While some may have visited Russia before, this will be a first for many.
Here are a few pointers about the country’s culture, traditions, and cuisine.
Russia is huge
With an expanse of over 6.6 million square miles, Russia is the world’s largest nation by land mass.
To put things into perspective, Russia shares its land borders with 14 countries; Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, North Korea and China.
Christmas not always December 25
Orthodox Russians adhere to the Julian calendar, which puts Christmas on January 7.
Polite requests far outweigh demands
When asking for something, choose your words wisely because making a polite request can go much farther than making a demand.
Being polite may be important in almost any culture, but it seems to be a big deal in Russia.
Refusing food may be offensive
Food in Russia can be a sensitive issue, especially when a host offers it to you and you turn it down.
Forging friendships and relationships with Russians will undoubtedly lead to food and drink at some point, so when offered, be sure to accept.
Lunch in Russia is considered the most important (and is usually the largest) meal.
Travelling to a foreign country and not eating their food is almost impossible.
Take a look at some of Russia’s staple foods.
More popularly known as kasha, it is one of Russia’s staple foods.
The buckwheat grains are boiled with water or milk and then served with butter and a variety of toppings.
For breakfast, Russians prepare it with milk and add plenty of sugar to sweeten it, while if they use it as a side dish to something savoury, they drown it in butter and sour cream.
Buckwheat is rich in protein and microelements and can also satiate you for long hours.
This may be a great mouth-watering way to ease yourself into Russian cuisine.
Those tiny, porous pancakes go well with chocolate spreads and caviar.
Pelmeni is a tasty Russian dish which is basically boiled, meat-filled dough.
They are usually better at restaurants where the chefs prepare the dough themselves and are often served with sour cream.
The most popular type of alcohol consumed in Russia is vodka.
Vodka is usually consumed with a snack or salad. There is a range of dishes and appetizers prepared specifically to go with vodka. Pickles, caviar and beetroot salad (vinegret) are just a few.
In all cases, remember that drinking in Russian culture is about conversation and connection and that your liver will thank you if you try to consume responsibly.