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Looking to the Future: Day of National Unity in Russia

How much hardship can a single country endure? 

Take a brief look at Russian history, and you’ll find that a country can survive just about anything as long as its people remain united. From Polish invasion to the so-called Time of Troubles, Russia underwent quite a series of destructive events in the seventeenth century—and eventually made it to the other side intact as a nation.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of this history with you and talk about the importance of National Unity Day in Russia. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is National Unity Day?

Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin Commemoration Statue in Russia

The Russian National Day of Unity, celebrated each year on 4 ноября (4 nayabrya), or November 4, commemorates the Russian defeat of Polish invaders in 1612. Led by national heroes Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, Russians from every class and walk of life joined together into one formidable force and thus defeated the Polish and retained their independence. Additionally, the holiday celebrates the end of the so-called Time of Troubles

Following the Russian victory, Mikhail Romanov took the throne as the new Czar and declared that a holiday be implemented to remember the events. He called it: “Day of Moscow’s Liberation from Polish Invaders.” It became an official holiday in 1649, but celebrations ceased in 1918, when the Великая Октябрьская революция (Velikaya Aktyabr’skaya revalyutsyya), or “Great October Revolution,” took place.

At this time, the government eradicated the current holiday and replaced it with a new one honoring the Great October Socialist Revolution. But in 2005, about fifteen years after the USSR collapsed, the original holiday was reimplemented and given the name National Day of Unity. 

Today, the holiday is celebrated not only to remember the events of 1612, but to encourage further unity amongst Russians. 

2. National Unity Day Traditions

In Russia, the Day of National Unity isn’t met with a lot of celebrations, likely because of how new it is. 

The biggest celebration for the Day of National Unity in Russia is the festive ceremony at the Grand Kremlin Palace. Some of Russia’s highest-ranking members of society are invited to attend. These include the Patriarch of Moscow, His Holiness Kirill I, government representatives, and people in the fields of culture and science. 

The President of Russia also offers awards to people who have benefited the country in some way. In particular, those who have contributed to the country’s peace and unity in a big way or have aided the country in its relations with other nations are considered highly valued members of society. 

On the side of the general population, people may host a fair, festival, or Концерт (kantsert), meaning “concert.” There may also be a Военный парад (voyennyy parad), or “military parade,” in larger cities. In addition, flowers are laid at national monuments and services are given. 

National Unity Day is considered a time for Благотворительность (blagatvaritel’nast’), or “charity.” Many Russians give to the poor or perform other charitable acts on this day.

3. A Shared Holiday

A Kite in the Air with Russian Flag Colors

The Day of National Unity in Russia shares its date with another important holiday. Do you know which holiday this is?

It’s called the Feast of Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky prayed to this icon and took it with them on their march. Each year, the churches do a special service dedicated to the Kazan icon.

    →Learn the names of different religions in Russian on our Religion vocabulary list.

4. Essential Vocabulary for National Unity Day

A Public Celebration for the Day of National Unity

Let’s review some of the vocabulary words from this article!

  • Ноябрь (noyabr’) — “November”
  • Цветок (tsvetok) — “flower”
  • Концерт (kantsert) — “concert”
  • День народного единства (Den’ narodnava yedinstva) — “Day of National Unity”
  • Великая Октябрьская революция (Velikaya Aktyabr’skaya revalyutsyya) — “Great October Revolution”
  • Мемориал (memarial) — “memorial”
  • 4 ноября (4 nayabrya) — “November 4”
  • Военный парад (voyennyy parad) — “military parade”
  • Кузьма Минин (Kuz’ma Minin) — “Kuzma Minin”
  • Освобождение (asvabazhdeniye) — “emancipation”
  • Дмитрий Пожарский (Dmitriy Pazharskiy) — “Dmitry Pozharsky”
  • День воинской славы (Den’ voinskay slavy) — “Days of Military Honor”
  • Благотворительность (blagatvaritel’nast’) — “charity”
  • Митинг (mitink) — “rally”
  • Демонстрация (demanstratsyya) — “demonstration”

Remember that you can find each of these words and phrases, along with their pronunciation, on our Day of National Unity vocabulary list. 

Final Thoughts

Does your country have a holiday that encourages national unity? If so, how do you celebrate? Let us know in the comments! 

If you would like to learn more about Russian culture and the language, check out the following blog posts on

And there’s much more where that came from! If you’re serious about becoming fluent in Russian, create your free lifetime account today. You’ll be speaking Russian in minutes and fluent before you know it. 

We hope to see you around! ;)

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День России: Celebrating Russia Day the Russian Way

Did you know that the National Day of Russia is also the country’s newest holiday? Russia Day didn’t become an official holiday until 1994, four years after Russia became an independent Штат (shtat), or “state.”

In this article, you’ll learn how Russians celebrate this holiday, why it’s such a significant (and sometimes controversial) day, and some useful vocabulary.

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1. What is Russia Day?

The Russian Flag Waving in the Breeze Russia Day is the national day of Russia, marking the date in 1990 when Russia adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty, making Russia an independent state. In 1994, Russia began celebrating this as a national holiday, and in 2002, it received its official name: День России (Den’ Rasii), or “Russia Day.”

At one point, it was common for people to refer to the Russian national day as Russia Independence Day, though this later changed as there was some dispute over who Russia gained independence from.

