The word “sovok”(from Russian means scoop) itself comes from the word “Soviet”, and it denotes the most negative manifestations of lifestyle, as well as thinking inherent in citizens of the former Soviet Union.

Here, in my opinion, are the main signs of the “sovok” and my explanation of their origin.

Xenophobia (fear or hatred of everything alien, unfamiliar, unusual).

Xenophobia also originates from our Soviet barracks past. Soviet ideology proclaimed the supremacy of society over the individual. The interests of the collective have always been above the interests of any of its members. “One is nonsense, one is zero” was the communist slogan. Any protrusion from the collective, as opposed to the general mass, was considered an attempt on the specified principle of the supremacy of society. If everyone goes in formation, then you should go in formation. If everyone is dressed in gray, then you should also wear gray. You don’t have to stand out. I remember that in schools the most effective argument in the dispute was the phrase: “Are you special?”. After that, the dispute usually stopped and the disobedient humbly went into service, since it was a terrible sentence to separate from the collective.

This ideology of subordination to society and the system has spread to all spheres of human life: philosophical views, science, art, appearance. It would seem that what’s wrong with wearing bright shoes, or a colored shirt? But no. This was seen as a challenge to social foundations. “Today you put on jeans, and tomorrow you will sell your Homeland!” said teachers in schools (the atmosphere of intolerance towards dissent in the Soviet Union is very well conveyed by Todorovsky’s film “The Dudes”).

How does “Soviet” xenophobia manifest itself today? Yes, colored shirts and short skirts have already defended their right to life. The boundaries of what is allowed have expanded. But the “Soviet” xenophobia remained, just reoriented to new objects. Now the subject of “righteous” anger are homosexuals, Hare Krishnas, punks, “emo”, etc., in general, everyone who stands out from the bulk of people. The “sovok” stigmatizes them, makes them outcasts. Especially aggressive “sovoks” are ready to beat up “incomprehensible” on the street. This is xenophobia.

P.S. It must be admitted that along with the negative features described above, the Soviet way of life, paradoxically, was characterized by such completely opposite qualities as solidarity, mutual assistance, dedication, respect for elders, patriotism, etc. This is probably natural. Any society, like any person, has positive and negative qualities (although even this division into positive and negative is a relative thing).

P.P.S. The qualities described above were not characteristic of all citizens of the Soviet Union. And today not every person over forty is a “sovok”.

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