30 Frequently Asked Questions about Russia

Moscow Russia is flourishing in terms of tourism. Last Christmas and New Year holidays Moscow got into TOP 5 travel destinations in the world. Tourism in Russia will grow by 20% in 2019 as predicted by the Association of Tour Operators of Russia. The country will meet over 30 million tourists and this will be a record indicator for Russia.

Here are 30 Frequently Asked Questions about Moscow, Russia, Russian people and everything else you wanted to know before visiting Russia. Our Moscow guide Nikita is covering some of them in his video that he recorded specially for you. A short 1-minute video with most interesting facts is in the end of the article.

1. Where does Putin live?

Ultimately, Putin has a lot of residences at his disposal – it is believed he has around 20 palaces, villas and residences.

The official residence of Putin has since 2000 been Novo-Ogaryovo, which is located in a forest on Rublevo-Uspensky highway near Moscow.

2. Where does Putin work?

The working residence of Putin is the Senate building (also known as 1st building) in Moscow City, Russia, but he can also use the Grand Kremlin Palace.

Previously the president could use the 14th Administrative Corpus Building, but it was demolished in 2016.

3. Is there any possibility to meet Putin in person?

Actually it is not very easy to meet the president of Russia not only for foreigners but even for Russian people.  Vladimir Putin is well-known by his security precautions, you can’t meet him just walking down the street, but there’s always a chance ;).

If you received a high-ranked honor or decoration from Russia, then it is possible since it will be Putin himself who will bestow the award on you. Another chance to see the president is to visit some important government events such as parades, football matches etc.

4. What is the average price for an apartment in Moscow city center?

Moscow today is one of the most expensive cities in the world – its not a secret. A square meter in the center is now an average of 520 thousand rubles. The most expensive options inside the Third ring road are located in the Arbat area (1 397 100 rubles per meter). Second place goes to Khamovniki with an average cost per square meter of 759 thousand rubles.

Moscow rental apartments

Arbat street in Moscow – one of the most expensive streets in Russia

5. What is the average salary in Russia?

The official statistics body GKS.ru reported the average monthly income of 31,506 rubles ($556) per person in the third quarter of 2017. In 2016, the average income per person in Russia was 30,744 rubles ($542) per month or 368,928 rubles ($6,511) annually.

In the city of Moscow, capital of Russia, the salaries have always been the highest and can be double and even triple of that in the regions.

6. What about Russian winter? Is it very cold and snowy?

Yes, Russian winter weather is cold. Average temperature is about -20 -30 degrees – it depends on the region. This cold is usually accompanied by ice and snow that may be generously dropped on the city by winter storms. A few deaths from falling icicles happen every year in Russia, so it’s important to be aware of how severe the winter weather actually is. Anyway Russian winter is a very picturesque and fantastic time. it’s surely worth experiencing.

7. What do Russian people think about USA/Trump?

Ultimately Russian people are really friendly and it is correct to say that a reservoir of good will and friendliness toward Americans exists in the minds and the hearts of the Russian people. Of course there are some overly patriotic people who hostile to America and Trump. but they are not in the majority.

8. How many people support the Communist party? / Are you sure you are not a Communist country anymore?

It takes the former role of USSR Communist Party and is called United Russia. Communist party is a branch of United Russia for old people. To attract younger voters, the party supports various Komsomols (youth organizations). In the early 21st century, the support for the KPRF fell, though it continued to be the strongest opposition party in the State Duma.

9. Is it safe to walk in Moscow at night time? Are there a lot of criminals?

It is totally okay to walk round the city during the night time. But it is better to stay in the center of the city. Central parts are the safest. According to Moscow tour guide, most of the cafes, pubs, restaurants, clubs and other Moscow attractions that open at night are located in the central part of the city. So you don’t even need to go anywhere. The best locations for night pictures are also located in the city center. You will not really need to go outside of the center at night.

Moscow by night

Is Moscow safe at night? Yes!

10. Where are all homeless people? Why is it so hard to find homeless in the Moscow city center?

You can still see them if you look closely, but officials have tried to hide them from view especially before the World Cup. Homeless people are reportedly being moved from outside train stations where they are given help by charities. Newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) reported homeless people have been warned they will be “sent to special camps” ahead of the tournament which kicks off next week.

what to see in Moscow

Is Moscow clean? YES!

