I don’t mean to keep picking on Natalia Antonova, but this is a bizarre rant:
Is it me, or is this journalist struggling with the concept of an abstract noun?
I too have heard Russians use the term “Russian soul”, and seen it referenced in non-fiction books. I’ve always understood the term to loosely describe the connection Russians have with the country itself – the land, culture, and people – which draws them towards it even after they leave, or cause them to love Russia even when they’ve suffered so much by living there. I know Russians who left as soon as they got the chance, but still retain this longing for their homeland which never quite goes away. When they go back they are conflicted, and a lot of Russians have this love-hate relationship with the mother country. The term “Russian soul”, as I understand it, is a shorthand way to describe all this.
Of course, this is not unique to Russia. Most people retain strong cultural and emotional ties to their homeland, although the Brits are spectacularly good at not doing this. Meet an American, Frenchman, or Australian abroad and they all have plans to go back home one day. Meet a Brit and he’ll tell you he only goes back when there’s a death in the family. I blame the weather.
Where was I? That’s right, the term “Russian soul” describes a concept not unique to Russia by a long shot, but is perhaps darker and more fatalistic than that of other nations. I’ve certainly never seen the term used as described below:
Nope, never. Perhaps my readers more familiar with Russia can enlighten me? This is spot on, though:
So much of the mentality and culture in Russia stems from its geography and climate (much as it does in the USA). I’ve always thought the best way to start understanding Russia (or the USA) is to cross it: it’s sheer size will overwhelm you. Now imagine living there. But what I don’t understand is Antonova’s hostility to a term which, as far as I know, is used to loosely describe the mentality and emotions that come from living in Russia and influenced, in large part, by the geography she describes.
Then again, she grew up in the United States. Perhaps that explains it? I’m sure it explains the profanity.