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Go East!..

August 14, 2009

This is irrational.

(A brief output, summarizing my trip to Russia ))

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Life is racing in sharp curves with no warning signs: one moment you raise the next moment you plummet. Unpredictable, wild jungle, full of brilliant opportunities for those who play it right and sense the direction of the blow. Giants and Lilliputians, taking sides, switching sides.

Under the right financial, environmental and social conditions, Russia can be quite a nice place to stay in.. for a while. Basically, this can be said about almost every place in the world, but I’d like to focus on the largest country in Europe, which staggered my imagination with its paradoxical, irrational exquisite-savage nature.

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Some amusing details and facts about Russians:

  • What I used to think of as “aggressive driving” appears to be a tranquil, snail-like wheel rolling comparing to a Russian driving style. There is no particular style at all, people just press the gas, exercising all possible high-speed car maneuvers. There is an old joke about a man who is driving a tank, stopping at an intersection to check out if there are no other tanks in the neighborhood and then drives on, ignoring the traffic. This joke is applicable to Russian ‘road reality’: massive vehicles rule. A kind advice for chickens: do not cross the road!

  • Only in Russia (and maybe Finland) people conduct business meetings in a sauna. Genetic alcohol resistance allows them to consume quantities of vodka, lead negotiations, reach compromise and sign contracts at the same time… all this at a temperature of 50 degrees at least. Informal, relaxing atmosphere successfully combined with vapor and alcoholic intoxication – must be a “win-win” solution.

  • Almost every decent Russian has his own, personal fortune-teller. It’s like owning a mobile phone: a must-have, period. Nobody makes a fuss of it any longer. Under continuous transition, unstable environmental conditions and regular constraints people tend to become superstitious. Fortunetellers gain popularity among all segments of the population: from businessmen to housewives (not necessarily desperate)).

  • Self-medication as well as folk-medication is another widely practiced tradition, which incorporates common beliefs, practical instructions and superstitions all in one.

  • Conservative bias strongly engraved in patriarchal society impose their influence upon the modern life in Russia. I was occasionally exposed to preaching by the senior representatives of the population commenting the way my child is dressed (I’ve already noticed, that children, inadequately muffled up in several layers of clothes in almost any time of the year is a normal practice, which origin probably lays in the severe Russian climate).

  • “Babushkas” – an informal term for “old ladies”, rule the private sector of the roadside retail )) A variety of flowers, berries (mainly raspberries, bilberries, strawberries etc – depending on the time of the year), home made jam and all sorts of home made pickles is offered for a relatively cheap price. Alongside, blending with the natural landscape, Tadzhik children of all ages make their living by begging, holding a quantitative advantage over the “babushkas”.

*       *       *

Russia, is a genuine thesaurus of human precious gray material: despite the coup d’état in 1991 and the socioeconomic disasters followed by it, prompting thousands of people to evacuate the country, a high percentage of scientists, scholars, writers and artists still have one common denominator – their origin.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lina permalink
    August 17, 2009 5:10 pm

    funny facts:-)

    • ostrix permalink*
      August 18, 2009 6:00 am

      Yes, and these were the censured and the humble ones ))

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