Sunday, August 29, 2010

Know-Nothing Guy represents Russia at EXPO 2010

Anti-hero of the old Soviet fairly tale "The Adventures of Dunno And His Friends" by Nikolay Nosov was chosen as a symbol for Russian modernization and innovation at Shanghai World Expo 2010.

Image by myltik.ruFor the first time in many years Russia is spending some 37 million U.S. dollars to construct its own expo pavilion rather than renting one from the host country, but this endeavor ends up being a culturological f'up.

For some unknown yet reason, Now-Nothing Guy, also known as Dunno or Neznaika (Rus.), was chosen as a symbol at the Expo, and the Russian pavilion was decorated using elements from the fairy-tale about him. Neznaika is a boy who is ignorant, lazy, rude and conceited, but he is also curious, kind and unbelievably lucky. He is reminiscent of the popular Russian folk hero Ivan the Fool.

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"Through the World Expo, we would like to show the world the true image of a new Russia that has undergone huge transformations in economy, culture and society," said Vladimir Strashko, the Vice President of Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Needless to say, Chineese audience was quite surprised by that Russian choice: Confucian culture values aspiration for knowledge, and not the ignorance, and with Neznaika guiding visitors along the pavilion they could have gotten a hint on a true state of things with modernization and innovation hype in Russia.

So this August, three months after the EXPO2010 was officially launched, President Medvedev ordered to completely redo the pavilion, bringing a stronger feel of modernization. Renovation should be finished by the time he comes to visit China in September. It's suggested Neznaika is renamed to NewZnaika (New-Know-Everything Guy) and a stonger accent is made on Russian "Silicon Valley Skolkovo" project (source)

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