Russian Culture

Other Considerations

  • While Russia is renowned for having a strong drinking culture, it’s not as glorified in Russian society as many foreigners believe. Being very drunk is not regarded positively in Russia. The public is very aware of the negative effects of alcohol dependency and it is considered bad manners to become visibly intoxicated from vodka or other drinks. Some may even see it as a sign of weak character.
  • The number 13 is considered unlucky in Russian culture. Celebrations may be organised so that they do not coincide with the number.
  • Homosexuality is not widely accepted in Russia and people from the LGBTQI+ community may encounter negative attitudes.
  • You may find that a Russian person who you presumed was quite moderate and ‘politically correct’ tells jokes that you deem to be inappropriate (i.e. sexist undertones or slurring racial/ethnic minorities). Consider that this kind of humour is quite common in Russia. The media tends to circulate insulting stereotypes of Siberian natives, Koreans, Asians, Ukrainians, people of the Caucasus, Jews and those of other ethnic or cultural backgrounds.
  • ‘New Russians’ is a term that has arisen since the 1990s to caricature those who got rich in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It implies that a person gained their wealth through possibly corrupt means. This reflects a cultural scepticism of the wealthy.
  • Smoking cigarettes is a common habit and older Russians are likely to smoke in public places frequently. 
  • Being visibly drunk in public places is a legal offence in Russia. It is also illegal for certain profane words to be spoken publicly or written in the media.
  • Some elderly Russians may be suspicious of anything related to government and bureaucratic processes.
  • Free speech is inhibited in Russia; the Putin government is known to harshly punish journalists, activists and other forms of opposition that resists its authority. Therefore, consider that some Russians in Australia may have migrated to seek political sanctuary.

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