Russia Visa

Visit Russia

Canadian Citizens and most Permanent Residents need a visa to travel to Russia. Visa-free entry is limited to nationals of about 40 countries, so most people need a visa to travel to Russia. Of those nationals, most are only allowed to travel to Russia visa-free for tourism. If you are going to Russia for business, you likely need a visa.

 

Index

 

Climate of Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world and so has one of the most diverse climates, much like Canada. In fact, there are over 12 climate types experienced in Russia. What the weather is like depends as much upon where you are as the time of year. (Again, like Canada.)

Here's a list:

Climate Type Winter Summer Geographical Area
Cold desert climate (BWk) Very cold, dry Hot, dry Only in the extreme south centre of the country, near the western end of the border of Mongolia
Cold semi-arid climate (BSk) Cold, some snow Hot, dry Only in the extreme south centre of the country, near the western end of the border of Mongolia
Subtropical climate (Cfa) Mild (under 18C), wet Hot (over 22C), wet Only in the extreme southwest of the country, such as where Sochi is located
Humid continental climate, hot summer, wet (Dfa) Cold (below zero), wet Hot (over 22C), wet Only in the extreme southwest of the country
Humid continental climate, mild summer, wet (Dfb) Cold (below zero), wet Mild (below 22C), wet Southern and central European Russia, southwest Asian Russia (south central Russia), extreme east southeast
Humid continental climate, mild summer, dry winter (Dwb) Cold (below zero), dry Mild (below 22C), wet Extreme southeast of Russia and parts of the border with Mongolia
Subarctic, dry summer (Dsc) Very cold, dry Hot, dry Western Kamchatka, isolated areas in eastern Russia
Subarctic (Dwc) Very cold, very dry Mild-warm, dry Southeastern Russia, border with Mongolia and China
Subarctic (Dwd) Extremely cold, dry Cool, dry Parts of Siberia
Subarctic wet (Dfc) Very cold, wet Cool, wet Northern Russia
Subarctic wet (Dfd) Extremely cold, wet Cool, wet Siberia
Tundra Extremely cold, dry No summer Northern coast of Russia, northern part of East coast

As you can see, the climate varies widely in Russia. Here are the climates of the 10 biggest cities in Russia:

