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Russia

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'''Russia''' is the largest country on Earth, and is a fantastic country for hitch hiking. It is well ingrained within the country's culture, and it is a much more comfortable way to see the country, compared to taking the train. Despite the popularity of hitch hiking compared to other countries, people will still be surprised by what you are doing. Especially if you are (and look like) a foreigner.
It is possible to cover vast distances per day when hitching, greater than 1000 km if you are lucky, but generally only when using major M roads in Western Russia. Do not expect all M roads to be dual carriageways – sometimes even a major road is a narrow, unpaved muddy patch. Generally speaking, the further East you go, the worse the road condition gets. There are real motorways, though, marked with a green sign of an autobahn same as in Europe. Standards are improving too; there is an ongoing policy of funding the rebuilding many roads in Russia, which will bring standards to a much higher levelor Siberia through Trans-siberian railway mainline.
Because you can get dropped off and immediately hitch onwards on nearly == Roads ==Do not expect all M roads in Russia, using to be dual carriageways – sometimes even a sign major road is never necessary and in fact a narrow, unpaved muddy patch. Generally speaking, the further East you go, the worse the community recommends against itroad condition gets. In spite of the country's sizeBut even on main connections in less remote areas, there are very few roadsfor example from Moscow to Kazan, here there the road is little ambiguity not always in where you could be goinggood shape in connection with the huge traffic, when hitching from a given location. Hitchhiking travelling will take much more time than in Russian is called ''Автостоп'' (avtostop)Western Europe. It literally means “car stopping”There are real motorways, and is basically the only word understood though, marked with a green sign of an autobahn same as hitching (iin Europe.e. travelling by getting lifts for free).When people ask you anywhere in russia: куда ты едешь? (where Standards are you going to?) you should answer: я поеду в автостопом (ya payedu v avtastopom) then they will ask you another question and this time you say the name improving too; there is an ongoing policy of funding the cityrebuilding many roads in Russia, which will bring standards to a much higher level.
In spite of popular belief about the dangers of Russiacountry's size, and perceived problems with the policethere are very few roads, as a hitch hiker you will more than likely have no problem there is little ambiguity in the country. Police will usually not bother where you at allcould be going, even if they know when hitching from a given location. In areas about 50 km from cities you are a foreigner (except at may just stay on the border - that is another matter), road and as long as you take the usual precautions, you will not find yourself in danger from any person - get rides with high success which other cities the cold however, in winter time, is a much bigger issueroads go to. Being offered copious amounts of alcohol can also be a problem!
=== Maps ===
In mostly all bigger book stores in Russia one can find the [http://www.allmaps.ru/avto_km_stolb/russia/ Автоатлас России] (''Auto Atlas Russia'') which is perfect for hitchhiking Russia. Including gas stations, DPS stations, even traffic lights along main roads. The atlas also includes city maps and maps of Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and the Baltic states as well. Price is 377 RUB (July 2009).
Also, there are maps almost completely presenting full infrastructure of some cities including public transportation system at [http://www.2gis.ru/ 2gis.ru]. November, 1st 2009 there were 22 cities: Астрахань, Барнаул, Бийск, Екатеринбург, Иркутск, Казань, Кемерово ,Красноярск ,Курган, Нижневартовск, Нижний Новгород, Новокузнецк, Новосибирск, Одесса, Омск, Пермь, Самара, Тольятти, Томск, Тюмень, Уфа, Челябинск. U can use on-line version or download installer and use maps off-line. Also there is opportunity to use 2gis on Windows Mobile platform and even on usual cellphone with Java MIDP-2 engine (needs internet access). A more modern alternative is Maps.me, as it has offline maps and shows gas stations. (Most platforms) Another alternative Application to MapsMe is Yandex Maps. It's like Russian Goole maps. You can download offline maps there and find every address or public transport.(July 2019) == Hitching ==Also, there is a possibility to get a lift by talking to drivers on gas stations. You will not be misunderstood but since there are almost no highways and you can point your thumb anywhere, wasting time on a gas station waiting for cars is not preferred unless there is heavy raining, or the spot is bad etc. If there are two of you one can hitch on the road and the other one ask people on nearby gas station; that really might bring you a lift faster. But the “default” method of hitchhiking in Russia is still thumbing on the roadside. If you don't speak the language, thumbing is better - as people will just drive towards your direction and you can join them. Do not write places names on cardboards – nobody in this country cares to read them. Or, if you still want to use the paper, write a region number instead of the name (see below for a list of reg numbers). Because you can get dropped off and immediately hitch onwards on nearly all roads in Russia, using a sign is never necessary and in fact the community recommends against it. Again, in spite of the country's size, there are very few roads, there is little ambiguity in where you could be going, when hitching from a given location. You must take a raincoat (it sometimes rains in summer and very often in autumn), good shoes, a warm jumper for summer (the winter starts in October), some cash (and not credit cards or cheques), perhaps a tent with a sleeping bag. === Trains, Boats, etc ===taken from a post on squattheplanet forum: "In Siberia, it is apparently common and easy (and ALLOWED) to hitch-hiking on cargo ships and freight trains, in the unit. Trains are not manifested ahead of time, but instead are done on a day-to-day basis (CHAOS?!). This means that you show up at the 'yard' (really only a load/unload with a siding or two), and ask the workers or security for the engineer/brakeman lounge. Sometmes the security will hassle you, but if you simply explain that you are a traveler, it's totally allowed! So, ask around, find