Slavic Stereotypes and Minority representation in Western Media – An Eastern European Critique

Slavic Stereotypes and Minority representation in Western Media – An Eastern European Critique

Hi there babushka fuckers it’s another
video from that weird a Slav with a fucked-up vibrator for a microphone.
Representation – everyone’s talking about it. The necessity to accurately widely
and respectfully depict different groups in media. It’s an honorable goal by
intent as it allows for members of any minority group to feel welcome in their
own communities and all over the world. The results are many and plentiful – they
serve as an inspiration for anyone willing to become something not
stereotypical of their ethnicity. It lets them know there are superheroes who look
like them, there are people reaching emotional and monetary success without
hiding who they really are. There is a profound amount of influence that media
exposes us to comrades – be it consciously or subconsciously and for that reason
it’s extremely important that we utilize this overbearing influence for good. And
honestly, and it pains my red soul so to say this but the capitalists are doing a
decent job with this I mean the free market economy is a proportional reason
for why diverse movies are an actual thing. It’s because my comrades they make
money. A lot of money. But this is exactly where I wanted to begin. Isn’t the whole
dilemma on what makes something right or wrong based on purpose and intent. You
see brothers sisters comrades and all in between capitalism supplies us with
ethically looking media content not because it wants to make the Asian boy
in the US feel like he belongs, but because he wants the Asian boys lunch
money and his parents daily bonus sure sure Hollywood seems like it’s stepping
up its game on the point of representation but the reason why it’s
doing this should bring more concern. If today diversity in film space didn’t
a bleaker tomorrow diversity in films could kill. It’s
always always about who holds power and if media content is defined only by the
market its approach to content creation is both corruptible and dangerous. And
this is where the main topic comes in. You see all the way up until this point
of the video I was acting as a stereotypical mock-up of a slavic
individual. If i was doing an African cliche talking about where are you
runnin or a -uruu disgusting asian reference you would see through me.
But because the market is currently not at all concerned with slavic stereotypes
you see it as funny, as enjoyable for some reason being WOKE about subjugation
of certain cultures is IN while being the same on the topic of others it is not.
This is because our ethics have been uhm I’mma invent a new English word “marketized”.
What the fuck does this motherfucker even mean? Well my tovarischi it is
rather simple – your publicly stated opinion is what grants you currency
among your fellows. The more progressive and sometimes even innovative ideas you
present to your friends the more respect you gain in the market of both
oppression and absolute understanding. What’s the funniest about this is
actually exploited individuals participate in this the least someone who
gets beat up everyday doesn’t talk about violence all the time because they are
surrounded by it. While someone who sees a random slap on the metro makes a whole
fucking thing out of it. What do I mean? The most oppressed groups
around us talk the least on the topic because they are more than tired of
trying to explain struggle to those who have no
potential ability to understand it. Either out of pure privilege or their
isolationist upbringing. So now that I’ve taken care of this the way Drake took
care of his pedophile charges let’s get back to what we were actually talking
about. And that’s how positive representation based on profit is both
unethical and unpractical and to continue my example from before let’s
talk about Slavs in movies. Ever since I got to see my first film featuring a
pale ass Slavic language talking dude I’ve seen a mockery of a stereotype not
even a stereotype a mockery of a stereotype. Always alpha always male and
yet always losses. The Slavic female character is almost always good and is
seduced by the westerner because all her fellow Slavic men are disgusting sexist
fucks that want to leave her a single mother. Sounds familiar?
Well watch a 50s movie that has a black male character in it – it’s the same thing
but you see because an average American will still pay and not complain about a
drug-dealing no grey zone evil Russian main bad guy
it still keeps going on. If you’d asked anyone from my
neighborhood about their I don’t know – Idol it would always be a fucking bad
guy. Is this because our Slavs are genetically and culturally degenerate
and backwards or maybe is it because we’re led to believe that the only thing
for the best of us left to strive towards is a mosh pit hair ball of toxic
masculinity criminal intent and a whole lot of
boozing. Please attempt,genuinely do, and tell me in the comments if you can
,without googling, remember a Slavic good guy in any movie you ever watched except
Pavel Chekov a member of the Communist Federation of
Star Trek. SERIOUSLY- just one! It’s kind of ironic honestly that I’m talking
about this because I actually am pretty stereotypically Slavik but alas I don’t
see anybody else talk about it so I might as well. Now I’m not about to
preach to you about the historical oppression of the wider population of my
people for centuries, or how we are grouped up with Western European whites
even though we are considered as lower breeds by any of their conservative and
nationalist demographics, or how South Slavs endured almost 500 years of slave
like oppression under the Ottomans or how we are equalized with Western
culture without having ever participated in slavery or wider global
imperialism or god forbid about how almost the entirety of what today is
considered Eastern Europe has been historically manipulated divided
conspired against and directly attacked by Western Imperial and post imperial
violence. Nah I’m not gonna bother you with that I’ll just do some Slavic trope
like chug a bottle of vodka, clock my gun and СУКА БАБУШКА БЛЯТ! Аll jokes aside I want to address two
groups of people right now – First fellow Slavs. Look at the current depiction of
our cultural group in media as an honest one. From the gaze of the mainstream West.
Understand that this is how you are seen and are going to continue being seen by
them. To all the misguided souls believing in some sort of brain-dead
wider European quote/unquote culture or even quote-unquote **white culture** – oh my
GOWD understand one thing – even if this
degenerate concept was to be real your people wouldn’t be a part of it be a
proud motherfucker of the shit your ancestors did and didn’t do if you have
to. And that the great **white civilized capitalist** and monarchist man of the
West didn’t and did. Be proud you threw chains over no one. And to the second
group all you beautiful civilized viewers most of you are treated well by
media at the moment some more some less but as it improves because of greed
remember one thing they’re not after progress they’re not after acceptance
and mutual growth they’re after money. And instead of whips to pacify you now
they use the media to fictionally create the idea of belonging. This kills
revolutionary spirit and the pride of STRUGGLE.
Remember your forefathers and mothers and don’t let the fucking flame die! In
conclusion tovarischi my sons and daughters are probably going to be
raised on the same type of movie showing us as idiotic go to bad guys. And I’ll be
honestly happy about it because it will show them the true way the enemy sees us.
And if we remember their gaze we will remember their presence. Well that’s it
thank you for watching beautiful tovarischi. If you have the time
please do subscribe and like this shit if you want me to improve something or
you just want to share your thoughts please do drop a comment I read all five
of them every time. Thank you for your time and stay strong! bye bye


