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46

Yes, it's true. In general, Russians never smile without a reason. No, you will not insult anybody in Russia if you smile. But, in some cases it can be assessed as rude or strange. For example, if you smile at a stranger he or she might think "Why is this guy looking at me and smiling? Do I look stupid?" Smiling when you say "Hello" is OK. In addition: ...


45

In defense of @MikkaRin's answer, I offer a contrast of cultural norms regarding emotional expression in Russia versus USA. This may not clearly represent differences between Russian and global norms (to whatever extent these exist), but hopefully it'll help. In psychological literature concerning culture and affect, opposite norms have been described: to ...


14

This is actually conditional. In your particular case it will not be strange or insulting though as MikkaRin pointed out they may think "What is this guy so happy about?". Reason that it won't be for you is that you are an obvious foreigner in that country and you will be looked on as such and there is certain leeway that is allowed. In Russia there is a ...


8

It has three forms, the short one: Salam Which means "peace", this is usually used between friends or when entering a shop or with people you usually meet. Second form is the medium form: As-salamu alaykum The medium one means "peace be upon you". It has no religious meaning or whatsoever as it stands this way even though it was first used by ...


7

I told a friend after I returned from Russia that Russian smiles are made of gold - they don't let go of one without a good reason. But when I was introduced to a new person, they would often smile as they said здравствуйте. When I bought half a dozen books on Russian for Foreigners, the cashier smiled as she asked "Are you learning Russian?" If a Russian ...


5

I am from Russia, Yekaterinburg (it's almost Siberia you know). I tend to believe that people are not very friendly here mostly because of bad weather. Either it's really cold, or it's not, but still there is no sun because of lots of huge clouds. It's very difficult to be in a good mood when you see sun once a week. But when I travel to south regions of ...


4

Yes, it is true. Smiling or laughing without a reason will make you look like a fool. And no, you will not insult anyone if you smile to a person in the street. But it will make you look strange. And I would not be happy if you start talking to me without a reason. Most of us are not so talkative as in Europe or Asia. But not because we are gloomy.


4

Wikipedia provides the answer for you: As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم) is an Arabic greeting often used by Muslims around the world and is widely used in the Muslim world even by non-Muslims. It nearly translates to "peace be upon you", but is often considered the equivalent to "hello", "hi" or "good day" in English. The standard response to the ...


2

Smiling without a good reason is not common in Russia (as in many other places like the UK, but perhaps slightly more so). Generally, in a positive or neutral situation, an unexpected smile might seem strange, but won't cause an insult. However, do beware of using a smile to defuse a tense situation where the other side is unhappy. In some smiling ...


1

I know a little about Russian culture. You will not be rude if you smile but you will be considered weak. Even though you can be yourself, smile and be a funny person but always consider respect to the Russians, they take this very seriously specially with foreigns. It's like an overly manly country.



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