What do the classical family values mean for Russian wives

By Glenda Jerkins

Among the most important traditional values for a Russian woman the main is a family (58% of polled). The second place in value is occupied by health, and only after this such things as money, home, dwelling and other attributes of well-being are mentioned. It means that a warmth of family relations and ties is valued most of all. According to the statistics 52% of Russians are married and 30% more don’t, but they are going to get married. Nonetheless the number of divorces in Russia is the same large as in the West and is close to 50%. Though all normal families in Europe and in the USA are somewhat alike, as every national family has its own peculiarities. A Russian family is a phenomenon somewhat unusual for foreigners. Here many things may surprise.

1. One contracts a marriage in Russia much earlier than in Europe

Up to 25 girls are usually married, often to their age mates and have a child. Most often they bring up children by themselves, especially when a child is still little (up to 3). In the West in this age young people are still occupied with themselves and their own life only: education, entertainments, carrier…

2. Russian women have a special attitude to their children

Naturally, in the West one loves their children very much too… But as a housing problem there is not so acute, children after finishing schools often settle separately and live independently on their parents. If for Europe a child of 15-16 is an adult person able to deal with their own problems, what concerns Russian children of this age they are still an ‘unreasonable child’.

More peculiar for many men seems to be a traditional relationship between a husband and a wife in Russian families. In general this peculiarity can be considered as a commitment of Russians to the traditional values, a more patriarchal type of a family structure compared with other western countries. In real, a circle of duties of Russian wives is much wider than of their husbands.

A position of a wife in a modern Russian society is dual

On one hand, in the society exist ‘shatters’ of a knight’s attitude towards a woman. According to the tradition a Russian woman accepts courtesies of men, compliments to her address, a material protection and all other signs that emphasize her femininity and role of a creator, a mother, a great doer, a homemaker favorably. On the other hand, there exists a quite Russian tradition to load various hardships on woman’s shoulders.