Racism and Superpower – Russian people interviewed in Moscow - November 2006

Author: Dimitry Paranyushkin (on 22 Dec 2009)
"Racism is likely to be the result of a small portion of our population and it does not reflect the mind of millions of other Russians. " - Vyacheslav


 
Nikita.
Nikita  

Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “ Well, for some reasons, I was always fond foreigners. I like to communicate with them, regardless of their nationality. It is interesting and it could give you more objective ideas of other cultures.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “ To tell the truth, I don’t know, Russia’s future is very vague. The only thing I can say is that because of technical progress it’s impossible that Russia returns to its past.”

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: “ Maybe the most Russians, which also happen to be the least Europeans, are laziness and indefference towards things which would be extremely important for someone from Europe (rules, ambitions, etc...). And the most European aspect...are there any particular European aspects of mind in Russian people? I don’t know.”

Question: "What can a woman do to be liked by a Russian man? What do Russian men respect and like the most?"
A: “ I think that Russian men like beauty in women, though it’s not original it’s understandable. As for me, I respect and appreciate the intelligence in women, which is a bit more important than beauty. An intelligent woman doesn’t mean a bore.”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “ About racism - I don’t know if there is a lot, but there is enough to be worried about. No, there are not many black people in Russia, but there are lots from Caucaso, and they are often the object of racial prejudice.”

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: “ I don’t know exactly, I think it’s just because of money. Very simple. Russian men treat women differently, but in my opinion most of them treat them normally.”

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: “ Yes, I like travelling. Unfortunately I can’t travel as much as I wish. I would visit Italy, every italian city, since I’m keen on Italian language and culture.”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “ I prefer to spend my sparetime watching movies, listening to music, learning laguages.”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “ I don’t like him for many reasons. The way how he looks like...it’s important to look nice, easygoing, especially for a politician.”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A: “ I don’t think that indeed so many Russian people look very sad, but those who look so, well, I guess they have many things to think over.”

Question: "In spite of having all the elements of the periodic table in its territory and millions of highly intelligent people, Russia has never managed well enough. Why?"
A: “ It’s an everlasting question. No one could answer it. Anyway, if anybody will ever find a solution, nobody will listen to him/her I’m afraid. Personally I do not know why it is like this.”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A: “ I would pay more attention to the social security and would somehow remove the people’s aggression against each other, a fair amount of which I can see every day”
 


 
Marina & Nikolay.
Marina & Nikolay  

Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A(her): “ It is a complex question, in general I must say Russians do not particularly like Americans. This depends on the opposition between Russia and the US. Other foreigners are to us interesting people because we can study their cultures, lifestyle etc”
A(him): “ They have another mentality, they are very naive...like children.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A(her): “ Russia will be the great power. I think alongside China, we will be the strongest nation”
A(him): “ Russia will become a very strong and advanced nation with capitalist system of economy and high standard of life.”

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(her): “ According to me the most european aspect of Russia is the capital, and perhaps San Petersburg. The least european aspect is the countryside”
A(him): “ The European – standard of life, the Russian - culture and folklore.”

Question: "What can a woman do to be liked by a Russian man? What do Russian men respect and like the most?"
A(her): “ Cooking a nice dinner, wear some elegant clothes and be clever”
A(him): “ She needs to a have a sexual attractiveness. Men also respect honesty and devotion.”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A(her): “ Nowadays there is lots of racism in Russia. Though, there is an explanation: most of the crimes in Russia are committed by immigrants”
A(him): “ Yes, there is racism. Also there are many black people living in Russia.”

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(her): “ I do not agree with this question. Yes, of course there are Russian women wishing to marry a western man, but also Europe count such kind of women. I think it is a question based on someone’s individual preferences”
A(him): “ The main reasons are financial safety and better conditions of life.”

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(her): “ I like a lot travelling. I think Italy is the most interesting country for me, I love their culture and language”
A(him): “ Yes I enjoy travelling. Destinations like SouthAfrica, Madagascar, and Latin America, are definitely places I am attracted by.”


