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Remember the CCCP? What about the USSR? No? Hmmm. How about Rocky IV? Yeah, well that's all over now.
In America, you can always find a party. In Soviet Russia, the Party can always find you!
Yakov Smirnoff

The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), America's sworn enemies during the Cold War, has gone through several periods of stereotyping. The most famous is the Communist Russia of the Cold War. Everyone's red, calls each other "comrade", and is trying to take away the freedom of the world in the name of Communism. Of course, with the fall of Communism in the country, this one is pretty dead. Then again, Putin made his name in the KGB.

Then there are tall fluffy hats, the Cossack Dance, borscht borshch, vodka (lots of vodka), and everyone constantly being miserable and cold, which is why they drink the vodka. These tropes seem permanently associated with the area. In recent years, the Russian bride has started to turn up a lot. Chernobyl has also become very important in the outside world's views of the country, even though it is in Ukraine. This building will probably show up, too. No, it's not the Kremlin.

For obvious reasons, the Sovetskiy Soyuz (and later Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) have been subject to a lot of California Doubling over the years, although there are a number of late eighties films (such as The Russia House) actually filmed in Moscow, because of glasnost.

This article will list some of the more common ways for foreigners to get all things Russian wrong. In Russia proper, they are called razvesistaya klukva (blooming cranberry) and are a source of much humor.

  • Fluffy hats. Yes, they are somewhat practical during the long cold winter, but they are not part of the national dress. The ushanka is a functional winterized headgear, as simple as that. Also not really big and fluffy. In modern Russia they even aren't very common, worn by mostly older people; young folks prefer more international headgear like knitted caps. But an ushanka made of fake bluish fur is still standard issue for soldiers and policemen during winter.
    • Ushankas are also commonly confused with papakhi, a larger fluffy hat without the ear-flaps. The papakhi is not really Russian, it's from the Caucasus, and is only associated with Russia via Cossacks, who adopted it from Caucasian peoples.
  • Vodka. Sadly true, but again, mostly for the older generation. There's a lot of raging alcoholics among younger people, too, but they prefer beer and cheap "cocktails" sold in cans. Beer is also popular. Up to 20% of Russians no longer drink booze, at all, and not just in the Muslim regions...
  • Borsch, and it is borsch, not borscht, you proklyatyj zapadnyj shpion! It is actually a matter of dispute between Russians and Ukrainians about whose national food it is. But still mostly true, it's common and liked in Russia. You can find it in homes, restaurants, whether made on the spot or even sold premade.
  • Bears. It's true that the bear is a common and well known animal in Russia. But they don't walk the streets of Russian cities, and you can see a trained bear only in a circus. Using the bear as a symbol for Russia itself is mainly a foreign thing. Bears and any big animals (including wolfs) are very rarely seen in a wild by modern Russian citizen who doesn't live in rural Siberia or the Vostok.
  • Communism. The old Cold War stereotype of "Russian equals Soviet equals Communist" is not true. Communism is an ideology that had fallen out of fashion in most of the world, including Russia. Soviet (the word "soviet" is pronounced sovyet (совет), and literally just means advice/counsel. Sovetskij Soyuz really just means "Advising Union") is a system of government by workers' councils, a form of parlamentarism, and it outlived Communism in Russia for two years. The modern Russian Communist party is in fact social-conservative and Communist In Name Only; Baron Wrangel would gladly shake hands with these "Communists".
  • Russian language. In media, it is mostly portrayed with a ridiculous accent, flipped Latin letters and a bunch of well known words like "da", "nyet", "pravda" or "tovarisch". See Russian Language for an in-depth look at it and Gratuitous Russian for more common ways to do it wrong.
  • Russian names. In media, they are formed by slapping suffixes like "ov", "ski", "vich" on a bunch of common names like "Boris" or "Vladimir", not caring what those suffixes mean and in what order do various Russian names follow. The end result is something like "Boris Ivanski Vladimirvich", which doesn't sound right at all to a Russian. See Russian Naming Convention on how to do it right.
    • For reference, the first name is fine. The second name should be the patronymic, and it should be VladimirOvich, not vladimirivich. Ivanski is making a name into an adjective -- it's like trying to call someone Adrianish. Ivanets, however, would be fine. So our poor butchered name after some reconstruction becomes Boris Vladimirovich Ivanets.
  • Everything is cold and miserable. Depends on where and when. Most of european Russia isn't all that bad unless you're up north in Arhangelsk, at least when it isn't late fall and the winter. The problem is that starting around mid September, the days get dark from constant clouds, shortening hours, and unending rain. The winter is honestly easier to deal with as it's too cold for all the rain so it's just frozen over, and once the initial ice is broken away or brushed off, you just go about your business with some extra clothes. This isn't going to change anytime soon. But the Russians adapted to their state of existence and are generally happy with it, with only a Vocal Minority, mostly emigrants, complaining.
  • An ornery attitude, stubborn resistance to change from outside. In Real Life... kinda zig-zagged. It's true that Russia resisted invasions and attempts to bring foreign order into it for most of its history, and Russians are most of the time very suspicious of foreign culture. But the biggest aversion for the entire history is the fall of the USSR, caused, among other things, by Russians rushing to adopt democracy and Western culture. It backfired wildly on them, possibly reinforcing the trope back.

