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Culture of russia 7 elements
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Culture of russia 7 elements

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  • 1. Understanding Russia Using the Seven Elements of Culture
  • 2. Social Organization• Nuclear Family: most important domestic unit – Most married couples want an apartment of their own, away from their parents – The housing shortage & high cost of new housing makes that a challenge – Families often live in a household of 3 generations (most often with the grandmother)
  • 3. Social Organization Cont.• Marriage – Since the 1930s, the average age of marriage: 23 – Approximately 50% end in divorce • Biggest factors: economic hardship and alcohol abuse – Ethnic intermarriage became fairly common in Soviet times, and most people have at least one ancestor of a different nationality
  • 4. Social Organization Cont.• Infant Care: – Most women give birth in overcrowded and understaffed maternity hospitals – Childbirth practices reflect traditional ideologies: birthing mothers are criticized for crying/complaining – Women stay for at least a week in the hospital and fathers are allowed to see mother and baby through a glass window only because: • Fear of spreading germs • The father may be repulsed by the “female business” involved in birthing
  • 5. Language• Russian is the most widely spoken Slavic language – Over 81% of Russians speak it as their first and only language• Three major dialects of Russian: Northern, Southern, and Central• Cyrillic alphabet
  • 6. Language Cont• There are over 100 minority languages spoken in Russia today: – the most popular which is Tartar 3% – Others include: Chuvash, Chechen, Ukranian, Mordvin, and Bashir – These languages are important in key regional areas
  • 7. Government & Politics• 1993 Constitution provided for democratic freedom with executive, legislative, and judicial branches• Current Russian President: Dmitry Medvedev• Parliament is divided into 2 houses – Lower house Duma: 450 members – Upper house Federation Council: made up of local governors and legislators from 89 administrative regions
  • 8. Government and Politics Cont:• The state of Russia has always been prone to authoritarian rule – Censorship – Strong government control over the media • Even today, the Russian government still controls what is displayed on national television in the news, and plays the Russian national anthem every night • Russian govt. is known for strong central control over the nation.
  • 9. Government & Politics Cont.• The Bureaucracy – Many Russians today still hold jobs because of nepotism, friendships, or former party memberships – Result: incompetence, laziness, conservation, and a tendency to avoid responsibility and push it on others• The KGB – Secret police – Created by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century
  • 10. Government & Politics Cont.• Corruption – Many are involved in bribery and embezzlement, and those actions are seen as an only way to survive – Police are notorious for corrupt behavior – Russians have a tremendous distrust of government, police, and the military• The Law – Served to protect state and the community, rather than the individual• Rebellion & Revolt – Conspiracies, coups, insurrections, ethnic warfare, and national independence movements all reflect the instabilities and inequalities of Russian society and its resistance to change
  • 11. Economic System• Stock market very strong• Most expensive night life• Second largest exporter of oil in the world• Most billionaires and millionaires than any other country in the world• Large gap between the rich and poor• Corruption in business is seen as major problem in expanding the economy and growing the middle class
  • 12. Religion & Worship• In 1997 the controversial “Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations” passed – Granted full rights of organization and association to only four religions: 1. Orthodoxy 2. Islam 3. Judaism 4. Buddhism – Others have to go through a complex registration process and their activities are restricted
  • 13. Religion & Worship Cont.• Russian Orthodoxy – Was the state religion for almost 1,000 years – Russian sense of community ties into the roots of Orthodoxy: the consensus of the Orthodox congregation was seen as the single truth where there was no room for a pluralism of opinion – Has always been institutionally powerful – Majority of ethnic Russians identify themselves as Orthodox Christians
  • 14. Religion & Worship Cont.• Islam – Second largest religion – Important throughout Russian history – Major religion in the northern Caucasus since the 8th century and in the Volga region since the 10th century – Moscow is a center of Islam, with many active mosques and organizations to serve the 1-2 million Muslims in Moscow
  • 15. Religion and Worship Cont• Judaism – Before the Revolution, most of Russia’s Jews were confined to rural settlements and endured constant persecution – Faced popular and official anti-Semitism in Soviet period • They were repressed and secularized to the point where the majority were non-practicing and Judaism was regarded as an ethnicity not a religious identity – 1970s started a slow rediscovery of Jewish tradition, but still major waves of emigration have reduced the number of Jews
  • 16. Religion and Worship Cont.• Buddhism – Officially recognized in 1741 – Harshly persecuted under Stalin, when most temples and monasteries were destroyed and lamas were murdered or sent to the Gulag – Made a steady revival, and today claims several million adherents, among ethnic Slavs as well as traditionally Buddhist populations
  • 17. Religion and Worship Cont.• Death & the Afterlife – Around the time of death, it is crucial to do certain things to prevent the dead from staying or returning • Mirrors are covered with a black cloth – After the burial, mourners return to the family’s home, where certain foods are served with vodka and the deceased is remembered with stories – Soul remains on earth for 40 days, and which time the family holds a second gathering to bid farewell as the soul departs for heaven – Anniversary of a death is memorialized every year; some people travel great distances to visit their loved ones grades
  • 18. Traditions and Customs• Time and Patience – Russians are notoriously not on time – Communism reinforced a native disrespect for time because workers could not be fired and there was no incentive to do things on time – No such thing as “lets get straight down to business” protocol in Russia is as follows: small talk, tea or drink, family and personal problems, finally the business of the day
  • 19. Traditions and Customs Cont.• Naming Conventions: Russian names are comprised of: – First name – Middle name: which is a patronymic or a version of the father’s first name formed by adding –vich or -ovich for a male, and – avna or –ovna for a female • i.e. the son of an Ivan would have a patronymic name of Ivanovich and the daughter of an Ivan would have a patronymic name of Ivanova – Last name
  • 20. Traditions and Customs Cont. Food:• Bread: – Most common food – Starvation means having no bread• Meat: – Generally loved throughout Russia, esp. pork – Poverty means going without meat Drinks: always served with something to eat• Vodka – Home-brewed, serves as a crucial form of currency in rural areas – High levels of alcohol consumption have resulted in a liver disease epidemic and lower life expectancy (men-60) (women-72)• Tea – Much more common than coffee – Drink out of a glass, not a mug Going out for Meals: – Majority do not for economic reasons, or because the food is usually better at home – Restaurants and cafes cater largely to the new business classes
  • 21. Customs and Traditions Cont.• Pessimism: – Americans tend to expect things to go well and become upset when they don’t. Russians expect things to go poorly and have learned to live with misfortune – The American habit of smiling all the time can get on the nerves of some Russians
  • 22. Customs and Traditions Cont.• Nyekulturny (Bad Manners) – Wearing coats in public buildings that have a cloakroom – Standing with your hands in your pockets – Eating lunch on park lawns – Whistling at home or on the street – Public displays of affection – Lounging or sitting on the steps of a public building – Telling a Russian that you have to go to the restroom (you should just excuse yourself)
  • 23. Customs and Traditions• Gift Giving Etiquette – If you are invited to a Russian home for a meal, bring a small gift – Male guests are expected to bring flowers – Do not give yellow flowers – Do not give a baby gift until after the baby is born. It is bad luck to do so sooner.• Table Manners – The oldest or most honored guest is served first – Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start – Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands must be visible at all times – You will often be urged to take second helpings – It is polite to use bread to soak up gravy or sauce – Men pour drinks for women seated next to them – Leaving a small amount of food on your plate indicates that your hosts have provided ample hospitality – Do not get up until you are invited to leave the table. At formal dinners, the guest of honor is the first to get up from the table.

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