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Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of the Department of Ethnosociology and Ethnopsychology of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nadezhda Lebedeva in an article "Russian national character"built on the materials of the book “Emigration and Repatriation in Russia” (V. A. Iontsev, N. M. Lebedeva, M. V. Nazarov, A. V. Okorokov. M.: Care for the needs of Russian repatriates, 2001), noticing that the concept of “national character” in psychology is not considered “scientific”, apparently because it is difficult to measure, says that the semantic cell for this concept is present in the consciousness of every nation. In his article, N. Lebedeva examines some of the problems of the Russian character, based both on the opinions of writers and philosophers, and on modern data from ethnic and cross-cultural psychology. As essential, the author noted the most important traits of character that L. P. Karsavin and A. I. Solzhenitsyn revealed.
The historian and philosopher L.P. Karsavin noted that the most important aspect of the Russian spirit is its religiosity, and Russian Orthodoxy has a serious drawback - passivity, inaction: “Confidence in future deification exacerbates the present”. And if "the Russian doubts the absolute ideal, then he can go to the extreme bestiality or indifference to everything."
The writer A. I. Solzhenitsyn found in the outlines of the Russian character the following: long-suffering, supported by physical and spiritual endurance; undeveloped sense of justice (“even if all laws are gone, so long as people live the truth”) and the alienation of people from politics; lack of desire for power, up to the contempt of the latter, the attitude to it as something dirty and sinful; the constant thirst for miracle, from which the insignificant ability to unite forces and for self-organization, and submission to fate, is born.
In the 20th century, N. Lebedeva believes, the Russian national character has changed little in its foundations: in it “all the same thirst for miracle and passionate readiness to serve the idea of the common good”. The main thing has also been preserved: how to fill this need for a great, messianic idea. A Russian man disagrees a little, the author writes without irony.
“... It is on this idea - the sacrificial service of the world, the salvation of the world, - the Russian national character was most vividly revealed, rising to the heights of spiritual feat and self-denial. On this line of national character, the great temptation of the twentieth century — communist totalitarianism, which not only killed the best Russian (and all Russian) people, but also confused minds and devastated souls for many decades, paralyzed and organically. So, even now many in Russia dream of its restoration. ”
However, today there is no time for mistakes, N. Lebedeva believes, to be or not to be - this is a new Russian question.
“For us now the main thing is to be or not to be? Know your ethnocultural features in all their range and completeness, accept, love and make you work for important and long-term goals, or shy away from the distorted own image shown in a crooked mirror in fear and contempt, envy others, rich and successful countries, send your children to the West, living out their years in poverty and despondency, and in endless separatist wars with the passionate foreign ethnic areas running from the decrepit and impotent Russian center? ”
From foreign authors, N. Lebedev cites the polar views of the Englishman S. Graham and the German V. Gene. The first one wrote: “I love Russia. For me, in a sense, it is more than my native country. Sometimes it seems to me that I am a happy prince who has found the Sleeping Beauty. ”
But the second in the book “De moribus Ruthenorum” asserts that the Russians are a people without conscience, honor and initiative. Pushkin's lyrics are soulless imitation. Russians are not capable of embracing the whole, both in practical life and in artistic creation; therefore their literature is untalented.
D. Lancourt-La-terrier in his work “The Slave Soul of Russia” writes: “I am ready to argue the claim that the traditional humility and self-destruction that constitutes the slave mentality of Russians is a form of masochism. To say that the Russian soul is slavish means to say that the Russians have a tendency to harm themselves, to destroy and humiliate themselves, to bring meaningless sacrifices, that is, to such behavior, which in the West is characterized as masochism in the clinical sense of the word. ” The researcher claims that, accordingly, Russian culture is a culture of moral masochism, in the center of which is a person who acts (consciously or unconsciously) against his own interests. This definition of the “pathology” of the Russian character of N. Lebedeva is the main thing that determines from the point of view of a Western person. Along with this, there is a “meaningless sacrifice”. Here, the researcher writes, is the root dissimilarity and the West’s lack of understanding of Russian culture.
A Western scientist may feel the beauty of this “moral masochism,” but he is unable to understand it.
