November 01, 2010

Kvas v. Cola

Kvas v. Cola

I recently took part in a debate over the relative roles of two Mikhails in the War of 1812: the generals Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly. It got me thinking about Russian notions of patriotism.

First there is the extremist, jingoist type of patriotism, квасной, from the bread-based beverage квас. A good example of квасной патриотизм1 is the marketing slogan used by the квас brand «Никола»: “Квас – не кола, пей Николу!” (“Kvas is not cola, so drink Nikola”).

A synonym of квасной патриотизм is ура-патриотизм (hurrah-patriotism) – выражение любви к отечеству не на деле, а на словах в форме настойчивых, шумных демонстративных заверений (expressing one’s love for homeland not in deeds but rather in persistent, noisy, demonstrative declarations).

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