The national mentality is a very broad notion that encompasses large interrelated systems of perceptions and archetypes, beliefs and thinking models, behavioral patterns and traditions domineering within a nation. Different histories, economics, and cultures of Russia and the USA have determined lots of differences in the mentalities of these two countries.
Collectivism vs Individualism
In the American culture, a human’s existence is perceived as isolated, whereas the Russian person exists in the group context. American culture encourages autonomy and independence when every individual solves their problems and fights their corner on their own. At the same time, in Russian society, a person aligns with the group, whereas responsibility is distributed among all and nobody in particular.
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Perception of the Environment
Americans are sure that the human being can change and improve the environment to meet their needs. Russians believe that people have to live according to nature, rather than trying to change it. In the American culture, humans are separate from nature; while the Russian culture emphasizes our dependence on the environment.
Attitude to Private Property
For American mentality, there is a clear split between public property and private property; whereas the Russian history demonstrates how fast common property might turn into private property, and vice versa.
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Motivation of Achievements
Competition is one of the leading methods of motivation for Americans. Among Russians, however, the competition inside a reference group is not welcomed. At the same time, competition between groups and especially between the countries boosts the motivation considerably.
Americans attribute the achievements exclusively to their own efforts, but Russians consider achievement as something equally dependent both on the efforts and on the confluence of circumstances and coincidences.
Attitude Towards other People
Most of Americans tend to have numerous friendly relations, and they are not necessarily deep and committed since there is a tendency to avoid social obligations. Russians, on the other hand, look for deep and constant relations. There is a network of silent social obligations: "You help me and I will help you; I will help you today, and somebody else will help me tomorrow".
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Activity and Pragmatism
Action and activity are highly appreciated in American culture. The ends justify the means, they believe. In Russia the activity is appreciated less, than reflection; the process is considered more important, than the result.
Work and social life are separate in America, whereas in Russia they have a lot more chances to interblend.
It is important for Americans that the person should be realistic in the goals and aspirations. For the Russians, it is different: the ideals (such as the meaning of life, the truth, and the like) have to be reached, even despite common sense sometimes.
The Locus of Control
Americans say: "We have to work hard to achieve the objectives". As for the Russians, they tend to think that the achievement of success requires not only hard work but good luck and time as well.
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Author: Vera Ivanova