|Preface Last Updated: 12/16/2004
Russia sprawls across nearly one‑sixth of the Earth's land mass
(about 17 million square kilometers). It embraces a varied
topography and has every type of climate except tropical.
The Ural Mountains mark the traditional division between European
and Asiatic Russia. To the west, Russian territory stretches over a
broad plain, broken only by occasional low hills. To the east are
the vast Siberian lowlands and the deserts of central Asia. Beyond
are the barren Siberian highlands and the mountain ranges of the
Russian Far East. Great pine forests cover half the country; south
of these are the steppes (prairies), where the soil is rich and
dark. A small subtropical zone lies south of the steppes, along the
shores of the Black and Caspian Seas.
Climate is varied. Winters are long and cold and summers brief.
In parts of the eastern Siberian tundra, temperatures of -68 °C (-90
°F) have been recorded.
The Russian Federation is a multiethnic state that comprises more
than 100 ethnic groups. The majority of the population is Eastern
Slavic, but it is made up of peoples belonging to less numerous
ethnic groups, including Eskimos. Although most groups are
distinguished by their own language and culture, Russian language
and traditions are well established, with Russian the common
language in government and education.
Religion, long suppressed under the Soviet regime, now
flourishes, and examples of all major and many less widely practiced
religions can be found. The Russian Orthodox Church has grown
rapidly in stature since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, with
many adherents returing to the Church and a strong ongoing campaign
to reach out to Post-Soviet youth.
Once an underdeveloped, peasant society, Russia made considerable
economic progress under Communist rule, mainly by the force of a
centralized command economy and basic industrialization. Soviet
communism, already stagnant by the 1980s and ill‑equipped to meet
the demands of Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroyka,
collapsed by 1991, forcing Russia into a difficult transition toward
a democratic state and market-based economy.
The Russian Federation continues to seek to redefine its
relationships with its new independent neighbors, as well as its
role in the world.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 12/16/2004 2:11 AM
The Russian Federation is physically the largest country in the
world, covering 17 million square kilometers or 1.8 times the size
of the U.S. The territory of the Russian Federation covers 11 time
zones and stretches 6,000 miles from east to west. It has a
population of about 147.5 million compared with the 265 million in
the U.S. Politically, the Russian Federation is a union of 89
constituent republics, regions, and territories that enjoy varying
degrees of economic and political independence from the central
government located in the capital, Moscow.
In the 19th century, most Russians lived in small, isolated
villages, with little freedom to travel. Now, Russia is
predominantly urban. Traditionally, Russia's population, with the
exception of the upper class, has had few modern comforts and
conveniences. Enclosed by long borders, with few natural defenses,
Russians have a history of xenophobia. Given Russia's long history
of authoritarian governments, until recently few Russians had much
experience with pluralist democracy and market-based economy. New
democratic institutions established after the fall of the Soviet
Union continue to face challenges in forging political and social
currency. A dynamic private sector has given rise to a growing
middle class in and around the major metropolitan centers, with
Moscow, to a lesser degree St. Petersburg, remaining the economic
and social nexus of the country.
Moscow is the largest city in Russia and is located west of the
great Russian plain on the banks of the Moscow River at 37°73' E and
55°45' N. The city is built on several low hills varying from 25
feet to 815 feet above sea level. Moscow's short summers are as warm
as those in the northern U.S. Winters in Moscow are comparable to
winters in Chicago. Snow begins in October and continues
periodically through April, although snowfall in May is not unusual.
Annual rainfall averages 21 inches, with the heaviest rains falling
between May and October. Prevailing winds are southerly and
southwesterly. Due to Moscow's northern location, daylight varies
from 7 hours in December to 17‑1/2 hours in June. The average
temperature in June and July is 66 °F, but the summer temperatures
frequently reach the low 90s. In the winter the temperature may fall
to minus 40 °F, but the average December and January temperature is
14 °F. Though Moscow's winter air usually is dry, the wind chill
factor makes the temperature feel much colder.
St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city and the former
imperial capital, is located on a flat plain at the mouth of the
Neva River on the Gulf of Finland at 55°57' N and 30°20' E.
Established in 1703, the city is built on a series of 101 islands,
and is laced by canals and various streams of the Neva. The climate
in St. Petersburg is milder than in Moscow but is damp and misty.
Average temperatures are 64 °F in July and 17 °F in January. St.
