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Culture and Business

On a business trip, knowing the culture and customs of the country you are visiting can have a big impact on the success of your business.

Before leaving

Make sure you have your identity card or passport and boarding pass with you. Depending on your country of origin, take care of your visa or other necessary documentation ahead of time.


The climate in Russia makes summers hot and winters very cold, with temperatures that can reach -30ºC and even less, with heavy snow. Due to the great extent of the country, the variations are huge. In Moscow, average summer temperatures are around 19°C and -8°C in the winter.

Time zone

GMT + 3 (Moscow). In other regions, the time zone may vary between GMT + 2 and GMT + 12.

Geography & politics

Russia occupies part of Eastern Europe and much of Asia, being the largest country in the world. It is a federal semi-presidential republic that has the president as head of state and the prime minister as head of government.

Tipping & paying

The Russian Ruble (RUB) is the currency of Russia. It is good practice to leave a tip of about 5% to 15%, as there is no service charge added to the bills. Not all sites accept credit cards, so it's best to always be prepared with some money in your pocket.

Languages & useful phrases

The official language is Russian. Learn some useful words "Здравствуйте" (Zdravstvuyte) = "hello"; "Пожалуйста" (pozhaluysta) = please; "Спасибо" (Spasibo) = thank you; "Прости" (Prosti) = sorry.

What you should do

Be punctual, even if the other party is not. It is a sign of respect and you’re expected to comply with schedules, especially when dealing with business. Adapt your way of communicating depending on who you talk to. There is a mix of old bureaucracy and Western thinking in Moscow and people who understand both systems are extremely valuable.

What you shouldn’t do

Take your time. Russians like to get to know the people they do business with and sometimes that can make the deal a bit slower. Do not refuse invitations to dinner or a drink after work - the Russians are very happy to welcome you - and get ready to toast a lot!

What to wear

Go for a conservative and formal look. Suit and tie or the female equivalent and a good pair of shoes will always be the most suitable option.

First impressions

The men greet each other with a firm handshake. With a woman, a less firm handshake is the most common option, but if you are in doubt, expect the other person to take the first step. If you are invited to someone's house, bring a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers as a way to thank them.