Myths about the Russians, in which they believe not only in the West
Vodka, bear, matryoshka, balalaika - alas, in many cases this is the first thing that foreigners recall when asking: "What do you know about Russia and the Russians?"
On this subject there is an old anecdote about the Russian family in the view of the Americans.
- Honey, something hot. Turn off the nuclear reactor, please.
- Now I finish off the vodka and turn it off, and while you play the balalaika.
- Mom, I'll go play with the bear.
- Ok, go, take a walk, son, and do not forget to write in the evening a report to the KGB! And on the way home, do not forget to buy vodka - it ends.
But often, we ourselves, without thinking, repeat the “facts” about Russia, which are actually nothing more than clichés imposed by a distorted story. For example, the myth that before Peter the Russians lived poorly or that the roads were a purely Russian problem.
The country of slaves, the country of gentlemen
Many still from school left the idea of Tsarist Russia as a serf country in which the overwhelming majority of the population eked out a slavish existence.But if you look ... Yes, the peasants made up the largest group of the population in Russia (according to the general census of 1897, these are three-quarters of the country's inhabitants). But not all of them were serfs: in the middle of the 18th century, according to the historian Gotye, 53% of the peasants are serfs, the rest are state. And gradually the number of serfs decreased: by 1861, only a third of the peasants were dependent on their masters. In addition, many foreigners who lived in Russia in the XVII, XVIII, XIX centuries, admitted that the Russian peasants live better than their French or, say, Polish and Italian counterparts.
Wild Pre-Petrovskaya Russia
The myth is still widespread that before Peter I, Russia had been mired in ignorance, it was a wild and uneducated country. However, Europe in the Middle Ages, too, was not the center of literacy. Before the Mongol-Tatar yoke, only 1% of the inhabitants of the Russian principalities could read and write. But, for example, in progressive England, the first public schools appeared only at the end of the XIV century. For almost a thousand years, both in Russia and in Europe, knowledge of literacy remained the prerogative of the clergy and the highest aristocracy. But by the end of the XVII century in Muscovy there were 15% of literate peasants,about 30% of literate artisans, about 70% of monks, landowners and courtiers, and who could not read and count the priest was not at all found.
Another myth is about unwashed Russia. In the Middle Ages, Russians were considered barbarians because of the habit of bathing too often, once a month (!!!). Many European sovereigns, such as Louis XIV, also the Sun King, washed only a few times in their entire life.
“We went first to the men, where we saw a great many naked people who were splashing in the water without any restraint. Through the door in the plank partition we proceeded to the female part, where completely naked women walked, went from the dressing room to the steam room or to the courtyard, washed themselves, etc. We watched them for more than an hour, and they continued their manipulations as if nothing had happened, spread their legs, washed shameful places, etc. ... In the end, having passed through a crowd of naked women, of whom none of them thought to hide behind, I went outside and walked to another entrance to the same bathhouse, from which everything could be seen clearly, and then went inside again, those who charged us at the entrance did not even think of stopping me ... ",” Francisco de Miranda, who visited Russia in 1786-1787, saw this and wrote.
Roads - Russian problem
Roads, of course, a problem! You can even say the trouble ... But, in fairness, it should be noted - not only here. In the Middle Ages, off-road was characteristic of our lands even to a lesser extent than European. Rather, the lack of roads until the XVII-XVIII centuries was ubiquitous, but the Russians were rescued by winter. When the ground was covered with snow, we, unlike the Europeans, were transplanted into sleds, the ride in which is both softer and more pleasant.
Awful working class life
In another cliché, supposedly the workers in our country lived worse than their companions in Europe and America. But!
“I was surprised to see that these workers live no worse, and many of them are even much better than students. On average, each of them earned from 1 rub. 25 kopecks up to 2 rub. on the day, ”one of the revolutionaries Grigory Plekhanov wrote about the situation of St. Petersburg workers.
And according to the American researcher Blum, the nutrition of the Ural workers in the second half of the XIX century was healthier and more abundant than among representatives of the same specialties in England and France.
Teach materiel and respect yourself.