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The Asian Russia - Russian people interviewed in Moscow - May 2006



"I think Russia’s purely Asian. It’s a wild, crazy, Asian country: an eye for an eye and things like that. I’m not sure it’s European at all really." - Ksenya
 

Ksenya: 30 years old, English teacher.
Ksenya from Kazan  


Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “ThereХs a big difference between Americans and other foreigners. Americans are too arrogant, too proud of themselves. They think AmericaХs great and all the rest of the world is nothing. But all the other foreigners are really good people, most of them. IХm talking about people from the West, British people, Italians, Germans. I think anybody else is really cool, really good. Americans just have a funny attitude towards the rest of the world. I donХt like Americans.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “I think there will be only maybe one third of the population left because of AIDS, because of other diseases, because of people behaving in a bad way, killing each other. But the people who will be left they wonХt be Russian, they will be Armenians, Azerbaijanis and so on. Now look at Moscow ш there are almost no real Muscovites left, itХs only those all these different nations. I think it will be a multi-cultural city which I think is a good thing because Russian people, Moscow people, theyХre probably too lazy and too arrogant. ItХs a good thing that new people, new cultures come here. ItХs a really good thing. I think Moscow will change a lot.”

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: “IХm not sure about European. I think RussiaХs purely Asian. ItХs a wild, crazy, Asian country: an eye for an eye and things like that. IХm not sure itХs European at all really.”

Question: "What can a man do to be liked by a Russian woman? What do Russian women respect and like the most?"
A: “IХm not quite sure about other girls but I think most girls like strong men because Russian men are too weak. But for me the most important things are a sense of humor first of all, and then intelligence and then, I donХt know, crazy eyes.”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “Yes, I think there is a lot of racism in Russia but itХs not really towards black people, African black people, because we almost donХt have them. And all of the ones we do have live in a certain region near Belyaevo metro station and we almost donХt see them at all. But we certainly have racism towards all those Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Tadjiks, Uzbeks, all sorts of other nations who are not Russian but come here. But itХs really crazy and I really hate this attitude that most Moscow people have that these people only come here to get money or to get our women because itХs not like that.”

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 think itХs the second reason. Well, probably both really. I think Russian men are just not men at all because they treat women very badly. TheyХre just pigs, theyХre just animals. ItХs not so much money because many Russians are happy to go to any country ш a rich country or a poor country, it doesnХt matter. They just want to get away from the men here.”

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 really like traveling and IХve been around almost all of Russia, hitchhiking here and there. I also went to Italy, the Czech Republic, England and Scotland but I think I like Scotland best of all because the people are great there and I think itХs their sense of humor or something that attracts me. If I had to choose a country to go to it would probably be Scotland.”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “My hobbyХs watching girls getting naked. Or driving cars and being a taxi driver, sometimes for free just because I like talking to people and meeting new people. Also listening to music: rock music, punk music, gothic music.”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “I hate him. Somebody please kill him. I really, really hate him because he only cares about his political ambitions. He doesnХt care about Russia, he doesnХt care about Russian people, he doesnХt care about anything. He only cares about himself and his political ambitions. ThatХs all.”

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 of the government. Because the people we have in power just use people. ThereХs a big difference between the people in power and the rest of the population. Really thatХs why ш because they only do things for themselves. If Russia was really united it would make a big difference”

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

Question: "What do you think of the Russian group TATU and its success?"
A: “I think itХs a really good commercial project. Men are interested in this because its two very young girls, lesbian girls. ItХs perfect because there thereХs nothing else like that here, it has never happened before. I donХt think theyХre a good group but I think itХs brilliant marketing.”

 

 
Fedor: 31 years old, programmer and blues promoter
Fedor from Kazan, Russia


Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “Some Russians are unready for the fact that foreigners can be normal people. And they think about foreigners being too rational and not able to understand that complex and deep Russian soul. But when people of these two civilizations meet, Russians are happy to discover that others can also think and drink, so that makes Russians happy to have close relations.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “Big people here are trying to build the right future and therefore spoiling everything, but life, economy and good things will happen in spite of this. So it will be the same as in a lot of places in the world and it depends more on the person who judges it. My future life will be beautiful, thatХs for sure!”

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 big. A lot of people live in big cities and the capital, so they have access to European and world culture. And in that sense a lot of Europeans in smaller countries live in a village as compared to Russians living in these huge cities. At the same time it takes hundreds and hundreds of civilized years to learn to clean out around the place you live. Russians unfortunately had no such a chance before.”

Question: "What can a woman do to be liked by a Russian man? What do Russian men respect and like the most?"
A: “To be smart, deep, subtle and at the same time not too successful in a practical matters.”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “Yes, there is serious racism, more than in Europe, but not as bad as it may seem from the mass media. In Soviet times we had an official, very international ideology, but it was too artificial, so it finished along with the Soviet Union. Real internationalism can be built only on the values of open society with tolerance to differences of any kind. So Russia is only at the beginning, having only 20 years of experience in that. Unfortunately our government does not help this process."