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Question: "What is your hobby?"
A(her): “ My main hobby is to learn foreign languages. Then I like wines and viticulture. I regularly go swimming”
A(him): “ Sport.”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A(her): “ I think Putin is a very strong and clever person, for Russia he is surely the best President”
A(him): “ A clever man.”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A(her): “ First of all, it is a bad habit inherited from the Communism. Then comes our severe climate, particularly during the winter”
A(him): “ It just depends on people’s mood. Concerning passport, well, it is not permitted.”

Question: "In spite of having all the elements of the periodic table in its territory and millions of highly intelligent people, Russia has never managed well enough. Why?"
A(her): “ The thing is that in Russia everyone is a strong and clever person, but when in team we cannot react the proper way nor we can work correctly”
A(him): “ the main reasons – non advanced control system, and many regions are independent from the centre, Moscow.”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A(her): “ The bureacracy and the mentality of the Russian people”
A(him): “ The Parliament and the legislative policy”
 


 
Vyacheslav.
Vyacheslav  

Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “ I consider Americans as friends and have no problems with them, the same it is with my family. When in the US people were very kind to me, and I think there is a lot we could learn from Americans, in terms of making business for instance. To me foreigners have always meant one thing: a precious source for exchanging ideas and values, learning from each other cultures.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “ With no exceptions we have to become a fully democratic country and I believe the life of average Russians will then improve.”

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: “ Russia is Europe and personally I can’t even understand what people go talking about, nor I can detect big differences between Russians and Europeans. French was the language of the elites, our people extensively lived throughout Europe. I do not deny some aspects of our culture are connected to the East, but this influences are limited.”

Question: "What can a woman do to be liked by a Russian man? What do Russian men respect and like the most?"
A: “ I like women who show love to their families and children and desire to be with a man for the long term. I then enjoy beauty, kindness, and good sense of fashion.”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “ Of course it exists but it has nothing to do with me, I respect foreigners. Racism is likely to be the result of a small portion of our population and it does not reflect the mind of millions of other Russians. Before speaking of racism in Russia it should be understood that foreigners are quite a new thing in here and people need time to get used. It is natural.”

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: “ Well I reckon there is the idea that life is more stable abroad, but personally I know no woman who did that... As regards the way we treat our women, we treat them well.”

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: “ Honestly now I have no particular wish to travel, probably because I am not young anymore. I am happy with my life the way it is. Of course I travelled in the past and maybe there are couple of places I would still like discovering, Italy and UK for instance. Though, I would need some extra money to do that.”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “ I am a scientist and not retired yet... This is why I like investigating, discovering, studying. I love music and sports, learning new languages. In my life I have never smoked or drunk and I believe in the healthy way of life. Yet, despite my age (82), I take long strolls everyday and sky a bit in the winter. I stopped playing tennis only a short time ago. Also I would like to say I love skating, that’s right where I met my wife!”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “ Putin is trying to do his best but he is of course far from perfection and you can’t even say he is doing things 100% democratically. Governing Russia is not an easy task though (yet many people feel nostalgic about the Soviet Times and obstruct changes), and Putin is probably thinking that in the near future he will be given the chance to act more democratically.”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A: “ During Soviet Times Do not smile was like a command, some of us probably are still living with that. Concerning the lack of smiling people in our streets they are probably busy, tired, etc...”

Question: "In spite of having all the elements of the periodic table in its territory and millions of highly intelligent people, Russia has never managed well enough. Why?"
A: “ The problem is to be found in the lack of freedom Russia has suffered from for ages. I remember during Soviet Times our trams used to display a warning like "do not put your head out of the window", should we wish to paraphrase that it sounds like stay calm, do not be active. People could not show their skills and new ideas were far from being encouraged, lots of them opted for emigration.”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A: “ I would like to live in a more democratic country and be able to enjoy a wider range of opinions”
 




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