Professional Travel and Cultural Competence
A handshake is always appropriate, when greeting or leaving.
Russians are generally reserved and somber, when interacting with sales assistants, officials and
other people one meets in a public context, a smile is a rare thing. This is not true of interactions
in professional environments, i. e. with colleagues or business partners.
Speaking or laughing loudly in public is considered rude. Do not expect friendly smiles.
Russian names have 3 parts. The given name comes first, followed by the patronymic (the
father's given name), followed by a suffix evich, or ovich, meaning "son of" or evna or ovna,
meaning "daughter of" and then the family name.
Titles are very important, omitting them is considered impolite.
Russians should be addressed with their titles until you are invited to use their given names. Once
invited to do so, Russians address one another by using the given name and the patronymic. You
will impress Russians if you address them in this manner.
The very informal Devushka, meaning Miss or Ms., is normally only used to summon a waitress.
Never refer to a Russian as "Comrade."
Safe topics of conversation include peace, the current changes taking place in Russia, and their
current economic situation.
Business Card Etiquette