Despite being predominately negative myths also have the slight chance of a positive outcome, in that a small portion of a myth may in fact be true! In this case it’s important to consider the Russian myths that surround the perception of Russia, as well as its people.
In Russia Cossack Carry Horse
Do not wake the Russian Bear!
Russians and Vodka
“All Russians Drink Vodka”
Yes Russians do drink Vodka. It’s their national drink. It literally means “Little Water”. Drinking in many cultures is seen as being part of a celebration or connected to general festivities. A similar myth or stereotype could make the same assumption that ALL French people drink wine. While undoubtedly some do, not ALL do. The same remains for Russians. Some Russians drink Vodka but not all do.
To drink to celebrate remains acceptable and often marks special events in Russian culture, whether it’s Holidays, New Years, Birthdays, Marriages, and general partying. Drinking beyond the realms of celebration exists as a cause for concern for all cultures as it leans more towards alcoholism. Problems of alcoholism remains the same problem for Russian culture as it does for all others.
On the other hand vodka or rather purer alcohol also gets used in some medical treatments in Russia. Often it’s heated and placed on a towel which is then wrapped around the neck to treat colds and throat infections. Vodka acts as the base for the instillation with Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) to treat muscular back problems.
What is Kumis? Well Russians drink Fermented Horse Milk
Yes it is true Russians drink a low alcohol drink called Kumis which is made from fermented horse milk - ideally fermented mare's milk.
Beaware of the Russian Mafia and other Crazy Myths
Beware the Russian Mafia!
The existence of the Russia Mafia is not a surprise. Criminals exist in all societies and so does organised crime. As Don Corleone would Say “It’s nothing personal just business.” Each country has high levels of mafia if you scratch beneath the surface.
Russian Winters - so cold I will freeze!
Yes winter in Russia remains bitterly cold (-65 °C was the lowest recorded) however the average winter temperature is -20 °C. With adequate clothing and thermals winter becomes actually very enjoyable. During its winter Russia receives very little precipitation, and therefore many days, despite being cold, have brilliant sunshine and very little humidity. It winter remains like a dry-cold temperature with very little dampness.
Also it’s worth noting as a counterpoint that the two invasions of Russia by Napoleon in 1812 and Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa in 1941 were both severely hampered by Russian winters.
“All Russians are crazy!”
No they’re not all crazy. The expression however does come from Submariner warfare, when to check if a Russian submarine was being followed in its blind spot by an American submarine. The Russian sub would turn 180 degrees very quickly and head straight back along its original path. Heading towards any following submarine would force the other sub to take emergency actions to avoid a collision.
Russian Women will steal your passport and take your money!
This simple myth remains untrue. However unfortunately as mentioned above criminals exist in all societies and if you mix with bad company, expect bad results. Russian women are very proud of themselves, their nation and their family. They are intelligent and always strive to improve their outlook to all situations. They are normally well educated, respectful, and devoted.
Do I need a Visa for Russia?
Unfortunately this is not a myth and it is true - yes you do need a visa for Russia. I tried the London Embassy but found they closed the queue after 12.30pm. So I used a reputable on-line company. You will need to register your Russian Visa when in Russia. I suggest you ask or check if the hotel can do it, as it is a lengthy process to do it yourself. Also the visa registration paperwork will only be in Russian and has to be 100% correct!
Russian Car Crashes Welcome to Mad Max
Having witnessed hundreds of Russian Car Crashes, and I do mean hundreds during my time in Russia it is fair to say that the rule of driving equates to this:
The first rule of Russian Driving is that there are no rules!
Usually typical crashes involve fender-benders and are not high speed crashes – however part of this crash style is caused by the lack of rules, road markings and indeed the need to get everywhere at speed. Russian drivers generally do not queue and will after look for ways to get past other slower motorists. In essence this creates a Mad Max style of driving which literally terrifies me!
After a crash the vehicles remain stationary until the local police come and fill in their reports, for insurance/court claims. This means that any minor crash results in the road being blocked until further notice. A minor scrape in essence causes a greater traffic jam. This has resulted in a new law that means you can in fact move your car and the insurance/court issue is dealt with later. This is designed to help speed up Russian traffic. However no one believes this and so they vehicles still remain stationary until the road police arrive.
Pedestrians also have to remember that a Green Crossing does not necessarily guarantee a safe crossing. With so many lanes Russians have to be aware of all traffic directions and to not trust the green crossing. Visual checks of oncoming cars and cars entering from pedestrian blind spots need to be factored in crossing the road. Pedestrians crossings (unlit are generally ignored, so cross at your own peril!). More consideration appears to be given to parents with small children – I have witnessed drivers stop (normally they would have not) when crossing the road with a small child!
All of this apparent peril with car crashes (think of a Russian and his Tank) and lack of consideration to pedestrians really does make you wonder are all Russians Crazy? The answer is probably no, there is just a different sense of order or chaos that prevails modern Russian today.
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