« Sports

The Real Russia :: What it's Like at the Games :: Babushkas - A Russian Staple

by Mary Kay Wright

Why America Could Use a Few Babushkas Over Here...

Babushkas are Russian Grandmothers. They are respected, feared and adored in Russian society. What I find most interesting about them is that they aren’t just “Someone’s Grandma” they each are “Everyone’s Grandma”.

1. Babushkas are perfect at cooking and will stuff you every chance they get. They worry constantly that you are getting too thin or too pale – and are ready to wine and dine you to remedy the problem. So you can forget your diet and indulge for once without any guilt.

2. Babushkas keep everybody in line! You know those annoying people you come across …the guy who watches you struggle overloaded with groceries without even opening the door or the person who steals the parking space you were waiting for – they wouldn’t stand a chance if we had Babushkas. These women won’t hesitate to set you straight if you are breaking the rules.

3. Babushkas are always looking out for everyone’s best interest. For example – Russians won’t sit directly on cold concrete believing that it causes illness. If a Babushka sees you doing that (it is usually us tourists) she will quickly come over and insist you stand up before you damage any future chance for having children! 

4. Babushkas “know everything” and are good at giving advice whether you ask for it or not. They are the Head of The Hat Police. Don’t get caught anywhere in public without a warm hat, not only will you stick out like the tourist you are but could also get a scolding. 

5. Babushkas like to keep things tidy – almost every public building in Russia has a coat check and you are automatically expected to use it. They are often staffed by Babushkas – so don’t be surprised if you find that loose button or ripped hem fixed when you return to pick up your coat. Over here I’m just happy if they find my coat without a long wait. 

6. Forget our high childcare costs…  when a grandchild is born Babushkas arrive to take care of the new baby for you - why - because “she knows best” of course!