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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?" (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.
== Safety ==