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Russian Federation

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Gorky Gorod Goda Apartment
Gorky Gorod Goda Apartment - dream vacation

Naberezhnaya Vremena Goda 3, Krasnaya Polyana

Zhemchuzhina Grand Hotel
Zhemchuzhina Grand Hotel - dream vacation

Chernomorskaya Ulitsa 3, Sochi

Izmailovo Alpha Hotel
Izmailovo Alpha Hotel - dream vacation

Izmailovskoe Shosse 71A, Moscow

Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge
Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge - dream vacation

V.O. Birzhevoi Pereulok 2–4 (Vasily Island), St Petersburg

Aquamarine Hotel Moscow
Aquamarine Hotel Moscow - dream vacation

Ozerkovskaya Embankment 26, Moscow

Maxima Zarya
Maxima Zarya - dream vacation

4/9 Gostinichnaya Street, Moscow

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Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia: An Iconoclastic History by a Recovering Russophile

Jennifer Eremeeva

“I always imagine Russian history,” suggests American writer and veteran expatriate, Jennifer Eremeeva, “on a huge, 3D IMAX screen, surround sound booming with a jumbo bucket of popcorn in your lap and huge blue drink at your side.”  Eremeeva should know: as a former tour guide and Ivy League-educated historian, Eremeeva is adept at making Russia’s complex history both entertaining and digestible for non-academics.  She strolls expertly but lightly through her material, tracing the winning formula for Russia’s effective rulers back to the Tatar Mongols: revealing why Ivan may not have been so Terrible; explaining why Catherine so totally awesome; and asserting that neither Peter the Great nor Stalin would ever tweet anything. Eremeeva encourages us to peek inside Empress Elizabeth’s baroque boudoir; she deconstructs Gorbachev’s curiously-split personality, and shows us exactly where the bodies are buried. Eremeeva’s unique fusion of humor and history, and inimitable writing style brings the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that is Russia into hilarious focus in this compact and highly readable guide to thirteen centuries of her history.Fans of Eremeeva’s blogs, columns, and her full-length book, Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow are sure to enjoy this further exploration of Russia’s soft and hilarious underbelly.  For readers embarking on a visit to Russia or an exploration of the country’s rich literature and culture, Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia offers a succinct, informative, and highly entertaining introduction to the country’s complex and expansive history.To download Jennifer Eremeeva’s recommendations for further reading about medieval and imperial Russia, the Romanovs, and current events in the Russian Federation, visit www.jennifereremeeva.com/russianreadinglist.

Russian Parks and Gardens

Peter Hayden

Garden historian Peter Hayden narrates a comprehensive history of the parks and gardens of Russia, spanning a thousand years from the first Byzantine-influenced gardens in the 10th century AD, through to the present day. Along the way, he discusses the influence of Peter the Great, who introduced ideas, plants and designers from Holland, France and Germany to create St Petersburg's Summer Garden and the great formal garden at Peterhof by the Gulf of Finland. The introduction of the English style of landscaping owed much to Catherine the Great, and British gardeners were recruited to lay out parks for the Empress and rich nobles. With a wealth of illustration and with detailed discussion of some of the most beautiful and historically interesting parks and gardens in the world, this pioneering book promises to become an instant classic.

Russian Spacesuits (Springer Praxis Books)

Isaac Abramov

This is the very first ‘inside story’ of a key part of the Soviet manned space programme, detailing the development of Soviet/Russian spacesuits. The authors, as participants in the programme, provide details of events, previously unknown in the West, including their technical development. These space suits were an important part of the many Soviet firsts in the space race – Yuri Gagarin’s flight, Valentina Tereskova, the first woman in space, the first space walk by Alexei Leonov, and the first transfer on orbit from one spacecraft to another.

All previous books on Soviet manned space flights focus on the spacecraft and cosmonaut teams. This book provides a total overview of the successful Soviet/Russian development of space suits and subsequent space walks from Vostok to MIR and ISS.

Russia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Anna King

Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships. Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include: * customs, values, and traditions * historical, religious, and political background * life at home * leisure, social, and cultural life * eating and drinking * do's, don'ts, and taboos * business practices * communication, spoken and unspoken

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Russia

DK

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Russia will lead you straight to the best attractions this diverse country has to offer.

From the majestic cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg to the sandy beaches of the Baltic Coast and from the lush Volga Delta to the snowcapped Caucasus Mountains, explore the largest country in Europe. Experience the grandeur of the Kremlin, the Palace Embankment in St. Petersburg, and the historic sights in the Olympic city of Sochi, immerse yourself in the flavors of the local cuisine, and don't miss out on the world-famous Russian Ballet.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Russia.