Petersburg is famous for its “white nights”which occur in June when
the sun shines for nearly 19 hours and sunset only brings
Yekaterinburg, Russia's third largest city with an estimated
population of 1.5 million, is located near the center of Russia, at
the crossroads between Europe and Asia. It is the Russian equivalent
of Pittsburgh and second only to Moscow in terms of industrial
production. Founded in 1723, Yekaterinburg today is the seat of the
government for the Sverdlovsk region, which contains numerous heavy
industries, mining concerns, and steel factories. In addition,
Yekaterinburg is a major center for industrial research and
development as well as home to numerous institutes of higher
education, technical training, and scientific research.
Vladivostok, the largest city in the Russian Far East and home to
the Russian Pacific fleet, is an important center for trade with the
Pacific Rim countries. Closed to foreigners from 1958 to 1992, the
city now is home to many foreign businesses and consulates. The
climate in Vladivostok is milder than in many other Russian cities
due to its location on the Pacific Ocean. Winter temperatures range
between -68 °F and 25 °F.
Population Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
The majority of Russia's 148 million inhabitants is predominantly
Slavic. The Federation consists of 89 subjects, including
constituent republics, territories, and autonomous regions that
enjoy varying degrees of economic and political independence from
the central government. Moscow is Russia's largest city (population:
9 million) and is the capital of the Federation. St. Petersburg is
Russia's second largest city (population 5 million). In the Russian
Far East, the predominant city is Vladivostok, which is becoming an
important commercial center in the Federation's trade with the
Public Institutions Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Politically, economically, and socially, the Russian Federation
continues to be in a state of transition. Although constitutional
structures are well‑defined and democratic in concept, genuine
democratization continues to be a slow, but generally positive
transition. The 1993 Constitution provides for an elected President
and a government headed by a Prime Minister. There is a bicameral
legislature, the Federal Assembly, consisting of the State Duma and
the Federation Council. The President and the members of the Federal
Assembly have won office in competitive elections judged to be
largely free and fair, with a broad range of political parties and
movements contesting offices.
The most recent elections to Russia's lower half of the Federal
Assembly, the State Duma, were held in December 1999. The last
presidential election took place in March 2000. Membership in the
upper house of the Federal Assembly, the Federation Council, was
made elective in 1996. Each of the Federation's 89 constituent
republics, regions, and territories is represented by two members,
the head of the local executive branch and the chair of the local
legislature. The State Duma comprises 450 seats, of which half are
from single-mandate districts and half are from party lists. Both
chambers participate in shaping policy and enacting legislation,
though the State Duma bears the brunt of the legislative workload.
Although it is beginning to show signs of independence, Russia's
judiciary remains relatively weak and ineffective compared with the
legislative and executive branches of the government. Judges are now
only starting to assert their constitutionally mandated powers. The
country's highest court, the Constitutional Court, reconvened in
March 1995, after the new 1993 Constitution entered into force. The
Constitution empowers the court to arbitrate disputes between the
other two branches and between the central and regional governments.
It also is authorized to rule on violations of constitutional
rights, to examine appeals from various bodies, and to participate
in impeachment proceedings against the President. The Constitutional
Court, however, may not examine cases on its own initiative and is
limited in the scope of issues it can hear.
A vigorous and critical media demonstrates that freedom of the
press continues to exist in Russia. However, financial constraints
make it nearly impossible for the print and broadcast media to
survive without the support of business or political sponsors, who,
as a result, have the power to influence public opinion. Such
sponsors generally represent a sufficiently broad cross section of
the Russian political spectrum to provide a variety of points of
view on political developments in Russia. Russian television and
radio are similarly affected, but provide a narrower spectrum of
political viewpoints than the print media.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Russian research, in some physical and mathematics sciences and
in some branches of medicine, is of a high order. In history,
sociology, psychology, political science, and, even in certain
biological sciences, Marxist and Leninist preconceptions seriously
retarded the development of objective scholarship. Since the
collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian scientists have been allowed
more academic freedom, but this freedom has resulted in a serious
depletion of the country's human resources, as many Russian
scientists have emigrated to other countries, creating “brain
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Russia remains in the process of developing the legal basis of a
modern market economy. Since for several generations the economy was
ruled by a command system that prohibited private enterprise, this
task is formidable, and was exacerbated by the August 1998 financial
crisis and threefold ruble depreciation. Business operating costs
are relatively high, as are interest rates for business loans; and
tax and accounting regulations remain murky. Interpretations of laws
and regulations often vary. Reflecting this environment, foreign
investment has entered Russia at a cautious pace, albeit one that
seems to be accelerating again as of mid-2000, since the advent of
the Putin administration has been perceived as promising greater
political and economic stability. Various sources estimate
cumulative foreign direct investment in Russia through 1999 at
between $12‑$13 billion, most of which has gone into oil extraction
and food and consumer goods manufacturing. Russia's government
coffers have received a boost from taxes on higher oil export
revenues in 1999‑2000, although it remains to be seen whether this
windfall can be used to leverage the broader economy and promote the
restructuring that Russian enterprises must undergo if they are to
become more competitive.
