Have you done anything Patriotic? What do you think an act of patriotism is?(137)
Viktor Alexandrovich, cobbler, Kaliningrad
I haven’t done a patriotic act. What is a patriotic act? It’s a very complex concept. It can’t be described in one word.
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Anton, 18, student, Tolyatti
I have never done anything patriotic. This probably means military service.
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Dmitry, retired, Kaliningrad
Love of motherland and love of government is not the same thing. Governments change, but the motherland stays.
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Alexander, 39, geography teacher and botanist, Khabarovsk
This sounds pompous, but I believe that I have done many patriotic things. Any demonstration of support for human rights is a patriotic deed. All environmental rallies I participated in were patriotic acts. Even some pompous phrases that I say during my geography lessons or my university lectures, including the silly statement “I will teach you to love your motherland” that I make at the beginning of the regional ethnography course, are patriotic acts.
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Sergei, 32, from Saint Petersburg, lives in Tallinn
Patriotism is a very vast concept; it includes many aspects. A patriotic act can be, for instance, smoking Belomor [cigarettes] when Parliament is also sold.
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Grigory, aid worker, Saint Petersburg
I try to go out on Victory Day to congratulate the veterans. I think of going to elections as a patriotic act. And I have also spoken out somewhat angrily about the nationalists in other countries, risking getting a punch in in the face a couple of times.
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In other countries, you either agree with the government and dig the ditch, or you disagree and don’t dig the ditch. In Russia it's different: you disagree with the authorities but you still dig the ditch—not because you are told to do so, but out of spite.

 

Yuliya, 19, attends beauty school, Tolyatti
I do not believe I have ever done anything patriotic.
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Marta, photo retoucher, Saint Petersburg
I suppose I haven’t done anything patriotic act. Well, I received a college education.
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Roman, executive recruiter, Vladivostok
I used to commit patriotic, pro-Russian acts, even if I wasn’t thinking about it. In 1992, when Estonia split from the USSR and became sort of a counterbalance to our country, the population was divided into two groups: Russians, and those who were against Russia (in this case those were Estonians). In that situation I was amongst those who stood for the interests of the Russian side.
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Oksana, 33, lawyer, Samara
A patriotic act is a very complex concept; I don’t know what it is. I’ve never been to war, nor caught criminals. But I have defended human and civil rights.
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Natalia, 38, entrepreneur, Sevastopol
Probably not. What would be considered patriotic today? So, I would want to do something patriotic, but what, and for what purpose? I don't know. I know that Ukrainians wear their traditional embroided shirts and help the Ukrainian army. That's their patriotism. But to do that in Sevastopol now, is very stupid. I think if I put on a traditional embroided shirt, it's not going to be a patriotic act, it's going to be a crazy act.
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Kirill, banker, Moscow
To perform a patriotic duty probably means to defend the interests of one’s motherland. I have never had an opportunity to do anything like that.
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Frida, retired, Tyumen region
I didn't have the chance to perform a patriotic act in my lifetime. When I was young, I think I could have done something patriotic, but I just didn't get a chance.
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I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don't want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood.

Albert Camus. Resistance, Rebellion, and Death
Andrei, 13, Pionersk
I have not yet done anything patriotic.
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Aleksei, 33, construction worker, Pionersk
I haven’t done anything patriotic act just yet. Most likely, a patriotic act means serving Russia.
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Dmitry, theater directing student, Volgograd
I have never done anything patriotic. I have not done anything significant for Russia. Unless one considers patriotic the fact that I performed my mandatory military service on my own accord without trying to worm out of it.
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Dunya, philosophy and theology lecturer, Moscow
I believe I have performed patriotic deeds. For example, I wrote an article and fought against corruption in my university. I am also a member of the initiative group of our apartment building, and I have achieved a lot in this capacity. In my opinion, a patriotic deed is a selfless action that you perform without expecting any reward. In other words, you selflessly do something in order to improve the situation in the country, in the city, in your apartment building.
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Sultan, security guard, Grozny
While serving in the army, I had to carry out many important actions. But to be a patriot, you don’t have to guard the borders or take up arms to fight; you don’t have to go into politics and shout, “I’m a patriot!” I think patriotism means loving your country and its nature. To see bad things and close your eyes upon them, to see good things and speak about them.
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Nikita, 12, Kaliningrad
I have not done anything patriotic.
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Alexander, entrepreneur, Moscow
I have done a patriotic act—I pay my taxes. I have been doing it all my life, although in this country, this is not obligatory. From my point of view, this is patriotism.
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I do not know who a real Russian is. This is a difficult question. I think the most important thing is that he isn't a Nazi.

