Russia spans 11 time zones from GMT+2 to GMT+12
The national currency is the rouble. Most major banks in the UK will be able to pre-order roubles for you if you want to exchange cash before you go. If you’re going to wait to exchange cash out there, take US dollars or euros. It is, however, illegal to pay directly for things in dollars and euros in Russia. When out in Russia, only change money at banks, hotels and airport exchange bureaus.
Electricity & Plugs
220 volts; European plug so make sure you take an adapter for any UK appliances.
Given Russia’s size, opening hours vary region to region. As a general rule of thumb; shops are open from 08:00 to 19:00 (sometimes until 21:00); banks from 09:30 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 16:00; exchange offices from 10:00 to 20:00.
Due to Russia’s size and multi-ethnic population (there are over 100 languages spoken beside Russian in Russia), the media landscape is pretty unique. It is complicated further by historic state control during the Soviet Union era. Censorship was officially abolished in 1991 and since then there has been a general move towards the liberalisation of journalism in Russia. English newspapers are widely available in hotels in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 15:00. To send a letter from Russia abroad, it is recommended to translate the name of the destination country into Cyrillic script.
To phone Russia from the UK, append 00 7 to the front of the number you’re dialling (removing the first zero from the number you’re dialling). To call the UK from Russia, use 00 44 before dialling the number (again, without the first zero).
Internet and Mobile Coverage
WiFi is fairly widespread throughout Russia and access is often free, or for a minimal fee. You will, however, often need to input a Russian number as well. The easiest way to ensure consistent internet access and mobile coverage is to buy a Russian pay-as-you-go SIM at an airport of shopping mall upon arrival.