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Twelve Russian superstitions | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Twelve Russian superstitions | Russia Beyond The Headlines | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Russians are very aware of various omens lurking in everyday life, although some of these may come as a surprise to foreigners.

 

Russians are very superstitious and are attentive to various omens. The majority of these omens emerged in the pre-Christian era, and neither the traditional religions that arrived in Russia more than 1,000 years ago nor the ideologues of the Communist regime during the almost 70 years of Soviet rule were able to stamp out faith in them. If you’re going to live among Russians, you have to know what these superstitions mean and how to react to some of them.

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Cold War - Red Spring (1960s) - YouTube

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USSR:  Huge propaganda: Uncle Sam and the imperialists are making more bombs than us we must produce more !

 

Communal flats one family for one room, 4 families shared  1 kitchen 

in the 1960's: New pre-fabricated buildings with individual apartments 

 

Space race won by USSR: fist man and first woman in space 

Expending of the military equipment construction.

 

Virgin lands :  Khrushchev's idea to beat USA on grains, milk and meat production. This idea failed, food was misssing


1964: Brezhnev replaced Khrushchev, stability was restored.


Czechoslovakia 1968 : Prague invasion by Soviet Army tanks

 

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Cold War - After Stalin (1953-1956)

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Nikita Khrushchev was the first Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 1953-1964

 

What happens between 1953 and 1956 ?

 

Freedom of Stalin's prisoners

 

Revelation about Stalin's crimes

 

In 1953: Revolt of East Germany Workers, repressed by USSR army (tanks fired against protesters) 

 

Nikita Khrushchev  signed Warsaw Pact (Eastern European countries to be protected under USSR army)

 

Poland communist party was the first country to revolt against USSR  in 1956

 

In 1956 Hungary,, Budapest revolutions was repressed by Soviet army, but the US and Western Europe  did not intervene to avoid WW III. Nikita Khrushchev  had reinforced the iron curtain 

 

Relations between the Soviet Union and the United States cooled considerably after the downing of an American U-2 spy plane in 1960.

 

The following year, the failed U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the start of construction on the Berlin Wall in Germany further worsened relations. 

 

Years of poor economic growth and strained relations with China, among other issues, gave Khrushchev’s political enemies in the Kremlin enough momentum to oust him from power. 

 

On October 14, 1964, the Central Committee accepted Khrushchev’s request to retire due to his “advanced age and poor health.”

 

He was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev and spent his remaining years at his estate. Nikita Khrushchev died of natural causes on September 11, 1971.

  

 

 

 

 

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Russia’s Economic Outlook Worse Than Thought, World Bank Says

Russia’s Economic Outlook Worse Than Thought, World Bank Says | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Russia’s economic contraction will be worse than previously thought, the World Bank said, the day the government reported to President Vladimir Putin that the struggling economy will recover soon.
Anne Egros's insight:

Some Figures about Russian Economy : 
in 2013: 

•GDP $2.097 trillion

•GDP Per Capita $14,591

 

•GDP by sector of origin:

•agriculture: 4.2%

•industry 37.5%

•services: 58.3%   


High reliance on commodity exports and global oil prices

 

in 2014:Western financials sanctions and falling oil prices lead to drastic Ruble devaluation (from 33$ in 2012 to 62$ in 2015)


General inflation 16.7% (Q1 2015) 

 

Food Inflation 20.7% (Q1 2015):

Not only because of weak ruble but also triggered by increase of local food prices due to lack of competition from cheaper products from European countries. Russia's response to 2014 financial sanctions was to ban import of fresh food products from Europe. 

 

-> GDP growth forecast for year 2015 at -3.8 % with a projected oil price of US$53/bbl 

 

 

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Joseph Stalin - Man of Steel - YouTube

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Joseph Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953.

Among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who took part in the Russian Revolution of 1917, Stalin was appointed general secretary of the party's Central Committee in 1922. He subsequently managed to consolidate power following the 1924 death of Vladimir Lenin through suppressing Lenin's criticisms (in the postscript of his testament) and expanding the functions of his role, all the while eliminating any opposition.


By the late 1920s, he was the unchallenged leader of the Soviet Union. He remained general secretary until the post was abolished in 1952, concurrently serving as the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 onward.

