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Flag of RussiaState Emblem of RussiaRussia
Russian Federation






Currency: 1 ruble (R$) = 100 kopeks.
Dialing code: 7.
Time: Russia is divided into 11 time zones ranging from GMT +2 in the east to GMT +12 in the west. In summer the time is +1 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in September. The local time in Moscow and St Petersburg is GMT +3 (GMT +4 in summer).
Local time now:

Region: Asia/Europe.
Capital: Moscow.

Main cities : Saint Petersburg (a leading port and major industrial center), Novosibirsk (the largest city in Siberia); Nizhniy Novgorod (the largest city on the Volga River and a major automotive and shipbuilding center); Yekaterinburg (the largest city in the Urals); Samara (a commercial center of the middle Volga region), Omsk (western Siberias chief petrochemical center); Chelyabinsk, Kazan, Perm (a major industrial center in the Kama River region), Ufa (an important petrochemical center in the southern Urals), Rostov-na-Donu (a commercial, industrial, and transportation center in southern European Russia), Volgograd.
Land and Resources: Republic in eastern Europe and northern Asia. On the north Russia is bounded by extensions of the Arctic Ocean: the Barents, Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi seas. On the east the country is bounded by the Pacific Ocean and several of its extensions: the Bering Strait (which separates Russia from Alaska), the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan (East Sea). In the extreme southeast Russia abuts the northeastern tip of North Korea. On the south it is bounded by China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Black Sea. On the southwest it is bounded by Ukraine, and on the west by Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, the Gulf of Finland, and Finland. In the extreme northwest, Russia is bounded by Norway. Lithuania and Poland border Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea. Russia stretches across parts of two continents, Europe and Asia, with the Ural Mountains and Ural River marking the boundary between them. The landmass consists of vast plains in the west and north, and a discontinuous belt of mountains and plateaus in the south and east. The upland and mountainous regions include most of Siberia and extend to the Pacific. Russia can be divided into several broad geographic regions. From east to west they are the Great European Plain; the Ural Mountains; the mountain systems and ranges along much of Russias southern border; and the lowlands and uplands of Siberia, including the West Siberian Plain, the Central Siberian Plateau, and the mountain ranges of northeastern Siberia. Russias longest rivers are all located in Siberia: the Ob and Irtysh rivers, the Amur and its headwaters, the Lena River. Other rivers are the Volga, the Kama and Oka rivers, the Yenisey, the Angara River. Many natural lakes occur in Russia: the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega.
Climate: The main holiday season for Russians and foreigners is during the warmest months of July and August, but it also rains a lot at this time. The best times to visit are May and June or September and October, avoiding most of the crowds and the rain. Winters are very cold and bitter, especially in Siberia. Ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the Steppes to cool along Arctic coast.
Government: Russia is a federal and presidential republic. Administratively, Russia includes 21 republics; 6 territories known as krays; 10 national areas called okrugs; 49 regions, or oblasts; 1 autonomous oblast; and 2 cities with federal status.
Population: Russia has one of the widest varieties of ethnic groups in the world, but ethnic Russians form the vast majority of the population. The largest minority are the Tatars, Ukrainians, Chuvash, Belarusians, Germans, Bashkirs, Jews.
Languages: Russian is the official language. Some people speak English, French or German.
Religion: Orthodox Christianity. Muslims form the second largest religious group in Russia. There are also relatively small populations of Jews, Protestants, Catholics, and Buddhists.
1 January - New Year's Day
7 January - Russian Orthodox Christmas Day
23 February - Motherland Defender Day
8 March - Women's Day
1 May - Labour Day
9 May - Victory Day
12 June - Russia's Independence Day
12 December - Constitution Day

Visa: US, UK, Canadian, Australian passport holders, South Africans, New Zealand, Irish nationals must have a valid passport. A visa is required and is valid for one month. Visitors must carry ID at all times whilst in Russia, a photocopy of your passport and visa will suffice. All visitors staying for longer than three days must register their visas with their hotel or sponsor on arrival. Technically anyone applying for a tourist visa needs to have pre-arranged accommodation, but hostels or hotels can often provide an invitation as long as the first night is spent there. Exit permits are required on departure. These are usually issued with the visa, or can be obtained at hotels not less than two days before departure. Passports must be valid for period of intended stay.
