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Typical day

How do Russians usually spend their day?
Where do Russians have lunch and dinner?
Why do household chores take a Russian woman so long?
Are there dishwashers in Russian families?


In Russia, as in any country, different people spend their days in different ways, depending on many factors: their age, whether they work or study or are retired, where they work, what they do for a living, and whether or not they 1 have children. In this commentary we will only discuss in broad terms j how Russians spend their workdays and their days off.

In Russia, as in the USSR before, an eight-hour work-day with an hour-long break is the status guo. But of course, depending on one’s profession, work can also be carried out in shifts or by the day. But looking at an ordinary Russian’s work-day, he will usually go to work in the morning, spend all day at work, and come home in the evening. Russians usually have breakfast and dinner at home, since it is not customary to have dinner or lunch at a restaurant.

Though the times have changed and the number of restaurants and different cafes has considerably increased, Russians do not go to restaurants very. When they do, they need an important reason, such as a special event, to go. On the other hand, business meetings and business lunches usually take place at a western-style restaurant.

The public catering system was never widely developed in the USSR. While there were a comparatively large number of restaurants and cafes in Moscow as well as in other big cities, there were very few of them in small towns. Fast-food restaurants and caf s such as McDonalds have lately appeared in Russia, but remain popular primarily among young people only.

Russians have always preferred to have their meals at home, as well as to receive guests at home, although this demands much effort by the hostess. A Russian woman spends a lot of her time buying food and preparing meals, doing so after work or on her days off.

Household chores also take up a lot of a Russian woman’s time. As a rule, it is uncommon to send wash to the laundry or dryclean-er’s in Russia, so a Russian woman does this all by herself. Big cities are an exception, but even there the consumer service system has not yet been well-developed.

It should also be noted that Russian women have always paid special attention to looking good, and so going to the hairdresser and beauty parlor has always remained popular. In addition, Russian women pay a lot of attention to their clothes, shoes and accessories, and so a lot of time goes into picking them out and purchasing them. In times of shortage in the USSR, many Russian women had their dresses, skirts, blouses and overcoats made by tailors, and the number of tailors for men and women was fairly high. Now there are a great many stores and bou-tigues, and Russians prefer buying ready-made clothes.


So in the evening, a Russian woman will typically go shopping after work, then cook, wash, and iron. Even on her days off this will typically remain the case. Lately, a large number of inexpensive household appliances have appeared in Russia. Of course, they only ease one’s load of housework, but they do not replace it. For example, until now a dishwasher had been a very difficult item to imagine in an ordinary Russian family’s home.

When Russians have free time in the evening, they enjoy watching TV (men will typically watch sports and the news, women will watch sitcoms and TV dramas, and they both may watch feature- and made-for-TV films) and listening to music (most every Russian family will have a record, cassette and compact disc collection). It should also be noted that radio still remains very popular in Russia, especially in small towns.

Foreigners coming to Russia notice the fact that most Russians like reading quite a lot. You can see Russians reading in the metro, on the bus and on benches in parks. It is no wonder that they call Russia the most well-read country in the world. Of course times change, and now that computers have appeared in many homes, adults and children also spend a lot of their time playing computer games. In Russia, as in other countries, books-on-tape covering a wide variety of topics have also appeared. Nevertheless, hearing a mother reading a book to her children or telling them a story remains the most typical situation lor Russia.

On weekends, Russians like to go to a movie, to the theater, to an exhibition, to a Mend’s house, to go on a picnic, or to go rest in the country or in the forest. In Chapter 15, you will learn in detail where and how Russians spend their free time.

As for learning some polite phrases that refer to this topic, we would like to draw your attention to the ones listed below. If you would like to invite your friend somewhere, you can ask «Какие у вас планы на завтра? (на вечер, на выходные)» (“What are your plans for tomorrow? [for this evening, for the weekend]“). If you have been invited somewhere and do not wish to attend, you can decline the invitation politely by saying «Извините, сегодня (в субботу, в этот день) я не могу. Я занят (занята), давайте в другой раз.» (“I’m sorry, I can’t go today (this Saturday, on that day), I’m busy. Let’s go another time.”) And if your invitation is declined, you can say «Жаль. Ну ничего, тогда в другой раз.» (“That’s too bad. Well, another time.”)

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