11. Moscow streets are really clean and attractive. Did they make these renovations only because of the World Cup?

Not exactly. Of course Russian government paid attention on Moscow image before the World Cup but anyway it is not the only reason. During the last decade, the government is taking measures to clean the air, to plants trees and flowers, to get rid of trash and dirt, to make Moscow streets cleaner and more beautiful.

what to do in moscow

Is Moscow beautiful? Very!

12. What do Russians prefer to choose – renting an apartment or buying their own?

Everything depends on the region. In province people in most cases try to buy their own property but in Moscow the situation is controversial. The Moscow market is ever changing and growing. In Soviet times, property was state-owned and people only had the right to “use” them. Nowadays everyone can buy their own apartment but only in theory.

13. Are Moscow apartments expensive?

According to Easy Expat, prices for Moscow apartments are now among the highest in Europe, ranging from $10,700 to $20,500 US dollars per square meter in city center. So not everyone can really have their own apartment.

Mokhovaya street and Mashkov House

Moscow is a bit pricey, but way cheaper than most of Europe

14. Who was the first one – Stalin or Lenin? Why are they so popular?

Lenin and Stalin happen to be the most prominent and influential leaders of modern Soviet Union. The first one was Lenin and he totally changed the whole political system in Russia. While Stalin ruled for almost three decades and was the successor of Lenin, it was Lenin who remains the father figure and a creator of modern day communist USSR (which ended in 1990 though).

15. What is Moscow Russia known for?

Russia is known for being the largest country in the world, encompassing a total area of around 6.6 million square miles. It is situated in Northern Asia surrounding the Arctic Ocean, which stretches from the western section of the Urals to the North Pacific Ocean. Russia is famous for its rich history and cultural diversity in terms of literature, art, ballet and classical music. The country gave birth to influential and notorious world leaders, including Peter I, Ivan the Terrible, Lenin and Stalin.

Moscow is the capital of Russia, its administrative, economic, political and educational center. Moscow is known for its many historical buildings, museums and art galleries, as well as for the famous Bolshoi, Maly and Art Theatres.

Moscow sightseeing

Izmaylovo Flea Market in Moscow

16. Why did Stalin ruin so many churches and other cultural heritage?

During his time in power, Stalin had a complex relationship with religion. He claimed atheism and continuing the tradition of teaching atheism in schools and propagating the idea that religion was only damaging to a perfect communist society. Stalin initiated a nationwide campaign to destroy churches and religious property and even persecute and kill church officials.

Russian Orthodox church

Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow

17. What is people’s opinion about Gorbachov?

Opinion on Gorbachev unites Russians with different political views. Some people blame him for losing the Soviet.  Of course there are some people who are thankful for introducing perestroika, or restructuring, because for some Russians it was profitable.  But the statistics show that the majority of Russia – 42 %  – are completely indifferent to him.

18. Why is Ivan the Terrible called “Terrible”?

He was a very aggressive and despotic leader. He executed and exiled many prominent boyars on accusations of conspiracy. He made the first laws limiting the mobility of peasants, leading to serfdom. He beat his pregnant daughter-in-law for wearing immodest clothing, possibly leading to a miscarriage. He and his eldest son then engaged in an argument and Ivan struck him in the head with a staff, killing him.

19. Red Square is Kremlin?

Kremlin and Red Square are the most popular tourist attractions in the heart of Moscow, but they are separate sites. Kremlin is a historical fortress and Red Square is the most famous square in Russia, it hosts all official military parades, demonstrations and public events. Red Square is a city square (plaza) in Moscow, Russia. It separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and now the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitay Gorod.

Moscow Kremlin

Kremlin is Kremlin. Red Square is Red Square

20. Where can tourists buy cheap matryoshka and other souvenirs? What other Russian souvenirs are worth buying? Where are the best prices?