Customs regulations: Duty free regulations are liable to change at short notice. The following should be used as a guide only, and travellers are advised to contact the Embassy or Consulate for up-to-date information. The following goods may be imported by persons of 16 years of age or older without incurring customs duty: 1000 cigarettes or 1kg of tobacco products; 1.5l of spirits and 2l of wine; a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use; gifts up to the value of US$10,000. On entering the country, tourists must complete a customs declaration form which must be retained until departure. This allows the import of articles intended for personal use, including currency and valuables which must be registered on the declaration form. Cameras, jewellery, computers and musical instruments should all be declared. Customs inspection can be long and detailed. It is advisable when shopping to ask for a certificate from the shop which states that goods have been paid for in hard currency. Presentation of such certificates should speed up customs formalities. Prohibited imports: Photographs and printed matter directed against the Russian Federation, weapons and ammunition, narcotics, fruit, vegetables and live animals unless with a special permit. Prohibited exports: Arms, works of art and antiques (unless permission has been granted by the Ministry of Culture), precious metals and furs. Up to 280g of caviar per person may be exported, provided a receipt is shown proving that it was bought at a store licensed to sell it to foreigners.
Transportation: The transportation system is densest in European Russia. Railroads dominate the transportation system. There are no Western-style freeways. In some regions of Russia, inland waterways are a major means of transportation. The most important waterway is the Volga River. In remote areas of Siberia rivers are often the only means of transportation available. Aeroflot provides domestic civilian air transportation. There are also Vnukovo Airlines and the private Transaero company. The principal civilian seaports in Russia include Novorossiysk on the Black Sea; Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea; Nakhodka, Vostochnyy, Vladivostok, and Vanino on the Pacific coast; and Murmansk and Arkhangelsk on the Arctic coast.
Sightseeing: Travellers will encounter a country of enormous diversity and vitality, with cultural treasures and historical monuments, great imperial cities and glittering cathedrals. Visitors will experience the enchantment of Tchaikovsky, the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballet, and marvel at priceless Russian icons and the unique style of decorative onion-domed architecture. Russias impressive museums, overwhelming sense of history, culture and unspoilt wilderness will leave one with a desire to see more.
Moscow: the Kremlin, Red Square with Saint Basils Cathedral, the attractive Annunciation Cathedral, the Belfry of Ivan the Great, the Tsar Cannon, the Armoury Palace, with the Diamond Fund Exhibition; Lenins Mausoleum; metro system with stations, astonishingly decorated in elegant marble, glittering chandeliers and gilded works of art and magnificent mosaics; the Bolshoi theatre; the Tretyakov Gallery.
The Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the most famous of the worlds great train journeys, a six-day trip covering eight time zones, from Moscow in Europe to Vladivostok on the Asian Pacific Coast. It is possible to arrange a stopover at any of the main cities or towns along the way. After the appealing city of Irkutsk, the capital of Siberia, the route passes the magnificent Lake Baikal.
St Petersburg: a city of arched bridges, winding canals, wide boulevards, elegant palaces, impressive squares and ornate churches, and is often referred to as the Venice of the North. Rich aristocratic palaces and government buildings line the streets, along with majestic cathedrals and elaborate churches, from the golden spires of St Peter and Paul Cathedral, the magnificent gleaming dome and grand colonnaded façade of St Isaacs, to the colourful multi-domed Church of the Resurrection. Mariinsky Theatre; Winter Palace, the Hermitage Museum, Kazan Cathedral, the Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood (officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church). St Petersburg is also the perfect setting for the famous White Nights. Nevsky Prospekt is one of the best-known streets in Russia, starting at the Admiralty, to the Moscow Railway Station and then to the Alexandr Nevsky Monastery where some of the countrys most celebrated artistic figures are buried. The Peter and Paul Fortress is the oldest building in St Petersburg and has the notorious dungeons which held many famous people, and it is now a museum.
