Why this U.S. entrepreneur came to Russia and converted to Orthodoxy

Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines

April 1, 2024

Growing up in the atmosphere of “bad Russians” promoted in the American mass media, Richard Burgunder decided to make up his own mind about the country and its people.

Former extreme athlete and international relations expert, Richard Burgunder, 42, from Colorado, tells what it’s like to be a student in St. Petersburg - and explains why he decided to convert to Orthodoxy. Here’s how his view of Russia changed after he experienced the country as a student.

From misconceptions to critical thinking

At White Nights. Personal archive At White Nights. Personal archive     

I’ve been interested in Russian culture since childhood when we were often bombarded with negative stereotypes of Russians. Even during the final days of the Soviet Union, many Americans believed that any day could become a nuclear Armageddon and they’ve since attempted to indoctrinate us into their worldview.

I’ve always been a critical thinker and wondered why there were no other perspectives espoused in film, television, popular culture and media. While studying at Penn State University, I made friendships with many people from across the world and they expanded my interest in other cultures. I then spent 3 years in New York City, where I met more people from Slavic countries, including Russia. My peers told me about their homeland, which often invoked thoughts of adventure and mystery. So, I decided I wanted to visit Russia.

...Read the rest at Russia Beyond the Headlines.

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Richard Burgunder


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