Russia Day Eight

Welcome to our Kids Talk Radio Russian Backpack Journalist’s Training Program.  Your job is to learn what you need to know to work with your fellow student journalists in Russia.  For the past ten days we have been touring the city of Ufa, Russia.  We are lucky to have a special driver that can take us just about everywhere we need to go.


This is a great way to find fresh food.  It is an indoor market.  The prices are better and you can get a wide variety of Russian food.  So far, the food in Russia is great.   It is a good idea to bring your own shopping bag.  In most cases people want cash.  You can use a Visa and Master Card in most places.  We have even used American Express when we go out to eat.


Your Kids Talk Radio Russian in Box software will provide you with a list of spices so that you

can go shopping and read the Russian names of all or most of the spices.  You will have lots of fun with this task.

Our team was asked to bring some items from Trader Joe’s in American.  We brought Vanilla Cake & Baking Mix, Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Pop Kit, Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix, Banna Bread Mix and Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix (just add water).  I had difficulty finding butter and maple syrup.  I tried some Russian butter and it was just not the same.  I am going to have to keep trying.


The Russian People have many good tricks for keeping warm during the winter.  When your feet get too cold it is hard to function.  They have some special warm socks and lots of boots and shoes that you can use to get through the cold Russian winters.  We like to dress in layers of clothing.  When you go shopping in a store it is always too hot.  Many places have racks and coatrooms to take your heavy winter clothing.


Our driver wanted our group to meet this special lady that sold very special clothing that would keep you warm on some of Russia’s coldest nights.  Jane tried on this special garment and decided to buy one for about $20.00 in US currency.


If you sell fish, you don’t have to worry about keeping your fish cold.  Russia in the winter is the perfect place for keeping fish cold.  The prices are good and people like to shop like this.  Today was a Monday at about 2:00 PM. and there were lots of people out shopping.  I took lots of photos and you will see more of them in the upcoming days.  We are processing video and will start posting next week when we arrive back in America.   We will send all of our videos to Kids Talk Radio Youtube.

Kids Talk Radio Student Backpack Journalist News Assignments:

Your job is to create audio podcasts for the USA STEM Program.

Crabs Suffer From Soviet Legacy

31 May 2012
The Soviet experiment of transplanting Kamchatka crabs to the Barents Sea has had a string of economic, environmental and social effects on fishing communities.
Shipping Threatens Baltic Waters

Shipping Threatens Baltic Waters

24 May 2012
A boom in infrastructure development at the head of the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg is causing stress to the environment and risk of ecological disaster.
Safety, Cost Meet Head On in Arctic Oil Race

Safety, Cost Meet Head On in Arctic Oil Race

17 May 2012
It remains unclear whether the fragile frozen environment of the Arctic will survive the onslaught of efforts to get at oil resources believed to be there.
Poetry and Profits Elusive in Russian Garbage

Poetry and Profits Elusive in Russian Garbage

26 April 2012
While the country spends millions of dollars building waste incinerators and creating huge landfill sites, the legal infrastructure to create a Western-style recycling industry is absent.
Civic Groups Ride to Cities' Rescue — on Bikes

Civic Groups Ride to Cities’ Rescue — on Bikes

23 April 2012
Urban environmentalists hope that parking for bicycles will become a differentiator for shop customers.
Saving Forests is a Matter of Politics

Saving Forests is a Matter of Politics

11 April 2012
Taking advantage of reforms introduced by President Dmitry Medvedev in December, former environmental inspector Oleg Mitvol envisions creating the country’s first real green party.

Read more:
The Moscow Times

Kids Talk Radio Student Backpack Journalist’s Training:

Russia – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Russian FlagFacts and Statistics

Location:  Northern Asia, bordering Azerbaijan 284 km, Belarus 959 km, China (southeast) 3,605 km, China (south) 40 km, Estonia 294 km, Finland 1,313 km, Georgia 723 km, Kazakhstan 6,846 km, North Korea 19 km, Latvia 217 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 227 km, Mongolia 3,485 km, Norway 196 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Ukraine 1,576 km

Capital:   Moscow

Climate:  ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European
Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast

Population:  143,782,338 (July 2004 est.)

