Time zone: Moscow and St Petersburg + 3 (GMT + 4 during the summer) Other regions vary.
Telephone services: Country Code: 7
Outgoing Code: 810; in smaller cities international calls may have to go through the operator.
Emergency telephone numbers: Fire – 01; Police – 02; Ambulance – 03
Tourist information: Intourist Travel Limited; Intourist House; 219 Marsh Wall; London E14 9PD Tel: (020) 7538 8600 Fax: (020) 7538 5967.
Passport information: Valid passport required by all except for nationals Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Hungary; North Korea; Mongolia; Poland Romania; Slovak Republic; Vietnam and Yugoslavia. Return Ticket required. Requirements may be subject to short-term change. Contact the relevant authority before departure. All travellers are advised to contact the nearest Russian Embassy or Consulate for up to date details.
Visa information: Required by all except nationals of Bulgaria; CIS; Cuba; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Hungary; North Korea; Mongolia; Poland; Romania; Slovak Republic and Vietnam.
Health information: Polio; Typhoid: Vaccination recommended
Other Health Risks: Cholera has been reported in Daghestan. Rabies is present.
Food & drink: Water is untreated and not safe to drink.
Currency: Rouble (Rub) = 100 Kopeks Exchange: Only at official bureaux. All transactions must be recorded on the CURRENCY declaration form issued on arrival. It is wise to keep all your receipts. NOTE Import and Export of local currency is prohibited; all remaining local currency must be reconverted on departure.
All major credit cards are accepted. Travellers cheques are preferred to cash but you should also take some hard cash. US dollar cheques are recommended.
ATM availability: Over 350 locations
Cost of living: Moderate to expensive; since the change to free-market economy
Languages: Russian. English; French or German are spoken by some people
Weather: North and Central European Russia – Variable climate. Summer sunshine may be up to 9 hours a day whilst winters can be very cold. Siberia- Very cold winter with the possibility of pleasant summers. There is considerably seasonal temperature variation. Summers are usually short and wet. Southern European Russia – Winters are shorter than in the North.
Electricity: 220 volts AC; 50 Hz.
Post: Airmail to Western Europe takes over 10 days
Transport: AIR: Aeroflot runs services from Moscow to major cities. RIVER: Many companies offer cruises along several rivers. The Volga towns; The Golden Ring and Moscow – St Petersburg are popular routes. RAIL: The rail system is a vital part of the infrastructure due to the poor road system. Only a few long distance routes are open to use by visitors and reservations must be made on all journeys. NOTE: Do not leave possessions unattended at nay time. OAD: The European part of the Russian Federation depends heavily on it’s road network. The few roads in Siberia and further East are impassable during the winter. It is worthwhile to plan your route in advance and arrange motoring holidays through Intourist or another reputable agency.
Special information: EXTREME RISK: The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel to Chechen Republic and some other areas, check with FCO. Each specific region has its own code of dress and traditions which may be different to those in the West. NOTE: Carry ID at all times. Incidents of violent mugging; theft and pick pocketing in all cities continue to occur. Keep all valuables out of sight.