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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 or Siberia through Trans-siberian railway mainline.
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: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.
The southern provinces of Russian Caucasus like [[Dagestan]], [[Chechnya]] (worldwide most victims), [[Ingushetia]], [[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 Russian from Central Russia. These areas better be avoided.
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 Crossings, Police, Visas and formalities ==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 in the middle of the night is fine. However you are very likely Ultimate Guide to be held when leaving the country by a land crossing, particularly if hitching out. You will most likely be required to describe your trip in great detail, and explain other passport stamps. Do not worry if this happens, just answer their questions and you will be allowed to go. €35 Russian Visa without an Agency for Most EU Citizens (eventually) Whilst hitching in Russia, the police will occasionally stop the vehicle you are travelling in to check the driver's documents. There is a small possibility that your driver will be asked about you, the passenger. This is likely to be the only time your ID is likely to be checked when hitching in Russiaexcept UK, other than at the borders. The police will not ask for too much information usually; they will look at your passport, visa Ireland and immigration cardCroatia, and they may take notes of your name and address. They will most likely not check your visa registration.  You do have to have your passport with the visa and other papers you get while crossing the border handy. A good idea is to put them in some transparent waterproof bag – the immigration card is absolutely soviet style, and will not survive even the light raining.  As a visitor to Russia, it is important to understand the registration rules. Officially, 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 though in 2011, the rules apparently changed: Now you only have to register if you stay somewhere for upwards from seven business days, i.e. nine "real" days. The registration upon arrival also isn't necessary any more. Furthermore, the new law clearly stipulates that it's your ''host's'' responsibility to register you (i.e. hotel, hostel, or potentially private hostamong others). To be sure, check with people who know what they're talking about [http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa?forumID=15&keywordid=142 such as the thorn tree forum]. Hotels are legally required to register foreign guests within 24 hours. Hostels are, too, but in practice often don't or only do for a fee. If 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 of mind that you will have no problems if the police or border police try to find any.
If ''Most Russian embassies in the EU don't require you do not plan to stay for submit an application through a long time just have some strong evidence that you have just arrived. Buy a vegan hamburger if you can find one and keep the receipt before leaving some nice town visa center/travel agent or city you pass by (make sure there is the place‘s name on it). The train or bus tickets are the best means to persuade cops you are not hanging around St. Petersburg for half a year alreadycomplete any additional steps, so you might take a short ride on a local train from time to time but it's very important to have a set of tickets marking your way. Alternatively, you might also get your visa registered check the once respective embassy's website for peace of mindtheir particular requirements.''
The border police do not often check visa registration, particularly 1. Get an appointment at non European borders, as it the respective embassy of your choice. This is too much the biggest hassle. Some regular tourists in Russia comment that of the cost and time consumption of registering a visa is too great, and prefer to hope that they are not checked when leaving. However if you entire process as appointments are caught with an unregistered visa, expect usually booked out for at least two months ahead... You'll find a 2000 Ruble fine (as of before 2011 link to the online appointment booking system on the embassy's website -it'll look something like http://paris.kdmid.ru/queue- we are not aware of how en/. Record the situation is now)appointment details.
If you are travelling anywhere North of St2. Petersburg, particularly around Murmansk and towards NorwayTwo 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 is highly recommended that you register your visa's Booking. In early 2011com, user haggismn had registration you can give them a fake credit card (using a fake CC number generator of course) and other documents checked three times you don't actually have to stay at the various military check pointsplaces or pay for them in advance. But you do need the reservations. Alternatively, you could also get an invitation through the many websites which offer it for as low as €10 (not including look up Fortuna Travel) - but the Norwegian border itself)steps above will get you one for free. ''Recent reports seem to suggest that the agency is getting wary of suspicious free visa support request, so if you're going to Russia for longer than a week, you're probably better off coughing up the €10.''
=== Border Crossing ===3. Once you've managed to successfully book accommodation through Booking.com, fill out this [https://www.saint-petersburg.com/russian-visa/free-visa-support/request/ form]. They should send you scans of the invitation to your e-mail. Print those out.