The Russia Day holiday is a point of conflict for some Russians. Generally, the older population has negative or bitter feelings about the origins of this holiday, as it marked the Распад СССР (raspat SSSR), or “collapse of the USSR.” The younger generation tends to think of it as the country’s birthday and thus celebrate it more fervently.

2. When is Russia Day Each Year?

Russia Day is on June 12 Each year, Russia Day takes place on June 12, or 12 июня (12 iyunya).

3. Russia Day Celebrations & Traditions

Красная Площадь (Krasnaya ploshad`), or “Red Square,” may be the most popular place to visit during Russia Day. Each year, there’s a special Концерт (kantsert), or “concert,” here, in addition to a variety of other celebratory events. People enjoy spending time with friends and loved ones, visiting their country houses, and attending the many events that take place on this day.

Some cities may put on a Russian national day parade, and certain cities—called Master Cities—host events where people can gather to watch masters of ancient arts perform and demonstrate their prowess.

Another famous event on Russia’s national day is the giving of National Awards at the Grand Kremlin Palace. The Russian president offers awards to Russians of high repute, such as renowned scientists or writers. There’s also a large reception held at the Kremlin.

4. The 2017 Russia Day Awards

Quite a few people received a Russia Day award in 2017. Do you know who they were?

In 2017, recipients of the Russia Day awards included Eduard Artemyev (composer), Yuri Grigorovich (choreographer), Mikhail Piotrovsky (Heritage Museum director), and Daniil Granin (writer).

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Russia Day

The Red Square in Moscow Ready to review some of the vocabulary words and phrases from this article? Here’s a quick list!

  • Концерт (kantsert) — “concert” [n. masc]
  • День России (Den’ Rasii) — “Russia Day” [masc]
  • Красная Площадь (Krasnaya ploshad`) — “Red Square” [fem]
  • Салют (salyut) — “firework” [n. masc]
  • Массовое гуляние (massavaye gulyaniye) — “public celebration” [neut]
  • Штат (shtat) — “state” [n. masc]
  • Суверенитет (suverenitet) — “sovereignty” [n. masc]
  • 12 июня (12 iyunya) — “June 12”
  • День независимости (Den’ nezavisimasti) — “Independence Day”
  • Образование Российской Федерации (abrazavaniye Rassiyskay Federatsyi) — “formation of Russian Federation”
  • Толпа (talpa) — “crowd” [n. fem]
  • Распад СССР (raspat SSSR) — “collapse of the USSR”

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, be sure to visit our Russia Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Russia Day with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information.

What’s the national day of your country, and how do you celebrate? Let us know in the comments!

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День знаний: Russian Education System’s First Day of School

In Russian culture, education is put on a high pedestal, and the Russian education system reflects this each year on the country’s Day of Knowledge (or День знаний in Russian). To Russia, the first day of school ceremonies are an essential part of keeping children interested and excited for each new year at school—after all, kids won’t really learn anything if they’re not excited to, right?

This holiday is especially unique to Russia’s culture, considering the fact that there’s no International Day of Knowledge (though other countries do have similarly themed holidays).

In this article, you’ll learn about the history behind the Day of Knowledge in Russia, as well as gain insight into how Russia gets its kids excited for a new year of learning.

At, we hope to make this exploration into Russian culture both fun and informative!

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1. What is the Russian Day of Knowledge?

Simply put, the Day of Knowledge in Russia is the first day of school.

In the past, Russia’s school year started at different times of the year. But in 1935, September 1 was permanently made the date when the school year starts for all educational institutions in the Soviet Union.

On Knowledge Day, Russian students advance to the next grade, and university students advance to the next level. Since the creation of Russia’s National Day of Knowledge, every country of the CIS starts the new school year on this day.

2. When is Russia’s First Day of School Each Year?

Knowledge Day is on September 1

Each year, Russians observe Knowledge Day on September 1.

3. Day of Knowledge Traditions & Events

On this September 1 holiday, all schools hold a festive assembly-ceremony known as “First Bell,” during which the students line up in the schoolyard, ordered according to what grade they’re entering. Traditionally, an older student will pick up a new first-grader who is holding a bell in hand, and walk around the schoolyard while the first-grader rings the bell. This marks the first bell of the Russian school year.

Parents and relatives often attend this festive assembly, especially those of the first-grade students. Students who are graduating congratulate the new first-graders on their first school bell; this often includes giving them flowers and offering them parting words or words of encouragement. On Knowledge Day, even teachers get a day off; parents and students often gift them with flowers..

Very often, the festive “First Bell” ceremony has its own concert program, with songs and dances put on by gifted students from the school.

4. Russia’s First Professional School

Group of Children Studying

Do you know when Russia’s first professional state school was established?

It was during the reign of Peter I that Russia opened its first state professional schools. These were meant for twelve- to seventeen-year-old boys, and specifically taught mathematics and engineering. These boys were allowed a free education, and the state even went as far as to provide living and food allowances for the poorer children.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Knowledge Day in Russia

Human Brain

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Knowledge Day in Russia!

