5 Things NOT to do in Russia

5 Things NOT to do in Russia

If you’re heading to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, are visiting friends or family or are just going to check the country out, take a look at our guide to Russian etiquette. Obviously you’ll want to avoid offending anyone, so these social rules and superstitions may come in useful. Here our our 5 Things NOT to do in Russia.

1.  Don’t show the soles of your feet

When you casually sit down in someone’s living room, an office or on public transport in Russia, make sure the soles of your feet are not pointing towards anyone. Just think of all the dust and muck you walk on with the soles of your feet each day, this is simply just good Russian etiquette. If you show the soles of your feet to nearby people you may receive a Russian glare.

2.  Don’t leave your empty vodka bottle on the table

However much vodka you’ve already drunk, keep some wits about you, so as not to offend your host. After polishing off a bottle of vodka, you must place it on the floor before a new bottle is brought to the table – this is one of the golden rules of Russian etiquette. The origin of this superstition is unclear, but could originate from Russian soldiers’ attempts to hide their empties when fighting against Napoleon.

3. Don’t whistle indoors

You’ve had a great time exploring the city today, and you want to show your host how much fun you’re having. However, happily whistling away indoors will not make a happy host. According to Russian etiquette rules and superstition, whistling indoors will bring financial ruin to the household, or bar or restaurant. So don’t whistle along to that World Cup theme tune, however tempted you are!

4. Don’t shake hands over a threshold

Perhaps you are sealing a deal on a property or meeting the owner of an Airbnb for your short stay in Russia. You need to shake hands when you are outside the property or fully inside. Doing it over the threshold is said to offend the house spirit. The threshold of a property is where Russians believe the spirit of the house lives and if you offend it, it means very bad luck.

5. Make sure you bring a gift

If you are visiting Russian friends, it’s important that you take a little something with you – this is actually good etiquette anywhere. If you don’t take something as gratitude, some Russian people will be offended and you won’t get such a warm welcome.

Find more things NOT to do in Russia here.

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