Conquest of the New World
To the rest of Euros, Ussura is an unforgiving landscape of winter and wilderness. To its people, it is like a mother: protective and nurturing, but also strict and demanding. Even though the Montaigne army recently inflicted heavy damage, no nation has ever successfully waged war against the Ussurans on their own soil. The weather and environment prove just as deadly as the fierce populace, a condition even the best-trained soldiers are unprepared for.
Ussurans claim they are sheltered by the spirit of their land , an entity they reverently call Matushka (Grandmother Winter). In veneration to her, they keep ancient traditions and customs alive. This often means existing in more primitive conditions than other nations and keeping out of international affairs. It is just as well. There are more than enough challenges waiting for them at home.
The Ussurans live as one with their land. They respect and care for it and it respects and cares for them. They value honesty, integrity, and hard work, and everyone knows Matushka will not allow a man who pulls his weight to starve. In general, Ussurans are known as a content and gentle people, especially with their own kind. Sharing is necessary to survive in the harsh climate, and no Ussuran will refuse hospitality to anyone except under the direst of circumstances.
Despite the cold, Ussurans have a very casual attitude towards nudity and feel quite comfortable with their bodies, no matter what condition they are in. They enjoy communal steam baths, where bathers strip bare before entering, and have few taboos about public nudity. Ussurans abroad often cause quite a stir with innocent displays of public exhibitionism. Meal times are almost as casual; the concept of table manners does not go well with large Ussuran appetites. The average muzhik rarely eats meat, since he must hunt or catch anything he cooks. Eggs, milk, turnips, garlic, and cucumbers are more easily obtainable. Cabbage soup is a regular meal, likely served with unleavened bread called khleb. The favorite alcohol, by far, is vodka. Kvass, a brew derived from bread, is popular as well, along with mead and weak beer.
The concept of currency escapes the average Ussuran, and most of those who do understand it still prefer the art of bartering. Thanks to the Vendel, the Ussurans acquire goods from all over Euros, and trade off their popular furs in return. Like the citizens of the Glamour Isles, the Ussurans are quite superstitious. Most of their beliefs focus on removing “bad blessings” and sundry illnesses, both mental and physical, though many also involve honoring Matushka and the land.