   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city maps each include a street finder index for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Russia truly shows you what others only tell you.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

Molotov's Magic Lantern: Travels in Russian History

Rachel Polonsky

When the British journalist Rachel Polonsky moves to Moscow, she discovers an apartment on Romanov Street that was once home to the Soviet elite. One of the most infamous neighbors was the ruthless apparatchik Vyacheslav Molotov, a henchman for Stalin who was a participant in the collectivizations and the Great Purge―and also an ardent bibliophile. In what was formerly Molotov's apartment, Polonsky uncovers an extensive library and an old magic lantern―two things that lead her on an extraordinary journey throughout Russia and ultimately renew her vision of the country and its people.

In Molotov's Magic Lantern, Polonsky visits the haunted cities and vivid landscapes of the books from Molotov's library: works by Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Akhmatova, and others, some of whom were sent to the Gulag by the very man who collected their books. With exceptional insight and beautiful prose, Polonsky writes about the longings and aspirations of these Russian writers and others in the course of her travels from the Arctic to Siberia and from the forests around Moscow to the vast steppes. A singular homage to Russian history and culture, Molotov's Magic Lantern evokes the spirit of the great artists and the haunted past of a country ravaged by war, famine, and totalitarianism.

Monino: The Russian Air Force Museum

Colin W. Prentice

This new book is a photographic tour of the many rare and unusual resident aircraft on display--including both military and civil designs--at the Russian Air Force Museum at Monino near Moscow. These aircraft have only recently become freed from the secrecy that surrounded the U.S.S.R. and can now be seen for the first time.

The book contains more than 150 color photos with detailed descriptions of the models depicted. From World War I biplanes to Concordski, many rare, exciting, and eccentric designs are displayed. The aircraft that were once the scourge of NATO can now be viewed at leisure, be they Fagots or Fulcrums, Badgers or Beagles.

The Other Side of Russia: A Slice of Life in Siberia and the Russian Far East (Eugenia & Hugh M. Stewart '26 Series on Eastern Europe)

Sharon Hudgins

Travel to postSoviet Siberia and the Russian Far East with author Sharon Hudgins as she takes readers on a personal adventure through the Asian side of Russia—an area closed to most Westerners and many Russians prior to the 1990s. Even today, few people from the West have ridden the TransSiberian railroad in winter, stood on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal, feasted with the Siberian Buryats, or lived in the "highrise villages" of Vladivostok and Irkutsk.One of the few American women who has lived and worked in this part of the world, Hudgins debunks many of the myths and misconceptions that surround this "other side of Russia." She artfully depicts the details of everyday life, set within their cultural and historical context—local customs, foods, and festivals, as well as urban life, the education system, and the developing market economy in postSoviet Siberia and the Russian Far East.Hudgin's prose shines in her colorful descriptions of multicourse meals washed down with champagne and vodka, often eaten by candlelight when the electricity failed. The author's accounts of hors d'oeuvres made of sea slugs and roulades of raw horse liver will fascinate those with adventuresome tastes, while her stories of hosting Spanish, French, and TexMex feasts will come as a surprise to anyone who thinks of Russia as a gastronomic wasteland.Readers of The Other Side of Russia: A Slice of Life in Siberia and the Russian Far East will find themselves among the guests at Christmas parties, New Year's banquets, Easter dinners, and birthday celebrations. They will experience the challenges of living in highrise apartment buildings often lacking water, heat, and electricity. Above all, Asian Russia's natural beauty, thriving cities, and proud people shine from the pages, proving it is not only a land of harsh winters and vast uninhabited spaces, but also home to millions of Russian citizens who live and work in modern metropolises and enjoy a rich cultural and social life.

Exercise a high degree of caution; see also regional advisories.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

Republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan (see Advisory)

Despite the end of the Chechen War in 2009, there remains an insurgency in the North Caucasus, during which terrorist attacks are frequent. The security situation is unstable and dangerous. Suicide bombings occur on a regular basis and targeted assassinations have also taken place. Unexploded mines and munitions are widespread. Kidnapping for ransom is also common.

You must obtain special permission from the Ministry of the Interior to enter certain areas of the country.

