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Top 10 Myths About The Fsu Countries

There are some myths about these countries such as bears walking on the streets and the lack of running water in the cities. So, if you are curious to know whether it's true or not, this article will answer your questions.

Myth # 1 - The FSU women are only interested in foreigners, because of a green card or a ticket out of their country.

We don't deny that there are cases of women playing extensive scams to get a visa/green card to leave the country. If you want to determine how sincere she really is - watch for red flags in your communication. If the woman doesn't seem sincere or gives you reasons to question her intentions, we would encourage you to take your time deciding about future steps of your relationship and exercising extra caution.

Myth # 2 - All FSU girls are out for money.

Definitely, there are some girls who are looking for ways to rip you off. And I am sure, there are plenty of 'rich-husband-hunters' everywhere. Besides, Europe and US aren't an exception. It is practically impossible to read another person's mind or determine her motives at times and know for a fact "does she" or "doesn't she." The only piece of advice we can give you is to follow our basic safety rules and keep an eye out for red flags.

Myth # 3 - The FSU people are impolite.

Some foreigners have actually left Ukraine with such an impression. Yes, you can meet people, whose manners lay at home covered by a thick layer of dust. But in general, people here don't want to insult or offend anyone. The reason for making an impression of a 'rude' nation is simply because they are straightforward, and I mean, VERY straightforward. In comparison to the US, for example, where people are used to hints and consequently remaining diplomatic, the FSU people don't use such methods. They are extremely direct in their behavior and communication. The only way to deal with this is: a) do not take it personally; b) talk to the person to find out what he/she means (a cultural gap often leads to many misunderstandings). Chances are, you will both benefit from the experience and will be laughing over whatever seemed to be a problem after just a few minutes of conversation.

Myth # 4 - There are problems with electricity and running water.

Unfortunately, there still are some areas where you can come across with such problems. However, they are few and far between. If you are in any big city, you won't notice any differences from your home: hotels and apartments for rent are going Euro style, and you'll have no problems with showers, hot/cold water, electricity and any other commodities.

Some people are also interested if it is safe to drink tap water or use it to brush their teeth. I definitely wouldn't recommend you to drink tap water. It's absolutely safe for showers, washing your face and brushing teeth, you won't transform into a monster after using it. However, for your convenience and peace of mind, purified water is sold in stores (bottles from 0,5 liter to 5 liters), which you are free to use for all your necessities.

Most cities have Internet cafe's and many other types of services, you will not be left with a feeling of having visited an undeveloped country.

Myth # 5 - Beer or vodka?

Bear has always been a symbol of Russia. In 2000 bear has been officially named a "live symbol of the Russian forest", you can look at these magnificent strong creatures in many movies depicting Russian culture. But the reality is much less attractive. Brown bears have been listed as one of the disappearing species back in 1998. Since 1995 World Wildlife Fund has been conducting projects for brown bear preservation in the northern regions of Russia. So, you'd better visit zoo if you're eager to meet at least one.

As for vodka - it is plentiful as ever. However, a word of caution here also: many brands are fighting with the problem of being falsified. If you want to buy a quality alcohol drink, look for it in specialty stores or ask one of the natives to help you to find a reliable product.

Myth # 6 - All former USSR countries are still 'Russia'.

While former USSR countries may be called that for convenience reasons, you will score extra points with people you meet overseas if you actually show them you know their country as an independent entity. Imagine for a minute if someone said: "Oh, well, you are from the US, I might as well call you all New Yorkers!" Feel the difference? Same with the FSU countries: while they are all closely connected and culturally linked, they take pride in their independence and you have a chance of showing yourself as a culture conscious, well rounded person that you are if you avoid labeling all as 'Russia.'

Myth # 7 - Russian mafia is everywhere.

They may very well be, but it is very likely that you won't even guess or see them. While levels of corruption and organized crime are still fairly high in the FSU countries, you will not have any trouble if you follow the basic safety rules, keep clear of suspicious friends and places and remember to use common sense.

Myth # 8 - People will take advantage of me if they know I am a foreigner.

Most likely. Many entrepreneurs will use this fact to their advantage. The key to not getting ripped off is keeping a low profile and making connections with locals, who will be able to tell you if you are getting a good deal or a good scam. Plus, if you are shopping/eating/partying with a local, chances of you getting fair treatment and prices are high. However, you should keep in mind that some places of interest (especially in large cities) have a policy of higher entrance fees for foreigners. Unfortunately, in such cases these are the rules you will have to accept.

Myth # 9 - Russia is cheap.

In fact, it depends on where you are going. Moscow and St Petersburg have been named among the top expensive cities of the world, shifting some Western capitals and cities further down the list. If you are visiting a capital of an FSU country, it will be definitely more expensive than the regional centers. For example, in Ukraine you can find food and alcohol quite inexpensive, instead you will have to pay up on apartment, appliances and consumer electronics, if you choose to buy any. Also, remember that most handmade souvenirs will not run cheap, but you will pay less if you wait to buy them in smaller cities.

Myth # 10 - Russian brides are stunningly beautiful.

I am yet to meet a foreigner who have remained indifferent to our girls' beauty. I don't know whether this phenomenon is best explained by a complex ethnic mix, which has formed during the 70 years of communism, or by some other factors, but it remains a wide-spread knowledge that Former Soviet girls are beautiful. Many people share an opinion that among the most beautiful ladies of the world, still the best live in the Eastern part of the Ukraine.

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