What Americans think about Russia
I know from my own experience that Americans treat Russia and Russian people with a great deal of curiosity and goodwill. Perhaps only with the exception of President Putin which they consider to be a symbol of world evil, writes Olga Khristoforova in her Holaolly blog.
My friend Scott has already come to Russia with me three times. At first, he was very surprised at how cordially even strangers greeted him - he would be presented with a Soviet badge at a flea market, then a casual passerby would call in the “casting machine”. It was a great discovery for him to see how safe it was on the street even at night, contrary to the perception in the West of a highly criminalized Russia.
Every time, returning to the United States, Scott enthusiastically tells his friends about the unprecedented beauty of the Moscow metro station and about the dead Lenin in the Mausoleum; about kebabs on the grill and about a strange vegetable salad with sausage, seasoned with fermented drink from old bread; about ice fishing and a bathhouse with brooms; about the boundless Volga and tea on the top shelf of the Moscow-Penza train compartment; about my cheerful grandmother Nina and her balalaika; about the scale of the New Year in Russia and about how, on New Year's Eve, he was stuck in an elevator costume of Santa Claus. After such colorful stories, Russia is seen by Americans as a sheer exotic attraction that you definitely need to visit.
Scott brings t-shirts with Vladimir Putin as souvenirs for himself and his friends from Russia - they have enjoyed unprecedented success in America. They say Putin - he is the one who we could carry on. Go
Americans feed particularly tender feelings to Russian cuisine. Even if they have never been to the countries of the former Soviet Union, at the word “soup” they immediately begin to smile and dreamily roll their eyes - they say, we love.
Far from being a cheap Russian restaurant in Portland, where I live, very popular. Russians rarely go there, because the price of $ 17 for a portion of cabbage rolls with sour cream seems to us, Russian, to be a lot of cheating. And the Americans go, they like it - in what other restaurant will they eat peck seeds and eat vodka with bacon.
Oregon is the only US state where Russian is the third most popular language after English and Spanish, which indicates a large proportion of the Russian-speaking population. Nevertheless, at the first meeting of each of my new acquaintances, the fact that I am from Russia is very interesting. They are always immediately interested in what part of the country, and as if they are a little upset when they hear that I live very far from the taiga. After the release of the movie “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga” on the daily life of villagers in the small taiga village of Bakhta in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, a good part of my American friends dreams go to this beautiful, harsh and such inaccessible taiga.
But it's one thing to dream, and quite another - to actually go there, as did Walter, with whom we met by chance during a city festival. At first they talked about his dog, which he trains in Karelian, because the ancestors of the Walter family lived in Finland, on the border with Karelia. Then it turned out that at the end of 90's, Walter worked as a truck driverohm in Russia. Together with his Georgian partner, who helped him with the Russian language and other incomprehensibilities, at the wheel of ZIL, Walter traveled around a good part of Siberia and the Far East.
Shortly before the expiration of the work visa and returning to America, Walter went on a flight to Chukotka. Somewhere in the Far East, the ZIL engine ordered to live long. Due to the prolonged repair, the return to Moscow was postponed. After 9 days ZIL was on the move, but Walter did not have time for his flight from Moscow to the USA. In order not to violate the visa regime and leave Russia in time, he decided to cross the border from Alaska. And he went. Over the ice. More precisely, on the ice bridge, which is formed in severe frost between the island of Big Diamid (owned by Russia) and Small Diamid (owned by the United States). The customs officers did not find any reason to detain him and happily released the US citizen to his homeland. US police stopped ZIL only in Washington. Since this colossus did not pass under American standards alone, I had to give it to the museum of military equipment.
In all this incredible story, only one riddle remains for me - if the Bering Strait in winter is a sea of moving ice blocks, then on what kind of icebreaker did Walter ship his ZIL from the Chukotka Peninsula to the Big Diamid Island? Unclear. Bering Strait For any inquiries, We're here to answer you. This is not the Crimea, there is a ferry there without the need. But who knows what happened at our eastern borders at the end of 90's. It’s a pity I can’t ask Walter again - there are no contacts left. But I think, so if an American at the wheel of a ZIL was plowing our Far East, then, probably, the Bering Strait to his knee ...
PS Scott was so impressed with the visit to Russia that he shot a couple of short videos about it.
Original article published in personal blog Olga Khristoforova and reprinted with permission of the author.
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