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The guide to Russian etiquette

This summer will see fans from all over the world flock to Russia to witness the 2018 World Cup, which kicks off on the 14th June, as the hosts take on Saudi Arabia in the first match of the tournament.

England are currently priced at 16/1 to win the World Cup, with Harry Kane seeing odds of 12/1 to finish the tournament as the top goal scorer. World Cup betting odds will be popular amongst England fans, where they can predict the stage at which England will be eliminated.

With the squad announcement came a sense of unease for the fans, with many question marks being raised over the inclusion of some players and the exclusion of others, most notably the absences of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey. Harry Kane will be one of the players to look out for when England take to the field and the striker should be feeling more confident, having been named as the England captain for the tournament.

There will be fans who travel to Russia who are not entirely aware of what they can and cannot do and the things that may insult the Russian public. With that in mind, we have taken a look at Russian etiquette and the travel information you’ll need to know for this summer.

Documentation needed for Russia

Having the correct documentation when travelling to Russia will be vital to avoid any hassle both getting in and around the country. We have taken a look at some of the documents and what to do with them to ensure you have a more relaxing time in Russia.

Normally when travelling to Russia, a visa is required, however for this year’s World Cup, the rules are slightly different. If you have tickets to any of the matches for the tournament this year, you will have been required to get a fan ID, which was sent out by the Russian Post at the end of last year and it is this fan ID which has changed the rules regarding visas in Russia. The fan ID will allow you to travel to Russia visa-free so long as you have a valid match ticket and a passport which is undamaged, has been signed by yourself and also does not expire until at least six months after you have left Russia. This combination of documentation will only work as visa-free entry from 4th June, 2018 until 25th July, 2018. Another benefit of the fan ID is that those in possession of one will be allowed free travel between host cities on trains, which will save those fans who are seeing more than one match some money.

Upon your arrival in Russia, you will be required to sign a migration card which comes in two identical parts. One part will be kept by the Immigration Officer when you arrive in Russia, while you will be given the other part, which you are to keep with your passport. The migration card will allow you to stay in hotels and hostels, as there are many that will not allow guests to check in unless they have the card. You will need to carry it at all times with your passport in case you are stopped for an ID check by the police. You will keep the card until you leave the country and should you return to Russia, you will be required to complete a new migration card.

Russia have tried to make it as easy as possible for fans from every corner of the world to attend the World Cup this summer and they will be hoping that the ease of entry into the country will help to produce a good atmosphere in their stadiums. Tips on World Cup 2018 see the hosts priced at 40/1 to win it for the first time, but, failing that, they will be hoping their home advantage can propel them deep into the competition.

The etiquette

Once you have arrived in Russia with all of your documents, you will need to know how to greet people without causing offence. As with any country there are multiple ways in which visitors can offend the people of the host nation, so, in order to avoid offending the locals, we’ve looked into the etiquette of the Russian people.

The greetings between two people in Russia vary depending on the two people involved. In the case of two men meeting, then there is a firm handshake between the two, however when a man meets a woman, a more gentle handshake is the greeting. Should you ever greet someone at the front door, always make sure that the handshake is not over the threshold, as Russians believe that this will lead to an argument.

Names are another aspect of Russian life where tourists can often inadvertently display a lack of respect to their hosts, as, in order to be polite and correct, it is often the case that Russians are referred to by both their first and middle names. It is only when you have got to know someone particularly well that it may be acceptable for you to refer to them only by their first name.

As with many other cultures, it is always polite to bring a gift when visiting someone’s home. If the host is a man, then beer or another form of alcohol would be a suitable gift, while if the host is a woman, chocolate, wine or flowers are the way to go. If you opt for flowers, make sure you do not get an even number, as even numbers of flowers are reserved for funerals only.

When entering the home of a Russian, always remember to take off your shoes immediately to avoid offending your hosts. The streets of the big cities in Russia are often dirty and to prevent this grime from spreading into the house, Russian people take their shoes off as soon as they walk through the door. The host is likely to provide you with some slippers to wear inside their home.

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