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Moscow News
September 26, 2008
Passive Russia lives on passion
By Daria Chernyshova

It is very true about everything: the manner of working, making decisions, dealing with people, conducting politics. All the spheres of life are penetrated with this philosophy - whenever a Russian should do something he delays whatever it may be until the very last minute. Of course there are exceptions, but as a rule it holds true. The philosophy is simple and runs as follows: they won't lock the barn door till after the horse is stolen.' First, there is the appraisal of the situation - is it so necessary to confront the task right now? The answer is usually no.' We can always find extra time to "do it a little bit later." Even though it's a matter of high importance, any chance of delaying it means the affair will be delayed for sure.

What strikes observers about this approach to our work is that the outcome - when it finally comes - is brilliant. No matter how long a task may take to fulfil, a Russian will eventually get the job done. This differs greatly from the German approach, for example. Their schedules are rigid and well-planned in advance. The work volume is balanced and measured. All the rules are observed.

God! The scheme described above would make the life of a typical Russian sheer hell. Such an approach to labor would seem boring and too complicated. I would hate for the reader to get the idea that Russian workers are all unorganized; we are well-educated and capable of serious work, and the final product of a German and a Russian worker will be the same. It is the process that is entirely different. From a logical point of view, Russia's style of work is extremely incorrect, but yet it works.

Harnessing slowly we ride quickly. How true it is about Russians! The start may be painful, preparation will take forever, but then Russians rush to their goal. The same apllies to warfare. We become our strongest at the end of the affair. Carefully choosing their tactics and politics, only then will Russians jump the hurdles. This allows us to execute wise decisions that allow us to take the lead.

Though this way isn't typical for many Westerners, many Russians are welcome to work in the best foreign companies. The outcome of their work is none the worse. At the beginning Russians may have some difficulties, but very soon they find the best way to complete their job. From the moment they find that way, it becomes impossible to stop them.

Is this so bad? I don't think so. There is a joke: Russians harness slowly, but ride fast. Germans harness fast, but ride slowly. Estonians harness slowly and then bury the horse.' Sorry, nothing against Estonians. Just to point out that behind Bismarck's expression is concealed Russian passion. All their goals, all their affairs are full of passion and dedication.

In conclusion, I'd like to give one more example. Again, a joke: A group of students are standing next to the examination room. The German asks: "Why don't they let us enter? They are already 3 minutes late." An American says, "Can you explain to me the meaning of this?" Finally, the Russian asks: "What exam are we to take today? Please! May I have a look at someone's notes?" One wonders how Russians succeed with such an attitude. Though we are mostly Northern residents, our inner passion explains everything.