We’ve created this guide to help you get closer to your Russian customers. A web presence that is in tune with Russia’s culture will make your customers feel well disposed to you, and give them the confidence to do business with you. By understanding these little yet important details, you'll be in a good position right from the start in your new market.
2 The main language
Russian is the main spoken and written language in Russia.
Only 11% of the population speak English.
Less than 6% of internet search queries are in English.
Should you be formal or informal when addressing your Russian customers?
In Russia, you should address your customers in a friendly yet formal way. The plural, friendly yet formal word is Bы.
When referring to children’s products you should use the term ты .
If you have a financial product, a legal service, or are talking about money, you should adopt a more formal tone and style.
Ease of doing business in Russia
The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2019 report ranked Russia as 31st out of 190 countries.
4 Numbering systems and formats
- This is a comma (,)
- e.g. 1,5 hours.
A space is used as the thousand separator in numbers over four digits,
- e.g. 1524 people (no space), 15 400 people (space).
The country code is +7. The telephone numbers follow a 10 digit format (excluding any prefixes). Telephone numbers are usually in the format of (+7) 800 800-80-80 or (+7) (800) 800-80-80.
Freephone numbers have the prefix 800.
Good to know
- Russians write numbers one to ten in full, e.g. one, two, three, ten.
- Numbers over ten are written as digits, e.g. 26.
5 Currency format
Russian Ruble. This is represented by the sign ₽, and its trading three letter code RUB and less commonly RUR.
The note denominations are 5000 ₽. 1000 ₽ 500 ₽ 100 ₽ 50 ₽. The coin denominations are 10 коп., 50 коп., 1 ₽, 2 ₽, 5 ₽, 10 ₽.
6 Date format
In Russia the date format is DD.MM.YYYY, e.g. "24.03.2017".
7 Hour formats
The 24-hour clock is used in Russia. The separator is a colon, e.g. 14:24.
Russia is the world’s largest country and has eleven time zones. The name of these time zones, from east to west are:
- Further-Eastern European Time
- Moscow Time Zone
- Samara Time Zone
- Yekaterinburg Time Zone
- Omsk Time Zone
- Krasnoyarsk Time Zone
- Irkutsk Time Zone
- Yakutsk Time Zone
- Vladivostok Time Zone
- Magadan Time Zone
- Kamchatka Time Zone
The 24-hour format is favoured on all railway times as well as all digital devices like PCs, phones, tablets, etc.
8 Working days
Standard working days in Russia are Monday to Friday.
9 Things to avoid in the Russian market
Every culture has different superstitions and traditions which are always worth noting, especially when entering a new market.
Russians consider the number 13 to be unlucky.
10 Important localisation tips
Here are the top five translation tips that will make you sound like a local in no time:
Know your audience. What works for professional IT specialists won’t work for a teenage audience, and vice versa.
Always ask for linguistic expertise when writing marketing materials for a local market, even if they are written by native speakers.
Be careful not to bring English sentence structure and phrases into your Russian translation. It’s better to start from scratch for maximum legibility.
Don’t expect your Russian readers to know about UK traditions like Boxing Day.
Use good translation sources and have them double-checked and tested to verify their quality.