Recently, discussions on the Russian mentality and especially on the difference between the mentality of Europeans and Russians have been extremely politicized. This is why it is difficult for our compatriots who travel to Europe to form an objective opinion about the fact that the mentality of the Russian person really differs from that of Europe and about the countries in which it is easier to get used to local life. Our goal is to answer this question impartially and without political connotations. And for this, we have turned to our clients, who have been living in the European Union for quite some time.

A common mistake: Immigration 

Of course, Russians and Ukrainians are sure to know everything about the Western mentality. In practice, however, this is often not the case, and our own self-confidence plays a cruel trick on us. Moreover, many people do not know enough about even their own mentality.

Once abroad, we find it difficult to get along with others, wasting nerve cells and even depressed by the fact that there is nothing around to warm the soul. What is the mistake?

We should know more about our own mentality beforehand, we should analyze the mentality, the cultural and social situation in the country we are going to, we should compare it and understand the mental differences. The analysis will help us to assess how well we "fit" into the new environment.

The Russian mentality: its peculiarities
What is the Russian mentality? Wikipedia gives the following definition: "Mentality is a set of mental, emotional, cultural characteristics, value orientations and attitudes inherent in a social or ethnic group, nation, people, nationality.

In many sociological studies the following characteristics of the Russian mentality appear:

-Tendency to put public interests before personal interests
-sensual perception of reality
-openness, sincerity and cordiality
-negative attitude towards formalities
-prejudice against others
-aversion to those who "take risks" and "make the most of them
-Propensity to litigation
-dedication to donated goods
-the desire to resolve problems amicably and informally
-Contempt for health
-Differences in mentality between West and East

Psychologists note the following differences between the Russian and Western mentality

The Russian mentality versus The European mentality

1-We (Russians) often rely more on emotions than on rationality. The peoples of northern Europe do the opposite, relying on logic and reason.

2-We (Russians) are strangers to a measured way of life and do not reject spontaneous celebrations. In Northern and Central Europe, we stick strictly to the dates of the calendar.

3- We rarely plan our expenses and our life in general because of frequent crises and economic instability. In Austria, Switzerland and Great Britain, people are sometimes too pedantic about it and scrupulously plan their agenda for the coming month.

4- Sentimentality is characteristic of the Russian mentality. We easily understand the feelings of others and can show empathy. In Italy and France, it is not usual to talk to an unknown person about family problems and to listen to such revelations.

5- We like to speak with an open heart, we easily share our personal problems. In Europe, we know how to keep our distance, even with our close friends, and not talk about personal things.

6- We are very flexible. Even a big quarrel can be forgotten after a quick reconciliation. Europeans are not vindictive, but after a quarrel with a person, they can break off relationships without the possibility of re-establishing them.

7- We have what is called social conformism, the wish that everything should be "like people", so that no one thinks badly of us, even to our own detriment. Europeans have become accustomed to the developed system of services that places the individual with all his needs at the center of social life.

8- In Europe, people born in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are often described as conservative; they do not easily master new technologies and the change in lifestyle is totally foreign to them. In Europe, any novelty, the most recent technology arouses great interest, even among the elderly, because they perceive its appearance as a step towards improving their quality of life.

Russian mentality on European soil

When everything is in order
Is there really a gulf between us and the Europeans that cannot be bridged? Not at all! It is worth mentioning that the CIS countries have a large number of people who have a similar character and characteristics to those of European countries. For them, social adaptation passes as quickly and easily as possible.

"Austria has proved to be a very comfortable country for me," says Dmitriy Shashkov, a customer of our Salzburg-based company. - I moved here as part of an investment program, lived with a residence permit for about seven months and have now received an Austrian passport. I have to say at the outset that most of my acquaintances from Moscow would have had difficulties here. Austrians are businessmen and live according to a schedule. They even have fun and relax at strictly scheduled times, which is a bit strange for a Russian. However, this way of life suits me 100%. I am a pragmatist and I like to have everything settled. You clearly plan your future and you know that there are no surprises around the corner.

Useful features


And many immigrants find the mentality, culture and traditions of a foreign nation extremely useful traits for themselves and are happy to borrow them. It would seem that what Russians and English have in common

"Even before I applied for a residence permit in the UK and started doing business here, it seemed to me that we were very different," shares Grigory Lozovoy of Cambridge. - In practice, it has worked out differently. The British soul is no less mysterious than the Russian soul. They like to criticize each other, but at the same time admire each other. And their self-criticism is worthy of envy. They are very sensitive to their success, especially in business, they plan things carefully. And failures are probably no less tragic than those of our compatriots. So what I have been happy to adopt from the British is their dedication and confidence in their own abilities.

The temperament of the South

If you think that the mentality of Western civilization is pragmatism, reserve and coldness, then the nations of the South (Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese) do not correspond at all to these definitions.

You get the impression that the Spanish are fixated on their own pleasures," says Andrei Cartouche of Barcelona. - For them, wild entertainment is something they can indulge in 24 hours a day. This lifestyle often has an impact on their work, which is very similar to ours. They can easily oversleep, be late. At the same time, they are energetically different. Compared to Spaniards, even the most expressive Russians are relegated to the background. Why do you think there are so many of our compatriots in Spain? Spaniards have many things in common with Russians: lack of organization, unpredictability. If it weren't for their overly "exaggerated" individualism, I would say that they are the same Russians, but much more expressive. It is corrupting that the Spaniards are extremely simple, sociable, sincere, hospitable. This is why Russians feel comfortable in Spain. I bought a property here, I got a residence permit for Spain and I have been living for three years without any adaptation problems.

If friendship, then it's for a long time. 


There are countries that prefer people from certain countries or even certain regions. For immigration, Hungary chooses residents from Ukraine, especially from its western regions. Here, a higher standard of living, affordable prices and favorable conditions for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship.

"It's been a year and a half since we left Kiev to move to Budapest under the "Permanent Residence for Investment" program, - says our client Irina Kolganova. - Hungary is close to our mentality, at least because it was also a socialist country for a long time, and has left its mark on its people. Hungarians are contradictory: they combine the characteristics of East and West. You can notice Turkish cordiality and German avarice in one and the same person. Most of the time, we meet positive and joyful people, especially among the young people. Hungarians are much calmer and more reasonable than Russians. Probably they are afraid of our emotionality and unpredictability. Nevertheless, they are loyal to the migrants, it is not easy to get along with them, but if a friendship is created, you will not regret it".

The Russian mentality through the eyes of foreigners

Unfortunately, a lot of things in the relations between Russians and European nations have been spoiled by politics. The memory of the activity of the Soviet government, of the Second World War is also still alive. This must be taken into account when choosing a country of immigration.

If we talk about the countries where foreigners speak positively about the Russian mentality, it is Greece, Spain, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Malta. We have had practically no historical conflicts with the people of these countries, so you will be accepted there very cordially.

The Russian mentality is quite tolerated in Hungary, Great Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, France. It is not without reason that most people from the CIS countries live in these countries.

When choosing a country for registration of residence permit or citizenship, make sure to analyze the characteristics of your own mentality and compare it with the local mentality. This is the only way to protect yourself from unnecessary conflicts and negative experiences.