In Chapter 38 of “The Domostroi”, which I jokingly call a sixteenth-century, Ivan the Terrible, version of Good Housekeeping, the husband is admonished exactly how to discipline his wife and children, “…beat them only with the lash, in a careful and controlled way, albeit painfully and fearsomely.” Progress has been made in Russia, but progress, like all else, is in this case relative.
March eighth is Woman’s Day in Russia. Its history goes back to the 1917 Russian Revolution. Like most things in Russia today, it is controversial. Some say it is a transparent apology for mistreating women the rest of the year, which is to some degree true. Others say that women have come a long way in Russia and are, or should be, grateful for that step forward¾also true. And I said, about ten years ago when I first wrote the essay on Russian Women which is in my book, “Walking on Ice…,) they still have far to go. But things have changed. Russian women today are increasingly at the forefront of society, business, politics. The Moscow Times reported a few years ago that sixty percent of the new businesses in Moscow were started by women.
Amongst the over sixty employees in my first Russian company a large percentage were women and they were for the most part capable, determined, technically competent, trustworthy, and loyal. I enjoyed working with them. I could depend on them
There is a lot of various opinions about Russian women, some not too complimentary. But in my book, they are unique and fill a very important place in society—in Russia for sure, but also just about anywhere they decide to be. In my book I list six kinds of Russian women: the beautiful, the babushka, the Barbie, the beaten, the bold, and the bewildered. To understand all this you will have to read “Walking on Ice….” Enjoy.
Partially excerpted from “Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia”