Postcrossing – a vintage ad from Russia

Time for another Postcrossing blog post – this time the theme is traditional Russian footwear! This is one of the things I like about my little Postcrossing project of learning more about cultures through the postcards I get from random users in the world – it is always a surprise where the next postcard is coming from, and what it is about!

Nadya writes that her postcard is a vintage Russian galoshesad of galoshes, which were very popular in Russia (USSR) in the last century. They are now mostly worn in villages and have disappeared elsewhere. As I can’t read Russian, I can’t really determine whether the ad is for galoshes (a rubber overshoe) or for valenki – traditional Russian footwear which can be worn with galoshes but are made of wool felt and not waterproof. They are less and less worn because of their association with ‘rustic dress’ but also because winters in Central Russia turned softer and wetter, so there was more need for waterproof footwear (1). This is a nice example of how the environment – in this case the climate – influences culture and their symbols!

So if anybody can read the ad, let me know what it says!

Sources

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valenki

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About Marian van Bakel

I graduated in International Business Communication at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. After my studies I was a Visiting Study Fellow at University of Oxford where I conducted a research on the adjustment of Dutch diplomats and their partners in London. In February 2012 I successfully defended my PhD thesis ‘In Touch with the Dutch’, in which I put expatriates in touch with a Dutch host to examine the effect of this contact on the success of the international assignment. During my PhD research I also worked as in house communication consultant at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I am currently a postdoc at the Department of Leadership and Corporate Strategy at the University of Southern Denmark (www.sdu.dk/en). Since 2004 I have done extensive voluntary work in the intercultural field for the Young Society of Intercultural Education, Training and Research (Young SIETAR). One of my projects was to co-edit and co-author A Suitcase Full of Discoveries (2008), an intercultural storybook for children.
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