Busted: Myths About Russia That Are Not True!

Busted: Myths About Russia That Are Not True!
An aerial view of Moscow city Photo Credit: Shutterstock

We bust some age - old Russian stereotypes once and for all!

Roshni Subramanian
September 06 , 2019
04 Min Read

For most tourists, Russia is all about Moscow, St Petersburg and maybe even Minsk and Siberia. Being the largest country in the world, one would expect it to have a thriving tourism industry, which is true to a certain extent. But one cannot deny that the “the land of Tsars” still remains a mystery. Certain myths about the climate, former state ideology and the culture in general, have sure driven the Russians crazy. The numerous cliches about Russia and Russians have just gotten stranger over the years. And thanks to pop culture, the image of Russia in most people’s minds is completely bizarre. Take a look at these common Russian stereotypes as we try to find the truth behind them.

Moscow Kremlin on a winter morning


Russia is always freezing 

The first thing that comes to our mind when someone says Russia is a blanket of snow. What some might not know is that the country has seven climate zones. Sure, it can be a bit extreme at times, with temperature rising up to 45 degree celsius during peak summers and dropping to even -41 degrees in winters. And yes, we agree,winters do last for a long time, somewhere between five to six months. But at the same time there are several parts of the country that enjoy temperate climate. So the notion that Russia is unbearably cold is completely false. Even in Serbia, one can experience the scorching heat during summers!

Russian Vodka

Russians drink vodka all the time

Russians love their alcohol. There’s no denying that. But what might be hard to believe is that there a few Russians who don’t drink at all. Vodka undoubtedly is the most popular drink in Russia. But the misconception that Russians go to bed and wake up with Vodka down their throats is probably one of the most popular and baseless rumours surrounding this country. Russians are considered to be hard drinkers but vodka is not the only option available. Beer is just as popular. And with growing health concerns, some Russians choose not to drink at all!

Russian performers in traditional attire

Russians aren’t friendly

Well, the general opinion about Russians is that they are cold, unfriendly and they don't smile. But don't you think this is a little bit harsh? You might not find people on the streets with a goofy smile plastered on their face all the time but they are not  as rude as they seem. Infact, their brutality portrayed by Hollywood is a bit of an exaggeration. In reality, they are just as friendly and warm as any other community but maybe not in public. Moreover, as Russians say “Only a fool constantly smiles”. Share a joke or two with a Russian and they might appreciate your sense of humour!

The Russian mafia myth has inspired a lot of foreign films

Everyone has connections in the mafia

The credit for this goes to the endless list of Hollywood movies that have perpetuated this myth. The mafia was the order of the day way back in the 90’s but that is long gone. Today with Russia being one of the most densely populated countries, running a mafia is not  as easy as one might think. While one might run into some trouble with the law from time to time, most Russians are law abiding citizens and contrary to popular belief, a lot of them serve in the police.  

Soviet military star icon

 All Russians are communists

This statement doesn’t hold true today. It’s a former state ideology that still continues to shape people’s opinion of what Russia is like. After the disintegration of the former USSR in 1991, communist ideas didn’t really uphold. Though there are Russian citizens who still believe in the idea of communism and how it will be instrumental in ‘world development’, they belong to the older generation. The Russian government today functions in a democratic manner with presidential elections being held every six years.

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