See The Great Politics Mess-Up, Dirty Communists, and Lzherusskie. Russia explains Russia and its predecessors in some depth.

Also see History of the USSR for the Useful Notes on this.

Examples of Glorious Mother Russia include:


Аниме и манга

  • Beyblade finished out its first season in Russia. Obviously, there was no vodka, just borscht, really cold weather, and some conspiracy theories.
  • Digimon Adventure 02 had an episode set in Russia. To communicate with the Russian Chosen Children, Miyako simply used "Borscht", "Pierogi", and "Caviar" to indicate what directions to fly their monsters. Naturally, the monster fight took place outside of the Kremlin, and it was snowing the entire time; though this took place right before Christmas.
    • This episode was one of several in a mini-arc that took place around the globe. Russia wasn't the only place stereotyped to a landmark; for example the Paris episode had a fetish for the Arc de Triomphe and the American episode concluded in a freefall fight down the side of the Empire State Building.
  • Russia, an anthropomorphism of the country, from Axis Powers Hetalia is a Psychopathic Manchild who loves vodka and often wishes to leave his cold, unforgiving homeland. He also claims that one day, "everyone will be one with Russia." (No fuzzy hats or Cossack dances, though, oddly.)
  • Hotel Moscow from Black Lagoon is generally not very Klukva, but Balalaika's real name is still a case of this trope. "Sofiya Irininskaya Pavlovena" is a case of confusing the naming order, getting a suffix wrong, and even if the "Irininskaya" was where it belongs (a last name) it would be still grammatically correct but vaguely not right.

Комиксы

  • Superman Red Son has Kal-El's escape pod landing in the Ukraine instead of Kansas, and includes the miserable cold, vodka, Stalin, Sputnik probes and comic covers with the angular style of propaganda posters. But maybe nothing invokes this quite so much as Moscow's Batmankoff and his furry ushanka Bat-hat with earflaps.
  • Often invoked in the dialog between the Soviets in Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja.

Многопользовательские РПГ

  • Surprisingly, a complete aversion comes in one of Ragnarok Online's island maps (which debuted from none other than the Russian rRO servers), being the peaceful and early czarist Moscovia, complete with a dungeon and monsters based on Russian folklore.

Музыка

Настольные игры

  • The nation of Khador in Iron Kingdoms is essentially a Steampunk Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Soviet Russia. They dress in red, wear fur hats, and their Warjacks share the same design philosophy as Soviet tanks (heavily armed and armored, not very sophisticated but extremely reliable).
  • The same goes for AT-43 where the Red Blok is supposed to be the space-age evolution of Soviet Russia, although it is not explicitly stated in the rulebook.
  • VorTheMaelstrom shows a resurgent 21st century brown-red (ultranationalistic communist) Russia that invades half the world with its crude war machines, innumerable cannon fodder, NBC weapons, and ugly mutants. It is even said that the Russian "Ursa" warwalker can take out two American "Ares" singlehandedly, but will probably overheat and explode just after. Luckily, America Saves the Day.

