How Russians Save St. Valentine’s Celebration Last Minute?

5 Things To Learn From Borsch Eaters

Valentine’s Day is nearly here. A disaster in the making, or an opportunity to impress? Are you St. Lancelot, or Mr. Bean? Take a few tips from the experts at rescuing that romantic damsel from the prospect of romantic distress on Valentine’s Day. The Russians.

- Today is my happiest day in life, since I wasn’t eaten by a bear!

The Russians? Why? Russian men are not perfect. Far from it. They consume too vodka, curse exotically, prefer tanks to hire cars and leave dirty socks all over the house. But they do know how to make modern women feel romantic in an old-fashioned way. Especially when they are hungry. The men that is.

Russian women are not easy to please. Manicures and small talk while running the office. Check. Running down runaway horses. Check. Bravely dashing into burning houses to save that last precious ham. Check. It shows they know life’s priorities. How, then, to manage an equal relationship with a modern Russian woman, while keeping a sustainable romantic connection with a loved one?

Nearly half a million Russians every day send digital photo postcards to show someone they love that they care. On really special occasions, this number increases several-fold. So we asked the experts. at the dynamic Russian start-up Minutta, what the secrets were. “Every day we invent new ways to say something nice to your loved one” — said Lukian Aidov, Family Telecommunications Manager at Minutta. So they must now something of the famous Russian soul. From their research, some quite intriguing romantic lessons can be gleaned as to how Russians, who are well adapted to a harsh natural environment, were able to share their care and love under extreme romantic conditions. Here are his tips.

Historical Background

After centuries crushed under the Tsarist yoke, Russians then endured the absurd Soviet system. From elementary school onwards, they marched for World Peace while lobbing political grenades at the West. Sex, however, existed only in forbidden movies, while babies were produced through asexual reproduction at large state farms. Obviously, such a harsh romantic environment forced Russian men to adapt or die. It resulted in an extremely resourceful male of the species. After all, if you want your portion of hot borsch and sex, you need to be able to compromise.

- Go get a job! Or at least fight somebody, don’t you just sit here

Russians built their alternative cultural reality on the older Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the now common Gregorian version. That’s why no Russian was ever confused about celebrating “Great October Revolution” Day in November. Nor does it have a leap year, since the Orthodox Church still believes that the World is flat. In the mind of most Russians, it is not a contradiction to accept a flat world while recounting, with chest-puffing pride, the one-up-man-ship of putting the first man and a woman called Valentina into space. But not at the same time.

But the most surprising effect of this calendar mess was that it created a reverse St Valentine’s day, where women give presents to men (on Man’s Day which was March 8th by the ”old” calendar) before men return the favor on International Women’s say (March 8th by the “new” calendar)

- Sweetie, how about a cup of tea sometime in 3 months?

Russian men finally found their sexual outlet. Not one, but two days in a year when you can openly flirt in the office or at home without risking a slap in the face or — what is much worse — being expelled from the Party. These unique traditions of innocent communist flirting may give rich food for thought to any American straight man, especially one whose nuts are tightly clamped between the twin vice grips of gender tolerance and the long-term struggle for gender equality.

So here are a few simple romantic tid-bits from Russian men on how to make your spouse happy on St. Valentine’s Day. (Note: Best applied in long-term relations as the sustainability of domestic peace and tranquility requires something approaching the convening of an Extraordinary Assembly of the United Nations.

Action Items

1. Arrange several St. Valentine’s Days

At least two! This is very convenient when “Men’s Day” comes 2 weeks ahead of “Women’s Day”. This allows your loved one to set the right expectations in terms and helps you prepare your romantic reply with the clear understanding that you will follow in the same manner. Important: you shouldn’t break these 2 days apart more than by 2 weeks! Who know what may happen in the meantime: your friends might decide to feed you to angry bears as a gag, or you simply forget like for the last 15 wedding anniversaries. As a general rule, a Russian man will not save his passion for borsch and sex for a whole year. He will use any occasion — real or imaginary — to show that he cares.

2. Present simple, casual gifts

Modern consumer culture has killed the simple pleasures of casual gifts. Fear of spamming the house with unnecessary stuff has surpassed the joy of an unexpected gift. As a result, gift-giving has turned into a tediously polite routine. Don’t let consumerism influence your relationships! Present a frying pan. Or a pair of pink socks from Walmart. Even toilet paper will do as a last resort! Small casual gifts make a positive impact on a woman’s heart, not to mention a man’s wallet. Any such romantic attention is positively welcome, even if it only involves pack of single-use safety razors. This pre-historic exchange of simple, everyday pleasures adds a certain simplicity and transparency to relationships that most modern western families are missing.

