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Aug 2009 Newsletter
If you cannot view the Newsletter, please follow this link:
The RWD Newsletter
August 2009

In this edition:


Site Stats

Cultural Exchange (Part 6)

Tribute to RWD Married Members

RWD Moderation Model

Upcoming Events


August of 1991 was a tumultuous period in the Former Soviet Union. A coup de'tat was launched by hardline Communists and the KGB seeking to wrest power from Mikhail Gorbachev who had been leader of the Communist Party since 1985, and had been struggling to maintain order of the Soviet Union following the demise of the Berlin wall in 1989 and in the face of secessionist republics seeking independence from the Soviet Union. The three day coup attempt between August 19 and 21, 1991, provided many of them the opportunity to formally secede and declare independence. Commemoration of their Independence declarations may be found in the "Upcoming Events" section below.

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Members: 4,861
Topics: 8,861
Messages: 193,128

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Cultural Exchange
Part 6
Learn when and what gifts to present to a Russian.

So do you actually think that gift giving traditions might differ from one country to another or are they pretty much the same? Before we look at it any further, let’s have a small test.
  • Pupils in Russia usually bring gifts: candies, books, etc. for their teacher on the first day of school, September-1. – Yes/No
  • Family members exchange valuable gifts during Christmas celebration. – Yes/No
  • It is normal to celebrate your one’s birthday both at home and with colleagues in the office. – Yes/No
  • When meeting close friends or relatives in the airport or at a railway station, Russians bring flowers. – Yes/No
  • Men present gifts to women both at work and at home for the 8th of March, International Women’s Day. – Yes/No
  • The number of flowers presented to a Russian for a special occasion is inconsequential. – Yes/No
So what is it to present and when is the right time to do so?

8th of March, International Women’s Day is very special for any Russian woman. Men are presenting women with gifts of all types; however, flowers are almost always obligatory. As a rule, not a single lady leaves without a gift as men at work organize small gifts for all ladies in the office, dads buy something special for their daughters, husbands for the wives, etc. Having lived in North America for 7 years now, I still anxiously await this day and always look for a surprise from my sweetheart (I’ll be sure to have him read this article).

New Years along with Christmas are among the most favorite of holidays, but there is no real tradition to exchange valuable gifts. Children are the ones to receive gifts and there are many services with dressed Ded Moroz – Grandfather Frost, Russian Santa Claus, and his granddaughter Snegurochka – Snow Maiden visiting home on New Year’s Eve and congratulating kids.

Recently it became ordinary to give a young couple money in an envelope as a wedding gift. Just keep in mind that when going to a wedding, one needs to think about the gift seriously and make it substantial. The gift registry concept is non-existent in Russia, so talking with newly weds relatives will help to make a more educated decision. Bed linen, silverware sets, dishes, etc. will be some of the appropriate examples for wedding gifts.

As anywhere else, gifts are presented on a birthday, which is often celebrated not only with the family but with colleagues as well. The birthday boy or girl are the ones bringing some teats, wine, appetizers, while others usually collect money and get one substantial gift from the whole group and, as always, flowers!

Russians attitude towards flowers is very special. You might already know that only live flowers can be presented. It is not acceptable to give only one flower, regardless of how beautiful it may be. And always make sure to have an odd number of flowers – usually 3, 5 or 7. Even number of flowers bouquets are taken to funerals only. And don’t forget about the color! Russians are a sentimental and symbolic people: white represents innocence while red symbolizes victory. Yellow flowers are not often to be presented due to the color associated with separation and betrayal.

On the very first day of school, September 01, all pupils in Russia bring flowers for their teachers, which has been a long standing tradition. My friend here in the US had a similar question when sending her 7-year old to school: Do they bring flowers to teachers in the US for the first day of school? She decided to stay away from this Russian tradition and would have stood out to the others as someone attempting to gain influence.

