Myth of Russia in German Culture

  Notions of Germans about Russia have been formed for many centuries. They are characterized by inertia and stereotyping. The foundation of the myth is formed by such elements as the image of an enormous country, of multiplicity of her inhabitants who are capable of getting an upper hand over opposing countries and peoples, of her sever climate. These images have been mythologized and absolutized: the country is not (simply) large, but enormous, the climate is the severest of all possible variants. Since the verge of the 20th century new concepts of Russian world and Russian people have entered the myth of Russia in Germany: those of emotionality and responsiveness of Russians, of their unsteadiness and dependency on circumstances, of their undemanding nature and tolerance, of their aptitude to submission and fatalism, of their patriotism, sensibility and naturally bright intellect. The echo of these notions (as well as many other semantic elements) can be found in German books and articles about Russia written nowadays.

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