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My Russian mentality: We are an impatient nation

By DHD ( Updated: 2014-08-28 15:48

I am writing to help you understand my Russian mentality and the culture I come from.

It is easy for Western people to say other Westerners are friendly, caring and down to earth and never get mad but that Russians are extremely rude, to the point that you have a negative disposition to them. There are many factors which may serve to give the idea that Russians are rude, but it is a cultural thing.

In Russian culture, the idea of friendship and being open to strangers, even other Russians, is something very difficult to do.

In English, we have words such as friend and acquaintance which describes the level at which you know someone; either very well or just in passing.

In Russian, they have words like dryug = friend, znakomi = acquaintance, neznakomi = someone you don't know or you barely know them and so on.

The idea behind it is that in the West, we can easily say someone is a friend without them truly being one. In Russia, people are given borders or limitations to their relationship with someone until they do things with that person. For example, in Russia, it is very difficult for me to become friends with someone because of their friendships with others they went to school with, served in the Kremlin with or who they have worked with. If I was not part of that area, it is difficult for me to open up freely.

Russian culture and Russian society has, for a very long time, been separated from outside cultures. During the times of the Russian Empire, there was very little outside interaction with foreign cultures, and during Soviet times, when my father and I would be talking with foreigners it always leads to the KGB following us and trying to spy on us to understand our fascination with foreigners. It is only within the past few years that I have grown less resistant to foreigners, but it still lingers in my mind sometimes because the things in that I experienced in my past.

Another thing which people don't understand is that, while it seems that Russians are yelling at each other and aggressively talking, Russians just talk loudly to one another. We are very blunt and honest people, and when my foreign friends and I talk, sometimes we can be too blunt and they will take offense at that. You just have to remember that Russians are sometimes not the most diplomatic people and we may come across as aggressive.

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