Moscow
European Russia, Humid Continental Climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −4 −3.7 2.6 11.3 18.6 22.0 24.3 21.9 15.7 8.7 0.9 −3 9.6
Average Precipitation (mm) 52 41 35 37 49 80 85 82 68 71 55 52 707
Average Snowfall (cm) 22 34 37 16 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 15 136
Mean monthly
sunshine hours
33 72 128 170 265 279 271 238 147 78 32 18 1,731
Saint Petersburg
northern European Russia, humid continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −3.6 −3.3 1.8 8.5 15.6 20.2 22.2 20.2 14.4 8.1 1.8 −1.7 8.8
Average Precipitation (mm) 40 31 35 33 38 64 78 77 67 65 56 49 633
Average Snowfall (cm) 18 22 22 29 1 0 0 0 0 4 14 18 128
Mean monthly
sunshine hours
21.7 53.7 124.0 180.0 260.4 276.0 266.6 213.9 129.0 71.3 24.0 12.4 1,633
Novosibirsk
southern central Russia, humid continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −12.1 −9.7 −1.9 8.1 18.8 23.4 25.4 22.8 16.0 7.6 −3.5 −9.9 7.1
Average Precipitation (mm) 26 15 17 28 34 50 72 49 42 46 38 31 448
Average Snowfall (cm) 34 40 43 20 4 0 0 0 4 6 10 24 185
Yekaterinburg
west central Russia, humid continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −9.1 −6.8 1.0 9.8 17.4 23.0 24.4 21.1 14.5 6.8 −2.8 −7.9 7.6
Average Precipitation (mm) 26 20 20 28 50 74 89 72 58 39 33 28 537
Average Snowfall (cm) 33 43 44 20 6 0 0 0 2 6 9 20 183
Mean monthly
sunshine hours
46.5 96.1 164.3 207.0 257.3 273.0 269.7 217.0 144.0 77.5 51.0 37.2 1,840.6
Nizhny Novgorod
European Russia, humid continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −8.1 −7.2 −1.1 8.9 17.3 22.0 23.6 21.8 15.3 6.8 −0.7 −5.9 7.9
Average Precipitation (mm) 40 33 28 36 52 64 76 67 57 59 56 50 618
Samara
southwest Russia, humid continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −9.3 −8.1 −1.7 11.0 20.3 24.6 26.0 24.5 18.2 8.4 −0.7 −6.3 9.0
Average Precipitation (mm) 46 35 33 39 32 58 64 52 45 52 54 51 561
Omsk
south central Russia, dry continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −12 −10.3 −2.5 9.1 19.0 23.9 25.3 22.7 15.9 8.1 −3.7 −9.8 7.1
Average Precipitation (mm) 23 18 17 21 35 51 66 54 37 30 34 29 415
Average Snowfall (cm) 33 41 39 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 22 149
Mean monthly
sunshine hours
68.2 126.0 182.9 234.0 285.2 318.0 322.4 248.0 180.0 105.4 72.0 62.0 2,204.1
Kazan
west central Russia, humid continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −7.6 −8.1 −0.9 10.0 18.5 22.1 25.9 23.6 16.9 8.4 0.2 −6.4 8.6
Average Precipitation (mm) 40 33 32 31 41 63 65 60 51 53 46 43 558
Average Snowfall (cm) 41 53 54 37 1 0 0 0 0 12 13 20 231
Mean monthly
sunshine hours
49.6 89.6 148.8 204.0 273.0 294.0 291.4 254.2 159.0 83.7 42.0 34.1 1,923.4
Chelyabinsk
west central Russia, dry continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −10.5 −7.9 1.0 10.6 20.3 23.9 25.2 23.6 17.2 9.3 −0.4 −6.9 8.8
Average Precipitation (mm) 17 16 19 27 47 55 87 44 41 30 26 21 430
Average Snowfall (cm) 27 33 32 14 5 0 0 0 4 7 7 18 147
Rostov-on-Don
southwest Russia, humid continental climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Yearly
Average or Total
Average High (°C) −0.1 0.7 6.9 16.1 22.3 26.6 29.2 28.8 22.6 15.0 6.3 1.2 14.6
Average Precipitation (mm) 59 53 51 47 56 70 53 44 49 39 5 69 643
Mean monthly
sunshine hours
65.1 84.1 127.1 189.0 263.5 285.0 313.1 294.5 240.0 158.1 63.0 37.2 2,119.7

 

Culture of Russia

  • Though most people in Russia are "Russian," there are over 185 different ethnic groups, making Russia a particularly diverse country. Russia is unique in the world in (at least officially) giving many of these ethnic groups semi-autonomy.
  • Though Russian is the most common language, there are 35 "official" languages and over 100 languages are spoken.
  • Now that the USSR doesn't exist, religion again plays an important part of life in Russia.

 

Ethnicity in Russia

Below is a list of Russian ethnicities with more than a population of at least 500,000 according to the 2010 Census.

Ethnic group Language
family
Main area 2010 Census Approximate
percentage
Russians Indo-European European Russia 72,374,283 80.9%
Tatars Turkic European Russia 5,310,649 3.9%
Ukrainians Indo-European European Russia 1,927,888 1.4%
Bashkirs Turkic European Russia 1,584,554 1.15%
Chuvashs Turkic European Russia 1,435,872 1.05%
Chechens Northeast Caucasian Caucasus 1,431,360 1.04%
Armenians Indo-European Caucasus 1,182,388 0.86%
Avars Northeast Caucasian Caucasus 912,090 0.66%
Mordvins Uralic European Russia 744,237 0.54%
Kazakhs Turkic Central Asia 647,732 0.47%
Azerbaijanis Turkic Caucasus 603,070 0.44%
Dargins Northeast Caucasian Caucasus 589,386 0.43%
Udmurts Uralic European Russia 552,299 0.40%
Mari Uralic European Russia 547,605 0.40%
Ossetians Indo-European Caucasus 528,515 0.38%
Belarusians Indo-European European Russia 521,443 0.38%
Kabardins Northwest Caucasian Caucasus 516,826 0.38%
Kumyks Turkic Caucasus 503,060 0.37%

 

Language in Russia

The official language of Russia is Russian and it is spoken by a majority of the population. There are 35 other official languages, recognized officially in Federal Subjects (the Russian name for provinces).