a train going your way, find out when it leaves, and ask if you can hop on. You ride in the unit, which while heated (Siberia is fucking cold), has no toilet, so don't drink too much, and take a pregame dump. Ride to where you're going, simple as that! Also, every yard has a cafe for the workers, and food is apparently wicked cheap.Boat-hitching is apparently similar. Ask around, get permission, get on, and go! The only significant problem would be the language barrier, but people are absolutely THRILLED to meet travelers, especially ones from foreign lands (remember, Russia is HUGE).Additionally, it's possible to stay for a night at monasteries all over Russia. If you want to stay longer, they will usually ask you to help out with chores. I REALLY want to try this!" == Language ==Hitchhiking in Russian is called ''автостоп'' (avtostop). It literally means “car stopping”, and is basically the only word understood as hitching (i.e. travelling by getting lifts for free). A more colloquial word for it is "попутка" (poputka). When people ask you anywhere in Russia: "куда ты едешь?" (Kuda TjIE edesh?)[where are you going to?] you should answer: "я еду автостопом" (ya yedu avtostopom), then they will ask you another question and this time you say the name of the city. It might be better and more polite to ask "Вы могли бы подкинуть меня в направлении ..." (Vy mogli by podkinut menya v napravlenii ...), which means "Could you give me a lift in the direction of ...". Level of speaking English is rather low especially among people older than 40 and even not all young people speak it with a sufficient level. You might ought to learn Cyrillic script for your own convenience. It is quite simple for a person familiar with English or Greek alphabet and is learnable in 2-3 days. People, their friendliness and mentality differ much from part of Russia they are from (there are many national republics and indigenous nations), and also from the type of town (for example, notorious "monogorod" - monotowns) and by their social status.
== Safety ==
[[File:2001 Hitch-hiking in Russia.jpg|thumb|280px|left|[[User:Sigurdas|Sigurdas]] hitch-hiking towards [[Murmansk]] from [[St. Petersburg]]. Winter 2001.]]
Some consider Russian roads In spite of popular belief about the dangers of Russia, and perceived problems with the police, as a hitch hiker you will more than likely have no problems in the country. Police will usually not bother you at all, especially when they know you are not among a foreigner (except at the safest on Earth; this might border - that is another matter). You should also avoid drunk people and people who look aпgressive or might look like "[[:wiki:ru:гопник|gopniks]]". and as long as you take the usual precautions, you will not find yourself in danger from any person - the cold however, in winter time, is a much bigger issue. Being offered copious amounts of alcohol can also be true.a problem!
Some consider Russian roads are not among the safest on Earth; this might or might not be true. The concentrartion of dashing driving is higher than in Europe. Many drivers and their passengers do not fasten their belts outside cities, but you always may do it for yourself. Its common knowledge Russians like to drink vodka, but you will unlikely meet a drunken driver unless you go deep into some village area; driving drunk is heavily penalized in Russia so majority of people never wants don't want to run the risk if there is at least a single police checkpoint on the road (on all the major roads, there are many). But, just in case you encounter a car with a drunken driver inside – wave him away and wait for a sober one.
[[File:IMG 9652.JPG|thumb|200px|right|[[User:Lucysd|Lucysd]] 200 km from [[Mongolia]]]]
If the area feels unsafe you might want to hitchhike from police post to police post. The police posts situated on all highways with intervals of about 100 km. These posts, commonly called "ДПС" (Post DPS), are good places to hitchhike since cars will drive by slowly, and police is always close. Local hitchhikers swear on these police posts. You can also ask the police officers to help you get a ride which really might work. Be prepared to be asked for your ID or even run a cell-phone check (verification that your cell is not in the stolen cells database), though. Also, there is a possibility to get a lift by talking to drivers on gas stations. You will not be misunderstood but since there are almost no highways and you can point your thumb anywhere, wasting time on a gas station waiting for cars is not preferred unless there is heavy raining, or the spot is bad etc. If there are two of you one can hitch on the road and the other one ask people on nearby gas station; that really might bring you a lift faster. But the “default” method of hitchhiking in Russia is still thumbing on the roadside ;)
Do not write places names on cardboards – nobody in this country cares to read them. OrThe southern provinces of Russian Caucasus like [[Dagestan]], [[Chechnya]] (worldwide most victims), if you still want to use the paper[[Ingushetia]], write a region number instead of the name (see below [[North Ossetia]] and [[Kabardino-Balkaria]] have problems with terrorists and land-mines and it could be very dangerous for travelling there for both foreigner and for a list of reg numbers)Russian from Central Russia. These areas better be avoided.
Especially Small towns might have a small chance of being a little dangerous if the southern provinces [[Dagestan]]person differs much from locals, [[Chechnya]] (worldwide most victims), [[Ingushetia]], [[North Ossetia]] especially in the night. Villages and [[Kabardino-Balkaria]] have problems with land-minesbig town are completely safe.
=== Girls and solo-hitching ===
Somehow, Russians are still very amused by foreigners, and many report that solo traveling even extremely long distances, like Central and Eastern Russia, for a foreign girl who speaks some Russian is absolutely safe since she is treated like someone ‘from the outside’ by virtually everyone. Keep in mind that being a foreigner you are somewhat protected from some issues that Russian hitchhikers face on the roads.
=== Border CrossingsThe Ultimate Guide to a €35 Russian Visa without an Agency for Most EU Citizens (except UK, PoliceIreland and Croatia, Visas and formalities =among others) ==The general consensus is that, providing your passport and visa are in order, you will have no problem entering Russia. Even hitching in at remote border crossings ''Most Russian embassies in the middle of the night is fine. However EU don't require you are very likely to be held when leaving the country by submit an application through a land crossingvisa center/travel agent or to complete any additional steps, particularly if hitching out. You will most likely be required but it's very important to describe your trip in great detail, and explain other passport stamps. Do not worry if this happens, just answer check the respective embassy's website for their questions and you will be allowed to goparticular requirements. (eventually)''
