48 50 Facts About Russia In The Eyes Of Foreigners

50 Facts About Russia In The Eyes Of Foreigners

Posted on October 14, 2011 by


This is what foreigners think about Russia and its people.


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1. The Russians treat cheap things with distrust.

2. The English word 'bargain' cannot be adequately translated into Russian because the notion of high quality goods for little money is unknown to them.

3. Freebie is quite the opposite. The fact of getting something cool for free does not make this cool thing any worse.

4. Those Russians who have achieved something, look down on those who haven't.

5. It is not enough for them to drive an elite car; they need a car with a flasher and a loud horn so that the rest make way for it.

6. They persistently call lazy waitresses with a strange word 'devushka' meaning 'mam'.

7. You can't survive in the Moscow Metro without knowing how to elbow other people.

8. Everybody can buy a beer and drink it anywhere, and nobody will arrest you.

9. The Russians like hanging out in the kitchen and philosophically talk about life.

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48 Responses to “50 Facts About Russia In The Eyes Of Foreigners”

  1. M_Dawg says:

    43. The only alcohol-free places in Russia are McDonalds and KFC.

    Actually they sell booze in KFC too (beer only).

  2. Tim Dennison says:

    I noticed a lot of young Russian women hate alcohol, and demand that I stop drinking.
    But#18, never saying please, or thank you? I think that is wrong. Any compliment is always returned with a spacibo, always!

    • ExP says:

      As far as I know, they never say “thank you” to their friends, because they are confident their friends realise they are very grateful for the favour. If somebody can confirm this… you know what to do.

  3. BlowME says:

    Some of these are true, other – not really… But overall yes, these impressions are not far from reality.

  4. marxistworker says:

    Thank you for the information (Guess by saying thanks I’ve revealed myself as a hapless foreigner).

  5. DouglasU says:

    Russians don’t like you if you don’t drink???

    • Barbar says:

      It’s not a big problem in everyday life but on the party you may insult em a little. They will think that you are staying sober on purpose. That you don’t believe them, don’t like them or even mean harm to them. Some kind of medieval tradition I believe.

  6. geoff says:

    That is very enlightening. Some sound strange, but every culture has things that seem strange to outsiders. I think it is good that you are objective enough to come up with such a list. I could not make a list of 50 things.

  7. perristalsis says:

    #51 Russian women do have nipples, only not on E.R.

    • ziggie says:

      Some of them are huge with aureolas to match. Many Russian or Eastern European women are very pretty, some are absolutely gorgeous. But most seem to me to be sadly lacking in the ‘class’ department.’ Many/most I’ve met tend to look a bit on the ‘coarse’ side. Lips too big, cheek bones too pronounced. Some refer to these as Europes’ White niggers!’

  8. Hi says:

    Fact Number 51: They rabidly down-vote any comment that doesn’t fit their sense of national pride, no matter how true it might be.

  9. alessio215 says:

    actually Russian woman aged 25 to 30 hate drunk guys but love occasionally drinkers who like to have fun.

    A good thing is that you don’t have to smile to every one, but on every joke

  10. Atlas says:

    Number 6…a friend of mine just said that devushka means young lady…Anyone can confirm it?

  11. Zonda says:

    “32. They want to belong to Europe.” Russians can do first step in this way and solve # 18, learning to say please…

    • ayaa says:

      Considering the awesome performance of the European economies, that would be the exact thing that Russia wants and needs.

      And #18 is wrong.

      • Zonda says:

        …this “awesome economy” make a lot of russians to become immigrants with first ocassion they have. I never heard about any european who want to become russian citizen… I’m wondering why if the economy and people are so great?

        • ayaa says:

          I don’t know about you, but whenever the news gets to the economic part, I always hear about the “European” or “Eurozone” crisis, not the Russian crisis. I don’t think the gas pipes have direction indicators, but the gas flows from Russian to the EU, not the other way round. And of course you don’t hear about anyone wanting to become a Russian citizen. There are 15 million immigrants (mostly illegal) in Russia seeking US citizenship. I think you just can’t accept the fact that Russia is riding out this crisis better than most.

