Three Examples of Cultural Values in my Society
Russian people have always been unpredictable and difficult to understand to other nationalities. The reason for that lies in the national values and beliefs which shape people’s mentality. For centuries, Russian people have had a rich system of values and beliefs making them so different to from others. The most important values among them are relationships, spirituality and patriotism.
Relationships are highly valued among Russian people, especially family relationships, friendship and relationship with all people around. The most precious are relationships between the family members. Parents and children’s ties of affection are very special. Parents provide their children with emotional and financial support until children are able to provide their living themselves, or, as we say in Russia, to stand on their own feet. Children, in return, provide full care to their parents when they become old. Besides, Russian children have been taught since childhood to be not only brothers and sisters, but friends. It explains why relationships between friends are priceless for Russian people. They share happy and sad moments of their lives. Moreover, friends are considered family members, or, sometimes, they are even more important. In some countries, when people have problems, feel depressed, or do not know what to do in their lives, they go to psychiatrist. Russian people go to friends in such moments. Finally, relationships between people in general are very important. Sometimes, Russian people can sacrifice something important to them in order not to hurt or offend their classmates, colleagues, or any other kind of ‘team’. To summarize, relationships are more important to Russian people than their individual necessities or problems.
In addition to relationships, Russian people are characterized by strong spirituality. Spirituality is much more than religious beliefs for Russians. It combines both religious values and superstitious Russian soul, creating Russian spirit by this combination. On one hand, Russian people are true Orthodox. However, they do not consider themselves religious. They do not die FOR God, but they die WITH God in their souls. Russian people do not trust in God, but they consider themselves God’s children which means that God is a piece of them. Russian people do not convert other people into Orthodoxy because they believe that there is only one God for everyone and it does not matter how you call Him. However, we cannot call it religiosity because, on the other hand, Russian people are superstitious and believe in signs. For example, a Russian person will not continue his way if a black cat runs over his way. Or, if a cat washes its face by the door, people say that unexpected guests are coming. Besides, Russian people believe that while they are on their land – Mother Earth supports them and this belief creates wonders. With this strange combination of religiosity and superstition Russian people believe in a strong spirit inside each person. For Russian people it does not matter how strong your physical abilities or intellect are. The most important is to have a strong inner spirit, or, in other words, a strong inner core. This spirit helped us survive and win in many wars when other nations tried to invade our country and in difficult times for our country.
The last of the mentioned, but not the least, value which comes from and, at the same time, helps keep relationships and spirituality, is patriotism. Russian patriotism means love for and devotion to our Motherland. Motherland for Russians includes our land which we call ‘Mother Earth’ and our beautiful landscapes. Moreover, Motherland is a place where you and your parents, family and friends were born and live. Russian patriotism has nothing to do with political system or government. When a Russian person says ‘I love my Motherland’ or ‘I miss my Motherland’ he means the people, wide space, the wide Russian soul, the strong Russian spirit, and friendly support, but he does not think about political system of the country. It is Russian patriotism that helped to win a victory over all invaders to our country and to overcome all difficulties which led to victories because when Russian soldiers went to war they protected their land, but not the political system.
Looking at the history of Russia and spending time in Russia with Russian people shows that strong ties of affection, strong inner core of Russian people and their love for their land, place where they were born shaped the culture and life of this country. Care about the relationships and little thinking about the political system explain why Russian economy and political situation have always been unstable. However, as our famous poet Fyodor Tyutchev wrote in 1866 and F. Jude translated
Russia is a thing of which
the intellect cannot conceive.
Hers is no common yardstick.
You measure her uniquely:
in Russia you believe!
And it is still true…
I found this translation in http://www.ruthenia.ru/tiutcheviana/publications/trans/umomrossiju.html