In Russian communication, a smile is not a signal of politeness. Russians consider a polite smile as “servant's smile.” It is considered a demonstration of unwillingness to show one's true feelings.
If you smile at a stranger in Russia, he/she can smile back, but it can already mean an invitation to come and talk. Russians take smiling as a sign that the person cares about them.
In Russia smiles are reserved for family members, friends and colleagues at work. It's just a typical Russian thing, and it's recommended you don't smile randomly at strangers while riding on public transport or going shopping. Russians have a saying “to smile without a reason is a sign of a fool”.
The Russian language has a unique proverb that is absent from other languages, “A smile without a reason is a sign of idiocy.” [Смех без причины - признак дурачины.] People with a western mindset cannot understand this proverb.
Hugs, backslapping, kisses on the cheeks and other expansive gestures are common among friends or acquaintances and between members of the same sex. Russians stand close when talking. Putting your thumb through your index and middle fingers or making the "OK" sign are considered very rude gestures in Russia.
If your left hand itches, you're going to give someone money. If you have the hiccups, someone is remembering you at this moment. If an eyelash falls out you'll receive a gift. If someone finds an eyelash on someone they will sometimes let the person blow it away and make a wish.
Always show heightened respect to those who are older than you. It's common to adopt a more formal demeanour. Offer your seat to an elderly person, pregnant woman or woman with a small child if they do not have one. Men are expected to open doors for women, pay for their food, help them carry items, etc.
In Russia, beauty standards are very different from what we're used to in the West. In general, Russian women are expected to be slim and beautiful with perfect skin, hair, and teeth. They are also expected to dress well and wear lots of makeup.
“Don't dig a hole for someone else or you will fall into it yourself.” “The best offense is a good defense.” “It's better to have 100 friends than 100 rubles.” “Nothing will happen in your life unless you try something.”
Friends may hug or kiss on the cheek to greet, but Russians are generally limited in their physical contact. Strong physical affection is generally only seen between couples of opposite genders.
Show Some Affection
Traditionally, Russians would kiss three times on the cheek when meeting. Now, one kiss is more common, but a hug will also be expected. This might not be such a strange act for women, but men from other countries sometimes find it odd. Don't fret.
Eye Contact: Making eye contact is a show of respect in Russian culture and is highly valued. When conversing to someone, it is considered polite to keep eye contact and direct your look at the other person.
The obsession for Adidas traces back to the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 when Adidas designed the uniforms for Soviet athletics. Despite Russia's government efforts to peddle Adidas as propaganda of the capitalist system, it did little to dampen the feverish demand behind the Iron Curtain.
While you've probably already learned the more neutral terms like человек (human), девушка (girl), мужчина (man), and женщина (woman), Russian has so much more to offer when talking about other people. As you might expect, some of these terms can be quite complimentary.
Ты дурак/дура (Ty durak/dura)
You can use this one while talking to somebody who has disappointed or annoyed you. Here are some Russian angry phrases with similar meanings: Ты невыносим(а) (Ty nevynosim[a]) — “You're impossible.” Ты глуп(а) (Ty glup[a]) — “You're silly.”
Australians uphold “fit, healthy, and natural” as the attributes that make you beautiful. Vibrancy, warmth, and self-confidence also top the list of qualities deemed important. Healthy skin and beautiful eyes are seen as the most desirable physical traits.
Stereotypical physical characteristics of Russian people include a broader nose, dark blond eyebrows, fair skin, and a round face. There are a number of factors that contribute to these characteristics. In cultural stereotypes, Russian people are also seen as being individualistic, hard-working, honest, and generous.
Business Attire is Formal and Conservative
Dressing in traditional, formal business attire is standard in Russia. Men should wear suits. Women should wear skirts that are not too short or revealing.
They generally smile and emote very little in public. This is mostly because formal behaviour signifies respect, particularly when interacting with strangers or those who are older or of higher social status. As such, public behaviour is typically reserved and open complaint or anger is uncommon.