By: Lobna Kaka
As the Egyptian National Football team blasted their way to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Egyptians are rushing to watch their team rise in the championship. So here is our guide to everything Russia.
SMOKERS, listen carefully!
Several years ago people used to smoke almost everywhere: in airports, cafes, and trains. But now you can only smoke in the street (not closer than 15 meters from the entrance of metro or railway station), and in special smoking rooms called Kurilka. The fine for smoking in any of these places ranges from 500 ($9) to 1500 ($26) rubles. Also, never smoke in your balcony because in November 2017, Russia’s Supreme Court ordered some people who smoked on their balcony to pay their neighbors compensation.
You don’t have to worry from policemen if you didn’t do anything wrong!
Policemen can stop anybody in the street, not only foreigners, to check the ID or passport. So keep your passport with you all the times and remember to be polite and nice to the policemen.
NEVER buy a phone from the street or exchange money outside a bank!
If somebody offers you an iPhone in the street to buy, most probably it’s going to be a stolen phone. Same thing with money; there’s no guarantee the money will be real if you don’t go through an official channel.
Russia has a very efficient and safe metro system, with train passing each 90 seconds in rush hours. Remember not to take any pictures in the metro unless you want your camera to be taken away from you. Buses are not a good choice at all in Russia, so if you don’t prefer the metro, a taxi would be the next best choice.
Meet and Greet!
Russians feel uncomfortable when strangers smile to them. So don’t expect any friendly smiles. For greeting or before leaving, shaking hands is a good way and it’s not obligatory. Remember to take off your gloves while shaking hands and not over a doorstep too, because they believe that this means that you want to start an argument. Moreover, do not turn down offers of food or drinks. Given Russian hospitality, this can be difficult, but to decline such offers is considered rude.
Take Care from your Body Language!
Putting your thumb through your index and middle fingers or making the “OK” sign are considered very rude gestures in Russia so take care not to do any of them. Furthermore, Russians stand very close while talking to anybody, so don’t feel so creeped out!