93 thoughts on “Slavic Stereotypes and Minority representation in Western Media – An Eastern European Critique”

  • When I watched Shameless it was the first time I saw Irish and Slavic people portrayed in a more sympathetic way. The show isn’t great and the people were still portrayed as criminals but it was more in a “they’re doing what they gotta do” way.

  • Guapo Desperado says:

    OK in answer to your question, the first thing that popped into my mind was Pavel, a character played by Ted Rami in The Man With The Screaming brain. While yes, most of the Slavic men portrayed in the film are as you described, and indeed Pavel himself is portrayed as well, not very bright, he and his boss, Dr. Ivanov, are not really bad guys at all, though they do seem quite capitalistic. Pavel and the doctor, in the end, provide an avenue for the main character William Cole, played by Bruce Campbell, someone who is initially the stereotypical arrogant American capitalist, to achieve a transcendence in the end of the movie and survive, albiet in a very messed up way, and find true love with his wife, who is oddly now in another body.
    It is a very messed up movie, as is most of Campbell's work but it does seem to portray a variety of slavic male character types.

  • TheGr8Whoopdini says:

    For what it's worth, Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino is clearly established as Polish-American. But the character is indeed American born and raised, and a major personal arc is overcoming his racism against Vietnamese people, so… neither especially Slavic culturally, nor particularly positive until the end.

  • Kamerad Kircheis says:

    I guess theirs Ilya, the Soviet spy from the the Man from Uncle
    Also this reminded me this Zizek clip

  • what about that dude in the professional? (half kidding- i have no idea what nationality he was supposed to represent- and he was still a contract killer) . Video is great, and now you have 14 comments you have to read! progress!

  • I was just talking about slav rep in the media with my friend, and then I saw this in my recommendations. You hit the nail on the head honestly. Thank you for making leftist content for us slavs <3
    as for the slav character that's good, the first one that comes to mind is Colossus from X-men.

  • To go even further, even in media like fantasy or sci-fi a Slavic accent has become shorthand for shifty, often criminal characters.

  • Wow, thanks for this. It’s a great video and really brought something to light that as a non Slavic person with no Slavic friends or acquaintances, I never would have thought of. I rarely see Slavic people represented at all in the type of media I consume, I can literally only think of Ocelot from the Metal Gear games… and he’s definitely a stereotypical “bad ass” Russian villain… huh.

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to make this video, you balanced being insightful and hilarious perfectly. It’s a serious subject, but you took it on with good humor and the ending was genuinely heartwarming, I especially needed that reminder after having my own anger shut down so often with the justification that “media is getting more diverse, the world must be better now, aren’t you happy?”.

    I’m never going to be happy if the system upholding bigotry is still here. I’m never going to be happy if one group’s treatment is improved, but replaced with another subject of harm and ridicule in a cycle of temporary distraction. I don’t want blissful ignorance and passive comfort. I want to give a fuck.

