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A little bit about etiquette in Russia

If we describe etiquette in Russia briefly, then it can be described in three words – respect, hospitality and honesty. When meeting, people usually shake hands. Tact and avoiding personal topics without permission are important in communication. It is customary to give way to pregnant and elderly people in public transport. When you come to visit, you definitely need to bring something with you, gifts, and when you leave, thanking the host for the reception. Punctuality is important in business relationships, but may be less strict in personal relationships. Toasts at the table are an important part of culture.

Let's start with a handshake, it should be strong, but not too strong and not too long. A strong handshake indicates that the person greeting you shows you respect, and eye contact is required during the handshake exchange. If people are strangers, then the youngest young man should not hold out his hand first, only the eldest. If a person is younger and holds out his hand first, this is considered a sign of bad taste. Why is that? Because this is a manifestation of traditional respect for the older generation. The older ones are considered more experienced and wise, so it's up to them to decide whether to shake hands or not.

About addressing other people. In English, people use the word You, but in Russian this word has two meanings – ТЫ and ВЫ. The address "ВЫ" is used in a more formal setting, when addressing a stranger, an elder, or simply out of respect, you can address any person. It is also used in the plural when addressing a group of people or a crowd. The address "ТЫ" is used in a more informal setting. When communicating with people you already know, with friends, with peers.

Hospitality. If you are invited to visit, it is better to go to the store on the way and buy something for the table: food, snacks, drinks, or just some pleasant little things. Going to visit empty-handed is unacceptable, because the people who invite you to visit are probably preparing for the meeting and want it to go well. To do this, they clean the house, cook delicious food and set the table. A gift is an expression of gratitude for the hospitality of the owners of the house. This rule of etiquette may vary in different ways, depending on the region of Russia.

Another important tradition includes toasts. Toasts are the most important part of the feast. Absolutely everyone should make a toast at the table, especially if it is someone's celebration, wedding anniversary or birthday. Again, if there are feasts without a special reason, as often happens in Russia, or feasts where there are too many people, then it is not necessary to say a toast.

Give up your seat on public transport. This is no longer etiquette, but a social norm, a personal choice of everyone. In public transport, people often give up their spaces to other people – these are the elderly, pregnant, people with disabilities or just women with children. Buses, trolleybuses, metro trains are often crowded and many people travel to their station standing on their feet because there are no empty seats.


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