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Even though you intend to visit Russia as a tourist, think of yourself as a representative of your country. How you behave will determine not only how people view you but how they view your country as well. And first impressions matter a lot.

It’s easy to offend people even if you don’t have ill intentions. Your ignorance of local customs may cause you to say or do something that hurts someone’s feelings. Then you will begin to experience hostility from that person and yet you won’t know what you did to offend them.

For that reason, you need to learn how to behave while interacting with Russian people. Here are 3 tips to help you out:

  1. When Visiting Someone In Russia, Carry A Gift Of Some Kind

If you have been invited by a Russian host, you need to show some appreciation. Do that by carrying with you a gift of some kind when you visit that person’s home. If you ignore this rule, everyone will think that you are disrespectful and quite rude. They may not say it to your face, but know that they will be thinking it.

Don’t worry about having to break the budget when buying a gift for your host or hostess. You could buy simple gifts such as flowers, wine, a box of chocolate, a picture frame, etc. If you are artistic, then you can even make something yourself. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. People who invited you will appreciate the fact that you took the time to buy them something.

  1. Avoid Smiling At Everyone That You Meet While In Russia

Within the North American region, smiling is a friendly gesture. People think you are polite and approachable when you smile. So, it can be quite tempting to carry on smiling at everyone when traveling across Russia.

But that would be a bad move.

In Russia, smiling at people will make you come across as not being genuine. If you constantly smile you may come across as a little bit crazy.

Russians don’t think it’s normal for anyone to go around smiling for no reason or at strangers. You should save your smiles for colleagues, friends, and relatives. Also, save those smiles of yours for funny jokes and happy events.

So, there is no need to worry if you are served in various places by people who don’t always smile at you. They don’t hate you. Neither are they mad at you. They are simply being polite and professional. You shouldn’t feel compelled to smile all the time either.

  1. Shake Hands Appropriately

One thing that you will notice when traveling in Russia is that there is a right and a wrong way to shake hands with people. And you need to be very careful to follow all the unwritten rules concerning handshakes.

For starters, you cannot shake hands with someone while wearing gloves. That’s just rude. When introductions are being made, remove your gloves then shake hands with the other person. People consider gloves dirty. Even if it’s cold you must remove the gloves then greet people.

Another thing that you shouldn’t do is to shake hands with people over the threshold of any door. It’s bad luck to do so. If you want to shake hands with people, wait until they get into the house completely. You can also wait until they get out then greet them.


Russia is a country of interesting people with interesting customs. You will enjoy yourself greatly as you travel within the country. However, you need a visa to get there. And the Russian invitation letter is one of the supporting documents that will help you get that visa. Check us out at to get started on that letter.