Under Stalin's rule, the concept of "socialism in one country" became a central tenet of Soviet society. He replaced the New Economic Policy introduced by Lenin in the early 1920s with a highly centralised command economy, launching a period of industrialization and collectivization that resulted in the rapid transformation of the USSR from an agrarian society into an industrial power


However, the economic changes coincided with the imprisonment of millions of people in correctional labour camps and the deportation of many others.


The initial upheaval in agriculture disrupted food production and contributed to the catastrophic Soviet famine of 1932--1933, known as the Holodomor in Ukraine.


Later, in a period that lasted from 1936 to 1939, Stalin instituted a campaign against alleged enemies within his regime, called the Great Purge, in which hundreds of thousands were executed. Major figures in the Communist Party, such as the old Bolsheviks, Leon Trotsky, and several Red Army leaders, were killed after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the government and Stalin.[

In August 1939, Stalin entered into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that divided their influence and territory within Eastern Europe, resulting in their invasion of Poland in September of that year, but Germany later violated the agreement and launched a massive invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.


Despite heavy human and territorial losses, Soviet forces managed to halt the Nazi incursion after the decisive Battles of Moscow and Stalingrad. After defeating the Axis powers on the Eastern Front, the Red Army captured Berlin in May 1945, effectively ending the war in Europe for the Allies.


The Soviet Union subsequently emerged as one of two recognized world superpowers, the other being the United States.


The Yalta and Potsdam conferences established communist governments loyal to the Soviet Union in the Eastern Bloc countries as buffer states, which Stalin deemed necessary in case of another invasion. He also fostered close relations with Mao Zedong in China and Kim Il-sung in North Korea.

Stalin led the Soviet Union through its post-war reconstruction phase, which saw a significant rise in tension with the Western world that would later be known as the Cold War. During this period, the USSR became the second country in the world to successfully develop a nuclear weapon, as well as launching the Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature in response to another widespread famine and the Great Construction Projects of Communism.


In the years following his death, Stalin and his regime have been condemned on numerous occasions, most notably in 1956 when his successor Nikita Khrushchev denounced his legacy and initiated a process of de-Stalinization.


He remains a controversial figure today, with many regarding him as a tyrant[ similar to his wartime enemy Adolf Hitler; however, popular opinion within the Russian Federation is mixed.

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Putin in the mirror of history: Crimea, Russia, empire

Putin in the mirror of history: Crimea, Russia, empire | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
By Mark D. Steinberg Contrary to those who believe that Vladimir Putin’s political world is a Machiavellian one of cynical “masks and poses, colorful but empty, with little at its core but power for power’s sake and the accumulation of vast wealth,” Putin often speaks quite openly of his motives and values—and opinion polls suggest he is strongly in sync with widespread popular sentiments.
Anne Egros's insight:

Good analysis of Putin's mindset from Mark Steinberg co-author of  the book "History of Russia"  by Riasanovsky and Steinberg, July 12, 2010

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The Exchange: Are Putin’s days numbered?

Investor Bill Browder, author of “Red Notice,” explains how President Vladimir Putin gained control over Russia, including its oligarchs, in what he calls a “Sopranos moment.”
Anne Egros's insight:

Interesting interview from an investor point of you about what is going on in Russia

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Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons

Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Russia has threatened to target Denmark’s warships with nuclear weapons if the Scandinavian nation becomes a member of Nato’s missile defence shield.
Anne Egros's insight:

This is not acceptable way of solving conflicts, there is no excuse

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Understanding Russians: Interview of Mr Vladimir Tolstoy

Understanding Russians: Interview of Mr Vladimir Tolstoy | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it

 

The original title of this article from www.nytimes.com:

"In Putin's Nationalist Russia , a Tolstoy as Cultural Diplomat"


"You know, Russia is still is a country of big culture, it’s a country of big human relationships, friendship, love affairs and so on..." Mr Tolstoy said.

 

Anne Egros's insight:

 

Understanding Russians is quite complex.  Although 80 % of its population looks like Europeans, Russians have quite a different mindset and therefore seems to behave sometimes completely irrationally according to the West’s ‘point of view.  

 

Most Russians are highly educated, proud of their cultural heritage and Leon Tolstoy is a good example of the origin of the Russian pride and today’s revival of nationalism.

 

According to Vladimir Tolstoy, a great-great-grandson of Leo Tolstoy, the famous writer was a Russian officer who defended Russia during the siege of Sevastopol carried out by the British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops during the Crimean War from 1854 to 1855.

 

The Russians lost the war but as Vladimir Tolstoy explains, “For us, in our mind, this [Sevastopol] has always been Russia.

