Interview with a Russian Girl
Which country would you consider to be your country?
Well, I haven´t been to too many countries to define it, but I was born in Russia, yes. And I like my country, I like the culture, I like the people and many things that I remember from my childhood. But, to start with, I was born in Kazan which is situated in the middle of Russia, 800 kilometers away from Moscow. There we´ve got like all four seasons. And for example for me, it´s hard to bear the cold. I get brochities all the time, I start to cough and so on. So I´m not a huge fan of cold temperatures and frost. But my family, for example, they like it. For my mum it´s easier to do stuff in winter. She´s completely fine with winter. But she hates summer, because she can´t stand heat. Most of the summertime she spends in shade and in places that work with AC. For me it´s vice versa. So I would change four seasons for one. Summer by the beach with palms. But in Russia, we have places like this actually, we have beaches like in Krasnodar Region. But still they are not the center of Russia, not the capital. It´s just a few cities. But still, a lot of money should be put there to develop the region, especially after Crimea. After the Olympic games, the Sochi Games, a lot of people from Russia started to move there, so the prices also went up. But, coming back to the question about my country, I´m not sure yet. I still want to travel. I like to see different countries. I think I will probably be living in a place which is also quite international. With sea and palms and beach all year long and I could visit my family in winter. Here, in Barcelona I think people are lucky because it´s nice all year around. I´m impressed by Barcelona. But as for my country, I´m not sure yet.
So you think once you travel more that feeling of belonging to a country could change?
Maybe. It also depends on the people I meet. I mean I don´t know who will be my husband and stuff. So yeah, I mean I`ll still have to make a decision. For example, it was my dream to live in Cuba. Because I saw a picture of it and it was just so beautiful, the island and the sea. After that I wanted to go to Brazil. Like oh, yes, I will live in Brazil. Especially when I saw all these Carnival movies. Now I got to know Barcelona. But well, I definitely want to live somewhere with comfortable weather and nature. I really like sea and mountains. So probably something like this. But I´m not sure yet.
Coming back to Russia for a bit. Could you tell some general misconceptions people have about Russia you would like to clarify?
First, it definitely comes to drinking. Like Vodka. All people in the world have heard that before. And secondly, that it´s really cold. So, why is that not true? First, yes there is Vodka in Russia. But that doesn´t mean we drink it every Friday and Saturday. For example, me, my family and friends we don´t drink at all or we prefer wine. So I can´t say that Vodka is that popular just as a clear thing. Usually we do cocktails and a lot of people also keep fit, they do sports, they stick to their diet and don´t really drink at all. So it doesn´t mean that a lot of people, that all people in Russia drink. Although, according to the statistics yes. We are one of the most drinking countries in the world unfortunately. Yeah, but my family, my friends and my accountancies, they don´t drink at all or just for holidays. And secondly it´s very very cold. Yes, I already said it. But it depends on which region in Russia you mean, because Russia is quite big and for example in south regions it´s really really warm. And for example, in the middle of Russia it can get cold, especially around Christmastime. Christmas, but in the orthodox church which is around the 7th January. So, sometimes it is cold, but unless you go really far to the north it´s not unbearable. I myself am more exposed to cold probably. It was really hot in summer though. In Kazan we had 38 degrees in summer. And I remember that here in December it was raining and we got our snow closer to January. In winter it was -4°C and there were a few days with -25°C, but then it was – 4°C again. So pretty comfortable weather. Drizzling sometimes.
When it comes to Russia people have a lot of different opinions, especially about politics. Were you already confronted with some prejudices about Russian policy as well?
Yes, yes, oh politics, our society in Russia doesn´t love to talk about politics at all. I was born in 1996 and since that time I´ve just seen one president. It was Mr. Putin. He was just keeping his place for like 4 years and in Russia it´s also a really debatable thing, a lot of people are annoyed about it. It´s obvious that it´s not normal. And yes, a lot of people don´t support him. I don´t know which western views you have. But in Russia it´s split in half. Maybe 50% support him and 50% don´t. So, in this sense the political situation is sad.
Is it also hard to explain the situation to people from outside who have a different view than people in Russia?
Yes, yes it is, exactly. Every politician wants to show himself in a better light. But for sure in Russia they wouldn´t show something that would hurt his (Putins) reputation. I can understand a lot of people, because they were brought up by parents who were born after world war 2nd and they went through all the terrible things that happened in the Sovjet Union. And for sure if we compare the 90`s when you didn´t get your salary but you got food as your salary to afterwards, when Mr. Putin came to power and it all changed, for sure some things got better. I can´t deny that. But from that time, 18 years have already passed and we didn´t go that far from there. We made the relationship in our country even worse. So, it definitely should be changed, in my mind.
Do you think if there would be another president, the situation would change?
Well, the president is just one person. I don´t think one person can change everything. Even if you take Putin form the pole and another guy would take the office and that doesn’t mean the country would change. It´s the system, the approach, in general, how it goes in the country. Some laws should be changed, the whole structure. But it´s a big process that will take a long time.
Do you see yourself living in Russia in the future?
I think I could, because, for example, I’ve been to Moscow, I’ve been to Sant Petersburg, and in this two cities, they are really big. So there is a lot of possibilities for work and to have a career. But as I said I want to live somewhere warmer. And unfortunately these places are in the north. But St Petersburg is really nice. It was the cultural center of Russia, because it was the capital for many years, for several centuries. I´ve ben to the city and I know there are possibilities for people there.
Would there be anything else you would like people to know about Russia?
Well, I know most people know just know the two main cities like Moscow and St Petersburg. But there are a lot of places in Russia to get to know to see, to get to know the country further than just Moscow. If you really want to get an image of how it goes in Russia, if you want to see something apart from famous museums and fashionable places you should probably go somewhere further in Russia and visit cities what we call the gold ring. They also contain historical centers. You should go to the south of Russia to see how life is there. And go to Siberia, see the nature. I also want to see that myself one day. I also want to get out of the mega cites. In Russia there are living a lot of different nationalities in a lot of different parts in Russia. Russia is very big and a lot of people live there in different places, they have their own culture, their own language. Including my region. So, it´s much more diverse than just Moscow.
In this interview, I was talking to a girl from Kazan (situation stated in the map below) who wants to discover a lot of places before she settles down for her county. I, again learned a lot in this interview. It is fascinating, which imagine people who were brought up in a certain country, can provide of this country to an outsider. You can learn so much in just asking, talking, listening. That´s why I started this series which will go on for a while. We all need to listen and let someone talk sometimes.