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World Cup trophy and football

The 2018 World Cup has now begun in host nation Russia! For those thinking about relocating to Russia we listed some of our top tips to help get you settled into Russian culture.

No time to chat

You’ll find conversation different when you are relocating to Russia. As a people they tend to not be fond of small talk, especially for new acquaintances. This comes after time once trust has been built.

Smiling in greeting

Smiling at passers-by is something you may be used to as a polite form of greeting. However this isn’t the case in Russia. This doesn’t mean that you’ll find your new acquaintances an unhappy bunch, instead here smiling is used a reflection of how they are feeling. So in fact, a smile in Russia means more as it is never just from sheer politeness!

Get direct

Be prepared for direct and personal questions. It’s not uncommon to be asked how much you earn or when will you be having children. Russians use these types of questions to build trust and get to know you.

Learn the basic phrases

Make sure that you have some basic casual and formal phrases memorised for when the occasion arises. For example:

“Poka” the familiar/casual greeting for “bye/so long”

“Do svidaniya” which is the more formal “goodbye/till we meet again”

Pick up a phrase book or download a language app to get started.

Formality is the way

Russians are likely to be more formal than you are accustomed to. Formality is a form of respect that is especially appreciated when you are interacting with strangers and officials. When in doubt, err on the side of formality, that funny comment about the hotel manager may not be appreciated…

No fussy eaters

When you are relocating to Russia you may be invited to a Russian household for a meal. So as to not insult your host be warned they will assume that you would eat anything. It is considered quite rude to not eat the food that you are given. Therefore, do warn your Russian host if there is something you cannot or would rather not eat in advance.

Gift giving

Along with eating there is also the unspoken rule to always bring a gift. If your host has children something for their little ones would also be appreciated.

Expect diversity

Russia is the largest country in the world. So whilst these tips are helpful to anyone relocating to Russia expect a lot of variation in cultural norms depending on what parts of Russia you visit. Embrace everything, try as much as you can. Be curious and enjoy the experience you have been given!


Considering relocating to Russia? Check out our destination guides for Moscow and St Petersburg now.

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