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The Absurd World of Russian Public Opinion | Opinion

The Absurd World of Russian Public Opinion | Opinion | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Hurray! We are attacking! Thank God! Many are dead and wounded! Thank God!" Thus exclaimed "good soldier Svejk" from the eponymous immortal novel by Jaroslav Hasek. And Russian public opinion today is no less absurd.
Anne Egros's insight:

Although in  the original article  "The Absurd World of Russian Public Opinion" , the word "absurd" is used  and is clearly a judgement  statement , the content has a lot of interesting data and is a good reflection of what the vast majority of Russians think today.

 

I don't have to approve or disapprove the Russians whom I share my life with today but it is important for me, as an expat and intercultural communication trainer, to understand  their mindset without putting too much culturally biased judgement..


In Russian culture, people and relationships are more important than money and other materialistic things for example. Will you treat them irrational ? Of course ! The Russians still think that their quality of life is good despite a sharp increase in food prices and lowering of their income ? This certainly seems absurd for Western culture minded people.


 


 

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Why Don't Russians Smile? - Russian Life

Why Don't Russians Smile? - Russian Life | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
It is a common trope that Russians never smile. Which of course is interpreted to mean they are unfriendly, gloomy, sullen – positively Dostoyevskian. This, of course, is a complete misreading of body language and cultural norms.
Anne Egros's insight:

The famous Russians don't smile is very common stereotypes about Russians but it is absolutely not true and due to a misunderstanding of basic Russians cultural values and behaviors.

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Russophobia: The Discreet Charm of Cultural Racism & the Legacy of Hate.

Russophobia: The Discreet Charm of Cultural Racism & the Legacy of Hate. | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Russophobia vs. Westernophobia. Part I. Russophobia: The Discreet Charm of Cultural Racism & the Legacy of Hate. Foreword. The meaning of the word 'Russophobia' is very broad and vague. For cen...
Anne Egros's insight:

 

Some references about the origins of Russophobia 

 

For the french speakers a good citation about the Russian characters in French literature from the XIX Century : http://www.fabula.org/actualites/l-image-des-russes-et-de-la-russie-dans-le-roman-francais-de-1900-a-nos-jours_37518.php

 

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Avec la crise, la classe moyenne russe peut-elle disparaître ? | Russie Information

Avec la crise, la classe moyenne russe peut-elle disparaître ? | Russie Information | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Interview avec Natalia Guilluy-Sulikashvili, docteur en civilisation russe et spécialiste de la classe moyenne russe. Russie Info : Lors d’une précédente interview, vous avez évoqué la classe moyenne en Russie comme étant fragile et exposée à tous les dangers. Dans la situation de crise actuelle, comment s’organise t-elle ?
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From cold war to hot war

From cold war to hot war | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
THE pens were on the table in Minsk, Belarus’s capital, for the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine to sign a deal to end a year-long war fuelled by...
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Cold War - Make Love Not War (1960s) - YouTube

The United States entered the 1960s with strength and self-confidence. Kennedy increased arms production, bringing an economic boom to California. Rising expectations led to the civil rights movement growing stronger, despite the rough response from authorities which regarded them as Communist inspired.


Half of the 1960s brought race riots, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy and the Chicago Convention protests. 

Anne Egros's insight:

Time of fear of communist attacks in the USA .

 

Incredible development of military equipment.under Kennedy's presidency

 

1963: John Kennedy Assassination 

 

Among blacks, unemployment  was 9 times more than whites.

 

1965 starting Vietnam War: showing Americans as fight to communism for freedom under Johnson presidency.


Riots against the Vietnam war continued but more Americans were motivated to continue the war. In late 1967, half a million of American were fighting in Vietnam. 


in the USA black ghettos were war zone. Martin Luther King was killed in 1968. 

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Putin defies West over Ukraine and sacred Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused what he called enemies of yesterday of trying to bring a new Iron Curtain down around Russia. As it moves into recession, he blames the West. On the other hand, he gave himself high marks for annexing Crimea

Anne Egros's insight:

Russians are following their president and feel that the West is just ignoring Russian interests and worse, justify their sanctions  against Russia to disintegrate the Russian Federation, like what happened to former Yugoslavia. 

