Listening task 1: Information

A Listen. People are talking about Russia. What are they talking about? Write the topics in the chart below.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 general information

2 tourist spots

3 greeting customs

4 communication tips

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Complete the missing information in the chart.

Answer & Audioscripts

Name (1922-1991)

The U.S.S.R.

Name today

the Russian




Saint Petersburg

State Hermitage Museum


the Kremlin

Red Square

Don’t …

shake hands in a doorway

smile when you meet someone

When you introduce someone, …

use the person’s full name

use first names only with close friends



Man:   Chances are you already know something about the country of Russia and its people. The first topic is general information about Russia. Between nineteen twenty-two and nineteen ninety-one, Russia was part of the region known as the United Soviet Socialist Republic, and its name for short, was the USSR. In nineteen ninety-one, it became an independent country. The name of the country today is the Russian Federation. Did you know that Russia is the largest country in the world? In fact, it shares a border with fourteen countries. The capital city, Moscow, has a population of around nine million people.


Woman:   Russia has a long, rich history, and its sightseeing destinations are among the most beautiful in the world. For the next topic, I’ll talk about tourist spots in Russia. Many people come to Saint Petersburg to visit the State Hermitage Museum. It’s one of the oldest and largest fine art museums in the world. And in Moscow, the most popular tourist spots are the Kremlin and Red Square. The Kremlin is a medieval city inside of Moscow and has beautiful palaces, cathedrals, and museums. The cathedral in Red Square was built in the fifteen hundreds and is best known for its colorful exterior and its patterned arches, towers, and spires.


Man:   I’m going to discuss the topic of greeting customs in Russia. In many countries, when people meet for the first time, they shake hands. This is true in Russia, too. But be careful! Don’t shake hands in a doorway. It’s bad luck. Guests must go inside, or the hose must come outside of the house before they shake hands. In addition, Russians generally do not smile when they meet someone new. They shake hands but do not usually smile. So when you’re in Russia, do as the Russians do: Don’t smile when you meet someone. It won’t mean you’re unfriendly. It’s just the Russian style of greeting.


Woman:   The last topic is communication tips. When Russians introduce themselves, they use their full name. That is, they use three names: their first name, their family name, and their middle name. So when you introduce someone in Russia, use the person’s full name. Don’t use only the person’s first or last name. You should use first names only with close friends. Also, it’s OK to touch the person you’re talking to if you know the person fairly well. And as many people know, in Russia, hugging and kissing on the cheek are common among friends and between members of the same sex.

Listening task 2: Dating and marriage traditions

A Listen. A student is talking about dating and marriage traditions in the past. Complete the information. Then check (✓) if the traditions are the same or different now.


traditions in the past

traditions now





1 where people met


2 age when people married


3 who people married


4 what people did on a date


Answer & Audioscripts

1 in college or university; same

2 early 20s; different

3 a person with the same profession; different

4 went to movies or concerts, or for walks in the park, same

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Are the statements true or false? Check (✓) the correct answers.




1 Russians used to have arranged marriages.

2 In the past, Russian women married earlier than men.

3 The woman and her husband have the same job.

4 Today, Russians hang out in cafés on a date.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 false   2 true   3 false   4 true



Interviewer:   So, how did people in Russia meet in the days when your parents were dating? Were there arranged marriages?

Lyudmila:   No. We don’t have a tradition of arranged marriages. I guess most people met in school – you know, in college or university.

Interviewer:   How about you? is that still the typical way people meet and start dating?

Lyudmila:   Yes. I think for Russians, school – especially university – is a good place to meet people with similar interests and backgrounds. So that’s still a place people often get together.


Interviewer:   So, you said in the past people usually met in school. How old were they when they got married? Did they get married right away after school?

Lyudmila:   Yeah. People got married pretty early, and women earlier than men. In the past, I think a lot of Russian people thought it was important to get married early, around their early twenties. But now I think the marrying age is getting older in Russia. These days, a lot of people marry in their mid- or even late twenties. People are more relaxed about it today.


Interviewer:   What about who people dated or married? Could people in Russia marry anyone they wanted?

Lyudmila:   Actually, in the past, people usually married a person with the same profession. For example, a teacher would marry another teacher, a government worker would marry another government worker. My parents were both musicians.

Interviewer:   How about you and your husband?

Lyudmila:   My husband is a scientist. And when I met him, I was teaching children in a preschool.

Interviewer:   So, Russians these days marry people from other professions?

Lyudmila:   Yes. People today marry people from other professions, sure.


Interviewer:   How about going out? What did young people used to do when they went out together on dates?

Lyudmila:   Well, I think they went out to movies or concerts, or for walks in the park. It was very popular to do something outside.

Interviewer:   And are those still typical date activities for young couples in Russia now?

Lyudmila:   Yes, of course people still do those things, or they just hang out in a café. That’s what my husband and I used to do when we were first dating. We’d just have a coffee or tea, talk, and watch the people go by.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This