Russians on Americans - Interviews with Russians in Moscow - October 2003

Author: Dimitry Paranyushkin (on 24 Dec 2009)
"If Russian person is not feeling good, he will not try to seem feeling good, if he's disgusted, he will show he's disgusted, he will not hide behind a mask."  - Vladimir from Moscow

The questions below were sent to us by Way to Russia readers. Our writers go out on the streets and ask the exact same questions to ordinary Russians they meet. Their answers are below. Want to ask a question? Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page.
 

Rita

Rita answers 10 questions about Russia

 
Bio: Chemical engineer (speciality: chemistry weapons). In 1992 changed her work. Transition period: computer technologies for almost 10 year. Now: a freelance landscape designer (studies). She is interested in flowers, because she wants to die happy.

Question #1: "What do you think of America and itsworld-dominating politics. Or do you have enough problems in Russia itself, not to worry too much about that?"
Answer:
I don't consider America as a country that defines Russia's politics. I believe that Russia has always been a country that was dominating, then intimidating, and then as a balancing power to America. We are made to be a balance power to the outside world with our laid-back attitude to everything (in culture, in education, politics, etc.) Of course, America has a dominating policy. But we (Russia) are different, we are in front of all the planet.
Even you know, once, when I worked at a chemical weapons factory, there was an American delegation that was supposed to see the disarm procedures. They were shown everything allright, but the factory just next was still producing chemicals weapons at full speed.

Question #2: "Do you think life in Russia is very weird?"
Answer: No, this is the best, most beautiful, unpredictable, unusual place. It's never strange. It makes people aware, surprised. But it's not weird.

Question #3:
"How Russian newscasters report news to their viewers, including women?"
Answer: They are not honest, they are not just informing people, but are trying to manipulate them. Well, except for commercial publications, like Spid-Info (sex-oriented newspaper) and Afisha (Russia's TimeOut analogue).

Question #4: "Are Russians okay with people from Finland and Sweden now? Long ago we had many wars..."

Answer: I think Swedes are ok, but I prefer Slavs (I'm a bit racist). I love Finns for their old tales and stories (trolls etc.)

Quesiton #5: "What are prices and taxes like in Russia?"
Answer: I'm not really good in these stuff. I think the prices and taxes are in accord with the policy of internal affair in Russia.

Question #6: "How to find the path to a Russian heart? Is there anything that attracts Russians, that may interest them?"

Answer: Sincere, honest relationships. Russian girl will even prefer a "worse" man, like an alcoholic, or something, but he should be honest. I'm for sincere relationship.

Question #7: "What do you do for fun?"
Answer: I like to walk outside, I like flowers, trees, I like beer, exhibitions, that I like. Contemporary art, photos, Moscow artists, photo. Something related to my work (like flowers). In St. Petersburg Dmitri Shorin, Boris Gusev in Moscow (painters).

Question #8: "How to Russian people treat each other"
Answer: Very well, because they understand each other.

Question #9: "What the russia people think about the russian cars, in comparation with japanese cars, or american cars"
Answer: No answer. I like my Russian little car Oka.

Question #10: "Why Russians can face life only through drinking vodka and hiding behind the mask of indifference?"
Answer: I don't agree with it completely... Well, maybe because through vodka they have nostalgy, sadness.

Question #11: "What Russian books do you like?"
Answer: I like "Gore ot Uma" by Griboedov and I like Ostrovsky, I think he is the most "contemporary" artist.
I like all old Soviet cinema. Most of all 50s and 70s, this period. "White Sun of the Desert" and "Height" and I like also old spectacles screened (by Ostrovsky "Les", "Na Kazhdogo Mudretsa Dovolno Prostoty").
I think in one moment Russian cinematograph was the best

 

 

Vladimir

Vladimir

 
Bio:
Vladimir worked at the Moscow Institute of Engineering and Physics at a nuclear research reactor. After changes, brought with the 90s, he changed his job and now works in a business development department of a major international company.

Question #1: "What do you think of America and itsworld-dominating politics. Or do you have enough problems in Russia itself, not to worry too much about that?"
Answer:
I think there are enough problems in Russia.

Question #2: "Do you think life in Russia is very weird?"
Answer: Yes, of course. Look at its history, and you'll understand everything. Not any generation has lived without any problems. Every 20 years there were upheavals..

Question #3:
"How Russian newscasters report news to their viewers, including women?"
Answer: Disgusting, all are corrupted, except maybe Vedomosti and Moscow times and Gazeta.Ru, which I read. And they have life commetaries that I agree with. That's why I read it.

Question #4: "Are Russians okay with people from Finland and Sweden now? Long ago we had many wars..."

Answer: I think Swedes are ok, but I prefer Slavs (I'm a bit racist). I love Finns for their old tales and stories (trolls etc.)

Quesiton #5: "What are prices and taxes like in Russia?"
Answer: I think that corporate taxes should be lowered, and all the rest may be in accord with the stage of Russia's political development. It means our country is overloaded with people whom you should help. For many reasons. There are many retired, many people, who are not able to earn, because their professions are not needed. And in this sense, one should help them, the government should help them, and it can do it through taxes only. The other thing is that the government can't distribute the taxes it gathers, but it's ineffective, hence, the tax level is high.

Question #6: "How to find the path to a Russian heart? Is there anything that attracts Russians, that may interest them?"