  • The Slavic and the Celtic are the last groups where it's seemingly ok to take ridiculous stereotypical shots at. I have noticed the Celtic part (being of that ancestry) for some time, but after watching this I completely see it with Slavic characters too. Great video.

  • Liking this.

    fellow Slav here.

    I'm not into any type of popular culture media stuff, I see like 2-3 movies a year, but sure, I know what you're talking about.

    I wanted to mention I read somewhere that Slavic first language people have difficulties with correct usage of articles in English, as we don't have ours, unlike Latin languages, so when they want to show uneducated Russian or smth, they just randomly change or remove a/the in the text. Even without accent, or in written form it gives that vibe.

  • To your question about a slavic good guy in movies, in 'children of men' there is the group of (I think) russian people who save the main characters at the end of the film. Dont know if that counts

  • TheLastRun AMV says:

    Just the fact that such a diverse group of people like the slavs are being portrayed as the same eastern European Russian speakers says it all.

  • Omg I thought you said "western gays" instead of "western gaze". The ending about why "social progress" seemed to have been inevitable was insightful.

  • Hey, you've made pretty cool video here. I would like to share somewhat related opinion, that it's the usage of the same stereotypes as well as dramatic oversimplification which are actually bad. Where's definitely a lot of "inspiration" for an evil slav out there, but it seams creators of media just don't bother research history and current politics at all. And I'm not even calling to make all media "deep" and full of relevant criticism, it's ok to have simple entertainment. It's just writers don't seem to even bother creating new tropes which would be closer to reality and perhaps more eye opening to current situations in certain countries. In the end, media do influence people to degree and it would be helpful if everybody had basic(and close to truth) understanding of different groups of people, even if they get that understanding from villains

  • This was an interesting video of something I never considered before and it was rather humorous as well. Keep it up.

    Now the only film I know that has some decent Slavic characters is Fiddler on the Roof but it is about Ukrainian Jews in the Pale of the Settlement and the Ukrainian Christians are portrayed in a mixed way so I would put in the maybe pile of Slavic Representation.

  • AlmightyRamtha says:

    The only good slavic tv/movie character I could think of off the top of my head was the blonde girl from Captain Planet…. so uhh…. that's cool…..

  • I really enjoyed this video! It was entertaining, sincere and still informative. I noticed that ever since the Putin administration started gaining major controversy, the crude Russian stereotypes were becoming almost as prominent as they were during the Cold War. I think this sort of bigotry or stereotyping is kind of a blind-spot for Americans because for them, certain "non-white" white-passing peoples get absorbed into American Whiteness; however, they will still antagonise or ridicule them when they want to. In Europe (incl. the UK), from what I've seen, they're more open or aware of their own anti-Slav sentiments. I think it's also worth saying that another part of terrible Russian stereotypes is the hypersexualisation of Russian women whether they're femme fatales, mail order brides or straight up sex workers. I think the femme fatale trope was born in the 60s from spy films, but the latter two seem to be new. According to my dad, before the iron curtain fell, a lot of westerners thought Russian women were homely and brawny. Anyway, going off the spy genre, the one good character I thought of was Illya from the Man from Uncle.

  • First time I've ever watched one of your videos and you left a big impression on me. I started to watch the rest of your videos and they have also impressed me, I plan to show your video on how Jake Paul is Late Capitalism personified to a friend of mine who's turned to libertarian ideology in hopes of pulling him back. As someone who hopes to be an author someday, and who hopes to write stories that will allow as many people to feel represented on them, I recently realized most of my ideas for characters of certain ethnicities felt more like caricatures than people, including a horrible example of the Slavic female seduced by the westerner like you mentioned at 5:30. Of course, this means that I have a long way to go on informing myself better about Slavic culture (among quite a few others). Are there any books or websites you would recommend to someone who wanted to know more about your culture?

    Anyway, sorry for rambling so much, you made a great video that made me think about how I see some things. You got at least one new subscriber today.

  • I'm going to bite and throw out the Cosmonaut in Armageddon, but those Yeltsin years might have their own tropes that flashed out as to be exceptions to the rule. Also, lots of boozing jokes and a possible variation of a "magical n*gro" trope? I'm pretty sure he was viewed as magic like Fonzie in fixing that shuttle with simple folksy wisdon or something. Armageddon also had a lot of the Captain Planet "with our combined forces" vibe. cheats and uses Google Oh hey Linka from Captain Planet was Russian, but again- Yeltsin year oddness.

    Oh christ help me, I referenced a Michael Bay film. This is all Lindsay Ellis's fault probably.