Here it must be added that this very impossibility of understanding causes irritation and bitterness. Hence, Russian vodka, and the notorious balalaika with an accordion, and bears, and the communist military threat, and myths about the swinishness and cruelty of the Russian nation, and writings on endless totalitarianism inherent in Russia to the kings, Lenin, Stalin, Yeltsin, Putin-Western people do not make a difference, because they do not see it and do not want to see.
To understand another civilization is very difficult. The error may even be at the gesture level. For that wave of the hand, which in Europe is considered a friendly greeting, in Africa can be cut off the head. (For the study of customs, I refer the reader to Frazer).
A few years ago, an interview with “Arguments and Facts” was given by Rodion Nahapetov, who at that time lived in the US for 15 years. To the correspondent’s question about the reason for the unattractiveness of Russian characters in American films, he answered very accurate:
“Americans are not trying to accurately convey the Russian character because they simply do not know him. Once a stereotype has developed, it wanders from film to film. Who is Russian for Americans? Mafiosi, cruel and without moral principles. Although now they depict the same way Arabs and Chinese. The main thing for them is to build an action, and the simpler the characters will be, the less they have to explain to the viewer, the less nuances to come up with in the plot, and the more they rest on the entertainment - the cars fight, they take off at home ... ”
Thus, firstly, the bet in Hollywood is placed on those spectators who do not feel grief from the mind; secondly, the Americans objectively recognize that the depths of the Russian character they do not comprehend - and therefore at this high goal and not wipe. It is too long and not cost-effective.
But one thing is the cinema "simplification" of the Russian character and spiritual values, and quite another thing is their conscious reduction and trampling. Here, not only is the direct reluctance to understand the Russian person, but also aggression, which in some cases approaches very closely to the construction of the next man-hating or racist theory. After all, it is very simple to “get” the current inhabitant of the world: there is the Internet.
Andrew Fighters приводит Such an example of "brazen juggling":
“True to Russia is a lie. Russians are prone to lies and hypocrisy. All life in Russia from the beginning to the end is imbued with a lie, and the Russians take the lie for granted. Some kinds of lies are not even considered as such. ”
We must fully agree with the critic: it is a distortion. You can add: just these words are a complete lie. Pure, absolute lie, not having a single gram of knowledge about the Russian character.
The fact that black can become white for a Russian person is a fact. The fact that Russians can behave like Orwell’s characters (and behaved like that before the 1948 novel appeared in 1984) was true. But, first of all, the “lie” here is of a completely different sense, as the author of the vicious statement (taking place, judging by the hyperlink, from Canada) has no idea. Secondly, the author overlooks the difficult, most difficult history Russia and the USSR.
The book by A. A. Ivin "Introduction to the philosophy of history" contains statements by the Bolshevik G. L. Pyatakov (taken from N. Valentinov's article "Conversation with Pyatakov in Paris", "The Word", 1989, No. 1), excluded in 1927 from the party and asking to reinstate him in it. The reason for the request was that Pyatakov, who can without a stretch be called an orthodox Bolshevik, saw in the party the truth — such the truth, which truth despite untruth. The old Bolshevik Pyatakov returned to the USSR — and was shot in 1937.
“I agree,” says Pyatakov, “that non-Bolsheviks and in general the category of ordinary people cannot make an instant measurement, coup, amputation of their convictions. But the real Bolsheviks, the Communists, are people of a special temper, a special breed that does not have historical resemblances. We are not like anyone. We are a party made up of people who make the impossible possible; penetrating the idea of violence, we direct it to ourselves, and if the party demands it, if it is necessary or important for it, we will be able to use 24 to throw out of the brain the ideas that we have been wearing for years. It is absolutely incomprehensible to you, you are not able to get out of your narrow “I” and submit to the harsh discipline of the collective. And the real Bolshevik can do it. His personality is not confined to the limits of the “I”, but spreads out in a collective called the party. ”
Pyatakov asserts, Ivin writes, that he changed his views; he does not lie, but speaks the truth.
