Despite the fact that an increasing number of Russians and Indians are visiting each other’s countries, the common person in both countries still lacks adequate knowledge of customs, traditions and the general culture and the people of the other country. Russians have long been fascinated by India, a country, which has always been looked upon as exotic, colourful and exciting, but sometimes have funny ideas about Indians.
Here are the most common stereotypes about India and Indians in Russian.
The land of fairy tales and legends, beautiful princes and princesses, majestic palaces and ceremonies, mystical jungle and mighty animals. It is the land where magic is still possible, and the world has not become dull yet.
A spiritual source. The territory of yogi and wise old men. The place where you can go and find peace in your own soul. The country where people still retain the old secrets of the world. Russians are traditionally very serious about spiritual life. Unfortunately, today their own roots within the Orthodox church are lost for most of them. So they often come to India in search of answers to eternal questions.
The country of warm weather and welcoming nature, which is great to hide into during their own harsh winter.
The country of poor, but happy people. Where every one is smiling, and people don’t bother too much if they are not rich. Where nobody is in a hurry, and people know how to live their lives.
Hindi films are definitely not as popular in Russia as they were in the Soviet days. The older generation still sees India through the prism of old Hindi films. They see it as a romantic fairy tale land where women in saris, dance and run around trees in the rain.
The younger generation is divided into two categories: The Euro-centric people who think India is a poor and dirty country. And those who are inclined towards yoga, Ayurveda and Indian art and films.
The people who come and spend months in Goa tend to be a mix of both young and old, Euro-centric and Indophiles.
Among the expert and strategic analyst community, India is seen as a vital and important partner and a growing power.