May 20, 2015

Why Russia is awesome

Everywhere I go, every news I read, all shout loud that Russia is horrible. Every (ok, almost every) foreigner I talk to thinks that Russia is a huge village without any traces of civilization, where people live in extremely horrible conditions, grumpy and angry on everyone and always offended on life in general. Internet is full of negative things, and especially there is a lot of negativity about Russia, too. Maybe it’s always been like this, and I just did not pay attention to it. But now, being in the Netherlands, I wonder what is happening in the country and sometimes I check the news, especially now, during that interesting and eventful period of crisis, sanctions and really serious cold war against the whole world. And each time I look at the news, every time I read the comments like “I’m sorry, but you live in Russia,” I feel very, very sad.

Is it really all that bad?! Do you really think that there is nothing good left in Russia?! No! I will never believe it! So I decided to google. And you know, I haven’t found any single article, which would list all the positive, all the good things about Russia. Not a single one! To improve my mood and to realize that everything is not that bad, I had to rummage out dozens of different sites to find some small, tiny pieces positive info from comparison of Russia with other countries or from articles about “how bad Europe is”. Of course, here were general articles where there were advantages and disadvantages of being in Russia, but still, on every 2 pros there were 20 cons. As a result, instead of finding some light of hope and happiness, I absorbed all this horridness and went to bed feeling really bad. So now I want to take the case again and write a warm and bright post about all the positive and good things we have in our country. Russia is awesome, people! Don’t believe mass media, don’t believe foreign politicians, don’t believe people who have never been to any Russian city! And please, don’t offend our amazing country.

So, here is the list of all the positive things about Russia.

Saint Petersburg (by Ivan Smelov)Saint Petersburg (by Ivan Smelov)

1. Low taxes (personal income tax is just 13%!)

2. Incredibly, unbeleivably beautiful nature, vast forests and fields, rivers, mountains and lakes, as well as huge areas untouched by human. Just look at the photos of Lake Baikal, Kamchatka, the Altai Mountains and the taiga forests of Siberia and the country as a whole. You can even simply leave the city and go to a nearby forest to experience this miracle! Nowhere else you see this beauty that touches the deepest part of your soul. By just looking at birch trees, forests and wildflowers, you will feel the power of the nature and its magnificent beauty. Well, at least for me, a person who was born in Siberia, in one of the most beautiful places in the whole world, in a town surrounded by noble forests, near sacred lake Baikal, everytime I see a thin birch, I feel my Motherland, I feel the unique atmosphere of Siberian forest, and I feel really, really proud of being a part of it.
Baikal. Yana LedenevaBaikal (by Yana Ledeneva)

3. Beautiful cities: St.Petersburg, Moskow, Kazan, Novgorod, Volgograd, Vladivostok, Sochi, and more, and more, and more. There are 15 cities with more than 1 mln inhabitants, 60 cities with 250-1mln citizens, and in total there are 1100 cities and towns. This is a huge country, with unbelievable amount of natural resouces and growing economy (and don’t complain about crisis – it is temporal!).
Moscow-city (by (by

4. Free medicine. Yes, sometimes there are such clinics and doctors that it would be better if they did not exist at all, but there are also good ones! And the amount of good ones is much bigger than that of bad ones. There are angry, lazy and greedy people everywhere, not only in Russia, so it is a problem of all mankind, not only of our country.

5. Free (and pretty good!) education: both middle and higher one (even though they say that it is bad – again, it depends on people: the teachers may be really awful, but there also are awesome professionals. In addition, there are lazy students who want to have everything chewed and carefully put in their heads – and after that they say that they didn’t learn anything. Of course they didn’t! You should work hard in order to become at least a bit smarter. Russian schools and universities provide an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge without paying anything (of course, it is for citizens, but still). Take me as an example: a girl from a small provincial Siberian town was admitted to St. Petersburg State University, and then – to the University of Amsterdam. And only in Amsterdam I paid my first fee, which was huuuge.
Vladivostok (by (by

6. Cheap, fast and stable internet and cheap mobile communications (in average it costs about 5-7 euros per month for unlimited internet, and the same amount for mobile calls, sms and mobile imternet).