In downtown Moscow itself, the economic and commercial transition
are more advanced than in the country at large. Western consumer
goods are generally available in Moscow, although retail and
wholesale outlets are fewer and farther between than in Western
countries. The service sector (in everything from internet service
and residential cable TV to dentistry, hotels and restaurants to
department stores and fast‑food delivery) is developing rapidly,
fueled by the inflow of Western companies over the past decade (most
of whom have retained a presence here despite belt-tightening during
the economic downturn in 1998‑99).
Automobiles Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Driving in Russia requires constant attention, as Russian traffic
regulations and procedures differ from those in the U.S. Speed
limits are seldom observed; there is little, if any, lane
discipline; and defensive driving is mandatory. Many pedestrians,
oblivious to oncoming traffic, cross the street at random, which
presents a real hazard. Streets are dimly lit at night and
pedestrians wear dark clothing that makes them difficult to see.
Although trucks are not allowed inside the Garden Ring without a
special pass, numerous trucks and outsized, overloaded vehicles
transit the rest of the city.
Embassy employees can obtain a Russian drivers license for a
small fee without taking a test. Only a valid U.S. drivers license
Accredited diplomats may import duty‑free one personally owned
vehicle into Russia. Vehicles may not be imported with the intent of
resale or transfer. Embassy personnel, regardless of rank, may
import any make of American or foreign vehicle. The Embassy
discourages importing more than one vehicle per 2‑year tour and
advises against importing older models. Parts may be hard to find,
and the cold temperatures and poorly maintained roads take a heavy
toll on cars.
Some Embassy employees purchase Russian‑made vehicles locally. In
mid‑1999, a new Niva or Lada cost about $3,500, while a Volga was
more and a Zhiguli less. Transaction time to purchase and register a
Russian vehicle is usually 7‑10 working days.
All imported vehicles should be new or in first‑class mechanical
condition to pass the strict Russian inspection requirements for
Each automobile must have at least two headlights, each with high
and low beams. Supplementary lights are permitted, including side
lights and fog lights. Front parking lights must be white; rear
lights must be red, not yellow or tinted. Front and rear turn
signals are required. Front turn signal must be white or orange;
rear must be red or orange. Each vehicle must be equipped with a
first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, and emergency warning reflector
triangle. Bring these items in your household effects (HHE)
shipment. Vehicles should have a low‑compression engine.
Russian gasoline comes in 82, 92, 95, and 98 octane. Unleaded
gasoline is widely available, and diesel fuel, although available,
is usually of poor quality. There is no need to remove the catalytic
converter unless extensive travel is planned for outside the city,
where unleaded fuel is not as widely available.
Front-wheel- and four‑wheel‑drive vehicles offer the best
handling in the Russian winter. The main streets in Moscow are
regularly plowed; however, some side streets and housing complex
parking lots may remain covered with snow and ice throughout the
winter. The Embassy recommends that employees install a rear‑window
Personnel planning to ship a car to Moscow should include as
original options on a new vehicle items such as side-view mirrors
(bring extra), steel‑belted tires, undercoating, a heavy‑duty
battery, and shock absorbers. Many employees “Moscowize" their
vehicle before coming to post by having a dealer apply extra
undercoating for protection. Remove all exterior emblems that
attract vandalism. The radiator should be protected to withstand
temperatures to ‑45 °F.