Whilst hitching in Russia, 1. Get an appointment at the police will occasionally stop respective embassy of your choice. This is the vehicle you biggest hassle of the entire process as appointments are travelling in usually booked out for at least two months ahead... You'll find a link to check the driveronline appointment booking system on the embassy's documentswebsite - it'll look something like http://paris. There is a small possibility that your driver will be asked about you, the passengerkdmid.ru/queue-en/. This is likely to be Record the only time your ID is likely to be checked when hitching in Russia, other than at the borders. The police will not ask for too much information usually; they will look at your passport, visa and immigration card, and they may take notes of your name and address. They will most likely not check your visa registrationappointment details.
You do 2. Two weeks or so before your appointment, book accommodation through this [http://www.saint-petersburg.com/russian-visa/free-visa-support/ website]'s affiliate link to Booking.com. They give free tourist invitations to anyone who books using their affiliate link - it's important to follow the link to Booking.com from their website. As it's Booking.com, you can give them a fake credit card (using a fake CC number generator of course) and you don't actually have to have your passport with stay at the places or pay for them in advance. But you do need the visa and other papers reservations. Alternatively, you could also get while crossing an invitation through the many websites which offer it for as low as €10 (look up Fortuna Travel) - but the border handysteps above will get you one for free. A good idea is ''Recent reports seem to put them in some transparent waterproof bag – suggest that the immigration card agency is absolutely soviet stylegetting wary of suspicious free visa support request, so if you're going to Russia for longer than a week, and will not survive even you're probably better off coughing up the light raining€10. ''
As a visitor to Russia, it is important to understand the registration rules3. Officially, Once you must register your visa in Russia within 3 working days of arriving in the country, and also subsequently register again in any town or city you remain in for 3 days or longer've managed to successfully book accommodation through Booking. It is very important to understand these rulescom, particularly the formerfill out this [https://www. Many Russians are also not aware of these rules, and may give wrong advicesaint-petersburg.If you are staying in a hotel or hostel, they will usually register you, often for com/russian-visa/free; even if you are staying at some friend's you might ask their staff for help too-visa-support/request/ form]. If They should send you are being hosted by a private citizen then you can register at the post office. This process is complicated and time consuming unfortunately, but registration provides peace scans of mind that you will have no problems if the police or border police try invitation to find anyyour e-mail. Print those out.
3a. If you do not plan to stay need a visa for a long time just have some strong evidence that over 30 days, then you have just arrivedto get a "Business" visa instead of a tourist visa. Buy It's Russia, so white lies are not out of the ordinary here... To get a business visa, you'll need a hamburger more expensive invitation (usually between €45-80), but the visa fee remains the same and keep the receipt before leaving some nice town or city you pass by (make sure there same visa support companies issue these. For visas up to 180 days, a simple stamped letter over email is the place‘s name enough, but this really depends on it). The train or bus tickets are the best means to persuade cops you are not hanging around Stembassy.Petersburg For a 1-year visa(although it's valid for half a year already, so one entry can only be 90 days), you might 'd need a formal invitation initiated by the company via the Russian Migration Service, which is much more expensive and can take a short ride on a local train from time to time up to have a set of tickets marking your waymonth.
Whilst it 4. Fill out this [https://visa.kdmid.ru/PetitionChoice.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 form] exactly as you've filled out the previous form. This is not recommended, the official Russian form which you may be able 'll submit to risk not registering your visathe embassy. Print it. The border police do not often check visa registration, particularly at non European borders, as Sign it is too much hassle. Some regular tourists in Russia comment that the cost and time consumption of registering Glue a visa is too great, and prefer to hope that they are not checked when leavingpassport photo onto it (3.5x4. However if you are caught with an unregistered visa, expect at least a 2000 Ruble fine5cm size).
5. Get travel insurance which has at least €30,000 cover. Print a confirmation. If you are travelling anywhere North 're good enough with photoshop you can give them something legit looking. You'll also probably need this at the Russian border. 6. Go to the embassy for your appointment with all the paperwork (printout of the invitation, the official Russian form with your signature and photos and confirmation of Stinsurance). Pay them €35. Wait for the visa. Petersburg, particularly around Murmansk  7. Have fun in Russia! IMPORTANT: Every embassy and towards Norwayevery nationality is different! Check the embassy website before following these steps as there may be extra requirements not covered here! === E-Visa ===Starting from July 1, it is highly recommended that you register your 2019 people from many countries can get electronic visato enter the [[Far Eastern Federal District]] and the [[Kaliningrad Oblast]]. User haggismn had registration The e-visa is free and other documents checked three times at lasts only for eight days. Rules for these visas can be found on the various military check pointsofficial website [https://evisa.kdmid.ru/]. (not including the Norwegian border itself)
== Cities ==
* [[Moscow]]
* [[St. Petersburg]]
 
