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25 Ways You Know You Have Been In Russia Too Long

I came across this post on the mailing list and it made me laugh. It definitely gives you some insight into Russian life, although some of the in-jokes are directed at the ex-pats living here.

1. You answer the phone with a deadpan “allo-a.”
2. When crossing the street, you sprint.

3. In winter, you choose your route by scanning for icicles.

4. You look at people’s shoes to determine where they are from.

5. Your day seems brighter after seeing some goon’s Mercedes broadsided by a pensioner’s “Moskvich”.

6. You are thrown off guard when the doorman at the nightclub is happy to see you.

7. Seeing a car cruise by on the sidewalk is no big deal.

8. Your not sure what to do you when the GAI only asks you to pay the official fine.

9. You give a 10% tip only if the waiter has been really exceptional.

10. You plan your vacation around those times of the year when the hot water is turned off.
GAI or Russian Traffic Police
11. You develop a liking for beets.

12. You know seven people whose favorite novel is The Master and Margarita.

13. You change into tapichki and wash your hands as soon as you walk into your apartment.

14. You start thinking of black bread as a good chaser for vodka.

15. You have to identify all the Olga’s and Vladimir’s in your mobile phone by: Olga friend, Olga work, Olga teacher…

16. You wear a wool hat in the sauna.

17. You are rude to people at the airport for no reason.

18. ‘Remont,’ ‘piva’ and ‘hatchapouri’ become integral parts of your vocabulary.

19. You are curious as to when they might start exporting Baltika beer to your home country.

20. Cigarette smoke becomes ‘tolerable’.
Russian Sauna or Banya
21. You don’t even notice padded doors anymore.

22. You never smile in public when you’re alone.

23. When you know the Moscow Metro better than the subway system back home.

24. You catch yourself whistling indoors and feel guilty.

25. The elevator aroma seems reassuring somehow.

** Smart shoes by Ingorrr and Boys at Banya by Cannonseat, two of the artists who make their work under a Creative Commons license at Flickr – thank you!

About Anna Wilsdon

Nick Wilsdon works as a Content and Digital Strategy Consultant He manages online campaigns for the UK's leading telecom, finance and FMCG brands.


  1. Hey, thanks for the Sphinn about my Poker Tournament. I found the above article quite funny, even more so for the fact that I didn’t get many of the jokes. The padded door one in particular seemed quite odd. Part of my family fled Russia 100 years ago. Perhaps it was the padded doors ;)
    Stay Warm!
    dk – in San Diego CA, USA

  2. Nick Wilsdon says

    Hi David

    Yes the padded doors do take some getting used to. I think it’s a strange mix between keeping the heat in and having some security in these shared blocks. It does feel a bit like you’re going home to a prison some days, opening and closing three of these massive metal doors each time!

    I’ll try and get some pictures up here to you can see what I mean :)

    I’m looking forward to Vegas though, will be great to escape the snow for a little while!

  3. Some of these points sound way too familiar,, especially the wool cap in the banya.

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