As previously mentioned, I have spent a significant amount of time in Novosibirsk speaking English with Russians who are trying to learn the language. I also sometimes simply read out paragraphs so that the students learn how words are pronounced. For advanced students, these can be on strangely specific topics - like the full page I read out on the subject of arable farming. I am quite happy to do this as many Russians are helping me with Russian, and it also helps me when Russians can speak English 😊
Occasionally a student will pick up on my accent (which I think is quite impressive). I had a long conversation with a guy in his mid-twenties who was very interested in Manchester - asking me what became of the Hacienda, telling me how much he loved Joy Division, speculating about who would replace Fergie. He actually wants to move to Berlin.
I haven't met a lot of Russians who were that interested in the UK - they tend to be Francophiles - but the Union Jack is very fashionable here. Every day I see many men and women with t-shirts or bags with the design. By contrast, the stars and stripes are almost never seen (though most Russians I met had no strong feelings either way about the US). One odd result of this is that restaurants serving grills, burgers and fries, that I would think of as American, are often branded as British -I even saw one with a mock Queen's Guard outside, and another where all the waitresses were in Union Jack t-shirts.
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