They love their mothers, spoil their kids, eat more ice cream than Utahns and don't want a war - that's how Donald Griffin sums up the Soviets in 1989.
Griffin, who is co-chairman of the Utah Committee for American/Soviet Relations, likes to dwell on the similarities between the two longtime enemies. So does Vladimir Ashmarin.Ashmarin, who is a professor at the Institute of International Relations in Moscow, is teaching at the University of Utah this spring on a Fulbright Scholarship. A few weeks ago he spoke to students at Cottonwood Elementary School and told them that "there are more common things than differences" between his country and theirs.
It is so easy for Soviet citizens to travel to the U.S. these days, Ashmarin says, that the problem now is getting a plane reservation. He says he told his friends before he left the USSR that if he died he wanted his tombstone to read, "Here lies Vladimir Ashmarin, who got a ticket."
Yet, despite the relaxed restrictions and tensions between the USSR and the United States, the citizens of both countries still have many misperceptions about each other. One Cottonwood student asked Ashmarin if it is true that Russians have to have a permit to watch TV. Ashmarin himself was surprised to learn that not all American cities are crowded and slum-ridden.
Maybe if we can gauge what we know and what we don't know about each other, we can bridge the gap, understand one another a bit better and have an inkling about where the other is coming from.
With that thought in mind - and because April is Soviet Awareness Month - the Deseret News has a little quiz for you on Soviet/Russian history and culture. Don't feel bad if you don't know the answers because we've included them on page S2.
While the Soviet Union holds surprises for us, the U.S. is often equally surprising for Soviets. Don Griffin has helped several immigrant families settle in and says Soviet newcomers are stunned by the abundance and variety of our goods. "A whole grocery aisle devoted to pet foods? It blows their minds," he says.
They struggle to understand our economic system. For example, they are distressed when the same tennis shoes sell for different prices at different stores. And Soviets, says Griffin, are amazed to find how difficult it can be to get and keep a job. "I tell them `freedom' also means `freedom to fail."'
1. In the Soviet Union, the letters CCCP refer to:
a. The Soviet space agency
c. Communist Central Committee of the Politburo
2. How many time zones are there in the Soviet Union?
3. What is the Soviet national motto?
a. "Workers of the World Unite"
b. "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
c. "Beat your swords into plowshares."
d. "Paper or plastic?"
4. Fifteen nationality groups in the USSR have their own republic. Name six.
5. Match these Russian authors with their work:
1. Leo Tolstoya. The GulagArchipelago
2. Fyodor Dostoevskyb. The Quiet Don
3. Mikhail Sholokhovc. Fathers and Sons
4. Alexanderd. Uncle Vanya Solzhenitsyn
5. Anton Chekhove. Crime andPunishment
6. Ivan Turgenevf. Anna Karenina
7. Boris Pasternakg. Dr. Zhivago
6. What is the difference between Pravda, Izvestia and Tass?
7. The highest mountain in Russia, 24,590 feet above sea level, is:
a. Mt. Godunov
b. Communist Peak
c. Mt. Uzbek
8. Who is Vladimir I. Ulyanov?
9. What family ruled Russia for 300 years?
10. The world's largest inland body of salt water is:
a. the Black Sea
b. the Great Salt Lake
c. the Caspian Sea
11. Who are White Russians?
12. Which is closer to the Soviet Union?
b. The United States
c. West Germany
13. One of the most recognizable symbols of the Soviet Union is onion-domed St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square.
Who had it built and why?
a. Ivan the Terrible in celebration of the final victory over the Tartars.
b. Catherine the Great in celebration of another unrelated dental hygiene victory.
c. Peter the Great in celebration of victory over Sweden, which gave Russia a "window on the West."
14. Which of the following sports is not played in the Soviet Union?
15. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is one of the most popular symphony pieces performed in the United States. What did it commemorate and why is it seldom played in the USSR in its original form?
