For British companies doing business with Russia the Christmas period may seem a little tricky. While on 2nd January 2014 it’s back to business as normal in the UK, in Russia the holiday season is only just beginning. In 2014 Russian Christmas holidays spread over 8 days, starting on 1st January. The difference is not incidental: Russian Christmas is celebrated on 7th January as the Russian Orthodox Church keeps to the Julian calendar, unlike most other Christian churches which switched to the Gregorian calendar many centuries ago.
Sunday, 23rd February, is the Defender of the Fatherland Day.
8th March is International Women’s Day. As it falls on a Saturday, 10th March is also a day off in lieu.
1st May is the Day of Spring and Labour. A May mini break will cover 4 days though – from 1st to 4th May. 2nd May is a day off transferred from 4th January which fell on a Saturday.
Friday, 9th May, is Victory Day.
12th June, Thursday, is Russia Day. However, the holiday time will spread over 4 days, from 12th to 15th June, with 13th June covered by 5th January which fell on a Sunday.
Tuesday, 4th November, is Unity Day. Again, the autumn break is actually longer and includes 3rd November too which is in lieu of the Sunday the Defender of the Fatherland Day fell on back in February.
To a non-Russian all this may look a little confusing with days-off being shifted throughout the year, however it’s been a normal practice over years. It’s useful to have this list handy though, as it can give a simple explanation why your partner company in Russia is not answering their phone on what should be a normal working day. It’s all above-board!
Yelena McCafferty, Talk Russian Ltd
Countries: Eastern Europe and Russia
Topics: Export Planning and Insights & Statistics