  • Школа (Shkola) — “School”
  • Учебник (Uchebnik) — “Texbook”
  • Цветок (Tsvetok) — “Flower”
  • День знаний (Den` znaniy) — “Day of Knowledge”
  • Торжественная линейка (Tarzhestvennaya lineyka) — “solemn ceremony”
  • Первое сентября (Pervaye sentyabrya) — “September 1”
  • Открытый урок (Atkrytyy urok) — “Open class”
  • Знание (Znaniye) — “Knowledge”
  • Первоклассник (Pervaklasnik) — “Freshman”
  • Первый класс (Pervyy klas) — “First grade”
  • Классный руководитель (Klassnyy rukavaditel’) — “Class teacher”
  • первый звонок (Pervyy zvanok) — “First bell”
  • Бант (Bant) — “Bowknot”

To hear each of these Day of Knowledge vocabulary words pronounced and accompanied by images, check out our relevant vocabulary list!

How RussianPod101 Can Help You Learn About Russian Culture

What do you think about the Day of Knowledge in Russia? Does your country have any events or celebrations to make children more excited about school? Tell us about it in the comments; we always look forward to hearing from you!

To continue delving into Russia’s unique culture and studying the language, explore We have an array of fun and effective learning tools for every type of learner, at every level:

  • Insightful blog posts like this one, about a range of cultural and language-related topics
  • Free vocabulary lists covering a variety of topics and themes
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  • Mobile apps to help you learn Russian anywhere, on your own time
  • Much, much more!

We also have a special MyTeacher program for those with a Premium Plus account. With this feature, you have access to your own personal tutor who will help you develop a personalized language-learning structure based on your needs and goals. Yes, really!

At RussianPod101, we hope to make every aspect of learning Russian as enjoyable and simple as possible. We hope you’ll take us along for the ride as you continue mastering the language—with our tools and support, plus your hard work and determination, you really can get there!

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Russian Etiquette: Body Language and Gestures


Did you know that when a Bulgarian nods his head, that means “no,” and when a Russian nods his head, it means “yes?” The same thing goes for shaking one’s head from side to side. In Bulgaria that means “yes,” but in Russia that same gesture means “no.” That’s why it’s so important to put some time and effort into learning foreign body language. You need to be perfectly sure that you interpret every gesture the right way. That said, here’s our list of Russian body language and gestures that you should know. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet – How to Improve Your Russian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

Table of Contents

  1. Russian Greetings and Gestures
  2. Interesting Russian Nonverbal Gestures
  3. Counting
  4. Russian Business Etiquette Tips
  5. Conclusion

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1. Russian Greetings and Gestures

How do Russians greet each other? There are several different ways, and you need to understand in which situations certain Russian gestures and greetings are appropriate. Here’s a list of common Russian body gestures with an explanation of when to use each one.

  • Russian handshake etiquette. A handshake in Russia is usually a greeting between men. They greet each other with a handshake both in formal and informal situations. For women, the handshake is less common. It’s never used in informal situations. As for formal situations, such as business meetings, handshakes are becoming pretty popular.
  • Nodding or waving a hand. Though greeting a girl with a handshake in a business meeting is becoming more and more common nowadays—due to a spread of the American lifestyle in Russia—just smiling and nodding is more common for her. Waving one’s hand is usually used instead of a nod if the person is some distance from you and a nod won’t be well seen.
  • Waving: Woman Waving
  • Nod: Woman Nodding
  • Hug. When it comes to body gestures in Russian culture, hugging is very common in Russia. It’s used as a warm greeting, especially between family and friends.
  • Kiss. One kiss on the cheek is the typical way that Russian girls greet each other. There was a tradition to greet by three cheek kisses in old Russia, but nowadays it’s gone.

2. Interesting Russian Nonverbal Gestures

Russian Hand Gestures

Here’s a comprehensive list of some Russian nonverbal signals you may encounter or need to use while in Russia. Please, keep in mind to use these body gestures of Russian people only in informal situations.

1- Fig

Fig Gesture

How to do it. Put your thumb between your index finger and middle finger and form a fist. Stretch your hand forward with this fist and show it to the other person. You can twist it a little for more emphasis.

What it means. This hand gesture in Russia is very popular and is basically a rude way of saying “You get nothing.” It’s rarely used in real life—except by grannies and granddads—but you’ll see a lot of it in movies and television series. This gesture can go by a variety of names: кукиш (kukish), шиш (shish), фиг (fig), or дуля (dulya). These four words are synonyms. Nowadays the words кукиш (kukish), дуля (dulya), and шиш (shish) are rarely used in speech.

The word фиг (fig) is used a lot in informal situations, but sometimes it loses its actual meaning. Let’s see some examples of how this Russian gesture can be used.

  • Фиг тебе (Fig tebe)—“I won’t give it to you”.
  • This has a slightly rude meaning, though it’s often used between friends or others who are close and isn’t considered rude under those circumstances. Фиг (fig) replaces the name of the object that the person refuses to give. Instead, he gives fig (fig), which equates to nothing. This can also be shortened to Фиг те (Fig te), both in speaking and informal messaging. If you want to learn more about Russian text abbreviations, check out our article.

    • Миша, дай мне шоколадку. (Misha, day mne shokoladku.) “Misha, give me the chocolate.”
    • Фиг тебе. (Fig tebe.) “Nope.”

    This phrase is often used in a teasing sense before smiling and actually giving the object requested.

