Living by the Day – Russian people interviewed in Volgograd - October 2006

Author: Dimitry Paranyushkin (on 22 Dec 2009)
"I think the least European character trait of Russian is that we live by one day not being lost in thought about tomorrow’s day..." - Alena

Alena: 19 year’s old, student of psychological faculty in VolSU.
Alena  

Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “ I have own and not very good opinion about Americans, it’s seems to me that they are weak-minded. And another foreigners have own mentality, every nation is interesting and good in own way.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “ I guess Russia will be completely European country in twenty years. It will become more advanced in industrial and cultural aspects. The attitude to Russia has recently changed. If before it was considered as the backward country, at this moment all in another way, Russia is respected. For example, Moscow is almost the capital of Europe now and the most expensive city. ”

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: “ I think it depends on the age of man, people of old Soviet tough are not certainly as democratic as youth. Of cause, our mind is slightly different from European, but I guess our pluses are just in that. Russian people are more open then foreigners. We have got other values and priorities. I think the least European character trait of Russian is that we live by one day not being lost in thought about tomorrow’s day, for example, with natural recourses. We pour water in our houses, flats, not falling to thinking that its stocks are not eternal. We don’t economize unlike Europeans. And the most European aspect is making a career, thirst of a profit.”

Question: "What can a man do to be liked by a Russian woman? What do Russian women respect and like the most?"
A: “ I don’t know. He must be my man in all concepts. To make good money, to be good company, intelligent, not bore, but to be a bit rigid, scum to be short. Well, I don’t know.”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “ Racism certainly is. Sometimes even it frightens. There was some sensational news about beating or murder of foreigners in Russia. But these are single instances, so-called skinheads. And so Russians are benevolent people. A lot of black people live in Russia, especially in the cities where Medical high schools are. Some of these people work and live after studding there, they are very cheerful people.”

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: “ Such women think that life is more supplied abroad then in Russia, they are looking better conditions of life. If to speak about me I wouldn’t marry a foreigner, because there are a lot of worthy men in Russia.”

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: “ My dream is to visit Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is a very beautiful city, they have interesting culture and similar to our mentality. Do you know what difference between Russian and Brazilian? Russian is a pessimist and Brazilian is an optimist. Though I don’t think so, it’s very interesting to compare.”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “ I study to become a psychologist, basically it’s my hobby. Picking in people’s brains is rather interesting thing. I sang earlier, I have even studied on a singer in Volgograd School of Arts. I really like dancing. I am an all-round developed person; a lot of things are interesting for me.”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “ I think he is the most worthy from all our not numerous presidents. He is reliable man. I would like to see him on third presidential term.”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A: “ I don’t know why people don’t smile, I smile on mine personally. And it’s seems that we are closed and sad. We are very emotional and all of our problems are reflected on the faces. But when we’re happy we have smile on a half of face.”

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: “ Only one and clear reason is insufficient financing of such areas as medicine, education, science etc.”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A: “ I would eradicate corruption in bodies of authority.”

Question: "What do you think of the Russian group TATU and its success?"
A: “ I think nothing of TATU and its success. This band is not popular in Russia now as earlier.”

Question: "Can a foreigner ever be accepted as a Russian? What would he/she need to do for it to happen?"
A: “ A foreigner is seen at once, he is visible in crowd. I don’t know what he would need to do to be accepted as a Russian, maybe to live ten years in Russia...”

 

 
Vladimir: 23 years old, works in sphere of electronics.
Vladimir  

Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “ I can’t speak about thoughts of all Russians, but I know the people that like repeat a well-known phrase of our humorist Zadornov: So stupid! I have never told with Americans and other foreigners by personally. I only had a fight with a Chinese man, but it doesn’t matter. I have recently read a book about feminism. The greater part of it tells about education in the USA and France. An author writes that Ministry of Education in California decreed the following – man after secondary school will be considered literate if he can divide 111 on 3 without calculator, can embroider (I don’t remember – by cross or macrame) and know that water has three forms – ice, liquid and steam. But it was considered to know only two forms of water enough earlier. They couldn’t make a compromise at last point and went to governor of California. And he said that people don’t need in this useless thing. Something similar is written about France. For example, their students of third course can’t operate with fractions. And I want to say that opinions of most of Russians are formed with such books and humorous stories of Zadornov. They are very subjective. But I adore stupid American serials Friends and What Jim Said. And after I had watched Friends I wanted to go to New York.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “ I even don’t know what will be with Russia in 20 years. But I will be 43 years old; I will have three children and beloved wife and so on, and so forth. And then I will be sitting in an arm-chair or on verandah somewhere and think what will be with Russia in 20 years.”

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: “ Yes, all of us are European Tatars.”