  • Сергей Земляной says:

    I wouldn't simply say that Slavic people didn't participate in imperialism. Yes, Russia didn't have chattel slavery, but that's because all of the peasantry were treated pretty much like slaves – there was no need to import new ones. And considering imperialism – the conquest of Siberia and Far East was a pretty good example of colonialism.

  • Thank you for this, my family all grew up in the soviet union and it is extremely frustrating and annoying to see these depictions in Western media. I grew up with soviet cartoons and russian fairytales, music and literature, even though my family isn't slavic, and honestly it's bizarre how flat and uninspired american depictions of slavic cultures and people is.

  • Sep Nullachtfünfzehn says:

    My girlfriend and I are currently listening to the audio version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, read by Stephen Fry. It's amazing how anything that isn't strictly western European is lumped together, and portrayed there (and also in the other books).
    For example, you have three major magic schools in Europe: good old Hogwarts, somewhat problematic at times, but mostly alright, for the British Isles, beautiful and posh and arrogant Beauxbatons for France, and cold, unforgiving, EVIL Durmstrang for… everyone else? Durmstrang is supposed to be somewhere in northern Scandinavia, but there's no Finnic or Norse or Baltic names there, nonono, there's only Slavs, like their headmaster and former, although cowardly, deatheater Karkaroff, their top student and international sports star (although he's portrayed as rather awkward, and, overall, a quite alright guy) Viktor Krum, a certain dribbling Poliakoff – oh, and also, of course, the mysteriously German-sounding totally-not-wizard-Hitler Gellert Grindelwald. It also doesn't help that apparently majority Slavic and German Durmstrang is alleged to literally teach the Dark Arts…
    And there's also the fact that Hagrid, himself a bit of an outcast due to being a half-giant, and otherwise basically in love with, well, for lack of a better word, fellow outcasts in the magical animal kingdom, such as dragons, giant spiders, etc. etc., gets all xenophobic when he hears that one of the main characters had been associating with the evil slavic foreigner Krum. (I think it was about Hermione going to the Yule Ball with him?)
    And in the same book, there's also, of course, the Quidditch World Cup, the finale played between Ireland and Bulgaria. Ireland has a pretty mixed team when it comes to gender, out of Bulgaria's seven players, only one is female — and, of course, Bulgaria's team resorts to fouling the second the game turns in Ireland's favour.
    That's probably not all the examples you could list from Harry Potter, but you get the idea, even in the wizarding world, the Slavs are the evil, aggressive, incompetent Soviet Untermensch(en), who for some reason like associating with the totally-not-Nazi Germans.

  • locolo Kuromanhs says:

    To begin with… Yuri Boyka, from undisputed (played from an american of course)! And to continue… as a black guy that grew up in Greece, a very proud white nation which is also regarded as second class in the "civilized" Europe, but doesn't want to admit it, I am really glad that I found a slav holding these views. I grew up in a very poor neighborhood so there were a lot of different people from all over the poor world and it was so apparent that EVERYONE got so affected by how they were portrayed in media depending on their parent's nationality and not their character and now with the internet, it's even worse. When it comes to black people they all wanted to do rap and sports, especially basketball and romanticized gangsta lifestyle . The slavs when I was younger had little representation in the entertainment industry mainly music, which is the most influential when you are young so their parent's influence was stronger and because they were white it was easier for them to avoid identifying with TV stereotypes. Even though Russian guys always were regarded as drunkards, which helped a lot of them internalize this behavior. But in the last years, it's much worse. You can see fully stereotypical Gopnik Slavs and as for the blacks it's the same old things.. And of course, I don't blame the black and slav people. The social pressure it's really strong and it's really hard to escape this circle, that's why I am especially happy to finally see someone who is aware of all this stuff in general and especially from a slavic perspective. Thank you man!

  • I kno you don't actually want this answer but I did think of one Slavic good guy who's not chekov; the space-crazy astronaut from Armageddon. Still stereotyped and only supporting. It leads to the question why only in space, and why crazy?

  • Marína Urbanová says:

    THANK YOU FOR THIS! I am still waiting for a Slavic female character that's not Russian and isn't a complete fucking stereotype, i.e. a hot naive blonde easily seduced by the first American man she sees. (in a major Hollywood release or any American sitcom)

  • Marína Urbanová says:

    Apart from speaking up about the terrible representation we get, I must also thank you for mentioning the grouping with Western Europeans that happens a lot. Like, I'm white, but I'm from a small Mid European country that has gained independence only 30 years ago, has never colonised anybody and has rich ass culture. So not really the same thing as white Americans, or am I wrong? As you said in your video, we were a part of the Ottoman Empire (later merged with the Austrian Empire) for literally 1000 years. And towards the end it got so bad we weren't even allowed to have schools in our own language and owned nothing of our own land and people who spoke up got killed. We fought hard for what we have now and after the revolution in 89 when we finally ditched Russia, the best representation we get in media is a drunk armed jackass or a promiscuous hottie and people on the internet don't even acknowledge us.

