What should I not do in Russia
Russia etiquette: etiquette for the largest country in the world
From St. Petersburg to Vladivostok and from Siberia to the Black Sea, Russia inspires with impressive landscapes, unique metropolises and exceptionally hospitable people. Learning the Russian language also has many advantages. However, if you are planning a trip to the largest country in the world, you should not get on the plane without knowing the most important Russian customs. Then there are no faux pas and nothing stands in the way of intercultural communication. This article introduces the typical rules of etiquette in Russia and explains cultural peculiarities. This means that visiting the World Cup in Russia in June and July 2018 will also be a pleasure for the World Cup.
Greeting and salutation in Russia
The most important thing to begin with: How do Russians actually address each other? Russian names are made up of three elements: the first name, the patronymic - i.e. the modified first name of the father - and the surname. The usual form is to address a person by first and last name. For example, the correct salutation for the state politician Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is: Mikhail Sergeyevich.
Unlike in Germany, in Russia only men greet each other with a handshake. Women tend to hold back and greet with a smile. In close circle of friends and family it can be more cordial: Men and women greet each other with hugs or kisses on the cheek. But watch out, whoever greets the host over the doorstep brings bad luck over the house. This is a widespread superstition in Russia that should definitely be respected. Even whistling in an apartment is not something that Russians like to see or hear from - because according to popular belief this should cause money problems for the household.
Special features in Russia in dealing with one another
A peculiarity in Russia that can seem strange to travelers is the different behavior in public and private spaces. In public, Russians tend to be aloof and reserved, while in private circles they are almost exuberantly emotional and cordial. Nonetheless, visitors to Russia should avoid exaggerated happiness and constant giggling, which can seem dubious, especially while getting to know each other.
Incidentally, the overall distance between the bodies in Russia is less than in Germany. People also touch each other more often in conversation, for example on the shoulder. Anyone who has to blow their nose should still not do it in the vicinity of others - in Russia that is more likely than in Germany to be viewed as gross. On the other hand, travelers can score points if they are just as polite and charming towards women as Russian men. Like real gentlemen, they should open the door for their companion and take off her coat.
Russian hospitality and its peculiarities
The Russians are known to be extremely hospitable people. If you are invited to your home, you will be delighted with a small gift such as candy or flowers. When it comes to flowers, however, it shouldn't be a bouquet of ten yellow roses - yellow stands for infidelity and jealousy and an even number is given away by Russians only in bereavement.
As in many parts of Germany, people in Russia leave their street shoes at the door of their apartment. If you don't have your own slippers with you, you can count on your hosts: They often have guest slippers ready. By the way, when everyone is sitting together, the guests are free to help themselves to the drinks or food on offer. If you as a visitor keep asking whether you can drink or eat something, the hosts can perceive it as irritating and impolite. Once you have answered the question in the affirmative, this generally applies to the entire time spent together.
Vodka is, of course, one of the Russian customs. And those who are visiting Russia need to be able to drink. The hosts usually give a toast to the schnapps. Not drinking is taken as an insult. If someone really doesn't want alcohol, they can blame it on health problems.
Russia etiquette for the restaurant
Of course, vodka also includes something decent to eat. Russian cuisine is known for many delicious - often hearty - dishes: for example borscht, a hearty stew with beetroot; Blini, small pancakes that are eaten both sweet and savory; or pelmeni, the Russian equivalent of tortelloni or ravioli.
Anyone who eats in a restaurant shouldn't be surprised if they are seated at the same table with strangers. This is common in Russia. But first please leave the jackets in the cloakroom, anything else would be impolite. And of course, when paying the bill, you also need a tip - around 10 percent on average.
Russia is not only fascinating because of its customs, which clearly show the great importance Russians place on being polite with one another. The complex language also attracts many people interested in culture. In our article "Russian for Beginners: This is how it works with the Cyrillic alphabet", the most important linguistic features are summarized.
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