Citizens 3a. If you need a visa for over 30 days, then you have to get a "Business" visa instead of most countries need a tourist visa. It's Russia, so white lies are not out of the notable exceptions are most former Soviet states ordinary here... To get a business visa, you'll need a more expensive invitation (apart from usually between €45-80), but the visa fee remains the Baltic states) same and Israelthe same visa support companies issue these. For visas up to 180 days, a simple stamped letter over email is enough, but this really depends on the embassy. Most For a 1-year visa types require an (although it's valid for a year, one entry can only be 90 days), you'd need a formal invitationinitiated by the company via the Russian Migration Service, which is much more expensive and can take up to a month.
4. Fill out this [https://visa.kdmid.ru/PetitionChoice.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport==== [[Azerbaijan1 form]] ====The border seems exactly as you've filled out the previous form. This is the official Russian form which you'll submit to be open only for holders of CIS passportsthe embassy. Print it. Sign it. Glue a passport photo onto it (3.5x4.5cm size).
Official sources (f5.eGet travel insurance which has at least €30,000 cover. Print a confirmation. If you're good enough with photoshop you can give them something legit looking. You'll also probably need this at the German ministry of foreign affairs) say that this status changed and now it is possible also for Non CIS passport holderRussian border.
Please check 6. Go to the embassy for your appointment with all the paperwork (printout of the discussion about this. Before there is an confirmation by a traveller that crossed that borderinvitation, the status will not be updated only to "open" instead official Russian form with your signature and photos and confirmation of "disputed"insurance). Pay them €35. Wait for the visa.
==== [[Belarus]] ====7. Have fun in Russia!
The border between Russia IMPORTANT: Every embassy and Belarus is open. You will feel almost like in other parts of Europe, no border controls with an everlasting que at all. This every nationality is of course a nice time-saving fact, but it also means that you will recieve no entrance stamp to Russia.After different! Check the German embassy was creative enough to recommend to go to an airport and ask random police for an entrance stamp, the ministry of foreign affairs in Moscow confirmed that this is no problem for an overland traveller on another border and at the crossing to Kazakhstan nobody asked about the missing stamp.website before following these steps as there may be extra requirements not covered here!
==== [[People's_Republic_of_China|China]] =E-Visa ===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 coldStarting from July 1, 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 2019 people from China is a similar process, however you will probably not be interrogated. ==== [[Estonia]] ====It is possible many countries can get electronic visa to cross enter the border by foot. ==== [[Finland]] ====* [[Torfyanovka-Valimaa border crossing‎]]* [[Brusnichnoe-Nuijamaa border crossing]] ==== [[Georgia]] ====The [[Verkhny Lars-Darial Gorge border crossing|Verkhny Lars - Darial Gorge crossingFar Eastern Federal District]] 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. === [[Kazakhstan]] ===  ==== [[Latvia]] ====It's no problem to walk over the checkpoints between Latvia and Russia.* [[Terehova-Zasitino border crossing]], towards [[Riga]]  ==== [[Lithuania]] ==== No border from Lithuania to the main land of Russia (so you have to go via Latvia), but there are several border crossings between Lithuania and Russia's [[Kaliningrad Oblast]] * [[Chernyshevskoye-Kybartai border crossing]] ==== [[Mongolia]] ==== ==== [[North_Korea|North Korea]] ====As there is currently no chance for independent travelling/hitch hiking in North Korea, there is also no possibility to cross the border by hitch hiking==== [[Norway]] ====The high amount of security between Murmansk and the border with Norway e-visa 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 free and registration are in order (they will be checked)lasts only for eight days. The army may also assist you in getting a ride at the military check points. If you are leaving Russia, prepare to Rules for these visas can be interrogated at the Russian side of found on the border about your journey. ==== official website [[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]])https://evisa. Make sure that the border crossing is working before attempting to use itkdmid. The big gate on the M2ru/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.
== Cities ==
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.
 
== Sleeping ==
As for 2014, a traveller may find at least 2 or 3 hostels in any city with population higher than 400k population. The average price is about 500 rubles (in some towns it may go as low as 300 RUR). Quality and amount of hostels in Moscow and St. Perersburg are renown for bad quality and high prices. Hostel network is gradually spreading over the country. To find both accommodation and company, you can also 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 even if they see you, since nature-tourism is still quite popular in Russia.
 
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}}
 
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