  12. McDoll says:

    I’m confused – is this supposed to be a list of what foreign people actually THINK Russians do, or a list of what they (the Russians) actually do that surprises foreigners when they (the foreigners) find out? Because it seems to me to be a mix of both. My Girlfriend is from Ulan-Ude and confirmed some as true, but many as false – many I’ve never heard anyone say about Russians – and we have a lot of stereotyping in NZ.

  13. mam says:

    “they are Ukranian dishes”

    …and what is Ukraine? Russia….

    • Zonda says:

      When you have the occasion, tell to some ukrainians your impression, and after that post here their answer… But please don’t mention the part about your mother… :).

      • Anatoliy Razhenkov (rotfl) says:

        Zonda, untill 1991, when USSR crashes, there is no country called Ukrain. Never ever was. But then was “Kiyevskaya Rus` “, ancient Russian kingdom (X-XIII century), with capital in Kiyiv, and its borders concur with borders of modern Russia, except Ukranian territory. Learn Wiki ;)

        Most of TV info about Ukrainian-Russian hate is originally based on neo-nazi ideas of fanatics in some west-ukranian Cities, and their fresh reappraisal of history of civil war in Russia (when Lenin comes to management ;). Dont know who interested in this tv reports, but i think global politic movement somewhere not far…

        this year i had traveled through Ukranian plains to Crimea, and when i came to Sevastopol (main russian black sea fleet base on Ukranian side), that was funny to see much of stickers on cars with phrase “The port of registry – Sevastopol, Russia”. 99% of locals identifying themselves as Russians.

        • Hirsh says:

          Nation status does not matter. the Ukrainian people exist and have their own cultural identity that is their own, however much Russians might want to deny they exist as a people, that they are just Russians too.

  14. Kiril says:

    Being Russian i can say that:
    True:1,2,3,6 (And what?It is a POLITE compellation which is used for all unknown women from 18-35),7,8,9,13,14,15,16,17,19(partially),21(Just can only say that young people drink less alcohol that 10 y.a.),23(Well sometimes it can be -25-30 in Moscow and in 2 weeks +10),25,26,33,34,36,40 (I dont drink alcohol whatsoever and on occasion people like “wtf man?Why dont u respect me?” ..that’s so silly),44,46,47(but not all life, usually young people move out in their 30’s),48,49(VERY TRUE),50
    False:4(but true for people from the government),5,10,12(if it is a party of old people probably true),18(utter rubbish),20,27,28(rubbish),29 (in prisons it’s true),30(wtf),31(wtfwtf),32(rubbish),35,37,38,39,41,42,45,

  15. jsixpack says:

    i think #51 has to be: All the women look like Bond-girls until 35, when they magically turn into babushkas overnight

  16. Tim Dennison says:

    #30, and #31, I think were true. I have not noticed it as much lately, but still the Russian girls use smileys with lots of brackets, more than anyone I ever saw before. It nice, I like it

  17. geoff says:

    Rotfi I think I understand. The past is gone and we all live now. Russian people are like other people, same hopes and dreams for the future.

  18. Mitch says:

    35 is not true!!

  19. Anatoliy Razhenkov (rotfl) says:

    i think 35 is about gastarbeiters here… from Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. They was coming here to work in a building sphere, often as illegals, cause average income in their country in a month is less than !50 bucks, and Russia haven`t any visas for that contry`s citizens. In Moscow they got about 350$ and can support their familys… also, illegals here make a lot of crime.
    Especially Caucasians, they mostly agressive in communicating and in buisness, russians call them “beasts”, cause they have no morals, and often in a fist fights on the streets use knives… ((
    Its pity, but some of them make real money in 90s` with this tactic, so when their kids (beasts, also) murder someone on the steets they give a bride to cops or judges, and nothing happens :(

  20. Anatoliy Razhenkov (rotfl) says:

    Yes, and we really want to belong to Europe, mostly because of visas. For example me and my friends want to run on motorbikes to London next summer. We want visit ACE cafe and trip over the Europe… and it seems we will have a lot bureaucracy problems with visas, cause we plan to cross the borders, but dont know in which sequence, but this is necessary for getting visas…

    not looks like freedom ;)

    • robert says:

      And you think it is easy to travel in Russia? I’ve been waiting for my first invitation, thanks FMS, 5 weeks. After my arrival i have to go immediately to the post-office and fill out two doubleside forms in russian language, copy my passport once again, and waste 2 hours for that

  21. [email protected] says:

    18 isn’t true – it is “a” and “the” that they never say!

