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Passport Russia: Your Pocket Guide to Russian Business, Customs & Etiquette (Passport to the World)

by Charles Mitchell, Barbara Szerlip



Buy the book: Charles Mitchell. Passport Russia: Your Pocket Guide to Russian Business, Customs & Etiquette (Passport to the World)

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Buy the book: Charles Mitchell. Passport Russia: Your Pocket Guide to Russian Business, Customs & Etiquette (Passport to the World)


the author�s subjective view

This is a compact book with a lot of useful information. However, while reading this portable guide, or similar sources, it is important to keep in mind that the given information is the author's subjective view, which might not be accurate. For example, either in order to make the book more entertaining or due to misleading research, Mitchell writes, "On an historical note: In Communism's heyday, many Russians gave children such inspirational names as Tractor, Melor (an acronym for Marx, Engles, Lenin, October Revolution) or even Ninel (a girl's name that is actually Lenin spelled backwards)." It is true that in the most remote locations during the pinnacle of Communist ideology that there were a few instances of people being named in this way. However, to say that "many" Russians named their children this way is completely untrue. A few Russian people of older generations who lived all of their lives in Russia said that they never heard any of these names.

The information that the author provides on typical Russian women's attire and appearance also differs from reality. Mitchell states, "High fashion for Russian women tends toward very high heels, tight dresses (often too much Tatiana or Luda stuffed into too little material), heavy makeup and big hair. Wealthy mutton invariably dresses as lamb - a sight that often takes some getting used." Those who traveled to major Russian cities in recent years would disagree with the author's perception. Perhaps the author lacked the company of other kind of ladies.

At a certain point the author describes how many young women in Russia are hired to work in businesses based on their looks rather than on their credentials and skills. Although it is possible to find such job advertisements, they are certainly not as common as the author would have us believe. Russian women have been actively participating in the workforce since the beginning of the 20th century and often have held the same positions as men. The author also mentions that work advertisements often specify that a young woman should be "prepared to perform other duties related to client entertainment..." Then he proceeds, "...But this should come as no surprise in a country that once held televised vacuum cleaner races to celebrate International Women's Day - a day meant to honor the contribution of women to world culture."

Mitchell probably did not conduct enough research on this matter. In 1910 at the International Conference of Women Socialists in Copenhagen, Klara Tsetkin, the well-known German revolutionary, suggested dedicating the 8th of March to International Women's Day. This holiday signifies the international solidarity of women in a struggle for economic, social and political equality. It was first celebrated in Europe in 1911, and in Russia in 1913. Russian women received equal rights in the second decade of the century, while in the U.S. equal rights for women began to appear only in 1970s with Affirmative Action legislation (Or with Equal Rights legislation?).

The author's comment about the "vacuum cleaner races" as a questionable means of celebrating womens' contributions, simply demonstrates the perspective that the author chose to portray it in, i.e. humorous. In reality, March 8th is a holiday in Russia where all women receive flowers from their sons, fathers, brothers, husbands, and male friends. Men try to do something special for the women in their lives on this day. The 8th of March has always been one of the most beautiful holidays in Russia.

Overall, the book is a fun portable guide, which does contain valuable information. However a Russian person reading this book would disagree with a many of authors' comments. A Russian person would likely note that the book is not judgment-free and often pokes fun at Russian culture rather than describing it. The conclusion is - use several sources to prepare for your business trip to Russia.

From Amazon.com

The author�s bias view of Russian Culture

This is a compact book with a lot of useful information. However, while reading this portable guide, or similar sources, it is important to keep in mind that the given information is the author's subjective view, which might not be accurate. For example, either in order to make the book more entertaining or due to misleading research, Mitchell writes, "On an historical note: In Communism's heyday, many Russians gave children such inspirational names as Tractor, Melor (an acronym for Marx, Engles, Lenin, October Revolution) or even Ninel (a girl's name that is actually Lenin spelled backwards)." It is true that in the most remote locations during the pinnacle of Communist ideology that there were a few instances of people being named in this way. However, to say that "many" Russians named their children this way is completely untrue. A few Russian people of older generations who lived all of their lives in Russia said that they never heard any of these names.

The information that the author provides on typical Russian women's attire and appearance also differs from reality. Mitchell states, "High fashion for Russian women tends toward very high heels, tight dresses (often too much Tatiana or Luda stuffed into too little material), heavy makeup and big hair. Wealthy mutton invariably dresses as lamb - a sight that often takes some getting used." Those who traveled to major Russian cities in recent years would disagree with the author's perception. Perhaps the author lacked the company of other kind of ladies.

At a certain point the author describes how many young women in Russia are hired to work in businesses based on their looks rather than on their credentials and skills. Although it is possible to find such job advertisements, they are certainly not as common as the author would have us believe. Russian women have been actively participating in the workforce since the beginning of the 20th century and often have held the same positions as men. The author also mentions that work advertisements often specify that a young woman should be "prepared to perform other duties related to client entertainment..." Then he proceeds, "...But this should come as no surprise in a country that once held televised vacuum cleaner races to celebrate International Women's Day - a day meant to honor the contribution of women to world culture."

Mitchell probably did not conduct enough research on this matter. In 1910 at the International Conference of Women Socialists in Copenhagen, Klara Tsetkin, the well-known German revolutionary, suggested dedicating the 8th of March to International Women's Day. This holiday signifies the international solidarity of women in a struggle for economic, social and political equality. It was first celebrated in Europe in 1911, and in Russia in 1913. Russian women received equal rights in the second decade of the century, while in the U.S. equal rights for women began to appear only in 1970s with Affirmative Action legislation (Or with Equal Rights legislation?).

The author's comment about the "vacuum cleaner races" as a questionable means of celebrating womens' contributions, simply demonstrates the perspective that the author chose to portray it in, i.e. humorous. In reality, March 8th is a holiday in Russia where all women receive flowers from their sons, fathers, brothers, husbands, and male friends. Men try to do something special for the women in their lives on this day. The 8th of March has always been one of the most beautiful holidays in Russia.

Overall, the book is a fun portable guide, which does contain valuable information. However a Russian person reading this book would disagree with many of authors' comments. A Russian person would likely note that the book is not judgment-free and often pokes fun at Russian culture rather than describing it. The conclusion is - use several sources to prepare for your business trip to Russia.

From Amazon.com
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