* [[Cheboksary]]
* [[MoscowSamara]]* [[Irkutsk]]* [[Murmansk]]
* [[Novosibirsk]]
* [[Omsk]]
* [[Petrozavodsk]]
* [[St. Petersburg]]
* [[Yekaterinburg]]
* [[Voronezh]]
* [[Rostov-on-Don]]
* [[Sochi]]
* [[IrkutskUfa]]
* [[Ulan-Ude]]
* [[UfaVoronezh]]* [[Yekaterinburg]]
Count about 5 days from [[Moscow]] to [[Novosibirsk]], and about 18 days from Moscow to [[Vladivostok]].
Russian number plates contain a region code, that indicates the origin of the car and possibly the drivers destination.
You can write it on a cardboard instead of a place name and use while thumbing. See [[Russian plate numbers]] for a list.
 
== Border Crossing ==
 
Citizens of most countries need a visa, the notable exceptions are most former Soviet states (apart from the Baltic states) and Israel. Most visa types require an invitation.
 
=== [[Azerbaijan]] ===
The border seems to be open only for holders of CIS passports.
 
=== [[Baltic states|Baltics]] ===
It's no problem to walk over the checkpoints in Latvia or Estonia to Russia.
* [[Terehova-Zasitino border crossing]], towards [[Riga]] ([[Latvia]])
 
=== [[People's_Republic_of_China|China]] ===
The crossing at Zabaykal'sk/Manzhouli requires that you are on board a vehicle. It is possible to get on board a Chinese tour bus for around 300 roubles. It is also ok to stand before the entrance to the border area and wait for a ride. As long as its not too cold, you shouldn't have any problem getting a ride. If you are not Chinese, Mongolian or Russian, prepare to be interrogated by the Russian border police about your journey. Coming from China is a similar process, however you will probably not be interrogated.
 
