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Thread: A Stupid Question

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    This is a stupid question but you must forgive me. I could not ask it to anyone except Russians.

    Where does the Russian sentimentality and depth of persona come from, more from the Finnic ancestry in Russians, or the Slavic? Or is it a combination of all elements? And what did Turkic peoples contribute to the Russian persona?

    Because I read an article in which an expert said that the spiritual inclination of the Russian people is an Asiatic quality. I do not agree with this opinion.

    But tell me, why do Russians have the strength and courage and ability to endure to the end. Where did it come from and why is there an absence of this in Western Europe?

    There is a serious quality about the Russian people and some level of sentimenality. The more I watch Russian movies and learn the Russian language I understand it. Clearly a nation that puts value on honour before all else. For an Anglo-Saxon I can see in Russians that there is an absolute refusal and unhappiness to accept dishonour or to compromise principles, it will cause depression for you.

    It is a problem for me if Russian positive values are Asiatic because for me Russia reflects the strength of what could be for us in the West if we would return to our roots and always aim for the highest good. If Russia is not European then Europe cannot be really European.

    I saw several Russian movies and last night I watched one without subtitles, 'Ты У Меня Одна'. I understood many parts and saw how similar the mentality was. But I've seen many Russian movies by Mosfilm and I did not see the culture presented therein as anything foreign or strange. The only difference I could see was language. Yet even the sense of humour could be understood by a non-native speaker like myself.


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    If you compare russians to other slavs, you would see their persona is really similar. Really open among their kind but really closed minded regarding others. Also a strong family and nation feeling.

    Regarding the Western World, Russia was always a completly different nation compared to the rest of the european populations. It wasn't until Peter the Great approach towards European nations that russian opened to the world, but still they have prevailed as a remote nation in the european diaspora.

    So for me, Russian aren't neither Asiatic of European, but they're their very own spirit. Trying to picture Russian as asiatic or european is completly wrong, it's way deeper than that, and it's something that the rest of Europe can't understand, because your mentality always turns around your continent and not your own people

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    Quote Originally Posted by verbcn View Post
    If you compare russians to other slavs, you would see their persona is really similar. Really open among their kind but really closed minded regarding others. Also a strong family and nation feeling.

    Regarding the Western World, Russia was always a completly different nation compared to the rest of the european populations. It wasn't until Peter the Great approach towards European nations that russian opened to the world, but still they have prevailed as a remote nation in the european diaspora.

    So for me, Russian aren't neither Asiatic of European, but they're their very own spirit. Trying to picture Russian as asiatic or european is completly wrong, it's way deeper than that, and it's something that the rest of Europe can't understand, because your mentality always turns around your continent and not your own people
    What I don't understand is why in the English press and media and among the ignorant population who know nothing of Russia it is treated as a country to be feared.

    Apparently the Russian values are so foreign, but when I consume Soviet media and with interactions with Russians I saw nothing foreign or strange.

    But it is still of course the general opinion, "You cannot like Russia, you are an Anglo-Saxon."

    Sometimes I wonder if the real reason Russian values and mentality are considered foreign is because Russian values don't allow a person to be an individualistic selfish or useless heartless person.

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    Nice to see a positive opinion for a change The subject is interesting too.

    AFAIK, the modern films aren't nearly as good as older ones. I could recommend some if it's wanted. Just pick a genre.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumata View Post
    Nice to see a positive opinion for a change The subject is interesting too.

    AFAIK, the modern films aren't nearly as good as older ones. I could recommend some if it's wanted. Just pick a genre.
    It was after I saw the movie 'Only Old Men Are Going to Battle' that I understood that your country has special qualities. I saw that the war is remembered in a sacred way, the sacrifice of the heroes for the liberation of their motherland and Europe. Especially the song at the end За того парня and the image of the small girl drawing with crayons on the floor. Here we don't remember the war in such a way, especially not in the sense that it was fought to protect our children, not in the same way. There is a lot that your cinema and media reveal about what the Soviet Union was. I will not comment like some arrogant idiot but from what I saw it looks like it was a fundamentally moral society where people all worked for the common good and where most people were big hearted, generous and kind.

