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Key Facts

Country's Full Name - The Russian Federation

Capital - Moscow

Total Area - 17,075,200.00 sq. km

Population - 144 mln people (as of 2014)

Native (State) Language - Russian

Religions - Russian Orthodox, Muslim, others

Government Type - The Federation

Currency - 1 rouble (R) = 100 kopeks


Passport Control

Non-Russian citizens, upon arrival in Russia, will be expected to fill in two copies of the migration card. Passport control officers will tear off one half of the migration card and leave you with the other half, and it should be stamped. Keep track of this card as you will need it to register your visa and for your departure from Russia.




The Customs

When entering Russia, one should fill in the customs declaration (to be kept until leaving Russia) mentioning the imported sums of foreign currencies as well as list of antiques, works of art, and musical instruments imported.

When leaving the country, one should fill in the customs declaration if exporting from Russia foreign currency amounts exceeding USD 3,000.

It is not allowed to export from Russia any items of cultural value, including pieces of art produced more than 100 years ago, and items of special cultural importance irrelevant to the date of manufacturing (the authorized certificate should be presented to this). While souvenirs and cultural items of mass production need no permission to be taken out of Russia.



Everywhere in Russia 220 Volt and 50 Hz AC current supplies are used. Most of the sockets are of the standard European-size for double round-pin plugs, the same as in France or Germany. Appliances from the US, Canada, Britain will need adaptors (it is better to bring them with you, as it is rather hard to find them in Russia). 
Most trains have electricity sockets where you can charge your mobile telephones or plug in a shaver.



  • The national Russian currency is a rouble, equals to 100 kopeecks
  • All prices are generally quoted in rubles.
  • Payment for all goods and services is to be made in the national currency, or by credit cards.
  • Travellers checks can be cashed at banks, but they are not as a rule accepted in shops, restaurants, etc.
  • A wide range of international and domestic banks operate in Russia.
  • Currency exchange offices are usually open from 10.00 to 20.00
  • Large hotels provide 24-hours banking services

It's better to have some cash (USD200-400 is enough for initial expenses - transport, accommodation, food) when you come to Russia and have the rest on your credit card. If you are going to small towns, on cruises, tours or to the countryside, it is better to take cash only, because you might have problems withdrawing cash from the cards or travelers' cheques. 



To call anybody within the city, dial + 7 495 or + 7 499 (landline) and then the number of the telephone subscriber.

To make a long-distance phone call (landline), first dial «8»; then dial «10»; dial the code of the country, the code of the city and the number.


Medical Treatment

If you urgently need a medical assistance, you are to dial the «03» (landline) phone number (24 hours a day). Any medical institution must help you or call for the ambulance with a medical team fit in your case. When delivered to a hospital, you have to show your medical insurance policy.



You can call a taxi from your hotel or a restaurant. There are taxi stops around the city centre. You can also use different mobile applications, e.g. Yandex Taxi.



Tipping is expected at restaurants. Tip 10-15% depending on service.


Public Transport

The public transportation system in main Russian cities is quite extensive. Public transport is rather pretty cheap, and you can get around by metro (subway), bus, tram and taxi. Getting around Russian cities buying a good dual-language map is essential, since not all the street names and metro signs are posted in Latin. The most popular and convenient method of travel is metro. Tickets are very cheap and are purchased in metro stations.


Russian Food

Contemporary Russian cuisine is truly delicious and healthy because it mostly relies on naturally grown ingredients. It is also very filling because dishes contain vegetable oil, sour cream and mayo. Russian national cuisine uses lots of grains and roots, vegetables and lots of fish, mushrooms and berries. Also soup is a must during lunch. Aside from alcoholic beverages and vodka many Russians drink tea, coffee, and a variety of juice. Also very popular is a beverage called Kvas, a drink made from fermented bread. 


Time and Open hours

The Time in the European part of Russia is 3 hours ahead Greenwich meridian time or two hours the central European part. (+3 GMT or +2 CET). 
There are 9 time zones in Russia - so when it is evening in Moscow, it is morning of the next day in Vladivostok  
Open Hours. All shops are opened even on Sundays. The food shops are usually opened from 8.00 till 20.00; however many of them are opened 24 hours a day. 
Big department stores, clothing stores, supermarkets are opened all week long from 9.00-10.00 till 21.00-22.00. 
State institutions, offices, companies are usually opened from 9.00 till 19.00 and do not work on Saturdays and Sundays. 
Most banks are opened 9.00 till 17.00 Monday to Friday; some are opened on Saturday as well. Self-service ATMs operate 24 hours a day usually.
There are many currency exchange offices in the big cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg) working until late night and sometimes 24 hours a day.
On public holidays all banks, offices, museums and some shops are closed. However big department stores, food stores, supermarkets are all opened.