 

Natalia, singer, Vladivostok
I’ve hardly done a pro-Russia patriotic act. But if you take patriotism to mean not love of your motherland, but love of people—then yes, I have. Because people are the main component of a country, of the world.
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Tatiana, set designer, Volgograd
No, I do not think I have ever done any patriotic acts. I lead a quiet life.
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Aleksandr, 43, unemployed, Samara
I haven’t done anything patriotic.
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Aishat, studies in a community college and works at a travel agency, Grozny
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.
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Igor, sculptor, Saint Petersburg
I think that if it all works out, then my patriotic act deed will be a monument to the tsar’s family, to the Romanovs, I mean, the last tsar. There will be a church built in the Primorsky district, and here’s a sketch of this monument.
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Farhat, 40, driver, Tyumen
I think that you do something patriotic every single day by working, raising your kids, making yourself useful. When I was in the army and my motherland sent me to trouble spots, going there was not a patriotic act but my duty as a member of the military. I participated in an anti-terrorist operation in Grozny: we were supposed to clear the city of militants and lend assistance to civilians by providing them with papers, passports, by registering those who stayed in Grozny and encouraging those who had left to return. In other words, we helped rebuild peaceful life in Grozny.
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Tamara Alexandrovna, retired merchandiser, Volgograd
I have never done any patriotic acts. I think for a man, doing a patriotic act consists of joining the army, completing his military service, and then returning home, finding a job, building a family, loving his family and his motherland.
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Patriotism is too deep a feeling to depict in the posing for a photograph.

Charles Chaplin
Aziz, 21, fast food worker, Kaliningrad
I have not done anything patriotic acts.
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Natalia, art director, Tyumen region
I do not believe I have ever done any patriotic acts.
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Emma Vasilievna, geologist, Khabarovsk
I was little when the war broke out. When I was young, I worked hard for my motherland, I worked with heroism: we would write to the Komsomol Committee, asking them to send us to the most difficult sites [to work]—to the Baikal–Amur Mainline or to the Virgin Lands Program. This probably was my patriotic deed. But in general, people manifest their love for the motherland under some force-majeure circumstances.
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Vera, 33, manager, Samara
I haven’t missed a single election and I think that is an act of patriotism because it is participating in the country’s political life. Helping other people is also a patriotic act. What is a patriotic act? Love of your motherland. And to me, love of your motherland means helping to address some kind of need.
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Natalia, janitor, Birobidzhan
I have done a patriotic act twice. Once I saved a kid, pulled him out of the water. Another time I helped a person to cope with his stress because of bad things happening in his family.
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Ismail, 61, construction worker, Bakhchysarai
I'm a patriot when it comes to my national traditions. I want everyone to cherish our traditions and ways so that they continue to be. I have done nothing patriotic in a political sense though. But I honor my family and my people, and that's patriotic in my understanding.
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Elena, brand manager, Sevastopol
I can say that I have abandoned my career for the sake of my family. Yes. I used to work as a national marketing manager in one international firm, and I understood that I can work in any country in the world, because this firm has 180 factories across the world. But I have decided to channel my energy towards my city, my relatives, so that their lives are better. I can spend my entire life earning a lot of money working for someone, making his dream come true. Or, I can spend my energy improving the world around me.
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We were supposed to spend a month in Vietnam, but after the first two weeks we longed for those Russian birch trees and for the language. We found Russian TV channels and watched them, although I never watch those at home. I felt so warm at heart, and I realized that it would probably be hard to emigrate.