Republics of Karachai-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus region) and North Ossetia (see Advisory)

Tensions remain high in the border regions with Georgia since the 2008 conflict in South Ossetia, and may affect the security situation in the republics of Karachai-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia. Military operations are carried out with little or no notice, and are accompanied by travel restrictions. The border crossings to Georgia and Azerbaijan are subject to frequent, sometimes lengthy closures.

Terrorism

Terrorist incidents have occurred most frequently in the North Caucasus and in Moscow, but may happen throughout Russia.  Exercise caution in public places, particularly on public transport (including subways, railways, airports and buses), and during large gatherings and events. 

On December 29, 2013, an explosive device was detonated inside the main railway station of the city of Volgograd; on December 30, another explosive device was detonated on a public bus in the same city.  These incidents caused deaths and injuries.  Security measures have been reinforced throughout Russia, specifically in the Volgograd region. The Domodedovo International Airport and the Moscow subway system have also been targeted by terrorist attacks

Remain vigilant, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.  Authorities perform random identity checks frequently in public places.

Crime

Crime against foreigners is a serious problem. Harassment and attacks are prevalent, especially for foreigners of Asian and African descent. Some victims have died. Foreigners in the areas to which we advise against all travel (see above) are particularly vulnerable. Several journalists and local aid personnel have been killed or kidnapped. Criminals have targeted and destroyed well-marked aid convoys

Exercise extreme caution in crowds and places frequented by skinhead groups, including open markets.

Violent crime is common. Pickpocketing, assaults and robberies occur frequently and are often committed by groups of children and teenagers. Criminals employ various techniques to distract the victims, including luring people to help them. In such situations, walk away quickly. Underground walkways, public transport, tourist sites, restaurants, transport hubs, markets, and hotel rooms and residences (even when occupied and locked are preferred targets. Reduce your risk of being targeted by travelling in groups with reputable tour agencies.

Criminals may also pose as police officers, particularly in St. Petersburg. Real police officers wear a visible personal identification number on their uniforms. Avoid showing signs of affluence and ensure personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Replacing travel documents and visas is difficult, and could considerably delay your return to Canada.

Cases of drugging followed by robbery and assault have been reported. Do not accept food and drinks from strangers, and do not leave food and drinks unattended in bars, nightclubs or restaurants. Order only bottled drinks in order to minimize risk.

Bogus checkpoints may be set up in rural areas in order to commit robbery.

Traffic police may stop motorists to collect fraudulent cash fines on the spot.

Credit card and automated banking machine (ABM) fraud occurs. Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others during payment processing.

Organized crime

Organized criminal groups remain active throughout Russia, especially in large cities. Credit card fraud is one type of activity. Extortion and corruption are common business practices, including among foreign businesses. Criminals demand protection money under threat of serious violence. Report extortion attempts to Russian authorities

Demonstrations

Rallies, protests and demonstrations occur in Russia. They can lead to significant disruptions in traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Sochi Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be held from February 7 to 23, 2014, in Sochi, followed by the Paralympic Games from March 7 to 16. Events will be held in the resort towns of Adler and Krasnaya Polyana. Any high profile international event is vulnerable to the risk of a terrorist attack. In July 2013, Imarat Kavkaz leader Doku Umarov called on militants to derail the Sochi Olympic Games using any necessary means, and lifted his previous moratorium on actions of militants in Russia outside the North Caucasus. On January 19, 2014, the Ansar Al-Sunna terrorist group took responsibility for the December 2013 attacks on Volgograd (see above) and threatened further attacks if the Olympic games were to take place.

Russian authorities have announced that special security arrangements will be in place at Olympic venues, airports, border crossings and other sensitive areas. Whenever possible, limit your use of public transportation that is not affiliated with the Games. If you must use public buses or trains, be particularly vigilant and remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Russian authorities have also placed special security measures and restrictions on various items and materials, including prescription medications and medical supplies, at Olympic venues. Bring a copy of your prescription and be prepared to show it to officials.

If you are planning to travel outside of Olympic sites, be particularly cautious. There remains an ongoing insurgency in the North Caucasus, located approximately 150 kilometres from Sochi; consult our Advisories against travel to the North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Since January 7, 2014, demonstrations, assemblies, rallies, marches and picketing not associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Games in and around Sochi must be held in places or along routes approved by the Interior Ministry. This order will be in effect until March 21, 2014. This includes the nearby venues of Adler and Krasnaya Polyana. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and in all places. Avoid demonstrations, monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities.