  • Фига себе (Figa sebe)—“Wow”
  • It’s usually used to express strong feelings about something that you’ve just experienced. You can use this phrase for both good and bad news. After that, you can add a noun or a sentence to go more into detail about what your strong feelings are about. For example:

    • Фига себе, погода. (Figa sebe, pogoda.)—“Wow, the weather.”
    • Фига себе, ты крутой. (Figa sebe, ty krutoy.)—“Wow, you are really cool.” Be aware that it can be said sarcastically.
    • Фига себе, как дорого! (Figa sebe, kak dorogo!)—“Wow, so expensive!”

    This phrase can be shortened to Фига (Figa). If the person you’re talking to tells you that he/she did something unexpected, you can also react to that by adding ты (ty) meaning “you” after фига (figa), making it Фига ты (Figa ty). After Фига (Figa) and Фига ты (Figa ty) you can also add extra information about why you’re surprised:

    • На сколько поедешь в Берлин? (Na skol’ko poyedesh’ v Berlin?) “For how long are you going to Berlin?”
    • На месяц. (Na mesyats.) “For a month.”
    • Фига ты надолго! На работе нормально дали отпуск? (Figa ty nadolgo! Na rabote normal’no dali otpusk?) “Wow, so long! Did you get a job vacation without any difficulties?”
    • Да. (Da.) “Yes”.

  • Ни фига (Ni figa)—“No”
  • This can be used when you’re speaking about a situation with an unexpected outcome. Compared to the usual Нет (Net) meaning “No,” this phrase expresses more emotion.

    • Алё*. Уже купил? (Alyo. Uzhe kupil?) “Hello. Have you already bought (it)?”
    • Ни фига. Тут огромная очередь. Стою, жду. (Ni figa. Tut ogromnaya ochered’. Stoyu, zhdu.) “Nope. There is a huge queue. Standing and waiting.”

    *Note that Алё (Alyo) meaning “Hello” is a form of greeting used on the phone. If you want to learn more Russian greetings, please check out our article.

  • До фига (Do figa)—“A lot”
  • For example, У неё до фига денег (U neyo dо figa deneg) meaning “She has a looot of money.” It’s used to highlight the emotions the speaker feels about the subject.

  • Фиг знает (Fig znayet)—“I have no idea”
  • For example:

    • Во сколько обычно закрывается аптека? (Vo skol’ko obychno zakryvayetsya apteka?) “What time does the pharmacy usually close?”
    • Фиг знает. (Fig znayet.) “I have no idea.”

  • Фиг с ним (Fig s nim)—“Forget about him/it” or Фиг с ней (Fig s ney)—“Forget about her/it”
  • An additional meaning is “I don’t care about it” or “It doesn’t matter to me.” For example:

    • Ты доделал работу? (Ty dodelal rabotu?) “Have you finished your work?”
    • А, фиг с ней. Завтра доделаю. (A, fig s ney.) “Well, it doesn’t matter. I’ll finish it tomorrow.”

2- A Flick on the Neck

Neck Flick

How to do it. Bend your neck to the side a little bit and flick it with your fingers.

What it means. This gesture is generally used to replace the phrases выпить (vypit’) meaning “to drink” and пьяный (p’yanyy) meaning “to be drunk” in a dialogue. For example, you can use this gesture instead of underlined words here:

  • Пойдем выпьем. (Poydyom vyp’yem.)—“Let’s go for a drink.”
  • Давай выпьем. (Davay vyp’yem.)—“Let’s have a drink.”
  • Да он уже пьян. (Da on uzhe p’yan.)—“Well, he is already drunk.”

3- Crazy Person

Crazy Person Gesture

How to do it. Twist your finger near your temple several times.

What it means. This gesture means that someone you’re talking about is crazy. By doing this gesture, you indicate that something is wrong with this person’s head and brain. The meaning could be both literal and figurative.

You can use it by itself or with phrases like these:

  • Ты что, псих? (Ty chto, psikh?)—“Are you a psycho?”
  • Он совсем рехнулся. (On sovsem rekhnulsya.)—“He has gone completely crazy.”
  • Ты с ума сошёл? (Ty s uma soshyol?)—“Are you crazy?”

4- Giving a Tooth

Giving a Tooth Gesture

How to do it. Raise your upper lip a little bit and pretend that you’re pulling out one of your front teeth.

What it means. This gesture is a way of swearing. Essentially, it’s like promising that you’re ready to give a tooth if something you say will happen doesn’t happen. This shows that you’re 100% sure that it’s going to happen.

This gesture is usually used after the words Зуб даю (Zub dayu) meaning “I’m giving you a tooth.” Less often, you can see it after the words Правду говорю (Pravdu govoryu) meaning “I’m telling the truth.”

For example, you believe that this time you’ll pass your exams for sure. Then talking to your friend about it, you can say Зуб даю, что сдам экзамен (Zub dayu, chto sdam ekzamen) meaning “I’m absolutely sure that I will pass the exam.”

5- “I’m fed up with it”

Fed Up Gesture

How to do it. Put your hand, palm down, near your neck and tap your neck several times.

What it means. This gesture means that you’re fed up with something. It literally shows the expression Сыт по горло (Syt po gorlo) which translates to “Fed up till the throat.” It can be used without any words, but don’t forget to make a meaningful expression of irritation or anger on your face.

