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Mother Russia / Social Customs And Traditions In Modern Day Russia

1857 words - 7 pages

Social CustomsWhen greeting, Russians shake firmly, friends may kiss on the cheek, and say, Zdravstvuyte or privet ("hello"). Kak dela ("how are you") is taken literally, and may require a lengthy answer. English is widely spoken by most citizens under the age of 35, but efforts to speak Russian are appreciated.Russians have three names: Their first name, patronymic (father's first name), and last name. At a formal first meeting, use the first name and patronymic (e.g., Dmitri Pavlovich--"son of Pavel").Formal meetings require prior appointments and punctuality. Arrangements for visa, meetings, contracts and the like must be negotiated through level of bureaucracy and may take weeks or months. Business cards should include mention of the university degree, be printed in Cyrillic, and handed out to everyone in the meeting (so not to overlook someone important).Informal visiting is a favorite pastime and conversational topics might include sports, travel, music, fashion, books, and current events in the Russian Republic. Topics to avoid include negative aspects of history (e.g., Stalinism), personal and family problems, and the alcohol problem. Political views and contemporary problems used to be suppressed, but recently are common topics. Gifts might include flowers, liquor, artwork, book, quality pens, blue jeans, cigarettes, baseball caps, printed t-shirts, and country and western tapes. Though appreciated, thanks will be subdued.In formal occasions, postures and expressions may appear stiff and unexpressive, but privately this may shift to warmth and hospitality. A very close personal space is preferred, and backing away may be interpreted as rejection. Dinners are long, elaborate, and include many toasts during and after the meal--sometimes requiring considerable alcohol tolerance.As negotiators, Russians expect to deal with well prepared, high level executives, who provide availability and continuity in contact. Good personal relationships and regular business contacts are viewed as important, although meetings must often be scheduled weeks in advance.Pointing with the finger is considered impolite, but is common. It is also rude to talk with hands in the pocket or with arms folded. Whistling in public or showing soles of the shoes when sitting are also considered rude. However, the jostling that occurs in crowded streets and shops is not considered rude.AppearanceBusinessmen in Russia usually wear suits that are dark and well tailored along with good dress shoes. A businessman's wardrobe demonstrates the individual's image as a professional.Men often do not take off their jackets in negotiations. Do not stand with your hands in your pockets. This is considered rude.Women dress rather conservatively, avoiding overly flashy or gaudy outfits.Women should always cover their heads when entering into any Russian Orthodox Churches.Skirts should be worn rather than pants.When attending dinner in a citizen's home, casual dress of slacks and a nice...

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