7 facts of Russia that surprise foreigners

In our time of Internet, messengers, Instagram and all social medias we have a great opportunity to find out more about different local cultures. Russia is well known as a country of mystery and unusual things which exist just there. To support or maybe to break this image we want to present you our first article about 7 different phenomenons which you can find just in Russia!


For those who surf Internet a lot and like to chat with Russians via social platforms, the Russian way of using emojis isn’t clear at all. Many foreigners say they could recognize Russians from the first sentence even it was written with the academical English. So why are Russian emojis are so capturing? Worldwide smiley emoji looks like :). Somehow Russians created their own way of smiles:

) – slight smile;
)) – normal smile;
))) – laughing aloud;
)))) and more – kind of crazy laughing.

If you didn`t know about it, now you have a trick to find a Russian friend in world wide web.

Russian names

Russian names aren`t exotic and are used in different countries. But foreigners are lost with long and short Russian names and their diminutive forms. Nobody can understand why, for example, a lovely female name Svetlana suddenly turns into Sveta, Svetik, Svetochka and another hundred versions. For some names (both male and female) the difference between long name and short name is so big that it seems as if you talk with two persons and you can`t recognize the origin of the name. Could you suppose that the male name Alexander has actually short form Sasha? Sasha is also a short name for Alexandra…Moreover some female Russian names are translated into English for no reason. For example, nice Russian name Nadezhda which means «hope» will be translated as Hope in English.

A bag with bags

People who travel to Russia notice one interesting thing about the way of keeping clothes or shopping in Russia. Almost in every Russian family there`s a big plastic bag with other plastic bags which are used to pack clothes while traveling or going shopping. Nobody can explain why and how began this kind of tradition to collect bags but if in an airport you see people which suitcase are full of clothes put into bags you can be pretty sure that you meet Russians.

Canned food

Have you ever seen a cellar of a Russian family? If you get there you will find out thousands of home-made canned tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums, cabbage, mushrooms and all possible vegetables. Also, you will definitely find numerous cans of jam which is made from fruits and berries. Almost all vegetables, fruits and berries will be planted at dacha – a holy place for Russians where they spend time from May till October. If you are interested in this phenomenon and want to know more about Russian dachas let us know in comments!

Public transport

After FIFA World Cup 2018 a lot of foreigners fell in love with the Russian subway. The beauty of the majority of metro stations are described in all tourist guides and presented as masterpieces which you should definitely visit. Another reason why Russian subway fascinate foreigners is it`s cleanness. Thanks to a big team of workers metro stations, halls, trains stay clean and tidy during the whole day and even in rush hours! It`s very difficult to find garbage or rubbish as it will be removed very fast.

Another thing about the public transport in Russia which surprises is a ticketman/ticketwoman who sells the entrance tickets. While almost all European or Asian countries brought into different ways of self-paying or buying tickets, in Russia the profession of ticketman/ticketwoman remains pretty popular. Not all foreigners can understand what is the function of this person but after a couple of times using a bus or tram, they find this profession very useful because a ticketman/ticketwoman can also tell where sightseeing are located and how its easer to reach them.

The culture of drinking

The stereotype about Russians who drink vodka with a bear loses its popularity and actuality after foreigners began to travel to different parts of Russia and observe the life here. Although it would be not correct to say that Russians don`t drink alcohol at all. They do, but there is a culture of drinking which includes not just invitation people to a party or a holiday but also moments of giving toast and different names of glasses for different drinks. In compare to another cultures and countries where a toast would be just a short phrase as «Cheers!» or «Prost!» Russians give kind of a short (sometimes long) speech about the occasion why gather to this party or holiday together. The second toast is always devoted to parents. So, we could say there is kind of hierarchy of topics during giving toasts. Also, it is interesting to observe how Russian language distinguishes kinds of alcohol and gives names to variety of glasses. Not going deep into this topic, we can name such types of glasses рюмка, стопка (two different shots for vodka), бокал (for wine), фужер (for champagne) etc. Russian is a magic language!

Soviet gadgets

While visiting Russian houses you can notice some strange gadgets from the past which are still used nowadays. Soviet era left us fridges, vacuum cleaners, waffle-irons, juice squeezers etc. All this gadgets don`t look modern but they still perfectly perform their functions. In Soviet times there was a joke: «whether this gadget don’t work at all or it will work at least for hundred years». Well, we can definitely be agreed with the second part of this expression.


Today we presented you a small part of a big and many-side Russian culture. We hope you enjoy it! Let us know what was more surprising for you while you were reading! If you want to get closer to this country of wonders and know more, stay tuned!

Author: Aleksandra Shilovskaia

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