You may wish to include the following items in your HHE:
1 special cold‑weather thermostat 1 set of contact points 1
condenser 1 quart matching paint 1 set of rubber floormats, front
and rear 1 set of patches for tubeless tires 1 extra set of keys
Ship these and all loose articles separately, as well as hubcaps,
cigarette lighters, radios, and glove compartment contents, to
minimize the risk of pilferage during transport. Bring an extra set
of keys and send a set with the car. For vehicles using diesel fuel
and shipped to Russia by sea, attach a note stating “diesel only” to
the ignition key.
The following items are usually available locally at prices
comparable to the U.S.: motor oil, door‑lock antifreeze, inner
tubes, snow tires, valve caps, antifreeze and windshield solvent,
gas treatment, five‑gallon jerry cans, fan belts, oil filters,
windshield ice scrapers, snow removal brushes, aerial antennas,
locking gas tank caps, jumper cables, distributor caps, tire pumps.
Secure outdoor parking is available at the Embassy for residents
and all off‑compound housing locations. Residents of the Rosinka and
Hines complexes have covered garages. The Embassy pays fees for the
parking spaces in the secure parking lots.
Both Embassy policy and the Russian Government require that cars
be covered by third‑party liability insurance. Personnel driving to
post must arrange, in advance, for third‑party liability insurance
and, if desired, comprehensive‑collision coverage, by writing
directly to the appropriate company. The Motorpool Vehicle
Registration Office can assist employees with the local purchase of
liability insurance. Although the Embassy cannot endorse or
recommend any particular company, most employees use one of the
Ingosstrakh, an official Russian insurance company that offers
third‑party liability and comprehensive’collision coverage. Most
Embassy employees use this company. Policies may be arranged within
2 days. Coverage is immediately invalidated if a driver is charged
with drunk driving. The policy may require that covered vehicle
damage be repaired in a Russian garage. Ingosstrakh rates are based
on engine size, as measured by engine displacement. Insurance for
six‑and eight‑cylinder cars costs more through Ingosstrakh than
through a U.S. company. Ingosstrakh third‑party liability insurance
has two categories with different amounts of coverage. Most Embassy
personnel choose a combination of Ingosstrakh third‑party liability
and another company's comprehensive‑collision coverage. The average
cost in 2000 for Ingosstrakh third‑party liability insurance was
$250 for an American car.
United Services Officers Insurance Brokers, Ltd., 44 High Street,
Winchester, Hants, England, offers policies, including third-party
liability and comprehensive and collision coverage.
Clements and Company, 1625 Eye Street, NW, Washington, D.C., has
a policy that provides coverage for transportation of v ehicles from
anywhere in the world to Russia. Coverage includes comprehensive
collision and protection against marine, fire, and theft loss.
However, it does not cover third‑party liability. Clements' rate
structure is based on the U.S. Bluebook value of the car, and costs
may be somewhat lower than those of Ingosstrakh.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
The Moscow street plan is a wheel with the Kremlin and Red Square
at the hub. Around the hub are three concentric circles—the
Boulevard ring, the Garden ring, and the outer ring highway (MKAD).
A fourth ring is under construction and should be completed by 2003.
The extensive public transportation system consists of buses,
streetcars, trolley buses, and the metro. This system covers the
entire city, but riders should be prepared to contend with pushing
and shoving. The prices for riding the public transport are
constantly changing but remain inexpensive. The metro runs from
about 0600 until 0100. Stations are clean and safe, and many are
internationally famous for the beauty of their interior design.
Taxis can be ordered from private companies. Private cars can be
hailed on the street; however, the Regional Security Office advises
against this practice. Drivers are sometimes reluctant to stop late
in the evening or in bad weather, and the price must be negotiated
in advance. Always ride in the back seat and never engage a vehicle
that already has another passenger.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Rail and air transport networks are extensive, and service is
adequate on both systems. First‑class train fares are inexpensive.
The overnight train to St. Petersburg is comfortable, but there is
the danger of crime. The country's size makes flying to some of the
more remote cities more convenient than train travel. Air traffic is
sometimes unreliable due to delays caused by bad weather.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Telephone service from Moscow to the U.S. and to most European
cities is not up to Western standards, but is improving.
Direct‑dial, international calls are possible from the Embassy
switchboard and from some off-compound Embassy housing. Recently,
U.S.‑based telephone companies such as AT&T and Sprint have
established direct‑dial facilities in Moscow. International calls
can be placed by using telephone credit cards made available by
these companies. Bring a personal AT&T, Sprint, or MCI calling card
for personal long‑distance calls.