You can also add some phrases to make this gesture more expressive:

  • У меня здесь уже это все. (U menya zdes’ uzhe eto vsyo.)—“For me, everything is already here.” Show the gesture on the word здесь (zdes’)—“here.”
  • Как меня уже это достало. (Kak menya uzhe eto dostalo.)—“How I’m already fed up of that.”

6- Hitting Your Chest with a Fist Two Times

Chest Beating

How to do it. Make a fist, turn it to yourself from the side with your thumb and index finger, and tap your chest—on the furthest side from the arm—two times.

What it means. By using this gesture, Russians express loyalty or vouch that they’re telling the truth. This gesture is mostly used in street gangs, so it has a slightly aggressive and criminal “aura.” A lot of men love this gesture and use it pretty often in informal situations.

7- Russian Shrug

Woman shrugging

How to do it. Spread your hands sideways with your palms up and shrug.

What it means. By meaning, this gesture is equal to an international shrug. It’s used when you need to stress that you don’t understand or know anything. Compared to the usual shrug, this gesture means that you’re experiencing a lot of emotion and want others to know this.

8- A Confused Head Scratch

Woman Scratching Her Head

How to do it. Loop your arm around your head from the top and scratch your head.

What it means. Though Russians can just scratch their head when they’re confused—like people do everywhere in the world—they tend to make it more emphatic by looping their arm over their head and scratching the other side of the head. The thing is that it takes more time to make this gesture than the usual head scratch, so Russians get more time to think. Pretty smart, huh?

9- “Now I Get it!”

How to do it. Slap your forehead with an open palm.

What it means. Russians use this gesture when they suddenly or eventually understand something.

10- Throwing a Hat on the Ground

Throwing a Hat Gesture

How to do it. Raise your right arm, and with a strong breath out, throw it down and to the left.

What it means. This gesture comes from the old times when people really threw their hats on the ground. Right now, the gesture only implies that. This gesture expresses that a person has made a desperate decision.

3. Counting

Popular hand gestures in Russia are those used for counting. When Russians count, they start with an open palm and bend every finger starting from Один (Odin) meaning “One” or Раз (Raz) which also means “One.” Most people start by bending their little finger, but some people start with bending the thumb. No matter which finger you bend first, you’ll be understood.

The exerсise. First, let’s learn the Russian numbers from one to five.

  • Один (Odin)—“One”
  • Два (Dva)—“Two”
  • Три (Tri)—“Three”
  • Четыре (Chetyre)—“Four”
  • Пять (Pyat`)—“Five”

Now guess the number by the picture and choose the right answer.

Hand Three

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Два

Hand Four

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Один

Hand Five

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Пять

Hand Two

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Три

Hand One

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Четыре

4. Russian Business Etiquette Tips

Russian body language is something that you need to know, especially before business meetings with Russian partners or clients. Though Russian business culture is similar to that in American, it has some significant differences in terms of proper etiquette. Here are some examples of proper Russian body language etiquette:

  • Don’t keep your hands in your pockets in formal situations. Though European and American people feel more or less okay with keeping their hands in their pockets, in Russia this posture is considered careless. If you want to avoid this impression, don’t do that.
  • Don’t whistle. Though whistling is fun, in Russia it’s considered rude to whistle inside the house or office. Basically, it comes from the Russian superstition that if you whistle inside, you’ll soon lose all your money.
  • Take your shoes off when you enter someone’s home. Russians keep their floors at home clean. There’s usually a shelf or a place to put your street shoes near the entrance door in every flat or house. Usually, a Russian host will offer you slippers to wear or you can find them near the entrance and put them on yourself. As Russian floors are usually not heated and the winters are cold, wearing slippers inside is very reasonable.

5. Conclusion

To sum it up, there are several different gestures that are used in Russia. In this article, we highlighted the most unique and popular ones. But you can feel at ease with gestures that are used worldwide such as thumbs-up, facepalm, etc. People from countries all over the world are connected through the Internet, so people everywhere are slowly starting to understand gestures from other regions.

Learning gestures is an important part of language study, but keep in mind that you’ll feel more confident using them if your verbal skills are also at their best. We have the MyTeacher program for Russian learners, which is sure to help you out here. With the help of our teachers, you’ll improve your Russian language skills and start to sound and use your body language like a real Russian. Be careful though, on high language levels you might get a cold-weather resistance. :)

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Russian Internet Slang: How to Text Like a Modern Russian


Did you know that Russian people have their own way of forming emoticons in text? They amputate the eyes and the nose of :-) leaving just a bracket-mouth. The more brackets you use, the more positive the emotions you express are.

While one bracket means just a light smile or an expression of friendliness, using three or more brackets represents laughter. Sometimes if a person doesn’t put at least one bracket in his message, it seems as though he’s being very serious.

Let’s dig deeper into the Russian text lingo and learn how to speak exactly like a Russian on the internet.

Table of Contents

  1. About Russian Texting Slang
  2. Russian Texting Abbreviation Dictionary
  3. Russian Internet Slang Words
  4. Fun Exercise: Rewrite the Sentences Using Russian Texting Slang
  5. Bonus: Great Websites to Practice Your Russian Texting Slang Skills
  6. Conclusion
  7. Answer Key

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1. About Russian Texting Slang

Computer words

Russian text language is very rich with various abbreviations, misspellings, and slang words. We’ve prepared a guide for you, so there’s no need to use a Russian texting translator. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to understand and use all of the most important Russian slang words and expressions yourself.

