looking at watch impatient

The Impatient Side Of Russians Uncovered

I was traveling the past two weeks. And mentioned something that is worth sharing here. Russians are impatient. I do not know why, but let me share tell you couple of stories.

A Culture Of Standing In Lines For Everything

Sausage store sign

Sausage store sign and a line to get the sausage

I do not remember much of Soviet time due to my age and travels in my childhood. But I know that standing in line for food or goods was a big part of living in the USSR. I think that people were used to that.

Now we do not have long lines for anything in Moscow, but from time to time you can have a glimpse from the past. For example – when I was sending Sochi Olympics teddy bears and souvenirs to friends – I did stand in line at the local post office for 3 hours. It was a strange experience, since all people were standing really close to each other (which made me quite uncomfortable). I do not really fancy, when I can feel the breath of some stranger on my neck for 3 hours (and it was an old woman, not a guy if you have questions). All line was like a monolith, no chance for the intruders to break in. That experience made me think that Russians are very patient.

Disembarking The Planes And Driving

In the same time, I had some opposite experiences with my fellow citizens. Let me share that with you as well.

disembarking the plane

Disembarking the plane is no fun – everybody wants to live asap

When the plane lands, everybody on board is anxious to get off. But in most countries, people manage to sit still until the plane reaches the terminal and even then – manage to wait for people in front of them to get their suitcases and other belongings and move row by row. Not in Russia! In Russia – as soon as a plane lands – people first burst in a round of applause (which is strange on its own) and then jump and start opening the storage areas and getting themselves ready to disembark. They do hear the announcements, which ask them to stay put and wait, but they do not pay any attention to that.

Similar thing goes on while driving. A lot of roads near Moscow have relatively wide technical side lanes, not paved with asphalt and not intended to be used as driving or walking lanes. When traffic builds up though – you can see a row of SUVs that drive on that side lane. They make all other cars dusty and they do not gain much advantage as they still need to queue at some point (and see how welcome they are in the line – from my experience at the post office from above)

impatient drivers avoid staying in traffic

impatient drivers avoid staying in traffic

Buying A Fridge in Moscow At 2 AM

Soviet grocery stores had lunch breaks from 1 pm till 2 pm. Other (non-food stores) typically had lunch breaks from 2 to 3 pm. Even restaurants had lunch breaks mid day. Combine that to the fact that it was illegal to be unemployed (if you are unemployed, you are a “tuneyadets” – lazy person, who does not deserve his bread) and you see that all people worked on the same schedule as the store opening hours. Shopping and working did not go together well. And in the evening most stores were closed by 6-7 pm.

IKEA working hours

IKEA working hours

I guess that is the main reason most shops in Moscow now either work 24/7 or at least until 11 pm. IKEA for example is working until 2 am. MVideo (BestBuy of Russia) is open 24/7/. Booze is no longer sold after 11 pm, but if you want to buy a dining table, a gardening equipment or a fridge – you are welcome in the store at night. Insomnia and too long to do list are good for store owners. They will easily accommodate your lifestyle, whether you are a night owl or an early bird. And many of my Russian friends do post on FB after midnight  that they are out there hunting for a shower curtain or furniture.

Does it make sense? Totally no. Who are the people who need cottage cheese, ice skates, grass cutting equipment or a dresser at 2 am in the morning?

So, How Did The Culture Of Patience Turn Into the Culture of Impatience?

I do not know the answer to that question. One guess is that the impatient people are all young people, who never experienced waiting. The other guess is that all people have become tired of waiting and have used to the fast service.  I think that Russian people often behave in a rude way because of such impatience and hope that it is a temporary thing.

But if you have an answer to this question or want to share your observations – please leave comments to this post! I look forward knowing what you think on this subject. 


Leave a Reply

  • Marina - 6 years ago

    I don’t think it has to do with impatience (when it comes to driving) but rather mentality that says “why in the world am I(!!!!) supposed to wait? What am I a fool? I am no fool, in fact I am so cool that I don’t have to wait like the rest” and there they go passing someone crossing the double yellow or driving on the pedestrian passages.

    It is the mentality that claims that we’re better than others or that no one can tell us what to do, so therefor I make my own rules. Rules in post soviet countries are referred to as general guidelines, so they’re not really respected or followed. This of course is encouraged by no immediate punishment or an easy way of ‘buying yourself out” of such punishment.

  • Anonymous - 3 years ago

    is “tuneyadets” an insult?