ManGo Travel

Travels to St. Petersburg and all Russia

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Before you go (30)

OK, so, you decided to travel to Russia! Congratulations! Your trip to Russia will definitely be an experience. And here you can find a lot of useful information and travel tips about Russian travel, which you should know before you go to Russia. These Russian travel tips will also be helpful to you while your Russian travels.

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Arrival to Russia

Arrival to Russia (0)

Choose among different ways of coming to Russia. Moscow, St. Petersburg and other big cities have a variety of international connections by air, train, bus or ship.




By plane

Moscow and Saint Petersburg are served by direct flights from most European capitals, and Moscow also has direct flights from many cities in East Asia, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North America. There are airports in all large cities in Russia. Some international servicecan be found in Novosibirsk, Sochi, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad and Yekaterinburg. International service to other destinations is limited, however you can travel there via Moscow or other bigger cities. There are a lot of regular Russian domestic flights. For details on flights and airports see our air travel section.


What to do when you've arrived

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. Not being able to present a migration card when leaving Russia can result in fines and can potentially result in a wait of several days while the authorities decide what to do with you.

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Visa to Russia

Visa to Russia (5)

Citizens of most non-CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries must obtain a Russian visa prior to arriving in Russia. Citizens of Croatia (3 months, invitation required), Israel (90 days), Montenegro (90 days), Cuba (30 days), Thailand (30 days), Venezuela (90 days), Argentina (90 days), Hong Kong (14 days), Japan (only for Russian islands in north of Japan) , Serbia (30 days, only biometric passports), Brazil (90 days), Nicaragua (90 days), Turkey (30 days), Uruguay (90 days) do not need a visa.

To get the Russian visa, you need to get an invitation (also called visa support) first. The invitation can be for a tourist or a business Russian visa

Russian tourist visa is usually valid for up to 30 days and can be single- or double-entry (double-entry only valid if you travel to/from CIS countries the second time)

Russian business visa can be valid for up to 1 year and can be multiple entries. You don't need to be in a business to get a business visa, but you should be careful to specify the information consistent with the type of your invitation when you apply for a Russian visa at the Russian consulates (e.g. you can't say you're visiting friends if you're getting a Russian tourist visa or that you're going for sightseeing if you're getting a Russian business visa). A Russian business visa is far more flexible and desirable for an independent traveller than a Russian tourist visa. To obtain a Russian business visa you must have a letter of invitation from a registered Russian company or organization, and a covering letter from your company (or you) stating the purpose of your trip. We will be happy to provide you with more information about Russian business visa - simply tell us your needs and we will advise you the Russian visa that suits your needs in a best way.

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Russian customs

Russian customs (1)

Once you've got the visa, things become really simple (unless you bring your own car). The regulations are not much different from anywhere else. There are limits on how many cigarettes, how much alcohol you can bring in. You can also bring in up to $3000 US in cash without declaring it, if you've got more on you make sure it's declared, so that when you leave they don't charge a tax on it. Regarding equipment, you can bring stuff worth not more than $2000 US without a tax. If you've got more expensive items, you'll have to pay 30% tax on them. So if you want to avoid that say it's for your personal use, very old, crappy, and cheap. If you're taking any medicines, make sure they are allowed in Russia and always carry your prescription with you, so the customs don't think you're carrying drugs.

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Russian money

Russian money (5)

Information on Russian currency and how to keep your money - Cash, Travelers Cheques, Credit Cards in Russia

The official currency of Russia is the Ruble (RUB), divided into 100 kopeks. Coins are issued in 1, 5, 10, and 50 kopek and 1, 2, 5, and 10 ruble denominations. Banknotes come in 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 ruble values. The 1 and 5 kopek coins are of little use, as their value is low; in many stores prices are rounded up to the nearest 10 kopeks and many people refuse to accept these coins.