=== [[Finland]] ===
* [[Torfyanovka-Valimaa border crossing‎]]
* [[Brusnichnoe-Nuijamaa border crossing]]
 
=== [[Georgia]] ===
The [[Verkhny Lars-Darial Gorge border crossing|Verkhny Lars - Darial Gorge crossing]] was reopened on March 1st, 2010 and since July 2011 is open for international travellers as well. Getting into [[Georgia]] via [[Abkhazia]] is not possible. For more specific information, check the [[Abkhazia]] article.
 
=== [[Lithuania]] ===
 
There are several border crossings between Lithuania and Russia's [[Kaliningrad Oblast]]
 
* [[Chernyshevskoye-Kybartai border crossing]]
 
=== [[Norway]] ===
The high amount of security between Murmansk and the border with Norway is a relic of Soviet rule, when people could escape into Norway without fear of being deported, unlike Finland. You will find that it isn't possible to walk to the border. From about 5 km out you will need to be in a vehicle. However, hitching is no problem, provided your documents and registration are in order (they will be checked). The army may also assist you in getting a ride at the military check points. If you are leaving Russia, prepare to be interrogated at the Russian side of the border about your journey.
 
=== [[Poland]] ===
 
* [[Bagrationovsk-Bezledy border crossing]] with Russia's [[Kaliningrad Oblast]]
 
=== [[Ukraine]] ===
The country is Russia's eternal 'native brother' and, despite all the political mess that constantly happens between the two states, [[Ukraine]] is one of the countries that is very easy to enter from Russia (Russians do not even need a foreign passport to enter it, as well as for [[Belarus]]). Make sure that the border crossing is working before attempting to use it. The big gate on the M2/E95 road ([[Moscow]] to [[Kharkiv]]) can be crossed on foot, which is very convenient because you do not have to wait in the line of the cars and you wont make your driver wait for you in case you have any delays with your passport. You will have to leave the car before all the checkpoints begin, though, or you will be considered a car passenger by the border police.
 
== Sleeping ==
 
Unfortunately, Russia still lacks a large hostel network. You can find several hostels in Moscow and in St. Perersburg, and they are gradually spreading over the country; but as for now, in almost any city nothing of the kind is available. To find both accommodation and company, you can use [http://hospitalityclub.org Hospitality Club], [http://couchsurfing.org CouchSurfing] and Russian+Ukranian+Belorussian Livejournal community [http://vpiska.livejournal.com Vpiska]. The official language of the latter is Russian but you can use English as well (ask other members to translate your post to Russian in the end of your message if you like). Just post the name of the locations you are planning to stay in, or your route, the dates of your possible arrival, the number of your party, some information about you and your mobile number.
 
If travelling long distances through the country, it is advisable to bring a sleeping bag and tent. If sleeping by the side of the road, try to find a place obscured by trees, and avoid places with stray dogs. Sleeping by the road is usually very safe, provided you are not visible. Security guards and police will usually not bother you if they see you.
 
Long-distance truck drivers are often very hospitable, and many will allow you to sleep in the second bunk of their cab.
 
There are many transit drivers taking cars across the country to and from Vladivostok. You may find yourself with one of these drivers for a number of days. There have been isolated incidents where people sleeping in these transit cars have been attacked and had their car stolen, and so the drivers may want you to stay with them for their own safety.
== External links ==
* [http://010-vladok.reitsma.ru/ Story about hitchhiking from Rotterdam to Vladivostok] {{en}}
* [http://no-planes.de/?p=76/ Story about hitchhiking from Hamburg to Lake Baikal] {{en}}
*[http://youarealltourists.blogspot.de/search/label/Siberia Stories about hitchhiking around remote Siberian regions] {{en}}
* [http://hike.ru/ Russian hitchhiking website] {{ru}}
* [http://www.bpclub.ru/index.php Russian backpacker & hitchhiker's forum] {{ru}}
* [http://vpiska.livejournal.com Livejournal 'Vpiska' community], mostly {{ru}} but {{en}} speakers are also welcome
* [http://ru_autostop.livejournal.com Russian] hitchhiking communities. {{ru}}, but you can ask questions and get replies in {{en}}
* [http://takemeeast.blogspot.com/search/label/russia Hitchhiking in the Russian far east] {{en}}
 
== Nomadwiki & Trashwiki ==
 
{{nomadwiki}}
 
{{IsIn|Asia}}
{{Europe/countries}}
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