Thursday, 12 January 2012 21:14

Stereotypes About Russia

The reds are coming! The reds are coming! This is just another RUSSIAN STEREOTYPE that is popular around the globe. Russia is a country that is still a mystery for many who have never visited it, or have been educated about Russia.

Russian furry hats, communism, bears, vodka, cold winters, Russian mafia, and unshaven/filthy people, are some of the most popular stereotypes about Russia and  Russian people. Although most of these are just jokes, some people really believe that Russia is still communist, and that bears walk around the streets. Russia is still a place that continues to mystify people, and has people laughing about Soviet-era stereotypes. 

Russian furry hats, or shapka-ushankas in Russian, are probably the most associated thing with Russia. Typically, when one sees this hat, one says, “Oh, you have a Russian hat with ears.” The ushanka hat  in Russia is typically worn by tourists, and less often not by the Russians. But the ushanka hat stereotype is not fading away anytime soon.

The communist stereotype has been around since the beginning of the Soviet Union. Typical jokes referring to Stalin, Lenin, and Gorbachev are still popular in America and the west today. Common references to strong, working women and the comrade-like relationship between all citizens in Russian society even today. The political situation in Russia today is also called communistic by several, using and abusing the communist stereotype. 

Cold winters, bears on the streets, and vodka are other popular stereotypes about Russia. It is a common thought that Russia always is cold year round, and has horrible winters. It is true that Russia experiences harsher winters than other countries, but there are periods of warm weather in spring to fall. The vodka factor in the equation is explained by saying that all people in Russia drink vodka. Kids, grandparents, and adults alike drink vodka. This stereotype is far from true. It can be said that Russia has a problem with alcohol abuse just like  any other country, but not all people drink vodka of course. The common stereotype of having bears walking on the streets instead of dogs is completely false. Bears do perform in circuses around Russia, but the bear is one of the national symbols of Russia. Owning a bear as a pet is madness, even to Russian people. =)

The Russian mafia stereotype is not what it used to be, but it still exists. In the aftermath of the Soviet Union, it can be said that the mafia in Russia was rampant with crime and murder. After the rise of Putin, the mafia and crime decreased drastically. The Russian mafia exists to some extent, but it is safe to walk the streets at night, and of course to open a business in Russia. Unfortunatelly, bribes are still taken by almost all officials including cops, so perhaps, it can be said that the cops are the mafia. =)

Everyone around the world enjoys Russian stereotypes. Although they are fun in nature, they are far from being truthful. The Russian nation and people are intelligent, modernized, and cultured. One will have his or her stereotypes broken after a short visit to the Russian Federation. Though, we all have stereotypes for all nationalities, the Russian stereotypes are one of a kind.

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