Наблюдения (Observations)

I just got back from a brief trip to Russia.  During my stay in Moscow and my visits to Vladimir and a few outlying towns, I made a list of observations that caught my eye.  One thing is certain;  life in Russia is quite different than here in America.  Here are some fun, interesting, and sad observations I made while there.

  • There are hired security guards inside every store, hotel and complex.  Just to enter the hotel, we had to walk through metal detectors.
  • My hotel window on the 21st floor opened all the way…this would never happen in America due to the liability issues involved
  • Yes, there was a 13th floor
  • Many prominent building have roofs plated in gold
  • gas was around $4 per gallon (or 25 Rubles per Liter)
  • Nobody smiles
  • It is supposedly bad luck to whistle, when I did so I got unusual looks
  • there are about 3 to 4 times the number of policemen you normally see
  • There is a strong ethic of hard work built into the culture… almost nobody is lazy
  • The entire town is desaturated…everything is grey…both literally and metaphorically
  • 80% of people smoke…it’s inexpensive because the government does not tax cigarettes.
  • You are expected to bargain for goods…even in many established shops
  • All women are required to cover their heads in church
  • High school only has 11 grades
  • A typical school classroom will have 1 guy for every 10 girls
  • The school library for a 600 student school might have 150 books…many which are textbooks which are shared between multiple classes.
  • Outward appearance is placed at a very high priority;  this is reflected in people’s desire to drive nice cars, wear nice clothes, and have a few nice things while choosing to live in run down subsidized apartments.
  • There are no overweight people…seriously everyone has a slender or normal figure
  • The only church that exists in any popularity is the Russian Orthodox Church, similar in belief and structure to the Roman Catholic Church here.
  • Education is place on a very high pedestal and teachers are ranked as the #1 most trusted profession.
  • In the corporate world, if you have enemies or competition, rather than trying to beat the competition in the market, you just have the CEO killed.  It happens quite regularly
  • The KGB (under a new name of FSB) is still monitoring the activities of foreigners within the country.
  • There are still areas of Russia where foreigners are not allowed to travel.
  • I only saw 1 pregnant lady (out of thousands of people) in the period of a week…I inquired on this abnormality and was told that the average Russian woman has 6 abortions and as a result, infertility rates are through the roof.
  • Abortion rates are some of the highest in the world; In 2001, 1.3 million children were born in Russia, while 1.8 million abortions were performed.    citation


Notes on Fashion

  • Leather is in
  • All men wear skinny jeans or slim cut trousers
  • Everyone and I mean most everyone, dresses nicely.  I didn’t see a single pair of holey jean, ball caps, tennis shoes and very few t-shirts.
  • Women wear skirts much more often than here in the states
  • Boots are commonly found and you get the general sense that women are taller because they all wear heels (and I mean heeeeeeeels).

About chriskaspar

Music, Art, Jesus; These are things I love!
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