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On August 27, 2015
Last modified:December 4, 2015


Every culture is unique with their own special traditions, holidays and societally accepted norms. In Russia, people do some thing very differently from us, westerners. This article lists a couple of differences found in the Russian culture.

1. Being Punctual

Russian cultureUs in the west are very much time oriented. There are plenty of sayings such as “Time is money” and “Time is gold.” These saying are almost taken literally. When a meeting is said to start at 2PM it will start at that time. Five minutes wasted will make some short fused people rather angry.

The Difference in Russia

Russians think differently about time. It is much more about being comfortable than anything else. Hurrying hasn’t been a thing for them most likely because of their strong agricultural history. People have inherited their thinking about time from farming. There is no way to comply with a strict schedule when it is nature that decides when time is due. In the West you will find people in the meeting room 10 minutes early while you don’t see the same urgency with Russians.

2. Smiles

In the majority of cultures smiling is seen as basic hospitality, simple kindness and warmth towards others. It is expected that people meet others with smiles and leave with a smile as well. There are plenty of sayings about smiling as well. It is seen as a sign of a happy and healthy human being. Those that don’t smile that much are thought to have depression.

The Difference in Russia

In Russia smiles are reserved for friends and family. They see no reason to be smiling at random people. So when you first visit the country you may be very puzzled looking around – not too many people smile on the street. It is though that this kind of mentality comes from the tough history that Russia has had. But if you think about it there are other countries with tough luck but they have no problems smiling. Perhaps it is just something very unique in the Russian culture.

3. Privacy, please?

We in the west are very much used to privacy. It is something highly valued and the people that don’t see it that way are thought of as very weird. Westerners definitely love their personal space and sharing their ideas. Respect for privacy is basic.

Difference in Russia

Since the dawn of ages people have gathered together in the Russian culture to make decisions about their communities. It has gone on for a very long time and even continues to this day. Being close nit is something very typical for Russians and people are comfortable as a collective. It makes sense for a complete stranger to sit down at your table – it is welcomed and even encouraged.