Country-specific safety instructions
Travel restrictions Travel to the North Caucasus: When traveling to the federal district of the North Caucasus and neighboring regions, attention is drawn to the increased security risk. In particular, travel to Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria that is not absolutely necessary is strongly discouraged.
There is a high security risk in the above regions due to attacks, armed conflicts and kidnapping.
People who travel to the above-mentioned regions despite the high risks can only count on limited help from the German embassy in Moscow in an emergency. Short-term restrictions on freedom of travel for foreigners cannot be ruled out.
The Dariali / Hoher Lars border crossing on the A 301 (“Georgian Army Road”), which connects North Ossetia (Russia) with Georgia, and the Samur crossing on the border between Dagestan (Russia) and Azerbaijan are now open again for international travel. However, capacity-related difficulties when crossing the border cannot be ruled out. In particular, however, the travel advice for the North Caucasus must be observed, see above
Entry across the Georgian-Russian border into the Georgian conflict areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia continues to be punished by the Georgian authorities as an illegal border crossing.
For the security situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, please refer to the travel and security information from the Foreign Office for Georgia.
Terrorism / crime
As various attacks with numerous fatalities in recent years have shown, attacks can occur at any time in Russia, even outside the Caucasus region. The Russian authorities have recently reaffirmed their warning of attacks and are calling for particular caution.
The general recommendation to exercise particular attention and caution, especially when there are crowds of people and when using public transport (especially the subway, bus) remains unchanged.
In the club and pubs scene in large Russian cities – as in large cities in other countries – there are nightly, partly alcohol-related crimes that can also be directed against foreign citizens and tourists (e.g. assaults, assaults with so-called “knockout drops”) Appropriate vigilance and the use of registered taxi companies is therefore recommended.
Situation of sexual minorities
Attention is drawn to recent incidents of non-governmental violence in which homosexual and same-sex couples have been attacked. Further violent attacks, especially when showing mutual affection in public, cannot be ruled out. Homosexuality is not a criminal offense in Russia, a country located in Europe according to aristmarketing. However, same-sex partnerships are not widely accepted in Russian society. The federal law against “Propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations towards minors” came into force on June 30, 2013. The law also threatens foreigners with fines of up to 100,000 rubles, up to 15 days’ imprisonment and expulsion from the Russian Federation for disclosure of information, public demonstrations and support for homosexuality.
The following articles can be imported into the Russian Federation duty-free:
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 g tobacco products (people over 18 years old)
3 l alcoholic beverages (people over 18 years old);
Perfume for personal use;
250 g caviar (canned);
Gifts and other goods up to a value of € 10,000 (only when arriving by plane; € 1,500 when arriving by land).
Note: Upon entry, a customs declaration must be filled out, which must be presented on departure. All private items brought in, including currencies and valuables, must be noted on this form. Customs formalities can be tedious if there is a precise customs inspection. The export regulations are very strict; it is advisable to inquire about the current regulations upon arrival.
Guns, ammunition, narcotics, drugs and anything that can be considered as accessories for drug use, pornography, immoral or subversive articles, photographs and printed media directed against the Russian Federation, third party items intended to be imported for that person, Animals, meat and meat products, more than 250 g of sturgeon caviar in cans or products made from them, fruit and vegetables. Details from the embassy (see contact addresses).
Theater, circus, concerts and variety shows are mostly on the visitor program. Moscow is the cradle of Russian theater. Tickets should be ordered from the service office of the respective hotel. Details on site. Most restaurants, nightclubs and larger restaurants also offer music and dancing. There are 69 casinos in Moscow. Night clubs and discos are usually open from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The official language is Russian. The languages of the ethnic minorities are also common. English, German and French are sometimes spoken.
There are numerous campsites.
Other accommodation options
There are currently two hostels in St. Petersburg, two in Moscow, one in Novgorod and one in Irkutsk. Youth hostels are usually safer and cleaner than hotels in the same price range. Reservations should be made at least 3-4 weeks in advance. There is no age limit. For more information, please contact the Russian Youth Hostel Association, St Petersburg International Hostel, 3rd Sovietskaya Street, Building no 28, RU-St. Petersburg 193069. Tel: (812) 277 0569 or 329 8018. (Internet: www.hostelling-russia.ru or www.ryh.ru)