 

Viktor Petrovich, 68, retired, Saint Petersburg
I used to help people, and I’m sort of having it come back to me now. Well, what are patriotic acts? You ought to just respect real, true people.
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Igor, 49, unemployed, Simferopol
I haven't done anything patriotic. Why? Because of my lifestyle. Now I understand the meaning of life. But before I didn't, because of drugs and prison. But spending five and a half years in opioid substitution therapy I had a lot of free time to think about my life and its purpose.
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Konstantin Iosifovich, 86, retired, Tyumen region
My patriotic act was working in the mines.
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Elena, fish monger, Samara
I believe I have done patriotic acts, although some may not consider them as such.
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Alexander, 50, mayor, Tyumen region
For me, patriotism means that, while living in your place of origin, you try to make life better for the people there. That is why you have to do such acts every day: bringing gas to people, building roads, helping old people, teaching children, creating opportunities for sporting activities and cultural events. I think a patriotic act is not necessarily something shiny and notable, like saving a drowning man from a river. It is one’s everyday work with people, work intended to make people love the place they live.
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Lily, photographer, Moscow
My refusal to change my Russian citizenship can be called a patriotic act. Attending elections and voting during normal, peaceful times are also patriotic acts.
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Anastasiya, clown and ex-specialist in fraud detection, Volgograd
Have I ever done anything patriotic? It depends on what you mean by a patriotic act. As far as heroism is concerned, I have never shown it, if for no other reason than I am a woman. But I love my country, and I do not intend to leave it.
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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.

 

Nikita, 8, Yalta
Honestly I don't know.
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Amir, 18, student, Kaliningrad
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.
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Peter, editor, New York City
That would be too big of a compliment for my actions. And actually, the word “patriotism” makes me a bit nervous. I would prefer to use different words. So, in my opinion, patriotism is about alluding to your past, to your ancestors and to those pillars which shaped you into the person you are. It's also about judging your actions in reference to actions of your forebears and those people around you whom you respect. My ancestors have always lived in Russia, they were from the so-called service gentry. This means, they have served people, those who need support and assistance, and they have also served their country. Many of them were in the military and they have defended Russia. One was a famous Decembrist, Ivan Pushchin, who suffered for his patriotism. I was brought up understanding these people's actions, their motives and their intentions.
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Mikhail, homeless, Saint Petersburg
I might have done something patriotic. It might seem patriotic to someone else, but for me it was ordinary.
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Stanislav, 42, entrepreneur, Moscow
While abroad, I demonstrated my personal example of what a Russian does, how he answers for his words. I tried to inspire respect.
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Lyudmila, retired librarian, Volgograd
Have I ever performed any patriotic deeds? I try to live like this.
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Maxim, furniture magnate, Kaliningrad
If a patriotic act means doing something for people who need your help, then yes, I’ve done this. I think that patriotism is when you do everything for the country—not suffering from your ideas, not being a burden to the surrounding people—but living a peaceful and quiet life without becoming an obstacle to others. This is the main form of patriotism.
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Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.

