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Etiquette


Meeting Etiquette

The first situation where the rules of etiquette should be used is, of course, when meeting new people. Here are some tips to make your acquaintance with new people much more pleasant.

1. A man always greets a woman first.

2. A younger person is the first to greet an older person.

3. When joining a group, you should be the first to greet them.

4. Do not put your hands in your pockets when greeting people.

5. Take your cigarette out of your mouth if you happen to be smoking.

6. A man must take his gloves off for a handshake.

7. It is best to maintain eye contact with the person you are greeting.

8. The first to extend a hand for a handshake must be a woman, a person of higher rank, or an older person.

9. A man should be standing during a handshake.

10. A woman does not have to get up unless she is greeting a person older than her or to whom she wishes to show respect.

11. Women must be first allowed to greet each other, then men can greet women, then men can greet each other.

But exceptions can occur in any situation. The violation of the above-listed rules will not be considered a major violation of etiquette.

An older person may be the first to greet a younger person to show his respect to the person he is greeting. A woman may also greet a man first. It is not a big deal.

However, it is important to remember that the way you treat a person is the way he will treat you. Be as respectful as you can while maintaining your dignity.

Communication Etiquette

One of the main rules of etiquette in Russia is showing respect for the older generation. For example, in Russia people traditionally give up their seats to older people on all modes of public transportation, help older people cross a road or even carry heavy bags.

It has also long been a tradition to open the door for women and let them through, help them carry bags, and other heavy things.

Despite the fact that many people think of Russians as people who have no clue about etiquette, it is not true. If you get an opportunity to visit your Russian friend’s house, by all means seize it.

When entering the house, remember to take off your shoes and put on house shoes. Russians do not wear outside shoes at home to keep the house clean. Russians love having guests over. When you come to visit, you will see the table set with lots of dishes. Table manners in Russia are identical to those of Europeans. Russians traditionally wait for all guests to gather at the table to start eating. The same is applicable to finishing the meal – it is considered impolite to leave the table if one of the guests is still eating. 

Table Etiquette

Russian families traditionally serve dinner according to banquet rather then cocktail party rules, i.e. it is generally a several course meal. In addition, in Russia, men and women eat at the same table. Turning food down is impolite. It is best to ask for a small portion of something than to turn it down all together. It is also impolite to leave food on your plate – your hosts might think that you did not enjoy the meal. Tea, coffee, and dessert are served after dinner. Alcohol is not usually offered at this time.

Politeness

A few more tips. Be polite when asking Russians about something. Remember to say “pozhalusta” (please): «Would you tell me, please…», «Would you pass the salt, please» and so on. To express gratitude, Russians say “spasibo” (thank you). If a person sneezed, say “Boodte zdarovy!” (Bless you!).  The traditional greeting is “zdrastvuite” (hello) or the more familiar “privet” (hi). When parting with someone, say "do svidanya" (until next time) or use “poka” (bye) for people you know very well. If you have already met and spoken to a person, for example, on the phone, but had no chance to say good bye, say “dobryi den/utro/vecher” (good afternoon/morning/evening).