Money: Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and at places that deal with foreign tourists. American Express is sometimes turned down but Visa and MasterCard are widely honoured. Currency can be changed at banks, hotels or kiosks. Travellers cheques are difficult and expensive to cash, but if necessary it is advised to take them in US Dollars to avoid additional charges. ATMs are widely available in major cities. It is hard to get roubles outside Russia and travellers are advised to take US dollars to change once there. It is illegal to pay for goods or services in hard currency, though it is often accepted.
Communications: When calling Russia from abroad the initial zero on the area code must not be omitted. Public phones are good for local and international calls; they take phonecards, which can be bought at newspaper kiosks and post offices. Phone booths in airports and major hotels usually take Amex or Visa cards but are generally much more expensive than street phones. Mobile phones work in most large towns and cities. There are numerous local operators using GSM networks, each covering relatively small areas. Visitors are required to declare mobile phones at customs when entering Russia. Email and internet access is available at internet cafes throughout the major towns and cities.
Shops and cafes: A wide range of goods such as watches, cameras, wines and spirits, furs, ceramics and glass, jewellery and toys may be bought in Moscow and St Petersburg. Shops take payment in roubles and, occasionally, by credit card. It is necessary to allow extra time for souvenir hunting: shopping can be a time-consuming activity. It is also advisable to shop around, as prices vary significantly. Traditional Matryoshka dolls (wooden dolls within dolls) are widely available. Khokhloma wooden cups, saucers and spoons are painted gold, red and black. Dymkovskaya Igrushka are pottery figurines based on popular folklore characters. Engraved amber, Gzhel porcelain, Vologda lace and Faberg eggs and jewellery are highly sought after. A samovar makes a good souvenir. Antiquities, valuables, works of art and manuscripts other than those offered for sale in souvenir shops may not be taken out of the Russian Federation without an export licence. Shopping hours: Mon-Sat 0900-1900. Most food shops are also open on Sunday. Department stores and supermarkets are open throughout lunchtime. Stores which are open 24 hours a day are becoming more common.
Tipping: A 10 to 15% tip is expected at restaurants. Hotel bills in the large cities include a 10 to 15% service charge; otherwise 10% is usual.
Health and safety: Travellers to Russia are advised to have up-to-date vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid fever and tetanus-diphtheria, as well as medications for travellers diarrhea. Water for drinking and brushing teeth should be treated; bottled water is readily available. There is a reciprocal health care agreement with the UK entitling citizens to free health treatment. All visitors are strongly advised to have full insurance for medical treatment and accidents. The areas in North Caucasus of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Elbrus area) and the eastern and southern parts of Stavropol Krai are highly volatile at present and visitors are strongly advised against travel in those regions.
Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts , 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are standard.