7. Russian cuisine and organic foods (of course, no one can say for sure, but still, people say that Russian products are not that “chemical” as in Europe, and nowhere else you can find our usual buckwheat, kefir, kvass, sunflower seeds and other products).

8. Prices for food and housing in general. This point is relative, of course, but after all, life in Russia is much cheaper than in some European countries or in the USA.
St. Petersburg (by Alexey Landyrev)St. Petersburg (by Alexey Landyrev)

9. Russian culture, literature, art, architecture, history and holidays – how many artists, poets and writers we have! How many opera singers, talented actors, both of theater and cinema! Think of Russian fairy tales, Russian movies. Yes, we are not Hollywood, but we do make awesome movies and comedies! Think of films about New Year (both old and new ones), or for example, “Mothers” – I love it! Think of Russian traditions, holidays, we do everything on a grand scale, and if any foreigner sees any Russian feast – they will remember it till the end of their days, because nowhere else in the world there is such tableful!
Volgograd (by Evgeniy Kozlov)Volgograd (by Evgeniy Kozlov)

10. VERY rich, “great, mighty, truthful and free Russian language” (including Russian foul language and cursing, for sure=)). Yes, it is very difficult to learn. We learn it during our childhood, and then – for 11 years at school, and still discover more and more interesting aspects of it during our lifetime. But all of this worth it: how awesome it is to express your thoughts with such enormous range of synonyms, how amazing it is to have three words that differ from each other by a very slightly shade, how funny it is to change the meaning of the whole sentence only by changing order of the same words! And this is native language of more than 250 mln people in the world! By the way, I just found that Russian is the second language in the Internet =)
Russian nature (by Evgenia Kazakova)Russian nature (by Evgenia Kazakova)

11.Freedom in terms of ability to go fishing, hunting or camping in the forest of the countryside. You have no idea how awesome it is to bring food, tents, and drive 100 km away from the city just to enjoy silence of the forest, to admire its beauty, to go fishing without any need of special license or stuff. Again, trash and garbage in the forest is a consequence of laziness and ignorance of people. This is a problem of humanity!

12. Day-and-night supermarkets, cafes and restaurants 24/7. In fact, this is a huge plus, and I realized it only after turning up starving on Sunday afternoon somewhere in Europe. Nothing worked, and we had no chance to eat somewhere! That would never happen in Russia. Even at 5 a.m. you will have a chance to eat some sandwich, sushi, pizza and even main dishes like potatoes with meat!

13. Beautiful girls and women (agree, this is very subjective, however the positive opinion about russian ladies is worldwide and very fanous)

14. Well-mannered youth and open and sincere people in general (who will always help, and return back lost things, and hold the door, and give place in a public transport, and just agree to go for a walk with you right now if you feel lonely). Yes, I admit, there are many lazy, selfish and evil people, which can cuss you out, or use every opportunity to cheat or steal something – but they are much less than it seems! We only talk only about bad things that happen to us, read news about robberies and murders, but there are much, much more, millions times more positive things happen in our world! Once I left a laptop in a taxi and a camera in a bus, and people returned them back to me. I was standing for 40 minutes at the bus stop one night, and all this time there was a taxi driver standing with me, and he eventually persuaded to give me a lift home for free because I had no money (only travelling card). I almost fainted in subway, and people helped me to regain consciousness, called the ambulance (although later I asked to cancel the call) and gave me a lift home. There are dozens of such cases, and I’m sure same things happen to all of us, too. We can easily get acquainted with our neighbors (if we want to), we are open, we are always ready to help, and very rarely we are insincere. That is why Russians are famous for their “wide and generous soul”!
Russian natureRussian nature (by Moskvin)

So, there ARE good and positive things in Russia, and there are a lot of them. Maybe for some people it’s a bit weird that I’m writing this article while living abroad with no plans to go back, but I am Russian, Russia is my Motherland (with capital M), and I feel very, very sad, when I hear people throwing mud at it. I love my country and I am sure I will come back someday, but for now, I want to live in other places and try new experiences. It’s just … well, let’s stop talking about bad things already, huh?

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