Lennart Yurgensen: "Russian people do not suffer from trifles"
I sit on my balcony, enjoy the sun and beauty of Vienna. In this city I study political sciences and Slavic languages. From the balcony I see a lot of cars and people. Slightly noisy, and in the air already begins to smell in the spring.
Where have you been?
Basically, I travel in Eastern Europe. Many times went to Russia – one of my trips took 4 months there, the second – 6 weeks, the remaining five trips were shorter. I spent two months in Poland. Visited in Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, but these trips were not long.
What did you do in Russia?
The first time I came to Russia, because he took part in a social project in a small town near Kaliningrad, I was then 16 years old. We built a playground for a kindergarten. Then Russia seemed so unlike Germany, everything was so new, curious – stunning experience. I realized that I want to learn more about this country. Then I participated in another big Russian project, became interested even more – now people and society.
Lennart, tell me which stories happened to you in Russia?
Oh, very many cool, funny and sad stories. For example, I lived in a host family in Kaliningrad, where my "host grandfather" strengthened stereotypes about the Russians: He forced me to drink vodka or other strong drinks with him. Sometimes I did not even ask where he took these strange stuffed drinks – the bottles were definitely not from the supermarket. But at all, he was very cheerful, he was constantly trying to speak German with me – remembered some words since the war.
What I really liked in my host family and my friends in Russia is that they are all very hospitable. No matter when and where, but I always had a place where I could stay, take a shower and eat. In St. Petersburg, my friends took me as if I were part of their family. This made my journey special – I felt that these people really want to show me their traditions, to acquaint me with Russian cuisine, help me learn more about the country. In Germany, a completely different hospitality – people try to stay more independent. So at first I was a bit strange. I still try to learn how to be as welcome as my Russian friends.
That in Russia surprised you? What did you like?
The most important thing is Russian people are much more positive, Germans and Austrians complain about their problems, even trifling. Russian people relate to everything easier.
And what can you not take in the Russian world?
In your last trips, I ran into a distinct discrimination. I can not understand this and take.
Each trip is a huge experience. What did your trips to Russia gave you?
Russia is so much different from what I saw at home! Acquaintance with her made me more open, expanded my horizons and destroyed stereotypes. This is the main reason why I like to travel in Russia. Another, also an important reason – I am interested in Russian language and Russian culture. And I adore Russian Rock – Lumen, Tequilajazzz, DDT and other performers.
I know that after Russia you went to Ukraine and visited Chernobyl. Please tell me about it.
I was late for flight from St. Petersburg to Moscow. It was desperate, but here he met two guys – Russian Kirgiz and Japanese girl from Tokyo. They asked me if I want to join them on a trip to Kiev. I spontaneously agreed. We have long discussed whether we should go to Chernobyl. After careful thinking, they decided to go. At first I was not afraid of anything, on the contrary – I eaten curiosity, I wanted to see with my own eyes this catastrophe. When we arrived there, I was surprised how quickly nature was recovered since. But it was terrible to see it – after all, people had to leave their homes and things they loved. Never before I did not feel so anywhere on this planet.
We have such an expression: "What is good for Russian, then the German death". You were in Russia several times – and still alive and look happy. But something is distinguished by us, though?
I know this expression. I asked myself what it is based on? Well, yes, though: vodka in large quantities of German will accurately finish off. Kidding!
There is a huge difference in the mentality of the Russians and Germans. Russians are proud of their history, which you can’t tell about the Germans. A surprise for me was another thing: how Russians belong to the authorities as they do not trust the government and government agencies. Well, and I already talked about it – Russians much more positive people and do not suffer from trifles.
And I always had the feeling that I could be with the Russians myself, and I would still take me. No need to shy yourself or be closed.
Are you going to return to Russia?
Of course. I hope to return soon. But circumstances are not allowed yet – the political situation and my studies.
What are your plans, Lennart?
I would like to find such a job that would give me the opportunity to work with foreigners different from the Germans. It would be good to work with the eastern Europeans.
Interview – Love Smirnova.
Translation – Katya Sabirova.
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