Language Language family Federal subject(s)
(provinces)
Approximate
(population)
Abaza Northwest Caucasian Karachay-Cherkessia 48,000
Adyghe Northwest Caucasian Adygea 490,000
Altai Turkic Altai Republic 57,000
Bashkir Turkic Bashkortostan 1,200,000
Buryat Mongolic Buryatia 265,000+
Chechen Northeast Caucasian Chechnya 1,400,000
Cherkess Northwest Caucasian Karachay-Cherkessia 1,500,000
Chuvash Turkic Chuvashia 1,100,000
Crimean Tatar Turkic Republic of Crimea 480,000
Erzya Uralic Mordovia 390,000
Ingush Northeast Caucasian Ingushetia 320,000
Kabardian Northwest Caucasian Kabardino-Balkaria 1,600,000
Kalmyk Mongolic Kalmykia 80,500
Karachay-Balkar Turkic Kabardino-Balkaria
Karachay-Cherkessia
310,000
Khakas Turkic Khakassia 43,000
Komi Uralic Komi Republic 220,000
Hill Mari Uralic Mari El 30,000
Meadow Mari Uralic Mari El 470,000
Moksha Uralic Mordovia 390,000
Nogai Turkic Karachay-Cherkessia 87,000
Ossetic Indo-European North Ossetia–Alania 570,000
Tatar Turkic Tatarstan 6,500,000
Tuvаn Turkic Tuva 280,000
Udmurt Uralic Udmurtia 340,000
Ukrainian Indo-European Republic of Crimea 1,927,888
Yakut Turkic Sakha Republic 480,000

Nearly 60 other languages native to various parts of Russia are also spoken. Of these, about 25 are endangered or nearly extinct.

A number of languages that weren't native to these parts of Asia and Europe are now spoken in Russia as well. Hundreds of thousands of people speak languages native to various form SSRs that left after the dissolution of the USSR, in addition to Ukrainian.

Finally, 15% of the Russian population speaks a foreign language, the most popular being English by a wide margin (11% of the population).

 

Religion in Russia

Nearly half the population is Russian Orthodox Christian. However, because of Communism, a substantial portion of the population are nolonger religious.

Ethnic Group Percent of
Population
Russian Orthodox 41.1%
Other Orthodox 1.5%
Old Believer 0.3%
Protestant 0.2%
Catholic 0.1%
Pentecostal 0.1%
Christian (Unaffiliated) 4.1%
Non-religious 25.2%
Atheist 4.7%
Muslim (Unaffiliated) 13.0%
Sunni Muslim 1.7%
Shia Muslim 0.2%
Pagan Tengrist 1.2%
Buddist 0.5%
Judaism 0.1%
Hindu 0.1%

 

Visas to Russia

The visa policy of Russia is archaic and complicated. There are Diplomatic Visas, Service Visas, Ordinary Visas and Transit Visas. This page only covers ordinary visas and transit visas.

Citizens of 38 countries do not need visas to travel to Russia. See this list.

Please note that visa fees vary from diplomatic mission to diplomatic mission, so it may actually be cheaper to apply for your Russian visa from a country other than Canada (though that could present other problems).

 

Ordinary Visa

There are 9 types of "ordinary" visas. This page only covers only short-term visitor visas. For more information on other forms of visas, contact the Russian Embassy or Consulate nearest you (see below).

 

Business Visa

Business visas in Russia are supposedly issued to people travelling to Russia solely for business. However, because these visas are usually granted for one year, and are multiple-entry, sometimes other travelers apply for business visas to stay longer. If you do decide to go this route, and you get a visa for 1 year, you will have to leave Russia every 90 days and re-enter. So keep that in mind. (You may need a visa to travel to the country that borders Russia.)

Many Russian businesses will sell you an invitation letter even though you will not be doing any business.

 

Private Visa

Private visas are meant to be issued to people who are traveling to visit friends in Russia. DO NOT APPLY for a private visa. Private visas must be applied for by your friends, within Russia, take forever to process, and require you to present an original invitation letter (what your friend got in Russia) to the consulate or embassy here in Canada. They cost the same price as the other visas, but take much longer. Don't bother.

