Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod
Russian Institute for Advanced Studies MGPU
‘Myth’ is such a word that can be dangerous for a researcher, since it is too often used in everyday life in the meaning of ‘fantasy, fable’. As a term, it is usually applied to ancient mythologies in the meaning of a ‘sacred story’ (Northrop Frye). But in another, very special and very actual, meaning of ‘the most energetic, the richest in the semantic aspect, endowed with the power of the model, image of reality’ (Vladimir N. Toporov) ‘myth’ is the true word to describe the image of Russia in different European cultures – for the reason that it has such mythological (in the last meaning mentioned above) characteristics as stability (or even firmness), richness of the semantic structure and imagery, powered up with energy.