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National Stereotypes / Eastern Europe

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Central Europe

  • Very insistent that they are not Eastern European, preferring instead to link themselves to Catholic culture (all countries in this region are majority-Catholic). Still, they'll often be categorized as former Eastern Bloc, with the exception of German-speaking countries. To most foreigners they are interchangeable with Russians, the most well known Eastern European country.
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  • The most general image of Central Europe is that of a romanticized Ruritania with an Überwald, based on many ancient legends and several gothic horror novels and films, most notably Dracula. This evokes images of large forests, dark castles and people still living very close to nature. All Eastern Europeans are poor, miserable peasants who live in fear of foreigners, vampires, bears, (were)wolves and their own government.
  • All Central Europeans will be depicted wearing traditional peasant clothing. The one thing that sets them apart from Russia is their jumpy, catchy, dizzying folk dance music, which always sounds as if it's twirling around.
  • All Eastern European countries and regions will have names ending in "-sylvania", "-davia", "-akia" or "-gary" .
  • Despite the Cold War being over since 1991 many stereotypes about Eastern Europe are still based on imagery from this time period, especially the idea that everyone there is a spy or a member of the local military.
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  • Eastern European Animation is also famous, though sometimes ridiculed as being nothing more than surrealistic, colorful, cut-and-paste forest animal stories full of heavily distorted imagery with scratchy lines and scribbles like "Worker and Parasite" on The Simpsons. Also expect some hidden anti-Soviet messages in them.
  • Central Europe also has an association with Roma culture. Cue to all the stereotypes associated with these people. They are proud, but poor nomads who live in mobile homes and just travel from one region to another before being chased away by local authorities. They spent their time with stealing money, babies and other belongings, or rip you off with con-games, Tarot card reading and fortune telling. Yet they will also enjoy playing guitar and violin by moonlight around the camp fire while everybody dances. They all wear ear rings.
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  • Since the end of the Cold War, Central Europe has a bad reputation for being a criminal Valhalla. The Russian mafia is strong and human trafficking of young beautiful women to be forced to work as prostitutes in Western Europe is a huge problem.

    Czech Republic 
Czech Republic
  • To this day you'll find people still referring to it as "Czechoslovakia", despite being split in two countries since 1993. Czechs are seen as essentially identical to Germans and not Slavs, and rarely distinguished from Slovaks either.
  • Czechs have a strong cultural heritage, exemplified by their numerous castles, marionette theatres, puppet films and literary classics like The Golem, The Good Soldier Švejk and the novels of Franz Kafka.
    • Kafka in particular is the most famous Czech of all time. Expect people visiting the Czech Republic to get lost in kafkaesque bureaucracy or other odd situations.
      • Ironically, Kafka himself, who was a German-speaking Jew, considered himself an Austrian who's just living in Prague, and never associated with the Czech culture at all. National question in the former Habsburg Empire was, ahem, interesting, to say the least.
    • The Czechs also produced author Karel Čapek, whose play "R.U.R." gave us the word Robot. And then the famous journalist, anarchist and bohemian Jaroslav Hašek broke all the proprieties with The Good Soldier Švejk — the greatest Armed Farce of all times.
    • Musically the country also produced very popular folk music, which has often been used as the basis for the work of many famous Czech composers like Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, Gustav Mahler and Leoš Janáček. The polka, despite being associated with Poland, is actually a Czech word.
  • The capital, Prague, is usually thought of as being fairly glamourous for the region of Europe in which it is located. Owing to the Czech Republic's relatively low taxes on filmmaking, Prague is also often featured as either a template East European or generic Central European city in a wide variety of media, and the Barrandov Studios are a popular filming location for Hollywood movies such as xXx, Blade II, Mission: Impossible and The Bourne Identity, where the city is either used in name, or where an ambiguously generic "Euro" location is required (much like Vienna, while Prague boasts a number of historical landmarks and amazing monuments of European architecture, none of them can really be described as globally recognizable in the way the Eiffel Tower or the Brandenburg Gate are). If a film/videogame/book carelessly suggests a location as being somewhere in Eastern Europe, you can bet Prague is the template city.
  • The most famous Czech region is Bohemia, which gave us the setting to the French opera La Bohème and "The Bohemian Girl", the word "bohemian" and Queen 's "Bohemian Rhapsody". Interestingly enough all these associations were not thought up by the Czechs themselves.
    • The meaning of the word "Bohemian", as in "unconventional lifestyle", is of French origin. Apparently, one of their term for Gypsies was "bohémiens", because they came to France via Bohemia. This lifestyle is not quite standard for the Czech people, considered by many Slavic neighbours as cold "half-Germans".
    • One famous Bohemian thing that the Czechs did create is Bohemian crystal and art glass.
  • The most enduring Czech stereotype is that they are crazy beer drinkers. The "Pilsner" and "Budweiser" beers being their international greeting card.
    • As the country holds the title of highest beer consumption per capita in the world, it is more Truth in Television than stereotype. However, like all such generalisations it of course does not apply to every single Czech in existence. There are regions where wine rules just as much as beer. The stereotype also usually overlooks the fact that quite a lot of said beer is consumed with a meal, rather than being drunk as an alcoholic beverage in and of itself (it is arguably far healthier for washing down a savoury meal than a soda) - which makes the "crazy" part of the stereotype less applicable than it may seem from the numbers alone.
  • Their northern neighbours perceive them as a nation of good-natured simpletons, perhaps due to the influence of The Good Soldier Švejk and their language (which sounds to Poles as if it's made from lisps and diminutives).
    • The Polish perception of Czechs is generally positive: politically speaking, the two countries never really had much of an issue with one another, save for maybe the interwar period and even then it was considerably mild. In terms of cultural exchange, Poland and the Czech Republic are perhaps as close as you can get, especially when it comes to literature and video games (whatever's successful in one will pretty much certainly be a big hit in the other). Many Poles even like to think of Czechs as their more rational (ie. less religious) and more successful sibling. note  That being said, the Czechs do seem to come up quite often as some sort of deputy Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys due to their mostly passive acceptance of the Nazi occupation that led to their country making it through the war in quite a decent shape, as opposed to Poland which was largely obliterated. Of course, what some Poles see as cowardly and opportunistic, others will call perfectly reasonable.
  • Czech girls and women are generally portrayed as beautiful (inspired probably by Czech supermodels like Karolína Kurková or Eva Herzigová), often combined with kinky and loose attitude towards sex life.
  • Czech taxi drivers are often thought to be tricksters of foreign tourists. Sadly, this has been proved to be Truth in Television several times, but if such cases are reported, measures against it are taken.
  • Czech Republic is today quite an irreligious country. It has one of the world's highest proportions of atheists / agnostics (a sharp contrast from their northern neighbor Poland, which is one of the most religious European countries).
    • This is rooted in Czech history: The 15th-century priest Jan Hus (who was burned at the stake for heresy) laid the foundations for Czech Reformation a hundred years before the rest of Europe followed suit. Hus and his followers made the Czech lands very religious for many centuries; the Thirty Years War in the 17th century started because of Czech religio-political disputes with the Catholic Habsburgs. It was the subsequent forced recatholisation closely connected to the foreign Habsburg rule that eventually led to the more recent Czech scepticism towards organised religion. Even after some degree of religious tolerance was eventually granted in the Austrian Empire, switching church affiliation was deliberately made rather difficult (not to mention even more obstructive individual local authorities). In the 19th and early 20th century struggles for national freedom, the hussite period was heavily romanticised, leading to one of the Czechs' stereotypes about their own history. At the same time, the rise of scepticism during the 19th century, combined with the Roman Catholic church's role in political events, led to a religious disenchantement with many people. After the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, with religious freedom guaranteed by the constitution, there was a massive exodus from the Roman Catholic church.
  • During the Cold War they were best known for producing the Škoda car, the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution. After the Cold War ended, Škoda inverted its traditional reputation and the jokes that went with it, to achieve the top 10 placings in global car reliability indexes.
    • What gets forgotten in all the jokes about The Alleged Car is that, among other things, the Škoda works built some of the best tanks for their time in the late 1930's, renowned for mechanical reliability and capable of holding their own - and more - against anything the rest of Europe could put on a battlefield.note  After the German occupation, Škoda turned out a vast quantity of tanks, AFV's and vehicles for the German armed forces, to such an extent that a quarter of all the "German" tanks invading France in 1940 were, in fact, Škoda-made. That 1937 design, in its last production variant, was still holding its own in the front line in May 1945. Škoda lorries also had a reputation for endurance and durability in all weather extremes, going as far as North Africa and Russia. Škoda vehicles might not have been designed for looks - but they were built to last and to take punishment.
  • They are also quite skillful tennis players, with Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova as the most iconic examples.
  • A small, cosy brothel is an indispensable institution in every single village.
  • Some souvenir shops in Prague sell Russian matryoshka dolls. Apparently, all Slavic cultures are the same. Doubly hilarious when one remembers that matryoshkas aren't even traditionally Russian — they're a late XIX century adaptation of a Japanese toy that unexpectedly took off specifically as a souvenir novelty.
    • Of course, the fact that many souvenir shops in Prague are in fact owned by Russians these days does not help...
  • Czechs particularly hate being called Eastern European and grouped together with the Easternmost countries in Europe like Russia or Ukraine, because they have next to nothing in common.