 

Tourist Visa

Tourist visas are the simplest and easiest way to visit Russia. They cost anywhere between USD$50 and USD$150. (Invitation letters, a requirement, cost an additional USD$20-$40.) The drawback is that they are only valid for 30 days. (So if you are planning a long trip, get a business visa.)

 

Transit

Transit visas are valid for 72 hours (usually) and cost less than ordinary visas.

 

Requirements

To apply for any of the above visas, you will usually be required to present the following:

  • your original passport
  • a recent, passport-sized photo
  • your invitation letter from a Russian company
  • your application forms

 

Applying

You can apply in person at the nearest Embassy or Consulate (see below) or you can apply through a private company, such as CIBT. The advantage of the private company is that they will submit it for you, and you will not have to wait in line at the Russian Consulate. They submit  The disadvantage is that they charge a fee. 

Please note, if you are applying at the Toronto Consulate, they only accept applications from one company. Learn more. (Eeach Embassy and Consulate has different rules and different fees.)

 

In order to leave Russia, you will need to either retain a part of your visa or get an Exit Visa, depending on the type of visa you are granted initially.

 

Russian Embassy in Canada

Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ottawa

285 Charlotte Street, Ottawa,
Ontario K1N 8L5

Tel: (613) 235-43-41; (613) 236-14-13
Fax: (613) 236-63-42

Consulate General of Russia Monteal

4370 Boulevard Pie IX, Montréal,
Quebec H1X 2B3

Tel:+1 514 843-5901, 842-5343
Fax:+1 514 842-2012

Consulate General of Russia Toronto

175 Bloor Street East, South Tower
Suite 801, Toronto,
Ontario M4W 3R8

Tel: (416) 962 8911
Fax:(416) 962 6611

Consulate General of Russia Vancouver

1015 Eyremount Drive, Vancouver,
British Columbia V7S 2B4

Tel: (604) 922-7974
Fax: (604) 922-7974

 

Vaccines and Health Information for Russia

Note that Russian medical care varies in quality and price by region. You can expect to pay American rates for emergency care in Moscow or St. Petersburg. In other parts of the country, the price may be lower but the quality will also be lower.

Vaccination or Disease Recommendations or Requirements for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Routine Required if you are not up-to-date with routine shots, such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.
Hepatitis A Highly recommended for all unvaccinated travellers, as you can get it at restaurants or hotels
Hepatitis B Recommended for all unvaccinated travellers who will have sex, get a tattoo or receive medical care while in Russia
Japanese Encephalitis Only recommended to those traveling to southeastern Russia (i.e. Vladivostok area) in the summer months
Rabies Recommended if
  • you will be camping or doing other adventure travel outdoors;
  • you will be working with animals;
  • you plan to stay in Russia a long time;
  • you are a child.

Get Vaccinated

 

Travel Alerts for Russia

 

Calling Russia

  • The exit code for Canada is 011
  • The country code for Russia is 7
  • For landlines, dial 011 – 7 – 3-digit area code – 7-digit local number
  • For cell phones, dial 011 - 7 - 9xx - 7 digit local number

 

Area Codes for Major Russian Centres (landlines)

Arkhangelsk 8182 Krasnoyarsk 391 Samara 846
Astrakhan 8512 Kurgan 3522 St. Petersburg 812
Barnaul 3852 Kursk 4712 Saratov 8452
Belgorod 4722 Lipetsk 4742 Smolensk 4812
Bryansk 4832 Magnitogorsk 3519 Stavropol 8652
Cheboksary 8352 Mahachkala 8722 Surgut 3462
Chelyabinsk 3512 Moscow 495/499 Tolyatti 8482
Cherepovets 8202 Murmansk 8152 Tomsk 3822
Chita 3022 Naberezhnye Chelny 8552 Tula 4872
Ekaterinburg 343 Nizhny Novgorod 831 Tver 4822
Irkutsk 3952 Nizhny Tagil 3435 Tyumen 3452
Ivanovo 4932 Novokuznetsk 3843 Ufa 347
Izhevsk 3412 Novosibirsk 383 Ulan-Ude 3012
Kaliningrad 4012 Omsk 3812 Ulyanovsk 8422
Kaluga 4842 Orel 4862 Vladimir 4922
Kazan 843 Orenburg 3532 Vladivostok 423
Kemerevo 3842 Penza 8412 Volgograd 8442
Khabarovsk 4212 Perm 342 Voronezh 473
Kirov 8332 Rostov-on-Don 863 Yakutsk 4112
Krasnodar 861 Ryazan 4912 Yaroslavl 4852

 

When to Call

Russia has even more time zones than Canada, 11 total. Fortunately, Russia does not use Daylight Savings Time. The below table tells you the time difference in hours between Canada and Russia.