  22. glip2004 says:

    …45.Do not smile! It irritates!.. Do you know why? Russians say “Laughing with no reason is a sign of an idiot” or alternatively “Continue to smile – your boss likes idiots” ;)

  23. Ilya says:

    №33 is also true about Saint-Petersburg Metro, but without №7. So, Saint-Petersburg Metro is the best in the world ;) №20 is true. I can’t say about № 29, but it is normal to drink tea with 2-3 teaspoons of sugar. Is it normal in Europe and USA?

    • ExP says:

      I’m not from Europe or USA, but I usually drink tea with 3 teaspoons of sugar, everybody (friends and family) always criticised me that.

  24. Aro says:

    I have spent in Russia 3 years. I love this country, people, music, moovies. I hate bred only :)

  25. Miyako says:

    #30 and #31! I should have read this article sooner! My boyfriend is Russian and it took me a while to understand his smileys when we talk on IM. ^^

  26. jose says:

    i like russia girls they r hot

  27. Natasha says:

    Borsch IS a Russian soup, who wrote this? lol There is a Ukrainian borsch, which has salo in it, and a Russian one. I would know, I grew up on it.
    Also, we do say thank you and please.

  28. Igor says:

    Borsch there 20-30 species, including Lithuanian. At that time, when there were soup, dumplings and so on. Russian, Ukrainians, Lithuanians and Belarus were just one nation without divisions and they lived in Kievan Rus. It would therefore be a mistake to attribute these dishes any one split of the ancient ethnic group. And the best borsch – Moscow, he is on the beet kvass.
    And in general, everything is quite true. But we should not forget that Russia is larger than Pluto, and it is home to hundreds of peoples with their own features, way of life and customs. Written entirely true for a small group of Moscow residents, except for a couple of items suitable almost all Muscovites, and then the differences will only grow.
    I once read, went and tried on a specially – sugar in a glass of exactly 9 mm.

    • galina says:

      I live in USA 25 years, originally from Russia. And yes Russians are weird and angry people because they don’t burp in other people’s face and don’t fart in public and then make big deal out of it, by yelling “I am sorry” to make sure everyone knows, that he just spoiled air in the room and than laugh about it also loud showing mouth with no teeth, like most americans do. That’s probably who ever wrote this post hate Russians so bad, so he makes all this statements without knowing even world history. Dumplings Pelmeni)are Siberian (Russian) food. There was no such country as Ukraine. Ukrainian food-mix of Russian and Polish plates.Also Russians always say thank you and please even if we refuse we say”Thank you, but no”. I am not big fan of Russia myself, but I hate when someone is trying to throw bunch of lies. Russia has much more other problems, but this author of this text has no idea about Russia,Russians and their problems. Smiling at person is not polite, believe me, I have experience. After I’ve buried my son ( died of cancer), I was in a store where random men approached to me and start making jokes and laugh in my face. My feeling was: “I want to die!!, when that men came to me it changed” I want kill this men”. That’s why smiling at people not polite as you guys think, its careless for others people feelings.

  29. galina says:

    I live in USA 25 years, originally from Russia. And yes Russians are weird and angry people because they don’t burp in other people’s face and don’t fart in public and then make big deal out of it, by yelling “I am sorry” to make sure everyone knows, that he just spoiled air in the room and than laugh about it also loud showing mouth with no teeth, like most americans do. That’s probably who ever wrote this post hate Russians so bad, so he makes all this statements without knowing even world history. Dumplings Pelmeni)are Siberian (Russian) food. There was no such country as Ukraine. Ukrainian food-mix of Russian and Polish plates.Also Russians always say thank you and please even if we refuse we say”Thank you, but no”. I am not big fan of Russia myself, but I hate when someone is trying to throw bunch of lies. Russia has much more other problems, but this author of this text has no idea about Russia,Russians and their problems. Smiling at person is not polite, believe me, I have experience. After I’ve buried my son ( died of cancer), I was in a store where random men approached to me and start making jokes and laugh in my face. My feeling was: “I want to die!!, when that men came to me it changed” I want kill this men”. That’s why smiling at people not polite as you guys think, careless for others people feelings.

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