  • Hungary is known as the birthplace of goulash (which is completely different from the American version), and for its communist era, which may not be over yet. Its language has a reputation as being very bizarre and difficult (which is probably Truth in Television, as it's one of the few languages in Europe that isn't Indo-European).
  • Stereotypically the country is poor and economically still stuck in the 1980s, with old compact cars and bombed-out bridges contrasting with beautiful old cities.
  • Hungarians are likely to be eccentric Funny Foreigner types and may be typecast as academics; this is probably due to well-known mathematicians such as Paul Erdős and Imre Lakatos. The country is famous for inventions such as the Rubik's Cube.
  • The breeding place of Neonazis and right-wing loons. The Fourth Reich. Their discrimination of Roma, the fact that the current right-wing administration submitted a law that allows the government to play watchdog with all inner-country media and their recent dismissive attitude to the refugee crisis certainly don't help.
  • Among at least some Europeans, Hungary is also (in)famous for its porn industry, which exploded after The Great Politics Mess-Up.
  • Occasionally also shares the Transylvanian stereotypes (Vampires, torches and pitchforks etc.) mentioned in detail under Romania, thanks mostly to messy local history and Bela Lugosi.
  • Hungary is also world-famous for producing some of the most popular classical composers, like Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, György Ligeti (of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) and Miklós Rósza (who scored various Hollywood epics in the mid-20th century, including Ben-Hur (1959)).

  • In America, there are a lot of jokes about the pigheaded stubbornness and stupidity of the Polish people. (Many Americans are of German descent, and once upon a time a lot of propaganda was spread in Germany about Polish stupidity. The German diaspora brought it with them and it took hold, especially because Polish immigrants and their descendants tended to be working-class. Few Americans, however, are aware of the origins of the stereotype.) Curiously, in Eastern Europe the Polish stereotype is the exact opposite — thought of as being soulful, a little mysterious, highly educated and proud as hell. The Polish accent to a native Russian speaker sounds kind of like what a stiff, clipped British accent sounds like to a native speaker of American English, too.
    • In Russia, a Polish loanword note  "gonor" doesn't mean honor, but rather excessive Pride combined with Berserk Button and Hair-Trigger Temper, as Russians usually perceive Poles as prideful in the extreme.
    • Because of its unusual religious tolerance at certain points in history, Jews flocked to Poland and so Jews have made up a large portion of the Polish population for a long time. Poland had the largest Jewish population in the world until, well, those Nazis again. There was a massive post-war emigration and a lot of the Polish Jews ended up in America (and Israel—during the first 20-30 years of its existence, Knesset debate would sometimes be held in Polish as angry MKs of Polish origin lapsed into their native tongue). Perhaps because of that, most of the Polish people who float around in the American cultural consciousness are of Jewish descent and identify mostly with Jewish culture (Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jerzy Kosinski, etc.) so there tends to be some conflation between Jewish and Polish stereotypes in the American media.
  • In foreign media Poles generally have names ending in Slavic inflections like -ski or -icz. In reality, not all Polish names have endings like these—only most of them.
  • Poles are often stereotyped in a clichés similar to Russians, particularly for being huge drinkers.note  They are known for being devout Catholics and may be insistent everyone else be, too.
    • There is also a "Polish Catholic" stereotype: an old man or woman with right-wing political views, who goes to the church frequently, votes for PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, ie. Law and Justice), the main Polish conservative party and watches TV Trwam, a heavily religious TV station, viewing its founder, Tadeusz Rydzyk, as nearly a god.
    • Another stereotype that functions in Poland itself is also the "dresiarz" — a young, dumb, ussualy unemployed person living in the countryside or in a tower block, wearing tracksuits, using swear words frequently, beating people up, going to soccer matches just to start a fight and pimping his car (usually a VW Golf Mk3 or an E36 BMW). They're basically the Polish counterpart to Russian gopnik or British chav. The female counterpart "dresiara" is, if she exists, an equally dumb bimbo with bleached hair and fake tan.
  • In Russia, Poles are usually seen as very arrogant, boastful and unpresentable people that no one takes seriously. Others see Poles as ingrates and Russophobes since they keep demonizing Russian culture and history while sweetening their own past, for instance talking forever about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact but sparing little attention to Polish landgrabbing of Czech land during Munichnote .
  • In the UK, Polish immigrants are always associated with cheap manual labour and waitressing — and little else besides. Similar to the Mexican immigrant US stereotype. On a positive note though, Poles are seen to be hardworking, friendly, and keen to assimilate. Since the proliferation of Polish store, Polish cuisine, particularly beer and sausages, have earned popularity. Brits are able to purchase things which are commonplace in the US and Europe but otherwise hard to find in the UK (Lays chips, Cheetos, Nestea, and various Polish beers, to name a few things).
  • A similar stereotype is in place in France. Likely because of the large Polish population that came to work as cheap labour at the beginning of the 20th century, notably in the mines of Northern France. This cliché came back at the beginning of the 21st century when there was a (fortunately brief) scare about Polish plumbers coming to steal jobs from French plumbers. The Polish tourism board humorously clapped back by promising hunkish Polish plumbers to French tourists coming to Poland.
  • Poles eat kielbasa and sauerkraut constantly and are obsessed with bigos. No other dishes exist in Polish cuisine according to popular culture.
  • Poles love to argue — this is actually more Truth in Television than most other stereotypes on this page, and even the famous "Jews Love to Argue" trope partially comes from here — remember that most of the Jews in Europe were Ashkenazi, and most Ashkenazi lived in Poland before the WWII, and there's been enough mutual exchange between the cultures. In fact the Polish Sejm -— their original parliament —- allowed a right of veto for any of its members, which included potentially all nobles of the Kingdom, so if any of them didn't like the proposed decision, he could easily block it. Which, unfortunately, has led to no decisions actually being made and the eventual collapse of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
    • There are two other stereotypes related to the love to argue. One is about Polish unwillingness to step down during negotiations and treating them as zero-sum game, often outright breaking talks over some tiny, insignificant issue. The other is inability to unite, being too busy fighting each other, even when facing grave danger. Both of those have a hefty historical backing.
  • Poland has a somewhat undeserved reputation for losing wars which is probably due to it being the first country invaded in World War II (exemplified by the erroneous story of Polish cavalry charging German tanks). In reality, Poland has defeated Russia, Germany and other major powers several times in its military history. This likely relates to the stereotype of Poles as stupid and incompetent. Of course, Poles lost those wars that actually mattered, where the whole stereotype has started, though this has more to do with the previous stereotype of them being huge squabblers than with them being bad soldiers.
  • Poles also have a reputation for thievery. Two common jokes:
    • "Come to Poland; your car is already here."
    • Q: Why did the Russian steal two cars in Germany? A: He had to pass through Poland first.
  • Other Eastern Europeans often perceive Poles, just like the Ukrainians, as a bit too much dwelling on being The Woobie — they are thought to have a sorta martyrdom culture, taking a perverse pride in their losses and misfortunes. This goes back to Polish Romanticism where Polish artists and philosophers referred to Poland as a Christ Among Nations, essentially comparing those misfortunes to literally the Christ's own (which is inevitably pushing it to some of their neighbors, Christian and otherwise, given how their history also included oppressing others and for that matter their own peasants too).
    • Another common regional stereotype of Poland is that of an entire nation made out of ham. Especially Czechs and Lithuanians perceive Poles as over-the-top hotheads who are always first to act, but last to think, all while being absolutely bombastic in doing so.
  • And of course, as matter of a joke, Poland will be confused with the North Pole and/or the South Pole.