Rubles only: All payments in Russia are officially made in rubles. Payment is made in Rubles at all shops while some smaller owner operated shops and stalls may still allow foreign currency (USD or Euro). The legal tender for all payments is the Ruble and foreign currency is not supposed to be accepted for payments.  Supermarkets, restaurants and all major stores will not even consider foreign currency, but most will have either a money changer very close by or possibly a money changing machine in the vicinity.

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Safety & Health

Safety & Health (3)

Russia is a relatively safe place, but sometimes there may be annoying situations.

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Public transport

Public transport (3)

Public transportation system in main Russian cities is quite extensive. Public transport is 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 the street names and metro signs are posted in Cyrillic only.

Find public transport routes

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Go through Russia

Go through Russia (5)

If you are not sure about the best way to the place of your destination we will help you to choose the optimal route at the best price and make your trip comfortable.

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Russian language

Russian language (0)

What makes Russia such an interesting country to visit is that the Russian language is based on a different alphabet. And as an English speaker, planning to go to Россия or Russia, the Cyrillic script can be daunting.

Many of the Cyrillic characters look backwards or upside down and are seemingly switched around. What looks like a “р” is really the equivalent of a Latin “r”. What looks like a “в” is really the equivalent of a Latin “v” and what looks like an “н” is really the equivalent of a Latin “n”. But, fortunately, many Russians -- though they may not be fluent in English -- are familiar with the Latin alphabet despite the quirky differences, and are able to read or sound out a European or English word anyway, so you can be sure that it’s not that difficult for you to reverse the process. 

You will feel much more comfortable and secure in a distinctly foreign region, with some background knowledge of the Cyrillic script. It won’t be difficult to remember the letters, because there are many words that are familiar to English ones - the only problem is that the characters initially look very different. For instance, the word “банк” will look a little strange the first time you see it, but gradually you’ll recognize that “н” is really the equivalent of the latin “n” and that this is almost exactly the same as the English word “bank.” And as you gradually integrate words like these into your memory, you will be able to sound out or recognize many more words, and even some that are completely unfamiliar to you. 

One of the greatest advantages of knowing the Cyrillic script is that you will be able to understand many more words than you predicted, just by their similarity to American words. “турист” being one -- which is transliterated to “tooreest” and becomes a familiar word, once you understand the Cyrillic script. “туалет” is another, which is what they might say to you if you’re looking for public restrooms and transliterates to “tooahlyet.” Now you can see that “у” in the Cyrillic script makes the sound “oo” in English, not “yuh,” and that “e” in the Cyrillic script actually makes a “yeh” sound! 

The Cyrillic script is just one of the first gates into the Russian cultural experience, and you might find your environment much more enjoyable once you’ve learned it.

The Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet has 33 letters (20 consonants, 11 vowels and 2 others that don't have their own sounds)


And these words you’ll be sure to see many times around the cities you visit:
аптека - aptyeka -- pharmacy
музей - moozey -- museum 
банк - bank -- bank
рубль -- roobl -- ruble (Russian currency)
парк - park -- park
почта -- pochta -- post office
цветы - tsveti -- flower shop
ресторан - restoran -- restaurant
магазин - magazin -- not to be confused with magazine, it actually means a small shop or a store.
три -- tree -- and actually it’s the number three, not a tree!
царь - tsar -- sometimes transliterated as tsar or czar 
я турист - ya tooreest - which means ‘I am a tourist’

Knowing the language of the foreign country you expect to be traveling in is always valuable to make the most out of your experience.

Although in large airports and popular museums, you hardly need worry because they will probably have signs in English, you still might be surprised how little you can find an English speaker on the street when you most need it, or even in the metro or airport. Because of Russia’s political history, it has not been open to tourists for very long and has only begun developing good relationships with English-speaking countries and their tourism.

A good tip when you need directions or help is to search for someone in their youth. A group of students, for instance, will have a better chance of knowing enough English to point you in the right direction, rather than a group of adults from the Soviet Era. 

Though most Russians in big cities understand English, learning a few words of Russian will help prepare you for your trip.