Many Russian texting abbreviations come from the English — ЛОЛ (“LOL”), ИМХО (“IMHO”), and ОМГ (“OMG”). But most of the slang abbreviations are native Russian.

Don’t use these slang words in official text messages or emails because they may be offensive. But feel free to use them while chatting with your Russian friends; they’ll appreciate your effort and feel more comfortable texting with you.

Below, we’ve gathered abbreviations that are widely used now—2018—or getting there. Texting with Russian abbreviations may seem hard at first, but once you catch the logic, it’ll be hard to stop using them. Let’s get started!

2. Russian Texting Abbreviation Dictionary

Computer sentences

1- Smiles and Russian Text Faces

  • ))) means “LOL.” That’s the first thing that you should know about Russian text messaging. Typically, instead of “normal” emoticons, Russians use brackets.
  • Here’s a common example of how a text conversation will typically start, using these brackets, or parentheses:

Привет) (Privet) “Hi!”

Привет)) Как дела?) (Privet. Kak dela?) “Hi! How are you?”

Норм. Как у тебя? (Norm. Kak u tebya?) “Good. How are you?”

Да тоже ничего.) (Da tozhe nichego.) “Also good.”

Additional information:

Some expressions may be confusing, so let’s study them.

  • Норм (norm) is an abbreviation of Нормально (normal`no) and means “Okay.”
  • Да тоже ничего (Da tozhe nichego) is a widely used expression that basically means “I am also good.” If you wanna say just “I am good,” use Да ничего так (Da nichego tak).
  • Да (da) here doesn’t mean “Yes.” It has no definite meaning and serves as a sentence opener in spoken language (E.g. Да ты поправился! (Da ty popravilsya!) “You gained some weight!”).
  • Ничего (nichego) is translated as “nothing” and basically means “nothing specific is going on in my life, everything is like usual.”
  • The opening bracket ((( represents sadness or crying.
  • Гы [gy] (Гыы, Гыыы). Some time ago, this meant “LOL.” It was used by less-educated people, so it still gives the slight impression of dumbness. However, in the modern Russian text lingo, it shows the delight of the speaker. For example:
    • Да ты просто молодец!) (Da ty prosto molodets!) “Well done!”
    • Гыыыы)) (Gyyy) *Expressing delight from appreciation of the effort*
    • Note! Да (Da) here is also a sentence opener.
  • Лол (Lol) means “LOL.” In gamer conversations, this is short for “League of Legends.”
  • Ггг [Ggg] (гг, гггг) expresses understanding of a joke, but not necessarily a laugh. For example:
    • Хватит дома сидеть, пойдём гулять. (Khvatit doma sidet`, poydyom gulyat`.) “Stop sitting at home, let’s go for a walk.”
    • Чо, время такое, зима близко :) (Cho, vremya takoe, zima blizko.) “Well, that’s not me, that’s the time. The winter is coming.”
    • Дешёвые отмазки) (Deshyovye otmazki.) “Poor excuse.”
    • гг)) раскусила)) (Gg raskusila.) “LOL. You got me.”
  • Хах (hah), ахаха (ahaha), хаха (haha), and хахаха (hahaha) mean “LOL” and can be replaced with two or more brackets.
  • Кек (Kek) ultimately comes from Korean ㅋㅋ (kk) and means “LOL.” This is less used than the other ones, but may be appreciated by younger Russians who enjoy fresh ways of expressing laughter in texting.
  • Ыыы (Yyy) means “LOL.” It expresses the crying sound you make after laughing for too long, and has the same meaning and impression as Гыыы (Gyyy).

2- Expressing Opinion or Emotions in Russian Text Slang

  • Имхо (imho) means “IMHO.” This is hardly used by millennials, but is still well-known and used by an older generation. Just keep this Russian slang abbreviation in mind.
  • Хз (kheze) is short for хрен знает (khren znaet), хуй знает (khui znaet) and means “I don’t know.” Without a smiling bracket it sounds too harsh, so it’s better to put ( or ) after that—or more brackets, if you want to express strong emotions.
  • Мб (mb) is short for может быть (mozhet byt`) and means “Maybe.”
  • OMГ (OMG) simply means “OMG.”
  • Ппц (Ppts) is short for пипец (pipets) and also means “OMG.” The word is a softer version of the obsolete verb пиздец (pizdets). This word originates from пизда (pizda) which means “c*nt.” Ппц (ppts) or пипец (pipets) has almost lost the obsolete meaning and is quite commonly used in Russian SMS slang.

3- Russian Shorthands for Texting Nouns

  • МЧ (Emche) is short for молодой человек (“boyfriend”).
  • Выхи (Vykhi) is short for выходные (“weekend”).
  • Вел (Vel); велик (velik) is short for велосипед (“bike”).
  • Зп (Zepe) is short for заработная плата (“salary”).
  • Нг (Enge) is short for новый год (“New Year holiday”).
  • Тыща (Tyshcha) is short for тысяча (“thousand”).
  • Лям (lyam) is short for миллион (“million”).
  • Комп (Komp) is short for компьютер (“computer”).
  • Инет (Inet) is short for интернет (“Internet”).
  • Ноут (Nout) is short for ноутбук (“laptop”).
  • Анон (Anon) is short for аноним (“anonymous”).
  • Чел (Chel) is short for человек (“person”).