Important phone numbers:
Police, Ambulance, Fire service 01
Enquiry - 09
Russian Federation Embassy
13a, G. Lussavorich Street
375015 Yerevan
Tel: + 374 2 56-74-27
Fax: + 374 2 567-197
Russian Federation Embassy
78 Canberra Avenue, Griffith
ACT 2603 Canberra
Tel: +61 6 295 9033
Fax: 61 6 6295-1847
Russian Federation Embassy
Reisnerstrasse 45-47
A-1030 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 712 1229
Fax: +43 1 712 3388
Russian Federation Embassy
SES, Lote A, Avendia das Nacoes
70476 Brasilia
Tel: +55 61 2233094
Fax: +55 61 2267319
Russian Federation Embassy
52 Range Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 8J5
+ 613 236 7220
+ 613 236 6215
+ 613 238 6158;;
Russian Embassy
Ayios Prokopios & Arch.Makarios III Str. Corner 2406 Engomi
1514 Nicosia
Tel: + 357 2 774622; + 357 2 772141
Fax: + 357 2 774854
Russian Federation Embassy
40-50, boulevard Lannes
75116 Paris
Tel: + 33 1
Fax: + 33 1
Russian Federation Embassy
PO Box 200908, Waldstrasse 42
D-53177 Bonn
Tel: +49 228 31 20 85/6/7, +49 228 31 25 29/32, +49 228 31 20 74
Fax: +49 228 31 15 63
Russian Consulate General
14, Santhome High Road
600 004 Chennai (Madras)
Tel: + 91 (0)44 498-2320(30)
Fax: + 91 (0)44 498-23-36
Russian Federation Embassy
Via Gaeta 5
I-00186 Rome
Tel: +39 6 494 1680/1
Fax: +39 6 49 10 31
Russian Federation Embassy
2-1-1 Azabudai, 2-chome, Minato-ku
106 Tokyo
Tel: +81 3 3583 5982, +81 3 3583-4224
Fax: +81 3 3505-0593
Russian Federation Embassy
Paeglesiela 2
LV-1397 Riga
Tel: + 371 733 21 51
Fax: + 371 783 02 09
Russian Federation Embassy
Andries Bickerweg 2
NL-2517 JP The Hague
Tel: +31 70 345 13 00/1, +31 70 346 88 88, +31 70 34 10 75 06
Fax: +31 70 361 7960
Russian Federation Embassy
51 Nassim Road
258439 Singapore
Tel: + 65 737-0048
Fax: +65 733 4780
South Africa
Russian Federation Consulate General
2-nd Floor Southern Life Center, 8 Riebeek St.
Cape Town
Tel: + 27 (0)21 418 3656
Fax: + 27 (0)21 419 2651
Russian Federation Embassy
Vel zquez 155
E-28002 Madrid
Tel: +34 91 562 22 64
Fax: +34 91 562 97 12
Russian Federation Embassy
Gjoerwellsgatan 31
Tel: +46 8 13 04 41
Fax: +46 8 618 2703;
Russian Federation Embassy
Brunnadernrain 37 Case postale 268 3000 Bern 15
CH-3006 Bern
Tel: +41 31 352 05 66
Fax: +41 31 352 55 95
United Kingdom
Russian Federation Embassy
13 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QX
Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 3628/9
Fax: +44 (0)20 7727 8624/5
United Nations
Russian Federation (Mission: New York)
136 East 67 Street
N.Y. 10021 New York
Tel: + 1 212 861 4900
Fax: + 1 212 628-0252
Russian Federation Embassy
2650 Wisconsin Ave.
Washington D.C.
+1 202 298-5700
+1 202 298-5735

Encarta World Atlas - Russian National Tourist Office, Moscow
Official Staint Petersburg Administration Portal
Official Representation of the Leningrad Region Government
Official Pskov Region Server
Official Novgorod Region Government web-site
Official site of Administrative bodies - Republic of Karelia
Official site of the Vologda Region
Official site of the Murmansk Region
Official site of the Nenets Autonomous District - Main Russian News Media - Moscow Times - St. Petersburg Times - The Russia Journal - A journey to Moscow - Delegation of European Commission in Russia - Exposentr, International fairs and exhibitions - Central Bank of Russia - Russian Foreign Investment Promotion Centre - European Commission Directorate General for External relations(Russia) - International Monetary Fond (IMF) - Yellow pages - Moscow City Telephone Guide Kompass - Russian Embassy Locator - Russian Embassy official website - official website of Russian Consulate in the US - visa to Russia - The Moscow Expat Site - Kaliningrad - Arkhangelsk - Vologda - Karelia Murmansk - Pskov Vyborg - British Embassy in Moscow - British Consulate in St. Petersburg - British Consulate in Ekaterinburg - United States Embassy in Moscow - United States Consulate in St. Petersburg - Canadian Embassy in Moscow - Australian Embassy in Moscow - New Zealand Embassy in Moscow - South African Embassy in Moscow - UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office - UK Embassies abroad - US State Department - US Embassies abroad - Canadian Embassies abroad - Australian Embassies abroad - WayToRussia - VisaToRussia - Russian Embassies & Consulates worldwide - Russian Embassies & Consulates worldwide

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