Color has a very important role in the world in which we inhabit. It can influence our way of thinking, change our actions, and cause our reactions. It can also soothe or irritate our eyes, increase our blood pressure or hold our appetite. When used in the proper ways, it can even save on energy usage.
As an effectual means of communication, color is irreplaceable. For example, red indicates we must stop and green indicates we may go. Traffic lights give this universal message to every driver and streetwalker. Likewise, the colors used for a web site, product, business card, or logo can cause strong reactions.
We will be surprised when you find out the effect colors can have on our life. How does a red room make you feel? Does the green color relax and calm you? Artists have long understood how color can influence emotions and moods in a big way.
Russian Color Codes
In almost every language, words indicating colors are related to some additional meanings. Russian color code is no exception. The brightest color in the Russian color codes schemes, and the one that has the best connotations, is the color red.
The word red in Russian is krasny. It has the same root as the word beautiful in Russia which is krasivy, and indeed the interpretations of these two words are very close.
For example, Moscow’s main square is named Red Square. Historically speaking, it is believed that the square got that name not because of its appearance that was dominated by the color red, but because it was considered beautiful. That is why it would have been more appropriate to call it not Krasnaya Square but Krasivaya Square.
There are a lot of things to learn more about color codes schemes in Russian life. In this article, I will try to cover the topic for you to better understand it. So, keep on reading.
The Color Red
Back in the early 20th century, the word red in Russia obtained a new meaning and has since then been fundamentally related to communist ideology.
After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, red was chosen to be the color of the national flag, under which the country kept on living until 1991. In Soviet mythology, red was believed to be the color of the blood shed by people of lower class in their struggle against the oppression of capitalism.
A person who spent almost their entire life in Soviet era was immersed in red symbolism from their very childhood. Practically all schoolchildren during that era were pioneers and, as a symbol of belonging to that youth communist organization, they had to wear a triangular red necktie at school.
The Color White
After the Bolshevik Revolution, the ideological antonym of the color red was the color white. It is because there was the Red and the White Armies that went against each other back in the 1918 to 1920 Russian civil war, in which the White Army a.k.a. regular Russian people got defeated and driven outside the country.
The White Army representatives that remained in the country were known as white émigrés, while in the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), the word white was considered synonymous with hostile and counterrevolutionary.
The Color Orange
The color orange has also recently obtained some ideological tinge in Russian usage. About fifteen years ago or so, there was the so-called Orange Revolution that was held in Ukraine. After that, the word orange started to indicate members of the pro-Western, liberal, and opposition.
However, orange as in color is considered one of the most attractive colors in Russia along with yellow (or gold). It is because both orange and yellow are associated with sunshine and warmth which is needed during the long Russian winters.
The Color Yellow or Gold
In Russia, the color yellow has a lot of meanings. Other than being associated with sunshine and warmth like stated above, the color yellow also indicates a colloquial expression for insane asylum; Russian people used to call it yellow house. Not only that, the color has universally accepted association with the word used to describe sensationalist press.
Meanwhile, the splendor of gold in icons and mosaics gives the impression that it is possible to feel the shining light of God and the brilliance of the heavenly kingdom where there is never any night. The color gold symbolizes the divine nature of God Himself.
The Color Blue
The color blue has promoted diverse and sometimes quite unexpected relations to the Russian language. Traditionally, it was a color to symbolize the noble birth and therefore, the term “blue-blooded” was used to describe members of the nobility.
Back in Soviet era, especially in the 1960s, the color blue was associated with the romance and enthusiasm of exploring and promoting the remote parts of the country. There was one of most popular songs of Soviet times which encouraged young people to join development projects in Siberia and it was called Blue Cities.
The word blue in Russian was also used to refer to aspirations and far-reaching dreams. There was one of the most popular TV programs that time called Little Blue Light. It was a metaphor to the real color of the black-and-white TV screen.
Yet, the meaning of the word blue itself had its some curious transformation in the last two decades. Oftentimes, in a specific situation, especially when it is possible to openly talk about homosexuality, the word light blue becomes the main euphemism portraying gay people.
Moreover, this once surrounding meaning has bit by bit pushed all the other meanings of the word blue far into the background. For example, there was an absolutely innocent children’s animated cartoon in the Soviet era called Blue Puppy. The cartoon told a story about a lonely puppy whom nobody loved.
So, that is a brief explanation of color codes schemes in Russian life.