Russians are an interesting breed of humans, and much different than the standard Western Europeans. Chances are, if you hang out with a crowd of Russians, especially around the holidays, you're going to have a wild time. So without further ado, here are 5 things you know to be true if you're Russian. Some of these may be stereotypes, but they're still accurate!
1. You have at least one Adidas set of workout clothes
The three stripes are VERY important for the slav squat. Take note. Adidas is definitely the most popular sports brand amongst us, and I gotta say, their clothes are super comfy plus stylish!
2. Every big gathering for special events ends with drunk dancing
Russians will find every opportunity to throw a party, have some drinks, and have a fun time. So, that ultimately leads to a group of drunk adults blasting "Staying Alive" through the surround sound system and dancing like there's no tomorrow. Get ready for LOTS of toasts and a memorable night!
3. You eat a lot of Borscht, Olivier, and meat
As soon as winter comes, it's time to eat borscht with sour cream to warm up your body, Olivier to get some fatty food in your system, and pile the meat on your plate for some strength. I can guarantee that you'll see these 3 dishes at the dinner table in any Russian household (and you better eat it or else babushka will force you to or you'll make the hosts cry).
4. You are held to incredibly high standards
Russians are the definition of overachievers. We constantly compete with ourselves and with others to do better than we did yesterday because succeeding and being on top for everything is ingrained in our culture. Our school systems are very rigorous, higher education in fields like STEM and the arts are brutal, and we'll claw our way to the top of every podium we can find. There is no time for slacking or rest; every moment must be spent working on something productive because someone else can beat us to our goals (and that can't happen). I literally declared a double major on the second day of classes my freshman year of college because one major wasn't enough, then I added a certificate my senior year to make SURE I was doing everything possible to edge out my competitors for grad school. I'm even applying to two of the top ten SLP programs in the nation because I HAVE to try to be the best of the best. It is no joke, man.
5. Sitting down for a moment of silence before going to the airport
One very important superstition that Russian take part in is the seated moment of silence before leaving for a flight. Many take this time to say a prayer, reflect, remember what they're missing, and more. If you do this, you'll have a safe journey and reach your destination. It's taken very seriously, so be sure to follow suit when you're in our households.
6. Your parents always tell stories from the days of the Soviet Union
Every story from their childhood starts with "In the Soviet Union...", since my generation is the last to have parents who were born and raised in the USSR before it split. It was a whole different world compared to modern-day Russia, and even the two cultures differ in various ways. Many who lived in countries other than Russia, but were under the Soviet Union, still consider themselves to be Russian, while others don't. So, that's also something interesting you might not have known.
7. Head scarves are both an accessory and a useful item
Need to cover your head in church? Wear a headscarf. Need to make a plain outfit look prettier? If you have a bigger headscarf, wrap it around your shoulders like a shawl. Voila, your outfit is complete. Bad hair day? Headscarf. Need to pull your hair back while cooking? You guessed it: headscarf! Don't have a hat outside? A headscarf will keep you warm. Like I've said in my Instagram bio, Russian scarves are my personality trait.
8. Slav squatting is an acceptable pose in photographs
Are you really Russian if you've never slav squatted for a photo? The answer is no. Just make sure you're wearing the 3-striped Adidas pants and you'll be welcomed into our society. Anything other than 3 stripes is not acceptable, so take note.
9. You drink a ridiculous amount of tea
It's ALWAYS tea time in a Russian household. So, get your choice of sweets out to snack on with your cup of tea and sip away! It doesn't matter how early or late it is in the day, how much you just ate, or if you've already had tea today. There is no limit to the amount you can have, and it is not socially acceptable to refuse chai time. Take note, Americans!
10. You've had to recite poems and play piano
Every form of Russian schooling heavily involves literature and the arts. So, if you're studying Russian, you're actually Russian or you're attending Russian school, be prepared to memorize poems and recite them in front of your instructors, compete in Olympiads for various subjects, read stories from Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin, and more. I guarantee you that every Russian kid has had to learn how to play the piano at one point or another. (If that's you right now, good luck if you make it to Rachmaninoff's pieces.) We're one of the world leaders in fine arts, and it shows through our theatres, composers, music schools, and aesthetic sports like figure skating or gymnastics.
While there is a myriad of points I can list off to describe Russian culture, I think that this about sums it up. Enjoy this sneak peek into our quirky lives, and what makes us so unique. This all may sound weird to you, but I promise we're really fun people to be around.