Russian Ethnic Clothes: Great Russians


Figure 1.--Here is a Russian folk danceing troupe with costumes loosely based on folk or peasant costumes. Peasant costumes used to have beautiful embroidery. These modern costumes are often much more colorful than the actual costumes peasants once wore. The boys have the tunics/blouses, but not the baggy trousers traditioinally worn with the blouses. A reader writes, "A lovely lively and enthusiastic image. I think the bus in the background is the transport the troupe use to get about. I'll see if my Russian guys can work out the word on the bus. We can't ask the boys to move!" Notice the girls' costumes in the background.

The largest ethnic group in the Eussian Empire and the Soviet Union was of course the Russians, sometimes referred to s the Great Russians. The Russians are a Slavic people. The Slavs are normally divided into the West Slavs (Poles, Czecha, and Slovaks), East Slavs (Great Russians, Ukranians, and White Russians), and South Slavs (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrans, and Bulgarians). Not suprisingly the tsars used Pan-Slavisim much as the Soviets used Communism. Sine the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Russians are a much greater proprtion of Russia's popularity than during the Tsarist and Communist eras. Even so, Russi contunues to have a substantial non-Russian and non-Slavic population. As a coralary, a substantial number of Russians continue to believe that they have right to intervene in the affairs of neigboring countries, especially the countries formed from the former Soviet Union. Russian folk costumes appear to be essentially serf/peassant dress. This includes collarless blouses that buttoned around the neck and loose baggy trousers. Dressy outfits might have elaborate embroidery. Interestingly we have noted children being photographed in folk costumes before the Revolution. The costumes chosen seem to be more Cossack outfits than peasant outfits. One of the common uses of folk costumes in modern Russia is folk danceing. Modern Russian folk troupes commonly perform in folk outfits, but they seem much more colorful than actual peasant costumes. We note some costumes without the embroidery and with what seems to much brighter colors than authentic peasant costumes.

Great Russians

The largest ethnic group in the Eussian Empire and the Soviet Union was of course the Russians, sometimes referred to s the Great Russians. The Russians are a Slavic people. The Slavs are normally divided into the West Slavs (Poles, Czecha, and Slovaks), East Slavs (Great Russians, Ukranians, and White Russians), and South Slavs (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrans, and Bulgarians). The Russians dominated both the Tsarists and Soviet empires. This varied over time, but during the Soviet period, the Russians constituted about 80 percent of the Soviet population.

Pan-Slavism

Not suprisingly the tsars used Pan-Slavisim much as the Soviets used Communism. Eastern Orthodoy was anoher unifying force. >br>

Modern Russia

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Russians are a much greater proprtion of Russia's popularity than during the Tsarist and Communist eras. Even so, Russi contunues to have a substantial non-Russian and non-Slavic population. As a coralary, a substantial number of Russians continue to believe that they have right to intervene in the affairs of neigboring countries, especially the countries formed from the former Soviet Union.

Peasant Dress

Russian folk costumes appear to be essentially serf/peassant dress. This is a common pattem with European folk costumes. What we now call folkm dress is the clothing and styles worn by peasants. The upper classes in Europe often dressed alike in very fancy, expensive oitfits. It was the peasants who develped destivtive national styles.

Garments

The most important Russian folk garment is the collarless skewed-neck tunic commonly referred to as a blouse. It was essentially a Russian peasant outfit. It buttoned around the neck and loose baggy trousers. Dressy outfits might have elaborate embroidery. Interestingly we have noted children being photographed in folk costumes before the Revolution. The costumes chosen seem to be more Cossack outfits than peasant outfits. The proper name for the Russian tunic/blouse was the kosovorotka blouse. This was a skewed-collared shirt. The Russian term is derived from 'koso' (skewed) and 'vorot' (collar). It is also called a Russian peasant shirt or Tolstoy shirt. Since the filming of Dr. Zhivago we also see it called a Zhivago shirt in the West. (The Soviets did not permit the publication pf the Boris pasternak novel aor showing of the film.) The Russian blouse commonly had decorative embroidery, especially around the vskewed neck opening. This tunic/blouse was also common in Bylorusia and Ukraine. We are less so about other republics, but styles in Russia influenced styules in other areas of the Tsarist and Soviet empires.

Folk Dance

One of the common uses of folk costumes in modern Russia is folk danceing. Modern Russian folk troupes commonly perform in folk outfits, but they seem much more colorful than actual peasant costumes. We note some costumes without the embroidery and with what seems to much brighter colors than authentic peasant costumes.





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Created: 4:05 AM 9/24/2006
Last updated: 4:49 AM 9/25/2006