The True Russian Heart
Hospitality is a great Russian virtue. Russian hospitality is known all over the world. Russian people are glad to welcome its guests and care of them as if they were relatives. An invitation to a Russian’s home is a real treat and education into the true meaning of hospitality. Visit a small city or village to see the real heart of Russia. Visit stores, and churches, ride the Metro, go to a train station, In the big cities, experience the world class symphonies and ballets.
Visitors to Russia will see the changes the country has gone through in the last several years. From 20 years ago to today one would be very surprised at how “Western” downtown|Moscow has become. Expensive shops line the main streets. International businessmen have rated Moscow as the most expensive city to conduct business, more costly that even Tokyo and New York.
The term “New Russian” has been coined for many Russian businessmen, some being quite well to do, even by American standards. This new pursuit-of-the-gold mentality is affecting the culture in general. Large screen TVs, VCRs, car ownership, remodels of city and country homes are now all commonplace. The zeal for the almighty dollar, or more accurately, less-than mighty ruble, is affecting everyone from the rich to the pensioner. Materialism has even roosted on Russian relationships. Russians have always had time for each other. Walks with friends, long conversations on the phone, and meals together were of great importance. With the pursuit of the microwave ovens and computers comes the need to work more hours, and for most Russians, at a variety of positions. While many Russians maintain their employ at their “main” job, such as being a teacher, or city employee, or doctor, they also have jobs on the side, such as tutoring, or selling things on the street, or developing a business. Recent observation is that many Russians have less time for walks and talks. Perhaps the days of several workers standing around idly will come to an end…certainly a welcome thing for improving efficiency. But will the superb Russian character of closely connected relationships be compromised in the process of “getting ahead”?
It is interesting to observe foreigners coming from West to Russia for the first time – many are shocked by everything they see here (I know that I was). But then they stop and think it over and it’s truly not that much different. It won’t be the big things that catches the person eye but the small, like having to watch where you walk. But once you been you’ll want to come back again and again to feel the Russian soul, its traditions and customs. They are ready to rough it to feel the true Russian heart, hospitality, friendliness and even the disorganization, but honestly they we also to feel how wonderful it is – just to live a simple humble life here. One of the more curious things is that the younger people are very open minded, well educated, and interested in new ideas (they didn’t live in the USSR).
Many new things are happening politically, but “whatever happens,” says George Kennan, ” and whatever restructuring of the Soviet society, Russia is, and is going to remain a country very different from our own. We should not look for this difference to be overcome in any short space of time. But what those who come should do is learn how to embrace it make their own and return home with it.
- Culture and Character of Russia (hague6185.wordpress.com)
- So are the “Russians Really Coming”? (hague6185.wordpress.com)
- Russian / American Cultural Contrasts (hague6185.wordpress.com)