  • mak kapetanovic says:

    Dr. Doom is kind of a villain, or at least he originally was. He doesn't have any stand alone movies, but his backstory is really compelling and is about him gaining power in order to save his people from oppression and save his mother's soul from the devil.

    So I don't consider him a villain, and despite him being from a fictional country, it is in Eastern Europe.

    I think I have a few issues with how you portray any instance of inclusivity in capitalist media as bad since it's ultimately done for profit. I think there are some good arguments to be made on either side of this, but unfortunately unless something wild happens this is the system were in right now. While intentions and motivations are important, I think what is ultimately more important are the consequences. If better representation happens through this system and helps people that's a good thing, or at least better then the current alternative.

    Idk maybe it's just the rhetoric you use, but it seems very similar to the "anti-sjw" segment of YouTube that say every instance of inclusivity is just because of virtue signaling. I've watched a few of your other videos and I know you're not that guy, but that type of rhetoric is off-putting to me.

    Either way, good video, I like the stuff you're doing and it's a good point for Slavic discourse! Keep it up my dude

  • Attentat Defecit Disorder says:

    Thanks. This is definitely something to keep in mind as the boomers die and cold-war media prejudices are transferred to the prejudices of the 'war against terrorism'.
    The transition period where all the villains are Slavic Muslims will be interesting, if only for the inevitable lack of research leading to the merging to two sets of ignorant clichés.

  • Marína Urbanová says:

    I know this is my third comment, but after getting the angriest shit off my chest and taking a walk, I realised there are some sad sad consequences this lack of positive, and frankly ANY, representation of Slavs has. I hear it from emigrants in US and Canada more than I'd like. Their kids don't want to learn their native language, they don't have any interest in their culture and don't want to associate with their people much. It makes sense when you take into account how poorly we're represented in their media. And because it's so easy for them to blend in, since there is very little (if anything) giving us away physically, it therefore makes sense they choose to ditch the "Slavic-" and stay simply "American".

    And this is sad is what I'm trying to say I guess.

  • Sith of Darkness™ says:

    Спасибо, I appreciate your take on what can be said is a double standard liberals don't understand and play into like the ignorant sacks that they are.

  • You are really good at exposing your ideas in a detailed manner while keeping it short. That is quite the talent, and you can make your discourse hit pretty hard with it. I loved the conclusion.

  • TheKuRiKaRaRiN says:

    I studied Russian in school, lived in Russia for a bit, and it is so sad to me to see how damaged the American image of Russia and of Russians and other Slavic peoples is because there are so many issues where we should and could be allies but instead we have been pitted against each other by our governments and our media

  • Good stuff! I live in Japan (from the UK) and, in a small group of international friends, 2 of them are Slavic. I know I'm guilty of making jokes based on Slavic (or general 'backward Eastern Europe') stereotypes, so this is a welcome wake-up call. Thank you.

    I'd be interested in more education on this to be honest. I understand if you don't want to be the 'token LeftTube Slav' or something, but I know how much my Serbian friend gets frustrated at the depiction of his country as essentially just genocidal, and the admiration of the Christchurch shooter for historical Slavs must be another sickener as far as perceptions are concerned.

  • I've felt uneasy about the contradictions and short sightedness of "pop wokeness" and your video put to words what was at the edge of my tongue. Im guilty of accepting slavic steteotypes in media, but sometimes when its laid on thick I've wanted to say something but didnt cause I am not part of the group and I didn't want to overstep my bounds. Plus, I don't know much about the culture except the music and food so I couldn't differentiate cultural markers from gross stereotypes. Thank you for making this video, your intro showed my biases and I am grateful for it.

  • As someone who belongs to the self-congratulatory bubble of the Anglosphere, I look at the damage that has been done to my people (and myself) by the constant barrage of media telling us how great we are while we happily hand over everything we have and sell ourselves into debt peonage. Far better to be told you are worthless, that you are scum, because then you know that the people talking to you are not your friends.

    Euripides said "When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state." Well we've been listening to those honeyed words for well over a hundred years but exporting the woes to the rest of the world. That doesn't work anymore and our time is now fast running out. So please, learn from our mistakes before you find yourselves repeating them.