Guy de Maupassant. My Uncle Sosthenes
Galina Nikolaevna, 83, retired, Samara
A patriotic act is to save someone if he’s drowning or in a fire. I don’t know if I’ve done anything like that.
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Larisa, social worker, Kaliningrad
I think that social workers are constantly doing patriotic acts just by doing their job. Our job essentially works against the system. We are walking a tightrope. For instance, we have to prove that, contrary to established opinion, the Russian drug policy is inhumane.
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Akim, 38, butcher, Bakhchysarai
I can't answer this question. For so many years we have lived in Ukraine and we were used to that. Still I feel closer to Ukraine. We'll see whether it changes. Since it's not up to us, it doesn't matter whether we discuss it or not. We used to live in Ukraine, Crimea, and now we'll live in Russia. What matters is for all of us to be treated equally, all of our problems taken care of justly. There is a sense of wrong, but I hope it will be cured in the future.
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Olga, retired foreign trade expert, Pionersk
A “patriotic act” is a complicated concept for me, because I can’t say that throwing yourself in front of a gun is a patriotic act. I think that there can be patriotism even when you dislike something in this country, when you are not pleased with something but you understand that times change, and that it happens to be hard now. But you keep on living in this country and try to live in such a way that you don’t make things worse for your motherland but change something for the positive. I mean, you shouldn’t set global goals. If I see that someone misbehaves, litters, does something of this kind, then stopping him could also be a patriotic act, I suppose.
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Vlad, hip-hop dancer, Volgograd
In my opinion, the accomplishments of my [hip-hop] team are patriotic acts.
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Yulia, trader, Moscow
As far as I am concerned, patriotism is a very complicated feeling. In order to be a patriot, you have to identify yourself with something, and I cannot do this. I do not identify myself with either Russia or Latvia or any other country. I think people perform patriotic deeds by sacrificing their interests for the sake of their country, city, village, or the circle with which they identify themselves.
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Said, street cleaner, Saint Petersburg
I have not done anything patriotic.
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What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?

Lin Yutang
Yury Evgenievich, 76, retired, Tolyatti
The important thing is not to lie.
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Dmitry, 44, dental technician, Samara
I have done a patriotic act, of course. And I suffered for that. Once, on my way home from work, I came to the defense of a girl and I got knocked on the head with something. It happened in 2002, but I am still undergoing treatment for my injury.
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Aleksei, 37, delivery driver, Kaliningrad
I have done something patriotic, of course. In winter, a boy fell underneath the broken ice at our lake, so I had to pull him out. I think this was a patriotic act.
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Vyacheslav, 53, homeless, used to work in construction, Saint Petersburg
I might have done a something patriotic act, I don’t know.
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Ksenia, 33, restaurant manager, from Saint Petersburg, lives in Kiev
I’ve hardly done anything patriotic. Even if I have, I did it unconsciously, so I can't remember. A patriotic act means doing something for the good of your motherland, writing or organizing something. I listen to the station “Echo of Moscow,” but it’s like this: I listen to it, then turn it off and go on working at a restaurant.
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Alexander, 29, unemployed, homeless, Saint Petersburg
I might have done a something patriotic act. I don’t even know.
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Maria, 35, marketing manager, Yalta
Maybe I have done something patriotic. Not sure how patriotic is the fact that I still love Ukraine very dearly, and will never stop to love it. I accept what has happened. Yet, there was this event in Ivano-Frankivsk recently, and it's not very p.c. to go to there because of the stereotypical “bandery” who kill people. But I went there anyway. It wasn't cheap nor easy to get there either. I had to fly out of here to Moscow, since our airspace is closed, and from Moscow to Kyiv, and from Kyiv I drove to Ivano-Frankivsk to attend this seminar. My parents cried when I left. My mom though I would be killed. I went, and it was great, we posted online how great it is, how wonderful the locals are, that everything said about them here is a lie. Maybe this was a patriotic act in a way. How can one live in the same country, eat the same bread together for so long, and then one day to just say, we were suffering this whole time. I don't think it's right, I grew up here, Kyiv is my capital, I love Ukraine. I have nothing to say against Moscow nor Russian Federation, but it doesn't mean I should abandon my love, my values. Why does everything has to be black-and-white. I'm for a middle ground, I accept Russia, I accept everything that has happened, but I still love Ukraine and will always love Ukraine.
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Let migrants work if Russians cannot do it. Nowadays, Russia does not produce anything. People have no jobs. They don't know how to take care of their land. People do not even know how to milk a cow.

