What do you all think about Americans?

Claudia asked:
What do you all think about Americans?

Gil asked:
How do most Russians view (1) America as a country (2) Obama (3) American people.
I think we Americans have a lot of misconceptions about Russia and Russians and there seems to be a strong dislike for your president. It's a shame because I think we could and should be much closer allies. We have a lot of shared interests - fighting Islamic extremism, maintaining a strong global economy, and in general upholding modern, Enlightenment values.

Hello Claudia! Hello Gil!

It’s hard to answer for all or most Russian people as there are 150 millions of us but I can sum up what I’ve heard around. I’ll also add my personal opinion.

So, here you are.

Random myths on Americans from the Russian point of view.

Although I have to stress on their randomness; there obviously are many, many more. I guess myths about Russians also are multiple, not only vodka-winter-balalayka.

1. Americans smile with all mouth.

It looks unusual from here. Sometimes when I see group photo of Americans I feel something is weird. Then I understand: smiles! It's usual sign of happiness in US and it's really unusual to smile in Russia so widely that all your teeth are shown. Not because we are dull or scared. We just feel it's more polite to smile not that widely. Shy princess smile, you know?

2. Americans eat junk food.

Every grandmother in Russia will feed grandchildren with home food and reject Coca-cola & burgers. But you know what, home food could be even more greasy and fattening than french fries. All those pies and soups and bread.

There are hipster restaurants in St. Pete where burgers are quite expensive and go as gourmet, fancy food.

3. Americans are young nation.

I’ve recently read a book named 'The Culture Code’ by Clotaire Rapaille. He speaks on this topic widely. Many people I know feel this: Americans like warriors, dream pursuers, not nourishing old traditions but breaking free all the time.

4. Poor Indians.

I believe that many Russian children play not ‘cowboys&indians’ but just ‘indians’ instead. Being fascinated by indigenous nations like Maya, Aztecs — or Mohawks — I remember playing ‘Indians’ with my friends myself. I was Elena Black Cat's Tail.

5. You can be anyone you'd like in America.

Start from the scratch, build yourself in any way, find the community that you could fit in, write a book, open fancy coffee shop — anything. Only courage needed. And maybe some luck.

In our country, steady connections are needed more than courage, I guess.

To add on Obama topic, I'd say there is no huge conception of him. There were more jokes about previous president for sure. Some people make fun at any foreign president because they'd do anything to avoid thinking about (and solving) our own problems. Blaming and making fun of is super easy.

Myself I feel happy about several things that were done with Obama: gay marriages and discharge of "don't ask, don't tell" for example. I think he is a nice and strong person. But I really am not an expert in politics as I've already said.

I have several friends who live in America. They are nice people. As most of my friends are. This is probably everything I have to say on this topic.

This post is an answer to one of The Listserve replies I’ve got.
You can ask your question, too.

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