Once we lived in a hostel together with the American, the Frenchman, the Australian and the Chinese. It was in Paris. As soon as I told that I’m Russian, they began to sing the song «Kalinka Malinka» (but they knew only these 2 words), to show a bear and to discuss Putin. And it was very strange.
Each nation has its own stereotypes, which are not always the truth. It is considered, that the French eat frogs. Americans are eating burgers all day long and each Australian has his own kangaroo.
And Russians? These are the guys who don’t smile, drink vodka for 24 hours and hold a bear on a chain in their houses. Let’s destroy stereotypes. I chose TOP 10 questions which foreigners from the different countries asked me with big constraint. Here we go.
1) Why don’t you smile?
We smile, it is the truth. But we do it absolutely in other manner. In Australia and in the USA it is accepted to smile just for no reason. It means nothing, this is greeting. But for us a smile it something personal and is addressed to someone. We smile when we are having fun. We smile when we see the person, who we know. If you go down the street and smile in 33 teeth, passersby can think that you are the madman or the addict. If you communicated with Russian and he smiled to you, you have to know it is the most sincere smile. It goes from the heart.
2) How to drink vodka in Russian?
This recipe is known only by Russian people. So, in order to drink and not to get drunk we do to the following: you have to drink 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil or to eat a slice of bread with butter. Oil envelops walls of a stomach and intoxication comes more slowly. After each shot it is necessary to have a snack with a pickle. Thanks to this recipe Russians can drink and not get drunk. Now you know a secret.
This method is used generally by people of the senior generation. The younger generation stops drinking, now a healthy lifestyle is in fashion. And it is really cool!
3) Do you have confidential cities where it is impossible to get?
Earlier these 42 cities weren’t marked on maps and inhabitants signed the contract on nondisclosure of a residence. But it was in the USSR. Now there are only 10 cities. It is possible to get to the city only with the help of special cards which only residents have. People from other cities can’t get there in any way. Only residents and their close relatives can receive such a card. In such cities plants with the nuclear industry were hidden. Now it not the secret any more, all information is in Google, but nevertheless, it is impossible to get to the city.
4) Why do the Russian women look so perfectly?
We were taught it by our parents. The girl has to look beautiful and well-groomed: braids, dresses, shoes. The girl learns to look after herself since the childhood. For this reason when we grow up, we keep this habit. It is important to Russian woman to be beautiful every day. For this reason every morning we wash the head, do a make-up and dress beautiful clothes and, of course, wear heels.
5) You have no gays, are you serious?
I live in the 4th biggest city of Russia and I have never seen the gay in the city. It is the truth.
As far as we know, in Moscow the percent of people of nonconventional orientation is about 8-10%. Actually, it is difficult to tell the exact quantity. Most of people hide it and will never tell about it. In Russia it isn’t accepted to speak about it in the open. At the moment, everybody doesn’t respect them.
6) Why men want to marry the Russians?
Everything that you know about the Russian wives is the truth. The Russian woman withdraw into a family. And she sincerely wants it. The husband is always fed, houses are ideally cleaned and she can work at the same time. She spends all the energy for a family. From generation to generation you pass the knowledge that the woman has to create the hearthstone. From 14-15 years the daughter is taught to cook soups and various dishes by her mother. In 18 years the girl is already capable to prepare a huge Russian table by herself. man is a head of the family, its support and reliable protection. But now the younger generation (especially in the capital) gradually changes this tradition. Girls think about self-development and job, prepare less and order takeaway. Families are made after 25 years old and sometimes even after 30 years old. Is it good or bad? Time will show.
7) Is it always cold in your country? You don’t bathe at all?
It is too bad to destroy such a smart myth, but we’ll do it. We have a summer and even 3 more seasons: winter, spring, autumn. In the winter temperature can really fall to -30ºC. In that case, children stay at home and don’t go to school. And our summer as same as yours. We go to the sea or the lake to swim and sunbathe.
8) — How many time zones do you have?
— How many??
Yes. And the difference between the first and the last ones are 8 hours. Russians adapted to it for a long time and easily count it. When people from the different cities are going to meet at some time, they are guided by the Moscow time. For example, I’ll call you at 9 (Moscow time). And everyone understood when it will be. Everything is easy.
9) What is the average salary in Russia?
It is the most popular question to me. To tell the truth, you will be surprised now. According to the official statistics: an average salary in Moscow is 1375 AUD, in St. Petersburg is 937 AUD and in other regions it varies from 416 to 730 AUD.
But of course everything depends on a profession. Programmers, the employee of oil and gas branches and business consultants get paid more.
10) Men residents are 9 million less, is it so?
And now let’s recall about the 4th and the 6th paragraph, do you see the secret reason? It is the truth. In Russia there are more women, than men. The reason for that is high mortality of men. Alcohol, car accidents, health. An average life expectancy of men is 65 years and women’s is 76. Every second woman at the age of 70 remains single. We appreciate our men so much.
There are millions more of the facts in Russia which will surprise you. But there is no text which is capable to express the character of Russia. Bears don’t walk down the street, we don’t sing «Kalinka Malinka» without the reason, we don’t drink vodka instead of water. But we have something more that will surprise you. Being in St. Petersburg you will surely feel the Russian spirit. You will see that Russians are not gloomy, they are very kind and sympathetic. You will learn what is the Russian hospitality. When I ask foreigners what you have been hooked by in Russia, nobody can unambiguously answer. But they want to return back and to be with us a little more. Come and you’ll see for yourself.