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Anastasia, 18, student, Tolyatti

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I doubt I've done anything patriotic.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Your motherland is the place where you were born; the state is the place where you live, the government. Motherland is something more spiritual.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

A patriot can disagree with the government. Most of our population lives like that. We all love our country, but we don’t like what happens in it.

Have you considered emigration?

Of course I have thought about emigration. I’d like to move, but there’s no such opportunity right now. Maybe something will change here and living standards will improve.

What do you think about migrants?

Owing to migrants, our population grows. Many are disappointed with the fact that the number of us natives is decreasing because we leave the country and others come. Probably where they come from, it’s even worse.

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Andrei, 13, Pionersk

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is someone who is loyal to his or her motherland.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I have not yet done anything patriotic.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love for the motherland and for the government are not the same thing. A government can rule by dishonest means.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

I think you can be a patriot and disagree with the government.

Have you considered emigration?

I would like to move to Berlin. Russian people are ill-mannered. Berlin is probably much better in this regard.

What do you think about migrants?

I have nothing bad to say about migrants.

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Alexander, 18, architecture student, Samara

What makes someone a real Russian?

I do not know what a real Russian is.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

A patriotic act is something to do with the military, with grandeur. In this sense, I have never done a patriotic act.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love for the motherland and love for the state are different things. The state is one thing; the motherland is a completely different one.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

I think you can be a patriot and disagree with the government. Because patriotism is sort of a thing of the past, and we have an entirely different government now.

Have you considered emigration?

I thought about emigrating at some point. It seemed to me at the time that there would be no prospects for me here after I finish my studies.

What do you think about migrants?

I treat newcomers differently depending on where they come from. I have a negative attitude toward Uzbeks and other such nationalities. I have, however, no problems with those who come from civilized countries such as the United States. They are just tourists.

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Yuliya, 19, attends beauty school, Tolyatti

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is someone who was born and lives in Russia.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I do not believe I have ever done anything patriotic.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love for the motherland and for the government are not the same thing.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

You can be a patriot and disagree with the government.

Have you considered emigration?

I do not think about leaving Russia, nor have I ever been abroad.

What do you think about migrants?

I have a negative attitude toward migrants. They are all bad people. I have no respect for them for some reason. They are all rude and behave themselves improperly. They should not be allowed to come to our country.

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Nikita, 12, Kaliningrad

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is a proud person who loves and respects his or her country.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I have not done anything patriotic.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love for the motherland and for the government are not the same thing. The motherland is the country, and the government consists of people who are supposed to improve this country.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

In theory, you can be a patriot and disagree with the government because governments can be different: some work to improve the situation, [while] others can make it worse or leave things half-finished.

Have you considered emigration?

I do not think about leaving Russia. I love the place where I was born.

What do you think about migrants?

have no problems with migrants. It is for them to decide whether to come or not. They look for a better place because for some reason, they feel uncomfortable in their native countries.

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Nikita, 8, Yalta

What makes someone a real Russian?

A person who voted for Russia.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

Honestly I don't know.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

I think not, but I'm not sure.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

Probably no.

Have you considered emigration?

Beyond Yalta borders – of course.

What do you think about migrants?

They are just refugees, because stupid Ukrainians are bombing their own people.

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What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?

Lin Yutang
Ksenia, 16, Saint Petersburg

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is a person who cares about his country, supports its ecology, and just loves his country.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I haven’t done a patriotic act. If you’re talking politics, then I think that a patriotic act means changing something in your country.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love of motherland and love of government are definitely different things. A man might love his motherland dearly but at the same time be against his government and absolutely dislike it.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

A patriot can disagree with the government. That is why if you love our country, it doesn’t mean that you like its political regime.

Have you considered emigration?

I’ve thought of going to study somewhere, but to move abroad forever—no.

What do you think about migrants?

I think migration should be strictly limited, because there are so many people who come without registration, who just bribe the police and commit illegal and unacceptable things.

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Aleksandr, 19, law student, Tolyatti

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is, first of all, an non-aggressive person. A real Russian is, however, not wimpy, which is to say, as he or she is usually portrayed.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I used to be a member of a youth human rights movement, and I know people who fight so that laws are observed and everyone is treated properly. I saw the authorities put pressure on these people instead of supporting them, as they are supposed to. The authorities are putting pressure on these people, human rights organizations are being shut down, and despite all that, these people do not give up and still try to make a difference. I think that this is what true patriotism is.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

A patriot can disagree with the government, especially if we are talking about our current government. If you try to do something for other people, for the protection of human rights, and all the while you are being portrayed in a bad light and the authorities are saying that you are shit, that you are some sort of an agent, when pressure is being put on you and your financial support is being stopped, then you might begin feeling some sort of hatred toward the government.

