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Mentality issues or what you need to know when hiring a Russian developer
Categories: General

by Elena Burtasova

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It's been several years since the tendency to attract developers from Russia and countries alike to work on IT projects for European and American businessmen appeared. To be able to achieve success and get maximum profit from cooperation with Russian developers you need to have full understanding of Russian nature, or soul, as Russian people say.

What is a "Russian soul"?

Where is it? And why does it differ from that of a European or American person? These questions will be answered further. What is important to know when you decide to hire a Russian employee? Should you be suspicious about anything? The answer is no. To understand an employee from another country you need to know how you are similar and in what things and how you differ.

Let's start with the similarities.

Loyalty. Loyalty to the family, to the company you work for, to the Motherland


Russian people, though not very talkative about their family (we'll talk about it later), love their families most of all. A developer, who is invited to work on contract basis in another country, would take his wife and children with him if there is a possibility. He would care about them and miss them if they're far away. If he is invited to a party he would prefer to take his wife with him. He would hardly ever prefer to go on vacation by himself, without his family. The same is with business trips: if there is a necessity for his promotion, he would definitely go on a business trip, but not on a long one, and would miss his family a lot. Nobody would oppose that we see the same thing when it comes to American and European people who value family ties a lot.



When it comes to work on contract, especially when every hour is counted and summed to form the income, Russian developers do their best. They can overwork if the project requires. And even at their weekend they will come and fix the problem that may occur because they are responsible for what they do and for the result.

To make things clearer, I'll give you an example. Sometime last year there was a sudden breakdown of our client's website due to unexpected flow of visitors to his website. It happened late at night and although it was not work time anymore we managed to collect all the necessary people: the project developer, system administrator, manager, client relationship manager and even head of one of the departments to settle the issue down. You may think it was a high-budget project, and you will be wrong. The project which made us enlist all the efforts of so many people was and is not a big one, but each project is important and equally deserves attention of our specialists.

There are many other things we have in common but I suggest that now we get to some of the differences.

Unsociability. Seeming restraint of Russian people.


It may only seem that Russian people don't want to communicate. There may be several reasons why they are not that talkative. The first and the foremost is their fear to speak. No, they are not afraid of you but they have very little experience in real everyday communication with English native speakers. Thus they find it hard to select proper words and tenses.

The second reason may be their natural shyness which is a common thing for many people regardless their sex or nation.

And the third thing is the chosen topics for communication. Thus, some people think that if you want to establish proper relations with a person, you've got to communicate on informal topics. That's a good thing, no doubt, but if you select "family" as a topic of such communication with a Russian person you would not evoke his desire to talk. Russian people do not talk much of their families; they don't show their children photos in desire to share their pride for their kids and family as other nations do. No, they prefer to hold this inside and discuss family matters only with their near and dear.

We can talk about Russian nature and weather, bad Russian roads and high expense of living but we do not feel enthusiastic about discussing our personal life or political leaders and their course of governing Russia.

  • Another thing which from my personal experience surprises European and American people is our sad facial expression.Yes, we smile quite rarely.


Our shop assistants would not greet you with a smile when you enter a shop, our people in the street would not smile in response if you smile to them. But it's not that we are unfriendly, it's just the matter of a habit. We are not used to smiling a lot. If we hear a joke and find it funny we would smile and even laugh a lot, but we do not smile to a new comer or a customer just to show our desire to be friendly and help the person. This is a thing in Russian behavior that should be neglected and not paid much attention to.


To conclude, if you are an open-minded, friendly, talkative American or European businessman who is in two minds about either hiring a Russian developer or not, don't hesitate, the job will be properly done, the project will be developed to meet your requirements within the stated deadline and the best ways of realization will be suggested with our pleasure and all Russian soul put into it, just please don't expect much passion from us. Russian soul is hidden deep inside and hardly ever goes out.