  Russian Time Zone Kaliningrad Moscow Samara Yakaterinburg Omsk Krasnoyarsk Irkutsk Yakutsk Vladivostok Srednekolymsk Kamchatka
CANADIAN

TIME ZONE
No DST DST No DST DST No DST DST No DST DST No DST DST No DST DST No DST DST No DST DST   DST No DST DST No DST DST
Pacific
(BC, Yukon)
10 9 11 10 12 11 13 12 14 13 15 14 16 15 17 16 18 17 19 18 20 19
Mountain
(Alberta, eastern BC, NWT, Nunavut)
9 8 10 7 11 10 12 11 13 12 14 13 15 14 16 15 17 16 18 17 19 18
Saskatchewan 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Central
(Manitoba, NWT, Nunavut, northwestern Ontario
8 7 9 8 10 9 11 10 12 11 13 12 14 13 15 14 16 15 17 16 18 17
Eastern
(Ontario, Quebec)
7 6 8 7 9 8 10 9 11 10 12 11 13 12 14 13 15 14 16 15 17 16
Atlantic
(Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI)
6 5 7 6 8 7 9 8 10 9 11 10 12 11 13 12 14 13 15 14 16 15
Newfoundland 5.5 4.5 6.5 5.5 7.5 6.5 8.5 7.5 9.5 8.5 10.5 9.5 11.5 10.5 12.5 11.5 13.5 12.5 14.5 13.5 15.5 14.5

Remember that DST runs from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November.

 

Money in Russia

Currency data courtesy coinmill.com

 

Prices in Russia

Please not that the prices below are crowd sourced and are used to represent Russian prices as a whole. Actual prices vary widely. Prices are in USD.

Restaurants Avgerage Range
Meal (Cheap restaurant) $8.54 $5.21-$12.33
Three-course Meal for 2 People (normal restaurant) $32.11 $21.67-$46.95
Fast Food $4.91 $3.68-%6.61
Domestic Beer (pint) $1.16 $0.88-$2.30
Imported Beer (bottle) $2.28 $1.53-$3.29
Cappuccino (regular) $2.15 $1.45-$3.00
Cola (can) $0.78 $0.61-$1.00
Water (small bottle) $0.55 $0.36-$0.81
Groceries Average Range
2% Milk (1L) $0.88 $0.70-$1.07
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) $0.49 $0.36-$0.69
White Rice, (kg) $0.99 $0.73-$1.29
Eggs (12) $1.18 $0.95-$1.49
Local Cheese (kg) $6.70 $5.48-$8.29
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (kg) $3.92 $3.16-$4.85
Beef Round (kg) $7.24 $5.93-$8.87
Apples (kg) $1.34 $1.00-$1.85
Bananas (kg) $1.16 $0.87-$1.53
Oranges (kg) $1.30 $0.98-$1.77
Tomato (kg) $1.88 $1.22-$2.90
Potato (kg) #0.60 $0.400.84
Onion (kg) $0.56 $0.39-$0.77
Lettuce (head) $0.92 $0.61-$1.42
Water (1.5l bottle) $0.61 $0.40-$0.87
Bottle of Wine $6.12 $4.50-$9.19
Domestic Beer (pint bottle) $0.90 $0.73-$1.09
Imported Beer (0.33l bottle) $1.66 $1.22-$2.32
Pack of Cigarettes $1.54 $1.27-$1.80
Transportation Average Range
One-way Ticket (Local Transit) $0.40 $0.29-$0.72
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) $24.26 $15.12-$36.22
Taxi Start (Normal Fare) $2.30 $1.41-$4.04
Taxi 1km (Normal Fare) $0.30 $0.20-$0.49
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Fare) $5.36 $3.82-$11.19
Gasoline (1l) $0.58 $0.53-$0.65
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) $15,680.34 $12,404.54-$19,415.15
Utilities (Monthly) Average Range
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment $93.33 $64.99-$124.11
1 minute of Prepaid Mobile
(Local - No Discounts or Plans)
$0.02 $0.02-$0.04
Internet (10 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $6.37 $4.60-$8.85
Sports And Leisure Average Range
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $35.01 $22.56-$55.47
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) $17.00 $8.76-$29.15
Cinema, 1 Ticket $5.35 $3.90-$7.00
Clothing And Shoes Average Range
1 Pair of Jeans $65.69 $40.48-$93.24
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store $38.83 $26.41-$54.23
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes $73.14 $54.35-$93.86
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes $86.41 $57.07-$124.52
Rent Per Month Average Rate
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre $521.60 $292.03-$912.68
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre $366.40 $205.07-$570.54
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre $1,006.75 $501.11-$1,922.63
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre $642.28 $370.00-$1,051.65
Buy Apartment Price Average Range
Price per Square Meter
to Buy Apartment in City Centre
$1,767.45 $965.77-$4,521.51
Price per Square Meter
to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre
$1,224.18 $700.00-$2,489.13
Salaries And Financing Average Range
Average Monthly Disposable Salary
(After Taxes)
$565.80 $367.52-$845.74
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%)
Yearly
$14.26 $12.00-$17.00

