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Stereotypes - The Russian Character.

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Introduction

Stereotypes. The Russian Character Much has been said and written about the Russian character. Traditionally the Russians have been known as industrious, tough, suspicious and brave. Russian soul is regarded by foreigners as the mix of a drunken poor writer and a furious brown bear. These stereotyped characteristics have been noted by observers from all over the world. There are experimental ways of investigating stereotypes. One of the most obvious is to ask a group of people what traits characterize some nation. Results of such studies on the whole agree fairly well with what might have been expected; there is even considerable agreement between different people in any one nation regarding the most characteristic traits of their nation. The Russians like to sit down for a nice long chat. Infrequently, but from time to time in their history, this has taken the form of a "parliament". Russian debates go on not just for a year but for hundreds of years. They are still arguing about whether they should have anything to do with Western European culture and all the contamination of pure Russian hearts and souls that this entails. The mysterious Russian soul has long ago become "the talk of the town" among those who have ever encountered Russia and the Russians. ...read more.

Middle

They observe that the government not only encourages, but nourishes such behaviour. Why, if the future offers little hope, plan for the long term? The Russians are not career-driven people; their primary touchstones are not success, getting ahead, making deals, accumulating material possessions. If you look at the Russian nation you'll see a nation of poor people. Materialistically poor, that is. It might even look that Russians work for their loaf of bread and are pretty much happy with it. But most of the Russians think that Americans work for their loaf of bread, meaning working for the materialistic matters. Russians work for other food, food for thought. Work doesn't take the first place on the Russian scale of values. The Russians dislike scrupulous and cold workaholics. It is the Stalinist command economy and rigid central control that are considered to be blamed for molding an obedient, passive labour force that is plagued by heavy absenteeism, idleness on the job, poor-quality work, low morale and serious alcoholism. Apathy, indifference, pilfering and a lack of respect for honest work have become rampant as has aggressive envy of those who earn a lot, even if they earn it honestly. Slack work ethic is a national Achilles' heel. It's almost impossible to fight the indolent torpor of the Russian people. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even if things are good - especially if things are good! They don't want to tempt the devil. They don't want people to think things are great, because they might be envious. And if they're envious, there's no telling what they might do. In addition, the Russians are accomplished and habitual liars. This is something that has to be taken into account in business dealings and in affairs of the heart. They conceal the truth because they feel that it might be impolite to show the shabby reality. Thus for many years, gullible Western believers in the socialist paradise were led by the nose to view examples of "Russian hospitals" (i.e the one well-equipped hospital in the whole country used only by the Politburo), "Russian schools" (the same story), "Russian workers' flats" and so forth. The habit of concealing the modest, not to say shameful, truth behind a bit of stage scenery was started by Catherine The Great's favourite general, Potemkin, who once lined the route of one of her royal progresses with "villages" which were, in reality, mere painted facades. No matter how many negative qualities foreigners find in the Russian character, they agree completely in one very important item: No matter how unpatriotic one is, feeling of a Russian self is the strongest feeling that is ever in a Russian. 1 1 ...read more.

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