By Ciaran Miqeladze and Svetlana
What can we say, us folks are totally obsessed with the former Soviet Union. From Riga to Bishkek, we find the entire place amazingly interesting with an insane amount of diversity, rich culture, and perhaps the most charming people in the world. Visiting these countries reminds you that travelling is a beautiful process that destroys all false imaginations to realize that your fellow human beings are not really that different from you. That said, many of our fellow Western Europeans and friends in North America don’t exactly share our enthusiasm.
Christ, the average person in the West seems to have an understanding of this region that would’ve been more relevant circa 1956 or in a James Bond film. It’s impressive that you got through the first ten pages of War and Peace and all but these countries are just as vibrant, exciting, and full of youthful energy as anywhere in South East Asia. It is kind of shocking to hear some of the dumber questions that locals in the former Soviet republics are asked by Westerners. We’re not just talking about your village idiot here. We’re talking about pretty normal people that don’t have a clue about one of the biggest spaces of land in the world.
We decided that we’d get our friends together from across the former Soviet Union to pose for a photo with the dumbest questions they’ve been asked. Although this is hilarious and depressing in equal measures, it is important to realize that you’re actually talking to real people. Many Westerners, through watching B-movies or from listening to Ted Cruz speeches, formulate this toxic and/or outdated image in their head of this region. The level of stupidity of these questions is so great that it is just outright disrespectful. You might not know much about these countries but as my womanizing first year Political Science professor once said, “Some people say there is no such thing as a stupid question. I am going to disagree and say there are very stupid questions.” So, next time you have some outlandish question for that Lithuanian guy who was just hired in your office, please pause, think about whether it sounds really fucking stupid, and if the answer is ‘yes’, then just keep it to yourself.
Lika (22), graphic designer from Tbilisi, Georgia
Yes, because if there is a state in America then you must be from there. Makes perfect sense!
Margarita (24), works for an ad agency, from Grodno, Belarus
This is an Irish magazine so we’d really have no problem with the above question, but it is disappointingly not true.
Katya (27) an architect from Kiev, Ukraine
So how did models become Ukraine’s biggest export? Surely pig fat can take credit for that!
Yuliya (22), graduate student in Japanese Studies in Kiev, Ukraine
“Does Ukrainian exist?” Who the fuck says that!?
Asya (29) Journalist from Yerevan, Armenia
Aw, I get it! If you have a wee bit of skin colour, as many Armenians do, you must be Muslim, or maybe Hindu!
Olga, economist/singer-songwriter from St. Petersburg, Russia
I love the leading contemporary Communist figures, like Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov. They’re really contributing to greater social and economic equality.
Luiza (27), events planner from Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is a “stan.” Must be the same as Pakistan!
Nana (25), manager in Tbilisi, Georgia
When it doubt, just say Russia, despite Georgia’s thousands of years old history.
Almas (31), hostel owner in
For fucks sake, how original would it be to ask a dude from Kazakhstan whether he knows Borat!?
Azad (29) and Aykhan (22), students at the European Film College, from Baku, Azerbaijan
Lets just ignore the fact that Azerbaijan is located in the Caucasus mountains and assume that Muslims can’t live in snow.
Ilze (22) , student, activist from Riga, Latvia
Nah, it can’t possibly exist. She must mean ‘Idaho’.
Aleksandra (24) student in Moscow, Russia
The bears wouldn’t be foolish enough to drink vodka with Russians!