Monday, 11 February 2008

Little Brother, Big Brother

Javhlan & Haidav - Ahand Dvvsin Duu

Tinet commented on the previous Genghis Khan post that Mongols are generally not very enthusiastic about Russia after decades of Soviet "nurturing". This video by the popular singer Javhlan made me very confused. It looks like a celebration of the "cooperation between nations" that was such a central part of Soviet propaganda.*) I even thought it was ironic, until I found this post at Silk Road Freeways.

The blog author has an excellent explanation for the popularity of this song:
I think a good analogy would be the way Americans see the 1950’s. Some people want to bring the USA back to the 50’s, just like some Mongolians wish they could go back to Russian domination. In both cases they’re the minority. Still, practically all Americans enjoy 50’s diners and oldies music. Putting footage of Lenin parades on TV is the Mongolian equivalent of showing girls in poodle skirts doing the twist.

*)As everyone knows, Finland benefited from it by being such a pain in the ass 1939-1944 that Stalin went all "awww, plucky little bastards" and let them sign the "Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance" in 1948 without rolling the tanks through Helsinki first. That's why the Finnish economy crashed in the early 1990's. Of course, nobody would admit that the reason for the loss of the important trading partner also depended on the fact that the Russians simply got free access to markets that had better stuff to sell...


amerikanka said...

I just found your blog and I love it! Very interesting. And easy on the eyes too, of course. I'm lucky enough to be dating a gorgeous Tatar man, and am trying to learn about his culture ... unfortunately (for the whole world) he'd probably kill me if I sent you a photo of him. ;-) Keep up the wonderful work ... not an unpleasant task with research of this nature!

Tinet said...

Zdravstvuy, amerikanka!
Wow, lucky girl! Awww, too bad your gorgeous Tatar probably wouldn't like to be featured on our blog ... ;o)

As for Javhlan & Haidav - I think there is clearly humorous distance in the video's imagery ... Like the lady shaking her boobs. It's lighthearted and not at all serious nostalgia. Of course, I think it's really sweet. ^_^

ainur said...

It's good to know that the Mongolians don't take the past *too* seriously. It can't be easy being squeezed between two superpowers AND having Genghis Khan as a national hero.

YouTube is very dangerous. I have found so many funny and cute Kazakh and Mongolian videos that have to be posted here, but I always forget (and I don't want to spam the blog).

Tinet said...

You MUST post them!!! If you see a cute Central Asian guy anywhere, at any time - he goes to Chirayliq. No question about it.

Unconscript said...

I found the Javhlan video a bit disturbing. He is a very conservative traditionalist, and you call tell by his music. He evokes a lot of the nationalist, Communist era, instilled imagery in his songs. No doubt some of his topics are cultural, such as Mom's tea etc... but he is hitting that soft spot in Mongolians during their hard times.

I remember in the early 90s, right after the regime change, many people would evoke "good memories" of the "Oros akhnar" or Russian older brothers who used to take care of us.

Well anyways, I think your blog is awesome. Not many people know/care about Central Asian men, certainly not any white ladies.