Question: "What can a woman do to be liked by a Russian man? What do Russian men respect and like the most?"
A: “ Well. And again - Russian girl for Russian guy. It is said - on taste and color all indelible pencils are different. I look on smile at first and I like red girls.”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “ Racism has a place not only in Russia. There are various organizations of nationalism everywhere, even in Africa. Black people live in Volgograd. We have two men in place where I work. When somebody asks Patrick to do something he like saying: What? Have found Negro?”

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: “ You ought to ask women. They want something new maybe. Why do these questions discriminate Russian men?”

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: “ It seems to me that aspiration to travel is in blood of any man, because life is struggle with boredom, and best thing from boredom is discovering new places. I love mountains so if I have enough time I will go to Caucasus. But if I have enough money I will go to everywhere.”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “ If hobby is that you spend free time on then my hobby is meetings with friends and going to gym.”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “ I think nothing about him. I have not spoken with him personally, and everything is shown on the TV-set.”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A: “ I really don’t smile on my passport’s picture. And other photos are thematic that I have. If honestly I think it’s a stupid question, passport is a serious thing with a black-white photo.”

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: “ I don’t see connection. Highly intelligent people are more than 60 years old and these people can only discuss in my opinion. And in general this question is to my father, he just will be 60 soon, he can tell about this theme a lot.”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A: “ I have read somewhere. In brief - one Chinese Wiseman said: When I was young I thought that it’s necessary to change all the people in better side in own country to be happy. When I grew I thought that it’s necessary to change own family in better side to be happy. Now I am old and think that it was necessary to change only myself. I try to follow last opinion.”

Question: "What do you think of the Russian group TATU and its success?"
A: “ When they had started to sing in English language I liked them more then before it.”


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Question: "Can a foreigner ever be accepted as a Russian? What would he/she need to do for it to happen?"
A: “ He must keep silent, smile, nod a head and repeat phrases like ponaehali tuta, svolach nerusskii as more as possible and sing some song of Babkina or Kobzon (it’s a joke). So I think the foreigner can never be accepted as a Russian, unless another foreigner. Even if you came from another city it’s clear. And if you are from other country then more so”

 

 
Ekaterina: 23 years old, manager on selection of the personnel in advertising agency Active Point.
Ekaterina  

Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “ It’s hard to say about all the people! It depends on social environment where you grew in many respects! For example, I was growing in family where father was a lieutenant-colonel and I think my opinion is not objective. But on the other hand now I am in the age when I can have my own opinion. I dislike Americans on few reasons. At first, a great part of them (I mean leaders of country) think that they can do what they want, drop bombs on everybody, dictate own rules to another countries. I am sure that many upheavals and riots (for example, in Ukraine and Georgia) were done on money of the USA! But I am nice to other foreigners and other Russians are nice to them I think. But who is it necessary to consider as the foreigners? This word is associated with Europeanists and Asians in my mind. And these people can do nothing bad to our country.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “ Russia’s future... It’s hard to imagine on this moment if to speak honesty. I guess the future of our country depends on us – people that live in Russia. In twenty years... If rule of country is in the hands of the man who will be interested not to pack his pockets and to lift Russia, to hold positive stability, everything will be all right.”

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: “ I think unselfishness is the least European trait of the Russian mind. Maybe the most European aspect is aspiration to earn money and to try to be independent. But unfortunately it’s not concerned to all the people!”

Question: "What can a man do to be liked by a Russian woman? What do Russian women respect and like the most?"
A: “ If a guy gets out the some transport and gives a hand to a girl, goes to a meeting with a bouquet of flowers, if he opens the door and lets the girl pass forward, this will hook every girl! It is such rarity! And if the guy has suspended tongue then the girl will dress pink glasses and won’t wish to take them off! But unfortunately such guys prove to be the liars and hurt to the girls. I think a man must be honest; it does not depend on situation. This trait is valuable in all the people!”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “ Unfortunately it has a place! It is connected to wars of the 90-th years of last century. Russians have very negative feelings to Caucasians after explosions in Moscow, a capture of the maternity hospital, terrorist act in Beslan! It is possibly not the racism though. Black people live in Russia and it’s normal, because they are very peace-loving I guess.”

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: “ An answer is already in the question! Yes, many foreigners are really gentlemen! This is the main thing and certainly searches of a better life. There are few men who don’t abuse with alcohol and drugs in Russia to our regret. To marry a foreigner is like to get in a fairy tale for the Russian woman. But this fairy tale turns to a nightmare sometimes when the men steal children! But it is happened because of not knowledge own laws and laws of the country where Russian women leave for.”