    Interestingly enough, through watching Soviet movies I imagine the Soviet Union to have been a colourful, bright and cheerful place where man could live in freedom. I've only met one other British man who has such a positive opinion of the USSR and he is a communist who studied in Moscow in the 1970s.

    But there is a fundamental seriousness I saw in all of it. Absolute refusal to compromise moral principles, extreme heroism and refusal to give up. Absolute refusal to compromise moral authenticity.

    In the Anglo-Saxon world we know absolutely nothing about Russia or the Soviet Union. This ignorance is causing tremendous problems.

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    My grandfather fought in WWII in reconnaissance troops and then in artillery. He told us that we won thanks to the heroism of our soldiers, but unfortunately he didn't tell us much more. Still we can listen to the memoirs of veterans on youtube. Of course we have many good films but they hardly reflect everything that comes with a war.

    I think for us a loss in that war would have a more dire consequences than for you. Also the war rolled on our soil populated by civilians. Also the abundance of direct eye-to-eye fights. All this made the difference.

    Yes, I think that morally the Red Army was strong. It has a strong ideology, plus the enemy made sure to demonise itself. Yet, of course, the army was composed of different persons. Some were heroes while some others switched sides for some reasons.

    Moscow in the 1970s was probably a nice place to live indeed. Well, it's a common opinion here that people used to be warmer, more helpful, simple, more certain about the future and had higher ideals but also were more naive back then. It's natural considering the changes in our society that took place since then. Concerning freedom, it's a complex subject. I think there wasn't enough of it. Neither it is now.

    Do you know this song?

    Last edited by Rumata; 04-22-2019 at 07:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Learning_Genetics View Post
    This is a stupid question but you must forgive me. I could not ask it to anyone except Russians.

    Where does the Russian sentimentality and depth of persona come from, more from the Finnic ancestry in Russians, or the Slavic? Or is it a combination of all elements? And what did Turkic peoples contribute to the Russian persona?

    Because I read an article in which an expert said that the spiritual inclination of the Russian people is an Asiatic quality. I do not agree with this opinion.

    But tell me, why do Russians have the strength and courage and ability to endure to the end. Where did it come from and why is there an absence of this in Western Europe?

    There is a serious quality about the Russian people and some level of sentimenality. The more I watch Russian movies and learn the Russian language I understand it. Clearly a nation that puts value on honour before all else. For an Anglo-Saxon I can see in Russians that there is an absolute refusal and unhappiness to accept dishonour or to compromise principles, it will cause depression for you.

    It is a problem for me if Russian positive values are Asiatic because for me Russia reflects the strength of what could be for us in the West if we would return to our roots and always aim for the highest good. If Russia is not European then Europe cannot be really European.

    I saw several Russian movies and last night I watched one without subtitles, 'Ты У Меня Одна'. I understood many parts and saw how similar the mentality was. But I've seen many Russian movies by Mosfilm and I did not see the culture presented therein as anything foreign or strange. The only difference I could see was language. Yet even the sense of humour could be understood by a non-native speaker like myself.
    The question is so big not many Russians will be able to answer. You have to visit Russia to feel it yourself. I mean not a large city but travel some far places like Ural or Baikal. Preferably during winter. If you'll ever find yourself alone in the middle of frozen steppe during blizzard you'll understand how small and insignificant you are. How powerful are the spirits of nature around you. Westerners prefer to think they are in control. For any Russian it's so obvious it's delusion, we control nothing. World around us is full of immensely beautiful but harsh forces. When you overcoming them all your life you learn to be tough and be able to endure.

    The nature is huge, people are few. You may be able to make it through alone this winter but next or the following one will finish you. That phrase 'where the lone wolf dies the pack survives' is fundamental everyday rule of Russian society. That's why in traditional Russian culture every man is valuable. All your personal whims and desires means nothing, getting through together, watching the back of the man next to you, caring for each other and for the pack is all that matters. Sacrifice yourself for your brothers if needs to be. That's some contradiction here, every man is valuable but could be sacrificed if needed for the pack. Because what's there more valuable than a human life? Right, it's two human lives.