4- Other Russian Texting Abbreviations

There are two ways to shorten the words. The first one is to write the word the way it sounds in a spoken language (e.g. «щас»). The second one is to leave in only the first letters or syllables of the word.

  • Ща (Shcha); щас (shchas) is short for сейчас (“now”).
  • Норм (Norm) is short for нормально (“ok; good”).
  • Ток (Tok); тока (toka) is short for только (“only”).
  • Те (Te); тя (tya) is short for тебе; тебя (“you”). It’s mostly used when imitating a childlike or cute speech.
  • Се (Se); ся (sya) is short for себе; себя (“me; to me”). It’s mostly used when imitating a childlike or cute speech.
  • Ваще (Vashche); аще (ashche) is short for вообще (“in general; at all”).
  • Эт (Et) is short for это (“this”).
  • Чо (Cho); че (chyo); чё (chyo) is short for что (“what”).
  • Чот (Chot) is short for что-то (“rather; a bit; quiet”).
  • Кто-нить (Kto-nit`) is short for кто-нибудь (“anybody; somebody”). The particle -нибудь in other words can also be shortened to -нить. It can be used with or without a hyphen.
  • Пасиб (Pasib); пасиба (pasiba); пасибоу (pasibou) is short for спасибо (“thanks”).
  • Пжст (Pzhst); пжлст (pzhlst) is short for пожалуйста (“please”).
  • Здрасте (Zdraste) is short for здравствуйте; здравствуй (“hello”), and is very common.
  • Дратути (Dratuti) is short for здравствуйте; здравствуй (“hello”). It’s used mainly for texting gamers or schoolchildren. The abbreviation comes from internet memes.

Useful fact! To memorize words better, input the word in Russian + мем (mem) in Google search, and you will see different memes with this word.

  • Прост (Prost) is short for просто (“just; easy”).
  • Чтоль (Chtol`) is short for что ли (“perhaps”).
  • Наверн (Navern) is short for наверно; наверное (“probably”).
  • Канеш (Kanesh); канешн (kaneshn) is short for конечно (“of course”).
  • Скок (Skok); скока (skoka) is short for сколько (“how much; how many”).
  • Сток (Stok); стока (stoka) is short for столько (“so much; so many”).
  • Седня (Syodnya); сёдня (syodnya) is short for сегодня (“today”).
  • Низя (Nizya) is short for нельзя (“must not”). It’s mostly used when imitating a childlike or cute speech.
  • Спс (Sps) is short for спасибо (“thanks”).
  • Хорош (Horosh) is short for хорошо (“good; okay”). In slang, хорош (horosh) means “stop it.”

5- Shortened Verbs and Expressions

Verbs that end with -тся (-tsya) or -ться (-t`sya) are sometimes written with a -ца (-tsa) ending.

Particles such as б (b) and ж (zh) used next to я (ya), ты (ty), and other pronouns in text slang are often typed without spacing: яж (yazh); тыб (tyb).

6- Obsolete Russian Abbreviations

  • Нах (Nah) is short for нахуй (nahuy) and translates as “to dick,” meaning “f*ck this.”
  • Пох (Poh) is short for похуй (pohuy) and translates as “till dick,” meaning “I don’t care.”

3. Russian Internet Slang Words

Text slang

These are words that come from the internet or internet memes. Most of them appeared over the last two or three years and aren’t familiar to older generations or people who don’t use the internet a lot.

  • Баян (Bayan) is a Russian accordion, and basically means an old joke.
  • Котэ (Kote) translates as “cat.” This is just an internet version of the common Russian word кот (kot) “cat.”
  • Ламповый (lampovyy) is an adjective and is translated as “with a lamp.” Essentially, this means something mellow, heartfelt, or sincere.
  • Ору (Oru) means “I’m laughing like crazy.”
  • Печалька (Pechal`ka); печаль (pechal`) means “sad” or “too bad,” and could also mean “not the result I wanted.”
  • Тролль (Troll`) is translated as “troll,” meaning a provocative person.
  • Фейспалм (Facepalm) is a well-known word from English.
  • Холивар (Kholivar) comes from the English “holy war” and basically means a quarrel.

4. Fun Exercise: Rewrite the Sentences Using Russian Texting Slang

1. Rewrite the dialogue with internet slang and abbreviations. You can find the answers at the end of this article. No need to rewrite the text on the picture.

Man Lying on Mines with Text

(On the picture:)
КОГДА СМОТРИШЬ ИГРУ ПРЕСТОЛОВ (Kogda smotrish’ igru prestolov)
Я: МНЕ ТАК НРАВИТСЯ ЭТОТ ПЕРСОНАЖ, (Ya: mne tak nravitsya etot personazh)
НАДЕЮСЬ, ОН НЕ УМРЕТ… (nadeyus` on ne umryot…)
ПЕРСОНАЖ: (personazh)


“When you are watching ‘Game of Thrones’
Me: I love this character so much, I hope he won’t die…
Character: )”

2. And now decipher the dialogue. Change slang words and abbreviations in usual words.

Аня (Anya): [Sends the image above]
Олег (Oleg): Смешно. Но старая шутка же.
Аня (Anya): Ну не знаю. Только увидела.
Олег (Oleg): Смешно. Что на выходных делаешь?
Аня (Anya): Вообще не знаю.
Олег (Oleg): Пойдем на велосипедах кататься?
Аня (Anya): Пойдем!

