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Top Ten Russian Taboos: What You Should NOT Do When Travelling in Russia
July 29, 2018 17:02

Sometimes the notion of what NOT to do is more important than what to do if you want to make a good impression. Do you agree?
Then read about the TEN things you should NOT do in Russia:

Do NOT Come without Gifts

If you are invited for dinner, do not come empty handed. It does not matter what you bring - a box of chocolates, flowers or a toy for a child. When expecting guests, the hosts in Russia cook the best dishes and buy delicacies, which they usually do not do for themselves. If the visitors come without a little present, the Russians think that they are misers.

Do NOT Wear Shoes at Russian Homes  

Russian apartments are carpeted, often with expensive Persian carpets that are not nearly as easy to clean as traditional American rugs. In addition, the Russians walk a lot in the dusty streets, instead entering the house right from the car. For these reasons, the Russians traditionally take off their street shoes when they enter a private house or apartment. The host usually offers home slippers (“tapochki” in Russian) to the guests. When going to a party, Russian women normally bring with them a pair of good shoes to wear inside the premises. If you do not take your shoes off, no one will say anything to you, but they will certainly notice and dislike it…

Do NOT Tell Jokes about Parents

Russians are not politically correct. When telling anecdotes about the "Chukchi" or women, try to avoid jokes about someone's mother or father. Such jokes will never be appreciated here.

Do NOT Take Their “Last Shirt”

Russian expression “to give away one's last shirt” speaks about a sympathetic person who is willing to give away something dear or rare. In Russia it is considered polite to offer guests whatever they liked. However, it does not necessarily mean that you should take everything that you are offered. Refuse a couple of times, and only if the owners keep insisting then take what they offer.

Do NOT Wear Shabby Clothes

Russians take more chances to look smart than Americans. On an ordinary walk, a Russian woman can wear high-heeled shoes and a smart dress. A hard-hearted feminist might say that women do this because they are humiliated and forced to. But the Russian women chose this way: "We live only once, so I want to look and feel better than everyone else."

Against the backdrop of such women, all foreigners, regardless of gender, risk looking   dressed in shabby clothes. Just pay attention to your dress code when going out.

Do NOT Pay Separately for Yourself
In this matter, Russians are strikingly different from Western Europeans. We do not accept “treats” when everyone has to pay separately for themselves. So, if you invite a lady to a restaurant or somewhere else, do not expect her to pay for her part of dinner. You can, of course, suggest her paying herself, but then you will never see her again. She might even not take money with her, when she goes out with a man.

Do NOT Let a Woman Carry Heavy Weight

This rule might make feminists feel uncomfortable, but Russians believe that the man is physically stronger than a woman. Therefore, we consider it impolite and improper if a man does not offer help to a woman who carries something heavy.

In Public Transport, Do NOT Sit When Elderly People Stand Nearby

In Russia, if you do not offer a seat to the elderly and pregnant women, you are looked upon as a criminal. Elderly people are offered seats in public transport even (and especially) by young women.
Do NOT Burp in Public

It is extremely impolite to regurgitate publicly in Russia, even if the sound is especially long and expressive, and the author is proud of it. If you couldn’t hold burping, you’d better avoid apologizing for it. By apologizing, you thereby acknowledge your authorship and draw more attention to the incident. The Russians in this case pretend that nothing has happened or they have not noticed anything.

Do NOT Toast "Na Zdarovie!"

People who do not speak Russian tend to think that they know at least one phrase in Russian - this is “Na Zdarov'ye” toast! The fact is the Russians say it when someone thanks them for a treat or a favor. The simplest Russian toast is “Za vas!”, i.e. “For you!" 


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Mentality Russian Traditions Travelling in Russia   

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