Hello (formal)


Good Morning

DObroe OOtra

Good Day


Good Evening

DObriy VYEcher

Good Night

DObroy NOchee



See You Tomorrow










Where is...?


Do you speak English?

GavaREEtye lee VOY pah-anglEEskee?

I don't speak Russian. 

ya Ne gavarYOU pahROOskee

My name is...

meenYA zaVOOT...

What is your name?

kahk vas zaVOOT?

I have a hotel reservation here

Ya zakazal nomer

I am looking for my driver

Ya ishu moego voditelya

Where can I make a phone call

Kak mne mojno pozvonit’

Can you please call this number for me

Naberite etot nomer

It’s a pleasure to meet you

ochen’ priyatno poznakomitsya

This meal is delicious

ochen’ vkusno

How much


This is too much


Learn to read the Russian Alphabet in 75 Minutes

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Weather and When to Go

Weather and When to Go (0)

You can visit Russia in every time of the year. All year long you can find many interesting places to see and things to do.

The immense geographic area of the Russian Federation has a variety of seasonal weather conditions. April through to October is considered by many to be the best overall time to visit; from June till September are the busiest tourist months. However, the winter months also have appeal. St Petersburg is always a few degrees cooler than Moscow and often has a breeze blowing in from the Gulf of Finland.

The coldest months are January and February with an average temperature of -9C degrees.  The first snow falls at the end of October and remains until the beginning of April. In summer average temperature is about 20C degrees, with much warmer temperatures in July and August.  The rainiest months are July and August, although these months can often be quite dry and pleasant. October is often a dry, pleasantly cool and colorful month, although rain is still common. Autumn and winter have a charm of their own.

If you come in winter time you can visit all the museums, theatres and places of interest, participate in the Russian national festivals and spend unforgettable time. Moreover, accommodation in winter is cheaper than in other seasons, so you can save money. Hotels in Russia offer a wide range of opportunities both for business and leisure travelers, comfortable rooms and irreproachable service. And for sure, by the chance being in the city you will have time for visiting its famous museums...To tell you secretly, there are no awful lines in the museums in winter, and theaters do their best indeed in that time! Russian vacations will give you a lot of impressions that you will keep in your memory for all your life. It would be wonderful idea to see Russian New Year or Maslenitsa, to be congratulated by Father Frost and Snowmade, to explore Russian winter entertainments such as ice fishing, skiing, skating, snowboarding, snowmobiling, huskies, Russian troika with sledge, Russian banya with contrasts of steam and snow... It's not very cold, though sometimes it might be quite freezing. But if you have warm clothes, you'll be ok. Generally, the lowest is minus 10 or 15 Celsius in the winter, though it might sometimes (rarely) go as low as minus 25 or 30. And the true thing about Russian winter is that it's very beautiful.  If you don't like cold, your safer bet is to travel to Russia in summer.

If you would like to come in summer, you can visit also famous resorts, residences of the Russian Tsars and make Russian river cruises. Summer is also the time of renowned White Nights in St. Petersburg with unique chance to feel deeply this time of the year and enjoy fabulous strolls all nights long and the famous bridge partings. July and August are the warmest months and the main holiday season for both foreigners and Russians (which means securing train tickets at short notice can be tricky). The drawback of the summer, however, is that the airfares and hotel prices skyrocket and museum lines lengthen. By booking a private tour in advance, you reserve good rates and bypass museum lines with the help of your personal guide

If you are interested in a budget vacation, we recommend visiting just before travel season, in late April or early May, or right after it ends, in late September or early October. The museum lines will be short, but you will need to bring warm clothes as weather gets surprisingly chilly, especially in the evenings. Golden autumnal colors of September and early October can be stunning. Avoid, though, the first snows (usually in late October) and the spring thaw (March and April), which turn everything to slush and mud.