Ethnic Make-up: Russian 81.5%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 3%, Chuvash 1.2%, Bashkir 0.9%, Belarusian

0.8%, Moldavian 0.7%, other 8.1% (1989)

Religions:  Russian Orthodox, Muslim, other

Government:   federation

The Russian Language

Of Russia’s estimated 150m population, it is thought that over 81% speak the official language of Russian as their first and only language. Most speakers of a minority language are also bilingual speakers of Russian. There are over 100 minority languages spoken in Russia today, the most popular of which is Tartar, spoken by more than 3% of the country’s population. Other minority languages include Ukrainian, Chuvash, Bashir, Mordvin and Chechen. Although few of these populations make up even 1% of the Russian population, these languages are prominent in key regional areas.
Why not learn some useful Russian phrases?

Russian Society & Culture

The Russian Family

. The Russian family is dependent upon all its members.
. Most families live in small apartments, often with 2 or 3 generations sharing little space.
. Most families are small, often with only one child because most women must also work outside of the house in addition to bearing sole responsibility for household and childrearing chores.

Russian Pride

. Russians are proud of their country.
. Patriotic songs and poems extol the virtues of their homeland.
. They accept that their lives are difficult and pride themselves on being able to flourish in conditions that others could not.
. They take great pride in their cultural heritage and expect the rest of the world to admire it.

Communal Mentality

. For generations until the 1930’s, Russian life centred on the agricultural village commune, where the land was held in common and decision-making was the province of an assembly of the heads of households.
. This affinity for the group and the collective spirit remains today. It is seen in everyday life, for example most Russians will join a table of strangers rather than eat alone in a restaurant.
. Everybody’s business is also everyone else’s, so strangers will stop and tell someone that they are breaking the rules.

Etiquette and Customs in Russia

Meeting EtiquetteEtiquette in Russia

. The typical greeting is a firm, almost bone-crushing handshake while maintaining direct eye contact and giving the appropriate greeting for  the time of day.
. When men shake hands with women, the handshake is less firm.
. When female friends meet, they kiss on the cheek three times, starting with the left and then alternating.
. When close male friends meet, they may pat each other on the back and hug.

Naming Conventions

Russian names are comprised of:
. First name, which is the person’s given name.
. Middle name, which is a patronymic or a version of the father’s first name formed by adding ‘- vich’ or ‘-ovich’ for a male and ‘-avna’ or ‘- ovna’ for a female. The son of Ivan would have a patronymic of Ivanovich while the daughter’s patronymic would be Ivanovna.
. Last name, which is the family or surname.
In formal situations, people use all three names. Friends and close acquaintances may refer to each other by their first name and patronymic. Close friends and family members call each other by their first name only.

Gift Giving Etiquette

Gift giving using takes place between family and close friends on birthdays, New Year, and Orthodox Christmas.
. If you are invited to a Russian home for a meal, bring a small gift.
. Male guests are expected to bring flowers.
. Do not give yellow flowers.
. Do not give a baby gift until after the baby is born. It is bad luck to do so sooner.
. Russians often protest when they are offered a gift. Reply that it is a little something and offer the gift again and it will generally be accepted.

Dining Etiquette

If you are invited to a Russian’s house:
. Arrive on time or no more than 15 minutes later than invited.
. Remove your outdoor shoes. You may be given slippers to wear.
. Dress in clothes you might wear to the office. Dressing well shows respect for your hosts.
. Expect to be treated with honour and respect.
. Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. This may be turned down out of politeness. Asking ‘are you sure?’ allows the hostess to accept your offer.

Table manners are generally casual.

. Table manners are Continental — the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
. The oldest or most honoured guest is served first.
. Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start.
. Do not rest your elbows on the table, although your hands should be visible at all times.
. You will often be urged to take second helpings.
. It is polite to use bread to soak up gravy or sauce.
. Men pour drinks for women seated next to them.
. Leaving a small amount of food on your plate indicates that your hosts have provided ample hospitality.
. Do not get up until you are invited to leave the table. At formal dinners, the guest of honor is the first to get up from the table.

