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russian people characteristics

Just how do you sum up the characteristics of Russian citizens without straying into the dangerous world of stereotypes? Separating the truth from prejudice can be a little tricky at times but the key is to look at how Russians view themselves.

So what are the real Russian people characteristics and what commonly held views are merely myths?

Strong and robust

Russians generally see themselves as being strong and fearless but without any hint of finesse. Common national jokes will involve a Russian and people from two other nationalities and ultimately, the Russian blunders through the joke in an elephantine way but he always gets the upper hand.

This characteristic is generally true and it can be traced right back through the centuries of Russian history. It’s felt that the nation has developed a robust and resilient element to their personalities due to the many hardships they have faced under various periods of cruel leadership.

In addition, extreme weather conditions in some parts of the country have also helped people to develop this hard edge to their personality.

Friendly or brusque?

Some visitors to Russia complain that the nation’s citizens are an unfriendly bunch but is that a fair criticism?

That strong and robust personality can be a little deceiving in this respect but it has contributed to an outside view that Russians can be a little brusque to say the least. This is a tough aspect to comment on but the only way to find out is to travel to Russia and experience the country and its people for yourself.


Excess alcohol consumption is one character trait that many Russians would like to distance themselves from and while it would be a crude generalisation to suggest that everyone here has an alcohol problem, this is a serious issue within the country.

Cheap and illegal vodka production has led to the worst excesses of drunkenness in many of Russia’s male population and at one point, life expectancy was reduced to alarming levels. This has been addressed to some extent by regulations that have set a higher minimum price for vodka as a whole and while they have had some success, the influence of drink on Russian people characteristics cannot be ignored.

Physical characteristics

Up until now, we’ve only discussed personality traits of the average Russian but are there any physical characteristics that set them apart from anyone else?

Once again, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making sweeping generalisations but among the common physical traits, Russians can boast high, clearly defined cheekbones, light coloured eyes and as far as men are concerned, a dark complexion.

However, it’s true to say that Russia’s population contains one of the largest mixes of ethnic origins and as such, it’s impossible to clearly define a single set of physical characteristics.

We are all individuals so don’t be tempted to think that the above descriptions apply to everyone in Russia. The only way to truly find out is to pay the country a visit and to get involved with its people.

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