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Keeping in touch

Keeping in touch (3)

While on vacation, most people don't want to be distracted by things back home. However, sometimes, it is important to keep in touch with friends and family members while you are on the go, traveling out of state or out of the country. Learn about the ways of communication in Russia.

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Russian Food

Russian Food (0)

One of the purest forms of cultural immersion is diving stomach-first into a country’s cuisine. Whether you are being adventurous with aspic or enjoying a pot of borsch, you are guaranteed to find something that will fill you, heart and soul.

Russian national cuisine uses lots of grains and roots, vegetables and lots of fish, mushrooms and berries. Because of the harsh climate, Russians have a limited variety of ingredients, but this hardship has been compensated with creative recipes and combinations. Russians have invented a mind-boggling variety of soups and, because they had to preserve food for cold winters, they have made a science out of pickling vegetables.

Contemporary Russian cuisine is truly delicious. It is also healthy because it mostly relies on naturally grown ingredients. It is also very filling because Russian dishes have tons of vegetable oil, sour cream and mayo.

Russian breakfasts are very similar to those in some western countries. For breakfast, Russians almost always drink tea with a sandwich with meat (kolbasa), fried eggs or omelets (but without bacon). Sometimes they make blini, which are thin pancakes, which are similar to French crepes.

Russian lunch is somewhat different from what you are used to. Russians have great variety of soups: rassolnik - chicken soup with pickles, salanka - meat soup with olives and sausages, okroshka - cold soup made of kvas andchopped vegetables, red borsh - beet soup, shchi - cabbage soup, soup s frikadlkami - meatball soup, uha - fish soup and the list goes on.

Russians dinners are similar to any western cuisine as they feature variety of fried meats and fish. Meals are served with rich salads, pickled vegetables, and boiled of fried potatoes. Some dishes are more creative than others and take a while to make. Golbuci is another time-consuming dish. Golubci is ground beef with rice wrapped in cabbage leaves and stewed in an oven for 3 hours.

One of the best ways to taste Russian cuisine is during large holidays such as birthdays or New Year's Eve. For holidays, Russians tend to cook five times more food that they can actually eat. There are usually three or four delicious courses in a typical holiday feast.

Russia is not without its unusual cuisine. Two of its most unique foods are salo (pig fat)  and cow's tongue. Many Russians consider these dishes to be delicacies. There is also stooden (студень), or aspic. Aspic is a gel made by letting cooked meat sit in a refrigerator until the broth hardens into a gel. The gel is then taken out and eaten cold.

Russian specialties also include:

  • Pelmeni (meat-filled dumplings, especially popular in Ural and Siberian regions)
  • Blini (pancakes)
  • Black bread (rye bread)
  • Piroshki (small pies or buns with sweet or savoury filling)
  • Ikra Baklazhanaya (aubergine spread)
  • Vinegret (salad of boiled beets, potato, carrots and other vegetables with vinegar)
  • Olivier (Russian version of potato salad)
  • Shashlyk (various kebabs from the Caucasus republics of the former Soviet Union)

While Russians are most famous for vodka, there are a number of other delicious national drinks as well. Aside from alcoholic beverages, many Russians drink tea, coffee, and a variety of juice. They also produce a beverage called Kvas, a drink made from fermented bread.

Both Saint Petersburg and Moscow offer sophisticated, world class dining and a wide variety of cuisines including Japanese, Tibetan and Italian. They are also excellent cities to sample some of the best cuisines of the former Soviet Union (e.g., Georgian and Uzbek). It is also possible to eat well and cheaply there without resorting to the many western fast food chains that have opened up. Russians have their own versions of fast food restaurants which range from cafeteria style serving comfort foods to street-side kiosks cooking up blinis or stuffed potatoes. Unlike Europe, cafes in Russia (кафе) do not serve only drinks, but also a full range of meals (typically cooked in advance unlike restaurants where part or whole cooking cycle is performed after you make an order).

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Russian Souvenirs

Russian Souvenirs (0)

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. 

