Socialism, Past and Present – Interviews with Russian people from Vladimir - July 2005

Author: Dimitry Paranyushkin (on 22 Dec 2009)
"All our natural instincts are European. Everything that we absorbed while going through history is Asian. " - Vladimir


Mark Solomonovitch: a retired engineer from Vladimir
Mark from Vladimir Russia

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A. If our political system remains as it is, Russia will fall apart. We will have several very small principalities in twenty years.

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia?"
A. Yes, we have it but it is not obvious. Like when I wanted to be hired as an engineer instead of “We don’t need you” they said “We already have too many Jews”

Question: "Do you like to travel and see new places and cultures, and which country would you most like to visit if you could travel anywhere and why."
A. I never traveled abroad. But I have a dream. My dream is a week in Paris.

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A. One more oil hole. Just kidding… To be serious, I’d like to change principles of selecting people who occupy powerful and leading positions. They just take people from the middle of nowhere and raise them from dirt without any reason. Like in case with our prime-minister Fradkov. I’ve never heard about him before his arousal.

Question: "Can a foreigner be ever accepted as a Russian? What would he/she need to do for it to happen?
A. He or she needs to be dead drunk and not to be able to say a word. Or deep in sleep.

Question : "What do you do for fun?"
A. I have 3 things in mind. They all kind of go together. The first to be mentioned is hunting. I love hunting. It’s a passion of my life. I love hunting dogs. These are two. And the third one is writing hunting stories. I just finished my first book about dogs and hunting. It’s called “My beloved dogs”.

Question : "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A. It is normal for every nation to hate others. We don’t have blacks. May be, 10 African International students in our town. That’s all.

Question : "what is the most popular food that you eat?"
A. My favorite and most of my friend’s favorite is shish kebab.

Question "What do Russian men do special for a girl at any point in time to show they like a girl?
A. You need to impress her. You need to be or seem to be generous and charming. Try this. It works!

Question : "How do you feel about foreigners who come through Russia? Tourists or Long-term?
A. I don’t care. Feel nothing against them until they try to do some business here. We don’t need their investments. I am not a fool. I just don’t want our officials to take advantage of Western money investing in Russian economy. You know, it always beneficial for them only.


Oksana, 30, a literature agent, Vladimir
Oksana from Vladimir

Question: "What can a man do to be liked by a Russian woman? What do Russian women respect and like the most?"
A. To ask her to marry him. The quicker – the more likable he is.

Question: "Why are so many Russian women looking to marry a man from the west. Is this because of more money and a better life or is it that russian men do not treat russian women well?"
A. Woman has to believe in something. We need illusions and sweet dreams in our life. Some think they will get a better treatment, some think they will be happy. Everyone has his or her own understanding of love.

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A. I like to go for a walk and think, think think things over…

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A. It is a common believe in Russia that smile is an indication of being foolish and slow. Russians, most likely, simply have a very understandable desire to
look more or less smart and clever.

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Question : "What are the good and bad things about Russia?"
A. I like people in particular, taken one by one. This is a good thing about Russia. A bad thing is when all these wonderful people begin to communicate and interact with each other. It happens at home, at work. It is a real nightmare. A bad thing is how they treat each other.

Question : "What can you say about president Bush?"
A. I like him better than Ketchup, I am sorry, Karry…Bush is not extraordinary but he is appropriate. I like Ketchup very much, by the way.

Question : "What clothes are in style in Russia? Are Russian styles different from American styles?"
A. The word for American style is “convenience”. “Expensive” would be the right one for Russian style. Mom told me that if something is expensive she wants to buy it. It gives you a feeling that you are investing money in yourself.

Question : "what is your favorite food to eat?"
A. Boiled chicken.

Question : "now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of each sistem would you like to return to the socialist regime?"
A. Socialism? No, God keep me away from it. Bad capitalism is much better that good socialism!


Vladimir Krakovsky 72, a Russian writer, Vladimir
Vladimir Krakovsky from Vladimir Russia

Question: "It has been said that Russia is both European and not. What is the most European aspect of the Russian mind,and what is the least?"
A. All our natural instincts are European. Everything that we absorbed while going through history is Asian.

Question: "What can a woman do to be liked by a Russian man? What do Russian men respect and like the most?"
A. She needs to have a complex of features. Not just one remarkable thing. But will keep the list to myself. And very important point! Before doing something she needs to have a Face. A face of a cirtain quality? I mean. There are faces that you can do nothing to be liked by a man.

Question: "Do you like to travel and see new places and cultures, and which country would you most like to visit if you could travel anywhere and why."
A. I’d like to go to Athens. It makes my heart trembling to see things and stones that are over 3 thousand years old.

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A. I like to take pictures of my friends.

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A. He is a nice guy but far from being a political genius. He is not catching stars from the sky, we call it.

Question : "Are you disgusted that there are some people in Russia such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky (currently in jail) that have been able to become billionaires in less then 10 years (since the demise of the CCCP) while the average Russian worker only earns about 100 USD per month? Especially since these people have made their money by "acquiring" formerly state owned (CCCP) industries."
A. I am very proud of him. I respect him very much. He has made all his money in accordance with our Law. Those who issued the Law like this are those who are responsible for the unfair game.

Question : "What is the one thing that you have done so far in your life that you are most proud of?"

A. I don’ really know what specifically needs to be changed. But I vote for gradual changes. I care about people’s psychics. What we’ve experienced within last 20 years is really damaging for many of the Russians, mentallywise.

Question : What do you think about the influence of the English language in the russian, especialy with the introduction of the occidental music and the internet?
A. I think Russian language will stand it. We will chew it and spit it out. It the XIX-th century 63 per cents of the words in Russian language have been borrowed from French. And nothing bad happened. Only languages of small populations can be assimilated and disappear. Russian is not one of them.

Question : "What the russian people think about the russian cars, in comparation with japanese cars, or american cars"
A. I, personally, don’t drive a car but my friends from Moscow,, also writers, do. From what they say about Russian cars I know that it feels like seating in a fishcan while riding or driving a Russian car.

Question : "Would you ever consider emigrating or moving to UK or any other country? If so what would be your reasons."
A. No way. I am a Russian writer and like a fish on a river shore I will die without the Russian language.


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