Russian Business Etiquette and Protocol

Relationships & Communication

. Russians are transactional and do not need to establish long-standing personal relationships before they do business with people.
. It is still a good idea to develop a network of people who you know and trust. The Russian word “svyasi” means connections and refers to having friends in high places, which is often required to cut through red tape.
. Patience is essential.
. It is best to err on the side of formality when you first make contact.
. Sincerity is crucial as it is required to build trust, and trust is needed to build a relationship.
. Most Russians do not trust people who are ‘all business’.
. An indication that you have successfully developed a personal relationship is being asked for a favour by that person.

Business Meeting Etiquette

. Appointments are necessary and should be made as far in advance as possible.
. It often takes roughly 6 weeks to arrange a meeting with a government official.
. Confirm the meeting when you arrive in the country and again a day or two in advance.
. The first week of May has several public holidays so it is best avoided.
. You should arrive punctually for meetings.
. Typical Russian schedules are constantly changing and everything takes longer than expected, so be prepared to be kept waiting.
. Meetings can be cancelled on short notice.
. The first meeting is often a vehicle to determine if you and the company you represent are credible and worthy of consideration for future business dealings.
. Use the time effectively to demonstrate what differentiates your company from the competition.
. Expect a long period of socializing and getting-to-know-you conversation before business is discussed.
. Have all printed material available in both English and Russian.
. Russians expect long and detailed presentations that include a history of the subject and a review of existing precedents.
. Meetings are frequently interrupted. It is common for several side conversations that have nothing to do with the topic of the meeting to be carried on during the meeting.
. At the end of the meeting, expect to sign a ‘protokol’, which is a summary of what was discussed.

Business Negotiating

. Meetings and negotiations are slow. Russians do not like being rushed.
. It is a good idea to include technical experts on your negotiating team.
. Hierarchy is important to Russians. They respect age, rank and position. The most senior person reaches decisions.
. Russian executives prefer to meet with people of similar rank and position.
. Russians see negotiations as win-lose. They do not believe in win-win scenarios.
. Have written materials available in both English and Russian.
. Russians view compromise as weakness. They will continue negotiating until you offer concessions.
. Russians may lose their temper, walk out of the meeting, or threaten to terminate the relationship in an attempt to coerce you to change your position.
. Russians often use time as a tactic, especially if they know that you have a deadline. Be cautious about letting your business colleagues know that you are under time pressure or they will delay even more.
. Nothing is final until the contract is signed. Even then, Russians will modify a contract to suit their purposes.
. Do not use high-pressure sales tactics as they will work against you.

Dress Etiquette

. Business dress is formal and conservative.
. Men should wear business suits.
. Women should wear subdued coloured business suits with skirts that cover the knees.
. Shoes should be highly polished.

Business Cards

. Business cards are exchanged after the initial introductions without formal ritual.
. Have one side of your business card translated into Russian using Cyrillic text.
. Include advanced university degrees on your business card.
. Hand your business card so the Russian side is readable to the recipient.
. If someone does not have a business card, note their pertinent information.

Links and Information about Russia

* Currency – the currency of Russia is the Ruble. Use the free currency converter to compare to dollars, GBP or Euro.

* Weather – visit Yahoo!’s up to date Weather for Russia.

* Translation Services – do you need a Russian translation service?

* News – check out all the latest Google news on Russia.

* Intercultural Know-how – use the Intercultural Business Communication tool for tips.

* Dialling Code – the international dialling code for Russia is +7.

* Time – Russia is +3 hours GMT.

* Management – for information about being a manager in Russia visit the free Management in Russia guide.

* History – read about the long and rich history of Russia.

* Hotels – for accomodation see Hotels Reservations in Russia.


2 thoughts on “Russia Day Eight

  1. I want to thank all of the students from around the world that have been following Kids Talk Radio Russia. We will do our best to answer most of your questions about Russian Currency. We may have to send some of your questions to Michael Morera the Dean of Jr. Business School. Your are asking great questions and you will need a more in depth set of answers. You can find more information and about working with money at www, and

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