Difference between Privet vs. Zdravstvuite (Zdravstvui) in Russian language
How to greet a Russian speaking person in Russian language?
English language is fairly simple when it comes to greetings - you can just say Hi or Hello to literally anyone you meet. Russian language is a little bit different...
First, let me tell you the three most common ways of says Hi or Hello in Russian: privet, zdravstvuite and zdravstvui.
HI - ПРИВЕТ - PRIVET - you can pronounce it as prieve't. Privet is an informal form of greeting in Russian language. It's a great way of saying hi to your friend or an acquaintance or a person who is not older than you or your parents. Though, you wouldn't say Privet to your in-laws (unless you are in a very good relationship with them). You can say Privet to a person you first met, as long as it's not a formal environment. I noticed that nowadays more and more younger people are using the word privet to greet people who are older than them (but it's mostly an exception).
HELLO - ЗДРАВСТВУЙТЕ - ZDRAVSTVUITE - you can pronounce it as zdra'stvujte. Now, this is the formal and respective form of greeting in Russian language. It's also a plural form, which means that you can greet more than one person with the use of this Russian word. When you say this word to a person (of course, the tone needs to be right, too), you show them your respect and politeness. You can address the person of any age by saying zdravstvuite. Literal translation of the Russian word Zdravstvuite is be healthy. So, when you say this you wish a person to be healthy. But people don't really think about it when they say it.
HELLO - ЗДРАВСТВУЙ - ZDRAVSTVUI - you can pronounce it as zdra'stvuj. This a singular form of the word zdravstuite, which means that you can say it only to one person.