Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
As you have read in my bio on Plutonium Page's roll call, I got my BA in Russian and Eastern European Studies from U. Michigan, spent 3 semesters at the Moscow Institute of Social and Political Studies my junior year...and was married to one for eight years.

Here's my explanation.  That doesn't surprise me, Russians are nationalists but they are also so diverse.  Geographically, many explain that everything east of the Urals is Asia and everthing West is Europe.  That's also problematic demographically.  My ex-wife's father was half Bashkir/half Tartar and her mother was Russian.  Created family problems on the Muslim side.  Russians would (including mother-in-law) would call the Vostochniie (Easterners).  Russians will also tell you that after 240 years of Mongol rule, there is no longer any Russians with pure slavic blood.  I believe this may be on explanation foe the "Russian Soul" as it gives a unifying factor in the culture not based on blood lines.  There are also strong neo-nationalistic feelings there now that tend to favor the perception of the "civilised" Europe over the "backward" east.

Symbolically, this is why the Russian Imperial Eagle had two heads, one looking west and one looking east.

One anecdote.  My ex and I were having drinks with some Germans back in the US.  One girl mention atrocities of German women who were raped by the Red Army.  My wife exclamed "Ne nada tooda leyzit" in a menancing tone (meaning something roughly like "you shouldn't slimed/crawled there in the first place").  There was a look of uncomfortable suprise at my ex blurting out in Russian.  I thought, oh shit, we're going to have an international incident, they're still fucking fighting WWII.  After an uncomfortable, I changed the subject.

The ex's grandfather's were in the Red Army, one as a doctor from Stalingrad to Berlin, was on the Ausschwitz liberation medical team, and survived the War.  The other, the Tartar, didn't survive Berlin.

Hope that's insightful.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Wed Jul 6th, 2005 at 07:02:21 AM EST
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