Mysterious Slovenian soul

Slovenian traffic lights

2014-10-19 14.03.23

Despite the fact that Slovenia and Russia both belong to the Slavic countries and undoubtedly there are many similarities between them, I would like to talk about the differences. Perhaps, according to differences you can recognize the specifics of a particular country. Strangely enough the differences are in different areas, for example, the pace of life.In the first days of my staying in Slovenia I was astonished by the tranquility and unhurried life: people are not in a hurry, or if they are, they thoroughly hide it.My hypothesis is supported by the fact that the traffic lights in Slovenia aren`t “in hurry” to toggle the light, and responsible pedestrians wait for getting the green light with understanding to cross the road, despite the fact that the roadway can be an absolutely empty.Although, maybe, it’s not tranquility, but genetic desire of Slovenes to follow the rules, in principle, like all Europeans (I don’t think that Europeans know about that stereotype, although it is quite popular in Russia).There are more things, which astonish me. Probably, it`s goodwill: the look, smile and often phrase “Dober dan” from strangers. This is not to say that anger and dejectedness are the distinctive features of Russians, no, absolutely not (although some disagree with me), it means that Russians look like that, but when you know a person (Russian) better, you will understand the depth of the Russian soul.

Small but proud Slovenia

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But back to the Slovenian soul, perhaps it`s not less mysterious than the Russian. As you know, Slovenia is a small country, but according to Russian standards it`s a quite tiny country: the population is slightly more than 2 million people, and you can drive through Slovenia within 3 hours; Italy, Croatia, Austria, Hungary are very close, it means you can travel a lot.But whether love for their country (or, rather, to the city where the person was born), or distance (although it`s not a distance for Russians) don`t give to the Slovenes to break away from their native land? I don’t know, but many of them were surprised when I told them that I was able to visit places, they have never been to, in only three months of staying in Slovenia.I think there is a different perception of distance. Slovenes are surprised that the 12-hours trip from Kazan (from the city where I live) to Moscow can be comfortable for me. It seems a bit wild for Slovenes due to the fact that they are not accustomed to “sit still”. If the Russians can easily spend the time with talking and drinking tea (by the way, Slovenes practically do not drink tea, only during the winter), the Slovenes have to do something all the time. When I asked one of my friends to go to a nearby town because it`s just 2 hours by a car, she said with surprise: “So long? And what are we going to do all this time?” My response that we could talk during the trip didn`t satisfy her. Frankly, I like this feature, perhaps it`s a reason why life in Ljubljana with a population of 260 thousand people is more active than in Kazan, where more than 1 million people live.

Now seriously… Russia can learn from small Slovenia

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European democracy is like a legend for Russia, although according to the Constitution, Russia is also a democratic state. This article is not about the existing problems in Russian society, but about democracy in Slovenia. In October I took part in a protest of workers against the closure of the plant in Trbovlje, but in this case I’m not going to talk about the complexities of the situation of the workers, their requirements and complicated political situation, as it requires a separate article. I would like to focus on one point, which would be impossible in Russia. The director of the Holding of Slovenian power plants Blaž Košorok got out of the car to talk with the workers after protesters surrounded his car.Of course, his explanation did not bring any clarity to the situation and it seemed like a well prepared speech, but now we are not talking about that, but the fact that it`s not only possible in a democratic society, but should be. I mean the possibility of a conversation between contrary parties, an opportunity not to erect a wall between people, etc. Probably it`s difficult to understand my surprise if you are Slovene, but it’s so…

In conclusion

In conclusion, I would like to add that this is my view of the situation, it may be different from reality or it might change during the time. This means that I should learn and rethink a lot, but I have time for that and I will continue to explore this interesting country.

Natalya Chernova