The New Russians.
Russia has gone through several changes in the last few years. Visitors to Moscow just a couple of years ago would be very surprised at how “Western” downtown has become. Expensive shops line the main streets. International businessmen have rated Moscow as the most expensive city to conduct business, more costly that even Tokyo and New York.
The term “New Russian” has been coined for many Russian businessmen, some being quite well to do, even by American standards. This new pursuit-of-the-gold mentality is affecting the culture in general. Large screen TVs, VCRs, car ownership, remodels of city and country homes are now all commonplace. The zeal for the almighty dollar, or more accurately, less-than mighty ruble, is affecting everyone from the rich to the pensioner. Materialism has even roosted on Russian relationships. Russians have always had time for each other. Walks with friends, long conversations on the phone, and meals together were of great importance. With the pursuit of the microwave ovens and computers comes the requirement to work more hours, and for most Russians, at a variety of positions. While many Russians maintain their employ at their “main” job, such as being a teacher, or city employee, or doctor, they also have jobs on the side, such as tutoring, or selling things on the street, or developing a business. Recent observation is that many Russians have less time for walks and talks. Perhaps the days of several workers standing around idly will come to an end…certainly a welcome thing for improving efficiency. But will the superb Russian character of closely connected relationships be compromised in the process of “getting ahead”?
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