Source: Numbeo

 

Changing Money in Russia

The vast majority of money exchange places in Russia will only accept USD or Euros. If you are in Moscow or St. Petersburg, they may also accept British pounds, but outside of those two cities it is unlikely. Money changers will give you a worse rate on small bills, so make sure you bring 100s. They should accept even crumpled money or money with pen marks on it, as long as it will work in their counting machines.

 

Using Your Credit or Debit Card in Russia

Visa and Mastercard are accepted in most of the country (provided the connection is working) at major hotels, restaurants and stores. American Express is only accepted in major cities and, usually, only at hotels and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard might be better options at the ATM, too, as they are more likely to be accepted than your bank card. Locals businesses are likely to be cash-only, so you will have to take out money first, then pay.

Use these ATMs:

  • Citibank (blue)
  • Raiffeisen (yellow)
  • Barclays (blue)
  • Sberbank (green)

They should accept your Visa or Mastercard and may even accept your bank card, depending on your bank. The exchange rate offered at these ATMs is often just as good (or better) than the exchange rate you will get at the bank at home, or at a money exchange either at home or in Russia, so many people do not bring Rubles with them.

If you want to open a Russian bank account, Sberbank is the biggest bank in Russia and has ATMs virtually everywhere.

Notify your bank and credit card provider of your intent to travel to Russia or your cards could be frozen.

 

Traveller's Cheques

Don't use them.

 

Tipping

At restaurants or bars with wait staff, tip 5-15%. If there is no wait staff, tipping is not expected.

If you are on a tour guide, the going rate was USD$10 per day for the guide and driver, though that information is a few years old.

Tipping the porter at your hotel is customary - USD$1-$3 or 30-90 rubles - and tiping the housekeeping staff is also normal, 60-120 rubles, specifically left in the ashtray.

 

Russian Electrical Information

If you are using North American appliances or electrical devices in Russia, you will need an adapter and possibly a converter. Here is a typical "Shucko" outlet:

Shucko outlet by Bran [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

If your device or appliance is rated for 220-240 volts, you will just need a travel adapter to charge your device or power your appliance.

However, if it is only rated for 110-120 volts (as many North American products are), then you will need a converter in addition to an adapter, otherwise the power surge could harm your device or appliance.

 

Emergency Travel Information for Canadians in Russia

Embassy of Canada in Moscow

23 Starokonyushenny Pereulok
Moscow, 119002
Russia

Telephone: 7 (495) 925-6000
Fax: 7 (495) 925-6004 E-mail: mosco@international.gc.ca
Website: russia.gc.ca

View Larger Map

Consulate of Canada in Vladivostok

707-59 Krasnogo Znameni prospekt
Vladivostok 690002
Russia

Telephone: 7 (4232) 49-11-88
Fax: 7 (4232) 49-11-88 E-mail: can.consulate.vl@gmail.com
russia.gc.ca

View Larger Map

 

Calling Canada from Russia

  • The international code is 00
  • The country code for Canada is 1
  • Dial 00 – 1 – area code – local number

 

Area Codes in Canada

Province Code Province  Code
Alberta

403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867
BC

236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)

Ontario

226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec

418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902    

To see time differences, go back to the section on calling Russia. Russia is ahead, Canada is behind.