Лена (Lena): За компом?
Даша (Dasha): Ага
Лена (Lena): Посмотри скок сегодня градусов на улице пжст)
Даша (Dasha): А че мне за это будет?))
Лена (Lena): Даша!!! Хорош, прекрати
Даша (Dasha): ыыы) +18
Лена (Lena): о, норм, тепло. спс
Даша (Dasha): ;)

5. Bonus: Great Websites to Practice Your Russian Texting Slang Skills

1. Interpals
For beginners and higher levels. This is a great place to find language exchange partners. Many Russians use this website and will be happy to help you with your Russian texting skills.

2. VK
For middle and higher levels. If you’re learning Russian, you most likely already have an account on VK. If not, stop reading and register there immediately. It’s a Russian version of Facebook which is used by nearly every Russian. It has a great base of easily accessible user-generated content useful for Russian-language learners—video, audio, and books (even more than you can find on YouTube). There are also several different groups and communities that you can join. It’ll be a great opportunity to practice and meet new Russian friends who will be more than happy to explain and show you how to text in Russian. Here’s a community that publishes funny notes and has open comments: Practice!

3. 2ch
For upper-intermediate and advanced levels. This is a trending Russian chat consisting mostly of schoolchildren and students. Though the website UI is quite complicated, you can find and practice the newest and most trending Russian slang words and abbreviations with real Russians. Be aware, though, that schoolchildren might be rude.

6. Conclusion

One last piece of advice—don’t abbreviate ALL words in your texts; only abbreviate one or two. Otherwise, the message will look kind of dumb.

So, you’ve mastered texting with Russian abbreviations and slang words. An endless space of Russian internet and Russian chats has opened its gates so you can practice the freshly received knowledge and make new Russian friends.

Keep reading RussianPod101 and learn interesting Russian words and expressions that you can start using right away.

7. Answer Key

Please note that there may be different versions of the right answer.

1. Олег (Oleg): ))) Баян же)
Аня (Anya): Ну хз. Ток увидела.
Олег (Oleg): Кек. Че на выхах делаешь?
Аня (Anya): Ваще хз.
Олег (Oleg): Пойдем на велах кататься?
Аня (Anya): Пойдем!)

2. Лена (Lena): За компьютером?
Даша (Dasha): Ага.
Лена (Lena): Посмотри, сколько сегодня градусов на улице, пожалуйста.
Даша (Dasha): А что мне за это будет?
Лена (Lena): Даша! Прекрати.
Даша (Dasha): :-) +18
Лена (Lena): о, нормально, тепло. Спасибо!
Даша (Dasha): ;-)

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Top 20 Russian Words and Phrases you need to survive the Apocalypse

Zombies are coming, and they speak Russian! Do you have what it takes to survive? No?
How lucky you are, we have exactly what you need. Here is the Top 20 Words and Phrases you need to survive this Apocalypse!

top Russian words and phrases to survive zombies apocalypse

Click here to listen how to pronounce those phrases!

инфекция (n)

жуткий (adj)

череп (n)

могила (n)

Какой Ваш любимый фильм про зомби?
Kakoy vash lyubimyy fil’m pra zombi?
What’s your favorite zombie movie?

Click here to access this lesson for free!

Апокалипсис (n)

Подняться из могилы.
Padnyatsa iz magily
rise from the grave

Зомби! Бежим!
Zombi! Bezhim!
Zombies! Run!

Если был случилась атака зомби, куда бы Вы отправились?
Esli by sluchilas’ ataka zombi, kuda by vy atpravilis’?
If there was a zombie attack, where would you go?

Сверхъестественное (adj)

Запасы продовольствия (n)
Zapasy pradavol’stviya
food supply

Ходячие мертвецы
Khadyachie mertvetsy
walking dead

goose bumps

Воображение (n)

Поп-культура (n)
pop culture

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Пресная вода (n)
Presnaya vada
fresh water

Труп (n)

Жуткий (adj)

Прятаться (v)

Кладбище (n)

Want to amaze zombies? Become their friends? Learn Russian with our vocabulary lists!

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The Top 5 Shortcuts To Learning Russian!

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Hey Listeners!

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Chances are you’re looking to become fluent and conversational as fast as possible, right? Well then, look no further! This is the list for you!

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You may roll your eyes at this one, but it’s true! If you learn how to make your study time enjoyable, chances are you’ll be more inclined to study! Try changing it up every now and then with something new. Watch a TV show in Russian or listen to some Russian music! The sky is the limit!

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5. Make Mistakes:
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Inside: Your New Free App, 34% OFF & Even More Russian Lessons in 2016

Join the 34 Language Celebration & Get 34% OFF Premium

Hello Listener,

What say you to a cup of tea? How about…a new app, our 34 Language Celebration and 34% OFF Premium and MORE Russian lessons by real teachers? Bam! Didn’t expect that, did you? The year’s just started and you’re already getting the newest study tools and best deals. So what’s this new app that you’re getting? And what’s this celebration? Keep reading!

In this month’s newsletter:

  1. Join the 34 Language Celebration & Get 34% OFF Premium
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  3. 2016 Lesson Schedule! Your Russian Lessons for the New Year

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