“Consent with the party should not be expressed only in external manifestation. By suppressing your beliefs, throwing them out, you need to adjust in the shortest possible time so that you internally, with your whole brain, with your whole being, agree with this or that decision, the decision of the party. Is it easy to forcibly throw out of my head what I considered right yesterday, and today, to be in complete agreement with the party, I consider false? Of course no. However, by violence on oneself, the desired result is achieved. ”
On the objection immediately cited that the party may be mistaken and that it is impossible, in order to be in agreement with it, to consider white as black, Pyatakov replies:
“Yes, I will consider black what I thought and what could seem white to me, since for me there is no life outside the party, without consent with it ... To be in the party, to participate in its ranks in future world events - I have to give it without a remnant of myself, merge with it, so that in me there would not be a single particle, not belonging to the party, not agreed with it. And I will say it again if the party demands that white be considered black for its victories, I will accept it and make it my conviction ”(Ivin A. A. Introduction to the philosophy of history. M .: VLADOS, 1997. S. 65 -66. See the same material in the book of I. Shafarevich “Socialism as a phenomenon of world history” (in Sat: Shafarevich I. R. Does Russia Have a Future? Moscow: Soviet Writer, 1991. S. 278-279) .
“... a year before ... execution,” Ivin writes further, “(Pyatakov asks) ... to provide him with“ any form of rehabilitation ”and, in particular, the proposal made by him“ to allow him personally to shoot all those sentenced to death by the process, including his ex-wife. ”
This example very precisely - and terribly - illustrates the Russian person who has fallen into the clutches of not a system, but his own convictions. That “analyst” or “researcher” will be wrong if he declares here an incurable Russian lie. There is no lie at all. We are seeing the phenomenon of pure truth. Reached absurdity, almost to the denial of personality - but born still from conviction, from an idea (rather, from subjective idealism), and not from the desire to lie or save your life. Those who returned from abroad to the Soviet Union, knew what was going on. By the way, Orwell, creating his anti-utopian novel, portrayed in him the future not of the USSR, but of the USA.
Although, of course, foreigners familiar with folk culture can judge the national character by anecdotes. A Canadian can declare all the people a liar by hearing the anecdote about Petka and Vasily Ivanovich (who, of course, in his understanding will appear in the images of those national heroes whom the Russians will ruthlessly imitate).
Retell one anecdote.
Once met Petka Chapaeva at the station. He left the London train - in a tuxedo, with a bag of crocodile skin, with an ivory cane. Kebmen brought both to a luxury hotel. Petka begins to unpack Vasily Ivanovich's things, look - and in a bag, pounds sterling: lots, whole packs.
“Where does so much money come from, Vasily Ivanovich?” - “I won the cards,” says Chapay. - I come to the casino, sat in the "point" to play. The gentleman on the contrary with three cards suddenly says: “Twenty-one!” - What can I do? .. I tell him: “Well, show the cards!” - he replies: “We are all gentlemen here, we believe in the word!” - I understood him. And once such a thing, I suit and went ... "
Or here is a joke about the attitude of a Russian man to a woman - more precisely, to his wife.
Once upon a time an American, a Frenchwoman and a Russian met. An American woman says: “I told my husband after the wedding:“ I will not cook for you! ”No husband day, no second. On the third he brings home a microwave - and he cooks himself. Beauty!"
The Frenchwoman tells her story: “I told mine too that I wouldn’t wash him. His day is not, the second. Finally, on the third day, he drags the washing machine home and starts washing it. Great, huh? ”
Then the Russian enters into the conversation: “And I told my own, that I would neither cook, wash, nor clean. I do not see his day, the second, the third ... I began to see a little on the fourth right eye ... "
According to similar anecdotes, as well as proverbs and fairy tales, we can conclude not only about Russian deceit and cruelty, but also about natural laziness. This was written and talked about from the stage so many times that it makes no sense to consider this subspecies of Russophobia. It is enough to cite one saying: “The work loves the fool.” And to answer her with another proverb: “Patience and a little effort”.
The trouble with the Western “analyst”, who is obsessed with Russophobia, is that he knows one part of the sayings, but not the other. The question here is only whether he wants to judge one-sidedly, or is he still ready to accept the whole picture. Which besides appears not only from proverbs and even more so jokes.
From the network diary of the Russian emigrant it becomes quite clear that, for example, ordinary Americans do not sprinkle anger at the Russians at all. Lola Getty, a former Russian woman, and now a resident of California, пишетthat Americans think of Russian women as beauties, forced to be "catalog brides".
