17 Pages

In Place of an Introduction

ByGrigory Ioffe, Tatyana Nefedova

The relationship between continuity and change has always been a subject of culture-oriented research. For the Russian culture, change has been routinely and accurately for the most part associated with borrowing, while Russia's tenacious domestic tradition has been the basis of its continuity. Visual impressions derived from travel and living experiences in what may be called the Northern Hemisphere's European Culture Sphere, point to the existence of three distinctive inter-urban social spaces (niches) that contain rural settlements and agriculture. The point of Russian-American similarity, however, is too important to mention only in passing. Quite a few researchers of the past believed that the cause of many Russian woes was simply that Russia does not cope with the challenge of land superabundance. To the Russian mindset, the notions of agriculture and of countryside appear as all but perfect synonyms. The convergence of these notions disappeared long ago in the advanced nations of the West.