Each year Russia welcomes millions of travelers wishing to learn more about this beautiful and vibrant country. Expectations of many tourists are associated with Soviet times, others expect to meet gloomy and rather reserved people. The opinions of travelers help to understand what foreigners think about Russians.
Visitors admit that some things in the country are shocking but after a minute they add that as a whole Russia is magnetizing and deserves admiration.
What foreigners think about Russian people and Russia
In Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Nizhny Novgorod, and other famous Russian cities you can easily meet foreign students, businessmen, travelers, and artists who have been living there for months or even years. Their opinions differ to the ones we used to hear about Russians.
- Gabriela from Brazil has been living in Russia for 9 years already. She met her husband Vitaliy in Moscow. He’s Russian and they have 2 wonderful kids. At first, she knew nothing about Russia except the famous Red Square. She feels that Russians and Brazilians have a lot in common. But there is one difference: Brazilians are very open-minded and greet strangers with hundreds of questions and compliments. Russians are rather reserved at first. But once they get to know you, they become very welcoming and emotional, she explained to Ria.ru.
- Davide Scale, 20, from Italy, feels at home in Russia. He admits that he’s excited to be in Moscow and he hopes to get accepted to a Russian university the next year. The brightest emotions of his trip are associated with Russians and their mentality. He always thought that they were rude and cold. But now his opinion is totally different. He met there a lot of nice and warm-hearted friends who’s been filling his life with positive emotions every day, according to Life.ru.
The good, the bad, and the ugly
- Juliana Ventura from Italy thinks that Russians are not talkative. It’s impossible to hear any compliments from them. Locals open their hearts only after they know you better and see that you’re reliable.
- Russians seemed suspicious to Charley Forrey, an American student. To his mind, people in the former USSR are less optimistic than Americans. They don’t believe that the world assists them to succeed. They are more skeptical and don’t take anything for granted. Although this feature contributes to their amazing ability to adapt. Because of the frosty climate and lots of difficulties the nation had to go through, Russians developed an amazing mental strength. It seems that the pressure and stress they experience make their families, work, and life itself more precious for them.
- Penny Fang from China states a typical Russian has the facial expression as if he is going to kill someone. They seem to be very harsh because they do not smile. But in fact, they are very warm and kind. To his mind, people in Russia do not care much about little things. If Russians want to go to the beach when it’s raining, they do it. Chinese people tend to weigh everything up.
- Gabriela from Brazil states that Russian women are the most beautiful and delicate females she met in her life.
- Gada Shaykon from the United Arab Emirates admits that at first girls from Russia seemed unfriendly to her. But then she realized that they are very sweet and supportive. It was easy to find a common language with them, Lenta.ru reports.
- Edite Perman from Sweden explains that she was amazed by the strength of local women. She believes that they are stronger than any other females in the world.
- Penny Fang from China says that women from Russia are very attractive.In his opinion, they have “cold” beauty.
- Luca Lampariello admires Russian ladies’ strong traditional values. They strive to become perfect wives and good mothers, he explains in his account of visiting Russia for the first time.
- Gabriela from Brazil has highly positive impressions about Russian family life. She has a wonderful husband (a Russian guy Vitaliy) and feels that men in Russia are hardworking and responsible. Their families mean everything to them. Brazilian husbands are different. They commit adultery quite often and can be jealous at the same time. They can’t stand when their wives look at other men.
- Juliana Ventura from Italy wonders why Russians marry so early. She is concerned about it. She met lots of married couples of her age who had kids and jobs while she’s still studying at the university. Besides, she was amazed to see that all people in Moscow are in love. She saw lots of couples kissing and hugging in the streets, cafes, and even in metro.
- Tzyao Tzyi from China admits that she dreams of marrying a Russian guy and raise a family in Russia. Russian men can do lots of things around home: For example, they’re able to repair furniture or fix a leaking tap. Chinese men think only about money and how to spend it. While Russians men and women think how to earn money. Even girls of her age think about it in Russia. Tzyi adds that Chinese men also support their wives but they are less purposeful and self-assured than guys from Russia, according to Vladnews.ru.
- Edite Permen from Sweden was shocked to discover strong traditional gender roles in Russia. She struggled to get used to the fact that being a woman means to be treated differently in Russia.