The Russian character in America is considered belligerent and somewhat sullen: "... just that, immediately into a fight." Also, Americans find that the Russian people are always waiting for a dirty trick and therefore can not relax. Finally, the Russians drink vodka, sometimes seizing its caviar.
This, perhaps, is the quintessence of everyday, rather neutral, American opinion about the Russian character.
“... the impression that Americans have about Russians is not something positive, but some kind of neutral and even old-fashioned, as if the“ iron curtain ”did not fall 20 years ago, but two years, writes Lola. “And they still know very, very little ...”
This “very little” is the key. If only this little recognized!
In conclusion, it should be noted that many foreigners who are familiar with Russian people, who know Russian, who have studied Russian culture, do not allow themselves to attack about “lies”, “eternal unrestrained drunkenness” or “historical cruelty”.
Chinese Song Yanwei (Dalian Polytechnic University), who studied the works of Solovyov, Vereshchagin, Dal and other authors, including modern ones, singled out typical positive traits of the Russian people.
In the first place he put the hard work and talent. According to the Chinese, the Russian people are a great worker, he has enriched the world with great cultural achievements. Proverbs and sayings on this topic? Please: “Happiness and work live alongside”, “Without labor, you can’t even pull a fish out of the pond” and others. Moreover, the Russian people appreciate work very much: “Gold is learned in fire, and a person is in labor,” “Talent is not worth a penny without labor.” Russians come to workaholism: “A day is crowded until the evening, if there is nothing to do,” “No life to live - only smoke the sky”. The envy of the Russian workers is alien: "Do not blame your neighbor when you sleep before dinner."
In second place among the deep properties of the Russian people - freedom. The history of Russia is a chronicle of the people's struggle for freedom and independence. The word “will” is closer to the Russian heart, says the Chinese author. It is understood as independence, freedom in the expression of feelings and in the performance of actions. This is not freedom as a perceived necessity, that is, the possibility of a person’s manifestation of his will on the basis of awareness of the law.
The Russian people have willpower, courage and courage. Possessing a freedom-loving character, this nation gained victories over the invaders. He sought and great success in peaceful construction.
Comrade Song Yanwei is also stopping at such a quality as kindness. He gives a whole list: humanity, penchant for repentance, cordiality, sincere softness.
For kindness follow patience and perseverance. Russian, according to the author, have unlimited patience, an amazing ability to endure hardship and hardship. This is one of the most characteristic features of the Russian people, which has become "legendary."
A foreigner could not pass by such features as hospitality, generosity and breadth of nature of the Russian people. "Though not rich, but the guests are happy," "If there is anything in the oven, all the swords are on the table!"
Finally, unlike many passionate critics of the Russian heart, both from the East and from the West, the Chinese talk about Russian responsiveness. He says that the responsiveness and ability to understand another person, the ability to integrate with the culture of other nations is one of the distinguishing features of the Russian people. It is ethnic tolerance, along with exceptional ability to empathize and understand other nations, that allowed the Russian nation to create an unprecedented empire. Sun Yanwei repeats after Solovyov: "... the true unity of the peoples is not homogeneity, but nationwide ..."
Probably, the latter is much easier to understand for an Eastern person than for a Western person. The West, especially the United States, levels a person up to a limited consumer mechanism, at the same time digesting it in the melting pot of nations. Spreading the so-called democracy across the planet with fire and sword, Westerners row one size fits all, striving for that same “homogeneity” that Solovyov does not like. Instead of the people - the electorate, instead of will and character - the constitution and declaration, instead of the truth - the law, instead of friendship - "partnership". No, we do not say that this is fundamentally bad and that in the West everything is completely liars and carriers of double standards. We say: we do not really understand. And we do not like it very much. Moreover, we declare: it is yours, and we do not need it. Leave it to yourself.
It is impossible to teach one civilization to become another, based on the principle: these people are not like us, and you need to remake them, inspire them with our "true" values, despite the fact that they don’t accept these values - either because of backwardness, whether by virtue of natural stupidity or laziness. For the fact that the philosopher Fukuyama declared “the end of history” in 1992 year, today is more like the beginning of a new era in which the “boss is always right” place simply will not find a western democracy with its aggressive geopolitical thesis.