16. Between 1910 and 1930, Russian painters were the most daring of the avant-garde. Name one of these artists who fled Stalin's rule and won fame in the West.
17. What is the name of the Russian alphabet, how many letters does it have, and what other language does it most closely resemble?
18. On March 26, Soviet citizens did something they hadn't done since 1917?
What was it?
19. What percentage of Soviet women hold a job outside the home?
a. less than 33 percent
b. 50 percent
c. 75 percent
d. over 85 percent
20. Where in Utah does the Soviet flag fly?
21. In which one of the following Soviet institutions is real political power centered?
a. Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
d. Communist Central Committee
22. Match the famous Russian with his/her profession:
1. Alexander Pushkina. dancer
2. Carl Fabergeb. jeweler
3. Gary Kasparovc. poet
4. Anna Pavlovad. chess player
5. Ivan Petrovich Pavlove. czar
6. Boris Godunovf. scientist
7. Sergei Eisensteing. filmmaker
23. What do Soviets celebrate on Nov. 7
24. On the map below identify the 11 countries that border the USSR?
1. b) USSR (CCCP are the letters in the Russian alphabet that stand for Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik).
2. 11 time zones (the USSR is 6,000 miles wide).
3. The two most famous are Vasily Kandinsky and Marc Chagall.
4. Armenian, Azerbaijan, Byelorussian, Estonian, Georgian, Kazakh, Kirgiz, Latvian, Lithuanian, Moldavian, Russian, Tadzhik, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Uzbek (People of the Soviet Union see it as an expression of Western ignorance that we often refer to all Soviets as Russians).
5. 1 (f) 2 (e) 3 (b) 4 (a) 5 (d) 6 (c) 7 (g). Solzhenitsyn, Sholokhov and Pasternak all won Nobel Prizes for literature.
6. Pravda ("Truth"), the country's largest daily newspaper, is published by the Communist Party; Izvestia ("News"), the second largest paper, is published by the Soviet government; Tass is the official Soviet news agency.
7. b) Communist Peak, near the border where Afghanistan meets China.
8. V.I. Lenin, founder of the Communist Party in Russia, who changed his name to Lenin in 1901.
9. The Romanovs, who ruled Russia until the 1917 Revolution.
10. c) The Caspian Sea, which covers 143,640 square miles compared to the Great Salt Lake's average of 940 square miles.
11. The term White Russians is used to refer to two different groups: 1) the Byelorussians, a distinct Slavic nationality, and 2) a group that did not side with the "Red" Communists in the Bolshevik Revolution.
12. b) the U.S. (Alaska's Little Diomede Island is less than four miles from the USSR's Big Diomede Island in the Bering Strait).
13. a) Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV, in 1547, was the first Russian ruler to be crowned czar.)
14. c) golf. (This could change in the near future, since several U.S. pro golfers have been invited to the Soviet Union to consult with the government.)
15. Commemorates Russia's victory over Napoleon (in which an estimated 500,000 French troops died). It is seldom played in Russia in its original form because it includes the czarist national anthem.
16. a ("Workers of the World Unite," from the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels).
17. The Cyrillic alphabet, which most closely resembles the Greek alphabet, contains 33 letters, two of which are mute.
18. They voted in national democratic elections (in two-thirds of the posts there were actually at least two candidates to choose from).
19. d (more than 85 percent; 94 percent of women in the child-bearing years).
20. The International Peace Garden in Jordan Park, 1060 S. NinthWest.
21. c) the Politburo, which is the executive committee of the Communist Party's Central Committee, establishes all important national and international policies. Its 14 members meet in secret.
22. 1 (c) 2 (b) 3 (d) 4 (a) 5 (f) 6 (e) 7 (g).
23. Nov. 7 and 8 commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which actually occurred in October.
24. a) Finland b) Poland c) Czechoslovakia d) Hungary e) Romania f) Turkey g) Iran h) Afghanistan i) China j) Mongolia k) North Korea.