Russia has a rich culture – literature, music, ballet, Orthodox Christianity, and more. My introduction was exclusively with its literature – Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekov, at university level. The rest came much later. In recent years I have come to appreciate Russia’s dance tradition which is second to none.
The Soviet Union suppressed much of that tradition. The arts from the time of the Bolshevik revolution was under the control of Communist commissars. That control resulted in mutilated works, now only of historical interest. Until recently, my knowledge of Russia was limited to its literature. I knew little about the Russian people and their daily lives.
For all I knew, they could have been living in mud huts and spent their time hunting and foraging in the forests for their food. The internet has brought a big change. One can find many youtube videos which give a picture of contemporary Russia. I have a few favourite youtubers.
At the top of my list, as entertainment, is a foursome of charming unaffected young women who sing Russian folk songs against a rural background. They call themselves Beloe Zlato and regularly post on youtube. Their latest is a dreamy song titled, ‘Thoughts.’ (1699) Beloe Zlato – Думы // Thoughts – YouTube
I follow three vloggers who provide a fascinating picture of Russian society. Surprise, surprise, the ordinary Russian is not much different from people in the West. Indeed, the townscape of an ordinary Russian town differs little from those in the West. One difference is the state of disrepair and dilapidation of some rural towns. That contrasts sharply with Moscow which appears clean and super modern (see links below).
Natasha of Yeah Natasha is the star of the three. She has had a meteoric rise from a small basis a year or so ago to 240,000 subscribers. How has she become so popular around the world? Three factors, I think. She gives an engaging view of social life in Russia, her English is good, and perhaps most of all she is disarmingly natural. No affectation at all. A recent video (below) is of Vladivostok in Russia’s far east. Natasha is from Spassk, a small town north of Vladivostok,
Next is Eli from Russia. Eli is older and from Moscow. Like Natasha, she aims to show the social and cultural side of Russia. She’s very professional both in delivery and production. Her English is very good. She covers what dating people would find interesting in Russia, particularly in Moscow. A representative video of her work would be:
There is Viacheslav of Russiaplus who ‘makes videos about places from around the world.’ He speaks good English with an American accent. Representative is his video comparing Moscow with US cities. He gives a fascinating view of modern Moscow. This video in particular forced me to adjust my assumptions about Moscow – and Russia.
Let me end with a delightful video of Natasha taking a walk in Moscow with Viacheslav of Russiaplus. They begin in Gorky Park. Another fascinating view of Moscow.
There is also Dari Step. She’s young and new to the Vlogging business. She needs to develop her presentation and improve her English. But she’s enthusiastic and no doubt will improve over time.