Looking for something unusual and yet beautiful? Our Russian Souvenirs Stores offer you highly artistic articles handcrafted by gifted masters. In every piece you will find reflections of millennium long traditions of Russian folk and decorative art. Every item will make a great addition to any collection or a perfect gift for any occasion.

Nesting dolls - Matreshkas, or nesting dolls, are the most popular national Russian souvenirs. It is a collection of traditionally painted wooden dolls, each one stacking neatly within another. Matreshka is a descendant of traditional peasant toys that parents used to make for their children.

Birch Boxes - Birch bark items are made of pure birch or can be decorated by cutting through birch and stamping. Stamping on birch is one of the oldest handicrafts. The production of birch bark items was very popular in Russia.

Ceramics - porcelain, faience, majolica, and pottery - are made of fired clay with mineral components. Ceramic items are performed in traditional national style but with artists' individual vision

Lacquer boxes - the first lacquer boxes appeared in Japan and China. Starting from the 16th century, the art of making such boxes spread in Western Europe. First Russian lacquer boxes appeared at the beginning of the 18th century.

Samovar - an indigenous design for brewing tea. Note that when purchasing samovars of value (historical, precious gems or metal, etc.), it is wise to check with customs before attempting to take it out of the country

Ushanka  - a warm hat with ears (ushi)

Honey  - produced around the country; sorts and quality vary dramatically, but the higher-quality are worth seeking. 

Caviar -  only red since 2007 (producing and selling black caviar is prohibited for ecological reasons) most easy to find in large stores

Be advised, however, that the law prohibits anyone from taking artwork of historical significance out of the country, so buyer/exporter beware of any older works of art or antiques.  This rule is applied especially to icons.  If you purchase artwork that is not old, you should get a certification from the seller which states the age of the item and the cost, in case you are questioned about it at the border.  Don't worry, the merchants are familiar with these rules and will know what you want and why you are asking for it.  If you buy something that is, or appears to be old, and the seller won't certify it, you might be well-advised to pass it up.
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Useful facts about Russia

Useful facts about Russia (5)

That's the kind of information you think you don't need until you realize that your notebook cannot be charged or the time on your ticket actually meant 5 o'clock in the morning, not in the evening. So here's some of that useful information

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Sunday, 01 January 2012 12:13

Business Visa

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Visa Support Document (Business Invitation)

Buisness invitation (letter of invitation) is a visa support document, needed to get  your Russian buisness visa. 

We can offer you 2 types of business invitations: ORIGINAL invitation (paper document) & TELEX (coded invitation).

The ORIGINAL is a paper document printed on the official form of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (MID).

The cost of such invitation is 154 Euro and it is issued within 30 days.

Usually the consulate asks for the original of invitation in case of multiple-entrance visas. For single/double entrance visas a fax or scanned copy is usually acceptable. But, please, check it exactly at your local Russian consulate.

The originals of invitations can be sent to you by courier or courier express delivery service such as FedEx (5-6 working days for delivery) or UPS (2-3 working days for delivery). This delivery will be provided upon your request for extra pay. For this, please,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TELEX is a set of figures (a kind of personal code) which is sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (MID) directly to the consulate or the embassy where you are going to apply to a Russian visa. It has the same value as the original invitation, but does not require any sending by post. And moreover the process of issuing telex usually takes less time. 

NB! You can not apply for the telex until 45 days before the start date of your visa.

The cost of TELEX invitiation for 1 or 2 entry visa with 1-3 months of stay is 250 Euro and it is isuued withn 3-4 working days.

If you need MULTIPLE entry visa for 6 month up to a year its cost will be 320 Euro and it is issued within 15 working days.

To order the business invitation via our company you need to fill in a booking form. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for it.

Sunday, 18 December 2011 15:49

Visa support request form

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You can request visa support here
Monday, 25 July 2011 12:23

Great reading for your trip

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Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
A masterpiece by Bulgakov, it was banned by the Soviet authorities. It contrasts the human and soviet nature of the 1930s Moscow. This mystical novel is one of the best pieces of satire in Russian literature and provides an amazingly fun read.

Journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg – Alexander Radishev
One of the first intellectual attacks on the czarist regime, this book inspired an entire generation of Russian authors.

Hero of Our Time – Michail Lermontov
The Napoleonic Wars sent many Russian troops across Europe, a trek that introduced them to a vastly different array of liberal traditions and ideas. The Russian soldiers became inspired to change their society when they returned home, a revolution known as the Decembrist Movement. Their ideals were defeated and a period of intellectual crisis followed. The hero of this book is trapped in this time.

War and Peace – Lev Tolstoi
War and Peace is the saga of the Russian empire, nobles, and peasants during the Napoleonic Wars. Tolstoi originally wanted to write about the Decembrists, but as he sought answers to his questions, he found that he had to look 40 years prior to their radical movement.

Fathers and Sons – Michail Turgenev
This highly-acclaimed work focuses on intergenerational issues. The story takes place in the country estate of a Russian noble. When the noble’s son returns home with a friend, the views of the three men clash as they represent the different epochs and classes of society. Turgenev masterfully explores the causes of the conflict.

Eugeniy Onegin – Alexander Pushkin
This is the most well-known piece of Russia’s famous poet. He skillfully shows the life of St. Petersburg’s nobility two centuries ago and foretells his own death. Pushkin developed so many rhyming techniques that he is considered the father of modern Russian poetic rules.

Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak won a noble prize in literature for this piece, but was banned from receiving it by the Soviets. The movie based on this novel is fantastic, but nothing compares to the original.

Heart of a Dog – Michail Bulgakov
A master of allegories, Bulgakov argues that you cannot put a dog in a human body and hope that it becomes human. This book was also banned in the Soviet Union.

Monday, 25 July 2011 12:23

Weights, Measures & Numbers

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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

Also, decimal numbers are separated with a comma, not with a dot (e.g. two thousand two hundred ninety nine is 2,200.99 in the USA, and is 2 200,99 in Russia).
The Celsius temperature scale is used in Russia. 0 degrees Celsius equals 32 degrees Fahrenheit. To calculate the temperature, the following rule can be applied: T (Celsius) = 5/9 * [T (Fahrenheit) - 32] or 
T(Fahrenheit) = 9/5 * T(Celsius) + 32. So, for example, 20 C degrees in Russia equals 9/5 * 20 + 32 = 68 F degrees.
Monday, 25 July 2011 12:22

Time & Open hours

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The Time in the European part of Russia is 3 hours more than Greenwich meridian time or two hours more than central European part. (+3 GMT or +2 CET).
So if in London it’s 10.00 in Moscow it’s 13.00 (in Russia the 24-hour system is used).
There are 9 time zones in Russia - so when it’s evening in Moscow, it’s morning of the next day in Vladivostok (a Russian port on the Pacific Ocean). 
Open Hours. One great thing about Russia is that all shops are opened even on Sunday. The food shops are usually opened from 8.00 to 20.00 except on Sundays from 8.00 to 18.00; 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 to 21.00-22.00. 
State institutions, offices, companies are usually opened from 9.00 or 10.00 to 18.00 or 19.00 and do not work on Saturdays and Sundays. 
Most banks are opened 9.00 to 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.

