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Welcome to Russia

Russia

Russia

Continent: Asia 

Capital: Moscow

Population: 143.5 million (2013)                                                                                       

Dialing Code: +7

Currency: Russian ruble (₽) (RUB)

Time zone: (UTC+2 to +12)

Language: Russian

Russia is one of the world’s largest Country in the world with borders cutting across European and Asian Countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. True to its form and size, diversity is the keyas its landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches.

It is also the ninth most populous country with over 146 million people staying in the country. Its historic origins since the cold war and Russian revolution enabled it to become the world’s first constitutional socialist state and its emergence as a recognized world superpower to rival the united States.

The Russian economy ranks as the twelfth largest and its extensive mineral and energy resources at its disposal. It’s famous for Moscow's Bolshoi and St. Petersburg's Mariinsky ballet companies. St. Petersburg, founded by Russian leader Peter the Great, has the baroque Winter Palace, now housing part of the State Hermitage Museum’s art collection. 

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Russia is at once breathtaking and baffling. Winston Churchill’s much-quoted line that the world’s largest nation represented “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” is as true today as it was back then.

Monumental in every respect, it’s a land where burnished imperial splendour coexists with icy Siberian tundra, where timeworn Soviet-era monuments backdrop uber-hip urban cultures and where everything from the ruling party downwards functions in its own, impenetrably Russian, way.

Explore cities such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg: the former capital and home to one of the worlds best museums- the Hermitage. Not to be missed are Irkutsk, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod and Sochi.

The west of the country draws the most visitor attention, thanks to the presence of two extraordinary cities. St Petersburg and Moscow serve up sweeping postcard sights by the dozen. Moscow is the rapidly beating heart of the “New Russia, ” where Asia and Europe combine to create a boisterous, enigmatic metropolis on a grand scale. St Petersburg, meanwhile, with its living film-set of palaces, cathedrals and waterways, is the grandest and most European of Russia’s cities, yet still retains a deeply complex character.

Exploration beyond these two main hubs, however, is well advised. The Golden Ring, a collection of ancient towns northeast of Moscow, still has plenty of period architecture and is easily accessed from the capital. By cruising along the mighty River Volga, meanwhile, it’s possible to travel south towards the Caspian Sea and see the country beyond its increasingly westernised veneer. And those heading east, into Siberia, will find a land of varied, often sublime natural beauty. From Lake Baikal to the old imperial city of Irkutsk, and from the mountains of the Altai and the shamans of Tuva, Siberia has many secrets.

Business

Conduct business in the main business centers of Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk and Vladivostok. Directness that can verge on rudeness, and evasiveness that parades as politeness are part of the Russian style of negotiation, so be persistent if you need specific answers to your questions. Be sure to get firm and positive answers - preferably in writing. Russia is still an extremely bureaucratic country, so always be aware of the official regulations. Ignorance will not be accepted as an excuse if you break the rules, and the penalties can be severe.

It is also bad form to criticize your host nation or discuss business until your host initiates it.

The main bulk of the Russian economy is focused on energy resources, products and heavy industry (production of vehicles, metal goods, construction materials and machinery).its economy is also stable I and in recovery after decades of decline . Petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, wood and wood products, chemicals and manufactured goods and military hardware are its main exports 

Climate

Due to its gargantuan land mass, the weather conditions in Russia vary depending on where you find yourself. Summer months of June, July and August has its fair share of visitors making April, May, September and October good options for visitors hoping to avoid the rush.

In general the temperatures range from 37°c and -30°c, so be prepared for anything. Those visiting over summer should pack a mixture of lightweight and mediumweight clothing – natural fibres such as cotton and linen are best. For the winter visitor, meanwhile – layers, layers, layers. Wools and cashmeres are great material for keeping in the warmth. Sturdy shoes are always a good idea, no matter what time of year.

Communications

Telecommunication services are available in Russia with 4gLte services for both internet and voice services. Note that Operators are not fluent in English, and typically only speak Russian, so expect a language barrier if you don't know any Russian.