- It was hard for Gabriela to get used to the Russian food. She still can’t eat traditional shchi and borscht (vegetable soups with cabbage, very popular among people from the post-USSR). But she likes pelmeni (meat dumplings similar to ravioli but with more stuffing). Their Russian granny always tries to feed her okroshka (cold vegetable soup based on kvas, a sour drink made of bread) and kholodets (jelly made of beef or pork bones). The hospitable hostess also tries to offer her organic-grown cucumbers from the dacha. But Brazilians do not eat raw cucumbers.
- Agnes Harvelian, 24, from Indonesia, says that in her home country food is spicy and salty. Russian food is completely different. That’s why it seems to be tasteless and watery to her. Though she likes borscht, some salads, and, of course, large local meatballs (in Russia people call them kotlety).
- Chinese student Tzyao Tzyi also admits that it took her a year to get used to the Russian food. Chinese food is more exotic and diverse. But she loves borscht and the dish of meat with mushrooms baked with mayonnaise.
Beautiful Brazilian Gabriela tells a funny story about Russian banya she had to visit.
Once she went to some local banya (bath house) with her husband. When they entered the banya they had to undress completely and she didn’t like that. But what came after was just outrageous. The bath attendant was slapping her back with a broom and singing some strange songs. It was winter but still they had to go outside and the attendant poured cold water over them. After that, they got into a hot water tank. She was told that it was a traditional Russian bath. Gabriela’s mom was shocked when she heard the story and asked her daughter not to go there anymore. She was sure it was some kind of a sect.
- The only thing Gabriela finds difficult in Russia is winter. It’s too cold and she feels depressed without sunny days.
- Andre Pavira from Indonesia says that in Russia he saw snow for the first time and even tried to shovel it, which was great. And the funny thing is that Pavira couldn’t believe that it can be cold outside when the weather’s sunny. Several times he went outside without a jacket when it was sunny and had to return to put on warm clothes.
Russian grannies or “babushkas”
Maya Koyanits from Italy has been living in Moscow for a month. She likes that people are responsive and ready to help. But she has mixed feelings about local grannies. They are evil under the mask of “babushkas”, she jokes.
Many foreigners have to admit that Russian babushkas can be rude and push strollers in metros when trying to get to the train.
However, many of them are kind, supportive, and can even teach you Russian for free.
Juliana from Italy says that Russian is very difficult. She demonstrates it on the following example.
We have a table in front of us. There a glass and a fork on it. What are they doing? The glass is “standing” and the fork is “lying” (in Russian). If we pierce the fork into the table, it will be “standing”. So we conclude that we use “stand” for vertical positions and “lay” for horizontal. But if we take a pan and a plate and put them on the table, we can’t say that they are lying. They are standing. So, everything becomes complicated again.
Also, Juliana finds it crazy that Russian verbs have so many prefixes: otrabatyvat, narabatyvat, pererabatyvat; zastroit, nadstroit, perestroit. She started to understand their meaning only in Russia though she’s been studying the language for 3 years already.
Traveling to Russia is not like visiting a beach resort. It enriches your mind with culture, history, and religion. The country is famous for its theatrical life, ballet, museums, and galleries. It has numerous places, which are almost untouched by people, like Siberian forests or Kamchatka’s wild life. It’s the largest country in the world by its geographical area with 9 time zones (used to be 11 but they cut down the actual number to improve business links between regions).
People in Russia are not the same; everyone is different. Some are open and kind-hearted and others are rather reserved. Besides, they live in a multicultural country and it contributes to being tolerant.
Most of the people that foreigners come across to are young. They never lived in the Soviet Union or were too young to remember it. They hardly remember 1990s. The young generation is different and more open. They watch western films and cartoons, study English at school, and part of them travel a lot. Young Russians laugh in the streets, wear casual clothes, and talk about how many likes or dislikes they’ve gathered on Facebook.
Foreigners from every nation find something in common with locals when visiting Russia. At the same time, they also see differences.
The one thing everyone agrees on is that Russian women have extremely strong family values. They are also beautiful and feminine.
- Why Does Russia Have a Bad Reputation?
- Expats in Russia: Life of Foreigners in Moscow
- The Little Things: 10 Surprises in Russia
- Stereotypes About Russia: Dispelling Classic Myths
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