Everywhere in Russia it is possible to see majestic Orthodox cathedrals and churches, perfect frescos and icons. Until present days the Russian church holidays save charm of ancient na-tional traditions.The roots of nationality have large importance for all Russian famous writers, poets, artists living in XIX - XX centuries (such as composers Chaikovski, Glinka, Stravinskiy and Borodin; artists Vasnetcov, Brullov and Repin; poets Pushkin and Lermontov; writers Gogol and Dostoevskiy)That period was an unprecedented golden age of Russian culture. Thus there was the division into high society and mass culture.Cultural Revolution after October 1917 has delivered by the purpose to unit these two directions. In these conditions the development was received by entertainment kinds of art: cinema, theatre, ballet.Simultaneously with it the main place in domestic culture borrows a direction of socialistic realism , which in the realistic form presented social ideals, propagandised by communist ideology. In time the difference of ideologies did not leave a place for a cultural exchange, therefore western culture was not known for wide layers of the population.In 60-70-e years after Stalin's death in connection with attempt of de-mocracy revival, there was the sharp burst of creative activity, which was displayed especially brightly in development of poetry, new styles of music and painting. After reorganisation the ideology has ceased to render rather strong in-fluence to art and modern culture differs by variety of styles and directions. The part of youth is now oriented to modem American culture, at the same time on former traditions and socialistic realism, and of originally Russian creativity are strong.
Culture and social life
Theatre and the Arts are well catered for, extremely accessible and provide a popular leisure activity. Until recently the Arts were heavily funded by the State. However, cost cutting measures have forced a radical reduction in state funding, and private sponsoring has started to materialise in the larger, better known theatres, such as the Bolshoi (in Moscow).Russians also spend a considerable amount of their leisure time at the homes of friends and relatives. In the past, this was mainly due to the lack of good restaurants and bars, although at present economic constraints are the main reason for keeping people at home. More or less this is changing and youth spend lots of time in the bars - drinking beer, dancing and playing pool.
When meeting, Russians shake hands firmly and might say Zdravstvuyte (pronounced sdrav-stvuh-yoo-tyeh, it means Hello), Dobry dien (Good day), or Privet (Hi). Some women prefer not to shake hands, but it is impolite for a men not to offer his hand. Friends and family may kiss on the cheek (here it's one time). The question How are you? (Kak dela?) is taken literally: Russians an-swer in detail and at length. Asking the question without waiting for a full response is rude. Kak dela? is not used as a formal greeting. Titles such as Mr. (Gospodin) and Mrs. (Gospozha) were under the Communists, but they are slowly being revived, in addressing an older or respected person, one uses the given name and a patronymic (possessive of father's first name), but surnames are preferred in formal greetings.You've probably heard about Russian hospitality. Do not get surprised if your new friend invites you to visit his family and to have dinner with them. It would be very nice of you to prepare dinner for your friends in reply to their invitations. They will really appreciate it. Russians like to visit & take guests. Sitting around the kitchen table and talking for hours is favourite pastime. We usually remove shoes after entering a home and often put on special ones, called tapochki. Giving small gifts is strong tradition in Russia What is given is less important than the friendship expressed by the act. International visitors are honoured guests include national souvenirs, food, books, etc.
Giving gifts is strong tradition in Russia, and almost every event (birth-days, weddings, holidays, etc.) is accompanied by present. For casual vis-its, it is common (but not required) for guests to bring a simple gift (flow-ers, food, vodka) to their hosts. International visitors are honoured guests and Russians will share whatever they have with them. Favourite gifts from international include food, books, and other scarce items.
Russians are critical of their own country but do not join them even if you think they are right. Do noot be fooled, we might be very patriotic. Avoid the West is best syndrome, respect the culture. Russians do not have same concept of personal space as Westerners, so expect more physical contact with people. You will be expected to hand in your coat and any large bags you are carrying when entering theatres, restaurants, museums, stores, etc. Never leave money or documents in your pockets. When you enter a Russian home, it would be expected that you would remove your shoes. There is a very practical reason for this as for many months of the year your footwear will be covered in snow or mud.
My traineeship in Russia has been all about learning how to play by a new set of rules. I have learned that empty bottles should not be left on the tables, that it is OK to phisically touch your neighbor in line and that it is OK to drink with your clients during working hng hours. These things may seem largely superficial and pointless, but it is these little details of behavior that make learning to live and work in another country most exciting. Traineeships are about acquiring cultural understanding, creating positive change and picking up a few professional skills while your at it. Through learning to adapt to another culture, I have been able to make myself into much more flexible and understanding human being... Americans in Russia frequently find themselves facing situations they do not fully understand, or simply breaking cultural rules they had never thought of before. For instance, an American who offers to shake a Russian woman's hand will probably not offend her, but will draw funny looks, while the biggest problem for most Ameri-cans in Russia is line etiquette. A person less than three centimeters from the person in front of them - is not in line, is not correct. Learning to cope with these differences and many others has been one of the most important parts of my traineeship here. It has taught me to be more adaptable and certainly more patient. My main purpose for coming to Russia was to improve my Russian speaking skills. During my stay, I quickly learned that speaking Russian is only the first step to learning how to speak with Russians. On average Russians are a little more open than Americans, but it takes time to find that out. To an American, Russians can seem cold and unfriendly, mostly because they do not like to smile on the street. Eventually I learned that people are not being unfriendly, they just think that smiling at a stranger is for clowns and crazy people. The way Russians really open up to a person is by asking them how they are doing. Where I come from, How are you? does not ne-cessitate a lengthy answer. A simple Alright, will never suffice. People really want to know how you are doing! This can seem strange to some Americans and even make them uncomfortable. Failure to answer this question in full can leave Russians a little confused and befuddled as to why you do not want to talk to them. Ignoring these basic rules of behavior will make you a very lonely stranger in Russia, even if you speak Russian. Overcoming this barrier was my most important step to learning how to live in Russia.