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The Russian Character

“If we are to go down, let’s do it with music” (“Pomirat’ tak s muzykoy”) – this proverb serves as a perfect description of the Russian character.

Historical parallels

In the times of the Russian Empire all battles started with music, played by special fife and drum corps. Since combats of those days were large and bloody, many warriors were bound to stay on the battlefield.

However, there is another theory, which can be taken into consideration. It holds that the funerals of soldiers, who demonstrated combat heroism, were accompanied by an orchestra.

“Pomirat’, tak s muzykoy” – it means, if one is about to face certain death, at least he should do it with music (not to music, but with music).

The Russian character in one proverb

Literally, this proverb can mean that dying with music is more pleasant. Although, Russians, unlike the Japanese, do not see themselves as great aesthetes and, certainly, do not regard death as some form of art.

More likely, it is a display of extreme pragmatism. Russian soldiers realize that there is no way out and they are hardly to survive. Being at death’s door, it is easy to lose one’s heart. However, Russians manage to show their national character even in the most desperate situations. They head to the last battle with a glint in their eyes and mirth in their souls, demonstrating dashing courage.

The Russian character has been forming for centuries

As you know, Russia is located between Europe and Asia. In the past, its territory was frequently ravaged by European or Asian invaders.

Furthermore, the better part of Russia lies within the zone of marginal agriculture, where a year-long drought can be followed by heavy rain or cold spell. All of these weather events are equally destructive for the harvest. It must have been very hard to work like a beaver, then lose everything and starve.

It seems that most Russians are quite passive. In fact, it is not so!

Just imagine that a European or Asian army was confronted by Russian peasants. What happened then?

Then Russians showed their infamous character. Being bad-trained and outnumbered, these militia men perfectly understood that they are unlikely to leave the battlefield. Their only chance was to deplete enemies, stop their inland advance and therefore save women and children.

Russians face certain death with music – it is the perfect display of the Russian character. They would fight till the last breath. On the battlefield common Russians, usually mild and humble, turned into complete berserks and tear their enemies to pieces.

Sometimes they managed to do an impossible thing and defeat superior enemies.

Even if defenses were breached, enemies would stay above the bodies of fallen Russian soldiers, dumbfounded by their selfless courage.

The feat of the minesweeper Tuman

The feat of the minesweeper “Tuman”. In August 1941, the crew of “Tuman” minesweeper picked a losing fight with three advanced German destroyers, which had been led to its location by a reconnaissance aircraft. The minesweeper was multiply hulled, however the crew was making a stand to the last. When the ship finally sank, the Russian sailors gathered survivors and managed to reach the land. By A.S. Evdokimov.

Modern times

Many centuries later, the Russian character is still the same.

Surely, nowadays this proverb is used not on the battlefield, but rather in the office. As a rule, it describes situations, when a positive outcome seems to be completely impossible. It applies to risky and losing situations.

Yet, Russians somehow manage to turn their defeat into a victory.

The Russian character is also revealed in the manner of pronouncing this proverb – it is always said with a smile.

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