There’s nothing better than a nesting doll to describe the quintessential Russian family. These nesting dolls are ideally represented by a peasant woman with her large brood of children. Russian families are large, with an average family having about 4 to 5 children. The family is very important to a Russian. russian grocery store
And family in Russia does not include the father, mother and children. It is inclusive of everyone; uncles, aunts, great uncles and aunts, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. Everyone is dependent and attached to one another. This could probably be attributed to the years of communism where to get things done; you had to have ‘connections’ in the right place. What could not be obtained in a straightforward manner, could be got done with help from a contact.
Also, during the communist regime, Russians were not allowed to own apartments. They were given free of cost by the government in return for some social work. But these weren’t large and were based on the number of people in the family. With little room for privacy, they had to rely on one another for a lot of things. This can also be attributed to their close bonds with one another in the family.
Ideally the patriarch is the head of the family, but it’s the women who are the silent heroes. They work all day long in fields, come home to cook for the family and also make sure that the house is maintained well. In fact, I once read somewhere that if there was just one cow, the Russian peasant women would pull the yoke, with the cow tied on the other end. The man would simply plough it. The matriarch was the bond that held the family together.
Even during feasts, the women of the house worked hard preparing food; all that the men did was to enjoy the feast and get high on vodka. It’s commonly believed that harder a woman worked in the kitchen, the better would be the food. Even with all the hard work, they weren’t appreciated, with sons being given priority.
And since the man is the head of the family, women are taught very early on in their lives to obey them and respect their authority.
Russians also get married early; mostly when they are studying in universities. In fact, in the olden days, women were known to marry and give birth to children when they were just 15!