  • When it exists in popular culture, it's essentially "the Czech Republic but poorer". A passing reference may be made to mountains. Extra points for noting the capital is Bratislava and not something else.
    • Slovaks have been stereotyped being bad-tempered, easily offended and having a dark and sadistic sense of humor.
    • Notoriously typecast as a crime-ridden Den of Iniquity in the Eli Roth torture-porn flick Hostel. Many Slovaks were not exactly thrilled about this, to say the least.
  • Czechs absolutely love to sarcastically joke there are no such people as Slovaks, only half-Hungarians, half-Ukrainians speaking unintelligible Czech.

The Baltics

Despite the many linguistic and cultural differences between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the three tend to be lumped together in Soviet/Russian pop culture. Some of the common stereotypes of Balts include:

  • They are cold-blooded, emotionless, reserved, and brooding. The only thing that flares them up are national issues (see below).
  • Their women are uniformly tall, blonde, and either quite pudgy (if not outright Brawn Hilda material) or lithe and skinny. The men are Aryan athletic hunks not unlike Swedes (see above).
  • In the USSR, the three republics were viewed as "our very own Europe", with marvelous Gothic and Baroque architecture, easily available imported goods, a lot of hip and cool design and pop culture of their own, and much more laid-back, tolerant, and liberal than the rest of the country.
  • In Soviet movies, Baltic actors tended to be typecast as villains, Westerners, aristocrats, or any combination thereof. Their lines were almost always overdubbed due to their heavy accent. Cities like Riga and Tallinn were (over)used as stand-ins for Western European capitals.
  • In much of Russian media of the last 20 years, Baltic countries are portrayed as being run by ultra-nationalists who seek to weed out the vestiges of Russian presence (banning Soviet symbols, harassing the Russian-speaking population, etc.) and glorify surviving Waffen-SS members as "fighters against Bolshevism" while persecuting Communist resistance and Red Army vets.
  • A relatively recent stereotype, which arose after their ascension to the EU, is of Baltics slowly dying out, due to the mass emigration to the more developed EU countries where the wages are higher and life is more comfortable, with only the old people remaining. Somewhat Truth in Television, because, truth to be told, Baltics were still hit by the Great Politics Mess Up pretty hard, the jobs are scarce, and given that, miffed at their hostile attitude, Russia is set to consciously deprive them of their transit role between the East and the West, it would only get worse. Even Estonia, the most successful and developed of Baltics, experiences the unstable economy and population outflow nowadays.

  • Most Estonian stereotypes in Russia are almost completely interchangeable with Finns (see the Western Europe section).
  • Among their Baltic and Slavic neighborsnote  they are usually depicted as being slow, but rational and determined as well. Their sing-song accent that tends to draw out the vowels doesn't help
  • Their economy and medical system are said to be the most advanced among the three Baltic countries.
  • Though they did create one thing of international fame: the Skype software. It's true that a Dane and a Swede contributed along, but the other developers were all Estonians.
  • They are particularly successful in business.
  • Generally the most likely of the three Baltic states to assert Northern European/Nordic identity in an effort to get close to their Finnish "siblings".
  • And you might also known them for composer Arvo Pärt, whose composition "Spiegel im Spiegel" has been used in many films, e.g. Gravity.

  • Latvians are mostly depicted as potato- and fish-eating numbheads with poor grammar (especially online, with "Latvian jokes"). Also seen as the resort of Russia.
  • Every word ends with "s".
  • Estonians have a lot of jokes about Latvians supposedly having six toes on each feet.
    • Also as having bad roads and eating lots of ice cream. Part of the reason for the latter is that the word for ice cream, "saldējums", is an Inherently Funny Word to Estonian ears and as such is probably the only word of Latvian they know, and the other part is the wide variety of ice cream available in the country (with flavors like rye bread, black balsam, seabuckthorn, and of course, potato).
  • Lithuanians call Latvians "horse heads".
  • During the Tsarist times, Russians had seen Latvians as poor, contemplative hicks that have nothing and want nothing. A proverb from that time went:
    A Lettish has only a dick and a soul.
  • In the Soviet Union they were known for pop music, largely due to the powerhouse of a composer Raimonds Pauls.
  • Latvian women are also really tall.

