Linguistics University of Nizhny Novgorod
Russian Institute for Advanced Studies MGPU
The British Myth of Russia
From the point of view of perceiving Russia and understanding her peculiarities British culture occupies a very special place. It is connected with that:
- Versatile cultural, merchant, historical and political connections have been established between Russia and Britain beginning from the 16th century;
- In the 19th century Russia and Britain were the two largest world empires;
- In their geographical position Russia and Britain are, so to say, the opposite ‘borders’ of Europe;
- Not only in their geographical position, but also in their values and social archetypes Russia and Britain make a sharp contrast.
This latter aspect – difference of values and priorities of Russian and British cultures – can be considered the most significant point for studying the originality of the British myth of Russia.
We should specify that ‘the British’ is equivalent here to ‘the English’, and this latter word means the core factor of formation of ‘the British’, since it was England who appeared the uniting center of the UK, and since it was the English language which became Britain’s official, national language. In stating this, we join the point of view of such scholars as William Maley, Norman Davies, and others. See: W. Maley, Exploding England, in British Studies, 1995, no. 5, P. 69 – 78; N. Davies, The Isles: a History, in London, 1999. Compare: “It is England that is the heart of Britain still, and English people comprise the dominant nation”. See: D. Karavaeva, Angliiskaya identichnost’ i diskurs: Britain – England – Northern England. Ekaterinburg, 2016. P. 60.