How to understand the Russian culture (or Soviet culture) via an Asian perspective
Photo credits to mytripolog.com
Okay, I’m not an expert in Russia, or the Slavic culture in general, but there are things I have discovered as I re-learn the Russian culture and of course, some of its politics (well, I have to admit, aside from Japan, I also like Russia, all thanks to the late singer Origa, I do give credit to her; if not because of her, I would never ever appreciate Russian culture—tell me guys where her grave is).
If you are already familiar with Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournikova, and t.A.T.u., or Vitas, well—they might not be a good help if you’re going to learn and understand what RUSSIAN culture IS all about, in an Asian point of view.
Here are some discoveries I made:
1.) Never ever overlook Mongolia and Central Asia, particularly Kazakhstan –
Forget about Borat. Well, even though Borat was the culprit of promoting tourism in Kazakhstan, I never watched the film, and I have no interest in watching so. What made me curious about Kazakhstan is of course, it’s status as a former Soviet nation.
Speaking of Mongolia though, one could never ever understand the ethnic groups such as the Buryat and the Kalmyk if they don’t look at the Khalkha Mongolian culture first. In addition, Mongolia was a satellite communist state of the Soviet Union, long before it welcomed democracy that eventually replaced communism.
2.) Learning how Russia strongly influenced Mongolia and Kazakhstan would be a good help.
While Kazakhstan is a patriotic country that takes pride of itself as Kazakh, it still retains most number of people speaking bilingually in Kazakh and Russian. While Kazakh is becoming more widespread in Kazakhstan, the good news is, the government still plans to make Kazakh and Russian at equal status, speaking of what language must be used.
Meanwhile, Mongolians look up to the Russians as their brothers and sisters. While the Mongolians remain proud of their national heritage, and despite the fact that English is quickly replacing Russian as their second language/L2 (all thanks to President Ts. Elbegdorj for promoting English), Russian is still popular among people who were born in the 60s and 80s. Also, in the 1940s, the traditional Mongolian script was replaced by the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, but adding two letters to make it integrated to the Khalkha Mongolian language.
3.) Listen to Origa’s songs
This may sound peculiar to most people, but the late Russian singer Origa (known for collaborating with anime soundtrack musician Yoko Kanno) opened the doors to everything Russia, just by listening to her songs. If you LOVE anime, and you’re familiar with Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, then you might have heard of her song, “Inner Universe.” Her last major collaboration would be with Final Fantasy XIII.
4.) Not yet contented? Then please ask yourself, why the hell did Sabina Altynbekova (Kazakhstan), Natalia Poklonskaya (Crimea), and Katya Lischina (Russia) became viral all across the internet.
NOTHING beats Slavic and Central Asian beauty! HAHA. So, does this mean that speaking Russian will make you, magically attractive?
5.) Stop believing the “fact” that Russian people are racists! I don’t believe that’s true at all.
In fact, without doubt, Russians are pretty direct people. That’s because of their cold climate, and it is expected that they have to be tough-ass. However, if you delve into their traditions, they’re pretty conservative.
I took up an elective that talks about Russia and the EU
However, it’s not enough. Somehow, I thought that European studies would allow me to understand Slavic culture, but it failed to do so. In fact, what I learned about the European Union is how it imposes its beliefs while relying on immigrants as their main source of manpower (ridiculous, but true).
However, the elective I took wasn’t also enough. In fact, studying about political systems aren’t enough. Somehow, why not profess, or why not share your thoughts regarding the CULTURE of that specific country?
If you cannot understand Russia, then how can you understand Ukraine and Belarus? After all, Russia still plays a huge influence towards Belarus and Ukraine. If you haven’t ever heard of the news regarding the controversy regarding Crimea, then you’re missing something that might change your life forever, once you plan a trip to Crimea (no kidding). Crimea now adopts everything that Russia implements, rather than what Ukraine implements. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW.
Side Note: Now please, enough on raving on Natalia Poklonskaya. She’s no longer the prosecutor-general of Crimea (though she’s someone to look up to, since the Slavic culture still values machismo, to think Slavic women could be tough as hell).
However, the advantage of taking up an elective that talks about Russia and the EU is that, if your professor has first-hand experience on the Slavic culture, you won’t understand until he/she will give you a grasp of the culture by simply uttering words that are of Slavic origin (I kid, I kid!).
No wonder, you must never ever take your social studies subject for granted
It still depends upon the teacher. If your teacher is somewhat egocentric, well, forget it. All you need is to be updated to the latest news regarding the news in Eastern Europe.
The good thing about Asian history in social studies class (Second Year/Grade 8 high school in the Philippines) is its integration towards the Filipino culture (which happens to be both Asian and Romance at the same time). While we are strongly influenced by Western powers, we still remain Asian until today (which a lot of fresh-off-the-boat/FOB Filipino-Americans denounce). That is why, I am here to write a blog entry regarding HOW to understand the Russian culture in an Asian’s point of view.
Again, Filipinos could be judgmental in most aspects. Heck, they even called the Russians “racists,” simply because they heavily rely on Western media (well, US media, that is). Now that Duterte is embracing diplomacy with Russia (I’m sure, Amb. Khovaev will be the rockstar of the town), it’s a good thing that Filipinos MUST study (at their own pace, of course!) Russian culture, through Google! Note that Google does wonders, and that’s not a joke at all. Also, like what I said, Russia isn’t always about Putin, Sharapova, or even t.A.T.u. only. It’s about understanding its bordering countries’s point of view.
Closing NOTE: I have never visited Russia yet, but to be honest, that’s one of my dream countries to visit. If ever I’ll be given a chance to study in Russia, why not? Haha.
Posted on April 4, 2017, in Asia, Continental Talks, Department of Liberal Arts, Europe, Mongolia, Russia, States and Nations of the World, The Political Analyst and tagged Crimea, culture, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, origa, Philippines, Russia, Soviet, Soviet Union, Ukraine. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.