  • The younger russian guy in Creed two is shown as not a bad guy but all the other ones are still demonized in it. Also he still is Creed's opponent in the movie so it wouldn't count anyways. Shit

  • When your country's legacy is one of cultural hegemony, it's real easy to look upon the peoples and cultures of rougher lands as under you. By now, in Western media, the only positive exposure Eastern Europeans ever get is when something negative happens to journalists and leftist opposition politicians, with the supremely rare local feel-good-for-humanity story. But even then, I can't help but feel that feel-good stories of folk in Eastern Europe smell a little patronizing at best, because they're still told in a Western framework, rather than through local eyes and translated.

    * * * * *

    In my last year staffing for Anime Expo in the previous decade, the volunteer department had an enthusiastic middle-aged married Russian couple who were simply the sweetest geeks around. Looking back, no one broke into Slavic tropes, no one made a stink about it except "What's the access pipeline in your Russian locality like?", but methinks there are two reasons why SLAV barely warranted pause – 1) anime was our bond of sisterhood (I'd normally say "brotherhood", me being cis-male, but sorority more accurately describes the "feel" of our bond), and 2) the majority of staffers were Asian-American, so a strong sense of differing ethnic/cultural identities (Chinese, Indonesian, Filipino etc.) under a shared mega-geopolitical arena (Asia) isn't a foreign concept to us. Therefore, it wasn't hard to extend that concept towards Eastern Europeans. Therefore, it was easy to not think of Slavic tropes when face-to-face with anime-loving Russians.

    I forget what exact point this anecdote has to do with your video. Perhaps it was a weak attempt for me to personally say, "I understand how you feel."

  • As a Russian I always find one demensional Slavic stereotypes in western movies annoying. But I have to admit that they're somewhat accurate. I live in a depressing environment, my neighbors are drunks and thieves and majority of grown men in my city are mysogynists. Big cities might have it better, but all I see here is stereotypical hordes of gopniks and drunks. I don't think it's too much of stretch for a female slavic character to want to be "saved" from "evil comrades". Also our own movies perpetuate harmful stereotypes in our culture: greed, alcoholism, corruption, thievery, "jail romanticism", bad treatment of women and children, hatred towards our neighbors – all this grooms average russian moviegoers into hateful petty nationalists. At least western movies are somewhat funny in their attempts. I guess what's really annoying is that characters are often defined by the stereotypes and there's not much else to them. And I know it's a petty complaint, but whoever told the western filmmakers, that slavs say "Na zdorovye!" when drinking alcohol? I've never heard anyone use that phrase. Maybe "Za zdorovye!", but not that often either. I wish to see a western movie where a russian character would say "Budem!" when drinking.
    As a positive example I remember a russian scientist from The Shape of Water. True, he worked for "evil comrades", but he was a good guy.

  • Nicolas Humbert says:

    thank u for calling this out. i feel people don't understand it because they grew up with the slavic characters in media being the maybe badass ye but nonetheless bad guy and hasn't been called out yet/enough in the general "woke" public

  • Twig is Bad at Things says:

    Illya Kuryakin from The Man from U.N.C.L.E., (2015) while riddled with Soviet spy tropes and still portrayed as a violent maniac, is at least a protagonist. (I had to google the names of the character and movie but he's the closest character I could think of to positive Slavic representation and he's literally a KGB agent so…)

  • RainerFenixhart says:

    It's easy to lose perspective in the Highly American-centric discourse over representation in media and forget about stuff on the other side of the Atlantic.

    This was a nice find.

  • This video is great. I was also thinking about how "white" the Slavs are or aren't in the eyes of the west. I've seen John Wick recently and I can't believe how stereotypical the movie's portrayal of Russians was. The Russians are often go to Slavs referenced in western culture and that conflation of all Russians with all Slavs has a spill over effect on the rest of Slavic people. If an average Russian man is a wife-beating drunk than all the men of Serbia, Bulgaria, Poland… are also like that. In reality, while Slavic people do share some similarities, Slavic countries can also differ in languages and writing styles. And while Slavic countries aren't prefect when it comes to equality, Tito's partisans and the Red army did include women soldiers. This itself was not ideal but it was a bit more progressive than all male armies of the west at the time. Slavic men can and should respect women.

    Depending on the situation, there can be some difference in the degree of discrimination. People from Croatia, Slovenia or Czechia may pass as "not as bad as the rest" simply because these countries are in the EU and are a bit more "western oriented". Still, we are overall being viewed as stupid, backwards people who need help in establishing a "good post Soviet/Yugoslav democracy".

    Also, while Hitler and the Nazis loved small groups of fascist collaborators in Eastern Europe, when the push came to shove, when the Red army, Tito's partisans and antifascists in general were winning in Eastern Europe/Balkans, the German nazis threw their collaborators under the bus and were the first to run away, neglecting their "local allies" completely. Fascists hate Slavic people, German nazis considered themselves better than "our" fascists.