Personal fax service is available through the Embassy
Unclassified Reproduction Room. Employees who use these services
will be billed by the Embassy's Financial Management Office.
Employees' families may telephone residences or offices directly, as
many Embassy numbers are accessible by direct dialing and not routed
through the Embassy switchboard.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Personal mail may be sent to and from the Embassy via APO or
international mail through Helsinki. The Embassy usually receives
APO mail faster than mail sent through Helsinki. The APO address
should also be used for subscriptions to American magazines and
newspapers. Packages sent and received via APO may not exceed 70
pounds and 100 inches in length and girth combined. Mail is sent and
received according to U.S. postal regulations.
Prohibited items include firearms, flammable items, such as paint
and varnish, tobacco, coffee, currency, alcohol, matches, or any
other items that would not be accepted by the U.S. Postal Service
for parcel post. Use the following APO address:
Name PSC 77 (office symbol) APO AE 09721
Embassy personnel may receive letter mail and packages from
Europe at the applicable international rates. These should be
addressed as follows:
Name American Embassy (office symbol) Box M 00140 Helsinki 14,
Radio and TV Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
All media are in transition in Russia. There are now many joint
venture radio stations, with English-speaking announcers who play
America's top 40. For example, Radio Maximum, FM 103.7, is English
speaking each morning from 6 am until 10 am. The station airs news,
weather, business reports, and contemporary rock music. Open Radio
on both AM 918 kHz and FM 102.3 MHz rebroadcasts Voice of America
(VOA) and BBC programs, plus business and local news programs of
their own. Reception of these radio stations is excellent, even on
the cheaper “jam boxes.” In addition, there is a wide range of
excellent Russian radio stations on both AM and FM bands; however,
the Russian FM spectrum does not conform to the U.S. FM bands. To
receive all Russian FM radio stations, purchase a Russian radio.
Outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, a good short-wave radio is
needed to receive the VOA and BBC broadcasts. Frequency schedules
are available. The Embassy provides cable TV connections for
on-compound housing as well as for Armed Forces Network (AFRTS)
stations that are broadcasted in the American (NTSC) format. For a
monthly fee, decoders can be leased from the American Embassy
Community Association (AECA) for local cable access. Programming
includes International CNN, BBC, Super Channel, Eurosport, and
Worldnet. The Worldnet channel carries the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour
and other public TV programs.
The Russian system is SECAM. American NTSC TV's will usually
receive a black‑and‑white video signal but will not receive audio.
Bring or buy a multisystem set that will enable the viewing of
Russian programs and cable channels. A multisystem VCR is also
helpful, as this enables one to watch Russian and U.S. videotapes.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
4/30/2001 6:00 PM
An increasing number of Western newspapers is available in
Moscow. The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Wall Street
Journal, Time, Newsweek, and the Economist are available at tourist
hotels. Western newspapers arrive in Moscow the day after
publication. The American Embassy Community Association (AECA) sells
the International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Newsweek, Reader's
Digest, and other publications. Although delivery through APO can
take 2 to 3 weeks, it is the best method to ensure subscription
delivery of U.S. publications.
In Moscow, there are several English‑language newspapers for the
foreign community. Most are free and include lists of upcoming
cultural events, restaurant reviews, TV schedules, and general news
of the city and community. All of these papers contain news of the
foreign community and coverage and analysis of Russian news and
Many publications are available for those who read Russian. In
addition to the 2,000 newspapers and magazines that are published in
Russian, there is a growing number of Western publications now
available in Russian.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
The Embassy maintains a Medical Unit that provides primary care
to the official community. It is staffed by two State Department
medical officers, a Foreign Service health practitioner, a medical
technologist, two registered nurses, an office manager, and an
administrative assistant. The Medical Unit is equipped and staffed
as well as any family practitioner's office in the U.S. and services
all routine health care needs.
Moscow has three dental clinics with American‑trained dentists
and laboratory technicians. The Adventist Dental Clinic also has a
Western‑trained orthodontist on staff.
When hospitalization is needed, Michurinskiy Kremlin Clinic is
utilized for diagnostic and in‑patient care. The facility offers the
highest level of Russian medical care available and has a 24‑hour
ambulance service. In addition, the American Medical Center has
opened a full‑service clinic on a membership basis. Embassy
personnel are considered members of the Center. The international
medical center is also an option for all‑comers.