Now let’s look at what can be presented as a gift. Remember a Russian saying "The gift is small, but love is all” meaning that it is not about the value of the gift, but about love, attention, time spent for finding the right gift. Presenting a gift we often say: “I know that you like this particular chocolate/wine/perfume so I decided to get it…” or “I notice how flattering this color is for you, so…” Each gift to a Russian is symbolic and should have some meaning. If you pay attention and continue to think about the person for whom you are buying it, it’ll be perfect whether big or small. Love, attention and warmth from your heart will be the most cherished memory about any gift. Hmmm, perhaps we are all more similar than I first thought…

Tamara von Schmidt-Pauli at RussianWomenDiscussion.comTamara von Schmidt-Pauli is a native of St. Petersburg Russia who has been visiting, and living in, the United States and Canada since 2002. She holds bachelors and masters degrees, with honors, covering teaching of language and translation and currently resides in the greater Minneapolis area. Tamara is affiliated with Prime Language Services (

Tribute to RWD Married Members

The Numbers Continue to Grow

I updated our topic for raising a tribute to our Married RWD Members today. The numbers are growing, and I know I have missed a great many members who are married. Our current listing shows nearly 100 married members, and I encourage those of you whom I have missed, to please send me a PM or post in the Tribute topic (HERE), to allow me to include you. Also, please welcome our NEWEST addition to the Married ranks - SeriouslyJaded - who may soon need to change his moniker to something more optimistic (and less "jaded"). Here is the list:

Married RWD Members:

* AJ (Tanya)
* AkMike
* AnastassiaAsh (Tim)
* AnnaFBA
* apple47
* BC
* bgreed
* BlueBell
* boaterguy
* Bob&Inna
* bobcat
* Bruce
* CaptB
* Captmonk1
* catzenmouse
* ccarten (Tanya)
* coco
* ConnerVT
* David1963 (Lida)
* Donna_Pedro
* ekeswick (Elena)
* Elen
* gabaub
* GoodOlBoy
* Goombah
* jb (Etna)
* Jet (Lilia)
* jen
* John K (Marina)
* JPjr (Luda)
* KenC (Lena)
* krimster
* Leslie
* MandM
* mischief
* Muckraker
* Oooops
* Patrick
* Phil dAmore
* philb
* planner
* RacerX
* Rags II
* Ronnie
* Rvrwind (Valya)
* Sailor291
* ScottinCrimea
* Simoni
* Son of Clyde (Irina)
* START2 (Valentina)
* Ste (Nadia)
* Stirlitz
* Sylan (Natasha)
* TheOldMan
* TheOneWeekWonder
* TigerPaws (Victoria)
* tim 360
* Vaughn (Elvira)
* Wild Orchid*

RWD Members Married Since Joining RWD:

* aikorob
* beachcomber556
* Blues Fairy
* carlt99
* docetae
* Erwin
* Gator (Sabina)
* groovlstk
* HiTech
* I/O
* JazzyClassy
* jj (Marina)
* Kuna
* lindochka
* MaxxumUSA
* Muj (Zhena)
* Ravens9273 (Karina)
* SeriouslyJaded
* Shadow (Mila)
* Thor
* Todd (pitbull)
* Turboguy (VWRW)
* ukguy1977
* Voyageur (Victoria)
* xStevenx (LadyX)

Once again, I am absolutely certain that I missed many of our married members when I compiled this list, and it is difficult (if not impossible) to keep up with the many new members who have joined, some of whom are also married. When I created this list more than a year ago, I inadvertently managed to miss a few long-term members of RWD and some of them felt very 'hurt' at my failure to recognize them. I still feel bad about that, and ask for all your assistance in making certain that I keep the list up-to-date with new additions.

RWD Moderation Model

Many of you who have been members of RWD for a while recognize we have utilized a slightly different moderation model than earlier forum sites such as RWGuide. We relied heavily on our tenets of self-moderation and individual accountability, and encouraged members to resolve disputes amicably between themselves. Much of the time this moderation model worked well, but occasionally it fell short and left some members feeling offended and/or vulnerable.

In consideration of our growth and building on our strengths, RWD has now implemented a change in our moderation model to improve our member's experience. We created a topic announcing this change, which may be found at THIS LINK.

Please join me in welcoming our team of Moderators, listed below in alphabetic order:
  • Daveman
  • Jet
  • Lily
  • SANDRO43
  • Taz
  • Vaughn
It is likely we will need to make adjustments as we implement this new approach for RWD, but I feel confident this team will bring energy and enthusiasm along with wisdom and experience to the roles they will play in continuing to create and build the most influential and informative source that has ever existed in our topical area.

Upcoming Events:

The GoodWife Report
(on IMB Affiliate Program Performance)

International Relations recently completed the 3rd edition of The GoodWife Report addressing affiliate program performance of 27 International Marriage Brokers over the past 18 months. To access a copy of The GoodWife Report, send an email to:
Only Nice People Invited
Copyright 2009 © International Relations
A Foreign Affair Russian Women Revealed Cherry Blossoms

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