Have you considered emigration?

I have been thinking about emigrating a lot; this idea has haunted me since I was eleven. Both my best friend at the time and I wanted to leave. There is no moving forward here. If you disregard certain limits, you are not welcome here, and consequently you have to look for other options, but you will not find them here.

What do you think about migrants?

I have no problems with migrants. I treat them like any other people. A person’s nationality, his or her sexual orientation, and other such things make no difference to me. This is simply none of my business. To each his own. One should just try to put themselves in migrants’ shoes and understand what made them come to Russia and what the situation in their native countries is. As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as “borders.” Both their native country and Russia can be their home.

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Kirill, 14, Kaliningrad

What makes someone a real Russian?

I think a real Russian is a patriot, perhaps.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I have not performed any patriotic deeds.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love for the motherland and for the state are two different things. To love one’s motherland means to love its forests, its landscapes. Love for the government is love for the president, for the authorities, for the way the system works.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

You can be a patriot and disagree with the government. To be a patriot means to protect one’s country, whereas the government can do something bad, such as adopt a law for its own benefit.

Have you considered emigration?

I have not thought about leaving Russia.

What do you think about migrants?

If migrants do not disturb the peace and do not bother locals, if they behave properly and study the history of the country, then I have no problems with them.

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Anastasia, theater student, Volgograd

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is someone who really loves his or her motherland, its nature, its landmarks, and who tries his or her hardest to help our country move forward. In my opinion, this is the most important thing, because today’s Russia is not, so to speak, looked on favorably by other countries. Our country is really wonderful—it is immense and beautiful. However, many foreigners do not see it that way, and this is a shame. In American cartoons, Russians are always portrayed with a bottle of vodka, wearing a Russian hat, and accompanied by a bear who dances to a harmonica. Such stereotyped images are often used.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I believe I have done patriotic things. We had a basics of safety and survival teacher in school, Alexander Ivanov, and he tried to instill patriotism in us. We used to organize neighborhood cleanups together to clean the streets and parks of our city. One has to take care of one’s country to make sure that it is beautiful. Even nowadays, I sometimes want to take a walk through the streets of the city with a bag to collect trash, but, unfortunately, I have no time for this.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love of the motherland and of the government are two absolutely different things. I do not remember who said that “I love my country, but I hate the state.” I agree with this statement. Governments change, but the country remains the same.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

A patriot can and maybe even should disagree with the government. Of course, it all depends on the government, and people are not always able to make a change. You really have to push the Russian people to the limit in order for them to join street rallies. Maybe this is what will soon happen. Russian people are actually very strong.

Have you considered emigration?

I sometimes think about emigrating. I have never been abroad, but I think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Every country has its problems.

What do you think about migrants?

Migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia flee the problems in their native countries and come to Russia because in this country, they are offered the opportunity to make a better living. Russian people, however, do not always have the same opportunity to earn money, and this is a problem. But in general, if migrants like our country, they should be allowed to live here on the condition that they accept our laws and traditions. In other words, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

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Kostya, 15, Tolyatti

What makes someone a real Russian?

Russians are normal, kind people.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

The motherland can never be sold. As for the government and police, I don’t like them. A law was recently passed prohibiting smoking in public places—but cops themselves still smoke [in public].

Have you considered emigration?

I’d emigrate to Hollywood, Scotland, or Ireland. I’d want to live there in my own house.

What do you think about migrants?

I can’t stand non-Russians, darkies [people from the Caucasus region], churkas [people from Central Asia].

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Amir, 18, student, Kaliningrad

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is, I suppose, a patriot of his country. If he’s got a choice about whether to go abroad for work—to America, for instance—or stay in Russia, to work for its recovery, then he chooses his motherland.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I might have done something patriotic, but I don’t remember it now. Like in my childhood, when someone needed help, helping an old lady to cross the road. I think that this is a patriotic act, to some extent.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

I don’t think that loving your motherland is the same thing as loving your government. Many people love their motherland but dislike its government. These are totally different things.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

It might be possible to be a patriot and disagree with the government. I don’t reject such a possibility.

Have you considered emigration?

I don’t think about emigration. I only moved to Russia recently and I like everything still. Russia is a more open country; there are many opportunities here.

What do you think about migrants?

How do I feel about migrants? It depends on who is meant: unskilled laborers or average people. Basically, people who come to Kaliningrad are normal; they are all adequate. My relative from Moscow visited recently and said that there are a lot fewer black faces here than in Moscow.

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Anton, 18, student, Tolyatti

What makes someone a real Russian?

What is a real Russian? I do not even know.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I have never done anything patriotic. This probably means military service.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love for the motherland and for the government are not the same thing. The motherland is a country, its natural resources and so on, whereas the state is a government.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

I think you can be a patriot and disagree with the government.