For cases requiring advanced diagnostic procedures, surgery, or
complicated treatment not available at the Michurinskiy Kremlin
Clinic, patients are evacuated to London, Frankfurt, Helsinki, or
the U.S. In the event of a medical or surgical emergency, local
Russian hospitals are used at the discretion of the RMO.
Health and Medicine
Community Health Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Although the standard of public cleanliness in Russia does not
equal that of the U.S. and Western Europe, garbage collection is
relatively dependable, and sewage is treated adequately. Public
restrooms are usually unsanitary. Streets and public buildings are
not clean, but conditions do not pose health hazards.
Moscow's water may not be adequately treated, and drinking water
should be boiled or filtered as a precaution. Potability of tap
water is assured in all Embassy housing by either in‑line filters or
distillers. Intestinal pathogens have not been a serious problem for
the Embassy community.
The Moscow area, as is the case in many parts of Russia, has the
potential for environmental hazards. No serious detrimental health
effects have been demonstrated from microwaves, NPPD, or nuclear
fallout. The State Department's Office of Medical Services takes
serious views of these environmental factors and will continue to
monitor substances and evaluate and inform personnel on this
Health and Medicine
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
During the winter, the air in Moscow, especially in Embassy
offices and apartments, becomes very dry. This sometimes causes dry
skin and aggravates respiratory problems. Dry mucous membranes of
the respiratory system are vulnerable to infection and irritation.
Respiratory infections are common during winter. The General
Services Office (GSO) provides some humidifiers for Embassy
personnel, but families with small children should bring a cold mist
Reliable food sources are plentiful in Moscow. These local
markets and the import stores offer a wide variety of foods,
including fresh, dried, and canned products. There is also a
well‑stocked commissary at the Embassy.
Personal Health Measures. All personnel assigned to Russia should
have a complete medical evaluation before coming to post. All health
problems should be cared for before arrival. This includes optical
exams, glasses or lenses, and medical and dental requirements. All
immunizations should be current, including diphtheria, hepatitis A,
and hepatitis B.
The Medical Unit attempts to maintain an inventory of drugs in
order to respond to as wide a range of problems as possible.
Although medications will be available for acute illnesses, they
cannot be provided for chronic medical problems. Individuals on
regular medication, including birth control pills, should bring a
6‑to 12‑month supply. There are many reliable pharmacies in Moscow,
and many medicines that require a prescription in the U.S. can be
obtained over the counter in Moscow. Many Western medications are
available in these pharmacies, but not all, and sometimes there are
shortages of previously available medications. The best advice is
still to bring several months' supply of any medication that is
taken regularly or needed for urgent situations.
Several optical services have opened in Moscow, but bring an
extra pair of glasses, plus the prescription. Those who wear contact
lenses sometimes experience discomfort because of the dry, dusty
Expectant Mothers. Prenatal care is offered until the 34th week.
Most women choose to have their babies in the U.S., and that is
what's officially recommended. However, other options include
Germany, England, Ireland, Finland, and some have chosen to remain
in Moscow. Women have the freedom to choose where they want to
deliver, but the State Department will only pay what it would cost
to go to the U.S.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 4/30/2001
In 1992, Embassy Moscow renewed employing Russian nationals.
However, because many positions require a security clearance the
overall number of part‑time, intermittent, temporary (PIT) and
Personal Service Contract (PSC) jobs remains high. Eligible Family
Members (EFMs) with equal or higher position qualifications are
given hiring priority over other applicants.
Vacancy Announcements are prepared by Personnel and are listed in
the community newsletter This Week in Moscow and posted on the
employment board. Department of State positions include: secretary,
administrative assistant, personnel assistant, APO clerk, GSO
assistant, mail clerk, pouch assistant, commercial assistant,
technical assistant, financial management specialist, consular
assistant, visa assistant, security engineering assistant,
procurement assistant, economics research assistant, CLO assistant
and CLO coordinator, nurse, and systems operator. EFMs may also
apply for positions with other agencies. DAO, FAS, FCS, USAID, U.S.
Customs and the Treasury Department all offer positions to EFMs.
In addition, some spouses have found work with the AECA, the
Anglo-American School, or the Moscow Embassy Child‑care Association.
When funds are available, high school and college students may work
at the Embassy during summer and Christmas vacations.
