Russia for people of a certain generation was a cold and off-limits part of the world. With the KGB supposedly hovering on every street corner and only “Meester Bond” seemingly able to penetrate the country that always wanted to take over the world, it was hardly a place to visit and even less a place to do business with.
As much as President Putin has not always been Mr Popularity, Russia is nonetheless a booming place for tourism and a growth market for business. No longer is Red Square the only place on the tourist map and no longer is business considered spying on the nation, Russia is one of THE places to visit. However, to make it an even better place to visit and do business with, speaking Russian opens the country, its people, culture and tremendous business opportunities.
Russia is a vast country and yet one that has only recently opened for tourism and more widely for business. It has always claimed to be “open”, but perceptions of the country kept it more closed. However, Russia has come to realise that foreigners entering the country are no longer MI5 agents or spies but rather can add value to the bottom line of the economy.
Business and leisure can be mixed perfectly in Russia, and by speaking the language, one soon sees that Russians are not miserable people trapped in a communist past. The people of Russia are as cheerful as any others on earth, they want to show their country, and they are proud to do so. Speaking the language makes doing business better, trust is gained when you speak the language of another country, and common courtesies extend to improve business relations. Not only is trust gained, but by speaking Russian, nothing is lost in translation.
Some say that Russian is one of the easiest languages to learn, and even by just learning a small amount, the Russian Map unfolds more than you can imagine. Places away from the tourist traps of Moscow and St Petersburg become open, and the true culture and way of living in Russia can be experienced. Eating out in Russia becomes an enjoyable and almost festive experience when you speak Russian, and because the people are friendly and they are able to converse with you, happiness flows.
Not so long ago, Russia was not considered the best place to visit. Transport infrastructure was poor, hotels (except the top five-star establishments) were not always up to scratch, and the places to visit were somewhat limited. Today all this has changed, even destinations on the Black Sea that are popular domestic destinations for Russians, have become accessible to tourists from overseas. Transport, rail and air networks have improved considerably and made Russia a great place to visit and do business with. Despite these improvements, speaking Russian still gives any tourist or business traveller a tremendous advantage.
Russia wants to move forward and lose many of the perceptions from the past, and because of this, the country and its people are among the most hospitable on earth. Taking advantage of speaking Russian will allow you to take advantage of the hospitality and climb inside a country that you will want to, and because of its size, need to, visit many more times.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and utilising that skill to forward your professional path.