"It all depends on who you meet."
When with Russian friends, you won't be pressured to drink, especially if they think you've had enough.
It's not cold everywhere in winter
It may seem unusual for a country that's hosting the winter Olympic Games -- and that contains what's said to be the coldest continually inhabited place on Earth -- but Russians can be sensitive to the cold.
Many who can afford it skedaddle to the Mediterranean and other warm places on package vacations at the first sign of snow.
If you're in Russia in winter, you need to get used to cars, museums and hotel rooms heated to an inferno, while outside it might feel arctic.
The solution is to bring clothes you can layer to keep cool or warm, whether you're inside or outside.
Unauthorized cabs abound
Unlicensed taxis operate alongside the legal version in many Russian cities.
Laws introduced over the past few years -- including requiring every cab to use a meter and an orange light on the roof and to bear checked stripes on its sides -- appear to have been only a temporary deterrent.
As in many cities worldwide, unlicensed cabs are cheaper and often more common than official taxis and so they still abound -- even though plenty of Russian residents and visitors have tales of being ripped off.
You'll see unlicensed cabs outside Metro stops and near bars, where they'll blurt out "taxi" when you walk by.
For registered taxis, you can download the popular GetTaxi app, which helps you to locate an official cab nearby.
Keys don't belong on the table
Whistle while walking down the street or listening to your iPod, and you may get strange looks: it means bad luck.
Wonder why shop assistants place money on a small dish instead of into your hands? Some believe money carries negative energy.
Other ill omens include putting empty bottles or keys on a table (it signifies financial loss) or standing on any kind of threshold (where it was once thought bad spirits dwelled).
Omens of imminent financial reward include finding a spider on your clothes or, a weird notion that prevails in other countries, too, being the target of a pigeon's sloppy toilet habits.