Konyukova’s Watching the Russians (Zo Gaat Dat in Rusland) is not just a merry ride through everyday life in Russia. Full of self-irony, the book is a very practical guide from an insider perspective, which aims to give the reader a fundamental understanding of the country. Russians are no longer confined to Russian borders, but visible all over the world as tourists on holidays, as colleagues in international companies and as fellow neighbors.
Where do our judgments (both positive and negative) and our prejudices come from? In answer to that question, Konyukova examines not only the culturally coded differences in all aspects of life, but also explores the chaotic store of emotions in various social settings surrounding Russians. She is thus effortlessly able to refute common misconceptions and evoke understanding for Russian quirks and idiosyncracies, all with a healthy dose of humor.
The intention of Konyukova’s book is neither to preach nor to convert, but instead to provide a cheeky but affectionate insight into the Russian soul, which has always remained a bit of a mystery to the outside observer. In the end this also means that Konyukova’s book is something of a traveller’s guide to humanity at large.