Have you considered emigration?

I have not thought about emigrating.

What do you think about migrants?

My attitude toward migrants is absolutely neutral.

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My image of a real Russian is of a man who drinks vodka, works at a factory, and talks to a TV-set.

 

Yury, 12, Volgograd

What makes someone a real Russian?

Not sure, maybe the Russian national soccer team, something like that.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love for the motherland and for the government are not the same thing. Love for the motherland can be different, since for the government, it is all about the laws by which our country lives.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

In order to be a patriot, you have to abide by the laws. Otherwise, you are not a patriot.

What do you think about migrants?

Some migrants know how to build houses,houses; others know how to build roads. They have a stronger inclination for work. They are human beings just like we are. The only difference is that they belong to a different people.

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Asya, 16, Saint Petersburg

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is a person who was born in Russia, who basically respects this country, respects its rules, traditions, its history, and other Russian citizens.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I’ve hardly done anything patriotic act. I don’t understand the meaning of these words, so I can’t even give an example. I guess it means to change the course of history, the politics—something like that.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love of motherland and love of government are different things, of course. Motherland is the place where we were born, where we live, a place that we love and respect; it’s something spiritual. But the government is [made up of] separate people who are busy with politics; I think they are less related to the motherland.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

Of course it is possible to be a patriot and disagree with the government. This is widespread now. But one should be well informed of what’s happening in the government and not just keep saying “I don't like Putin because he’s a dummy and doesn’t do anything.” This is absurd. There should be some proof to that.

Have you considered emigration?

I used to think of emigrating about a year and a half ago. I thought that I didn’t have education or a work field for myself here. But then I decided that I didn’t know what it’s like abroad. Like, my mother studied in America, but she’s got a technical profession. I know that liberal professions are more difficult, in the sense that there’s higher competition, and I’m just afraid that I wouldn’t cope with it. Then, I’ve got a friend who studies in Finland now. They might give a good education there, but there’s almost nothing to do there.

What do you think about migrants?

There’s nothing to like about migrants. Well, it doesn’t have a direct impact on me personally yet, and I don’t care about it. But when I walk down the street and someone grabs my hands, saying, “Hey, girl, let’s go somewhere,” it is disgusting, of course. A Russian man could hardly afford to do something like that to me—well, at least I haven’t experienced it. So yes, there are reasons to treat them with disrespect, maybe even with some anxiety. I know that I’m not secure with them. On the other hand, there are people who come here to study, to work—so why not? If I go somewhere, others will also tell me, “Russian, ew! What a mess. What are you doing here? Get out.”

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Anna, art student, Moscow

What makes someone a real Russian?

I think that real Russians are something of a senior generation: patriots who really love their country. The younger ones, when they see what happens in our state and how other countries live, come to the conclusion that our country isn’t very good.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I haven’t done anything patriotic.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

I think that love of your motherland and love of your government are not the same things. Motherland is the place where you were born, it’s not the government.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

I think that a patriot might well disagree with the government. One can love his country but not support and not really respect his government.

Have you considered emigration?

I haven’t thought about emigration, but a phrase constantly crosses my mind: “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” You’ll have your own problems wherever you move to.

What do you think about migrants?

The quantity of migrants has increased, of course, and it is a problem. But our citizens don’t wish to work at the jobs that migrants agree to take: everyone longs to find a good job and earn good money. This means that there are vacancies and we need migrants. But for me, the main problem is that it’s just not nice when you walk down the street and hear many people speaking in their own languages. They should learn Russian, of course.

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Shamil, 19, studies interior design in China, Grozny

What makes someone a real Russian?

Firstly, a real Russian is one who can stand up for his country at any moment. Secondly, it’s one who doesn’t despise whole nations, but understands that there is a black sheep in every flock. There are no bad nations—there are bad people. For instance, I can’t openly say that I’m a Chechen here.

Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?

I once had to do something patriotic. I saved nine people who got stuck on a rock at a waterfall. They couldn’t get out by themselves. So I went to the village, brought back a rope, and pulled everyone out.

Is it one and the same thing to love the motherland and to love the government?

Love of a motherland and love of a government are not the same thing. Love of a motherland is one thing. And frankly speaking, I don’t even know if there can be love of a government.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

A patriot might disagree with the authorities, of course.

Have you considered emigration?

I haven’t thought of emigration.

What do you think about migrants?

I don’t know how I feel towards migrants. But I disagree with those who leave Russia. Today is not like in the 90s. When people say that it’s impossible to achieve anything in Russia now, it’s all crap. I was sixteen when I opened my business, and at eighteen I got married. It might be difficult to achieve something here, but I don’t understand those people who can easily leave their motherland and move to another country for life. This shocks me.

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