In an effort to increase the number of tourists to Russia, a specially published Dos and Don’ts manual has attempted to decode these socio-cultural mysteries for Indians traveling to Russia.
Panaji: Why Russians rarely smile or why lighting agarbattis (incense sticks) not welcome in hotel rooms in Moscow or St. Petersburg?
Anxious to increase the number of tourists in Russia, a specially published Dos and Don’ts manual attempted to decode these socio-cultural mysteries for Indians traveling to Russia.
“Smiling at foreigners is not part of Russian culture. Russians are polite and professional, and they smile wholeheartedly after getting to know you – which often takes time,” says the booklet released last week by the organization based in Mumbai. Russian Information Center, based on contributions from the Consulate General of the Russian Federation.
“Please don’t turn on your favorite agarbatti in the hotel room. It’s an absolute no-no because of other international tourists complaining about scents or having allergies to strong scents. Pray, but hold it agarbatti for a few days, ”the manual says.
Talk to IANSCenter director Ekaterina Belyakova said the list of dos and don’ts has evolved, based on cultural misunderstandings that have been registered with the organization over the past two years.
“We have tried to address these issues in this manual. We have found it very important to warn people about certain cultural traditions, social norms and customs, feelings and even tastes, especially when it comes to of food, ”Belyakova said.
The manual also delves into the Russian psyche, while also explaining why Russians openly persist in upholding beliefs related to Russian history and culture.
“The revolution and the two world wars, the dramatic political changes of the last century have a clear bearing on the mind of every Russian. Therefore, Russians think very deeply while they generally look forward to a secure and prosperous future. For the same reasons, Russians can be protective of their culture, their language and their country – sometimes to the point of fiercely defending their beliefs, ”the opinion says.
Eating habits are a big part of the manual. While Russians and Indians love their “chai” (Russians love it without milk, he says), the manual advises Indian tourists to keep their spices on hand and worry less about the availability of Indian food in major Russian cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg.
“Russian food contains almost no tropical spices and is usually prepared with less salt … If you are a lover of Indian spices, bring the necessary amount of Indian pepper or garam masala or whatever you like. your taste buds. These spices are not easy to use. Available (and) can be very expensive, “he says.
“Junk food is available everywhere through options like McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway, Dominoes, etc. However, vegetarian options may not be available in India. Also, McDonalds will not give out free tomato sauce – you will have to l ‘buy as a menu item,’ says the manual.
“Many dishes like borscht resemble Indian soups and can be served with or without meat; other common dishes are chops, cabbages … Cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg have a sufficient number of good quality Indian restaurants, with vegetarian food normally being served, ”further advises the manual.
The opinion also draws parallels between Russia and other Western European countries regarding the culture of tipping and pricing of water, which is often more expensive than beer.
“Drinking water is not free anywhere, as in other parts of Europe. It will be necessary to buy small and expensive quantities or to stock up on five-liter cans available in commodity stores or hypermarkets. “, he clarified, adding that while Russia has a liberal regime of alcohol consumption, alcohol in the streets of the country is prohibited.
The Dos and Don’ts exercise also gives advice on how best to deal with Russian immigration officers, most of whom do not have a good command of English, a handicap that sometimes leads to little bouts. recommendable at immigration checkpoints.
“They may ask you to wait using sign language. There is no reason to panic or have an ego about this… Please do not raise your voice, argue unduly or take pictures because they are strictly prohibited, ”the notice said. .
Of India’s 18 million overseas tourists, nearly 30,000 visit Russia each year and with our overseas tourism growing faster than China, the South Asian giant is an obvious target for Russian tourism developers. said Paresh Navani, managing partner of the Russian Information Center.
“Russia has a lot to offer Indian tourists, and it is not only the beauty of nature or the cultural heritage, but also the warmth of the Russian ‘cellar’ and the Russian people,” Navani assures us.