Because of the changing situation in Moscow, dependents are
working outside the Embassy as well. New opportunities include
working with airlines, joint ventures, international banks, science
foundations, or teaching locally. Approval to work on the economy
must be obtained from the personnel officer, regional security
officer, and the DCM.
Family members interested in working at the Embassy should send a
letter expressing their interest to the personnel officer with an
SF-171, Application for Employment. AECA, AAS, and MECA may also be
Personnel Office c/o American Embassy Moscow PSC 77 APO AE 09721
St. Petersburg. The Consulate General has several State PIT
positions and PSC positions. PIT and PSC positions are distributed
throughout various sections, including the Administrative and
General Services Sections. Some positions require Russian-language
capability. The Consulate General encourages full‑time employment
for dependent spouses. Part‑time schedules have been arranged with
individual supervisors. Dependents interested in employment at the
Consulate General are encouraged to contact the administrative
officer and submit a complete package of employment forms to
EUR/EX/PMO before coming to post. Spouses with prior government
service should bring a copy of their latest SF‑50 (Notification of
Vladivostok. Post has consular associate, general services
officer, and facilities maintenance positions which have been filled
by Eligible Family Members in the past. There may be other
opportunities available, depending on spouse and dependent's skills
and interests. Contact the post administrative officer for current
Yekaterinburg. Employment opportunities for spouses and
dependents are limited. The Consulate General has one PIT position
as a consular/administrative assistant. No spouse or dependent at
post has worked on the local market.
American Embassy - Moscow
Post City Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:20 AM
Moscow’s official population is approximately 9 million. It is
the center of government and plays an important role in the
country’s political, economical, cultural, scientific, and military
activity. Moscow is first mentioned in history in 1147 A.D. as
Prince Yuriy Dolgorukiy’s hunting camp. Due to its strategic
position on a north‑south trade route from Rostov to Ryazan, Moscow
was the center of trade and government in what eventually became the
As the Russian Empire expanded, so grew Moscow’s influence and
importance, until the early 18th century when Peter the Great moved
the nation’s capital to St. Petersburg. As Russia's second city,
Moscow retained its primacy only in trade, until the leaders of
Soviet Russia transferred the capital back to Moscow early in 1918.
Subsequently, Moscow more than quadrupled in population and
territory (878 square kilometers). In the past 20 years, the city’s
difficulties in housing and in supplying its large and growing
population have led to calls for limits on growth and crackdowns on
the huge “unregistered” population; despite this, Moscow and its
suburbs have experienced a real-estate boom in recent years and the
landscape is littered with newly developed and under construction
After a decade‑long lapse, the U.S. entered into diplomatic
relations with the U.S.S.R. in 1933. In 1991, the U.S.S.R. was
formally dissolved. The Russian Federation emerged as the largest of
the new independent states of the former Soviet Union. Russia has
diplomatic relations with most of the world’s countries, and more
than 100 of these maintain missions in Moscow. News correspondents,
business representatives, and students from throughout the world
live in the Russian capital. There is a heavy, year‑round flow of
foreign tourists and official delegations. Moscow's resident
American community numbers about 5,000 (including dependents),
consisting of Embassy personnel, business representatives,
correspondents, clergy, exchange students, and professors.
American tourists number about 100‑200,000 annually. Moscow
contains many attractions of interest for visitors. Those open to
the public include the famous Kremlin; monasteries and churches in
and around Moscow, as well as museums, parks, permanent exhibition
centers, and a variety of musical, dramatic, and dance attractions.
Many small towns of interest lie within a day's drive of Moscow,
including the old monastery town of Sergiyev Posad (formerly
Zagorsk), Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy's home, and the Borodino
battlefield, site of the greatest battle of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion
Moscow offers a rich cultural environment, and warrants the
enormous local pride in its treasures and traditions. Myriad museums
are devoted to the various arts, literature, music, politics,
history, and sciences. Hundreds of small churches and large
cathedrals throughout the city are open to visitors. In addition to
the famous Bolshoi Theater, with its large repertoire of Russian and
internationally famous opera and ballet, other theaters and concert
halls feature popular and classical plays, concerts, recitals, and
all of the performing arts. Children’s theater, a puppet theater, a
planetarium, and other performances geared especially to younger
people are also available. The Russian circuses with their rich
history are overwhelmingly popular with children and adults alike.
