What does a beer advertisement have to do with a David Ignatuius column I read in the Post today?

Well, in a column on the rise of nationalism around the globe he wrote the following:

The Orange Revolution in Ukraine was driven in part by young street protesters from a group called Pora, or "It's Time." In response, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has encouraged a new movement called Nashi, or "Ours," that's designed to appeal to the nationalism of young Russians. Brzezinski fears it could degenerate into a dangerous, right-wing "Nashi-ism."

This got me thinking about the (over)use of the word "Nashi" over here. You see it everywhere in advertisements. Products are constantly labeled as being "our" whatever. The picture is for a local beer, Obolon, whose slogan is apparently "Our Beer," and you see it for other things too. "Our Airline" is Ukraine International, there's a tire company whose name escapes me that calls their tires "our tires." A commercial in Ukraine once had a Japanese guy killing himself when he learned that his Japanese produced television wasn't as good as a television that was "ours."

It goes beyond advertising though, "ours" is really a part of the national psyche. The other day I went to the pharmacy to buy some Vitamin C. The pharmacist asked me "Do you want French vitamins, or ours?" Note here that she didn't say Ukrainian vitamins, she said ours.

Using ours, in lieu of nationality, applies to people as well. If someone here were talking about another Ukrainian person, they could very well refer to them not as Ukrainian, but as ours. This seems to apply to all people in the post Soviet space. Not only would a Russian be ours, but so would a Ukrainian, so would a Moldavian, and so would a Kyrgyz. Mrs. Connard, whose Russian is about 1000% better than mine and has been told that she looks Estonian, once surprised someone when they discovered she was American. How did they react? By saying "I thought you were ours!" I think this only extends to the former Soviet Union though. An East German would definitely not be ours, I doubt a Pole or a Slovak would either. (In a side-note, a Bulgarian might be. There's a Soviet expression I learned that translates as "A chicken isn't a real bird, and Bulgaria isn't overseas." Trust me, it sounds better in Russian.)

Not only are things ours, but I have also learned that things that things that are not ours are yours; again including people. Once while waiting in a line at airport customs an American a few places in front of me was making a commotion. "One of yours?" said a Russian that was traveling with me.

It's funny to think about being an American, because if there's any possessive pronouns that are overused in the States it's you and yours. Especially in advertising. Think about it, how often do you hear on the radio "What's your favorite station?" or "Who plays your favorite songs?" Channel 7, WJLA, in Washington DC, frequently uses the slogan "7 on your side." At sporting events, when the home team is introduced they're usually introduced with something along the lines of "Ladies and Gentleman, Your Washington Wizards!" Even the U.S. Army's advertising slogan now is singular: An Army of One.

But I digress. Taking all this into account, would it surprise me that there was a Russian nationalist organization that was called "Nashi?" Not at all. Would it surprise me if this movement actually resonated with people and attracted followers based on its name and the connotations that go with it? Even less so.