Russian Culture


Primary Author
Nina Evason,

One’s family holds the highest importance to individuals in Russia. Relatives usually have very close relationships and are interdependent, helping each other in times of need. Extended family members are also very involved with people’s lives and the support of the household. If an uncle, aunt or any other relative is in need, it is considered to be the obligation of the to help. Grandparents play a big part in raising children, and may perhaps even live with the . The elderly hold a very respected position in society and generally hold the most authority in the household.

Russia has quite crowded housing conditions comparative to Australia (in square metres per person). Traditionally, three generations lived together in one household. However, in present-day Russia, the is becoming more common. Many young couples aspire to move out of their parents’ home after marriage. A shortage in housing and difficult economic conditions can make independent living a challenge, which means many grown children have to live with their parents. If an elderly couple lives independently and one of them becomes widowed, they usually move into the household of one of their children to be cared for into their old age.

In the common Russian household dynamic, both parents usually work; it is more commonly the woman’s job than the man’s to care for the children and do the housework. However, many modern Russian families have alternative dynamics. For example, parents may be divorced, or work in different cities away from their children. Often, grandparents will help raise children whilst both parents work, sometimes minding the grandchildren for entire holiday periods to give the parents time for themselves.

Some families of lower-socioeconomic backgrounds may combine their assets in order for all members to have economic security. Typically, if grandparents live with the , their pensions contribute to the family budget.

Generally, most Russians adore children and aspire to have their own. It’s a primary goal to see one’s child be more successful than oneself and so Russians are often deeply proud of their kids. People can be expected to boast of their son or daughter’s success. However, there is a growing tendency for people to deliberately choose to stay unmarried and childless in order to focus on their careers. Family sizes may also be limited by economic conditions.

Gender Roles

Women have equal rights to study and work in Russia. The communist regime sought to empower women and increase gender equality. However, since the collapse of communism, a significant amount of the progress towards gender equality has eroded. In the midst of high unemployment, women were the first to lose their jobs, and a traditionalist view of the division of labour and family life became popular again. Many women saw their participation in the workforce as a “double burden” when coupled with household labour as it continued to be considered the female’s duty to complete domestic tasks.

Today, many women work to increase their households income and all generally have the opportunity to pursue higher education. However, they still do not occupy as many leadership positions. Men continue to dominate the public sphere and, since quotas for female representation were discarded, the numbers of women in politics have declined.

Russian culture generally possesses very strong conceptions about femininity and . Women are expected to be well groomed, reserved and have a feminine look. Meanwhile, though men are also expected to present themselves tidily, it's more acceptable for them to be unshaved, slightly unkempt and out of shape. If a Russian man is too well groomed, it may raise questions about his .

Dating and Marriage

Russian dating practices are similar to those in English-speaking Western cultures. However, Russians generally approach dating with the prospect of a long-term relationship in mind. Marriage is the ultimate goal; thus, dates are less casual than what Australians are accustomed to.

Couples generally meet one another through social circles. Dating websites are also gaining popularity. On dates, men are expected to behave like gentlemen while women usually act aloof. It is thought that the man needs to charm and convince the woman into liking him by making romantic gestures, such as buying her flowers, paying for her expenses and buying gifts.

Most Russians marry in their early 20s, commonly in the first years after they have left university. It is often considered somewhat humiliating to be single for a long time; older unmarried women have particularly low social statuses regardless of their wealth or occupation. Some Russians may choose to live together as an unmarried couple for a while, but generally legal marriage is preferred. Divorce is very common in Russia. In 2011, 51% of marriages ended in divorce.

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