Q: Can I take my pet with me to Russia?
Prior to arrival to Russia, all dogs and cats must be put in quarantine for 21 days in the US. During last 14 days (but not earlier) they must get vaccination (please, consult your veterinarian) and animals transportation container must get special sanitary treatment. Upon completing these procedures, the veterinarian issues a certificate, which you have to get authorized at your local Office of the Department of Agriculture (or similar local official authority) and, then, translate into Russian. Please, note that in some cases Russian quarantine authorities may require the animal to be put in quarantine in Russia for additional 30 days.
Q: What do you recommend to bring to Russia?
Toiletries and pharmaceuticals. Suitable boots or shoes. Umbrella. Travel alarm clock. Clean and crisp bills (new banknotes are best if you can get them). Travel money holder/concealer (belt-type). Photocopy of passport and visa (just in case police stops you to verify your registration status). Warm hat, coat, clothes and gloves in winter. Appropriate-type film and battery for your camera. If using APS, be sure to bring enough film, as APS film is not sold in many shops in Russia. Heavy locks for luggage. A power converter and adaptor. Russian standard is 220 Volts AC, 50 Hertz. If bringing a laptop or other electronics from US, bring an RJ-11 adaptor for the Russian plug, preferably with two RJ-11 sockets.
Q: What clothes do you recommend to bring to Russia
In winter, with temperatures plummeting to as low as -30, it is advisable to bring a very warm winter coat, while sturdy footwear is an absolute must, as some of the smaller streets around Russia are often littered with ice, which can make getting from A to B very difficult without decent footwear. It is also a necessity to bring plenty of warm layers, scarfs, hats, while thermal underwear is also advisable. During summer, it is always advisable to bring one or two items of warm clothing as the temperature can be somewhat unpredictable, while a waterproof jacket is also advisable. The summer in Moscow is comparable with northern European summers, hot but with frequent showers. So, don't forget a sweater and raincoat. Nights and evenings can get cold even in July and August, so bring enough warm clothes. People usually dress casually, but jeans are not really admitted for a visit to the Bolshoi Theater. In churches, you should always wear clothing covering your shoulders and wrist.
In some Orthodox churches outside Moscow, females may be asked to wear a long skirt and a scarf. Shoes should be strong, light and comfortable, as you will have to walk a lot while touring around Moscow. During winter times (November - March), warm clothing is essential. During the summer months Russia is blighted by mosquitos, therefore it is advisable to bring plenty of mosquito repellent, while it is also worth checking with your doctor that you have had all the relevant inoculations that are necessary.
Q: I have heard that the entrance tickets to the museums for the foreigners in Russia are more expensive that for the Russians. Is that so?
Museum and theatre tickets are a sore subject for many foreigners because the city allows a two tier pricing system. While Russians can enter museums for just a few rubles, foreigners are typically charged $10 - $15, or fairly standard museum entrance fees for the rest of the world. Some guests understand that this is so ordinary Russians who may only earn $100 a month wont be shut out from seeing national treasures, but others decry the system as discriminatory. It is possible to have a Russian buy your ticket for you at the Russian price and try to enter on the discounted ticket. However, the people who collect the tickets are trained to find foreigners and it can be embarrassing if you are caught.
It is now possible to buy camera films in all major cities. Some of your film should be of a higher speed if you plan to photograph the interiors of buildings (example - churches), where a flash is not permitted. It is also suggested that you check the working order of your camera and have your equipment insured before departure. In the majority of sights one should pay for the special permission for taking pictures on the territory. It is usually prohibited to take pictures inside cathedrals or museums.
Electricity throughout Russia is 220 volt/50 Hz. The plug is the two-pin thin European standard. Be sure to bring your own converter as most places in Russia do not carry them.
Despite the recent rapid improvements in the telecommunications infrastructure, telephoning in Russia can be difficult and expensive. Best bet is to use the phone at your hotel or use AT&T, Sprint or MCI's USA direct services. Telephones cards are required for street pay phones, which can be purchased at subway station, newsstands, in some stores, and many kiosks.
Time is GMT +3 for both Moscow & St. Petersburg.