 

Maps of Russia

Russia in Eurasia By FutureTrillionaire (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

by Future Trillionaire / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Topography of Russia:

Topographic map of Russia By Lencer [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

by Lencer / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Russia mapped by population:

Federal Subjects by Population Density By Own work.Алексей Глушков at ru.wikipedia (Russia - blank map (2009-01).svg) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

 

Map of Moscow

Map of Moscow by Stan Shebs [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
by Stan Shebs / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
  1. Central
  2. Northern
  3. North-Eastern
  4. Eastern
  5. South-Eastern
  6. Southern
  7. South-Western
  8. Western
  9. North-Western
  10. Zelenogradsky
  11. Novomoskovsky
  12. Troitsky

 

Satellite Image of Saint Petersburg

By NASA (NASA World Wind screenshot) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

 

Driving in Russia

The short version is DO NOT DRIVE IN RUSSIA.

If you are not sure why that is, just go onto YouTube and watch some dashcam videos of driving in Russia.

If you must drive in Russia, know that the roads are usually in bad condition, the weather is often a problem (snow and sleet in the winter, fog in the summer, depending on the area) and it will feel as though nobody obeys the traffic laws (which are not consistently enforced). Accidents are common and regularly go unreported (so good luck with the rental car insurance...). If you do drive in Russia, and are not familiar with the area, you can expect verbal abuse from other drivers, minor accidents and perhaps much worse.

 

Transportation Options in Russia

Now that you're convinced you shouldn't drive in Russia, what are your other options? 

 

Rail

Russia has one of the most impressive rail networks in the world - second behind only the US in terms of total distance and  third in terms of tonnage. So if you're traveling within Russia and you are not flying, rail is likely the way to go. Russia is also home to one of the most famous rail lines and journeys in the world - and the longest: the Trans Siberian Railway. It's a journey that is worth the trip to Russia alone.

 

Local Rail

Eight of Russia's largest cities have metros/subways and/or light railways. And three more cities are building them as you read this. Cities with operating metro or light-rail systems are:

  • Moscow Metro – 12 lines, 196 stations, 327.5 km
  • Saint Petersburg Metro – 5 lines, 67 stations, 113.2 km
  • Novosibirsk Metro – 2 lines, 13 stations, 15.9 km
  • Nizhny Novgorod Metro – 2 lines, 14 stations, 18.8 km
  • Samara Metro – 1 line, 10 stations, 12.7 km
  • Yekaterinburg Metro – 1 line, 9 stations, 12.7 km
  • Kazan Metro – 1 line, 10 stations, 15.8 km
  • Volgograd - 2 tram lines, 22 stations, 17.3 km

 

Buses

There are loads of bus routes in Russia, connecting cities both near and far. And the prices are usually very cheap. Unfortunately, the buses are often in horrible condition, often having not been replaced since the 1980s. The buses are often extremely uncomfortable or dirty, or both. And because of the cheapness of the fares, there are always massive lines. If you are travelling from one city to another, rail is recommended rather than the bus.

 

Taxis

Within cities that don't have metros, buses are sometimes an option, but are often busy and in poor condition, just like the buses between cities. Taxis are more common and easier, however you should not hail a cab the conventional way, unless you like to haggle. Locals will actually flag down other locals to pay them for a ride, almost like a pre-internet Uber. There is no telling what you will pay in these circumstances.

In Russia, the normal way to get a cab is to call the cab company, which can be a bit of a problem is you don't speak Russain. You will need to get a price quote, otherwise you can expect the driver to ask you to pay much more than normal.

Either way, cabs are going to be expensive. So hire a driver if you can afford it, or use the metro if you are in a city that has one.

 

Internet in Russia

Russia has the 6th most internet uses in the world. Though originally mostly dial-up, most cities now have broadband and the number of wifi hotspots has increased dramatically. Especially if you are going to the major cities, you can assume internet access will be similar to that of the West.

 

Shopping in Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world and the options for shopping vary greatly from region to region. If you would like to see information here about shopping in Russia, please let us know by contacting us using the form below.

 

Food in Russia

For information on food in Russia, please use the form below.