Russia is, without a doubt, one of world’s richest cultures. Public perception sees the country as a very cold territory, with heavy drinkers and a freezing, empty Siberia. The beauty of its women is never contested, as many models on the catwalk have a Russian surname. Vilified in movies, Russians may also appear violent, short-tempered and uncivilized. However, these are just prejudices.
A prejudice that seems to be true is national pride. Russians are indeed proud of their country and won’t accept others to badmouth it. They can be very loud, so don’t interpret a raised voice as a sign of aggressiveness, it can actually mean they’re happy to greet you. Don’t bring yellow flowers and don’t even think about baby showers. If a pregnant woman receives a gift before giving birth, it attracts bad omen. Also, accept tea invitations. It’s a socializing opportunity and a chance to make some small talk with your peers. They prefer black tea, served from a samovar, but this is usually not possible at the workplace and close friends usually talk in the kitchen.
Russians love to know the person they’re working with and will side-eye colleagues that are too formal. Going out for drinks is a good way to break the ice. Drinking is often a human bonding habit and Russians are quite famous for enjoying alcohol. In recent years, in the summer, there have been more deaths due to swimming while drunk than because of the high temperatures. Also, since they have a low birth rate, a program in one of its regions was to celebrate a ‘sex day’, exactly 9 months before the National Holiday.
The Baikal lake, the Russian Stonehenge, Kremlin or the Red Square in Moscow, Saint Petersburg or the Trans-Siberian (that includes more than 5 time zones) are just a few attractions that Russia has to offer. Memorial houses for its renowned writers, palaces that once belonged to its tsars, ruins from military conflicts speak of the Russian culture. So pack your bags, get rid of your stereotypes and prepare for an amazing journey.