21:41 GMT +320 July 2018
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    Brave New World

    Italians and Russians: So Far, Yet So Close

    Brave New World
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    John Harrison
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    An Italian living in Moscow talks on a personal level about living in Russia. Italians and Russians share a lot of cultural markers, not only on the level of 'high culture' but also on very human levels. Naturally, there are some things that they do not see eye to eye on, but nothing that cannot be overcome by using common sense.

    Daniela Bravura, the PR director of the Akmetov fund, and the wife of the well know Italian sculptor Marco Bravura who is creating fantastic mosaic sculptures in Russia, joins the program.

    Daniela expresses that Italians are known to be emotional people, and host John Harrison asks if she finds Russians have the same quality. Daniela says: "Yes, I would say that family and emotion are two things that are in common, and another similarity that I see — I am a 'babushka,' a grandmother, and I see that the figure of grandparents is appreciated very much in Russia as well. The love for children is really something that we share so much….Grandparents, the family, the need to keep the family together, at least for my generation, was very important and I see that this is also very important for Russians. We don't give up. We see them when they are 16 or much older. We are famous for our 'Mamas', and it is the same for Russia, Russian 'Mamas', do care a lot about things like education, it is one of the main factors….Also Russian young people are very respectful, they express their love to their parents very much".

    There are of course areas in which Italians and Russians don't see eye to eye on… "We Italians go for details; Russians go for building sound structures. If two nails are needed for an Italian to make something, Russians will use 20. This is part of their tradition. In Italy, we are very much tradition based as well — I would say 60% based on tradition and 40% based on innovation. In Russia I see even more emphasis on tradition, and this is something that I resist."

    To the question: Do you feel comfortable living in Russia, Daniela answers: "Absolutely. I feel that understanding is a problem sometimes even between people of the same country, the same family or of a different generation, but acceptance is another story, and I feel accepted in Russia. Maybe it is due to another thing we have in common, we all love foreigners. I feel that we Italians love foreign people — we've been invaded by so many of them! [laughter] Maybe we say that as a joke, but in Russia there is the same thing. I feel love, I feel accepted by people; that's another story. So when I have I problem, I say: 'I am an Italian!' they give me such a big smile, they accept me."

    In the second part of the program, Daniela comments on the fact that Europeans and Russians are all Europeans but are separated by what is going on at the moment. "I would really like to know what this separation means. I really feel — when I am in Russia — that I am in Europe. It's just the Eastern part of Europe. We don't speak politics but there are sanctions, there are frictions, there are things that are happening, but not on a human level of everyday life. I feel that we are doing well, as populations. As Italians, we invite Russians to come, there is a lot going on in terms of cooperation, and that is very important."

    Talking to Daniela, it seems that there are different levels — there is the level of politics and there is the level of ordinary people. Daniela mentions about Russians; "Russian live in the second level, of friendship, of sharing, of appreciation, there are differences — why not? The world is beautiful because it is different?"

    John Harrison asks: How can the feeling that we are all the same; that we are all people, be encouraging? Daniela says: "Continuing to use common sense, sometimes common sense is very uncommon. Continuing being positive, but there is a new generation that is on the planet now, which communicates through the internet where there are no boundaries. People like to travel, to build not walls but friendships and relationships, based on simple things. I am personally a citizen of the world, I am proud of being Italian, I am proud of my temporary residence as a Russian citizen, but I am proud of the planet and appreciation of the simple things. This is the key factor."

    Daniela suggests not paying attention to the negative on a daily basis, "…which may sound utopian, but it's not, I see this living in Russia in Italy or wherever, no matter what the problem is, we always have the chance to concentrate either on the negative or the positive. There is always a way to change the negative into the positive. That's what we have to do."

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    Tags:
    close ties, traditions, culture, Italy, Europe, Russia
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