Sochi(4)
Nadezhda Aleksandrovna, 76, retired, Sochi

What makes someone a real Russian?

What is a real Russian? All those who do something for Russia are real Russians.

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

I have never done anything patriotic.

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, of course, the same thing.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

There are times when patriots disagree with the government. But everything works out eventually.

Have you considered emigration?

I have never thought about leaving Russia.

What do you think about migrants?

Migrants are ordinary people who want to make a living. They probably cannot find any work in their native countries, and Russia offers them ample job opportunities. Migrants come to Russia because they get well paid here. They are happy. They work for me too. I have no problems with them.

Pause
Valerii, taxi driver, Sochi

What makes someone a real Russian?

One who lives in Russia is a real Russian — that’s what I think.

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

I have done a patriotic act when I served in the army. We had an incident: somebody broke the border, and I was on duty, so I arrested the offender. So that was my act of patriotism.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

Let the government decide patriotism issues; what is there for us? We are small people. Those in charge should decide for themselves. They are the head; it’s their business.

Have you considered emigration?

I’ve never thought of leaving Russia. My children are here, my wife, brothers, sisters—they are all here. My family has been living here since 1916: my grandmother came here from Turkey after the genocide.

What do you think about migrants?

Let the government decide what to do with migrants. I’m not a nationalist. A migrant is the same person as we all are. If he comes here from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, or Armenia, it means he is in need of something. I think if everything became well there, no one would come here, to Russia.

Pause
Yulya, 27, art-director at a night club, Sochi

What makes someone a real Russian?

What is a real Russian? This is a difficult question. This is some big, strong man, blond, of course, who looks like Valuev [a former boxing champion]. His moral virtues are patriotism and love for the motherland. And I would place him in Central Russia rather than in our region. I see fields, greatheartedness, kindness.

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

A patriotic act is something that you do for your country or for your city. Maybe it means to save someone, to prevent some accident from happening, to catch some bad men who endanger safety. In my opinion, “patriotism” is a very serious word. Many try to be patriots and are proud of that, but in general it is nothing but words. I mean that people who litter where they live and call themselves patriots are not really patriots at all. Once in summer we went to the public city beach. This was a nightmare! We collected all this trash. This was probably a small patriotic deed.

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. The government is politics, the economy. The motherland is the motherland that is the place toward which you gravitate, where you feel good and comfortable, where the things you love are. You go outside, you take a deep breath, and you feel great.

Can a patriot disagree with the government?

Of course, a patriot can disagree with the government.

Have you considered emigration?

I think about emigrating all the time. It is easier to work abroad. I love Asian countries. There are more opportunities there; it is easier there to set up a business. And I love it that the weather is warm there.

What do you think about migrants?

I am very well disposed toward migrants. When we try to engage the local population in work, people prove to be lazy and slow. They do not want anything, they do need anything as long as they are warm and feel at ease and comfortable. Whereas people who come here from other Russian regions, especially from upcountry, are ready to go full speed ahead. They strive to achieve something. It is a pleasure to deal with them. However, there are of course exceptions. Migrants from Central Asia are all right too, provided there are no more than three of them and you do not meet them in a dark alley.

Pause
Bakhotyr, 64, unemployed, Sochi

What makes someone a real Russian?

A real Russian is someone who loves his or her Russia and is willing to protect it, whatever happens. It is someone for whom nothing is dearer than Russia.

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

I have never done anything patriotic.

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

The motherland is the mother. There is only one mother, and there is only one motherland. Governments, on the other hand, come and go.

Have you considered emigration?

Have I ever thought about leaving Russia? God forbid! No matter how good or bad life is, Russia is my motherland. My future is in Russia; there is nothing dearer to me than Russia.

What do you think about migrants?

People are all the same. Who cares where they come from? We all walk under the same moon, regardless of nationality. All people should get along. There is only one God—only faiths are different, and this is it.

Pause