    All that without even taking multiple enemies into consideration. Nomadic hordes to the East and South, Germanic knights to the West. And vast open spaces with no natural defensive border. When enemy comes your only choice is to stand your ground and fight. If you fail your whole family will be either exterminated or enslaved and sold to Turks to disappear forever. So because you love your little daughters so much and it's unbearable for you to even think of them being abused and humiliated you walk into your death willingly in attempt to die as crazy as possible taking as many enemies with you as you can. Has been like that for centuries.

    But it's not all as pure and beautiful as you might see in the movies. The vast spaces means one could go far and do some ugly sh|t to people he has no personal connection to and get away with it. It's very easy to get lost if one want it. So there are plenty of nasty characters roaming around looking for easy prey. Some are truly desperate, some are just living like that and don't want to know any other way.

    The topic is huge, there is much we still don't understand about ourselves.

    One of the best documentaries about Russia is 'Happy People: A Year in the Taiga'. It's four episodes one for each season, free on YT. You won't find anything remotely like it ever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumata View Post
    My grandfather fought in WWII in reconnaissance troops and then in artillery. He told us that we won thanks to the heroism of our soldiers, but unfortunately he didn't tell us much more. Still we can listen to the memoirs of veterans on youtube. Of course we have many good films but they hardly reflect everything that comes with a war.
    If I would ever get the chance to meet a Soviet veteran I would love to convey to him or her my gratitude. In fact when I visit Russia I hope I can lay flowers to pay my respects. Although I would hope such a gesture from a foreigner would not be considered inappropriate or insincere.

    There was a Youtube clip I saw where a young man was giving money to ВОВ veterans. I think a woman may have stopped him to tell him it was not correct but he continued anyhow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumata View Post
    I think for us a loss in that war would have a more dire consequences than for you. Also the war rolled on our soil populated by civilians. Also the abundance of direct eye-to-eye fights. All this made the difference.
    Certainly.

    A loss for Russia would have been devastating but even for us Berlin had some terrible plans. All of the British male population of a certain age was to be deported to Europe for slave labour, possibly to never return. Heinrich Himmler wanted to exterminate us, and this is documented in archives.

    This is why your country's efforts were critical to ensuring that we could survive. Without the Soviet Union it would have been possible for the Germans to have used all their resources to launch a land invasion of England. In London I saw a monument to American soldiers and now I want one to honour Soviet heroes as well. We should certainly recognise this, afterall Russia is gracious enough to decorate our veterans year after year:

    https://rusemb.org.uk/ushakov/

    It saddens me that British prime ministers have been invited to May 9 celebrations in Moscow but have refused the invitation.



    Eternal memory to the heroes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumata View Post
    Yes, I think that morally the Red Army was strong. It has a strong ideology, plus the enemy made sure to demonise itself. Yet, of course, the army was composed of different persons. Some were heroes while some others switched sides for some reasons.
    I read some information about РОА and Andrei Vlasov. I hope mentioning them does not offend you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumata View Post
    Moscow in the 1970s was probably a nice place to live indeed. Well, it's a common opinion here that people used to be warmer, more helpful, simple, more certain about the future and had higher ideals but also were more naive back then. It's natural considering the changes in our society that took place since then. Concerning freedom, it's a complex subject. I think there wasn't enough of it. Neither it is now.
    Is it true that most Muscovites had those apartments with the wooden floors, high ceilings and big rooms, modern kitchens etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumata View Post
    I had seen this many times recommended on Youtube but until now I have not clicked it. Thank you for showing me this powerful song. Sadly my Russian is not good enough to understand the nuance of the lyrics but this is very strong.

