Russia is one of the largest nations in the world, borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Its landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches. 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.
Population: 143.5 million (2013) World Bank
Currency: Russian ruble
President: Vladimir Putin
Moscow (map of Metro)
St. Petersburg (map of Metro)
How to call to Russia:
00 7 (926) – Megafon
00 7 (916) – MTS
00 7 (903) – Beeline
Currency exchange offices and banks
In all cities of Russia any bank can change currency like EURO, USD in rubles. Banks are generally open from 10 A.M. till 7 P.M. Better is to collect rubles from ATM’s, because changing currency in a bank takes a lot of time and rates are not so good as from the ATM. Everywhere in cities and even small villages you can find ATM's (cashing machines) named Bank-O-Mat recognizable on a green logo. SBER-banks are the best (Cбербанк).
You can use credit-cards at supermarkets, shops and boutiques. The VISA, MASTER-CARD and MAESTRO cards are used.
The telephone number for emergency services is 112. Dial it and wait until you hear English speaking and then follow the instructions. The Traffic signs for First Aid services and Hospitals are the same as in Europe; a blue squared sign with the Red Cross in a white background on it. You can find them in the beginning of most of the cities and also traffic signs for repair points of cars and Traffic Police (same sign with letters ДПС). In Russia we have Traffic Police and Police (Полиция=Politsia or in old terms Милиция=Militsia).
Major Russian cities have well-developed systems of public transport, with the most common varieties of exploited vehicles being bus, trolley bus and tram. Seven Russian cities, namely Moscow, SaintPetersburg, NizhnyNovgorod, Novosibirsk, Samara, Yekaterinburg, and Kazan, have underground metros, while Volgograd features a metrotram. The total length of metro in Russia is 465.4 kilometers (289.2 mi).
Moscow Metro and Saint Petersburg Metro are the oldest in Russia, opened in 1935 and 1955 respectively. These two are among the fastest and busiest metro systems in the world, and are famous for rich decorations and unique designs of their stations, which is a common tradition in Russian metros and railways.
Rules of behavior in Russia
- Bring US dollars, but only in new or relatively new bills or they won't be accepted for exchange. It is better to have bills in denominations of more than $20.You can change them in most banks, just look for the sign outside the building and watch the rates against the ruble. It is a good idea to bring an ATM/Debit card to withdraw extra amounts of cash, just be cautious of the ATM you use.
- Respect the metro. The incredible subway system in Moscow is truly an inexpensive and convenient. Don't speak loudly on the metro. It is considered rude.
- Watch out for your documents.
If you want a taxi you should use official taxi like YANDEX TAXI.
Smoking. As of June 1, 2013 smoking in Russia has been banned in offices, work zones, public buildings, schools, medical institutions, entranceways, elevators, children's play areas, on public transport, beaches, and inside or anywhere within 50 feet of an entrance to subways, airports and rail stations. The sale of cigarettes is prohibited inside a 330-feet radius of educational establishments.
Smoking is possible only in special smoke places.
- Do not assume that everybody in Russia is ethnically Russian. There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Russia. When talking to Russians it is appropriate to ask about their "nationality" and their customs and traditions different from the Russian.
- Don't use ATM's in the metro or on the street. There are many scandals with cards and pin numbers being stolen with ATM's at these locations. Use the ones in the lobbies of hotels that cater to western businessmen where the ATM's are usually guarded and uncorrupted.
- Don't be afraid to decline vodka. You won't offend anyone. Just have a religious or health excuse ready. If you do drink with Russians, know that the bottle is usually drunk until it is empty.
- Don't be afraid to try new food, customs, words or ask for help.
- Don't expect people to smile at you. It is not customary in Russia, especially in big cities, to talk or smile at strangers, so don't interpret this behavior as coldness or unfriendliness.