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How to speak Russian

Different Ways to Greet Someone in Russian

One of the pillars of learning a language is learning how to greet someone; the same applies to Russian! Russian greetings are the best way to spark a conversation with a native speaker, but knowing which form to use can cause a little confusion. So, if you’ve ever asked yourself, “How do you greet in Russia?” you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the different Russian greetings in English.

How Do People Greet Each Other in Russia?

People in Russia greet each other based on someone’s level of “power” in society. Therefore, when learning to greet someone in Russian, it’s important to understand that greetings vary based on social level, social status, age, and even gender. This is fairly similar to many other languages, as there are both formal and informal ways to greet in Russian. Similarly, it can be difficult to understand Russian greetings in English, as oftentimes, the direct translations are a little awkward.

This is also because many Russian words don’t exist in English or share the same expressions across cultures. However, this article aims to help you understand some of the most common greetings in Russian and what they mean in English.

How to Greet Someone in Russian

So, when it comes down to learning how to greet someone in Russian, the most important thing is knowing what level of formality to use for each situation. While this can take some practice, downloading Tandem can help. Tandem is a great way to connect with native Russian speakers and practice your Russian greetings based on different situations. Until then, consider some of the most common ways to greet someone in Russian.

1. Привет (privyet)

This is an informal way to say “hello” in Russian. It can be used as a simple way to greet in Russian, but you should refrain from using it with strangers or people in higher authority than you.

2. Приветик (privyetik)

For something a little more affectionate, you can use this Russian greeting. It’s a way to say “hi” and should be used amongst close family members or relatives, children, and other beloved people in your life. This Russian greeting holds a more loving meaning, so avoid using it with superiors or people at work.

3. Здравствуйте (zdravstvuyte)

When you want a more formal way to greet in Russian, stick to this option. If you don’t know what kind of situation you’re in, use this Russian greeting to say “hello.” It’s often used amongst people you’re not too familiar with, at business meetings, and in a variety of other settings.

4. Здрасте (Zdraste)

This informal Russian greeting can be used to say “hello.” It’s a shortened version of the more formal greeting Здравствуйте, which directly translates to “be healthy.” Use this version amongst close friends or family members.

5. Здорого (Zdorovo)

This is another option for an informal Russian greeting that can be used to say “hello.” It’s used more commonly amongst younger generations and is even considered a slang form of Привет.

6. Здравия желаю (Zdraviya zhelaju)

One of the most formal ways to say “hello” is to use this Russian greeting. It’s actually considered the military way to greet individuals and is usually accompanied by a salute to demonstrate respect.

7. Хай (Khaj)

This is another one of the greetings in Russian that can be used to say “hello.” It’s pretty simple and is most often used amongst close friends and teenagers or younger individuals. It’s not technically considered a “regular” Russian greeting, so if you want to sound more authentic stick to the other options.

8. Доброе утро (dobroye utro)

This is one of the greetings in Russian that you’d use to wish someone a “good morning.” The literal translation is “kind morning.” It should be used strictly in the morning, up until around 12:00.

9. Добрый день (dobriy den)

From 12:00 to 18:00, you can use the Russian greeting for “good day.”

10. Добрый вечер (dobriy vecher)

From 18:00 onwards, you can use the Russian greeting for “good evening.”

11. Доброй ночи (dobroy nochi)

Although not technically a greeting, this is a way to wish someone “goodnight.” It’s best used when you’re leaving to go to sleep or calling it a night.

12. Сколько лет, сколько зим! (Skol’ko let, skol’ko zim!)

If you’ve recently gone on a long journey and returned, you might say this Russian greeting. It’s used to say “hello” after a long absence, but its literal translation is “how many summers, how many winters.” However, it’s equivalent to “long time, no see.”

13. Рад тебя видеть (Rat teebya veedet)

This Russian greeting indirectly translates to, “I’m happy to see you.”

14. Как поживаешь? (Kak pazhivayesh?)

Another great way to greet someone in Russian is to ask, “How are you?”

15. О, какие люди! (O, kakie lyudi!)

This Russian greeting literally translates to, “Oh, what people!” However, it’s commonly used to show how happy you are to see someone or run into them unexpectedly.

Holiday and Christmas Greetings in Russian

There are also plenty of different greetings in Russian for the holidays and around Christmas time, which can be used both amongst friends and acquaintances. Some of the most used Christmas greetings in Russian include the following:

  • Удачи! — Good luck!
  • Крепкого здоровья — Good health
  • Всего лучшего! — All the best!
  • C праздником! — Happy holidays!
  • Весёлого Рождества! — Merry Christmas!
  • Счастливого Рождества — Merry Christmas!
  • Счастливого Нового года! — Happy New Year!
  • Пусть Новый год будет счастливым и радостным! — Let the New Year be happy and joyful!
  • Поздравляю вас/тебя с Новым годом! — I wish you a Happy New Year!
  • Побольше радостных событий в новом году — A lot of joyful events in the New Year!
  • Пусть Новый год принесёт тебе много приятных сюрпризов! — Let the New Year bring you many pleasant surprises!
  • Исполнения всех желаний в новом год — Fulfilment of all your dreams in the New Year!

Learning how to greet someone in Russian can be a bit of an uphill battle, but with a little practice and some helpful guidance from a native speaker, you can master the language. With Tandem, you’ll be able to match with a native Russian speaker, talk about your interests together, and help each other work towards fluency in your target languages. Tandem offers a unique language learning experience that will help you deepen your understanding and improve your Russian greetings while learning how and when to use them in everyday life. All you need to do is download the app, sign up, and find a native speaker of your target language. Once you match, you’ll begin communicating through language exchange and one-on-one teaching. To join our worldwide community, sign up for Tandem today.

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