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The Truth And Myths About Russia

There are several myths about Russia, they come from different sources but have no actual proof. They are wide spread not only among foreigners but among Russians too. I think it is rather interesting to find out more about Russian culture and history and get rid of common myths.

The most well known clichés about Russia and Russians are considered in a book Myths about Russia" written by the historic and politic Vladimir Medinsky. The book has a number of lacks, but it is worth reading to find out more about Russia. The author presents facts from history to break the myths and show the sources of such opinions.

The most wide spread myths:

1. Russians drink vodka.

This is the most well known myth. Almost everywhere they say that Russian people drink a lot. That is not true. Vodka came to Russia in XVth century from Europe. Russian native alcohol drink was braga, not vodka.

Insobriety became wide spread in Russia when Peter the First came. Lots of drinking establishments were built in villages then. The revenues of drinking establishments were spent on navy building. The next wave of heavy drinking came after the Second World War because of front-line 100 grams of alcohol. And of course drinking is wide spread now in regions and villages, where is no work. In comparison with USA, South America or Europe Russia is not the leader in drinking. Of course Russians drink much in comparison with the Mohammedan countries.

2. Russians' laziness.

This myth came from Russian history and is often used to explain Russian set of mind. The Russians had to seat at home during all cold seasons and had nothing to do. There were only seversal weeks for hard work in May sowing time, and in August harvesting. And all the rest time Russians only laid on the   stove. This point of view was stated by historic V.O. Kluchevsky and is still very popular but there is no actual proof of it. People often forget that Russian climate is rather cold, so you have to work much harder in order to plant something than in any Southern country. And Russia had almost the largest harvests of grain. In 1913 Russia was the third country in the amounts of the grains export in spite of the cold climate. The success of Russian technical revolution was almost the same that in Europe and USA, but unluckily contemporized with the First World War and the Revolution and Civil War. And the numbre of Russian scientists, writers and people of art can easily proof this opinion wrong.

3. Russians' tyranny and bloodthirstiness.

This myth is the most unfounded one. Almost every one will mention Ivan IV the Terrible and the short epoch of oprichnina that is known as one of the most murderous times in Russia. But if you compare the period of Ivans the Terrible government with the history periods of Oliver Cromwell or Karl IV you will see their terror was much bloodier. The other dark period of Russian history was Stalins terror and collectivization from 1920 1952 that took a lot of humans lives but such periods took places in other countries too - Nazism in Germany, French Revolution, the War for Independence in America. Thus bloodthirstiness is not the native Russian feature.

This topic is rather interesting. And I will be glad to know your point of view on Russians and native Russian features. Perhaps I will be able to tell more about Russians too.

Alexandra Ushakova

October 14, 2014 15:10

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