  • Very few stereotypes of note exist about Lithuania specifically. Most have trouble telling it apart from Latvia, and the two countries tend to be confused a lot.
  • In the 19th century Lithuanians were apparently seen by Russia as troublemakers and the most dangerous out of the Baltics due to the old association with Poland.
  • They're talented at basketball.
  • They're described as talkative and outgoing like Italians... only by Baltic standards, i.e. not much.
  • Deeply Catholic. Though they are in fact more secular than Poles, more religious imagery is indeed visible on the street on a normal day than in the other two Baltic countries.
  • They hate the Polish, though they hate the Russians much, much more, leading to Lesser of Two Evils stand toward Poland.
  • Lithuania is also infamous for its high suicide rate.
  • Lithuanians only drink vodka and speak Russian (and Polish) - both of which are not necessarily true, especially in modern day, though there are significant minorities of those populations.
    • Some people even think Lithuania is still a part of Russia, which, again, is not true. Lithuania joined the EU as an independent country in 2004 and broke off from the USSR before the others way back in 1990.
  • It is common for people to assume that there are no televisions or cities in Lithuania ("How many people live in your village?" and "Do you have televisions in Lithuania?" are stereotypical questions asked to Lithuanians), as well as the fact that everyone owns a horse.
  • In Poland, Lithuanians tend to be seen as kinda-sorta honorary Poles, except when the actual Polish minority in Lithuania is involved, in which case they become rabid ethnolinguistic suprematists. The remaining stereotypes are provided by popular vision of medieval history and Romantic poets, as badass honourable pagans and/or badass honourable rustics.

The Balkans

  • Tribalistic in temperament, settle all their issues with violence, love tracksuits and are either owners of an eatery or work for the mob - Muslim Italians with a weird language nobody understands, apparently.
    • May still be Dirty Communists (this is at least partially based on fact since Albania remained communist longer than almost any other country in Europe, but is not true today).
  • Owners of possibly the most Obviously Evil-looking flag in Europe, perhaps the world. Seriously, it looks like it was created by M.Bison.
  • Much like Serbians, they are often stereotyped as criminals, human traffickers, gangsters, spies and/or evil militarians.
  • Another unfortunate stereotype of Albanians is of them being drug dealers and traffickers.

  • They really enjoy eating yoghurt! And love roses!
  • They were the Commie Land beach resort. too.
  • Culturally the country is best known for their folk music, which has a distinctive extended rhythmical time, which has no equivalent in the rest of European music. Bulgarian singing is also noticeable for its hypnotic rural atmosphere.
  • An outdated stereotype about Bulgaria in Central and Eastern Europe, is that Bulgarians has reversed head gestures for saying yes or no. Shaking one's head means "yes" 'and nodding means "no"''. First of all, this stereotype isn't entirely accurate, since their "nod" is upward instead of downward and the head shake is not completely horizontal, but slightly wavy. Secondly, the exposure to Western media has made the younger Bulgarian generation largely abandon these traditional gestures.
  • Nowadays they're better known for being dirt poor and buying bell peppers (which are called Bulgarian peppers in many Slavic languages) from Belgium.
  • Russians often note a peculiar contradiction: they often could freely understand written Bulgarian, but struggle with spoken one (the reverse is true for Serbian).
  • Bulgaria often gets overshadowed in media by its more popular neighbors: Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Romania and even North Macedonia. Like the rest of Eastern Europe, Bulgarians get mad at being mistaken for Russians. In the past, shortly after Bulgaria was liberated from the Ottoman Empire, they were getting mistaken for Turks who were somehow Christian, which was just as infuriating to them, given the bad history with the Ottomans.
  • North Macedonians will reject any ties with Bulgaria (whereas Bulgarians will always insist that North Macedonians are just wayward Bulgariansnote ) and over-emphasize their Bulgar heritage, calling them Tatars.note 

    Former Yugoslavia 
The former Yugoslavia
  • To most other countries it is mostly known for producing Gavrilo Princip, the man who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and gave other countries an excuse to start World War I. During the Cold War it was mostly known for Josip Broz Tito and in the 1990s it became synonymous with civil war and genocidal war criminals on the loose.
  • Bosnians manage to be both very cynical and utter simpletons who consider stubbornness the greatest virtue.
  • Croatians have a reputation for being fanatically patriotic. They are also known for being talkative, to the point of being quarrelsome. Historically the country is known for giving us the first fountain pens and the invention of the cravat (though the original version looked different from the modern one).
    • Croatia is also known for the region Dalmatia, that inspired the popular dog breed Dalmatian.
  • Montenegrins are allergic to work and you'll never see one stand up or, God forbid, walk somewhere.
  • North Macedonians either don't exist or are a mish-mash of Bulgaria and Serbia. If one North Macedonian is mentioned it will be Alexander the Great, even though Alexander The Great and other Ancient Macedonians were actually Greeks and have no relation to modern-day Slavs occupying the country. (Anyone that's of North Macedonian nationality or descent would very much beg to differ.)
  • Serbs are stereotyped as murderous maniacs pissed off by things that happened centuries ago. They would rather fight among their own people than unite against a common enemy. And since A Serbian Film they are not likely to gain a reputation for good taste any time soon...
    • Science buffs also know at least one famous Serbian scientist: Nikola Tesla.
    • If an Eastern European villain is needed, he'll usually be Serbian (if he isn't Russian).
  • Slovenes are stuck up, melancholic bureaucrats with no sense of humor and an impeccable sense of frugality. And the further away from Slovenia you go in the Balkans, the stronger the perception of them being Austrians speaking Slavic language or outright calling Slovenia "mini Austria" as an insult.
    • Slovenia itself is routinely confused with Slovakia. To make things worse, aside similar-sounding names, they have almost identical flags and are both small, mountainous countries that split off from a bigger political entity and are using euro as their currency (them and Croatia being the only Slavic countries to do so).
  • And of course all these people are repeatedly confused with each other, much to their own chagrin.
  • As said above about Bulgarians, many Russians often have problems understanding written Serbian/Croatian etc, but easily get spoken one (for the Bulgarian it's the vice versa).