Видеоигры

  • Played straight to ridiculous levels the Moscow stage of Tony Hawks Under Ground, and with the Russian Boneless.
  • In Zangief's ending in Street Fighter II, Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev arrives to congratulate Zangief, and suggests they celebrate "in our traditional way." They immediately start doing That Russian Squat Dance.
  • The second set of levels in the console versions of Alien Hominid took place in Russia. It combined the Soviet set of stereotypes with the more recent ones, and some far stranger material, like giant robot frogs that shoot tree-frog-shaped homing missiles.
  • The political simulation video game Republic the Revolution takes place in "Novistrana" (a Did Not Do the Research rendering of "New Country"), a post-Soviet East European republic. While explicitly not associated with Russia (first of all, Novistrana is too small to be it), the game goes a long way to reconstruct most of the archetypal Russian flair.
  • The first three Advance Wars games have the Blue Moon country which is obviously patterned after this trope. Its leader is a bearded man named Olaf whose special power is to make it snow on the battlefield.
    • Oddly enough his second is Grit, a defector. The other two COs are siblings who are basically millionares, so it is sort of... odd.
      • Well, the "millionaires" do provide an analogue for the We Have Reserves military style shared by Blue Moon and Russia.
    • Gamecube/Wii spin-offs Battalion Wars 1 and 2 have the Tundran Territories. A "nation of conquest" as described by their late Tsar Gorgi, they use red units, have a rather unhealthy obsession with turnips (especially in the sequel) and faux-Russian accents. Note also that Tsar Gorgi's successor, Marshal Nova, doesn't adopt the rank of Tsar.
  • Most everything in the fan community involving Mega Man 4 and Dr. Cossack falls under this trope.
    • Bob and George takes it to Refuge in Audacity levels. Ran dies when you touch him. They used VERY cheap Soviet style parts...
      • Don't forget the fact that he has an almost unlimited number of spare bodies available/available for production. And that Cossack Buster....
    • Cossack in Mega Man Battle Network 3 is pretty tame; but in four, the contestant from "Sharo" (aka Russia) is a grumpy, bitter old man with a silly accent who wears a humongous fur coat and complains about it being too hot in Netopia, then hacks his country's weather satellites to induce a blizzard to cool things down (rather than, say, taking off his coat). His navi is, of course, "Cold Man.exe".
  • The Heavy in Team Fortress 2 started as a heavily armed, intimidating giant with a a beloved gun named Sasha and a Slavic accent (and slightly broken English), and the Heavy update includes a lot of Achievement names that quite blatantly parody Soviet Russia in general. Finnish translation ups the ante with Winter War references.
    • "Redistribution of Health," "Stalin the Kart," and "Communist Mani-Fisto," just to name a few.
      • And of course, the Killing Gloves of Boxing and the Gloves of Running Urgently.
  • Tet42 Tetris clone (1989) showcased the game's roots by displaying Kremlin-style architecture and playing Russian theme music at the start of each game (it's called the Russian folk song played is called "Korobeiniki", if you're curious, but everyone in the West [and possibly the East] knows it as "The Tetris Song"), and using The Backwards R. Followed (1991) by USSR-themed Super Tetris. Later (1992) Tetris Classic from the author of original Tetris has pictures related to Russian tale or historic character or St. Basil's Cathedral for background, and music to match.
    • The Spectrum Holobyte version of Tetris from the 1980s had Russian stage backgrounds and music; e.g. the first stage used the Kremlin Wall as the background and "Polyushko Pole" as music.
  • Backyard Soccer has a World Cup. A Russian team, by the name of Cagey Bees, participates.
  • The countries of Yuktobania, Erusea, and Estovakia from the Ace Combat series are all loosely based on Russia.
    • Estovakia is based on the former Yugoslavian states rather than Russia/the USSR.
  • Comrades, how could we forget the Command and Conquer Red Alert series? In Red Alert, the Soviets are basically realistic, as part of the game's "What If World War II had been fought between the Allies and Stalin?" premise. In Red Alert 2, they start picking up some... oddities, like Power Armor with LightningGuns, giant squid as naval units, and a mind-controlling Rasputin Expy. In Red Alert 3, they go completely off the rails with units like War Bears, tanks equipped with tractor beams that grind up enemy vehicles, and APCs that shoot infantry out of a giant cannon, all led by Tim Curry.
  • In X-COM, Russia is the only country on Earth that never succumbs to alien infiltration, and will keep fighting the invaders until the end of the game.

Сетевой оригинальный контент

  • The six-part finale of Arby 'n' the Chief features Agent Smirnoff, a fiercely loyal Russian KGB agent determined to stop a drug smuggler that ends up as the roommate of the eponymous characters' owner.

 Agent Smirnoff: He fucked with Mother Russia. If you fuck with Mother Russia, you have to fuck with me. AND NOBODY FUCKS WITH ME!

Западные анимационные фильмы

  • Tale Spin had Thembria, a snowy and desolate country populated by blue boars based on this.
  • The first part of the 20th Century Fox animated film Anastasia fits this to a T, especially during the song "Rumour in St. Petersburg".
  • The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest had recurring villain General Vostok. In "General Winter" he even lectures his cronies on the strategic advantages of Mother Russia's unforgiving winter.
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