Russian Tipping Protocol, Russian Gratuities, & Russian Culture
- DO dress conservatively for business occasions. Men should wear dark suits and women should wear suits and skirts that come below the knee. Nothing flashy and no bright colors! Shoes be formal and well polished.
- DO wear skirts as opposed to pants if you're a woman.
- DO cover your head before entering a Russian Orthodox Church, if you're a woman.
- DON'T begin eating before the host tells you to start.
- DON'T put your elbows on the table, but do keep your hands visible on the table and not in your lap.
- DO use bread to soak up sauce or gravy.
- DO leave a little bit of food on your plate to indicate when you are full.
- DON'T turn down an offer of vodka or other alcoholic beverages. It's considered rude.
- DO take bites of food in between sipping vodka. To not do so is bad form.
- DON'T leave the table until invited to. The guest of honor is usually the first to get up.
- DON'T give yellow flowers.
- DON'T give a baby gift before a baby is born; it's bad luck.
- DO expect a Russian to try to protest if you give them a gift. Explain that it's just a little something and offer it again until they accept.
- DO give gifts such as wine, dessert, or flowers.
- DON'T give even numbers of flowers. Even numbers are for funerals.
Visting Someone's Home
- DON'T arrive more than 15 minutes late.
- DO take your shoes off upon entering.
- DO dress well.
- DO help your host with preparation and clean-up.
- DO bring a dessert or alcoholic beverage.
- DO be on time. However, don't expect your Russian associates to be on time. Remain patient no matter how late they are.
- DO make appointments as far in advance as possible. Avoid making appointments the first week of May, because there are some public holidays that fall on that week.
- DO engage in some get-to-know-you chit chat before getting down to business.
- DO expect meetings to be sidetracked and interrupted.
- DON'T be impatient. Meetings and negotiations can be slow.
- DO have your business card translated into Russian on one side. Include any advance degrees on it and present it with the Russian side facing up.
- DON'T smile unless you mean it. In Russia, smiling a lot can be seen as insincere.
- DON'T show the bottoms of your feet. It's impolite.
- DON'T stand around with your hands in your pockets.
- DON'T point with your finger. Instead, point with your entire hand.
- DO shake hands upon meeting.
- DON'T shake hands or greet someone over a threshold. Go into the room first, then exchange handshakes.
- DO know the less formal greetings in Russia for close friends. Women cheek kiss three times, starting with the left cheek. Men hug and pat each other's backs.
- DON'T talk about politics or the U.S.S.R.
- DON'T speak too loudly in public.
- DO discuss topics such as peace and Russia's economy.
In Russia, tipping is not necessary. Still, it is necessary to pay about 10% tips in restaurants, especially in Moscow. Some restaurants may include service into the amount, but it's very rare. Tipping is not considered customary for taxis, in fact, you should negotiate your fare before you get in the taxi.
Our Russian Tipping Recommendations
- Taxis and Limos: Tipping recommended, Round up to next bill/large coin
- Airport Shuttles: Tipping optional, RUB 20-40
- Hotel Shuttles and Carpark Shuttles: Tipping optional, RUB 10-20