Yes, I know you’re wondering how the heck I’m going to combine all three components of my title into a cohesive post, don’t worry I’m wondering too. So here goes, it all started with Vladimir Putin winning the Russian presidential election last week. He already served as president from 2000 to 2008, and he had to resign himself to the position of prime minister for the past 4 years because of term limits on consecutive presidential terms. Now, there have been protests saying that he was elected fraudulently, and even independent observers seem to question the validity of his election (1). Even though Soviet Union collapsed over 20 years ago, Russia still has a fledgling democracy. To have a democracy, a change in leadership and political competition is needed, and with this election Putin will be in the Russian executive branch for 18 years by 2018, almost 2 decades! There seems to be an utter lack of power changing hands. Russian people have taken to the streets in large numbers to protest the lack of competition and the fraudulent aspects of this election, which has lead to arrest of hundreds of peaceful protestors. It will be interesting to see how long these protests continue, and if they’re able to under Putin’s rule.
Now, how on earth does this relate to turnips and folklore? I’m getting there. I was researching turnip recipes (for the one’s I received in my CSA box this week), and I figured the Russian cuisine might be my answer. When it comes to root vegetables the Russians have a significant lock down. As we all know beets = borscht, potatoes = vodka and pierogies, but what do turnips equal for Russians?
After I typed in Russian turnips during my google search, I discovered Russia has a fairy tale that involves a story about an enormous turnip. Essentially the story is a progressive one, where grandpa tries to pull a turnip out of the ground, but can’t so he has to rely on grandma, kids, grandkids, dog, cat, and mouse to help him do so. The moral of the story is sometimes you need help and it takes everyone to solve a problem. Luckily for me, this fable ties in perfectly with what’s going on in Russia. I don’t think Russians can change the results of this election, but they’re still protesting in unprecedented numbers and making their voices heard, which hopefully will effect future elections and electoral laws in Russia.
Last, on a semi-related note, I’ve decided that I’m going to peel and cook my turnips and some onions in chicken broth, and once that’s absorbed I’m going to smother them in sour cream. cheese, and bacon crumbles (like a good southern girl). My inspiration for this preparation was just make them like pierogies minus the hard work of making a dough for dumplings. I’ll let you know how they come out. I think I’ll be getting turnips again next week, so maybe I’ll try sweetening them instead of taking the savory approach.
Picture is from here.