Several organizations, including the Russian railway, metro and FIFA, are training workers to smile and be more polite, ahead of the World Cup which begins on June 14.
The workers are being given a crash course in geniality in anticipation of the influx of visitors who will arrive in the country, from all corners of the world, for the tournament. The group mainly comprises service industry individuals and are also being guided on how to be more accommodating and how to approach giving directions to specifically world-renowned Russian landmarks.
"Russian people usually don't smile," psychologist Elnara Mustafina told the BBC. "That's why when people come to Russia they think they're not friendly. We need to teach them how to smile."
Russians are notorious for being stoic, unlike their Western counterparts.
"We want to attract more foreign tourists; it's good for our economy," Evgenia Zaborskaya, who is instructing some 20 transit employees in English, told the news agency. Over the years, most of the signs displayed across Russian have been Eurasian-centric with very few English speakers.
Russia is expected to host as many as one million foreigners during the month-long event.
"We just want to show the beauty of Moscow and the Moscow underground," Zaborskaya explained.