23 June 2005

7 signs of Russianness

This is really retarded of me to write now, because I don't think I can last much longer. It's 1:30 am, I've been losing a lot of sleep for the past week, and I'm seemingly getting sick. <-AVOIDIG RUN-ONS -> The latter is not a surprise, considering that half of the department is in full sneeze mode, and that I have no immune system. Workouts, carrots, no alcohol, and here we are.

One of my favorite newspapers, Izvestia(.ru), published an article in regards to the the traits that make a Russian - well, a Russian (please, no vodka/polar bear/communism jokes). Before I get into the article, I feel the need to explain that I prefer Izvestia over most other publications (excluding Gazeta(.ru), because of its surprisingly patriotic bias. (It is also quite impressive because it covers more general Western issues, which are no longer considered politically correct to discuss in the actual West. ) In constrast, most other Russian papers are highly and overtly politically and socially critical (insert angry rant on the faulty "Western" perception of the alleged censorship in the Russian press here). My own nationalistic leanings (admittedly somewhat mythic) lead to much disappointment due to the lack of patriotism on the part of both Russians at home and abroad, even in contrast to other slavic nations.

This is not the time nor the place to get into types of nationalism of the Old World (based on ethnicity) verus that of the New World realities (based on citizenship), though it should be said that what I call the "chihuahua syndrome" is of obvious importance (the smaller the country, the greater the self-defense mechanism expressed via nationalistic tendencies). (Unfortunately, Russians still do not realize the violent demographic changes comparable to medieval plagues that are currently occurring and the consequent noticeable country size change likely to come.) Of course, the political turbulence of the past 100 years has also made us too cynical and apathetic as a nation, leading to decreased love of the Fatherland. This is the reason why I am pleased with a slight lean towards patriotic youth movements within the country and the potential improvements they may bring about.

Returning to the specifics at hand - I just noticed that Izvestia's website is too slow to cooperate, which means that I won't be able to recall the entire article. It suffices to state that its points were somewhat primitive - grouping through language, blood, religion et alia. Many of these groupings were expectedly limited by the author or dismissed entirely. One of the main issues linked to this obvious list and completely ignored is the fact that Russian seems to be the only language that I am aware of, in which there is a distinction between Russian (Russkij) and a citizen of Russia (Rossijanin). However, the author did make a somewhat related distinction between Russian-speaking (Russkojazychnyj) and Russian - a term used increasingly abroad for obvious reasons. I am unaware of the word's (Rossijanin) etymology and the origins of this distinction, but I strongly suspect that it too is based on the geo-historic limits of our Empire.

Second (I believe this was the author's conclusion), I was a bit puzzled by the author's suggestion that we, as Russians, must adapt and change our souls, which he describes as too open and easily susceptible to being hurt, in order to survive. In addition to the fact that the assumption of our collective possession of a thing called a Russian soul is in direct contradiction to his earlier cosmopolitan points (I guess there is hope for him yet!) , the proposition to artificially self-modify was bothersome, as it suggested the removal of the properties that distinguish us as a nationality. The author ignored the past century and the effects of communism, which has made Russians much less trusting and open than their prior ("original"?) state - therefore, he should've suggested a return to this very state instead.

Third, my quest to self-situate as a Russian is another consequence. There is a tension between my incomplete ethnic Russianness and my patriotism (including my Orthodoxy); the tension is inscreased by my emigre status - its decreased awareness of the factuality of life in Russia-as-it-really-is (in the modernist sense) and its simultaneous heightened purist and fierce preservation of Russian culture-as-it-should-be. (" ")

Dot. Dot. Dot. Time to sleep.


Anonymous said...

Ahh yes. The great russian pride. I do like the grandeur of their ceremonies. As exemplified by this clip, say: http://fishki.net/video/golub.wmv

Anonymous said...

That was classic stuff!

GUSTAV-M said...

Nina...you forgot to mention the most important contemporary documents which have an immense impact on the thinking on the Russians (especially Moscovites) of today

..the Ikea Spring Catalogue and the a new brochure for the newest line of Nokia camera phones.

GUSTAV-M said...

Nina...you forgot to mention the most important contemporary documents affecting the psyche of your countrymen...

The Ikea Spring Catalogue and a brochure for the newest line of Nokia Camera Phones...

Jokes aside, I do now understand your affinity for the four legged weiners..