Published June 30, 2018 by Tom Porter

Putnam in ‘The Washington Post’ on Why Russians Don’t Smile Much (That Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Like You)

Soccer fans visiting Russia for the World Cup should not take it personally if they don’t encounter too many smiles from their hosts.

Russians, as a rule, are not outwardly cheerful people, but this doesn’t mean they’re unfriendly, writes Professor of Psychology Samuel Putnam in The Washington Post.

In an article coauthored with Washington State University’s Masha Gartstein (who is Russian), Putnam contrasts Russia with the US and other countries, where “smiling is a common, reflexive gesture of goodwill.”

The bottom line: When a Russian person smiles, it probably indicates genuine happiness, whereas in many other countries, you can’t be too sure.

Samuel Putnam. He’s smiling but does he mean it?
Samuel Putnam. He’s smiling but does he mean it?