While the basic rules of dating etiquette apply no matter where you go, there are a few quirks to Russian culture, especially as it concerns women, which sometimes create conflict with men from the West. As a result, knowing some of the societal norms regarding what Russian women look for in a romantic partner can help you pave a much smoother path to landing a date during your trip to Russia.
However, it's important to keep in mind that relying too heavily on gender stereotypes and generalizations is never a good way to start a romantic endeavor. Instead, use these tips as a guideline for what you might expect to generally find in Russia, and remember that the best way to impress a Russian woman is to see her as an individual and engage her in open and honest dialogue to really get to know what she, personally, finds impressive.
Dress to Impress
Russian fashion trends often tend to favor simplicity in color and design, especially when it comes to men's clothing. As a result, one of the best ways to instantly impress a Russian woman is to dress sharply—not over-the-top but put-together—with a little pop of color in your outfit. Additionally, well-fitted pants and shirts and nice shoes can go a long way in catching a woman's eye, especially when much of the local crowd trends toward neutral earth tones and straight-cut clothing.
However, you also don't want to venture too far into the latest trends and wear something completely out of the norm in Russia. Looking presentable is always a good way to impress your date, no matter where he or she is from, but you don't want to appear overly concerned with your personal appearance or stand too far out from the crowd.
Ultimately, though, it's important to be true to yourself in your fashion choices—don't try to change your wardrobe just because you think it will attract women. However, looking your best is great way to show that you're not only interested in impressing your date but in taking care of your hygiene, appearance, and health for yourself as well.
Be Assertive, Not Aggressive
While American gender norms historically have expected men to "call the shots" when taking a woman on a date, dissolving gender roles have resulted in a clear desire for mutual respect and communication when it comes to planning an evening together—and the same can be said for cultural expectations in Russia.
Still, people of all genders appreciate someone who is assertive about their personal desires. When it's time to discuss plans, you'll want to be assertive and decisive but also open to her suggestions instead of forcing plans on your date—especially if you have no idea if she'll enjoy your itinerary. After all, there's a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive when it comes to letting your date know what you want to do or where you want to go.
Russian women appreciate their opinions and desires being heard and respected, even when it comes to deciding what restaurant to visit, but a willingness to make decisions and offer suggestions goes a long way in showing you're a capable person that's desirable to date. In any case, communication is key to getting a second or third date as no woman would be impressed if you're assertive about an activity or restaurant she already told you she doesn't like.
Be a Gentleman
While Russian women believe in equality of the sexes, they also still appreciate courtesies and gentlemanly behaviors like opening doors and helping them with their coats. Russian culture also demands chivalry and courtesy when interacting with others—regardless of gender—so don't reserve your kind gestures for women alone.
Although it may seem obvious, being a genuinely kind person and demonstrating such through your actions—like holding the door for a stranger even after your date's entered—is the best way to actually impress a romantic interest. As a result, you should be considerate, compassionate, and attentive to ensure your date is comfortable, happy, and listened-to.
One way you can show you're doing this, especially before a second or third date, is to ask about her interests and plan the next date with something she enjoys as part of the itinerary. Not only can you prove that you're assertive, you can also show you're a good listener and care about her interests.
Navigate Gender Roles Carefully
Although the traditional concept of gender roles is still prevalent in Russian society today, Russian women expect to be treated as equally capable human beings deserving of the same basic respect, decency, and rights as men—especially when it comes to dating. It's a good idea to never assume gender roles, regardless of where you're on a date, but it's also important to understand these cultural norms to avoid making an etiquette faux pas on your trip.
Still, as a baseline rule for dating Russian woman (or, really, all women), you should be accepting of whichever way she decides to live her life—whether she wants to be a career woman, a homemaker, or a mix of both—never be dismissive of any of these lifestyle choices. On a smaller scale, you can also demonstrate this by being willing to cook and clean—not expecting her to always do the chores historically dictated by gender norms.
You will also want to avoid completely enforcing or abandoning your own concepts of gender (or lack thereof). Communicating about how you both feel about societies' and your own expectations is a healthy and appreciated way to get to know a woman in any culture.
Show Her Your Appreciation
Despite the dissolution of gender stereotypes and norms around the world, Russian women still appreciate romantic gestures and tokens of adoration like flowers, candy, or jewelry. In fact, it's common to buy flowers for almost any festive occasion in Russia; women there appreciate bouquets on birthdays, celebrations, and once in a while, just because you thought about getting them for her.
Above all, though, a Russian woman likes to feel appreciated in a relationship and in life. Discussing your life goals and how she can be or is a part of them (depending on how long you've been dating) is a good way to show her you value her role in your life journey. Hopefully, you'll find sharing both of your lives to be mutually beneficial.