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The impact of Lenin and Stalin's policies on the rights of the Russian people

The impact of Lenin and Stalin's policies on the rights of the Russian people | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Russian Revolution and the establishment of the Communist state
Anne Egros's insight:

Good summary of what were Lenin and Stalin policies and how they impacted the rights of Russian people

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History vs. Vladimir Lenin

History vs. Vladimir Lenin | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it

History vs. Vladimir Lenin 


 

Anne Egros's insight:

In less than 10 minutes this video will explain the creation of the USSR. 

 

Vladimir Lenin overthrew Russian Czar Nicholas II and founded the Soviet Union, forever changing the course of Russian politics.

 

But was he a hero who toppled an oppressive tyranny or a villain who replaced it with another?

 

Alex Gendler puts this controversial figure on trial, exploring both sides of a nearly century-long debate.

 

 #TED-Ed Originals

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Anne Egros, Intercultural Executive Coach

Anne Egros, Intercultural Executive Coach | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
James Joyce’s famous statement that “history is a nightmare” from which we should try to awake, aptly describes current events in the Ukraine.  All nations involved in these events are biased by the remembered, misremembered, forgotten, and mythologized history they carry in their heads.
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Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield

Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
unacceptable.
Anne Egros's insight:

Clearly an unacceptable.threat !  There is no excuse for that kind of behavior and this time maybe Russians will start to realize that they can't ignore what is happening in the world outside Russia because nuclear weapons will also destroy them.

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One Year After Russia Annexed Crimea, Locals Prefer Moscow To Kiev

One Year After Russia Annexed Crimea, Locals Prefer Moscow To Kiev | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Poll after poll proves U.S. and Europe wrong on Crimea's annexation by Russia last March.
Anne Egros's insight:

Gallup Poll can't be challenged as being biased by Russain propaganda !

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Russia's Growing Middle Class

Russia's Growing Middle Class | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Russia's middle class is about to go through the mill of a sharp economic slowdown.
Anne Egros's insight:

Even during current economic slowdown, the Russian Middle Class remains the most important group  in term or consumption and contribution to the  Russian economy  

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Russia's propaganda war is a danger for Ukraine's Jews | Timothy Snyder

Russia's propaganda war is a danger for Ukraine's Jews  | Timothy Snyder | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Timothy Snyder: Despite what Putin says about antisemitism in the new Kiev government, Ukraine's Jews are committed to independence
Anne Egros's insight:

Today, the Jewish population of Russia stands at approximately 194,000 - the sixth largest Jewish community in the world. (About 0.1 % of Russian population )

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10 varieties of Russian smiles | Russia Beyond The Headlines

10 varieties of Russian smiles | Russia Beyond The Headlines | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Russians have a reputation for being stern, unsmiling people. But actually, Russians do smile, and their smiles mean different things in different situations
Anne Egros's insight:

Like Russians in Hollywood movies are always the bad guys, the stereotypes about Russians not smiling is still  very present but not true..

 

From my experience, the context is very important :  For Russians ,there is a big difference in attitudes if you are par of their inner circles , friends, family, colleagues or neighbors,  or if you are a  perfect stranger.

 

In addition, it depends also if you talk with  young Russians speaking English who will smile easily or elderly people who has no experience outside their country.

 

I actually find more Russian smiling in the metro or streets of  Moscow than in Paris.

 

If you smile first, Russians usually smile back to you so beware of your own attitude.

 

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Hollywood stereotypes: Why are Russians the bad guys?

Hollywood stereotypes: Why are Russians the bad guys? | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Hollywood stereotypes: Why are Russians the bad guys?
Anne Egros's insight:

Very good question indeed especially in today's context about  conflicts in Ukraine

 

I always found ridiculous the way Russians are portrayed in Western mass media, especially movies, but now i think it is pathetic how those basic stereotypes are used in "Cold-War 2.0" for anti-Russian propaganda. 

 

On the other side, stereotypes about the CIA,, "the conspiracy theory " , and "big brother is watching you"  are also used to demonized the Americans in Russia.

 

 

 

 

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Russia country profile

Russia country profile | Life in Moscow From an Expat Perspective | Scoop.it
Anne Egros's insight:
At a glancePolitics: Vladimir Putin, Russia's dominant political figure since 2000, resumed the presidency in 2012Economy: Russia is heavily dependent on oil and gas exports. Officials have been hesitant to privatise energy assetsInternational: Russia has reacted with hostility to any developments perceived to threaten its strategic interests. The 2014 revolution in Ukraine sparked the biggest East-West showdown since the Cold War

 

 

 

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