•81% speak Russian
•In their culture, a smile without obvious reason is considered a sign of insincerity, or evil intent. Russians smile only if there is something funny, or as a sign of friendship.
•Russians will openly ask questions about your financial situation or your religious and political beliefs.
•Here the customer is not always right!
•The typical greeting is a firm handshake while maintaining direct eye contact and giving the
appropriate greeting for the time of day.
•When men shake hands with women, the handshake is less firm.
•When female friends meet, they kiss on the cheek three times, starting with the left and then alternating.
•When close male friends meet, they may pat each other on the back and hug.
Forms of address are paramount in Russian society. One is expected to address one's elders and
superiors respectfully, which often means using their first name and patronymic.
Intimate forms of address are used only among close friends and family members. To speak
otherwise is considered rude.
• Arrive on time or no more than 15 minutes later than invited.
• Remove your outdoor shoes. You may be given slippers to wear.
• Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start.
• You will often be urged to take second helpings.
A traditional Russian meal with vodka. Special occasions, such as birthdays, weddings and holidays are always accompanied by feasting. It's common to sit down for a many-coursed meal to celebrate the day, which often lasts hours. The most elaborate rituals concern the drinking of vodka, which is always drunk straight and chilled, accompanied by a pickled food.