Europe, Russia, Life, Editor's Choice

From Russia with Lies: 7 Misconceptions About Russians

The Western media loves to portray Russia as the country of eternal snow and Russians as brave people who are doing some crazy stuff. Everyone jokes about Russians riding bears and walking barefoot in the winter, but how true is all of that? I mean, let’s be honest, they are as human as anyone else.

1. It’s Always Winter

That’s how many of us believe it is, but here I am to disappoint you. Russia is a vast country, so there are indeed very cold regions, especially near the north pole where, during the winter months, temperatures go below -50 C, but even there the snow melts down for a couple of weeks in the summer, when the temperatures are about +5C. On the other hand, due to its dimensions, you can find regions in the south where it’s above 0 year round, making it the ideal summer vacation spot for people from across the country, like Sochi, the host city of the 2014’s Olympic Games.

2. Russians Wear ”Ushanka’s”/ “Shapka” All Year Long

No, and again no! This type of hat used to be very famous during the USSR, and it was efficient and warm as well, but it’s not true that everyone wears it. It’s mostly the generation of people above 50 who still wear and love them, as a nostalgic item of their youth. The younger generation has the same sense of fashion as their peers everywhere in the world, meaning they rarely wear this hat themselves, as it doesn’t look nice at all.

3. Every Russian Lady Wants to Marry a Westerner

No, they don’t. It is true that Russian girls are dreaming of founding a family from a very young age and for many of them marriage and kids represent a way of accomplishing themselves, but they are not all gold diggers. Love, after all, is said to be blind and without nationality. The fact that there are so many jokes about it is offending, after all, it’s not fair to compare everyone to a couple of bad examples you might’ve heard at some point.

4. Everyone Supports Putin

Putin has been Russia’s leader for 17 years now, and though he improved a lot in his first terms, like the quality of life of his citizens, he’s not the nice guy anymore, and people are starting to see it more clearly. He’s going to have some strong competitors from the opposition next election.

5. Russians are Rude

They are not rude, the culture itself is just way different than the western one. People are charming and friendly with their close ones, but in public they prefer to cut the small talk and not to waste their energy unless necessary. I mean who can be friendly after all, when you have to go to work early in the morning?

6. All the Russians are Slavs

Russia is a country of 150 million citizens they don’t all look the same. Russians can be of any shape, color, and even different races too. So stop assuming they all are blue-eyed blondes!

7. Everyone Drinks Vodka and is Missing the USSR

Not really, some people of the older generation may be nostalgic about the USSR, as it was the time when they were young and happy (who’s not happy when they’re young), generally, though, everyone has a different opinion about the past of the country. Moreover many are glad the USSR ended. As to vodka, it’s simply the cheapest and most accessible alcohol, so it’s not a matter of taste, as it is a financial issue.

What other stereotypes do you have about Russia and Russians? Let me know, and we can bust those myths!

About Dani Tadamn

Daniela is an energetic Moldovan and a professional Expat, traveling around Europe and now living in Ireland.

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