Remember, Russia, you are great,
Not in the field of battles past
But in the green fields full of wheat
And forests, gardens free of dust.
(L. I. Khusainova)

I should say it`s an awfully difficult task to write an essay on Russia these days. May be for our grandparents and even for our mums and dads it would have been easy to say how large our country is, how rich it is in natural and mineral resources and how deep our lakes and rivers are. But for us, teenagers, to speak about all these things are of no interest, because in any text-book on geography or economy you will find all the necessary facts and data.

I’d like to share my opinion on the topic. They say that some five or ten years ago, if a foreigner had been asked a Question about his idea of Russia, what answer do you think he would have given? An “ordinary” foreigner (not a diplomat, of course) would probably have said the following: “Siberia is everywhere, frosts all year round; dense forests covered with snow; there is some “Red Square” right in the middle of this forest and brown bears walk just on this Square.” That was a common conception of my country. Not everyone shared it but it was quite widespread.

Now the situation has changed greatly. It’s well-known fact that our country has always played one of the leading roles in the world politics and economics. But, at present, there are a lot of problems in the national economy of the Russian Federation. The industrial production is decreasing, the prices Are constantly rising; the rate of inflation is very high. People are losing their jobs because many factories and plants are going bankrupt. And the most serious problem nowadays is act of terror, of course. It’s very hard to struggle with terrorism, because it requires world-wide efforts. So, willy-nilly, I continue to worry about my future and Russia’s future as well.

For me it`s difficult

to analyze and explain all these problems. They are the problems of our government, first of all. But yet I’ll try to understand what is happening to our country: “Why do a lot of people live a poor life? Why are there so many young people in our country who use drugs? Why is it so difficult for a person who hasn`t got enough money to get a good education?”

I am sure all teenagers want to have enough money in order to dress well, to go to theatres, cinemas and clubs, to visit foreign countries, or just buy necessary books. How can they solve all these problems? Many of them have to earn their money washing cars, selling newspapers, helping elderly people or doing some other part-time jobs. Thus, they have some pocket money for their own needs.

And don`t you think that one of the most important problems of our country nowadays is the problem of ecology? Our health depends on it. A great number of our children have different diseases because contradictions between people and the environment are acquiring a dramatic character now. We should always remember Nature is the source of people’s life and international cooperation is necessary to create a system of ecological security.

One more problem troubles me. People of different ages and social levels come to my country from all over the world to understand us better and sometimes they have a bad influence on us. Here I’d like to mention, that we (I mean Russian people) are beginning to lose pride in our country. We think that life abroad is much better. I don`t argue with this but we should not look up to the Americans. We should value our culture and science, our poetry and fiction, and all those famous people who glorified Russia. They are Pushkin and Tolstoy, Lomonosov, Korolyev and Gagarin, Anna Achmatova and Shukshin, to name only a few.

It`s extremely important to respect our own culture, first of all, and not to lose touch with it. Russia has very long history. That`s why our country is rich in many different customs and traditions. For example, there are many villages in Russia famous for their specific crafts: painted boxes in Palekh, wooden tableware in Khokhloma and toys in Dymkovo. Log houses, usually decorated with wood carving are typical for Russian villages. People in Russian villages performed traditional Khorovods, chastushki and rode in troikas and, of course, village residents still prefer to drink tea from samovars. Traditional Russian Cooking includes porridges, pancakes, various aspics, cabbage, chicken, fish soup and kvass. Siberian cuisine has such dishes as stroganina (frozen fish) and pelmeni (meat-filled dumplings).

We should also remember that the place where you were born is the only one where people really care for you. As for me, I was born in Altai which is often called the second Switzerland. And I`m really proud of this Wonderland: its blue hills and high mountains, fascinating lakes and picturesque meadows, unusual flora and fauna and, of course, my great countrymen such as Titov, Shukshin, Zolotuchin, Evdokimov and many others.

To sum up I’d like to emphasize I really love my Motherland because everyone ought to love his native country! I prefer to see it always rich, independent and proud. We shouldn’t “live for today” and not worry about tomorrow. Because if we “live for today”, there will be no future. I am sure my dreams are quite realizable. So, let’s hope for the best. I want to see my dear Land dressed in green and blue, beautiful and prosperous!

I ought to love my country,
The land on which I live.
Yes, I’m sure, my heart
Its truest love can give.
For if I love my country
I’ll try to be the man
My country may be proud of
And if I try, I can.

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