  • To most people Ancient Greece is perhaps the country's most famous stereotypical image. Apart from the beaches and the uncountable islands Greek musea and ancient buildings are the number one tourist attraction. The Greeks themselves are very proud for being part of the world's heritage. Ancient Greece was the first great European civilization, which blossomed over several centuries. Their society was a pioneer in painting, sculpture, architecture, pottery making, literature, theatre, language, politics, law, warfare, the justice system, philosophy, medicine, math, geometry, biology, sports, astronomy,... to such a high degree that they remained the standard even long after their civilization crumbled. Ancient Rome copied a lot from them and ever since The Renaissance the ancient Grecian-Roman society has been held in high regard.
    • Greece is also famous for philosophy. They have produced several famous and influential philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes of Sinope, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Anaximander, Thales, Epicurus, Parmenides, Epimenides, Democritus, Xenophon, Zeno of Alea, Gorgias, Pyrrho, ...
    • Ancient Greek, along with Latin, is still highly regarded in many schools and universities. The Greek alphabet was influential on our modern alphabet and several words, idioms and expressions have been derived from Greek language.
    • Several Greek locations also thank their fame due to their association with Ancient Greek society: Athens, Sparta, Delphi, Lesbos, Crete, Mount Olympus, Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Corinthe, Epidaurus, ...
    • The downside about this is that ancient Greece is still their only huge and well-known achievement to mankind's history. It seems that ever since the ancient Greek civilization came to an end the country never did anything noteworthy that other countries could praise or remember. Except for the Byzantine Empire, of course. Compare them to Italy, who did survive the ancient Roman time period and kept making their mark on history, culture and science in the centuries that followed.
    • For instance, Greece is nowadays still internationally famous for the Olympic Games, which is again a hangover from their ancient civilization. It brings up images of athletes running the marathon, throwing discuses, carrying the Olympic torch, lighting the Olympic flame, chariot racing, wrestling,... Since the late 19th century the Olympic Games have returned as the world's most famous and watched sports event, but it took a Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin, to revive the games and up to now these modern Olympic Games have only been held in Athens twice: in 1896 and 2004.
  • The most enduring modern Greek stereotype are the Greek soldiers ("evzones"), immediately recognizable for their traditional military uniforms, recognizable due to the "fustanella", a kilt-like garment.
  • In the 1960s Greece managed to become internationally famous again, thanks to actress Melina Mercouri, Zorba the Greek, Jacqueline Kennedy's marriage to Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis and unfortunately, the Greek colonel dictatorship that ruled the country from 1967 until 1973. The latter also inspired the famous political protest movie Z.
    • The 1964 film Zorba the Greek has fed the image that all Greeks love to dance the "Sirtaki". The famous musical piece "Zorba's Dance" is still used to provide a soundtrack to Greek images and has lead to the wrong impression that both the composition and the Sirtaki dance are part of traditional Greek folklore. They are not: while they are indeed loosely based on the traditional Cretan dances, they were composed by Mikis Theodorakis (music) and Anthony Quinn (moves), because Quinn had recently broken a leg at the time, and couldn't do the traditional moves, so he invented new ones suitable for his injured leg.
    • A Greek musician will always be playing the bouzouki.
  • Perhaps the most modern of all Greek stereotypes (most popular in the rest of the EU) is Greece as the monetary black hole, unable to cope with the 2008 stock market crash until this very day.
  • All Greeks are either Greek Orthodox or still worship gods from Greek Mythology.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding is full of Greek stereotypes (everyone is Orthodox Christian, named Nick, and very proud of their Greek heritage).
  • All Greeks are each others' nephews, a stereotype also found in Asterix at the Olympic Games.
  • Greek men all have a Overly Long Name. They are very hairy over their entire body, sometimes exemplified by a moustache, but this not mandatory. They also wear large ostentatious gold jewelry and watches.
  • Greek parents are very caring and overprotective about their children, well until their kids are beyond their adult years.
  • Greek women are usually homely mothers who mostly cook. The rest of the time they will be gossiping.
  • Just like Italians, Greeks have a reputation for being unable to keep their voice down. They love to shout and argue passionately, even in public places. A fist- or knife fight might break out afterwards.
  • This European post card sarcastically depicts the Greeks as being disorganized.
  • Greece is famous for its shipping industrynote , which shouldn't be surprising, considering the fact that they are surrounded by water and have hundreds of small, often inhabited islands. Whenever a rich Greek businessman is depicted in popular culture he will always be a shipping magnate and be based on Aristotle Onassis, for instance: Percicles Parnassus in Rocky and Bullwinkle and Aristotle Amadopolis in The Simpsons.
    • If a Greek doesn't own a shipping empire he will be cast as a restaurant owner. He will mostly serve traditional Greek dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, feta cheese, ouzo and lots, lots, lots of olives. Olive oil will be added to every meal.
  • Greeks and Turks have a rivalry that goes back many centuries when both countries went to war against each other. To this day Greeks don't like to be compared to Turks (and vice versa), despite the fact that they obviously have a lot in common due to sharing a similar historical tradition.
    • For instance, both Greeks and Turks have a reputation for being smokers.
    • This is probably because of the fact that when the nomadic Turks conquered the mostly Greek Byzantine Empire, they've largely adopted its customs. For example, the turkish Sultans for most of their history had "Melik ar-Rum" ("Roman Emperor") as one of their titles, and Constantinople actually kept its name (in the Turkish form of Konstantiniyye) up to 1933, when it was finally renamed Istanbul, a previous informal name which itself stems from the corruption of the Greek nickname of the city.
  • Greece also has a centuries-old reputation for homosexuality. The word "lesbian" is derived from the Greek isle Lesbos. In Ancient Greece homosexual relationships were fairly common and the male body was idealized more than the female one.
  • Greece also has a reputation for providing great warriors such as Alexander the Great, Miltiades and Leonidas of Sparta.

  • Transylvania is the only place that exists. Its inhabitants are pitchfork-wielding peasants who fear God and supernatural beings, especially vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein's monster.
    • So engrained is Transylvania as a fantastical locale in modern culture, that many people probably don't even realize that it's even a real place, let alone a region within Romania.
    • As said, Romania is most famous in popular culture for its Uberwald-vibe and oh so many books, games and movies involve Dracula and other associated creatures of the night, with examples including Van Helsing, Castlevania, and so on.
    • If anything, a large percent of Romanians are just as superstitious, only that anything to do with Dracula is a Berserk Button for them.
  • They are frequently lumped together with Slavic countries despite Romanian being a Romance language rather than a Slavic one. It does have a fair bit of Slavic influence (and vice-versa); the most famous Romanian ever was, after all, named Vlad. Even the most famous song in this language (despite being made by a Moldovan band), "Dragostea din Tei", contains a slavic word in its title. The fact that most Romanians are Eastern Orthodox (as opposed to Catholic like other Romance peoples) doesn't help either, much like rather substantial Slavic cultural influence through the ages.
  • Romanians, seemingly moreso than other nations, get very bad press throughout the rest of Europe for their pick-pocketing gangs and squatters, who bus into neighboring countries and plague top tourist destinations like London, Paris and Madrid.
  • Another popular stereotype is the freakishly flexible Romanian female gymnast, and (unfortunately) certainly amongst Western Europeans, the association of hellish orphanages with children literally chained to grimy, iron beds.
  • They have a reputation for being either Communists or prostitutes. Sometimes both.
  • Roma are also often associated with Eastern Europe. After 2006, they are even more closely associated with Romania, where they make up large percent of the criminal class (although their absolute number in the general population is not very large). The similarity of the names sometimes leads to an inferred connection; in actuality, Roma literally means "men" and Romani is an adjective, while Romania has a complicated history, but ultimately just comes from the ancient Romanians referring to themselves as Romans.

Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of Eastern Europe

  • Belarus is mostly seen as a mini version of Russia, thus showcasing a lot of the same stereotypes, or, to make an analogy for the Americans, as a Russia's own mini-Canada, culturally similar, but distinct enough to be noticeable.
  • A stereotypical image of Belarus in contemporary Russia is as follows: everyone is a redneck who works on a farm, drives a tractor, and lives in a hut; nothing has changed since Soviet times in terms of politics or culture; everything is laughably cheap and everyone is dirt poor, living on a diet of vodka and potatoes; the Belarusian language doesn't exist; in short, "they're not a real country, anyway".
  • Belarusians are stereotyped by their neighbouring countries as being reserved, unfriendly, and emotionally cold (or just plain unemotional). Even they themselves agree that "abyyakavast' da zhyttya" ("indifference to life") is one of the darker sides of the national character, probably because of being The Woobie (see below) so much.
  • Belarus itself is culturally divided right in the middle - the western, catholic part and the ortodox east. Easterners think of westerners as of cunning, hard-working and calculating people (which seen as a bad thing), and westerners think of easterners as of lazy and unreliable people.
  • In the West, Belarus is nicknamed "the last dictatorship in Europe". It's usually seen as a miniature Soviet Union living in a Cold War time warp, or perhaps a European version of North Korea (minus the nukes). Europeans see the inhabitants as prisoners without entertainments or freedom. Many of the locals point to the so-called "opposition"note  and ask — "And what's that then?"
  • When some attention to the country's history is paid, then Belarus gets regarded as The Woobie of the Eastern Europe, being "the territory the European powers went through to wage war on each other" even more than Poland. The World War II alone destroyed as much as half of the country's population, and Minsk had to be rebuilt basically from scratch, because there was no stone upon the stone left. In short, it's Russian Guy Suffers Most all over again, but somehow even more.
  • Europeans think Belarus is full of Soviet-era bloc buildings. It is, see the above bit about "rebuilding from scratch". Luckily, some of the old architecture managed to get preserved in the places where the fighting wasn't that intense, but most large cities aren't them.
  • They glorify their guerilla warfare past. Given the scale of destruction the nation suffered during the said war, it is somewhat understandable.

The Caucasus

In Soviet/Russian culture, stereotypes of peoples from the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia (specifically, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) are as follows:

  • Caucassian people love wine, song, and merry-making in general. They are awesome cooks, specialising in meat. Their parties (especially weddings) are week-long affairs where everyone gets drunk several times over.
  • Their men are often depicted as wearing tracksuits or leather jackets, beanie hats and full beards. They are also incredibly lecherous and always horny, showering the objects of their affection with flowers, expensive gifts, etc., and then abandoning them after getting what they'd been looking for.
  • Caucassian women come only in two flavours: humble and religious, or brash and boisterous (a kind that does not correspond with Muslim traditions at all, though just about half of the Caucasian peoples are actually Christian).
  • Expect Caucassian people be very, very patriotic about their country and blaming another Caucasus countries for their sins.
  • They are reputed to be filthy rich, mostly from criminal activity. They tend towards conspicuous consumption and flashy displays of wealth.
  • No matter where a Caucassian man from, expect him depicted dancing lezginka (sometimes in groups) and/or playing patriotic folk songs on their cellphones.
  • Due to the two Chechen Wars and an ongoing insurgency in the North Caucasus, they are often suspected of being terrorists, religious fanatics, or ruthless mobsters. Chechens in particular have recently gained the reputation of being Heteronormative Crusaders after reports emerged of gay death camps in their autonomous republic.
  • Caucassian people are often shown to be utterly obsessed with Russian cars with lowered suspension, boosted bass speakers and so on. And, of course, expect lezginka or patriotic songs playing from these cars. A stereotypical car from the Caucasus will be a lowered, gleaming white Lada Prioranote  with windows toned to almost complete opacity, sound system that costs at least as much as the car itself, and approximately seventeen tons of the most ridiculous trim human brain can invent.
  • Jokes about their love of goats, sheep and donkeys abound.
  • Many are also stereotyped as Knife Nuts, who grab a blade if someone even looks at them funny. They are also stereotyped of being Trigger Happy, having sort of a gun fetish and carrying BB or rubber-bullet guns, since firearms are restricted in Russia.
  • A old stereotype about the Circassian women being the idealized pinacle of feminine beauty: pure, virtuous, but also exotic and sensual at the same time, which made them highly desirable as slave girls destined for the royal harems of Turkish sultans and Persian shahs (as a matter of fact, Circassian was sometimes synonymous with "concubine" and they were sold as far as Egypt and Zanzibar). This is a Forgotten Trope nowadays, specially since most Circassians were purged from their homeland and now live in a diaspora across Turkey and the Arab world due to being majorly Sunni Muslims.

  • Independent since 1991 and yet, like all other former Russian regions, still thought to be nothing more than a part of Russia.
  • Best known for the pop group O-Zone which gave us the 2003 hit song "Dragostea Din Tei" (the "Numa Numa" song).