 

Anna, art student, Moscow
I haven’t done anything patriotic.
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Irina, 50, social worker, Simferopol
Yes, I think I can call my actions patriotic. I have never voted before, even for these presidents – Yanukovich and Kuchma, I think there were four of them on my memory. Never voted. But when there was the referendum for Russia, for the first time in my life, in 50 years, I went to vote. I thought, if we will be part of Russia, there will be no war and everything will be good. If only I knew how things would turn out.
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Anastasia, theater student, Volgograd
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.
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Tatiana, entrepreneur, Vladivostok
I do patriotic acts on a daily basis. For example, we have recently purchased medical equipment to allow early diagnosis of breast cancer in women of our city. This will be a social project: in my medical center, this procedure will be extremely cheap, despite the enormous cost of the equipment.
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Aleksei, aid worker, former soccer player, Saint Petersburg
I've done a patriotic act, in my understanding, when I played for my team at a FIFA championship during our trip to Hungary. I think that for me, a young boy, it was a patriotic act: to spend three nights on a bus trip and then play football the next day, feeling absolutely worn out. Another patriotic act occurred in Finland, when our all-Russia team played there and the Finns came after us, starting fights with ordinary people. So we had to stand up for them, because there were women and children amongst us. We even had to hit Finns in the head. Thus, I protected Russian people.
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Grigory, 21, construction worker, Samara
Have I done somethinga patriotic act? It depends on what you mean. If fighting — I’ve fought many times, if one can call that an act. As for the rest—I’ve been to pro-Russia demonstrations countless times. I haven’t done anything else so directly heroic.
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Anastasia, 22, studies international relations, born in Moscow, living in Tallinn
My whole life is a patriotic act. It is a pity that the government does not appreciate my patriotism. I follow politics carefully, and I believe that Russia should be the most beautiful and richest country, the best country in the world, and that depends not only on foreign policy but on domestic policy as well. It depends on what is currently happening in the country. The government and I disagree on this. As a result, I’m now hiding abroad, but I am sure that I will return to my country when we kick out the invaders.
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Real Russians are from Saint Petersburg—with such delicate intelligence, a couldn’t-care-less attitude, light consumption. And the second type of real Russian is someone from beyond the Urals—tough silent-type guys who've got a gun under the floorboards, and they’ll sort it all out if necessary.

Sergei, 49, unemployed, Kaliningrad
Since childhood, I’ve been brought up [to believe] that a man must stand up for a weaker one, help those in need who are in a worse state than you are at the moment. That’s how I usually live wherever I am.
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Sergei, retired engineer and taxi-driver, Kaliningrad
I have, of course, done patriotic acts. I served in the army; I was proud of my country, the Soviet Union, and I’m proud of Russia now, in principle. And if there are military actions, I’ll always stand up for Russia, of course.
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Siyavush, 24, taxi driver, Tolyatti
did something patriotic. I served in the military, and although my motherland is Dushanbe, I served in Russia. I grew up in Russia. I have lived here for seventeen years. I have many friends here. Russia is my second motherland, and I am prepared to go to war at any moment to fight for Russia.
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Aleksandr, 19, law student, Tolyatti
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.
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Sergei, bartender, Vladivostok
I think that truly patriotic acts can only be performed during crisis, military or other. I have performed, let us say, civic deeds, or, in other words, I have fulfilled my civic duty. I often witnessed incidents and voluntarily went to the police or to the traffic patrol to give statements in defense of those people who were right in those situations.
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Maks, 31, entrepreneur, Alushta
A real patriotic act? Probably not. First comes patriotism, patriotic acts follow. Here, we don't really love nor respect anyone, it's difficult to do something patriotic.
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Pyotr, advertising, Moscow
I do not think I have ever done anything patriotic in the sense that I attribute to this term. In my opinion, a patriotic deed is some big and famous act like self-sacrifice or the act of sacrificing anything for the sake of the motherland. I have never made any such sacrifices, and what I have done has never been detrimental to my interests. This is why I cannot say that I have ever performed any patriotic deeds.
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I, of course, despise my Fatherland from head to toe, but it vexes me when a foreigner shares this feeling of mine.