If you only come with a present once a year, you are expected to bring something material. If you do it every day, however, you may express random acts of caring and sharing with a greater outcome. At the very least, you cause the excitation of feelings within yourself, which is always helpful, according to social research (even if it leaves bruises for a few days). Imagine those times in the Soviet Union, when toilet paper suffered such a great deficit in supply, that anybody coming home with a single magic, bourgeois roll could automatically expect grateful sex. Russian men consequently developed a Pavlovian-like conditioned reflex with their women: give toilet paper -> get ready for great sex.

3. Demonstrate your strong survival instinct through real hunger

A Russian man knows what hunger is. Not like when you had to miss lunch because of a very important meeting. But REAL hunger. It provided a very strong motivation to live. The day when you had a bear for lunch is much better than a day when a bear had you for lunch. The motivation required not to be eaten by a bear is much stronger than that needed to drive a BMW instead of a Ford Focus. Women are attracted to men with strong life instincts, which is translated as meaning “being hungry”. If you are hungry and are not ashamed to show it, this flips on the switch of the ancient instincts in the female of the species to love and care for her man (and in that order). Train yourself to be hungry in the extreme for that romantic dinner, so that your excitement, even for pumpkin pie, becomes natural and effortless. This will make many wives happy while boosting their libido.

4. Fix those small things at home, finally!

Russian men have a great saying: “As the man said, so the man made.” There is no need to remind him every three months about that dripping faucet. Stuck at work? Forget to buy a present or to book a restaurant? You can always fix something at home to show your attitude and dedication. The sight of her man fixing the kitchen lamp, or climbing under the sink to fix the leaking pipe will warm the heart of any Elsa. And it’s not the end result that matters (like most men naively believe), but the act itself, showing you care and are making a heroic self-sacrifice. Even if, the very next day, your partner has to call a proper professional to fix what you just “repaired” the day before, the curative balm has already been liberally applied to the cracks in the relationship.

5. Show attention to your mother-in-law

Attention: this recipe can have unexpected side effects and should be applied only with great caution! The nomadic hunters of the northern Chukotka use this technique only in the “dead” season. That’s when you must hunt Greenpeace activists instead of polar bears, and when hunting for a meaningful present (i.e. reindeer) is very challenging. “Honey” — says an experienced northern herder, creeping to his wife from the leeward, so that she can’t smell alcohol, “I thought that maybe we shouldn’t spoil such a romantic evening by going to another boring restaurant. Let’s do something special. Let’s visit your mom! She cooks best pelmeni north of the Arctic Circle!” An approach like this would disarm any woman, let alone one who knows how to clean fish with her teeth or modern working moms. Such a tactic means your partner just doesn’t have any arguments to respond with, while you solve 3 problems at once: (1) saving on restaurant bills (2) merging two necessary evils into one and (3) letting your woman know in a kinder, gentler way that she should practice more in the kitchen.

Secret Sauce for St. Valentine’s Dinner

St. Valentines Day Survivor

Surviving through February 14, without starting the next Cold War at home or bribing your woman with outrageously lavish spending after 20 years of living together, is a great art. It requires a tremendous concentration of forces. It would be easier to graffiti the “Mona Lisa becomes a hipster” on the wall of nearest police station, or play football match on Highway 95 during rush hour. The problem here is not that you can’t plan a perfect celebration, or might miss the inflated bedroom expectations after «50 shades of grey» hits the movie theaters, but because St. Valentine’s Day is the best occasion to get your portion of cuffs from loved one just “for years of service” as the military say. There needs to be a day to talk about everything that boiled over throughout the year together.

Maybe this is how you should consider this lover’s day. Not act like all disagreements magically disappear so you can enjoy another romantic “first-time” dinner together. Plan it as an occasion to let your loved one say all she wanted to say but couldn’t. Create a positive environment so she can drop her reserve and show candor. Let her tears flush her romantic worries down the proverbial drain. When she dries her cheeks, hug her softly and say “Honey, I love you more than white bear loves the polar lights! And I will always love you”. This simple yet practical philosophy, from deep within the Russian soul, has saved millions of Russian men from romantic extinction. And it might just save your St. Valentine’s Day celebration too.

You can always send your feedback or questions directly to Lukian at or follow us on: @minutta_app

All images © Erica Guilane-Nachez,

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