Chronic Russians. I part
20/08/2003, Sergey Volkov
Do you like the extreme, the vodka, and swearing? You must go to Russia. To the country where the main pro-authority party has chosen a bear as its symbol. A brown bear. Many residents of former USSR consider Russia to be their historical Motherland. Many other ex-Soviet Union inhabitants during discussions use the following argument: "You better go to your historical Motherland!" while actually in this Motherland visitors are immediately labeled by ethnic definitions.
For instance, all Kazakhstanis, no matter what their ethnic group is, are called "Kazakhs". As for the federal (that is Muscovite) TV channels, they are not tired of talking every day about some historical greatness of the Russian people. From other nations only Chechens are mentioned, as well as famous "ethnic Caucasians". And this happens in the country where more than 100 ethnic groups live! Honestly, for a Kazakhstani person, who yet under Dinmukhamed Kunayev learnt that the internationalism is not an empty word, but the most efficient way to live happily, it is quite difficult to understand the
difficulties of Russian inner politics. On the other hand, an acquaintance with life realities in say Kazan shows clearly that such pressure of super-pro-Russian policy on other Russian peoples, - provokes a firm counter-action. And Kazan Tatars do it quite well. Even sports events they comment from such positions: "That’s how Kazan showed to Muscovites, HOW to play it!" From such expressions the second confrontation is born within the Russian society: "Muscovites and the province". The "province" in Russia is defined by Muscovites. In other remaining 88 subjects of the Federation they use some other definitions: a "region", a "republic", an "oblast" etc. At the same time they don’t like Moscow, they’re afraid of it, and they want to go there. It is just like New York in USA, - hundreds of thousands go there to
become champions; but only single cases are lucky. True, in USA there are other centres of gravity for the ambitious. And in Kazakhstan there are at least three of them.
In 145-million populated Russia there is only one such city - Moscow.
Isn’t it too little?.. Now about swearing. It is a life reality in Russia. Everybody swears there. And almost always. It’s even difficult to say, in which cases Russians do not use such idiomatic expressions. Teenagers, girls, adults, the old, construction workers, government members and party leaders, pop-stars and academicians.
They swear in all circumstances and in any company. And it’s far from being always treatening. You can’t even say that it’s for "colouring" local dialects. The latter is done rather by parasite words like the following: "like", "you know what I’m sayin’", "c’mon" etc. Generally speaking, they don’t swear in Russia in the first sense of
it (threatening). And only those who are heavily drunk attempt to carry the banner of swearing, as a hard language, high. By the way, about drunks. Naturally, there are ten times more people living in Russian Federation, than in Kazakhstan. But still the scale of alcohol consumption cannot, but impress a visitor. From any country.
They drink always and everywhere. Managers of big companies do, poor proletarians do, students and workers do, scientists do. They drink at home, at work, on the street, in the underground, in a subway, in a restaurant, in a bar, in a pub, in a summer cafe, in a zoo, in a theatre, at a stadium. It is difficult to say where the Russians DON’T drink. From the early morning.
A hurricane of beer ads sweeping these territories literally destroyed the last abstaining regimens. Jars, bottles, huge plastic packs, filled with beer, naturally degraded this people. At the same time nobody forgot about vodka or "port" here. In Russia already in an airport or on a railway station you are met with the fumes of post-alcohol stench. The same happens in the underground and in any company that you join. There is an impression that they can neither think nor talk without a drink here. Moreover, it’s all done excessively, noisily and the main thing in the presence of children. Of their own children. And without any remorse.
I don’t know if various specialists asserting that Russians have a special genetic predisposition to any spirit containing product. But it is a fact that a huge number of small kids see their parents drunk as swine from their early childhood. I’m not sure that it should be called a "special genetic predisposition".