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: “Some women consider this as a form of career - to marry well. And it's a good one to marry an American because of better life standards. But this is risky stuff, because if someone comes especially to find a wife, there's more chance that he's a maniac. I don't really think that there are really so many Russian women hunting for foreigners. There are plenty of similar American girls, who want to have an easier life by marrying an American lawyer or dentist.”

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've been in a lot of places, but there are still a lot more I want to see. I want to see some big cities IХve never been to like London or New York, or to stay a couple of weeks in the California blues paradise. And also to see some different wild southern nature like in Africa, ocean islands and stuff.”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “Blues music, guitar, Argentinian tango, long talks with beautiful girls.”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “I think he's living is his own dark, evil world and with that perception he's very honest and practical. But I hope to live in another world.”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A: “Russians are always ready to fight with the reality they live in. And they are sometimes surprised to discover that there's nothing to fight with at the moment, so they can relax. This may look unpleasant, but if a Russian looks at you angrily, you know thereХs nothing behind it. We donХt have false smiles like you've always got in western countries. But if you can break through, Russians can be very open for tight relationships that you'll never get with those always-smiling people.”

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: “Maybe these are the two main reasons. You have to be not so smart and have worse conditions at the start to work hard”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A: “To finally change the light bulb in my bathroom.”

Question: "What do you think of the Russian group TATU and its success?"
A: “Nice looking girls, especially if I don't have to listen to their music. Pop culture is completely international and makes no real sense to me.”

Question: "Can a foreigner ever be accepted as a Russian? What would he/she need to do for it to happen?"
A: “Not to be a slabak. That means a weak man, who's trying to make his life more comfortable.”

 

 
Svetlana: Svetlana ш 20 years old, law student, Moscow
Svetlana from Kazan


Question: "What do Russians think about Americans and other foreigners?"
A: “I canХt speak for everyone but my opinion is that I like to communicate with all people but my opinion of Americans is not as good as about people from other nations.”

Question: "What is Russia's future? What will Russian life be like in twenty years?"
A: “I donХt think it will change much in 20 years. I donХt think itХs a time for changes. Maybe there will be some progress but I donХt think our politics will change much.”

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 situated between Europe and Asia and maybe this plays the main role. For European features I think European culture has a big influence now and many people look like them but sometimes I think that the influence of Asia would be better. I donХt think that we get the best features of Europeans like friendliness or working like German people do.”

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 itХs the same as for all women in the world шjust to be friendly, not to be rude and I know that there is such an idea that if a foreigner comes to Russia they will find a Russian woman very easily. But this isnХt true. To get the heart of a Russian woman I think men should do the same as for all other women in the world.”

Question: "Is there a lot of racism in Russia? Do any black people live there?"
A: “Yes, I think so. There are some black people, especially in some universities. And IХve noticed that in the metro when there is a black person he attracts a lot of attention because itХs not ordinary. But two weeks ago I saw a very interesting conversation between a black person and a Russian. They had just met each other and they were very interested in talking to each other. There are some groups of people in Russia who donХt like foreigners here but the other group of people, which is much bigger, is very friendly.”

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 think both. The first reason because of the economic situation here which is bad, but also maybe because in Russia there are more women than men. There is a perception that Russian men beat Russian women but I donХt think this is very widespread.”

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: “As every person I like to travel, I like to see new places, new things, new cultures, to meet new people. If I had to choose a place I would choose India. I want to see the Taj Mahal ш it was a dream in my childhood. And I also like small European countries because I think the atmosphere there is rather romantic. But I donХt like big metropolises with tall buildings, I like the feeling of ancient times in these smaller countries.”

Question: "What is your hobby?"
A: “In my childhood I liked to draw, I liked to dance, I played guitar, I even finished music school but now I donХt do any of that because I donХt have time for it. But I still like to read books.”

Question: "What do you think about Putin?"
A: “I didnХt vote for him but I donХt agree with the perception that heХs a dictator. Yes, he changed a lot here in a non-democratic way but on the other hand I think Russia needs a very strong person in control.”

Question: "Why do Russians often look very closed and sad and don't even smile in their passport's picture?"
A: “Should we do this? I always thought a passport was an official document and so we shouldnХt smile. In general though itХs because of the nature of our nation, our problems and maybe not many people feel happy themselves. ThatХs why they donХt smile. And also there is a Russian saying, Тto smile without reason is the mark of an idiot.У”

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 donХt know how to answer this”

Question: "If you could change one thing to make life better where you live at what would it be?"
A: “For myself, to get a better education. Maybe to get into a university abroad once I finish at MSU.”

Question: "What do you think of the Russian group TATU and its success?"
A: “I think it was something strange for foreigners and maybe it attracted the attention of teenagers. I think so because those were the people who liked this group. Even in my childhood I liked to listen to them but I donХt like the roles they played, I just liked their songs.”

Question: "Can a foreigner be ever accepted as a Russian? What would he/she need to do for it to happen?"
A: “I think itХs impossible because itХs not possible to change the nature of a person. The Russian soul is very unique and not understandable to all other people in the world. You could try to do things like a Russian but you will never understand them. You can wear the same clothes, you can speak Russian without an accent but in your face, in your eyes, it will still be obvious that youХre not Russian.”




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