    I also have a feeling like when it comes to discussions about minorities, whether in real life or the internet, Slavs are kind of invisible. There is a lot of talk about First world working class or Third world working class. Slavic people are kind of invisible because we are in the middle I think. We are not first world countries so we are not as important and glamorous as US or UK for example, but our countries are still not as bad as say Bangladesh or the Philippines so even leftists from the west are not paying that much attention to us. This frustrates me a bit to be honest.

    Lastly, sorry for the long post. I liked the video and I think that more content like this is needed. Solidarnost druže!!!

  • I'm really glad that you made this video! As an Italian-American I've been thinking a lot along similar lines wrt how Italian-Americans are so often demonized in media and how cultural perceptions of them are so dominated by harmful stereotypes like the mafioso and the guido. Anglo-Americans often don't have the perspective to see how racialized our discussion of white ethnic groups can be and I'm happy that you're bringing attention to it.

  • "how we are grouped up with Western European whites even though we are considered as lower breeds by any of their conservative and nationalist demographics, (…) or how we are equalized with Western culture without having ever participated in slavery or wider global imperialism or god forbid about how almost the entirety of what today is considered Eastern Europe has been historically manipulated divided conspired against and directly attacked by Western Imperial and post imperial violence"

    As a Polish bean, thank you. Thank you for saying it. Thank you for hitting the nail I didn't know I held on the head. All those years in SJW communities has never ever once come close to even recognising this gap, this… entire identity of it, and… I didn't know how badly I was missing it.

    I remember being ashamed of being Polish as a kid. I'm one of those people who are like "who cares about nationality", even though I do recognize the value of a nationwide community you can share Tusk and JPII memes with. But… I wished I was more "European". Less… less everything I associated with being Polish. Old paint falling off in flakes in my schools, glass shards on our playgrounds, being afraid to go to the parks after dark bc drunk people were there. The fact that German collegues at my mom's (German) corporation earned four times as much as she did, while she was working twice as hard. Europe and, consequently, the EU, seemed like a portal to a better world, an escape route. Grass was greener there.

    Then I started attending international youth events. And then I discovered Slavs from other countries. Our languages sounded so alike! And yet so different. Squats were a universal language. Endless fights to whom does really vodka belong to. The majesty of a potato. Milk with garlic and honey. Tea for every meal, including in 30 degree (C) weather. I found Slav youtubers (yes, I'm talking about Boris).

    For the first time, being a Slav wasn't shameful. It was a connection. An identity. Something to share and bask in. Something to be proud of.

    Sorry for rambling about this here. I just… I'm glad there's more of us. We're here. We have the voice. We matter. And we're not to be ashamed of.

  • jaggedlittleprayer says:

    omfg, hvala. ovo mi toliko smeta thank u so much for talking about this. i think too it’s bc diaspora slavs are white so we assimilate more easily into western culture, we can project ourselves into the dominant representations already there, so our demand for specific representation is lower than visible minorities. bar to sam mislila ali gledajuci ovaj video osecam toliko olaksanje da neko prica iz nase perspektive pa.. izgleda da je reprezentacija ipak vazna. T_T fuck i’m so relieved nastavi molim te

  • Therealyaddayaddaman says:

    The more Ilearn about oppresion and negative stereotyping, the more I see that eastern europeans and south americans have way, way more in common that we care to admit.

  • I remember watching Shape of Water and being really anxious about whether Dimitri was going to die because he was one of the only good slavic rep characters I've seen in years… and surprise, surprise….

    edit: I'm also very happy to have discovered you :). too many slavs have been buying into white nationalism recently and I can't help but feel disgusted at how deluded they are in thinking that the white nationalists suddenly care about us, and fail to see how they continue to claim and muddle our culture as their own despite trying to subjugate it throughout history.

  • Does Viktor from Yuri on Ice count? I mean, it's an anime, not a (western) movie. Anyway, he was surely a lovely guy. And Russian. If I remember correctly, it also had a great Czech character.

  • I think there is only one genre where russians get to be the good guys repeatedly. Russian astronauts in the more "realistic" space movies. Like in Deep Impact or maybe Life. I mean ofc the russian in deep impact has to be a nuclear scientist but still. Seems like the western media really likes the russian cosmonauts.

  • I think I know why as an Irish man, I've never met a Slav I didn't get on with. Like the Slavs, we're also lumped in with colonial world powers that oppressed millions, even though we were one of the oppressed populations. And before you say it, no. We didn't invade Canada. Some Irish Americans with ties to Ireland invaded Canada. Ireland as a country never invaded anyone.

  • honestly i haven't heard of a slav being a good guy in western media for a long time except the star trek dude you brought up… thank you for bringing light to this issue!

