When we hear the term Russian culture many Americans tend to have negative thoughts like the cold war, their government ruling with an iron hand, and the Red Scare. These thoughts do not do the justice to the Russian people or to their long history as a people dating back to INSERT DATE. One of the major themes throughout Russian history and this course is the idea that the Russian people value intangible things more than the tangible. The Russian people have a long rich heritage, they are deep in there Christian faith, and they pride themselves on hospitality and value there community, families, and fellow Russian people. They have learned how to sacrifice from the constant invasions and being forced farther and farther into the cold artic forests. They have worshiped, respected, and revered Mother Earth. However, most importantly the Russians stayed true to themselves and have let their culture survive and even thrive during even the most difficult points in their history. They have kept their beliefs, and have continually been making beautiful works of art and music. To Americans and the western world these things may not seem all that important but to Russia and her people these beliefs are everything.
Russian culture dates back INSERT YEAR ,at this time Russia was the geologically shapeless country because of the lack of natural borders, and it’s history began with the formation of northern warrior-trader cities.(Billington, The Icon and the Axe, 3). At this time Russians were pagans of the gens religion, the gens religion was about viewing the individual as a transient moment in the life of the clan. Seeing oneself as part of a whole family and not as an individual shows the start of Russians view on self-sacrifice for the good of the entire rod, family, or county. The gen’s religion was strongly rooted in nature, specifically Mother Earth; they saw themselves as part of nature not above it. This oneness with each other and with nature created strong communal bonds within Russia. In 988 Prince Vladimir of Kiev was baptized and he decreed that the Kievan land would adopt Eastern Christianity.(Massie, 23) Although the Russians people changed religions they carried on their core beliefs they went from viewing the Mother Earth as the source of life to venerating Mary as the Virgin of Motherhood. The reason Vladimir decided to convert to Christianity was because of the immense beauty his men saw when they visited the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, This desire for beauty was translated into beautiful Russian art and music. The Orthodox liturgy continually inspired poetry, music and art, for, unlike the Catholic liturgy in the West, it was from the beginning the possession of the whole Christian people, who worshiped together in their native Slavic tongue. (Massie, 28) An example of this is the Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir from the early 12th century, and icon that depicts Mary holding Jesus as a baby.(Massie 43)