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Luckily, the Russian incumbent was reminded by a parishioner standing nearby that the ikon (which was covered in gold leaf) would never get through the Customs.
The Russians give each other bear hugs in public, men and women alike.
Before leaving on a journey, Russians sit down quietly together for a few moments.
This is (they say) to give their soul time to re-enter their body from wherever it is lounging about elsewhere in the house.
Some observers noted as significant the marked absence of a bear hug for Gorbachev when he was met on his return to Moscow from his confinement in the Crimea during the August 1991 coup.
However, it is claimed in his defence that he had banned the sentimental hugging and kissing that used to go on whenever one geriatric Eastern European leader met another and so the jury must remain out on that one.
They will apologise instantly if they interrupt you in mid-sentence, kiss your hand if you are a woman, help you find your way if you are lost in a city by actually going with you to your destination, however far it takes them out of their way.The Scandanavian co-sponsor then attempted to make himself heard, this time in broken Russian. Finally, the name of the winner was announced to the small group of diners immediately next to the microphone.The party going on in the rest of the room continued without anyone taking the slightest notice.It is usual in a railway carriage to offer round anything you have brought with you to eat or drink; it is considered good form to be sociable and hospitable at all times, also generous.A visiting vicar was appalled when he was offered as a gift a precious old ikon of the patron saints of his host's church, one of the few pieces of genuinely old church furniture remaining since the church had been closed for 75 years.