Russia

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The Russian Federation (Российская Федера) is the world’s largest nation, stretched between Europe and Asia. Vast, mysterious, mystic and charming, Russia is a Country with a glorious and adventurous past, and it takes more than a trip to figure out the incredible variety of its cultural substrate. The Russian historian Nicolai Karamzin suggested that “to discover Russia, you must start from Moscow”. But still a visit of the capital will not be sufficient to understand the contradictory Russian essence.

 

Capital

Moscow (10.600.000 in 2005)

Surface

17.075.400 km²

Population

146.400.000 in 2006

Density

8,3 /km²

Currency

Ruble
1 Euro = 42.26 Ruble
1 Ruble= 0.025 Euro

Time zone

Given the vast extension of the Country there are numerous time zones, from +3 UTC to +12 UTC. Time in Moscow is + 3 UTC (+4 when winter time applies)

Language

Russian, English is not widely spoken.

Religion

Christian Orthodox with a Catholic and Muslim minority.

Entry requirements

Passport with a residual validity of at least 6 months is necessary. Check the conditions of your passport prior to departure, as the frontier authorities may deny access to people with a worn identification document. The visa is compulsory. At your entry you will be asked to fill in the Immigration Form. Within the first 3 working days the Immigration Office (UFMS) will put a stamp on your passport. Your hotel or the person/institution which invited you to the Country must notify your presence to the authorities. To get a visa and for any other information ask the consular office in your Country.
Most of foreign driving licenses are accepted, but they must be accompanied with a Russian translation and an international driving license. The Green Card and a short term insurance issued by the Russian company INGOSSTRAKH are also necessary.

Travelling with pets

Small sized pets – cats, dogs – must travel with a certificate of good health conditions, proving the absence of contagious illnesses. The certificate must be issued not more than 10 days before the scheduled arrival in Russia.

Health and safety

Both private and public health structures do not match the minimum European standards. Upon medical advice, vaccination against hepatitis A e B is recommended. Avoid drinking current water, even if it is officially drinkable. General safety is pretty good, but there are some danger zones which are best to be avoided, such as Chechnya and the Caucasian Republic: Ingushetia, Dagestan, north Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Circassia, as well as the regions of Stavropol, Piatgorsk and Mineralny Vody. Pay attention when travelling along the borders and outside big city centres.

Climate

The Russian territory is characterised by a great variety of climates, and can be divided into the following areas:
  • Arctic coast: long frosty winters and short chilly summers
  • North European Russia: continental climate, with cold winters and mild summers
  • South European Russia: temperate climate with very cold winters and hot summers
  • West Siberia: cold and long winters, mild summers
  • East-central Siberia: cold and long winters, mild summers. Extreme temperature excursion.
  • Pacific coast and Ochotsk sea: long cold winters and humid chilly summers.

Form of government

Independent from the Soviet Union since 1992, Russia is a semi presidential federal republic.

Economy

Russian economy is still based on agriculture, forestry (the territory is covered with vast extensions of conifers and birch trees) and fishing (among the world top positions). The main products of agriculture are wheat, oats, barley, rye, potatoes, followed by sugar beetroots, vegetables, sunflower seeds, Saracen wheat, flax and millet. Animal breeding is also important. Russia has a huge availability of mineral resources. One third of the world metal and fuels reserves are in fact deposited in the Russian subsoil. The lack of technologies negatively affects the industrial sector, with the exception of the aerospace industry. The key industrial sectors are transports, constructions, textile. Russia is also an important oil producer. The tertiary sector is improving, though it is still insufficient.

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V, frequency 50 Hz. Both European two-poles plugs and German plugs are used. It is advisable to bring a plug adapter.

Posts, banks and telephone

Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 17.30 pm. Banks are open from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and from 13.30 to 16 pm Monday to Friday. Mobile phone coverage is very good.
Country code:
007 (495 or 499 for Moscow)
Useful numbers:
first aid:
02
Police: 02
Firemen: 03
Roadside assistance: 495-7476666