Business Dinners in Russia


In Russia, a lot of value is placed on personal relations and much time is invested into building trust. Being invited to a business dinner is thus quite common in Russia. Foreign business partners should be aware of the following points:

» Russians love gregarious and noisy evenings. On such occasions it is common for there to be eating, drinking and talking late into the night -- sometimes dancing and singing as well. Plan your time accordingly.

» At the evening events, many beverages are consumed -- mostly vodka. Older Russians in particular appreciate this drink and can tolerate plenty of it. So as to not end the evening too early, it's better if you drink vodka only for toasts. Under no circumstances should you mix vodka with any other alcholic drink, and you should drink plenty of water during the course of the evening.

» The toast is a ritual in Russia. Without a toast, no vodka will be consumed. In order to make a positive impression and to make your own interest clearer, consider leading a personal toast honoring the host or the women at the table. This not only lightens up the atmosphere, but also strengthens future business relationships.

» Russians are very hospitable. If a Russian business partner invites you to his house, you should expect a banquet table. Many tasty dishes will be offered, and you should try in order to not to disappoint the host. Do not forget to praise the cook for the food and its quality.

» Taboos at the dinner table: the nose is never cleaned in the presence of other guests; while eating, do not talk about personal health problems, especially when it comes to digestion, teeth or the stomach; house and car keys do not belong on the table; do not ask loudly at the table where the toilet is.