North Caucasus(8)
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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Madina, nurse, Grozny

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is a person who loves his country, regardless of his nationality. Being a Russian is not based on nationality; he might be an ethnic Russian (Russky), a Kazakh, a Chechen. The main thing is that he respects his people, his republic, his motherland, his land. But the most important thing is, of course, humanism, understanding.

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

Have I done a patriotic act? I don’t even know. I guess so. The biggest form of patriotism is to treat people well, to understand them.

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

I think that love of a motherland and of a government are not the same thing. Motherland is not a government, not the laws run by the government. Motherland is a motherland. The government has got its own laws. Governments demand, but a motherland doesn’t demand anything but love.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

Of course you can be a patriot and disagree with the government: we are a democratic state. Each person should speak out his own opinion, stand for his point of view. Nothing he says is bad: he might think that whatever he suggests would be better for the country.

Have you considered emigration?

I wouldn’t like to move from Russia. It’s better to live in the place you’re used to, where you are needed.

What do you think about migrants?

I feel fine about migrants.

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Zarima, works in the Akhmad-Hadji Kadyrov museum, Grozny

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is our Ramzan Kadyrov. And our Akhmad-Hadji Kadyrov was also a real Russian.

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

I have not done any patriotic acts. I think that patriotism means helping others, disadvantaged people or one’s motherland.

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

I am not interested in politics, but I think that love for the motherland and for the government are not the same thing. Love for the motherland is a special feeling: you feel closer to your motherland, that is, to your native land, than to any other country.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

You can either agree or disagree with the government—this is entirely your choice.

Have you considered emigration?

I have never thought about emigrating. I like it here, in my motherland.

What do you think about migrants?

There are different newcomers in our country such as the Vietnamese and the Chinese. But I do not really care for them. We can manage on our own. Things are improving. They are probably not fond of us, Russians, in their native countries, just like we are not fond of them here.

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Aishat, studies in a community college and works at a travel agency, Grozny

What makes someone a real Russian?

Who is a real Russian? It’s a complicated question. I’m a real Russian, and every citizen should be a real Russian.

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

I haven’t done a patriotic act yet—I’m too young. I think it means doing something for your town, your country, to restore something, to create.

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

I guess love of motherland and of government are the same thing.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

I doubt that it is possible to be a patriot and disagree with the authorities at the same time. Governments can be unjust now, but if you look deeper into their position, you can understand that they are right.

Have you considered emigration?

I haven’t thought of emigration.

What do you think about migrants?

I feel fine about the newcomers. I really enjoy it that many foreigners come to us, and from [other parts of] Russia, too. It is interesting to talk to them sometimes, to know what they think about our city, our religion, our people. I find out many interesting things about them, too.

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Zinaida, cook, Grozny

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is someone who lives and likes living in Russia.

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

I have never done any patriotic deeds, but I would if I had an opportunity. I think that a patriotic act is an action performed for the sake of the motherland. A patriotic act is an action associated with nobleness.

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 two different things. Governments change all the time, whereas love for the motherland remains the same.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

Of course, one can disagree with the government and still be a patriot and love one’s motherland. Russia is, after all, a democratic country, isn’t it?

Have you considered emigration?

I have not thought about emigrating. Emigration is not my cup of tea.

What do you think about migrants?

I have a very positive attitude toward migrants. I feel only gladness when people come to our country and even settle here, because Russians are peaceful people—they are fundamentally benevolent and hospitable.

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Nata, neurosurgeon, Grozny

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is a person who’s got the same rights as all other Russians.

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

You could call it a patriotic act that we work in the Chechen Republic even though it’s difficult and working conditions there are not like they are in Russia. We work with the population, we’ve got an emergency hospital, and patients come from all over the republic. Our job is a hard one.

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

Love of your motherland and of your government is the same thing because people who elect a president, they really elect a man whom they want to see. This is also patriotism.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

It is of course possible to be a patriot and to disagree with the government. Everyone can have his own opinion.

Have you considered emigration?

I used to think about leaving. I’d eagerly move to Moscow, to work at Burdenko’s clinic. I would go for residency training for about five years. If I liked it there, I’d stay.

What do you think about migrants?

I feel very positive towards newcomers. I’d like to work with intelligent people, because we lack such.

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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.

 

Rukiya, nurse, Grozny

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is one who serves his people, feels for his people.

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

To do a patriotic act means making something better for your people. I haven’t done anything like that, I guess.

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

Love of your motherland and love of your government are almost the same thing. Those who are in the government, they also work for their motherland.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

You can’t be a patriot and disagree with the government.

Have you considered emigration?

I haven’t thought of emigration.

What do you think about migrants?

I feel fine towards migrants. Everyone lives and works where he’s destined to.

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Movsar, neurosurgeon, Grozny

What makes someone a real Russian?

In my opinion, a real Russian is someone who works first and foremost for the sake of his or her family. Working for the sake of your family is the same as working for the good of the state. I have always respected hard workers who produce and accomplish something.

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

To tell the truth, considering our contemporary history, I think that I have been doing patriotic acts my whole life. During both of the Chechen wars I had opportunities to leave, but I never considered this option and stayed in my country despite the fact that I was not a government contractor. During both the first and the second war I stayed with my family and my folks at home. I knew I would be needed and there would be a lot of work to do. I knew I could offer support to people and that people would depend on me to guide them. In this sense, I have done something 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 two absolutely different things.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

I think that patriots can and should disagree with the authorities.

Have you considered emigration?

I have never thought about emigration. I have never even had a fleeting thought of emigrating. I was born here, and even if the situation allows me to leave, I will probably stay here. And not only will I stay, but all the people who are close to me will stay as well: my relatives, my colleagues, my friends—my close circle, in other words.

What do you think about migrants?

I am a very tolerant person, and I treat people according to their personality traits. It is important to me above all what sort of person one is, and I will be friends with those who share the same human values as I do.

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