  • The oldest stereotypes about Russia are pretty much the same about entire Central and Eastern Europe: a romanticized Ruritania with an Überwald full with harsh, primitive peasants who are miserably poor.
    • The entire country is filled with troops on horseback who roam around the taigas and threaten or protect the capital: cossacks, Tartars, kulaks,... Or people pulling boats near the Volga while singing the "Song of the Volga Boatmen".
    • Tsarist Russia: The Tsar rules the country in a large fairy tale-like palace. His advisor is usually a Rasputinesque villain who holds the real strings and tries to seduce the Tsarina and the Tsarevich.
    • All Russians are of Russian orthodox faith and own icons of the Virgin Mary in their house.
    • Russian music will be trepaks, troikas, balalaikas, violin music, ballet dances, male army choirs with bassoon voices and preferably the following melodies: "Katyusha" (or "Casatchok"), "Kalinka", "Ochi Chyornye" ("Dark Eyes") and "The Song Of The Wolga Boat Men". Some Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet music is also essential. Throw some of their numerous famous composers in the mix as well: Igor Stravinsky, Modest Mussorgsky, Mikhail Glinka, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Rachmaninoff...
    • Just like Germany Russia has an association with fairy tales, set in their huge, thick forests. This probably stems from the fact that the country is the largest one on Earth and therefore so big that a huge part of it is still filled with nature, barely touched by human civilization. In other words: perfect for romanticism. See also: Baba Yaga, The Firebird and Peter and the Wolf.
  • Since the Russian Revolution and the Cold War Russia is still seen as the Soviet Union. Several stereotypes about the country evoke U.S.S.R. images:
  • Since the fall of Communism the most modern Russian stereotype is that everybody there is involved in the Russian mafia.
  • Husky Russkie: Russian men always have heavy bushy eyebrows, moustaches and/or large beards and wear bearskin hats.They usually drink their misery away with vodka and after finishing a drink they throw their glass over their shoulder whereupon it crashes against the floor or a wall. They are either exuberantly joyful or coldly enraged, and can switch between the two at a moment’s notice. When they are excited they shout with a loud, booming voice. They are nostalgic for Soviet Russia (always referring to it as "The Motherland"), and love to do traditional dances like That Russian Squat Dance and trepaks while drunk. Either that or wrestling grizzly bears with their bare hands.
  • The women wear something called a babushka, which inexplicably refers to a type of headscarf (imagine Elizabeth II, who is very fond of it) instead of its actual meaning (grandmother). Sometimes they are depicted as being more masculine than feminine.
  • Apparently Russian women go from impossibly hot supermodels to shriveled-up crones over an absurdly short period of time. It is likely they will be tall, leggy blondes who are constantly depressed and mopey despite being incredibly beautiful.
  • Children will play with matryoshka dolls. If they do play videogames, it will ALWAYS be Tetris (Created by a Russian, natch.) Except in gamers' circles, where the stereotype of a Russian player somehow manages to be a G.I.F.T squared, their impenetrable slang and general habit of communicating in Russian only notwithstanding.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most and Sensual Slavs: Russians endured centuries of famine, freezing weather, dictatorships, oppression, war, invasions, forced labor, attacks by hungry wolves and bears,... This has led to two stereotypes. Either they are a poor, miserable and pitiful The Woobie or a strong and toughened individual who either drinks his or her misery away with vodka or laughs it off with fatalistic, cynical and snarky Russian Humour. If they do show sadness it will be when playing or listening to a violin.
  • Russian meals are nothing else but soup, borscht, stew, goulash, caviar, paprika or salami.note  The only available drink is vodka. Or tea, if you're very lucky.
    • Everything is served with bread to it. Everything. And if the restaurant doesn't handle bread to the dishes or have a bread basket on the table, Russians will ask for it anyway. This includes eating bread to things that already have a side like potatoes or rice.
  • Russians all love Russian Roulette and taking hot baths in icy temperatures. When they travel they go by troika, but since winters are too long, dark and cold they prefer to stay inside instead. They decorate their rooms with at least one samovar.
  • Russian Reading: One of their famous pastimes is reading or writing thick Doorstopper novels à la Leo Tolstoy or Fyodor Dostoevsky.
  • Russian Language is a popular stereotypical target. Russians will tend not to use articles (the words "the" and "a"), or to use the wrong ones, since Russian does not have any equivalent to these words. They refer to anyone as 'Comrade'. Their speech often puts a strong emphasis on the letter "r" and "g"-sounds are put in front of words beginning with the letter "h". Other popular cliché expressions are "nyet" ("no") and "da!" ("yes").
    • How do you write Russian? Simply write everything backwards and write the letter "r" facing to the left, rather than the right. Add some "da" and "njet" to make it all complete.
    • In the USA, thanks to the popularity of comedian Yakov Smirnoff, Russian Reversals are also associated with the country ("In Soviet Russia, TV watches you!").
    • Another stereotype is that it is customary in Russian to address people formally by their first name and patronymic (i.e. "Oleg Igorevich") regardless of the situation.
    • A funny tidbit about the "Comrade" stereotype: The word "kamrad" has been gaining popularity, but it has nothing to do with communism and is generally synonymous with "friend". The Russian word "tovarishch" (normally translated as "comrade" into English) has quickly fallen out of use since the fall of the USSR and is mostly used in the military for proper address to a superior (form: tovarishch + rank).
  • In Romanian popular culture, the 'Russian' (a notion which lumps together true Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians, at least if they speak intelligible Russian) is always a drunkard, and a cheerful, braggart, violent, strong and nearly-suicidally brave, born warrior. The trope predates both the Soviet Russian victory in World War II and their loss in World War I.
  • When a scene cuts to Moscow: St. Basil's Cathedral and/or the Kremlin will always be seen in the background. In reality, to see both at the same time is only possible from the sole small neighborhood on the Balchug island in Zamoskvorechye, or from the Red Square where both are situated.
    • And Moscow will ALWAYS be snowy and cold. Nevermind that in summer, temperatures can rise to +38ºC.note 
    • Also, every foreigner knows at least one Russian region: Siberia. It's presumably a huge empty place full of pine woods, snow, tribal communities unaware that Czarist Russia is gone, hungry wolves and bears, glaziers, mountains and people working in forced labor in salt mines. If Real Life Siberia has the woods, snow and hundredfold more bears than entire Europe, it's also larger than its fictitious counterpart, it may be thousands of miles to the next human settlement.
      • It's also freezing cold. Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk, the coldest towns on earth, are in Siberia. A typical day is subzero.
      • A case in point: two teenagers decided to drive from Yakutsk to Magadan. In February. When their Toyota Chaser was found a week later in the middle of the Old Kolyma Highway, one had already froze to death and the second lost all his hand and feet to frostbite.
      • Despite this, Southern Siberia is basically a country's grain basket just like the Canada's Prairie Provinces, which are basically its counterpart on the other side of the pond. Its Altai region is also the nation's dairy farm, with up to 50% of Russian cheese and butter produced there.
      • To examplify Russia's record as the largest nation of the world characters will travel by Trans Siberian Express spending months on that train,note  ideal for developing romances or solving murder mysteries.
    • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: A popular phrase originally coined by Sir Winston Churchill to describe Russia. Other countries, especially in Europe, still have a centuries old fear and distrust of Russia, mostly fed by the country's largeness. This was then compounded by the fact that it was culturally severed from Europe by the Mongols for so long that it left Russia with a distinct legacy of being European, but not quite. It's almost comparable to a huge giant, waiting to strike. This is also where the idea of mysterious Russia comes from. There's so much land, most of it hardly visited by humans, that even Russians themselves have no clue what secrets may be hidden in some of the most remote parts of their own country! Take The Tunguska Event, a mysterious meteorite explosion that took place in 1908. Despite having a huge shockwave and impact that could felt millions of miles away it luckily caused no victims, because it happened to strike in the mostly uninhabitated areas of Siberia.
      • The "not-quite-European" aspect has generally been emphasized by countries that held grudges against Russia and/or wanted a pretext for confrontation with it, such as France (after the 1812 defeat), Poland (after the suppression of the November Uprising), and Nazi Germany (which used it as justification that Russians were "racially inferior" and had to be conquered). They tended to present the (typically East Slavic) Russian culture and people (who rarely had direct contact with Mongols and therefore didn't mix with them) as exaggeratedly "Asiatic", which, in line with then-popular chauvinistic paradigm, was basically an euphemism for "barbaric". Unsurprisingly, in the mid-twentieth century when racialism quickly declined in popularity, this view of Russia also became unpopular; nowadays the country is generally seen as peculiar yet undoubtedly European. (Ironically, the "not-quite-European" aspect is also emphasized by a number of Russian ideologues, of whom Alexander Dugin is the latest. Long story simplified and short, the idea is that Russia is a separate civilization, usually dubbed 'Eurasian' or some such, and should avoid Western concepts such as liberal democracy.)
  • All Russians are usually portrayed as stereotypical Slavs despite the fact that significant percentage of Russia's inhabitants are of Turkic or Mongolic origins (especially Siberians). Especially egregious in the case of USSR, where all regions dominated by Asian peoples (Kazakhs, Uyghurs, Tajiks, Uzbeks etc.) that are now sovereign countries were parts of the Soviet Union.
  • Stereotypical Russian will be a mean-spirited asshole that would rather drag everyone down to his low level than even try to improve his own situation, despite having every chance he can get. Best summarised in an old joke: Ivan got one wish to be granted. Having no goat himself, he wished for his neighbour's goat to die.
    • In Russia itself this stereotype is usually ascribed to Ukrainians.
  • If Russia has to be symbolized by an animal it will be a bear. Ironically, this is originally a strictly foreign stereotype — old Russians were too frightened and respectful of the bears, with whom they interacted regularly.
  • When you're in space and you encounter an astronaut who isn't American, it will be a Russian kosmonaut. Expect a bottle of vodka hidden under the seat. Russia was the pioneer in space travel and were the first to respectively bring a satellite (Sputnik), an animal (Laika the dog) and both a human male (Yuri Gagarin) and a female (Valentina Tereshkova) in outer space. They reached so much progress in such a short notice that even the USA was impressed and felt the urge to rapidly start their own space program.
  • Russian athletes will usually be genius chess players, hockey players or very slender and flexible gymnasts. Other Eastern European countries also fall into this stereotype.
    • Their government will usually be injecting doping, hormones or other illegal substances in the athletes' vains to make them stronger. (Was a bit Truth in Television during Communist Russia, but other countries are not shy of doing the same thing, of course. One of the biggest scandals about this took place in East Germany, to start.)
  • Russians may also be depicted as virulently anti-Semitic (or sometimes anti-Muslim) due to the historical persecutions of Jews and Muslims in Russia. The word 'pogrom' is even Russian. It doesn't help that Russia has been involved in conflicts with the Islamic world: from the 17th Century all the way to World War I, Russia fought twelve wars against the Ottoman Empire, expanded over Muslim areas in the Asia to spread Christianity and more recently due to their involvement in the Middle-East, such as the Syrian Civil War.
  • Video game characters from Russia (particularly in beat-em-ups or fighting games) tend to be big, heavy, and powerful Mighty Glaciers, such as Zangiefnote  from Street Fighter or the Heavy from Team Fortress 2. See Husky Russkie for more examples. Other common stereotypes include silent assassins (like Bayman and Dragunov), insane freakshows (like Necro and Dr. Bosconovich), and artificial beings (like Twelve, the Jack robots, and Alisa).
  • Russian men will be named Igor, Vladimir, Nikita, Nicolas, Nikolai, Dmitry, Yuri, Ivan or Boris. Women will be named Nadia, Natalya, Anastasia, Svetlana, Ekatarina, Tatyana, Olga or Valentina.
    • Russian diminutives such as Vanya, Anya, Sasha, Tanya, and Natasha are often treated as full names, though this is incorrect. Russian diminutives are used as given names in the US and many European countries (such as Germany, Sweden, Croatia, and Serbia), but not in Russia itself.
  • Due to the sheer amount of dashcam-equipped cars in Russia, icy/snowy conditions, the occasional relic from Soviet times, vodka and some genuinely bad and unfortunately widespread driving habits, Russian dashcam videos became extremely popular; this lead to the stereotype that Russians drive in a nightmarishly terrible fashion, and driving in Russia is a death sentence. There's even the specific variation that whenever a Russian makes a left turn, disaster will strike.
  • Pretty much all countries around Russia see them as bunch of insecure hypocrites, as Russians absolutely love to consider all their neighbours to be "prideful" and "boastful", never mind they are the ones that never stop to boast how great and powerful their country is and how superior it is to its neighbours in every possible regard. Expect getting called on being just jealous if you ever point it at any Russian.