Customs

Conservative dressing and a highly patriarchal and hierarchical system contributes to the inner workings of the society. This means that women might be taken less seriously than their male counterparts. Be careful with gestures as they might mean something entirely different in Russia. 

Duty Free

The following goods may be imported into Russia by persons aged 18 years and older without incurring customs duty:

• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 3L of alcohol.
• Goods to the value of €1, 500 weighing up to 50kg.

Banned imports: 

Arms and ammunition, undercover surveillance and intelligence gathering equipment, and narcotics. 

Banned exports: 

Arms and ammunition, undercover surveillance and intelligence gathering equipment, narcotics, objects of cultural value, plants and seeds, vegetables, raw precious metals, minerals, wild plants and animals, and endangered species (unless you have a permit).

 

Electricity

Electricity voltage in Russia is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Russia uses a standard European plug with two round pins.

Getting Around

Getting around in Russia is easy.  Due to the immense size of the country and poor road safety, travelling by train is the preferred choice due to its externsive reach and affordable prices.

Buses are also available to cities and summer cruise boats frequent the rivers. You can also hitchihike as there is a vibrant hitchhiking culture and it is relatively safe. 

Health

Medical facilities in general vary. A majority of hospitals are extremely well equipped, clean, and possess all of the latest technologies, while there are some that are well below western standards, with shortages in medication and neglected equipment.

Ensure that all of your vaccinations are up to date, and you have sufficient amounts of any prescription medicine you may be taking. Pharmacies are common in major cities and carry quality western medications.

Quality of tap water varies around the country, Be careful not to buy fake vodka, which can be dangerous. Significant number of food stores, including some food/goods chains, standalone food shops, kiosks and food markets are rumourously famous for selling food of bad quality, including out-of-date or even out-of-date with expire date reprinted with a later date.

The country's HIV prevalence is steadily rising, mainly for drug users, young adults and prostitutes. Be safe. Vaccinations are sometimes recommended for Japanese B encephalitis, meningococcal meningitis and tick-borne encephalitis.

Language

Russian is the official language, although there are over 100 other languages. English is widely spoken by younger people as well as some educated older people.

Money

The official currency is the Rouble (RUB; symbol руб) = 100 kopeks. Notes are in denominations of 5, 000, 1, 000, 500, 100, 50, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 10, 5 and 1 kopeks. Foreign currency should only be exchanged at official bureaux and authorised banks

Cash is preferred. If carrying traveller's cheques, major currencies are accepted in big cities, but US Dollars and Euros are preferred elsewhere.

Passport Visa

For those that require a visa, the complexity of the process depends on the class of visa. Thirty-day tourist visas are fairly straightforward to acquire; 90 day (and more) business visas, less so. It is best to start the application process well in advance. While expedited processing is available to those who need visas quickly, it can double the application cost.

Arranging a visa basically involves two steps:

  1. Getting an invitation and
  2. Applying for the visa.

You may arrive at any time on or after the start date of your visa's validity and may depart at any time on or before its expiry date. Normally, an exit visa is included in transit, private visit/homestay, tourist, and business visas so long as the visa is still valid. Other classes, such as student visas, still require a separate exit visa that can take up to three weeks to process.Check with your local embassy for more guidlines.

 

Safety

As a tourist, you are strongly discouraged to travel to the North Caucasus, as that region is the most dangerous in the entire country. Driving by the majority of Russians is routinely reckless and corruption is prevalent. Racism is also prevalent, hence keep your relevant papers on you at all times. Finally, keep your money folded with small bills on the outside, concealing the larger ones. Bring out your cash only when actually handing it over

 

Tipping

Tipping is still encouraged, even if it is not common among the locals, however whether to tip and how much is eventually always to the client's discretion. A tip of 10% of the total bill, usually paid by rounding up the invoice amount, would be reasonably generous. Don't tip in cafeteria-like settings, where you travel along the counter with a tray and pay at the cash register. Throw a couple of RUB10 notes into the tip jar for baristas. There is no way to leave a tip on your credit card so keep enough small bills in your wallet to hand to the staff.

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