First Impression of Russian People
When you come to Russia for the first time, certain behavioral tendencies of Russian people may not be appealing to you. First of all, most Russians always have a serious expression on their face. When you see people running across the streets, most of them don't look at you, don't smile and seem to be absolutely preoccupied with their own business.
In general, smiling to strangers is not a common thing in Russia, unlike in Western cultures. A smile from someone they don't know, as well as a long eye contact, can be even understood as an attempt to flirt or strange behavior. Russians also try not to speak loudly in public, as they don't want to attract anyone's attention. Therefore, from the first sight it may seem that Russian people are reserved, unsociable, shy and unfriendly.
However, when you meet and get to know Russian people closer, you can see that they are much more open, friendly and genuine than they may seem on the surface. The thing is that Russian people tend to behave differently with strangers and friends. They show two different sides of their personalities to these two different groups of people. Even the tone of Russian speech can show all the variations of formal and informal conversation with strangers and friends: a Russian person making a phone call to some office or business may sound cold or even mad, but on the phone with a friend he/she can sound very mild and sweet.
That is why as soon as you make friends with a couple of Russian people, you can be sure that you'll stay their friend forever. They will be glad to bring you to their home and introduce you to their family as a close friend; take you on a tour to show some sights and demonstrate their pride for Russian nation; have long conversations with you and try to share most cherished thoughts.