Image source:
Mikhail Vinogradov photographed by Zhanna Molotilova. Image source:

Russians Behaving Indian-ly: It's Not Just for Germans Anymore


We've looked at the German fascination with Native ways and dress, a sort of cultural fandom that manifests itself in massive dress-up pow wows in places-like Schelswig-Holstein. Germans everywhere, dressed like Indians, camping out in tipis and cooking their meals over an open fire. It's a bit funny -- "touching and surreal" is how we described it in an article -- but then, they're Germans. They're known all over Europe for doing things that are a bit funny (that's not all they're known for, but we're not really writing about Germans here).

RELATED: Germany's Obsession With American Indians Is Touching—And Occasionally Surreal

In an article at Two Row Times, Nahnda Garlow investigates another European country bitten by the hobbyist bug -- Russia. Her story begins with a war shirt she saw on Facebook, a piece created with such skill that she had to find out who made it. Turns out it was a Russian man named Mikhail Vinogradov, a passionate pow wow enthusiast who gets together with like-minded Russians on weekends to wear Indian clothing, hold sweats, dance in contests, and speak Lakota.

While it's a story of cultural appropriation of a sort, Garlow muses that "there is yet a layer of separation between this kind of tokenization and things like mascotry done by professional sports teams in the USA or some idiot wearing a cartoonish replica headdress at Coachella." She reached out to Vinogradov, and asked him some questions about his hobby and motivation. "We show respect for this culture," he told her. "And we don’t understand why sometimes Native people have a negative opinion about as. We don’t steal their culture. We try to inform it to people in our country."

Get the full story at Two Row Times: "Indians" in Russia – It’s not a fairy tale!

Photos on this page are by Zhanna Molotilova;

Mikhail Vinogradov photographed by Zhanna Molotilova. Image source:

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Juliet's picture
Submitted by Juliet on
Damn. He does good work. It's a shame that history has made their interest so contentious. Thanks a lot, genocidal jerks.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
GREAT! More power to the Russians for wanting to learn about us. Will someone please point out to them that we've never shot down an airliner and that the behavior they're exhibiting in the Ukraine is EXACTLY the mindset that took our lands from us!

Harold Bustamante
Harold Bustamante
Submitted by Harold Bustamante on
The material world may see it as stealing, but in the spiritual world, the old ones and the spirit of the ancients are being born thru out the world. How can anyone deny this. If an ancient Lakota spirit is born in a russian body in this lifetime, does that spirit have the right to remember. So this is the age of the rainbow tribes. The ancient ones returning in all colors, races, cultures etc. Lets celebrate and become a stronger new earth society of tribal renewal

value116's picture
Submitted by value116 on
Many years ago I happened to be in Frankfurt, Germany and I went inside a movie theatre. I was surprised to see a "cowboys and Indians story" playing and all the characters spoke German, even the indigenous people of Turtle Island. It was out of character. I've read all the comments related to the article. I can understand a genuine interest in and appreciation of someone's culture and respect for it--but morphing into or channeling another identity??? I'm just as surprised with a loss for words now as I was then.

marten's picture
Submitted by marten on
I must admit he does look good, but I'm no expert on Indian dress-up. Hope he really gets into it, by respecting Mother Earth, and teaching his people how to revere nature like the people do.

Lindbergh Namingha
Lindbergh Namingha
Submitted by Lindbergh Namingha on
Great article, Ms. Nahnda GARLOW. The Russian Hobbyists look way better than the German Hobbyists. I have met a Russian Hobbyist back in ... about the year 2000 here in Germany at one of the Powwows that the NAAoG e.V. had orgainzed ... and he mentioned to me about the German Hobbyists. He says... laughing a bit, "The German Hobbyists seem to not have the same Respecting Qualities towards the Native American Cultures as we, Russains, do. " The Russian didn´t stay for the whole 2 Day Powwow. He left before the first day was over. :- ) ... Never heard from him again. :-)