1 Don’t Charge into someone’s flat with your shoes on
It might be common in your country but Russians will not tolerate you walking around their flat with your shoes on.
Russian people always clean up their place to make it look spotless when the guests arrive. By charging straight through the door, they will be left with an impression that you disrespect their hard work. So please do take your shoes off to stay in their good books.
2 Don’t smile at strangers
I know that in western countries people are very smiley and positive. However, in Russia, this isn’t the case. If you show any sign of happiness in public or smile at someone, Russians won’t reciprocate. They will think you are weird and that they probably should stay away from you. Having a neutral or moody face is the best way to blend in.
3 Never ask about someone’s salary and age
Asking about someone’s age or salary is considered rude. Women, in particular, will not put up with the age question. They will never tell you their true age, even if interrogated or tortured
Although in most countries asking about one’s occupation is nothing out of ordinary, Russians tend to avoid such questions. Unless well acquainted, don’t directly ask about another person’s occupation or even worse their wage.
4 Don’t call a woman ‘a woman’
Even Russians themselves find this one weird and confusing. If you can’t call a Russian woman a woman when she is a woman, what do you call her?
Well, if she looks young enough to be considered less than 40-45 then she is a young lady (devushka), if she is older than that then it’s fine to call her a woman (zhenshina). If you are not sure, don’t call her anything. Still feels like whatever you do you get it wrong.
5 You mustn’t say anything bad about Russia
Don’t risk saying anything negative about Russia to a Russian person. Russian people are true patriots and even if they moan about their country and don’t like certain things, you are not to share any negative thoughts. Especially be mindful of what you say when drinking with Russians.
6 Never forget your passport
Police have the right to request your ID. So have your passport on you at all times. If you fail to show your ID, then you can get yourself detained or fined.
7 Always say ‘yes’ when offered a drink
Saying no to an alcoholic drink is like spitting into Russian person’s face. They get really offended if you refuse to drink with them. If you don’t want to be at odds with the Russians, simply drink with them and you get automatically added onto their friend list. Bonding with Russians through drinking is the best and fastest route.
8 Don’t go Dutch
Going Dutch won’t work in Russia. Men have to pay for women. This is the unwritten law. If a man suggests splitting the bill, this automatically rules out the possibility of him seeing his date ever again.
9 Always give up your sit to an elderly
A babushka (grandmother) must be granted a seat on the bus, train or any other means of transport. You must respect the elderly by offering your seat to them. Everyone will commend you on such a gesture of kindness. However, if you don’t play by the rules, not only will you be told off by the same babushka but the whole bus will throw a few disapproving looks at you.
10 Don’t do weird things in public
Any behavior that isn’t considered normal in Russia will be seen as weird. For example:
- Burping or farting, even if it’s coming out you must hold it back
- Wearing crop tops or showing your midriff – people will give you disapproving looks
- Swearing in public – babushkas or dedushkas (grandpa) will instantly tell you off
This little guide will help you to blend in and avoid weird looks and awkward moments. Enjoy your time in Russia and read more about the crazy things that all Russians do.