Russian Culture & Ethnography

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Home to over 190 ethnic groups, Russian culture is thought to be as vast and mysterious as the country’s extensive landscape and geographic reach. However, Russian culture and ethnography extend far beyond the stereotypical notions of vodka, bears and beautiful Russian women. Immerse yourself in a culture rich in history, strong traditions and influential arts. This is especially seen within the fields of literature, ballet, painting, classical music and architecture.

With each region in Russia carrying its own unique customs and traditions, you will get to experience a different side of this culturally diverse country with every destination you visit. Travel to Moscow or St Petersburg and be exposed to the cultural and artistic riches of upper-class Russia. Conversely, regions such as Yamal reflect the realities of living with bitterly cold winters and nomadic indigenous communities. Want to take a step back in time? The cities of the Golden Ring still preserve elements of ancient Russia, from medieval forts to towering monasteries. They will give you an insight into what traditional Russian lifestyle truly is.

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Russian Culture: Etiquette, Traditions & Customs 

Russian culture holds many unique customs and beautiful traditions that have arisen from their fascinating national tapestry over the centuries. Many of these traditions and cultural etiquette norms are heavily interconnected with the Russian psyche, born through strong ties to the country’s tumultuous hardships, which have been moulded to foster a highly patriotic society. Our travel blogs cover an extensive range of Russian culture and traditions. These revolve around Russian values, personality quirks, greetings and naming conventions, gift-giving, dining etiquette and wedding ceremonies. We’ll explore Russian stereotypes entrenched in Hollywood media and give you an authentic portrait of Russian culture as experienced travellers. There’s no limit to the grandiose splendour and mysterious intrigue of Russian culture, from history to cuisine and architecture. 

Russian Culture: Ethnography & Indigenous Peoples 

When you picture a typical Russian person, you’re probably thinking of a fair-skinned European with blonde hair and blue eyes. However, Russia is a large multinational and multicultural state which consists of more than 185 ethnic groups and over 100 regional languages. These groups can vary significantly, from a few thousand people to millions spread across the nation’s cities and rural villages. Among this ethnographic diversity, many of these groups practice various religions and customs, including Catholicism, Buddhism and even shamanism. While ethnic Russians make up 81% of the population, there are several large minority groups and indigenous tribes, including the Tatars, Ukrainians, Bashkirs, Yakuts, Buryats, the Nenets in Yamal Peninsula and more. 

Russian Culture: Classical Music, Literature & Performing Arts 

It’s no secret that Russian culture is an ancient treasure chest packed with all sorts of valuable gems. This includes rich literature, spellbinding classical music, awe-inspiring dance performances and mesmerising visual arts. From traditional Russian folk music to church songs, Russian culture has a distinctive history that has cultivated a highly revered music realm, leading to the birth of many famous Russian composers and musicians. There’s a likely chance you’ve heard about the wonderful works of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich. When delving into Russia’s deep contribution to literature, travellers will be amazed at the epic ingenuity of famous writers including Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Cruising beyond this arena, Russia’s historically exceptional ballet scene has led to the creation of magnificent, heart-stopping performances. For instance, many travellers visit the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and Mariinsky (Kirov) in St Petersburg, which have captivated audiences around the world. 

Russian Authors, Russian Literature
Russian Culture & Ethnography

Russian Literature: 9 Famous Russian Writers You Should Know

By Stephanie | Last updated on 28th Jul 2020

It’s no secret that Russia has birthed some of the greatest writers in history. The Golden age of Russian Poetry was ignited by none other than the famous Alexander Pushkin, also known as the Russian Shakespeare. However, there are many other famous Russian Writers whose profound ideas, storytelling abilities and literary works have resonated over time.

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Russian traditions
Russian Culture & Ethnography

A guide to: Russian Traditions, Culture, Customs & Etiquette

By 56th Parallel | Last updated on 29th Jun 2020

If you’re prepared to put in a bit of effort to know about Russian traditions, Russia’s unique culture, customs and the many strange and wonderful personality quirks unique to the Russian psyche, you’ll find travelling around Russia infinitely more rewarding.

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indigenous russia
Russian Culture & Ethnography

Travel in time with indigenous Russia

By 56th Parallel | Last updated on 6th Jul 2020

Indigenous Russia refers to early tribes from the Far North, Central and Southern Siberia and the Far East, who live in the same territories and keep the same way of life and traditions over centuries. 41 so-called tribes were recognized by Russian law in the year 2000 as a “Minor Indigenous People of Russia”. 

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shamanism in siberia
Russian Culture & Ethnography

Shamanism in Russia - Ancient Rituals & Traditions

By Alicja Pietrasz | Last updated on 16th Apr 2020

If you thought that shamanism is popular only among the African or South American tribes you were wrong. Buryats living on the western shore of Lake Baikal, are in majority shamanists, not only in theory but what’s most important in practice.

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reindeer migration, Nenets migration
Russian Culture & Ethnography

Nenets Reindeer Migration - Life of Nomadic Siberians in Yamal

By 56th Parallel | Last updated on 24th Dec 2019

The annual reindeer migration sees thousands of reindeer and the Nenet people who herd them travelling up to 1000 kilometres along the Yamal Peninsula to the Kara Sea in Siberia. READ MORE

Ivolginsky Datsan Lake Baikal
Russian Culture & Ethnography

Buddhism In Russia: The Story Of Itigilov & The Ivolginsky Datsan

By 56th Parallel | Last updated on 18th Apr 2020

Ivolginsky Datsan is located in Eastern Siberia, it’s a home to the epicentre of Buddhism in Russia; along with the awe of the elaborately decorated temples is the phenomenon that is the preserved body of Khambo Lama, formally Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov.

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Russian Stereotypes
Russian Culture & Ethnography

11 Russian Stereotypes - True or Pure Fantasy?

By 56th Parallel | Last updated on 6th Jul 2020

While most countries can’t escape being stereotyped one way or another, think about it – how many other cultures have been stereotyped, and consequently, judged by the outside world, with the same pervasiveness as the Russians. 

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