When you think of Russia, stereotypically, you think of two things. Vodka and the abuse of human rights. Not much room there for smiling is there? However, the proud people of Russia are being taught to be a bit more jovial for the World Cup.
In the next month, an estimated 1.5 million citizens from 31 different nations will all make their way to the motherland for the FIFA World Cup and the Russians are hoping people will be left with happy memories.
So, to combat the less than cheery nature of Russian folk, companies like FIFA, Russian Railways and Moscow Metro are all working to literally teach their staff how to smile. The BBC report that workers were going through special training to teach them how to be more polite and helpful to tourists.
The report states that it isn’t common for Russians to smile at each other. Not because they’re unfriendly, but simply because it’s not part of their culture.
The Russian team beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game of the tournament yesterday, so things are looking good for the stoic country. Unless, you know, they rigged that as well.