The Russians believe that they have their national peculiarities. They believe, though unconsciously, in the existence of the Russian soul that is the single whole soul of the Russian nation. The Russian soul is revealed through our language, songs and traditions. Due to various endings expressing the grammar case, gender, and number, the Russian language allows nearly any order of words in a sentence which gives full play for expressing various shades of feelings, for more exact presenting the thoughts and at the same time for that delightful vagueness which appears to be so close to the Russian soul. Plenty of suffixes enrich and multiply the meanings of the words. Let's take the Russian name Ivan as an example. If you want to address a person with a tender name you should call him Vanya, whereas Vanka would sound somehow rude. A woman loving him would call him Vanyusha, Vanyushka or even Vanyushenka, a boon companions however would call him Vanyukha, Ivashka sounds both tender and slightly; Vanischa is "big" Ivan; Iohann is a church equivalent, whereas John refers to the slang vocabulary of the youngsters.
Up till now the Russian people have preserved the tradition of singing at a holiday set table especially among the middle-aged and senior people get together on the occasion of some holiday, arrange a party, have a drink and begin singing. As a rule it is done to the accordion or concertina. They sing folk songs as they call it. Unlike the real folklore songs those ones were composed by some authors, being written either in the last century or during the Soviet times. In the latter case those are songs from some popular movies. Sometimes the hits of the modern variety shows also get into the range of the drinking-songs. Though it looks like extinction of the tradition. A substitute of a drinking-song rather popular with the youngsters is karaoke.
The customs of ordinary Russian people show their neglect to themselves and accentuated respect to others, especially to foreigners. For a stranger it may seem frightening. That's the Russian way to impetuously express their gratitude. If you give a Russian a small present which is just a little token of attention you should be ready for a shower of inadequate thanks. The Russians would thank you even for the things they actually never need.
Another Russian tradition is importunate hospitality. Unfortunately Russian people have no idea of such a notion as privacy. They would foist their tastes on you as they think it would be good for you. And they are not guided by a mercenary spirit but by the wish to please you.
By Konstantin Sitnikov
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