    I feel nothing but absolute respect for the sentiments conveyed in this song. The scene depicted again reminds me of the overwhelming significance of the war in Russian memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatian View Post
    The question is so big not many Russians will be able to answer. You have to visit Russia to feel it yourself. I mean not a large city but travel some far places like Ural or Baikal. Preferably during winter. If you'll ever find yourself alone in the middle of frozen steppe during blizzard you'll understand how small and insignificant you are. How powerful are the spirits of nature around you. Westerners prefer to think they are in control. For any Russian it's so obvious it's delusion, we control nothing. World around us is full of immensely beautiful but harsh forces. When you overcoming them all your life you learn to be tough and be able to endure.
    Westerners think that they can lead a happy and content existence. There is an obsession with happiness and self-fulfillment. I've heard my own Westerners tell me that I need to "make it happen" in terms of what I want to do with life, and one's life mission etc. While I appreciate their advice I also know that it is not always a case of an individual's will power. We must work hard but it is not in our hands. I've always known it. From what I've come to understand we have no control over the world. All we have any control over are our choices and how we react to the situation around us. We can just try to live as honourably as possible, do our best, that's all we can do. And now I'm starting to feel like my life is dream like, almost like a Beatles song, bitter sweet feeling constantly. I don't feel myself unless I am melancholic.

    Do you believe that Russia's history also influenced the mentality of the people? Especially in the sense of the 20th century?

    Would you say that the Russian character was shaped more by circumstances of geography and environment or ethnography? In other words, the essence and character of the various peoples that went to form the Russian ethnos.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatian View Post
    The nature is huge, people are few. You may be able to make it through alone this winter but next or the following one will finish you. That phrase 'where the lone wolf dies the pack survives' is fundamental everyday rule of Russian society. That's why in traditional Russian culture every man is valuable. All your personal whims and desires means nothing, getting through together, watching the back of the man next to you, caring for each other and for the pack is all that matters. Sacrifice yourself for your brothers if needs to be. That's some contradiction here, every man is valuable but could be sacrificed if needed for the pack. Because what's there more valuable than a human life? Right, it's two human lives.
    Perhaps self-sacrifice for one's family and brothers is the highest value.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatian View Post
    All that without even taking multiple enemies into consideration. Nomadic hordes to the East and South, Germanic knights to the West. And vast open spaces with no natural defensive border. When enemy comes your only choice is to stand your ground and fight. If you fail your whole family will be either exterminated or enslaved and sold to Turks to disappear forever. So because you love your little daughters so much and it's unbearable for you to even think of them being abused and humiliated you walk into your death willingly in attempt to die as crazy as possible taking as many enemies with you as you can. Has been like that for centuries.
    Yes, love will always create bravery. There is no limit to what we will do for those we love, absolutely none. True love will always prevail over fear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatian View Post
    But it's not all as pure and beautiful as you might see in the movies. The vast spaces means one could go far and do some ugly sh|t to people he has no personal connection to and get away with it. It's very easy to get lost if one want it. So there are plenty of nasty characters roaming around looking for easy prey. Some are truly desperate, some are just living like that and don't want to know any other way.
    It is my fear that if I went to visit Russia I would have too many romantic and naive ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatian View Post
    The topic is huge, there is much we still don't understand about ourselves.
    It is fascinating because around me in my own society I see constant apathy. Apparently an adult man is not meant to be emotional or sentimental but I've always felt that a man without emotions is actually weak. There is a lot of lack of heart in the society in the country in which I live today. Not everyone is bad, there are many good people but we are losing our way ever more.

    And that is a difference that I saw in your civilisation, something beyond apathy. Real people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatian View Post
    One of the best documentaries about Russia is 'Happy People: A Year in the Taiga'. It's four episodes one for each season, free on YT. You won't find anything remotely like it ever.
    It's a superb documentary. Thank you for recommending it.
    Last edited by Learning_Genetics; 04-23-2019 at 09:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Learning_Genetics View Post
    If I would ever get the chance to meet a Soviet veteran I would love to convey to him or her my gratitude.
    Almost 74 years passed since the Victory. Sadly few veterans are still alive.

    In fact when I visit Russia I hope I can lay flowers to pay my respects. Although I would hope such a gesture from a foreigner would not be considered inappropriate or insincere.
    I'm sure it should be regarded as a most appropriate and respectful gesture.

