Work Usage in Moscow


Russian businesses usually maintain office hours from Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 - 18:00 with a one hour break at noon. In big cities, like Moscow, stores are usually open on Sundays.

Business etiquette ranges from person to person and is similar to that of Western Europe. Some details:

  • Most business people have a good command of English.
  • A firm handshake when meeting and parting is an accepted custom on a meeting between men. Always take off your gloves or mittens to shake hands. There is some old logic that says you should never shake hands over a threshold because it causes arguments, but this will probably not be observed.
  • Women usually offer their hands first, so wait a moment before offering yours.
  • Russians are still very traditional to woman still and appreciate it when women are "feminine" and respect their culture. Women will often hear Razreshihtye vam pamech (Let me help you.) The correct response is Vih ochin dabrih (You're very kind).
  • Russian dress is very simple, a dark suit for men with a tie and white shirt, and the same for women, that is, a dark suit with a light coloured shirt. Women are recommended to wear a skirt of conservative length. Women are recommended to avoid perfumes, lipstick and ostentatious jewellery.
  • It is customary to address a woman by her surname and not by her first name.
  • Acceptable gifts for business meetings are items for the office, quality pens (including pens with your company logo) and selected wines. It has been said that giving vodka as a gift can be interpreted as a reflection on the poor quality of the contents of your host's drinks cabinet.
  • Do not hang your jacket or coat on the back of a chair in a restaurant as this is considered poor manners. Take care to hang your jacket or coat in the cloakroom that is to be found in all restaurants and offices.
  • Russians may complain about their culture and country. It is a bad idea to agree with them, they can also be quite proud of their country's accomplishments. Any knowledge about their culture and history is appreciated, and they may enjoy hearing any Russian you know.
  • Russians stand close to each other when talking. Personal space (the amount of room left between people for comfort) is only 6"-10. This can be found in their conduct as well. Privacy is not as valued and butting into others conversations and offering unsolicited advice is common.
  • It is considered impolite to stand with one's hands in one's pockets in a public place.
  • Try to avoid business meetings in the months of July and August or around the times of national holidays.
  • Meetings usually start 10-20 minutes after everyone has arrived, but show up on time as arriving late is considered very rude.

Russian Federation Public Holidays


1-6 Jan New Year.
7 Jan Russian Orthodox Christmas Day.
23 Feb Day of the Defenders of the Motherland.
8 Mar International Women's Day.
1-2 May Spring and Labour Day.
9 May Victory in Europe Day.
12 Jun Russia Day. 4 Nov National Unity Day.
12 Dec Constitution Day.


1-6 Jan New Year.
7 Jan Russian Orthodox Christmas Day.
22 Feb Day of the Defenders of the Motherland.
8 Mar International Women's Day.
1-2 May Spring and Labour Day.
9 May Victory in Europe Day.
12 Jun Russia Day.
4 Nov National Unity Day.
12 Dec Constitution Day.

Update 10/07/2009


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