Questions about travel to Russia

Hello !
Sorry, I am really very busy and I am not able
to answer your questions in details. I believe that links
available via my server, in particular, via pages
http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~mes/russia.html
http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~mes/russia/travel.html
are comprehensive enough to get the first impression about
the country. So, I advise you follow all links and read all
relevant information provided there. In particular, you can find in

Questions ???
some appropriate Newsgroups where you can post your message
with questions. There is a chance that somebody who visited Russia
before will give you qualified advices. Other Newsgroups are
available via "Friends and Partners" server.
So, hear regularly news provided by the Voice of America
(in English, in Portugese and other languages), read
information provided on-line by OMRI and by other news
agencies, search the TIME and CNN links using as keywords
names of cities you want to visit. All these resources are
available via aforementioned links. If you will feel that
you need more info, you can buy a travel guide in a local bookstore.
You can also try to find New York Times issue of June 25, 1995.
In "TRAVEL" section there is the article by
Steven Erlangen "To Russia with Caution"
that provides information for those who plan to visit Moscow or
St.Petersburg. Russian newspapers report that some travellers
did not get back their luggage when they come to Sheremetyevo
(Moscow) or to Pulkovo (St.Petersburg) airports. Therefore, think twice when
you select case (trunk) in which you want pack your things. The more
luxurious is your trunk the more chances you will never see it again.
Russian police is supposed to control luggage delivery from all
airplanes to the luggage compartment in airports, but sometimes
it does not work.

> Second, excuse about my english

Do not worry. As for me, your English is quite understandable.
In Russia you will need sometimes English for ordinary
communication with people if you do not know Russian, because
your native Portugese is the seldom language in Russia.
Anyway, I advise you to learn at least some simple phrases
in Russian
(borrow from library any phrase book) and
know Russian alphabet to be able read Russian names and info.
You will not find any English "info" outside main tourist
hotels and a few restorants, so if you are planning to move
around a city on your own, you have to be able to understand Russian
names of streets and subway stations on the scheme, for example.

> I live in Rio de Janeiro and thieves and robbers are common
>here. I never mind to carry my photo equip. here and someone
> told me in Moscow and St. Petersburg it isn't different.

There is a Ph.D student from Rio de Janeiro here. I spoke
with her once and as I figured out the criminal situations are
similar there and in Russia. Perhaps, it would be dangerous to
walk with very expensive video equipment in Moscow or Petersburg
outside of common touristic arreas, but I think that regular
photo equipment will not attract too much attention. It depends
on how you behave. If you demonstrate apparantly that you are
a "rich" foreign tourist, then you can run into difficulties
if you are alone. If you are just walking and sometimes making
pictures, you will not attract much attention (keep your photo
equipment not on the surface, but inside a inexpensive suitcase).
Moreover, if the temperetare outside will be very low, then
hardly you will enjoy by making pictures very long time.
If you read _"The Russian Chronicles"_ (find a link on my
pages), then you know that 2 American journalist did not have
any troubles anywhere when they took their photos and spoke with people.
Among those people who I know visited Russia, nobody had any
problems there, but it makes sense be reasonably carefull.

> I read on some home pages that is not good to walk
> on the streets alone.

Besides what I wrote before, I can add that it is not very
dangerous to be alone, but your visit will be much more
comfortable, enjoyable and safe if somebody will be your guide.
Moreover, from personal contacts you will learn more about
everyday life. Otherwise you will leave the country only with
shallow toursitic impressions. If you do not have reliable friends
in Russia, or if you do not feel comfortable to do arrangements
via your Russian friends, send e-mail to those people who posted
there travelogoues. They may know how to do such arrangements
and may wish to share with you by their experience.

> Other told me I'm crazy if I go to St. Petersbourg in winter.
> I think in January the temperature there will be about -20 C,
> and the difference between here and there will be 60 C !!!

The January temprerature varies significantly. I remember that
in 1979 it was below -20 C, but mostly the temperature is
between -5C and -10C. Other years, winters are "warmer" and
sometimes during New Year holydays temperature rises above 0C
and even more ! Anyway, both sites will be cool... :-) NBC News Intellicast
provides 4 days forecast of weather in Moscow and in St.Petersburg.

> Do you know if is it possible to take photos without flash using high
> sensibility films into the Kremlin buildings ?

My guess that it is very difficult to take photo there without a flash.
Some of the buildings were constructed more than 400 years ago and
all interiors are very dark because either windows are very small
or there are no "Windows" at all (dark ages... :-)). In those cases
when a building is occupied by a museum lamps can shine not very bright.
Moreover, as far as I remember it is prohibited to take photo
inside almost all buidings in Kremlin. I do not know the reason.

The information above is to the best of my knowledge. I hope
to get a feedback from you when you will return from Russia.
Please share with your experience with other people on the Web.

Good luck,
MS.


Mikhail Soutchanski
Mon Nov 13 20:22:33 EST 1995

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