    There was a Youtube clip I saw where a young man was giving money to ВОВ veterans. I think a woman may have stopped him to tell him it was not correct but he continued anyhow.
    The sad truth is some veterans would need money indeed. On the other hand, this way of money distribution doesn't look quite appropriate. Big tactfulness is needed in such case. But I think that stopping such actions is wrong so he was right to continue.
    Also, one has to be careful the authorities don't regard such an action as a political one.

    Certainly.

    A loss for Russia would have been devastating but even for us Berlin had some terrible plans. All of the British male population of a certain age was to be deported to Europe for slave labour, possibly to never return. Heinrich Himmler wanted to exterminate us, and this is documented in archives.
    I never knew that. Very interesting.

    This is why your country's efforts were critical to ensuring that we could survive. Without the Soviet Union it would have been possible for the Germans to have used all their resources to launch a land invasion of England. In London I saw a monument to American soldiers and now I want one to honour Soviet heroes as well. We should certainly recognise this, afterall Russia is gracious enough to decorate our veterans year after year:

    https://rusemb.org.uk/ushakov/

    It saddens me that British prime ministers have been invited to May 9 celebrations in Moscow but have refused the invitation.
    Yes.

    Eternal memory to the heroes.
    Yes.

    I read some information about РОА and Andrei Vlasov. I hope mentioning them does not offend you.
    No, why would it? These people were the part of history like any others and i don't get offended by facts. Some idealistic patriots who prefer to see it black and white could get offended though.

    Is it true that most Muscovites had those apartments with the wooden floors, high ceilings and big rooms, modern kitchens etc?
    I don't think so. This standard of housing is in buildings called сталинка. I live in a similar building. But there was a shortage of such housing and many people had to live in appartments with shared kitchens and even toilets. So another type of housing was introduced - хрущёвка. They were more modest and exterior was rather ugly, but everything in them was personal, not shared with neighbors.
    Do you understand Russian subtitles? If you do, there's a short serial about different aspects of life in USSR:



    Also Moscow =/= the rest of USSR or Russia. This city has another standard.

    It is my fear that if I went to visit Russia I would have too many romantic and naive ideas.
    It should be avoided. Low natured people would try to abuse it too. Fortunately, internet allows to familiarize oneself with the environment before immersing in it. Read and watch anything informal. Forums, social networks, etc. I can't recommend modern films because I don't watch them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Learning_Genetics View Post
    Do you believe that Russia's history also influenced the mentality of the people? Especially in the sense of the 20th century?
    Absolutely. There are traits in Russian mentality that can be traced as far back as 11th century.

    Quote Originally Posted by Learning_Genetics View Post
    Would you say that the Russian character was shaped more by circumstances of geography and environment or ethnography? In other words, the essence and character of the various peoples that went to form the Russian ethnos.
    It's always a mix. For example do you know why in the West the phenomenon of private property is valued that much? It exists in one form or another in many parts of the world but it is Europe where it gets to its extreme, it's cherished as some sort of holy cow.

    We know it's originated from Ancient Rome but not many people understand mechanisms of its development. There are biological reasons behind it. If we look at any population of any living organisms their main concern is food. If they have food they grow, if there is shortage of food they stop growing. But what if food never runs out? These organisms multiply to the point where they start experiencing shortage of space. That's exactly what happened in Rome. Its unique geography with extremely fertile soil, favorable climate, abundant seas provided conditions with never-ending surplus of food. So Rome was overpopulated very early. As result historians know there was intense migration from Rome, especially with all the newcomers from poorer lands who came to try their luck there.

    But who exactly was going to move out? A rich man? A landlord? No. They were doing fine where they were. It was more likely those folk whose possessions could fit onto one cart and he could push it as far as Londinium. Travelling was hard and dangerous so only the most desperate would hit the road.