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, it is pleasant to me! And I would like to go to Tibet if I could have a possibility! This is my dream! I like be immersed in different cultures, it’s really interesting for me. And I still would like to visit European countries (France, Italy, Spain), to go sightseeing of these countries. But it seems to me Tibet is a wonderful place where nature and man live in harmony!”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “ Hobby... Unfortunately I haven’t got enough time for hobby on this moment, because I work a lot. But I want very much love to sports to become my hobby.”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “ I think V.V.Putin is a good president. All the things are known in comparison and after 10 years of disorder he is certainly a positive hero who has got the country from a cesspit and pretends that he washes it. But I don’t understand some moments in his work! There are two examples: he has signed the law that doesn’t include the high school’s studying time in the labor experience. So people who are interested in the high school’s education just throw out these 5 years from their life. Because to study and to work in the same time is impossible (I mean the high schools with teachers who don’t take bribes, in another’s its possible). After it women were deprived of holidays on a care of the child, this time doesn’t include in the labor experience too. I have a question – what state is thinking about? Why should woman think very well and long time before to give birth to the child? And why should she worry for material but not spiritual development of her child! And I don’t understand why Russia has not got the uniform presidential residence. Why do they let themselves ( V.V.Putin in Sochi) to cut down a vast quantity of hectares of wood to make the personal residence? I guess all that things are abnormal in a root!!!”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A: “ I don’t know how to answer this question. Maybe the reason is following – Russians think about pressing needs: how to subsist, to economize on some interesting thing, but not important for ability to live. If to say about passport’s picture. I always was excited with this question, because I wanted to smile on photo. But somebody has thought up this for a long time maybe, and it was kept till now.”

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: “ Because people, who get power, forget the people whom else recently eat from one saucepan with. All of them start to steal (hapat’) money and property – who that can and so many that will suffice on some generations forward. But they can do this because our laws are so imperfect, that you can explain your actions if to employ the lawyer – talker or at least to share a small part of spoil!”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A: “ I want all the people to be honest and happy not thinking that others owe them anything! I wish them to remember the truth – treat with people such way how you want them to treat you.”

Question: "What do you think of the Russian group TATU and its success?"
A: “ I have never thought about it honestly speaking! It seems to me it’s abnormal to propagandize untraditional relations! And pop-duet TATU has got huge success all over the world thanking for this non standard. A correct work of image makers, managers, producers to return money that they invested and to receive profit any way! But it is pleasant for me as for patriot of Russia that Russian band has reached such tops. The main thing is Russia must not associate with beers, red caviar, drunk Gypsies or men (as it is now) and so still girls of untraditional orientation!”

 

 
Vadim: 30 years old, IT-specialist.
Vadim  

Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “ I can’t certainly say about opinions of all Russians. But my thoughts are here: a feeling disappeared that a foreigner is a man from other planet, they are from our planet. Not worth, not better, but they are holders of different culture so they are interesting.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “ Twenty years? It means 2026 year. I know for sure that I will already be old. But we can only suppose of the rest analyzing current situation in the world and in Russia. Economics of Russia will become stronger and further, it lets country increase its political influence in the world even more. And Russia will probably continue to take position as a bridge between two civilizations – Eastern and Western. But I am excited more with another – will Russia be able to use this favorable situation not only for industrial, western progress, but and for spiritual revival? I hope.”

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: “ The least European aspect is uncertainty in themselves and fear of future, the most – Me is important than We.”

Question: "What can a woman do to be liked by a Russian man? What do Russian men respect and like the most?"
A: “ Beautiful and sincere. I respect the following: she will stop a horse in jump, go in house being on fire (it’s a Russian proverb).”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “ No, it’s not. And racism won’t be in Russia. There are artificial attempts to spread it. Black people live, I saw.”

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: “ Only money.”

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: “ Maybe I say something wrong, but I want to see Far East of Russia, Baikal and Kamchatka. There are unique, beautiful and mystical places. These are Scotland, Iceland, Scandinavian countries and Tibet from other countries. I love north very much, its strict, restrained nature and culture. Tibet is one big riddle. It attracts.”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “ Silent hunt – fishing. What to tell about it? We don’t get out the car; don’t take fishing-rods... If to speak seriously I prefer spinning and Volga-Akhtubinskaya poima (flood plain).”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “ He proved to be in necessary time on necessary place for Russia.”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A: “ What place on well-being is Russia on there? Many people are depressed with discrepancy of desires and opportunities besides.”

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: “ Russia doesn’t need all the elements of the periodic table and highly intelligent people for achievement of better life’s level, do it? There are a lot of reasons in my opinion. The main ones are slow-moving, passive system of state management and mercenary state leaders.”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A: “ Myself.”

Question: "What do you think of the Russian group TATU and its success?"
A: “ They proved to be in necessary time on necessary place.”

Question: "Can a foreigner ever be accepted as a Russian? What would he/she need to do for it to happen?"
A: “ No, he can’t. Another culture will give to know about itself.”

 


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