Alexander Pushkin
Galina, executive recruiter, Vladivostok
Yes, I believe I have done patriotic things. I have traveled quite a lot abroad, and in discussions, conversations, and in personal communication I have always tried to show through my behavior what we, Russians, are.
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Nadezhda Grigorievna, retired engineer, Tolyatti
I have done something patriotic. I was no longer a young woman, but when I saw that a man was being beaten with bottles, I stood up for him and saved him. I’m a patriot in everything: I do my work well; I help people. I can help with growing flowers, with road repair...
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Zinaida, cook, Grozny
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.
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Ivan, entrepreneur, DJ, Saint Petersburg
I think that in order to do something patriotic, there should exist certain circumstances, like a war or some other related incident. Luckily, I haven’t participated in any military actions, so I haven’t done any heroic acts.
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Evgeniy, 27, forest ranger, Samara
I do not know if I have ever done anything patriotic. I do not think my actions have ever been so dignified as to be called patriotic acts.
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Ksenia, 26, waitress, Alushta
No. I've never attended rallies, nor have I voted. I haven't voted for 26 years, and I don't think I ever will. Maybe that's not a good thing, but I don't really care. It doesn't matter.
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Valerii, taxi driver, Sochi
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.
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Patriotic acts are done during wars, especially against some foreign invaders. There can be no patriotic acts during civil war, because any civil war, any war within one country, is fratricide. Even a heroic act is a sin and a crime.

 

Bakhotyr, 64, unemployed, Sochi
I have never done anything patriotic.
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Sergei, 53, TV repairman, Kaliningrad
I have done a patriotic act. I went to serve in an army, almost got to Afghanistan.
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Aleksei, artist, born in Moscow, currently in New York
I do not think I have ever done anything patriotic. I think that a patriotic act is something you do to protect or to glorify the place where you were born and where you live, the place with which you identify yourself.
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Lyudmila Andreevna, 58, street cleaner, Birobidzhan
My patriotic act is to keep my district clean.
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Roman, medical equipment supply, Saint Petersburg
I doubt that I have ever done anything patriotic.
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Valentina, retired construction worker, Tolyatti
To do a patriotic act means to do something for one’s country, to improve something. I might have done something like that, but I cannot remember what anymore.
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Nadezhda, flower vendor, Tolyatti
Many different things can be interpreted as patriotic. But I think that a patriotic act is when one ought to stand up for Russia and defend it.
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In other countries, you either agree with the government and dig the ditch, or you disagree and don’t dig the ditch. In Russia it's different: you disagree with the authorities but you still dig the ditch—not because you are told to do so, but out of spite.

 

Olga Mikhailovna, retired high school teacher, Jewish Autonomous Region
I haven’t done anything patriotic. I think that a patriotic act is when people gave their lives during the years of the Great Patriotic War, when they sacrifice their lives during times hard for their country. And meanwhile, we all just work within the limits of our law, of our conscience.
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Alexander, 31, sailor, Kaliningrad
The only patriotic act I have ever done is that I have never betrayed and will never betray Russia.
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Nadezhda Aleksandrovna, 76, retired, Sochi
I have never done anything patriotic.
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Konstantin, 23, human rights activist, Tolyatti
In order to figure out what a patriotic act is, first of all one has to understand what patriotism is. In my opinion, patriotism is a blind faith in the system that rules the state—and not only faith, but also submission. In this sense, I have probably performed patriotic deeds when in my school days I participated in some patriotic rallies and distributed patriotic ribbons.
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Andrei, 31, hostel manager, Sevastopol
Probably yes. I can't be idle, I'm always looking for something to do. So when I was serving in the army, I was a sergeant in the military prosecutors office here, and I decided to organize a lecture for officers, conscripts, sailors. Every September an organization called something like a union for people's sobriety comes here to Sevastopol. So I have asked this organization to give a lecture, and it all worked out – 600 people attended, and I have organized it all on my own, even without the prosecutor's help.
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Galina Petrovna, teacher at a village community center, Tyumen region
It’s hard to say whether I have done something patriotic. I think I have, because I was born at a time when there existed pioneer and Komsomol youth organizations, and we were raised to think in terms of patriotism. I thought of myself as a patriot when I studied in high school; I was always participating in something and was even a chairman of a pioneer brigade. People would listen to me [and] follow my example.
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Dina, 34, event planner, Volgograd
I have a degree in teaching. Not that I have ever done anything patriotic, but I believe that the notion of patriotism should be present in the children’s educational system. People cannot grow up normally without this notion—they cannot understand certain things, they cannot mature.
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I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don't want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood.

