6 Amusing Historic Stereotypes of Main Russian Cities

ConspirActu 2 weeks ago 0

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Stereotypes are a humorous factor. On the one hand, they’re typically not more than caricatures. Then again, there’s a shocking quantity of bitter reality to a few of them. Just like the Russians say with their morbid humor, “In each joke, there’s a little bit of a joke.”

That is particularly fascinating after we take into account outdated Rus. We don’t have a lot to go on, traditionally talking, aside from chronicles, treaties, and some bits of birch bark.

Nevertheless, Russians have preserved some fascinating stereotypes concerning the inhabitants of outdated Russian cities. Whether or not there’s any reality to them or not is sort of irrelevant. They’re fascinating, revealing a window to a world lengthy gone, but nonetheless persisting within the habits and personalities of at the moment’s Russians. (Here’s the original Russian article that I translated)


Novgorod’s rebelliousness is famous. The picture of a brawling Novgorodian is sort of a calling card of the town. The explanation this stereotype happened has to do with the outdated chronicles. They had been full of illustrations of the fixed arguments on the Novgorodian Veche, a sort of standard meeting that met within the central sq.. (See my translation of “Martha the Mayoress” for a vivid fictionalized example).

After all, there have been arguments and even fights throughout the Veche. Nevertheless, they didn’t always devolve into fist-fights, because the legends counsel. Naturally, the chroniclers would select probably the most vivid and bloody examples from historical past for example their level. In spite of everything, Novgorod was typically an opponent of Kiev and, later, Moscow. However in precise truth, the inhabitants of Nice Novgorod had been fiercely loyal to their authorities and cherished their metropolis. Compromise was the order of the day, not damaged heads. Plus, they had been greater than often literate.


Even in trendy occasions, Pskovians have needed to endure numerous jokes about their crudeness, stupidity, and their lack of excellent manners. This will or will not be true. As for his or her lack of manners, that’s fully a matter of hats. The inhabitants of Pskov, it doesn’t matter what their social standing, hardly doffed their cap earlier than anybody (which is extraordinarily unhealthy type in outdated Rus). Nevertheless, this wasn’t crudity or unhealthy breeding.

It was {that a} hat symbolized one’s personal dignity. In Pskov specifically, to really take off your hat meant to be shamed. It could be a bastardization of the extra typically accepted rule that if another person took your hat off your headthat was a terrible insult.


The painful subject of Russian alcoholism turned particularly related in Nizhni Novgorod on the finish of the seventeenth century. A sort of epidemic of alcoholism rose up, and it was regular to see girls in addition to males mendacity within the streets in a drunken stupor. International vacationers recounted after their visits to Nizhni Novgorod that “Russians don’t do something however feast.”

After all, they did greater than feast. However on holidays, Russians have all the time allowed themselves some excesses. It’s not fully honest to single out Nizhni Novgorod, when alcoholism nonetheless is the gravest downside going through Russia at the moment, as in olden occasions.


This stereotype appeared very early. It’s simple to know. Vladimir itself had 5 prisons, together with the well-known “Vladimir Central Jail.” From the start, Vladimirians have been thought of con artists who like a harmful life. It didn’t assist that the trail to Siberia for exiled convicts went by way of Vladimir. It was even referred to as the “Vladimirka.”

Exiled convicts stopped in Vladimir to have half their heads shaved (a scene vividly recounted within the glorious Russian movie The Siberian Barber). Then they’d be branded as exiles or thieves, clapped in irons, and set upon the highway to Siberia. In outdated occasions, the trail might take so long as two years, and people two years weren’t counted as a part of their allotted time.

Vladimir itself, for all that, was a typical sufficient provincial city.


When a Russian hears the phrase “finift’” (enameling), he instantly thinks of Rostov. Nothing might change the outdated stereotype that each inhabitant of historic Rostov labored within the enameling guild. That’s full nonsense, in fact. Initially, the most effective enamellists in outdated Rus had been as a rule in Kiev, the capital metropolis. There have been additionally some well-known artisans in Pskov, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, and Nice Novgorod.

The one distinction is that Rostov alone has preserved the normal methods of enameling since historic occasions. Even at the moment, there’s a manufacturing facility producing enameled work. Maybe because of this alone, vacationers nonetheless go to Rostov completely to see enameled bins.


The industrious muzhik from Yaroslavl is a picture that we even discover in Gogol. From the occasions of Rus, Yaroslavians had been referred to as individuals who had been by no means apathetic, lazy, or vulnerable to tiredness. As an alternative, they’re recognized to be lively to a manic diploma. This will have one thing to do with the odd custom that Yaroslav is a metropolis of buried treasure.

Apparently, wherever you flip, you see somebody uncovering a jewellery field or attempting to interrupt into an historic chest of drawers. Maybe slightly extra severely, Yaroslavians have lengthy been referred to as “chicks of the cuckoo.” In different phrases, they’re greater than often able to leaving their homeland with out a lot remorse. This high quality has a transparent historic origin.

Yaroslav was constructed on the crossroads of historic roads—a path utilized by retailers from Scandinavia all the best way to the Arab lands. From the center of the sixteenth century, Yarsolavl turned an important heart for commerce in all of Rus. This fixed motion typically impressed younger Yaroslavians to check out their luck in international lands.

True or not, such stereotypes make for fascinating tales. For myself, the “fable” of the boisterous Novgorodian involves life in my third novel, The Coronary heart of the World, in a semi-fictionalized setting of the Veche that goes fabulously flawed for all involved.

Supply: Nicholas Kotar


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