“Hockey, fishing and potatoes: what is common for both the Russian and the Quebecois”. An interview with Dr. Isaeva, Head of the International Center “Moscow-Quebec”

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When did the Francophone Days start and what is their meaning?

The days have been regularly held since the beginning of the 21st century and our Center has during this time held about 30 events of various formats, of which the most memorable was the play “Hamlet Collage” directed by the Canadian film director Robert Lepage.

Why has English replaced French as the international lingua franca?

English was brought about to the international forefront by the world of advanced technology yet French continues to be the language of culture and art. It played a unique role in the Russian society and language wherein many words, even of the slang and argot strata could be traced to bastardized French words and expressions. The French culture has also given us its cuisine, its art and the whole idea of refined beauty.

What about the Canadian and French cuisine?

We have borrowed some things. There are open-air cafes, the traditional Canadian “Chinese paté” and some other simple dishes that have been or could be brought to Russia.


What other things are common to both cultures?

The climate pre-determined certain commonalities in architecture and winter sports. Fishing, making snowmen, getting juice – or syrup – from trees (maple and birch), all these traits are shared.

What about the history of hockey?

We have done research with our colleagues from Université Lavale that culminated in the book “Quebec-Canada-Russia: a hundred mirrors” in which we specifically chose hockey as sport common to both countries and talked about the famous Super Series-1972 that consisted of eight games between the teams of the two countries.

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What do the Canadians and the Quebecois in particular think of the Russians?

There had been almost no relations until 1992 when President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Mulroney signed an agreement on cooperation. From that moment on universities have created exchange programs and in 1998 our Center was opened. Much has changed since the 90s, but the Canadians that visit Russia are still astonished by the Russian hospitality and how friendly and cordial the people are here.

Are there joint projects between RSUH and Université Lavale?

Yes, and the book “Quebec-Canada-Russia: a hundred mirrors” is one of them. Before that it was a study guide “The Civilization of Quebec”. Our first joint activity was a project studying the research of Bakhtin. We are currently planning a project on research of the Arctic regions.

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