GIFT GIVING IN RUSSIA*-
Gift Giving Etiquette
BUSINESS GIFT GIVING /
PERSONAL GIFT GIVING
Generally speaking, Russians take pleasure in giving and receiving gifts.
Be sure to bring an assortment of gifts, so that you will always have
something appropriate to give.
Cheaper gifts do not have to be
wrapped, while more expensive ones should be.
Gifts for children are usually opened
in private, while gifts for adults are generally opened in the presence of
others. If your gift was a hit, you will hear many 'thank-yous.'
Russians spend a lot of money on gifts.
Avoid giving gifts such as pencils, pens, lighters (unless they are
expensive ones), cheap wine or vodka, notebooks, etc.
When invited to a Russian home, bring a
gift of chocolates, dessert items, good wine, or other alcohol [try to
select something other than vodka, which is widely available].
Bringing a bouquet of flowers (not too
expensive though) for women you are visiting (doesn't really matter how
many of them are in the family you're visiting) is a good idea. Make sure
you have an odd number of flowers. Even numbers usually are for funerals.
Gifts are expected for social events,
especially as “thank-yous” for private dinner parties or overnight stays
in someone's home. Thank-you notes and holiday cards are not considered
appropriate because they have no practical use.
If there are children in the family, it
is thoughtful acknowledge them with a small gift, such as a toy or candy.
It is considered bad luck to give a
pregnant woman a baby gift until after the baby is born.
- In Russia, flowers are a gift given
almost exclusively for women. The only few exceptions would be male
teachers, doctors and visiting celebrities.
- If you are visiting a family home, it
is quite customary to bring along a bouquet of flowers for a wife, sister
or mother. These female relatives are likely to be present at the time of
- Pink, cream-coloured, orange, and blue
flowers are rarely awarded any special meaning and, thus, are quite
- Avoid yellow flowers [unless you picked
them up yourself on a trip to the countryside]. Some white flowers should
also be approached with caution.
- As in many other countries, flowers are
an essentially romantic gift. Red flowers, especially in rich and dark
shades, will be perceived as a display of love or strong affection.
- wine or other alcohol [try to select
something other than vodka]
- fine chocolates [when invited to a
- a food item that is scarce
- towels, cameras, watches,
- perfume, cologne [as a thank-you for an
- clothing [as a thank-you for an
*Ivanchuk, Sergei. Russia Business
Etiquette - Gift Giving. Executive Planet. 10 Aug. 2004
Above: The flag of Russia