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Russia: the Russian character and customs - Russia forum, questions, topics

Most Russians are not that different in their lifestyle or the way they perceive things from people in the West. However, there are some special features that become important when you get to know your Russian friends better. The differences are likely from ancient times and come from communist upbringing.

Below I have tried to list the common Russian traits. This doesn't mean that every Russian behaves like this, but you still have a pretty good opportunity to learn about average Russian behavior. Should you be in the fortunate position of meeting someone who has all of the characteristics on the list, I can assure you that this person has a real Russian character and that you should treat them with great respect. Should you decide to become a Russian, the list below can serve as a guide.

-We are a free nation: here we disregard all the rules. It is an honor for our drivers to drive through the traffic lights when they are red, to annoy other drivers and to despise pedestrians.

-When you are invited to a meal: If it is common knowledge that the host will continue to serve food until you are completely satiated and unable to move. If you have health concerns or are on a diet, pretend you are full or you will end up badly.

-Some of us are often indifferent: we don't care too much about dirt on the street, about saving money, about the Chechnya war, about obeying rules, about dangers for no particular reason or about drinking too much

-Most of us are very proud: Don't talk to us about our idiosyncrasies, we wouldn't listen anyway.

-Some of us are very emotional, but most of the time it is hidden. We may seem a little cold and self-centered at first, but when you get to know us better we are like a volcano.

-We are not politically correct, we like to voice our opinions out loud, and we won't use funny words to keep our real opinions a secret.

-We have a hard time talking to strangers on the street, but if you start the conversation and tell us they are from another country or ask for help, there is a very good possibility that we are very open-minded because we are usually very curious about tourists.

-No, Russians are not racists: we grew up in a world where everyone is equal and where friendship among nations is an important part of our imagination. If you see any of us staring at a black person, it's because we're curious, because there aren't many black people in Russia. We only have to warn against older people, because they are sometimes a little too patriotic.

-Yes, we love vodka, but we are not alcoholics: contrary to some people's opinion, Russians are not drunkards. They have developed a particular resistance to alcohol and can therefore drink more. We also get our strength from alcohol and it warms us in the cold winter. By the way, should you decide to drink with us, you have to drink as much as we do, otherwise we will be offended.

-Yes, we are superstitious: If you want to shake hands with us in greeting, you should never try that in the door. You have to come in, otherwise we'll be contentious. When you get home, look in the mirror for your own good. If you sit at the corner of the table, you will not get married for the next seven years. When a fork falls, we enter a woman with a knife, a man.

-Most of us know a few English words, yet we are too shy to use them - as you will see, we have no practice: Still, you will be surprised at how many things are written in English on the street: shop signs or cafes, commercials and there are a lot of foreign products. In addition, more than half of all Russian products have a table of contents in English. Russians learn English at school and most people understand the basics but are shy when it comes to talking.