Saturday, February 10, 2007

Russian Pride

(This entry is not about Moscow Pride - although that might also deserve attention in the blogosphere - but about the pride of the Russians.)

Yesterday an article appeared, in which 75% of Russians are quoted to find that Russia has its own way and almost 50% see the EU as a threat. Interesting quotes such as “benefits come from the West, but the Truth lives in Russia” are found there.

Another interesting finding is that “although it has been possible for Russians to go abroad for fifteen years, 42% of Russians would say The Netherlands and Holland are different countries”. Funny question to ask, it seems the investigators who made the survey had no access to Wikipedia.

The article explains Russian self-centeredness from long isolation. Themes pretty much confirmed in my 1909 guide book. It has an article on National Pride (Nationalstolz). That article makes a distinction between the higher social classes (said not to have a strong national pride) and the ordinary Russian (said to believe the Russians were blessed by God more than other peoples.) The latter group even believed that the Saints spoke Russian, and the book warns the Germans not to discuss the national origin of the national patron Saint Nicholas with ordinary farmers. Interestingly enough the book claims that St. Nicholas was an Italian. Wonder where they got that from. It even warns to stay away from discussions about the military or politics. Talking too much about that might have lead to being considered a spy a hundred years ago!

The article points to another article about Slavophilism, the movement thought to believe that Western civilisation was shaped around three themes: the Catholic church, ancient Roman culture and invasionist politics. The Russian peoples however submitted voluntarily to their overlords, the Varangians. This created a harmony between the different classes in society, the church and the Tsar. This harmony was destabilised by Peter the Great, who introduced Western ideas about nobility. The true Russian spirit was said to have survived amongst the commoners. They were the representatives of the true Russian spirit, as passed down from generation to generation. The spirit consists of spiritualism, trust in the government and obedience.

It would be interesting to see if the features described above made the Russians susceptible to Socialism. There should be at least some studies. I did not find much online, although my searches did yield some other interesting facts.

UPDATE: see what I mean?

1 comment:

coen van zwol said...

Don't underestimate the large percentage of Russians that Holland is a land of snow, ice and gletchers, where Innuit hunt seals. Some tend to mix it up with Grenlandia ...