Russia

Russia

Use Normal Level of Caution
Use High Level of Caution when visiting the following provinces: Karachay-Cherkess, Ingush, North Ossetia, and Kabardin-Balkar
Avoid Travel to the following provinces: Dagestan, Voronezh, Belgorod, Rostov, Kursk, and Chechnya

The Russian Federation is located in northern Asia between Europe and the Pacific Ocean and is the largest country in the world. The population is about 139 million people. While Russian is the official language, there are many co-official regional languages.

The government is a federation with a president as chief of state and a premier as head of government. The president is elected by popular vote. The premier is appointed by the president with the approval of the Duma (the lower house).

The Russian Revolution of 1917 created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that became the world's first socialist state and a recognised superpower. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation was founded. Moving from a centrally planned economy to a free market system caused great stress in the Russian economy. After an economic crisis in 1998, reforms and tight fiscal policy, along with Russia's natural resources of oil and gas, contributed to a decade of sustained growth.

Russia is known for its many scientists and inventors, folk culture, folk music as well as classical composers, and early architecture. Russia is also known for its arts, Russian ballet and opera, literature and philosophy. Tourism has grown rapidly in recent years. Popular tourist destinations are Moscow and St. Petersburg, with sights such as the Hermitage, Kremlin, Red Square, the Bolshoi and many museums and palaces.

Currency RUB: Russian ruble
Language Russian
Capital Moscow
Recent Alerts None
Latest Alert Not Available

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Russia. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Russia through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Russia.

Japanese encephalitis

In Russia, outbreaks of Japanese encephalitis occur from July to September in the Far Eastern Maritime area of Khabarovsk. The risk for travellers of contracting Japanese encephalitis is low, but visiting this area and extensive outdoor activity will increase this risk.

Tuberculosis

Travellers to Russia are at risk for tuberculosis, including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, if visiting friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis

There is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis from Kaliningrad to Wladiwostok below 1,400 meters. The areas mainly affected are the Ural region including the districts of Perm and Sverdlovsk (particularly around the city of Yekaterinburg), the areas of Okhotsk, the Sikhote-Alin mountain range near Vladivostok in the Far Eastern region, and the Lake Baikal region. The transmission season varies, however, ticks are most active during early spring to late autumn (March to November).

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease occurs in Russia. The highest risk occurs from exposure to ticks during camping and hiking in forested areas.

West Nile Fever

Outbreaks of West Nile virus occur in Russia.

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever outbreaks have occurred in Russia.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Russia.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccine

Travellers who plan to visit this country during the summer months and hike or camp in rural or forested areas that provide a habitat for the ticks that carry the virus should consider obtaining this vaccine. This vaccine is only available in Europe.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country. Therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country. Therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine

Japanese encephalitis vaccination is generally recommended only for travellers to Russia who plan on visiting the Far Eastern Maritime areas south of Khabarousk from July to September.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Russia.

None required.

Safety and Security in Russia

Emergency Numbers

112

Personal Safety

Most visitors to Russia do not experience safety problems. However, petty crime does occur in Russia, particularly in cities. With respect to your personal safety, be cautious and always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.

Be alert to the possibility of mugging, pickpocketing and theft from vehicles or hotel rooms. Avoid showing signs of wealth and keep valuables out of sight to avoid being targeted for theft. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. Avoid walking alone at night. Do not carry large sums of cash.

Do not accept drinks or food from strangers and never leave your drinks out of your sight. Spiking of drinks with drugs is not uncommon is bars and nightclubs.

Tourists have been targeted by scams. If you suspect that someone who is not an official officer has stopped you, ask to see his or her identification. Be aware of scams, such as someone dropping a wad of cash and another person picking it up and giving you half. The person who dropped the cash or a “police officer” demands the full amount. Tourists have been forced to go to ATMs and come up with the other half of the money. If you see anything suspicious, do not help or accept anything and walk away quickly.

Many taxis are not licensed. Get your hotel to call a taxi. Agree on a fare before getting into the taxi.

Road conditions and road safety are often poor outside the major cities.

When travelling by train, do not leave your belongings in the sleeping compartment. Theft occurs on trains and the compartment locks are not secure. Never agree to look after the luggage or belongings of others or store their belongings in your compartment.

Reports indicate that in St Petersburg, well-organised gangs have targeted tourists in street crime incidents. There have been reports of bogus police officers that harass and/or rob tourists. If you are stopped, always insist on seeing identification.

Taking pictures of any military establishment or site of strategic importance (including airports) is illegal.

The Russian president has signed a law that calls for the arrest of anyone who is openly gay or supportive of gay rights. People, including tourists, can be heavily fined (up to 200,000 rubles) for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.“ The new Russian law permits the government to arrest and detain gay or pro-gay foreigners for up to 14 days before expelling them from the country. For example, illegal “pro-gay” displays could range from hand holding or gay-affirmative speech to even displaying a rainbow flag on a backpack.

Racially motivated attacks have occurred in Russia, particularly toward those of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent. Attacks tend to increase around 20 April, the anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

Terrorist incidents have occurred in Russia. Violent incidents in major cities are usually linked to criminal/business activities and are not usually directed against foreign visitors. However, remain cautious, particularly in public places, and monitor the local news reports.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid the regions bordering the Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv.

Avoid travel to the North Caucasus, particularly the regions of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, the southeast part of Stavropol bordering Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus area), and Karachay-Cherkessia due to the high risk of terrorist activity and unstable security situation.

Political Unrest

Political rallies can occur in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other places across Russia. Check media for the latest information, be vigilant, and avoid any demonstrations or public gatherings, since these situations can escalate and turn violent quickly and unexpectedly.

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