  • People will say "The Ukraine", even though it is simply "Ukraine". Before its independence (1991) it was indeed given the suffix "the", but today this is totally outdated. Still many foreigners think it's part of Russia and that Ukranians speak Russian, which again is totally false — Ukrainian is definitely a language in its own right. Most of them do, though, even the most rabid of the nationalists — it even gets kinda funny when "Moskals to the gallows!" is shouted by guys who cannot connect two words in Ukrainian. The same happens to their capital city, Kiev.
  • In Russian culture, Ukrainians are a common object of stereotyping as simple-minded rustic hillbillies. A "typical" Ukrainian wears national (peasant) dress, eats lard and salo (pork fat) in unbelievable amounts, drinks horilka (Ukrainian answer to vodka), speaks in Funetik Aksent and is dim-witted and sly at the same time. Despite being jovial Big Eaters, they are also prone to be stingy and mean ("what I can't eat, I shall bite!"). They are also frequently stereotyped as very entitled, deeply believing that the world revolves around them, and that everyone around have to humor them just because they exist.
  • All Ukranians enjoy dancing the Hopak, their national folkloric dance, and enjoy painting pysankas, colorfully designed wax-coated Easter eggs.
  • Ukrainian girls are uniformly dark-haired, pudgy, gentle and submissive but also slutty. To Americans, Ukraine is the land of beautiful women who want to marry a good man because their own men are misogynistic pigs. Unfortunate Implications abound.
    • It should be noted that in Russia Ukranian women are seen as sexy but very greedy, selfish, bitchy and promiscuous. They'll also always attempt to dominate their partner in any relationship. Western stereotype about "gentle and submissive" Ukranian women usually causes Flat "What" reaction.
    • They are also stereotyped of being incurably rustic and incapable of sophistication, especially if indeed coming from the countryside. Even in Ukraine itself a common bon mot says: "You can take the girl out of the village, but you cannot take the village out of the girl". Just as Yanks say about the trailer parks
  • In recent years, Western Ukrainians are stereotyped as rabid nationalists (if not outright Fascists).
    • In the same vein, Eastern Ukrainians tend to get the rabble-rousing Dirty Commies treatment. At it's worst, this stereotype surges right into fifth-columnists-for-Russia paranoia.
  • The most negative assocation within the country is the nuclear power plant disaster in Chernobyl. Since 1986 the city is now both a Ghost Town Frozen in Time and a paradise for animals and plants who survived the radiation.
    • As a corollary, at least since the eponymous video game (as the novel at the least wasn't set in Ukraine), the whole area may be depicted as one big "Zone" that is teeming with "stalkers".
  • Given the scale of recent events, expect Ukraine to be known for the Euromaidan civil unrests and Russia's response to it above all else for many years to come. Some has already dubbed the resulting civil war the Second Ruin — after the similar civil war that devastated the country in the 17th century.
  • Ukranians are often perceived as gloomy people who are always arguing with one another. They're also said to have a loser/martyrdom culture, glorifying their losses and defeats, and generally celebrating being The Woobie, just like the Poles.
    • The Ukraine's national anthem, an extremely sad and gloomy affair basically sung in a wailing tone throughout, is derisively nicknamed "The Song Of A Dead Doggy" in Russia, because when interpreted in Russian, its first line of "Not dead yet are Ukraine's (will and glory)" sounds very much like "The puppy of Ukraine has died".
  • They only speak Russian and nothing else — not actually true; the Ukrainian language does exist and is spoken, though it doesn't stop some from calling it just a particularly rustic Russian dialect — which actually was an official position of a Tsarist goverment, Bolsheviks instead turned to develop it into a literary language in its own right.note  Other languages other than Russian and Ukrainian are also spoken, such as Romanian/Moldovan, Slovak, Polish and Hungarian in the West, and Ukrainian-Russian pidgin called Surzhik on most of the territory.
  • The Polish stereotype for Ukraine tends to be some mix of varying proportions between an idyllic Arcadia that used to be "ours", and a Romantic open steppe land for knightly gentleman heroes to roam. The stereotypes for Ukrainians include: a possibly evil, but industrial-grade badass Cossack (the old-timey stereotype), the insanely violent nationalist in the midst of an ethnic cleansing (the post-WWII stereotype), or a sympathetic funny-accented temporary expat, usually a maid or a student (the post-'89 stereotype).


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