-Don’t come too close to Russian children if you don’t want to be perceived as a pedophile;
-You can only look at Russian women in case she’s alone, without her husband or boyfriend. In other case you’ll be left to explain why was you peeking at “others” women. If you find yourself in such a situation your main option is to run in case there’s no police nearby;
-We don’t advise you to visit Russian Orthodox Churches by yourselves – please, visit with a tour group of yours! The case is Russians share an uneasy history of relations with Catholics and Protestants. You can be addressed as a non-beliver in virtually any church except the most known Moscow Christ the Savior Church which is the main destination of Moscow’s tourists. Women shall wear a shawl covering their hair before they can enter or even if they are close by to a church (30 meters tops);
-Women are better to travel with men or they pose a risk of harassment. They will be asked out, they will be “picked up”, men will try to know their name, mobile phone number and all that;
-We advise you to stay within your touring destinations and to not leave your tourists groups. Please, try to stay nearby the crowds, populated areas near the center of a town you’re visiting. If you’ll go walking through a typical residence area you risk meeting some trouble just because you are a foreigner;
-Try not to lock eyes with the police. Russians evade locking eyes with them, so they view it as a sign of aggression or ill intent and they can detain you based strictly on their assumptions of your further actions;
-If you are black, try to stay within a group at all times. Russia is still a very racist place, so you need people on your side to safeguard you;
-Don’t try to mimic Russian words you hear. If you do a bad job at it, people around you will assume you’re making fun of the language in general and harassing them;
-Don’t speak of either Putin or Stalin. Given the uneasy political situation we’re in right now it is unknown how the people around you will react. They might think that you’re insulting their leaders and they will try to defend their honor the only way they know – with a fist in the face. If somebody asks you any sort of political question or tries to start a political conversation – simply tell them that you think that Crimea is a part of Russia and that Ukraine shall be the same;
-Try to avoid the following list of themes in your conversations with Russians: gay culture, feminism, WWII, human rights, democracy, Ukraine. If you somehow touched on a topic of Russian-American relations, you are advised to shift the conversation to the peaceful direction of American cinema or culture. You don’t start your conversation with it though, since the next question you’ll get is exactly what you’re trying to avoid – political relations between Russia and the US;
-You are not allowed to dismiss an invitation to drink with a Russian. If you refuse their invite you will offend them gravely. It is ok to stop after you finish your third shot, because the first goes for the Motherland, the second – for the Guest and the third goes for the one who’s paying for the booze;
-We don’t advise you to tell anyone that you came from these countries: Poland, UK, the US, Canada, France and Germany. It is better to name yourself as a Norwegian or a Swiss for example;
-I know this point won't offer any alternative, but I must warn you: try to avoid being hurt or injured, since Russian medicine is not a thing you would like to know more about from within. In case something bad happens or you'll feel ill or sick - please, contact private medicine services where it is possible instead of the governmental ones. Private clinics and hospitals will at the very least help you based on your insurance, while the governmental clinics are overcrowded, underfunded and are a mess to look at overall;
-Try avoiding street food. If you want to have a snack on the go, please, pay close attention to your choice. Some street joints are run by migrants and they lack health certification, they can be dangerous and some meals can even contain meats of unknown origin. It's better to avoid economy type of restaurants, cafes and communal diners too. Since Russians are used to cooking at home they rarely visit such places and service they can provide is below the norm for a civilized country. Since most of our regulatory bodies are corrupt beyond belief a lot of restaurants simply pay to prolong their license off the books and enjoy their business further on. This means that no matter how the place looks and feels you run a high risk of food poisoning and poor service.
This is it.
We hope that the list we’ve made will allow you a comfortable and sweet time in Russia.