On our Moscow tours we do not recommend our tourists to buy souvenirs in the Moscow city center especially in the most common touristic places, nearby Moscow attractions such as Arbat, Red Square etc. The prices will be too high. The best decision is to find some flea markets. For example, Izmailovsky Market. The biggest and most popular flea market in Moscow sells almost every souvenir imaginable: from Soviet antiques, to paintings to Asian rugs. The further you go in, the lower the prices and the more likely you are to get great deals.

what to buy in Russian - chocolate souvenirs

Neznayka – character from Russian fairy tales

21. What is the best season for visiting Russia? When to visit Moscow?

Moscow is a very beautiful city and every season has its own charm and beauty. Anyway the most comfortable weather conditions for people who want to visit Moscow are in spring and the beginning of autumn when it’s not extremely hot like in summer and not that cold like in winter. Besides there are not so many tourists like in summer.

when to travel to Moscow

What is the best season for visiting Russia? Spring

22. Moscow where is it? What regions is Moscow Russia in? Is Moscow Russia in Europe?

The absolute location of Moscow, Russia is 57 degrees north, and 30 degrees east.  In Russia there are twenty-one republics, nine territories, five autonomous circles, 46 regions and two cities that do not belong to any single entity – Moscow and St. Petersburg. About 75% of the Russian population live in European Russia. Population density in European Russia is around 27 people per square kilometer, whereas the population density in Asian Russia is just 2.5 people per square kilometer.

23. Why is Moscow the capital of Russia? Has Moscow always been Russian capital?

Moscow used to be Russia’s capital before 1712 when Peter the Great moved the capital to his new city St. Petersburg. Moscow got its capital status back in 1918 when it became the capital of the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution.

where is Moscow

Moscow – Russian capital

24. How many people live in Moscow Russia?

City of Moscow is home to 12.19 million people which makes it the 6th largest city in the world and the most populous city in Russia. Moscow has a density of 8,5 people per square kilometer.

The current population of the whole country is about 144 million people.

Moscow private guide

13 million people live in Moscow, 144 million people live in Russia

25. Did many people visit Russia during World Cup? What nationalities came to Russia?

Quite a bit! During the World Cup, more than 1.8 million fan passports were issued (Fan ID), with which foreign guests could repeatedly visit Russia without a visa and stay in the country until July 25. Russian Fans got the most Fan IDs (980 000), in the second and third places – the citizens of China (67 000) and the USA (52 000). 44,000 Fan IDs were given to Mexicans, 37,000 to Argentines, 35,000 to Brazilians, 31,000 to Brits, 30,000 to Colombians and Germans, and 27,000 to Peruvians.

why to visit Russia

Brasil football fans in Moscow

26. Tourists from which countries travel to Russia most?

Tourists from Germany, China, Finland travel to Russia most often. Traveling to Russia is getting more and more popular among the tourists from India and Iran. The demand for tours to Russia is in Germany, Italy, France.

Moscow tour

Mexican football fans in Moscow

27. Is it easy to get Russian visa?

Depends what country you are from and what places you want to visit in Russia. Getting a visa to Russia can be a bit pricey.

However, since August 2017, Primorsky Territory began to issue electronic visas for citizens of India, China, Mexico, Japan and some other countries. For such a visa, you can visit Primorye, Kamchatka and the Sakhalin region with no visa fee. By March 2018 about 9,000 electronic Russian visas have been issued.

28. Where to meet the most beautiful Russian women?

That’s a tricky one! According to a survey of foreign tourists visiting Russia during World Cup, most beauties were counted in Sochi and St. Petersburg – where local girls charmed 23% of football fans. Next comes Moscow – girls from the capital of Russia attracted 20% of foreign football fans. Among other cities, Nizhny Novgorod is #4 (12%) and Yekaterinburg is #5 (10%).

beautiful Russian girl

Most beautiful Russian women are in Sochi, St Petersburg and Moscow :)

29. What to see in Russia?

There is whole list of must-see places in Russia. Start with TOP 11 cities that hosted World Cup 2018: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Samara, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Rostov-na-Donu, Kaliningrad, Sochi. These cities are cultural and historical meccas in Russia.

Where was World Cup 2018

TOP 11 Russian cities worth visiting: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Samara, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Rostov-na-Donu, Kaliningrad, Sochi

30. What was World Cup 2018 famous for? What were the records of World Cup 2018? Where was World Cup 2018 hosted?

This is the first time a tournament has taken place across two continents – Europe and Asia. Essam El-Hadary (45y 161d) from Egypt broke the record for the oldest player to appear at a World Cup. Brazil are the only nation to have played in every World Cup and have won the most titles (5).

Moscow Russia hosts World Cup 2018

World Cup 2018 Russian fans

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