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Dangers in Russia due to current political situation?
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LAR1SSA



Joined: 02 Nov 2013
Posts: 35
Location: Memphis

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Dangers in Russia due to current political situation? Reply with quote

Coolguy123 wrote:
Hi,

I'm wondering if anyone present in Russia or thinking about teaching in Russia is worried about the current political situation in Ukraine?

I've heard different things from different people including, that Russia is a dangerous place to go to now and that it is becoming more anti-American (from Russians not in Russia). From that to, Russians love Americans and there are no issues at all (from people I know who live in Russia but also have an incentive for me to go over there as potential friends and colleagues).

So what's anyone's opinion here? Is it simply a political/media issue that has no bearing on individuals or could there possibly be some danger or a war that might affect the lives of expats living there?


Haha I live here and I would not even have known what you are talking about if I had not been reading about it online. I would have just been confused when the Russians say "its so sad whats happening in Ukraine" after I tell them I lived there for almost a year. Being American is still getting me free drinks and a bunch of "oh cool, I really want to visit ________." when I say where I am from.... I would be surprised if anybody who actually LIVES here said it was "anti-american" even if it is it means nothing to for you. Some of my students said they don't like America (ignorantly so since they have never been there) However, they love me as I have nothing to do with foreign policy in America just as they got nothing to do with the homophobia of Putin Very Happy
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spbefl



Joined: 08 Aug 2011
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would definitely not say that Russians are anti-American. Perhaps 350 miles is too close to the border for a person who has never been to Russia. If you have doubts coolguy, you should try somewhere else. I can only tell you from my personal experience that I feel safer here than I did in the US. That being said, I would never take a position close to the border, at least at the moment. But then, I'd never consider anything outside of SPb or Moscow. Let us know what you decide. I've been following your post and am curious. Smile
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maruss



Joined: 18 Mar 2003
Posts: 1024
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:52 am    Post subject: a difficult decision? Reply with quote

Krasnodar region is probably one of the most pleasant in Russia but as you don't say exactly where it is hard to give more precise advice about it? For a foreigner to go to such places there is usually a special reason anyway and it is also true that most go to Moscow or St Petes.
Unfortunately the situation in Russia is not so good at the moment, especially near Ukraine and nobody knows how it will develop in the coming weeks? But probably the biggest worry in general for the majority of people will be the economy if the sanctions from the west go on for very long as the rouble is sliding and a recession is beginning.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9703
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

csdandridge wrote:
Sasha,

What do you mean no more anti-American than usual? Is that to mean that you have to deal with a fair amount of anti-Americanism?


I haven't had to deal with it personally. But there is a tendency to describe everything that is generally wrong with the world as 'американски' Very Happy
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jonniboy



Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 696
Location: Riga, Latvia

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecocks wrote:
I asked several of my Russian students why they blindly accept the "Russian side of the story" and dismiss a dozen other countries' media reports when they know Pravda, TASS and the other outlets have been feeding them misinformation and supporting the government agenda for decades.

They really have no answer when challenged logically. It cost me seven students though. In typical Russian fashion they simply disappeared and no longer respond to calls or emails.


I can't say I've any sympathy over the lost students. If I pay hard earned cash to go to a language lesson, I'm not there "to be challenged logically" about my political views and a teacher that did so would quickly find themselves becoming my ex-teacher. It ain't in the job description to butt heads with students over political issues, as that is always going to be a lose/lose situation. (Students leave and tell their mates to avoid the teacher that "hates their country.")
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jonniboy wrote:
ecocks wrote:
I asked several of my Russian students why they blindly accept the "Russian side of the story" and dismiss a dozen other countries' media reports when they know Pravda, TASS and the other outlets have been feeding them misinformation and supporting the government agenda for decades.

They really have no answer when challenged logically. It cost me seven students though. In typical Russian fashion they simply disappeared and no longer respond to calls or emails.


I can't say I've any sympathy over the lost students. If I pay hard earned cash to go to a language lesson, I'm not there "to be challenged logically" about my political views and a teacher that did so would quickly find themselves my ex-teacher. It ain't in the job description to butt heads with students over political issues, as that is always going to be a lose/lose situ.


Yet, I don't recall asking for any sympathy. It was a simple comment in the context of conveying the seriousness of the attitudes in Russia. I have better things to do than waste my time on students who are incapable of understanding things like law, logic, ethics, etc. Plenty of students out there who are thinking clearly, asking questions and exercising critical thinking skills.

Bully for you and your job description but it's yours, not mine.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9703
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmmm. Dunno about that. Plenty of schools have contracts that explicitly state certain topics are off-limits. And even if they weren't stated so, common sense would require that teachers should refrain from talking about thorny issues. Things like Chechnia, alcoholism, anti-Semitism, racism generally, or Central Asian immigrants, are guaranteed to cause division in any class. No good can come from it, certainly not in terms of language learning. Which is what our job description limits us to.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Hmmmm. Dunno about that. Plenty of schools have contracts that explicitly state certain topics are off-limits. And even if they weren't stated so, common sense would require that teachers should refrain from talking about thorny issues. Things like Chechnia, alcoholism, anti-Semitism, racism generally, or Central Asian immigrants, are guaranteed to cause division in any class. No good can come from it, certainly not in terms of language learning. Which is what our job description limits us to.


We don't agree.

We'll get past it, I'm sure.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9703
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure we will.

But tell me, what aims are you trying to achieve?
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With regard to..what?
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9703
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What aims are you trying to achieve in asking your students, seven of them, why they believe in the Russian media side of a controversy? Especially if you already know that this will just anger them...
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmmm, we discuss a lot of things. I was pretty clear that I have high expectations of my students cognitive processes. There are no taboo subjects when I am engaged with students who expect to learn. Religion, sex, politics, economics, justice, etc. are all fair game. This is particularly true when they are on the front page of the news.

I don't whine about it, I just deal with the subjects and, in this case, moved on to look for other students with better minds.

As for the excerpted original, I was agreeing with Maruss as to the blind acceptance of the Russian citizens. Two of my Russian students were open to the discussion and we still are considering the varying realities being presented.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9703
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. Is this with private students? Or in a uni? Does your job description cover this?
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 887
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Private students.

As I said, that's not in my job description.

I don't work that way, nor accept jobs that require me to do so.

I have taught at universities in three countries (business subjects including ethics, mgmt and strategic planning; schools and my own students both singly and in groups.

And I don't complain about it.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9603
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I was pretty clear that I have high expectations of my students cognitive processes. There are no taboo subjects when I am engaged with students who expect to learn. Religion, sex, politics, economics, justice, etc. are all fair game. This is particularly true when they are on the front page of the news.



Hmmm, indeed. I just finished up with a very large group of PhD students (proven high levels of cognitive ability). Some were Russian, some were Ukrainian, some were Georgia, and others. We very carefully skipped the 'hi, my name is and I'm from....' in favour of avoiding conversation/controversy that would not have directly supported the goals of the program.

If the goal of your teaching is effective discussion of controversial topics, fine. But not so sure that's what even private students specifically sign up to do in most cases....

Nor do I think this ability is necessarily indicative of 'high level cognitive processes,' as all the little, uneducated, old, small-town ladies I know are quite capable of expressing strong opinions on headline topics - whether they actually know much about them or not.
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