Do you remember when you were a little kid on the playground? Spending recess hanging out with your friends, swinging from the monkey bars, wearing your ‘Power Ranger” sweatshirt? Good times… good times… up until that one kid in the class had to ask you why you had the Pink Ranger sweatshirt and not the Green Ranger.
Quick aside: I am, of course, referring to the original Power Rangers, before any of the crazy spin-offs or the movie came out. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well… welcome to the UR class of 2012.
Back to the big picture; maybe you like the Pink Ranger, her can-do-anything attitude and the fact that she really is the smart one of all of them for using a bow and arrow for a weapon instead of risking getting punched in the face.
Sure, you saw the logic in this choice, but not every kid on the playground does. This logic of fitting in doesn’t stop at the playground; it extends all the way up to the highest levels of international relations and policy. At that level, the kid in the Pink Ranger sweatshirt is Russia, and boy, everyone sure is giving them a weird look these days.
Russia’s not exactly one for ‘fitting in.” First off, the country covers one-sixth of the world’s surface. China has a fifth of the population big deal, it’s nice and dense, while Russia has to be able to govern and maintain its vast land holdings.
The shear size of the nation makes it difficult to fit into any mold whatsoever. If they did want to turn to anyone for advice, which they don’t, the only country near them in size is Canada, and we all know that Canada is just America’s hat.
Let’s also examine the fact that Russia may have been ruled under a ridiculous social experiment known as Stalinism, or some evolution of it, for about 50 years.
A government developed by a man who killed more people than Hitler can’t possibly leave anything worth wanting to talk about behind.
The evolution out of that mess of leadership is sort of like waking up and realizing that you have to carry every single person to class that day, all day. I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that it’s a huge pain in the ass.
As you may or may not know, Russia occasionally becomes cold as balls, more so than Rochester is even capable of.
You may have heard of Siberia, where it becomes so cold that absolute zero means you can wear shorts.
Many people have many different ways of dealing with this lovely weather. Some wear fur. Others wear absurd amounts of fur. And outside of that, there is a lovely tonic known as vodka, which you may have even seen once or twice here in America.
While vodka may have been invented by the Polish, the Russians drank it all and helped refine the taste when they sobered up in May and started making their own.
Alcohol comprises a large part of Russian culture and I’m actually sad to say that alcoholism is a huge problem over there.
However, since we are thousands of miles away, why not joke about the fact that Russians have government-funded programs to make sure that pregnant mothers avoid getting intoxicated on a regular basis, programs that may occasionally go unnoticed.
That said, Russia is also a mixture of very hardy individuals, as is showcased at most Olympic Games.
This past year, they took third place in the medal count behind the United States and China. Not bad, considering their national diet consists only of vodka and potatoes (this may or may not be something I made up).
One such sport is artistic gymnastics, which ranks below cheerleading on the ‘Official Sports Scale” that I just invented (don’t worry, it’s credible).
First off, according to the source of all things credible Wikipedia under the category, ‘Dominant Nations,” Russia is number one on the list for the sport, and rightfully so. They have won a medal in gymnastics every single year since its inception.
Even this year’s women’s all-around winner, Nastia Liukin, an American, was born in Russia. The gymnastics really brings us back full circle, though; Russia is just a country where people want to enjoy themselves, maybe do a little bit of hanging around either on the bars on the playground, hoping to one day earn money doing this, or in the bars, hoping not to freeze to death.
In the end, they are savoring life as they know it and making their history work for them as best they can.
Bierasinski is a member of the class of 2010.