Why Russians Are Not Polar Bears

While I am shrugging from freezing wind outside the office, my colleagues are asking again, “How is it possible that you are cold? Aren’t you Russian?” The first time I stumbled upon this curious stereotype, it just made me laugh, now it makes me wonder… Do people honestly think that we grow some kind of a lizard skin that makes us insensitive to cold? Not only Russians, but also Polish, Serbian, the whole Eastern European population is seen as… polar bears.

Some may ironically argue that the national animal of Russia is bear.But, what is remarkable about it is that it is a brown bear. This animal is normally falling into a dormancy in winter, and hides in a cave. The same thing is happening to us – humans. We don’t fall into a dormancy, but we prefer to stay indoors.

Yes, climate in some parts of Russia is considerably colder than in the rest of the Europe. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t feel it. It just means that we know how to dress properly. Well, at least some of us… Unlike in the UK, in Eastern Europe you will hardly ever see girls in winter, wearing sandals, no tights, and a thin little jacket. Shirt skirts are possible, but people will look at you very disapprovingly, and point their fingers. Maximum one can afford is not wearing a hat, although it is quite hard during the heavy snows. We wrap ourselves with multiple layers of clothes like onions. Yes, sometimes we can look like big penguins, but at least we keep healthy.

What else is different? Russians know how to operate in taugh weather conditions, are not afraid to go out if it is snowing, and are used to put winter tyres in winter. Surprise-surprise! If it is -20 outside, school is cancelled. Above -20 is still okay. Why? Because otherwise we might as well cancel half of the school time and stay uneducated little bastards…But, we want to be educated to join KGB, become spies, and conquer the world. Don’t tell anybody about it, because the Hollywood already did it for you. So, we have to go to school when it is cold… But we do feel the cold! Yes. Just like you.

It was not a nervous  stereotype brekadown.  I hope I helped to clarify the point a little bit… In case you were wondering about anything else, be my guest. (;

P.S: going to drink a little vodka to calm down..



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5 Responses to “Why Russians Are Not Polar Bears”
  1. vilks12 says:

    🙂 where did you got this icon’s picture ? in internet ? What was the association with cold whether and this icon ? iron curtain ?

  2. I spent a year in Moscow and my friends and family back in the United States were shocked when I told them how hot it was in summer. Now I live in Houston, Texas, where it is very hot and humid for many months out of the year, and rather warm during winter. One of my best friends here is Russian, and she loves the summer here and hates those cool mornings when she needs to wear long sleeves and gloves when she goes running.

    Keep warm!

    • Hi Amy,

      Thank you for your comment. It was a rather curious experience, I should say. I had a Russian friend whp has been living in Texas for some time, and she liked it too.

      Did you discover any more interesting pecularities, while you were living in Russia?


  3. I had funny experience while staying in the UK. When in December the weather forcast says it is getting considerably colder in the next fews days, I expect at least 5 degrees delow zero and start worrying that I don’t have proper clothes. But the weather forcasters imply about 3 degrees above zero.

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