Albert Camus. Resistance, Rebellion, and Death
Andrei, sailor, Vladivostok
I have not really performed any patriotic deeds, but I have never stood aside either.
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Shamil, 19, studies interior design in China, Grozny
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.
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Olga Pavlovna, pediatrician, Tyumen region
My parents lived in a city, but I am working in a village, and many consider this a patriotic act. I myself think that there is nothing special about my coming here. After all, someone has to work here. Doctors are needed here too.
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Nikolai, construction worker, Tyumen Region
I do not believe I have ever performed any real patriotic deeds. I have worked for my whole life. This is my good deed, my contribution.
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Maxim, financial advisor, Vladivostok
Several times a month I give interviews to local newspapers, and each interview becomes a patriotic act to me because I talk of things that I can’t stay silent about. But I’m constantly scared, to be honest. Owing to my roots, I understand that a word spoken is past recalling, so I’ll have to take responsibility for what I’m saying. For instance, when I’m asked whether car factories should be built here, and I know whose project that is and who talks about it on television, then I have to answer, “No, we don’t need that, because it’s bad for the region, for its people.” So here is such a small [form of] patriotism. I don’t feel any pride about it, I only feel fear about it, but I just can’t not speak out the truth.
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Ilya, software engineer, Vladivostok
I have experienced patriotic emotions, but I do not think I have ever performed any patriotic deeds.
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Lera, fashion blogger, Vladivostok
I didn’t attend the protests. I don’t know if congratulating veterans who live in your district can be called a patriotic act. In fact, patriotic acts were done during the war (WWII). I think that today, most of the people who commit so-called patriotic acts are just busy with self-promotion. They are very distantly connected with patriotism.
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I do not know who a real Russian is. This is a difficult question. I think the most important thing is that he isn't a Nazi.

 

Valentina, graduate student, Saint Petersburg
I think I've done patriotic acts for Kazakhstan, where I used to live. I volunteered at the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] summit, at the economical forum, at the winter Asian games. I think these are patriotic acts because I worked for free.
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Asya, 16, Saint Petersburg
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.
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Ramazan, 26, chef, Yalta
Probably yes. Inherently, I'm a patriot. For example, I have always supported and participated in various public events relating to my people. And not just my people.
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Ksenia, 16, Saint Petersburg
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.
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Tatiana, chef, Pionersk
We stayed here, we work—and that is our patriotic act. Those who were scared, they ran away from the country.
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Aleksandr, audio salesman, Tyumen
The most trivial thing can be a patriotic act. To get off the bus without throwing paper on the ground is patriotism. Simple things make all the difference.
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Indira, make up artist, born in Chechnya, living in Sweden
I do not know if it can be considered a patriotic act, but every time I come to Russia, I visit an orphanage and bring them clothes and other necessities that I buy in Sweden. This home houses around one hundred children who have neither parents nor relatives. But in general, to do something patriotic, in my opinion, to do something for one’s motherland, not to be indifferent, to empathize.
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Patriotism is too deep a feeling to depict in the posing for a photograph.

