Stereotyping, negative or otherwise, plays an important decision in deciding where to travel. “The Irish are all drunks!” might be exactly the thing that drives you to Ireland, or it might be what makes you avoid it altogether.
Some nationalities and countries have more negative stereotypes than others. For example, our old Cold War nemesis, Russia, still occupies a rather dubious place in the world of stereotyping. Much of this negativity remains from the days of godless commies goose-stepping through Red Square, but quite a bit more has been heaped on since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the anarchy which followed.
But, is everything you read in the papers true about Russia? Do caviar eating Mafioso rule the streets? Is economic collapse as common as a cold Moscow Winter?
Dmitry Paranyushkin has addressed a number of such stereotypes in his appropriately titled article, Russian Stereotypes. No, Russians don’t “drink vodka the same way British drink their 5 o’clock tea,” he writes.
Paranyushkin scoffs at some of the wild misconceptions westerners have about Russia, but does admit the country “has its flaws and gems.”
Most importantly, he invites the skeptics to come and check it out for themselves, before Russia changes and becomes just another Starbucks-drinking, McDonald’s-inhaling, rap-infested, first world country.