Inherently Russian Behaviors Posted by Jenya on Feb 17, 2015 in Culture, Russian life, Traditions, when in Russia
If there are Russian people among your friends or family, some of the things they do may seem puzzling to you. Chances are they are thinking the same thing about you. You see, a lot of things we do on a day-to-day basis are inherently cultural. We, Russians, are certainly no exception. With that said, I hope this post sheds some light on the “mysterious Russian soul” you are dealing with.
- Russians drink a lot of tea (русские пьют много чая) Most Russians have tea (sometimes coffee) for breakfast. As the day goes by, they will have more tea after lunch, dinner, and in between meals. In other words, Russian people like their tea. If you are witnessing Russian people drinking 4 to 5 cups of hot tea on a very hot summer day, do not be surprised either. Actually, drinking hot tea on a very hot day helps to deal with the heat and thirst. Russians borrowed this tradition from the Far East.
- Russians eat sandwiches for breakfast (русские едят бутерброды на завтрак) In Russia, any good cup of tea or coffee for breakfast is usually accompanied with sandwiches. We typically use white bread, butter and any of the following: cheese, salami, bologna, honey, or jam. The sandwiches are always open faced, i.e. no bread on top. While there are other Russian breakfast options, sandwiches might just be the most popular.
- Russians swaddle newborn babies really tight (русские пеленают новорожденных) I am not really sure why Russians still swaddle their newborns. I do know that it is becoming less and less popular (thankfully!). The common explanation is that swaddling helps the baby cope with the stress of being in the new world, it helps the baby sleep better at night because it prevents excessive movement of the arms and legs. The newer research suggests that tight swaddling constricts blood flow, slows down motor development, and can potentially harm internal organs.
- Russians litter in public (русские мусорят в публичных местах) One of the things I noticed after I first came to America is overall cleanliness of the surroundings: clean sidewalks, clean lawns, etc. I certainly do understand that there are exceptions to this rule – larger cities and distressed neighborhoods tend to have their share of litter on the ground. In Russia, however, it seems like the litter never stops, it is everywhere and a lot of people are not shy about throwing junk right where they walk. I do not even dare to go into why that is: that would be a whole topic in itself. I simply hope that one day Russian people will conquer this disgusting habit.
- Russians hang rugs on walls (русские вешают ковры на стены) This one is hard to miss. If you have visited a typical Russian home, a giant “Persian” rug on the wall was probably the first thing you noticed upon entering the living room. Although it is worth mentioning that younger generations are getting away from this tradition and opting for a cleaner look.
- Russians look stern and unfriendly (русские выглядят сердитыми и недружелюбными) It’s not that Russians are unfriendly by nature. A lot of Russians simply look that way in public. Why? I am truly not sure… Hard life? Cold weather? Or perhaps, we are dealing with rudiments of Communism.
- Russians collect used plastic bags (русские собирают использованные пластиковые пакеты) A lot of Russian homes have a bag with bags in it. It does actually help reduce the amount of plastic pollution. However, this is not the main reason why Russian people collect used plastic bags. In Russia, you have to pay for your plastic bags at the grocery store, therefore people think twice before disposing of their used plastic bags. If you paid for it, you may as well use it to its full potential. It is worth mentioning that the bags are typically more heavy duty. As far as I know, paying for plastic bags is also quite common in other European countries, such as Germany and Sweden.
Some time ago I did a post about odd Russian behaviors. This article tries to expand on this topic and give you some information on what to expect when interacting with Russian people :-).