I had already noticed the three men at the check-in. They were loud, laughing and talking loudly. In the plane they ended up one row in front of me. Three Russians. It was obvious that they had already been drinking. Their noise level increased. Eavesdropping was not necessary, their rude jokes could be heard several rows in front and behind of them, as long as one understood Russian.
First a Russian woman in the row behind them complained, then the Russian woman sitting next to me. They did not seem to be impressed. They unpacked a bottle, which they had brought along and continued drinking. The level of noise increased even further. Then food and beverages arrived. Suddenly all three of them behaved very decently and funny. One of them asked whether there was also a set menu with caviar!? In economy!!! All got wine and whiskey. Suddenly the Maitre de Cabin was standing next to them and warned them in English. Professional, polite, determined and smiling. But unambiguous and clear!!
The guys backed off and became quieter and finally fell asleep. All three of them, as if on order. Suddenly my Russian neighbour lifted her white bag from the floor. It had red stripes on it, as if from red wine. And the Maitre de Cabin was there again and said that a report would be sent to the ground.
I talked to her shortly in German. I was very impressed how well she managed the situation. A Russian woman from the row behind me turned to me. Her breath smelt of alcohol and she said in good German with Russian accent “Not all Russians are like this” and nodded with the head to the three men, already sleeping again.
I went to the rear of the plane. A small boy, maybe one year old, was standing there with a contagious smile. Like this I imagine a small Russian. Blond hair, round face. I smiled back at him and asked him in Russian what his name is. His mother answered in accent-free French: Olivier. I had expected Volodja, Vanja, Livoncchik, simply not Olivier.
That’s how it is; one has to be careful with prejudices!