  • Sun RaTheThird says:

    I agrea with most of what you say here, but the tangent about not being part pr western imperialism i have to dissagrea.

    The russian colonazation of first the southern stepps and the spreading eastward was very much part of europen imperialist history.
    The conquest of the steeps can very much be seen as similar to the reconquist with expeling of muslim population or forced conversion.

    And subjugation of the cacuses and siberia with explotationof the locale populace and resources för the benifit of the homeland. And this was at the same time as manifest destiny docterin in america and can be seen as similar.

  • I'm English. Growing up after 2004 and the EU expansion I was exposed to A LOT of xenophobia in my hometown aimed at Eastern Europeans (obviously that encompasses more than just Slavs, but Poles bore the brunt of it). It's an issue that's been highlighted more in Britain lately thanks to the Brexit madness, but it's still severely under-represented as a political topic, and when it is talked about it tends to be seen as isolated incidences rather than something systemic. Anyway great video man, got yourself another sub.

  • Zdrastuyte Yogo! They are doing the same thing to your neighbors down south, China. According to Hollywood, our women are just as easily seduced by western men and the men are part of the toxic patriarchy.

  • Peter coffin talks a lot about the ideas of social capital you're talking about, but it's nice to hear it from someone with more emotional investment it helps me understand better.

  • I've often felt as of late just how bizarrely accepted and widespread jokes and stereotypes on slavs are across the web, even amongst people who you'd least expect it. If you made content of the same caliber involving black folk or east asian folk people would rightfully rally against it, but slavs continue to be acceptable targets because… accent funny?

    What I actually imagine is that it's a lack of understanding on the complexities of ethnic dynamics and tensions in Europe. To Americans, it's as simple as (literally) white and black to them, and they don't understand how certain groups that can be simply described as "white" have faced oppression, slavery, and even genocide under other "whites". People like the Finns, the Irish, the Poles, and every other brand of Slav be they west, south, or east slavs. How they were made second class citizens in their own native lands; their languages and cultures reduced and replaced by that of their masters; their able bodied men conscripted and pressed into the most dangerous and demanding of battle field roles; how grateful they were made to be just to be put on the same level as those who thought themselves innately better than them.

    Just because powerful Slavic countries existed (and continue to exist) doesn't change the history of how Slavs were (and are) some of the most dehumanised, despised, and ill-treated people to have walked the earth, and the prejudice against them has become so natural in the West that even the wokest of the woke doesn't even think twice of the truly mean-spirited shit they spread as innocent "memes".

    I'm no stranger to transgressive humour. I often share and tell these jokes as well, but I know that the people I surround myself who, if not slavs themselves, are in on the joke and understand their history, and I laugh just as hard as a vicious take on good old perfidious albion and its eternal anglos. Most people don't even think about it though. Slavs don't even register as human in some people's eyes and they don't even know it.

    Jews are subject to the oldest prejudice in the book, but Slavs are subject to one of the most invisible ones.

  • One thing I find super noticeable about Slavic representation is the "gopnik" stereotype. This is probably the most positive stereotype about Slavic people, yet when you look at it in perspective, you see so many negatives. The typical gopnik is anti-intellectual, violent, dirt poor, obsessed with image, perpetually drunk hooligan. Yet, somehow, that's the best the West has to offer in that regard. You even have people like Life of Boris, who is Estonian (read: not a Slav), running his channel entirely on these kinds of stereotypes, to massive success.

    It seems that, unless your Westerner is a tankie or is cultured enough to appreciate the big names of Eastern Europe (Tolstoy, Tschaikovsky, Nabokov, Shostakovich etc), then even the most positive representation is still actually really negative. A gopnik is a likable character in spite of his Slavic identity, not because of it.

  • Cherry vodka is canon says:

    6:38 This year was quite interesting in terms of slavic representation. After you posted the video, we get Chernobyl, a western serie set in Eastern Europe, respecting Eastern European culture. The representation in Stranger Things is quite interesting too, even if almost all the Russian characters are the evil bad guy because of nostalgia power 1980's and all, but there was a good guy among them, and the public loved him. I actually really liked the character too, and what is interesting is that, even If It's not said in the show he was probably gay. I didn't even expected to see slavic people in western medias belonging to other minorities. This really mattered to me.
    Yet, I don't know if It's really an improvement, because as I said, he was killed for shock value once he did the good choice (In this context It was the right thing to do) and betrayed his homeland.

    Concerning slavic women, the situation seems to me as bad as for slavic men, but little girls have Natasha, and Wanda. At least.

    That being said, thank you for the video. As a westerner from Polish origin, the question really matters to me but almost nobody talk about It. Yes we are white, with a light skin and we are not physically different from westerners, but that's not enough for me. I need actual slavs in medias.

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