Charles Chaplin
Evgeny, 24, unemployed, Simferopol
I attended rallies, and also participated in the elections. I was an observer there.
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Madina, nurse, Grozny
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.
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Sergei, fisherman, Vladivostok
No, I do not think I have ever performed any patriotic deeds.
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Alexander, 18, architecture student, Samara
A patriotic act is something to do with the military, with grandeur. In this sense, I have never done a patriotic act.
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Movsar, neurosurgeon, Grozny
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.
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Zarima, works in the Akhmad-Hadji Kadyrov museum, Grozny
I have not done any patriotic acts. I think that patriotism means helping others, disadvantaged people or one’s motherland.
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Alexei, 33, construction worker, Birobidzhan
I might have done omething patriotic at some point, but I don’t remember. We grew up in the USSR; our whole understanding of life was different then. We were brought up differently, not like the modern youth.
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We were supposed to spend a month in Vietnam, but after the first two weeks we longed for those Russian birch trees and for the language. We found Russian TV channels and watched them, although I never watch those at home. I felt so warm at heart, and I realized that it would probably be hard to emigrate.

 

Kirill, 14, Kaliningrad
I have not performed any patriotic deeds.
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Alina, event planner, Moscow
Have I done a patriotic act? I can’t remember just like that. I reckon it is something that you do not for yourself but for the country where you live and which you’re proud of, without following your personal interests at the same time.
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Sergei Alekseyevich, 78, heating engineer, Samara
If you look at my service record, you will find a lot of commendations and certificates of merit. A patriotic act means working well. Patriots who would protect fortresses with their bodies existed in the Soviet times. I do not see any patriots today.
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Sergei, 35, activist, Saint Petersburg
My latest patriotic act was when I went to Dvortsovaya Square alongside along with other civil activists and tried to demonstrate my civil position on the politics drawn by our current government toward migrants, gays, and other oppressed groups of people. But I think that the inner moral labor of your soul is a real act of patriotism.
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Maria, painter and art teacher, Moscow
I do not believe I have ever performed any patriotic deeds. Patriotic acts are done during war, especially against some foreign invaders. There can be no patriotic deeds during civil war, because any civil war, any war within one country, is fratricide. In this context even a patriotic deed becomes a sin and a crime. Moreover, the term “patriot” has an unpleasant connotation in the Russian language. Someone who is called a “patriot” might feel offended because it means “red-brown.” [communist and nationalist forces]
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Vladimir Alexandrovich, engineer, Volgograd
I have never performed any patriotic deeds because I have never fought in any wars — I was three years old when the Second World War broke out.
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Rukiya, nurse, Grozny
To do a patriotic act means making something better for your people. I haven’t done anything like that, I guess.
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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.

 

Nata, neurosurgeon, Grozny
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.
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Anna Ivanovna, 73, retired engineer, Vladivostok
I might have done something patriotic in the past. I cannot remember. I am not suffering from megalomania, and I never boast, but I would give the shirt off my back to a good person.
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Anna, interior designer, Saint Petersburg
I suppose I haven’t done anything patriotic. To doa patriotic act is, maybe, when you go somewhere and try to represent your country there through your deeds.
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Leonid, 34, industrial alpinist, Saint Petersburg
False patriotism helped me to f*** up one American in a bar.
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Aleksandr, 23, barista, Moscow
I have hardly done anything patriotic. Maybe I would have if there were appropriate conditions [in this country]. I’ve got my idea of a motherland, and our government has its own.
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Yulya, 27, art-director at a night club, Sochi
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.
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Anatoly Yevgenievich, doctor, Saint Petersburg
I haven’t blocked a firing squad with my body, but being of service for the good of people consists of small things: helping one person, then another. So I’ve tried to help; I’ve dealt with the issues of treating elderly people, giving them medical help. They are our fellow citizens, so this might actually be called a patriotic attitude.
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Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.

Guy de Maupassant. My Uncle Sosthenes
Khristina, 30, financial analyst, originally from Saratov, lives in Kiev
I do not believe I have ever done any patriotic acts.
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Igor, coach, Tyumen Region
I believe I did perform a patriotic deed. Even the fact that my ex-wife lives in Germany whereas I live here proves that I am a patriot. She invited me over there, but I said no.
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Anastasia, 18, student, Tolyatti
I doubt I've done anything patriotic.
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Nikita, 49, actor, Moscow
I think it was patriotic when I did things for culture's sake.
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Malika, 46, janitor, Grozny
A person who has gone through our military campaigns and has seen death face to face is already a patriot.
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