Answer: I think it's honesty, sincerety, truthfulness, this kinds of stuff. I think people don't like and can't pretend. If Russian person is not feeling good, he will not try to seem feeling good, if he's disgusted, he will show he's disgusted, he will not hide behind a mask.
In this sense a Russian person is not an actor, or if an actor, then he lives in his role completely.

Question #7: "What do you do for fun?"
Answer: Drink vodka :-) and bike.

Question #8: "How to Russian people treat each other"
Answer: Very well, because they understand each other.

Question #9: "What the russia people think about the russian cars, in comparation with japanese cars, or american cars"
Answer: Ppfff. What to think? Look at the prices and you'll understand ever ything. But what about supporting Russian prodicers? Supportinig fools, I don't have any willingness for it. I don't want to spend my money on cars that are 15 years old and are dangerous to drive. You can't drive a new car, you should first bring it to the service and see if it's not broken?

Question #10: "Why Russians can face life only through drinking vodka and hiding behind the mask of indifference?"
Answer: Russians perceive reality absolutely without vodka. Vodka is a way to protect themselves from the reality. They understand that a sober person will not be able to perceive such reality..


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Question #11: "What Russian books do you like?"
Answer: I'm a wrong person, because I'm reading foreign books. I can't remember the book I liked, last Summer I read the book "Matador on the Moon", a Russian detective. Of the classical books, I like Lermontov most of all. I adore Lermontov. And I like bible also.
Of the Russian movies I like the Soviet (not Russian!) movies "White Sun of the Desert" and "The Height" ("Vysota") with Vladimir Vysotsky.

 

 

Vladimir

Vladimir

 
Bio:
Vladimir works in a computer club.

Question #1: "What do you think of America and itsworld-dominating politics. Or do you have enough problems in Russia itself, not to worry too much about that?"
Answer:
I don't like America, because they are always like "I, I, I" — they think they are too important.

Question #2: "Do you think life in Russia is very weird?"
Answer: Yes, we have everything in a completely opposite way.

Question #3:
"How Russian newscasters report news to their viewers, including women?"
Answer: Normally. I usually watch NTV and ORT.

Question #4: "Are Russians okay with people from Finland and Sweden now? Long ago we had many wars..."

Answer: I'm ok with them. Finns have great winter coats.

Quesiton #5: "What are prices and taxes like in Russia?"
Answer: Too high.

Question #6: "How to find the path to a Russian heart? Is there anything that attracts Russians, that may interest them?"

Answer: Russian girls like American guys. Russian women like wealth, and they also like kind people and need to be respected.

Question #7: "What do you do for fun?"
Answer: Go to Sport-Bar (on Arbat).

Question #8: "How to Russian people treat each other"
Answer: Ok.

Question #9: "What the russia people think about the russian cars, in comparation with japanese cars, or american cars"
Answer: Shit.

Question #10: "Why Russians can face life only through drinking vodka and hiding behind the mask of indifference?"
Answer: I don't know, maybe because they have nothing else to do.

Question #11: "What Russian books do you like?"
Answer: Gogol, Tolstoy, read Kapitanskaya Dochka not long ago (by Pushkin).

 

Previous comments - leave your below..

Comment (3/11/03): "Everything seems greener on the other side of the fence. I live in Canada and I must struggle to survive. Many people here have turned to drugs and alcohol. This does not solve anything. I would like to live there. There are to many cars here. hope that I can visit someday. "

Comment (8/11/03): "The brutally frank honesty revealed in the Russian's comments is refreshing. Their comments have a truth and irony in them that is both interesting and amusing.
Russians aren't like Europeans and they aren't like Asians either. Their perception of life and each other has been shaped by their geography and environment as well as a history that has not always been kind to them.
Consequently, Russians view the world through a differently tinted looking glass. They see things in a uniquely different color, and the distortions in the glass give them a different perspective as well.
Russians think with their hearts as much as they think with their minds and they don?t always operate on the principles of logic. Russian humor pokes fun at the difficulties of life with a wit that is both cynical and sarcasticѣ and as with all good humor, there?s a shred of truth buried in there somewhere. Western humor just isn?t that funny to them.
It's too bad that the 10% of American's who have this "I" mentality are the ones whose make the most noise and attract the most attention to themselves; their influence is disproportionately felt.
Here are some thoughts to ponder: If America is so reviled, why is it that America has such a problem with illegal immigrants? Does Russia have an immigration or an emigration problem? What is it about the U.S. that attracts people to it? Is it just the money or is it the guarantee of justice and individual freedoms and a society that, for the most part, rewards initiative, creativity, and hard work?"

Comment (16/11/03):
"Like this site because I do really understand Russian people and their lifestyle better. Prepares me for a trip to Russia!"

Comment (18/11/03): "Two of the three people interviewed seem to be educated and what would be upper middle class un the USA. I'd like to hear from an ordinary babushka or anunemployed laborer in Nizhny-Novgorad"

Comment (29/11/03): " I find it rather amusing that Russians seem to define themselves by their relationship with America. Many comments here state they have a dislike or distrust of American policy but not once do they state what those policies are. It all seems childishly silly for a noble people to behave like that. It is no wonder that AMericans neither like or dislike Russians. THey simply don't care. "

Comment (25/01/04): "I'm a russian man. I was living in the Usa for three months and I liked beeing there. The living contitions are much better, the streets are clean and people earn much money. But there was a lack of something that is difficuilt to explain. May be it's the was people treet each other. It's different and for that I love Russia so much. It was so awesome to meet russian people in the USA. Only when you're 10 000 away from your motherland you begin to feel some particular feelings to each person from your country."
 

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