Russian Culture

Greetings

  • The common greeting among strangers usually involves a firmly held handshake with eye contact. 
  • Take off your gloves to shake someone else’s hand.
  • You should not greet across a threshold. This is seen as impolite, giving the impression that the person is not allowed to enter.
  • In some cases, a handshake may seem too formal. 
  • Women generally kiss people three times on alternating cheeks starting on the left.
  • Male friends may hug one another or give each other a pat on the back.
  • An old superstition advises that you should never greet someone by shaking hands or kissing them whilst on the threshold of the doorstep. This is thought to cause you to argue with them.
  • People give the appropriate formal greeting depending on what time of day it is: “Dobroe utro” (Good morning), “Dobriy den” (Good afternoon) or “Dobriy vecher” (Good evening).
  • A more casual greeting is “Privet” (Hi).
  • Address a person using their first name and patronymic (middle) name if they are older or of higher status than yourself.

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