Russian Stereotypes Beyond The Beautiful Women, Vodka And Endless Winter

Written by 56th Parallel

There are many well know Russian Stereotypes. Most people believe Russia is populated by only beautiful women, that Russians take vodka for breakfast, and winters are endless.

A favourite tale among Russians and well known to many foreigners is the Russian stereotype of granny or babushka. Although she might seem scary or snob, she has many personalities and is known for her willingness to help relatives and feed hungry grandchildren. She is also known for her wit and cunningness.

 russian stereotypes

The babushka of childhood fairytales is Baba-Yaga, who although living in a log hut and occasionally eating naughty children, is not a witch. Baba-Yaga is not purely evil as she may help or hinder those that encounter or seek her out and may play a maternal role. In fairy tales, she often helps the character to resolve their conflict.

russian stereotypes

Stemming from a poem by Nekrasov: “A Russian woman will stop a galloping horse and go into a burning hut,” Russians jokes and caricatures often feature an overbearing woman and her sluggish husband. The men are portrayed as helpless to actionable women who support the family and have domestic control.

russian stereotypes

In Russia, the best and easiest way to avoid conflict of any form is to not communicate at all. A foreigner in Russia will notice the absence of acknowledgement in the form a smile or small talk when in public. Russians in general, do not try to engage total strangers in debate or conversation.

Russians are often thought of as not very commutative, the cold and dark of winter exasperates this misconception. It doesn’t mean Russians are introverts when you are rushing from place to place in the freezing winter, small talk won’t get you home any faster.

As in many countries, rush hour public transport is always overcrowded in Russia. The disabled, elderly or women with children are the least likely to get a seat despite public signs reserving them seating because they are usually occupied by sleeping men or lounging teenagers.

russian sterotypes

One of the most common subjects of Russians jokes is the police, particularly their crafty ways for finding drivers. It would not be surprising to find an officer hiding in a bush along the road or disguised as an elderly woman to catch unsuspecting motorists.

Russia has many colourful characters, intelligent ladies of advancing years; an employee with a battered briefcase; a miserable grandfather and an ageing blockhead with a can of beer. Generally speaking, Russians are quite self-critical and are not afraid to mock themselves. Others are not given such luxury. However, the hard feelings will only last momentarily, then you will be forgiven, kissed to death, and treated to something nice.

russian sterotypes

Thanks to Olga Gromova for her beautiful illustrations.

Related posts

Olkhon Island9 reasons to visit Olkhon Island on Lake BaikalVisiting Olkhon Island is just like travelling back in time, a journey back to nature. I will...
visit Russia12 Reasons Everyone Must Visit RussiaFor the unfamiliar, the thought of Russia might conjure up images of vodka-swilling men in fur...
The Russian Smile: A mysterious facet of Russian cultureRussians have a reputation for being stern and unsmiling people, but actually, Russians do smile,...

About 56th Parallel

56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

Articles by Category

Russia Tour Finder

< Return


Travel Style


If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816