If you are planning to travel to the Games, take sensible precautions. You should make your travel arrangements, including accommodation, transportation and purchase of sporting events tickets, well in advance using genuine and reliable sources.

Transportation

Use only registered taxis and do not share a taxi with strangers. Negotiate the price before getting into a taxi.

Road conditions vary and are often poor outside major cities. Traffic regulations are mostly ignored. Road accidents are common and pedestrians should be particularly careful. In the event of an accident, do not move the vehicle until the police arrive, even if the car is obstructing traffic. Drive only during daylight hours.

When travelling by train, store valuables in a safe place and do not leave the compartment unattended. Lock the door from the inside.

Boat accidents are common due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Safety standards differ from those in Canada. Exercise caution and common sense when using marine transportation. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Fraud

Fraud has been reported by victims developing friendships or romantic relationships over the Internet and becoming entangled in financial issues. Remain vigilant and be aware that neither the Embassy of Canada in Moscow or Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada can help you recover lost funds or property in such cases.

See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.

General safety information

Power outages and shortages occur often throughout Russia.

Emergency services

Dial 01 for fire, 02 for police and 03 for ambulance.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending time outdoors in rural areas) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Polio

There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to tick bites (e.g., those spending time outdoors in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Eastern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Eastern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Eastern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in Eastern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Standards of medical care may differ from those in Canada. A few quality facilities exist in larger cities and usually require cash payment upon admission.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Illegal or restricted activities

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.

Although homosexual activity is not illegal in Russia, a federal law has been passed that prohibits public actions that are described as promoting homosexuality and “non-traditional sexual relations”. This law could render any homosexual and pro-homosexual statements punishable. Public actions (including dissemination of information, statements, displays or conspicuous behaviour) that contravene or appear to contravene this law may lead to arrest, the imposition of a fine and deportation.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travellers, as well as their friends and families, have been targets of harassment and violence.

Taking photos of railways, bridges, dams, airports, train stations, the underground Metro system and all official buildings is prohibited. Incidents have occurred at marketplaces where Canadians have taken photos of market stalls and found themselves remanded to market police. Cameras, film and other equipment may be confiscated, and fines payable in cash on the spot may be imposed. Ask permission before taking photographs.

Identification documents

You may be fined or detained for failing to provide proper documentation to Russian authorities. Carry your original passport (photocopies are not acceptable), entry/exit visa and registered migration card at all times. Failure to provide identification documents could result in heavy fines or a jail sentence.

Traffic police

The traffic police can only stop motorists and impose fines for traffic violations. Although they can also conduct identity checks on pedestrians, they have no authority to impose fines. The same is true of police in the underground Metro systems. Only the special police of the Federal Migration Bureau have the authority to arrest, detain, and impose fines on improperly documented foreigners. If you are stopped in the street and requested to pay a fine, ask to see the officer's name and identification and to contact the Embassy of Canada in Moscow.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Russia. The ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services may be limited.

Men between 18 and 27 years of age may be subject to military service. Seek advice from the nearest Russian embassy or consulate before travelling to Russia.

Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Importation / exportation

Russia has very strict rules on the importation of medication: certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are common in Canada may be prohibited, and large quantities of any medicine will be scrutinized.

The importation and use of electronic equipment are strictly controlled. Foreigners have faced charges of espionage for possessing improperly certified GPS (Global Positioning System) devices, such as those used for geological mapping.

You must obtain a certificate from the Ministry of Culture to export items that appear old (prior to 1945) or that have cultural value. Customs officials may conduct thorough baggage searches and may arrest you if you do not have the necessary certificate.

Contact the nearest Russian embassy or consulate, or consult the Federal Customs Service website prior to departure for up-to-date information on customs requirements.

Money

The currency is the Russian ruble (RUB). It is illegal to pay for goods and services in foreign currency. You can exchange U.S. dollars at any exchange counter. Carry new, crisp bills, as well-worn or used U.S. banknotes may not be accepted. Do not rely on credit cards, travellers’ cheques and bank cards as methods of payment or to obtain cash. Traveller’s cheques can be cashed only at a few locations in Moscow, such as American Express offices. Credit cards and traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted outside Moscow and St. Petersburg. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are common in main cities.

Climate

Parts of Russia are prone to seismic or volcanic activity, such as Chechnya, the Kuril Islands and the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Spring flooding and summer forest fires occur throughout Siberia and parts of western Russia. Heavy rains caused flash floods and landslides in the Krasnodar region in July 2012, killing at least 170 people and injuring more than 320.