Monday, May 22, 2006

Cultural difference: the flag debate in Russia

Most Europeans find Americans’ predilection to display the national flag wherever possible quite odd. Unlike the US (or Canada for that matter) in Europe national flags can only be seen on state buildings and during international events, in other words they are for outward consumption, so to speak.
What I’ve heard from Russia recently smacks of another kind of extremes. According to several news reports (examples are here and here). It’s illegal in Russia to have the national tricolor displayed permanently unless it’s a government institution. Apparently, one can do it freely only during national holidays. Or, translated from the bureaucratic lingo, the national flag belongs to the state, period. One can’t find a better metaphor to describe in what direction Russia is headed.


At 7:36 AM, Blogger Free Agent said...

It sounds like what goes in my native Singapore, one major difference being that Singaporeans can only display our national flag during _one_ national holiday period - our National Day.

Welcome to the statist club.


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