Odd Questions about Russians That Foreigners Often Ask

It comes only naturally for people, anywhere around the world, to be curious about other people and cultures that are foreign to them. They would start asking questions, which some could be quite common like “what is weather like in your country?” or “what is your traditional culinary like?” But, some questions may come odd in a way or another. Here are some of the strange – or perhaps, interesting – questions asked by foreigners to Russians.

Why are Russians rarely smiling?

Russians hardly perceive formal polite smiles at official meetings, etc. They appreciate the ability of casual smiling of the Japanese, admire the courtesy of the French, but they themselves do not want to follow their example. Do not panic if you do not see smiles on their faces. This does not mean hostility or negative feelings, as foreigners sometimes think. But if you are waiting for a smile, then for this you just need to show your sincerity and goodwill.

Why do Russians love drinking so much?

This surely has something to do with how vodka is strongly tied with Russia. Even though it sounds like another stereotype, the data would support the fact that Russians indeed love drinking spirit – especially vodka. It is the only kind of alcohol that appears on almost every occasion in the country. This is because, to Russians, vodka is more than just a spirit but also a part of the nation’s identity.

Why are most Russian women beautiful?

Many foreigners are sure that in Russia they met the most beautiful women.  As many polls found out, modern Russians women feel very confident and consider themselves beautiful. This indicator shows 75% respondents, which takes the third place in the world after India and Turkey. Russian women believe that beauty and health are inextricably linked, and therefore try to take care of themselves both physically and mentally so they can feel good inside out.

Are all Russians communist?

This stereotype came from the Soviet Union, and it was absolutely logical that such a stereotype existed in the 20th century, but in the second decade of the 21st century it has become an odd question. Some people are still convinced that there are still no people with other political views in Russia, while actually there are a lot of non-communists in the country.

Why do Russians like physical contacts?

Russians are tactile people; they like to feel things materially, touching them. Do not be alarmed if at a meeting they will excessively energetically shake your hand, clap your shoulder in approval of your actions, kiss loudly, almost touch you during a conversation, and sit too close. Being enthusiastic about the conversation, they can violate the distance between you allowed by common etiquette and move closer. This means that they are interested with you, that they do not want to miss the slightest detail from the conversation. Sometimes they touch the shoulder or as a sign of trust or disposition towards you.

Do Russian women observe mixed marriages?

Russian women have charm, are educated, active in life, and most importantly, brought up in a sense of responsibility for their loved ones. These qualities make them attractive for mixed marriages. However, such marriages are very problematic and short-lived for many reasons. When entering into a relationship with a Russian woman, you need to understand that in the future both of you will have to overcome many barriers (linguistic, psychological, cultural, etc.) and be ready for constant active movement towards each other.

Why are Russians so superstitious?

It is just part of their culture that has been around since the earliest time. The belief has been handed over generations that, unconsciously, it has become very normal and seeped deep into the Russians’ daily lives. Some of the superstitions have even become habits to them. Foreigners may see this as something quite strange, but they just observe it as common.

Are all Russians aggressive and rough?

This could come up as a sensitive question that perhaps some of you have been wanting to ask but hesitate to. Russians are often more impulsive, quick-tempered and touchy than Westerners. You can base your decision on facts that are neutral for you, but for them they can cause strong emotions and actions, and not only verbal ones. Try to always be helpful, considerate and fair. Wounded self-esteem combined with inner freedom can push them into actions that are unexpected for you.

Why Russians make good spies?

Another stereotype, perhaps. But, the depictions of Russian spies in movies are surely based on common facts that they don’t believe people easily, are true to their words, and very logical. Not only in the military, common Russians also don’t open themselves up to just everyone. They have to make sure they can confide in the people they talk to before sharing personal information. They don’t even believe in banks! They would rather use cash rather than credit cards.

Do Russians get offended easily?

They generally don’t really care what people do as long as it doesn’t hurt their good intentions. Russians can get quite sensitive when their goodwill get betrayed or rejected. So make sure you embrace their invitations to drink, lunch, or dinner because it means a lot to them.

Why Russians love wearing street wear?

You might see young Russians roam the street mostly wearing adidas or puma jackets and trainers, but of course this doesn’t apply to all of them. If it is comfortable, then they wear it. Russia can get really cold throughout the year, so street wear such as sport jackets with high collars and thick cotton pants are just perfect to be worn outside on a daily basis.

So, have you ever asked one of the questions above to one of your Russian friends? Maybe you haven’t had the chance but been wondering for quite some times. Well now you know the answers to them. Some may sound odd, some just common.

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