Weights, Measures, Numbers

The Russian system of weights and measures is similar to the one used in Continental Europe: Russians use kilometers, meters and centimeters to measure the length, and kilograms and liters to measure the weight.


1 inch

1 foot

1 yard

1 mile

1 acre

1 pound

1 gallon

2,54 cm

0,304 m

0,914 m

1,609 km

0,405 hectars

0,454 kg

4,546 liters


The Celsius temperature scale is used in Russia. 0 degrees Celsius equals 32 degrees Fahrenheit.


Russian souvenirs

Russian souvenirs reflect the national character and soul of Russian people. Lively, carved and painted figurines, nesting dolls, birch boxes and accessories, Gzhel and Majolica Ceramics, Mstera, Kholuy, Palekh and Fedoskino wooden boxes, tin soldiers, clocks, wooden figures are to everyone's liking. These examples of Great Russian culture will decorate your house and bring you back memories of Russia. 


Season for travelling

You can visit Russia in every season of the year. April through to October is considered by many to be the best time to visit; from June till September are the busiest tourist months. The coldest months are January and February with an average temperature of 9oC below 0.  The first snow falls at the end of October and remains until the beginning of April. In summer the average temperature is about 20oC degrees, with much warmer temperatures in July and August.




You go through customs at an airport after you have collected your baggage and while passing through "green" or "red" channels. When crossing the Russian border by train or car, you pass through customs. You should pay attention to the color signs (green and red arrows or signs). Passing through the green channel is equivalent to stating that you have nothing to declare, so if you accidentally take the green channel and items to be declared are found in your baggage during a random check, it will be categorized as a proven administrative violation for which you will face severe penalties.



  • Cash foreign currencies and cash equivalents (e.g., traveller's cheques and certificated stocks and securities) exceeding $ 10,000 USD.
  • Precious metals, precious stones, and objects of cultural interest.
  • Commercial goods for resale (if their total value exceeds 65,000 rubles and (or) their gross weight exceeds 35 kg).
  • Alcohol (if more than 3 litres). Tobacco products (if more than 50 cigars or cigarillos, 200 cigarettes, and 0.25 kg of tobacco).
  • Animals. You must be able to present an electronic chip, the passport of the animal, and a veterinary certificate.
  • Items for personal use:

Imported by air transport, customs value of which exceeds the equivalent of 10,000 euros and a total weight exceeding 50 kilograms;

Imported by other transport, customs value of which exceeds the equivalent of EUR 1,500 and the total weight of which exceeds 50 kilograms.

  • The standard list of items prohibited for import or requiring special permission to import: drugs, firearms and ammunition, powerful medications, toxic and explosive materials, rare animals and their products, special high-precision electronic equipment, etc.


Additional information for point 6. Foreign nationals may temporarily import without paying customs duties the items they need for personal use in the Russian Federation throughout the period of their temporary stay (excluding vehicles). Only those temporarily imported goods that have been declared can be re-exported without paying duties. If you fail to re-export the goods declared on arrival in the country, duties will be levied on them that can amount to 30% of the cost of an item. The full list of Russian customs restrictions can be found on the website of the Customs Service of Russia: eng.customs.ru/index.php



You go through customs at an airport after you have checked in for your flight and handed in your luggage and before passing through passport control (the "green" or "red" channel). When crossing the border by train or car you go through customs on the border.



  • Cash foreign currencies exceeding $ 3,000 USD and cash equivalents (traveller's cheques) exceeding $ 10,000 USD. Any certificated stocks and securities.
  • Precious metals, precious stones, objects of cultural interest, and state awards of the Russian Federation.
  • Animals. You must be able to present an electronic chip, the passport of the animal, and a veterinary certificate.
  • The standard list of items prohibited for export or requiring special permission to export: drugs, firearms and ammunition, powerful medications, toxic and explosive materials, rare animals and their products (including sturgeon caviar and salmon roe in the amount of over 250 g per person), special high-precision electronic equipment, etc.


In particular, an export permit is required to export icons, paintings (even if they were painted a day before by amateur artist), carpets, and non-electric samovars. Most galleries will assist you in obtaining this permit if you make a purchase. You can also apply for an export permit on your own to the Department of Conservation of Cultural Heritage of the Russian Ministry of Culture or an intermediary agency. Please note that the Ministry of Culture is not obligated to issue such a permit. You will be refused an export permit for objects of over 100 years old as their export is prohibited by law.


The full list of customs restrictions can be found on the website of the Customs Service of Russia: eng.customs.ru/index.php


NB!!!! If your tour starts not in Russia and you arrive to Russia after visiting another country( f.e. Finland or any other neighbour country) and if your luggage was lost upon arrival to this country and was not found until you reach Russia you are obliged to fill in customs declaration when crossing the Russian border  in which you have to fix that your luggage was lost and still not found. Otherwise when your luggage will be delivered to Russia you'll have to pay for customs clearance (4 euros per each kilo).


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