What Are Some Russian Hand Gestures?

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Russians use many of the same hand gestures as other cultures, but many have very different meanings. Hand gestures are often thought to be universal, but this is certainly not the case. Hand gestures differ greatly between countries. A gesture that shows approval in one culture can cause problems in another.

Movement of Cutting Throat With Thumb

  • In many cultures the gesture of running ones thumb across their throat is considered a threat. In Russia this same gesture means they are full or cannot eat anymore.

Extended Arm Toward Road

  • An extended arm is a sign of needing a ride. In Russia this is the gesture used to flag down taxis.

Extended Index, Middle and Ring Fingers

  • Extending out the first three fingers closest to the thumb on either hand is a sign of victory. This is used much the same as the V sign or peace sign is used in Great Britain.

Hands Crossed Behind Back

  • Crossing ones hands behind their back is similar to Americans crossing their fingers. It is a gesture used to renege on a statement or promise.

Thumbs up

  • Giving a thumbs up in Russia is considered an insult. Unlike many cultures that consider it a sign of approval it may actually cause hostility.

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