    In this situation once a man owned any kind of property he was guaranteed to stay in that paradise. Property ownership became an ultimate protection from miserable existence at the verge of extinction. To ensure its stability common rules were developed and enforced upon everyone. We know them now as Roman Laws. Later in medieval era the status difference between a landlord and those without any property became only more dramatic. Leave it to brew for few centuries and now Westerners can't even imagine social organization without it. But at its very foundation resting some basic biological factors.

    But if we look at Russia historically we have never had any property laws exactly because we have abundance of space but shortage of almost everything else. According to Orthodox tradition all land belongs to God and no man can own it. Only one man, the representative of Him on Earth, the one whose power was granted by divine providence, the Grand Prince or later Tzar have a say on who can live on the land and work it to sustain themselves. But even he doesn't own the land, he only manages it on God's behalf to ensure faithful God's followers multiply and prosper. This perception was so deeply ingrained into peoples' mentality that some historians suggests it was exactly reform of 1861 followed by few attempts to introduce private land ownership that resulted in major civil unrest and culminated in Revolution of 1917. The ill-famed collectivization of 1930's was welcomed by majority of peasantry exactly because it was fully resembling thousand years old communal organization of rural life. In short according to Russian Orthodox doctrine any property ownership is a sin as it compromises peaceful coexistence of people. Try to figure that out.

    Then look around Europe, it has very old centers of metallurgy and masonry. Why there was nothing like that in Russia? Because we have shortage of raw materials for such developments. We have abundance of wood so we have immensely crafty folk in this area but as soon as some stone was involved Russian princes had to hire Italian or French architects. Same with metal. Today Russia has some of largest iron deposits in the world but they were only discovered in 20th century and required industrial machines to reach them. In Italy and Germany mountains provided never-ending supply of easily reached different ores so metallurgy was developed few thousands years ago. For centuries in Russia iron was so valuable that some historical accounts suggest when early Slavs had military campaigns against their neighbors they would often ignore gold but pillage every bit of iron they see.

    Another interesting observation was made by some Russian traveler in Europe in 19th century. Some traveler's diaries describe his fascination with beautiful and neat landscapes somewhere in Austria. Tidy fences between patches of land, clearly cut bushes and so on. He was wondering why it can't be like that in Russia. The answer is simple: everything you're going to build in Russia will have to withstand extreme tests by climate. In Europe if you want to build a stone fence you can just lay stones on the ground and it may stand for some 200-300 years without any maintenance. Any labor invested will serve many generations to come. In Russia if you want your fence to last 20 years you'll need to dig foundation for it as deep as the height of fence itself. If you make timber fence and want it to last it will have to be painted twice a year and repaired every next year from damage done by extreme frost. Rasputitsa twice a year doesn't help either. So the labor needed to maintain any structure in Russia is two-tree times over the one needed elsewhere in Europe. It has to be simple and rigid, no room for fancy decorations. Pretty much everything you create is nearly guaranteed to be destroyed by harsh weather in very short time. So to Russian mentality there is nothing permanent, the boss here is Father Frost and Mother Nature, you're just a tenant passing by. And at times you have to work really hard just to get by or "the bosses" will end you rather soon. Rural life in Russia was never easy. That's why folk take any opportunity to do nothing but rest which is interpreted by many as innate laziness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Learning_Genetics View Post
    It is my fear that if I went to visit Russia I would have too many romantic and naive ideas.
    Just look up channels of foreigners living in Russia on YT. One I can suggest is Survival Russia, it's Dutch guy married local woman and living somewhere in Siberia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Learning_Genetics View Post
    It is fascinating because around me in my own society I see constant apathy. Apparently an adult man is not meant to be emotional or sentimental but I've always felt that a man without emotions is actually weak. There is a lot of lack of heart in the society in the country in which I live today. Not everyone is bad, there are many good people but we are losing our way ever more.

    And that is a difference that I saw in your civilisation, something beyond apathy. Real people.
    I see it too. My theory is rigid social economic structure based on strict private property is severely limiting opportunities for most of people. Some would want to achieve but the paths are closed for them from their very birth. When you only see dead ends and no way out apathy becomes natural.

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