22 Ways Russia was Hipster Before Hipster Was Even a Thing

1.  Russians have been drinking your kombucha for years.



Ask any Russian and I’ll bet their that mom has a 5-liter jar of the stuff sitting on top of her fridge.   She didn’t pay $500 for it and it isn’t ginger-goji-lavender-guaraná-flavored, either. It’s called grib and it’s good for what ails ya. No yoga retreat necessary

2.  The banya.


That bro thing you do behind the Diamond Bar in Greenpoint to “detox”? Russians call it bathing and it’s a hot-as-fuck steam session that includes the flapping of birch branches.   I double-dog-dare-you, Brooklynites.

3.  A week of eating pancakes

makes pancakes

Mardi Gras is played out . We know you like to drink, so of course you don some beads and hit the bars on the night before lent. But think of how much happier you would be if, instead, you ate pancakes all week?

cat and pancakes

Oh, and don’t worry.  You can drink while you eat the pancakes.

4.   We can pickle that.


Your artisanal canning hobby is awesome and all but it’s something Russians have always done to get through the winter. Plain Russian canned bilberries will kick your elderflower-mango marmalade’s ass anyway. Bilberries are dope; you’ve probably never heard of them.

5.  Beards.  Clearly.


So ubiquitous that Peter the Great tried (yet failed) to eradicate them. God bless ’em.

6.   The shot shop


You don’t actually need a mixologist. We drink for a reason, don’t we? So stop into a ryumochnaya and order up a vodka shot and a herring chaser. That’s pretty much all there is at a ryumochnaya, which is why there are no seats. If you can’t stand anymore, it’s time to go home.

7.  I love you, man.


Russian men have never been afraid to show affection for their buddies. In fact, the term “buddy,” doesn’t even really apply to male friendships in Russia. If you’re a friend, then you’re there for each other during famine, war, and even divorce.

8.  Green commuting


We know that it’s important to eschew petrochemical-based transportation methods, but that doesn’t mean you have to ride a fixie. Muscovites are way ahead of you—they’re commuting by scooter.

9.  Who needs Starbucks?


Mostly we use Starbucks for the free wifi. But that’s not necessary in Moscow, where you can just ride the wifi-enabled metro for hours while you update your Vkontakte profile, leave a note on your livejournal, or check your yandex mail.

10.  Knitting champions


Any Russian babushka can keep an entire family warm faster than you can knit a set of underpants. Or arm-warmers. Or a moustache-beard balaclava.

But knitting is just her side-gig now. She mostly spends her time cooking enough to feed your family of twelve (four humans and apparently eight other invisible eaters).


She is really enjoying the leisure of her old age.  In contrast, her youth was spent saving you from the Nazis.


11.  Your ukulele is pathetic.  It’s time to come to terms with the fact that a tiny guitar is twee, not cool.


When you’re looking for a somewhat obscure instrument to master, pick a real one, for goddsakes.  Pick the accordion.  Russians know this instinctively.

12.  Best adaptations to small living spaces

Living in a one-room apartment can be difficult.  But forget your Apartment Therapy, New Yorkers.  You just need some Russian sofas.  American hide-a-beds are so terrible– they have that weird spring situation and the bar that juts into your back.  Futons are not the solution, either, because they are just uncomfortable sofas that make themselves into uncomfortable beds.  What the world needs is this:


You can even get a narrower one for use in the kitchen:


Why have an entire room devoted to just sleeping, anyway?  It’s truly a waste.  And while we’re at it, why have a dish-drain and a dish cabinet?  The two are naturally married in form:


13.  Homebrew


Oh, you make craft beer? How quaint. But beer won’t make you go blind if you do it wrong. Why don’t you grow a pair and make some samogon? Homemade spirits take knowledge and patience, both of which Russians have in spades. The true samogon master bottles a variety-pack of flavors: cherry, horseradish, plum, etc.

14.  Russians are tsars of the burn.


This nation can curse better than any other. For example, imagine getting this shade: “Go masturbate yourself by means of your asshole on the side of a building.”  Or this one, addressed to a cell phone: “You boneheaded, hypocritical thing, you miserly gizmo, you fat-assed, lard-transporting, shit-containing, non-descript device!”

15.  No more Dry soda.


No more Jones soda, either.   If you’re Russian, you can just go into any regular grocery store and pick up tarkhun, a shockingly-green tarragon soda, or Baikal, a soda made with eucalyptus, bay leaves, and fir extract.  If neither of those float your boat you can buy sayani, flavored with maral root, or dyushes, the duchess pear soda.  I don’t even know what maral root is and I still like it better than that peanut butter and jelly disaster.

16.  Salo is the new bacon.



Salted pork fatback– for the true saturated fat aficionado.  It melts in your mouth, makes you feel warm, and is a natural chaser for vodka.  You can also pickle it, fry it for cracklings, and even cover it in chocolate.  In terms of salty, fatty goodness, bacon is not even a close contender.

17.  Go to the dacha for all your natural, organic, sustainable, locally-grown, non-GMO, heirloom, heritage, buzzword produce.


Urban Russians spend their weekends outside the city visiting their dacha, generally a sort of ramshackle building with an outhouse.   The fresh air fills their lungs as they work their garden plots bringing cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, dill, and cabbages in to the city.   It’s cheaper than buying vegetables in town and families love having time to dig together in the dirt.   And there’s not a leaf of kale in sight.

18.  Flowers for all seasons


One hot take claims that bespoke flower arrangements are currently of the moment among the young and alternatively-employed.  But in Russia, flowers are, and have always been, everywhere.  A young man would never think of going on a first date without buying some for his lady friend.  Dinner guests would never show up without a bouquet, and even a political assassination requires a fair number of them.

19.  No more reclaimed wood.


Somehow Russians all live under the strain of never-ending home improvement projects.  When an apartment has been completely rehabbed, they apparently just start all over again.  But rather than going for a rustic, shabby-chic kind of aesthetic, Russians favor modern looks.  As a friend once said, “Why would you want to make something look old right from the beginning?”  But DIY is the Russian ethos to the core.

20.  Itty-bitty hip

sep 1

There are rumors that hipsters dress their children inordinately well.  Nevertheless, the Russian Schoolchild is the best-dressed little citizen on the planet.  Do the white bows get larger every year?  They just might.

21.  Hipster Cop.

The tale of the mustachioed police officer seems to keep coming around.  But it’s the Russian policewomen who are the most impressive, fashion-wise.



22.  Pie delivery



There are many outlets that offer food delivery for the meticulously image-conscious.  From a place that’ll bring you caveman food anywhere in the U.S. to an app that’ll  deliver a bearded man and some food right to your Park Slope Co-Housing Community.  Fuck all that.  Pie delivery FTW.

A slightly different version of this listicle can be found on Buzzfeed.


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  1. This was fantastic and informative!


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