Monday, 25 July 2011 12:21

National Holidays

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31st of December- 1 of January - New Year's Day, which is the main holiday in Russia, everybody’s happy because people wait for the great new life in the New Year and give each other presents. There’s no Father Christmas, there’s Father Frost in Russia. He comes on New Year’s Eve and gives presents. Traditionally people gather with family or friends. See out the old year with vodka and welcome in the new one with champagne while listening to the Kremlin chimes on TV
7th and 8th of January - Orthodox Christmas. In Russia, contrary to many western countries, Christmas is being celebrated not on 25th December but on 7th January, because it’s orthodox’ Christmas. And the New Year is much more celebrated than Christmas.
8th of March - Women's Day. Flowers are sold for doubled prices, and men suddenly realize the importance of women. Celebrated like Valentines Day with women getting presents of flowers, chocolates and the like and a chance to rest up.
1st and 2nd of May - May Day & the Day of Spring. In the Soviet times they called it The Day of Labor, but it was a holiday for everybody. Now it’s just May Day - another free day to meet friends.
9th of May - Victory Day. The day of victory in the World War II 
12th of June - Independence Day Still not everybody knows exactly why this date was chosen, but we reckon that this is the day when the first president of the Russian Federation was selected.
7th of November - Day of Reconciliation and Harmony. After 1917 until 1992 that was the Day of the Great October Revolution (1917). It’s a wise decision to rename the day when the civil war began to the Day of harmony of the whole society.
12th of December - Constitution Day.

Monday, 25 July 2011 12:19


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Everywhere in Russia 220 Volt and 50 Hz AC current supplies are used. Most of the sockets are standard European-size for double round-pin plugs (see the image), the same as in France or Germany. Appliances from the US, Canada, Britain will need adaptors (it's better to buy them in your own country, as it's very hard to find them in Russia). 
Most trains have electricity sockets where you can change your mobile telephones or plug in a shaver, but it is not recommended to use them for sensitive devices (such as laptops) without a stabilizer.

Thursday, 21 July 2011 13:47

Wi-Fi Access

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Wi-Fi enables people with their own computers to connect wirelessly on the internet. To be able to use this standard you need special wireless network card installed in your computer. Most modern notebooks have it pre-installed. There are now dozens Wi-Fi hotspots in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities in Russia. Many of them are free, some charge $5-$10 per hour.

Many hotels offer internet access, as well as connections for laptops in rooms. Some Russian mobile network providers also offer WAP services. If you don't have either option, then you may want to use one of the many internet cafes in the city center.
Thursday, 21 July 2011 13:46

Land lines

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Land lines in Russia are NOT digital/tone, they are still rotary/pulse mode, so to use phone cards you need to activate the phone you are using to send tone signals to make the card work, that is done by pressing the "*" key (you often need to hold it for a while then it'll come up with a 'd' on the screen) before pressing the numbers on the phone card.

8 (eight) is a very important  number to remember, it is the long-distance prefix used to dial a number within an  area code different from yours, when in Russia. So to dial a Moscow number, dial 8-495-***-****

810 (eight one zero) is the International Dialing Code you use to make an overseas call from 'within' Russia.

7 (seven) is the International Telephone Country Code used to call or dial to Russia.

495 (four nine five) is the Area or City Code used to call or dial to Moscow.

812 (eight one two) is the Area or City Code used to dial to Saint-Peterburg.

Other cities codes can be found on the Country Calling Codes website (not a full list but a decent one in English). Or if you know the name of where you are going and the region it's in (in Russian) then try this website

Thursday, 21 July 2011 13:44

Mobile phones

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GSM mobile phones work well within Moscow and St Petersburg, even in the Moscow metro. Signal strength falls away quickly, however, as you leave the cities and their suburbs.  GSM networks operate in nearly all Russia cities, so mobile phone use across the entire country is generally quite okay.  International roaming works fine in most Russian cities, but may come at high price.  The cheapest option for overseas calls using your mobile phone (in Moscow and St Petersburg) is to purchase a local sim card. 

The important thing to understand with Russia and its mobile phone network is that each city is on a different network and once you leave the city where you have purchased your sim card, you go onto roaming tariffs, which can be expensive.  The solution is that for any city where you will stay for any extended period of time, purchase a new sim card so that at least incoming calls are free of charge and you can call out on local rates.  Outside the major cities, the rate to call overseas will generally be about double the Moscow/St Petersburg rate, which means that a phone card may be the best option.

When buying a sim card you will almost always be asked to show your passport & registration. Don't worry - this is done for everyone.
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