I was told by someone who recently read Who Is to Blame, “Being a woman in peasant Russia – Ugh!”

Couldn’t agree more.  In order to be a female Russian peasant who’s content with her life, you’d have to:

  • adore your in-laws since you share a one-room hut with all 12 of them.
  • not take offense at wife-beating, a time-honored tradition.
  • not mind that your voice is unheard at home or in your village.
  • find it romantic to share your bed-of-straw with a guy who works in the fields all day and bathes every 2 weeks during the summer and monthly (at best) during the winter.
  • delight in continuously being either pregnant or nursing.
  • relish cooking.  And pickling.  And baking bread.  And more bread.  And slaughtering and plucking a chicken.
  • appreciate that an evening working the spinning wheel provides a relaxing way to end the day.
  • be an early riser so you can stoke the stove, shovel snow for a path to the barn, milk the cow, gather the eggs,  breastfeed your infant, and get the breakfast kasha bubbling before you start your workday
  • rise above feelings of rejection when, following Hubby’s death, your in-laws exercise their right to send you back to your birth family.