Add to favorite
 
123
Subscribe to our Newsletters Subscribe to our Newsletters Get Daily Updates RSS


The Bear In Russian Culture
April 9, 2010 18:38


The Bear — a significant factor of Russian culture - appears in many Russian literary works, folk tales, epics, proverbs and sayings, not infrequently acting as a protagonist. The Bear was the emblem of the XXII Olympic Games held in Moscow in 1980.

Russian Bear

It is needless to say that in Europe, America, and probably all over the world the bear is strongly associated with Russia and the Russian statehood. Therefore the bear in Russia is more than just a bear. Initially the bear as the symbol of Russian state appeared in Europe as personification of slowness, laziness, barbarity and aggression, which evokes in Europeans the feeling of their own superiority to the non-civilized "neighbour" and also the feeling of fear and, consequently, the desire to chain it. Certainly, Russia repeatedly gave its neighbours some grounds for fear, however, if Russian bear did not exist, one should have made it up. The thing is that the bear is the image helping politicians of the West to convince the citizens of Russia’s aggression and thus expand the influence of NATO on the east. For more than 300 years already the bear has invariably been a character of political feuilletons and caricatures.

In Russian culture the bear traditionally appears as the image of a good-natured and a somewhat dumb animal, undoubtedly possessing certain charisma. In folklore the Bear is usually named affectionately and respectfully as a man: Mishka, Mihailo Potapych, Toptygin, etc. So it is evident that the Bear is more likely a kind neigbour, or a guard, never a tyrant. Emblems of Russian cities say about the same thing.

Bears as City Emblems

Among the land emblems of Russia before Peter the First, there were three emblems with the images of bears. Two emblem bears appeared during the rule of Ivan the Terrible and were present at the stamps of his reign - first of all the well-known Big State Stamp made at the late 1570th (not later than in August 1578), during the Livonian war. However, all the three emblems with bears took their final shape only in 1672, when they were enlisted in the Title Book among other land emblems.

Bears there are not simply represented in their natural state: every one of them has its special attributes, which make researchers look for suitable interpretations. It is interesting that all the three bears are interfaced to concrete territories of the north and northeast of Russia, and those that were once perceived as marginal and somewhat peripheral lands, such as Novgorod, Yaroslavl and even farther Perm.

The Novgorod bear had the state and political meaning of the guard, whereas Yaroslavl and Perm bears reflected essential cultural models. The first one stands for the single combat and the victory over the bear of the prince, also interpreted as the victory of Christianity over paganism, and the second one symbolizes Christianization in its religious and educational aspect. If the Yaroslavl emblem has an element of violence, the "quieter" Perm emblem conveys rather peaceful introduction into the new belief.

In XVIII-XIX centuries some more bears appeared in the Russian territorial and city heraldry. Partly they originated from Yaroslavl (the arms of Maloyaroslavets), and partly boasted more original appearance: a bear in its den in the emblem of Ust-Sysolsk, or a bear climbing a pine to get honey in the emblem of Sosnitsy – those depicted local natural peculiarities of the land.

The Russian bear was and remains a part of everyday life, and even gaining weight in recent years. It is sufficient to have a look at the titles of articles recently published in world press ('Russian bear comes back', 'Awakening of Russian bear', and ‘Russian bear plays muscles') to realize the meaning of this symbol in politics and culture. The bear became an emblem of the political movement 'Edinstvo' (Unity), and following that of the party 'Edinaya Rossia’ (United Russia). Now, when the President of Russia has the 'the bear’s surname’ the symbol has gained refreshed popularity.

 

READ MORE ARTIKLES ABOUT RUSSIAN TRADITIONS...

 

Legal advice on Russian legislation

Book Hotels & Apartments in Russia

Tours to Russia

Russian Train and Bus Tickets Booking

Find and book transfer in Russia

Book unique excursions by locals

Flowers Delivery to Russia

 

Sources:
kogni.narod.ru


Tags: Russian Bears Russian Symbols Russian Folklore   

Next Previous

You might also find interesting:

Tradition of Pottery Craft in Russia National Russian Dress: Outerwear Kolt Enigmatic Old Russian Ornament The Bear In Russian Culture Philately in Russia, Part 1









Comment on our site


RSS   twitter   facebook   submit

Bookmark and Share

-8

search on the map
TAGS:
Konstantin Khabensky  Russian shops  Ukok Plateau   Russian National Character  Russian business  Opposition  Russian sport  Kaliningrad, Film Festivals  Ecopath   Russian Literature  Republic of Tatarstan  Tsaritsyno Museum Reserve  Krasnodar region  Video Installations  Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts  Russian sportswomen  Yaroslavl   Russian national colours  Pavlovsk  Perm  Russian tourism  Archeology  Russian economy  Yuri Shevchuk  Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia  Exhibitions in Moscow  Million City   Russian church  Film Festivals  terrorism  Zhora Kryzhovnikov  Sochi 2014  Moscow  Pobeda  St. Petersburg  Russian hotels  Russian spacecrafts  helicopter crash  Russian history  Seizure of Lands  Sightseeing Platforms  Cancer  Alexander III  SmartWatch  Festivals of St. Petersburg  Times Higher Education  Russian archaeology  Business in Russia  Russian Cinema  Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov  


Travel Blogs
Top Traveling Sites