Russian Market at Your Fingertips

If you take a trip to Russia, it can be easy to be swept up by events and miss out on some of the finer things happening. This is often because of the easy hospitality of the average Russian family, something you should respect and appreciate. russian grocery store

We see three types of Russians in the media these days. The first type is the rich oligarch, a Russian who is filthy rich. The second type is the power hungry Russia, usually exemplified by Vladimir Putin who is a dictator by any other name. The third is, of course, your average Russian mobster who is up to all kinds of interesting things. In truth, there three profiles describe a tiny section of the Russian population.

The real Russian you are likely to meet on the street is a family person. Live revolves around family, partly as a matter of tradition and partly to get through tough times. Part and parcel to this family tradition is the additional traditional of hospitality. If a Russian invites you to their home, they intend to treat you like a king or queen. This is the way Russian hospitality works and it can be overwhelming.

A classic Russian celebratory dinner consists of many different courses. Yes, there is vodka drinking involved as well, but the bigger point is there will be more food than you can shake a stick at. You will eat, drink, dance and talk to your hearts content. That being said, there is a dark side to this hospitality that you, as a visitor, must appreciate and understand.

Hospitality comes before practicality in many parts of Russia. If you visit my home and I have one piece of bread, I’ll give it to you without a second thought regardless of how hungry I am. This is pretty much true across the board for many Russians. If you accept an invitation for a party, you must understand that a family is really putting on the ritz for you and show a great appreciation for it.

There are many times when you should be careful about accepting such hospitality. If a couple works as teachers, how much money do you think they have? In many parts of Russia, teachers make under $200 a month. A dinner for you can cost them much of this figure, but they will not thank twice about providing you with the best they can.

Avoiding these situations can be difficult. One option is to insist on bringing food with you since it is “wink, wink” a tradition in your town. The second is to invite them over to your place. The third is to simply refuse the invitation. All of these may ruffle a few feathers, but your host may be secretly relieved that they do not have to spend what funds they have on you.


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