5 words to help you understand Russian culture - no, not vodka, bear, and balalaika
17 million square kilometers, the largest country in the world, is best described by the Russian word prostor. They say that Russian soul (translation Dusha) is exactly that much wide. It can seem cold and inhabited,but in reality there’s much warmth and beauty in it.
All over Russia - whether it is Moscow or Vladivastok you can find panelka - typical building made of reinforced concrete slabs and characterized by modest size, low ceilings, monotony and very poor soundproofing: the most ascetic, simple, and most importantly, cheap housing allowed millions of people to get a roof over their heads in one fell swoop.
Most of Russians still live in panelka.
A special kind of melancholy, or "Russian sadness," but neither of these captures the essence. Vladimir Nabokov once wrote of longing: "No English noun captures all the shades of the word. At its deepest and most distressing level, it is a feeling of the greatest mental suffering, often for no explainable reason. <...>
In specific cases it means longing for someone or something, nostalgia, love, suffering. All at the same time. At a lower level - dejection, boredom. It is especially noticeable in November and March, when it is gray all around.
In Russia, Babushka is not only Babushka – it’s a kind of superhero, sometimes playing on the bad side.
Russian grandmothers have long been a meme and have gained international fame. For example, they are not the charming, sweet old women that one conjures up at the mention of this word.
In Russia, Babushka (if it’s a random babushka, not your own) is more of an unpredictable storm in a skirt, which is better not to anger, otherwise she will destroy your world – just by saying all the neighbors with whom she saw you last night. She knows everything about everyone. And she can also destroy the whole bank system - by pushing all the buttons on the automat desk - but this is another story.
How they do it, no one knows, but in Russia grandmothers are respected, loved and admired, including for that.
Russian pancakes were a ritual food, but became so popular that people liked to eat them on other days of the year as well.
Also the most popular Russian euphemism for swear words. If you hear someone exclaim "Blin!" irritated or annoyed, it has nothing to do with food.
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