A lot of foreign researchers who tried to delve in the ''deep and enigmatic Russian soul'' with a certain astonishment tell their comlanders about Russain dislike for smiles, about Russian saying ''laugh without a reason is the sign of foolishness''. In the moments when every non-Russian can find a whole bunch of reasons why he should smile - the sun, fresh air, stars, wind, rain, women, men, life, the universe and everything after all, Russians for some reason don't think that such wonderful things are worth of giving them a smile. These Russians are so strange, so ''off-traditional'' say foreigners.
The conclusions of these reseraches about such trifling at first glance observation are very broad and quite global, starting with the ''malicious temper'', ''harsh climate'' and ending with the ''thousand years traditions of Tsarism, Serfage, Communism and Putinism''.
However an explanation of this phenomen is less complexed and much easier than the assumptions of the foreign researchers. At the same time such explanation is quite difficult to take emotionally.
The reality of a Russian imbued by the air, wind, sun and women the same as the reality of a French for instance. Everything enumerated above presents at the Russian life as well.
But it is all just a thin shell, haze, mirage. And from this shroud of smoke, which everyone except Russians take as a reality, the main character of our history gazes us eye-to-eye, and under his breath the thin shell flutters like a flag in the wind, it turns frost, and become charred in some places.
All our time we live with the unique ability to sense this gaze, we feel it. Through our life we carry this sometimes not noticable at first sight truth: War is always near.
Due to the specific peculiarity of our war history filled with many tragedies and the victim scales which European countries have never seen in their worst nightmares, every Russian knows about war since his birth, he keeps it all in his memory, that's what makes an average Russian different from the average European fellow.
In the second millenium, Russia was virtually a defensive fortress: since 1055 unti 1462 year historians estimated that it was commited more than 245 invasions of Russia and external skimrishes, since 1240 until 1462 - not a signle year was without a war. Out of 537 years passed since Kulikov's battle (1380) until the First World War (1914) Russia spent 334 years in the battles. During that times Russia had to deal on its own with several anti-Russian coalitions; one of such wars was against 9 countries, two - against 5 countries, twenty five - against 3 countries and thirty seven wars against 2 countries. Vast majority of the Russian wars was defensive.
War is always near, that's actually why we have the joke ''what if the war comes and I'm tired?'' - we laugh on it, jokingly thinking that a little boy who just said it, actually found a great pretext to not make his homework.
War is always near, that's the reason why on the 1st of September, the first lesson of our children who enter the first grade at school is not mathematics, nor literature. It is - The Lesson of Piece. We all went on this lesson at first school day in our life.
War is always close, and not only in our past. It is always near, it's near even when it is in the remote Libya. We painfully take this war because we understand, we feel that it is related with us. This singal wherever it was sent, it is a signal to us.
It is in our country the most popular book is ''If war comes tommorow''.
When Russian watches this world he always see this menacing figure behind the half-transparent curtain, and he always knows, that in every moment, in every minute, in every second this figure can make a swift step forward and pull back this curtain.
If our Euroean brothers could see what we see, they would have the same expressions on their faces as we do.
But non-smiling Russians do not start wars. It is Cheerful and joyous Europeans who start them, whereas sullen non-smiling Russians finnish these wars.
Usually in the European capitals, whether it is Berlin 1945 or Paris 1813 it doesn't matter.
And only in the moments when war is over, Russians become cheerful and happy.
Not for long.
Because war is always near.