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DSc in Philology, Leading Researcher, A. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Tel.: +7 (495) 951-31-48 33-1,
Sadovnicheskaya str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation
DSc in Philology, Professor, Department of General and Slavonic Art, Institute of Slavonic Culture, А. N. Kosygin Russian State University
The Tver region has been a place of the Karelians’ habitation since XVII century. Therefore, the problem of national contacts between the Russians and the Karelians is topical for this territory. Usually these contacts are described as devoid of any conflict, and the cultural exchange as intensive and fruitful, but in reality there has always been some xenophobia on the part of the Russians, which had been growing all through the XX century’s industrialization period, when the Karelians began moving to urban areas. In chastushkas we see the reflection of “mild” xenophobia, of irony directed at the alien culture. Throughout the XX century the level of Karelian national identity had been decreasing. The Karelians do not conceal their nationality, but they do not manifest it openly, as well, and even the population of the Likhoslavl district define themselves as “Karelian-speaking” and not as the Karelians. As the result of the Karelians’ cultural assimilation a large volume of Karelian folk material in the Russian language was recorded — the Russian folklore of the Tver Region Karelians. In this situation, the texts bearing the indices of national identity are of special importance. When a Karelian folk singer says, “These are our Russian vistas”, she means not national, but administrative and civil identity. We can define three types of Karelian-Russian cultural interference. The first type is the thematic one: in chastushcas the image of a Karelian is either compared to that of a Russian, or is described as a thing in itself, while there still exists some implied outside point of view. Another type of cultural interference is connected with the language: the Russian chastushkas bear Karelian inclusions, while the Karelian ones have inclusions in the Russian language. The third type of the cultural interference deals with the background, and embraces either Karelian translations of the Russian folk songs, or creation of original Karelian songs similar to their Russian analogues with the same plot (“There flies a bird” / “Oh, my green, green orchard” and “In the field there grows a birchtree” / “In the field there was a birch-tree”). The article gives a detailed analysis of the first two types of Karelian-Russian cultural interference.
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