On the negative side, life in Moscow can be difficult and
stressful. Air pollution, severe winter conditions, language
barriers, chaotic rush hour traffic, and long hours at work take
their toll on even the most well-adjusted residents. Street crime is
still a problem and African and Asian Americans have been victims of
racially motivated attacks.
Moscow is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and 8 hours ahead
of Eastern Standard Time. Information about the U.S. Diplomatic
Mission to Russia can also be found on the Internet at:
Housing Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
The Embassy's interagency housing pool, with the exception of the
Ambassador's residence, consists of apartments and townhouses. All
quarters are completely furnished, including major kitchen
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
No designated transient housing is currently available. Every
effort is made to put newly arriving personnel directly into their
permanent quarters. If this is not possible, new employees are
housed in vacant units of the housing pool or in hotel apartments
until their permanent quarters are available. In such an event, the
Embassy will notify the employee. He/she may choose to come to post
separately from his/her family and have them join him/her when
permanent housing is ready.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Permanent housing in Moscow consists of 130 units located on the
NEC, 100 apartments in the city, 44 townhouses in the suburban
community of Rosinka, and 40 townhouses in the suburban complex of
Pokrovsky Hills, also known as Hines.
Housing assignments are proposed through the Housing Office to
the Interagency Housing Board (IAHB) which makes the final decision.
Moscow housing units tend to be small and rarely exceed the 6 FAM
700 maximum space standards. Housing assignments are not made more
than 2 months prior to the employee’s arrival.
Post housing policy allows the IAHB to consider special family
requirements, such as a handicapped family member or allergies when
making assignments. The following factors are not formally
considered when making assignments: long work hours, shift work,
pets, domestic staff, representational responsibilities, and
eligible family members not residing full time at post. The Overseas
Briefing Center at the Foreign Service Institute has photographs and
descriptions of the different housing options available.
All Embassy apartments lack storage space. Keep this in mind when
planning your HHE shipments. Except for the townhouses at Rosinka
and Pokrovsky Hills and 11 dedicated townhouses on the NEC, there
are no basement or garage storage spaces. In city apartments,
bicycles must be kept in the apartment and not left in the hallways
of buildings. Dog owners should be aware of the requirement to keep
their dogs on leashes when outdoors in every housing location.
New Embassy Compound Apartments. The NEC contains 130 apartments,
divided as follows:
DCM's 5‑bedroom townhouse 10 five‑bedroom representational
townhouses 22 four‑bedroom apartments 26 three-bedroom apartments 45
two‑bedroom apartments 26 one‑bedroom apartments
The apartments, designed by American architects to American
standards, are small. The kitchens and bathrooms are designed and
fitted to American expectations, and the living rooms, dining rooms,
and bedrooms are the sizes that would be expected in an American
apartment. The three‑and four‑bedroom apartments are townhouse
style, with the bedrooms on a different floor than the living room.
The 10 representational townhouses consist of a large reception
room and dining room, plus a full pantry kitchen and a guest toilet
on the entry floor; four bedrooms and three full baths on the upper
floor; on the floor below, a bedroom, two maids’rooms, a full
kitchen connected to the pantry kitchen on the floor above by a
dumbwaiter, and two full baths; and, below that, a basement with
storage. The DCM's home has a large reception room and dining room,
a pantry kitchen and two guest toilets on the entry floor; five
bedrooms, three full baths, and a walk‑in dressing closet on the
upper floor; on the lower floor, a private living room, a library, a
guest bedroom, a full kitchen connected to the pantry kitchen on the
floor above by a dumbwaiter, and two‑and‑one‑half bathrooms; below
that level is a basement with storage.
A substantial recreational facility is located on the
below‑ground concourse level of the NEC, including a pool,
basketball gymnasium, handball court, squash court, sauna, weight
room, exercise area and lounge. The cafeteria, commissary, video
club, barber/beauty salon, bank and travel agency are also located
on the NEC concourse. The Medical Unit and the daycare facility,
currently located in NEC apartments, are scheduled to move to the
NEC concourse by April 2002.
City Apartments. The city apartments are located in various areas
of Moscow. Although individual tastes vary, some areas, for reasons
of attractiveness, maintenance, and/or distance from the Embassy,
are more appealing than others. Most of the apartments are large and
close to shopping, restaurants, and frequent, inexpensive public
transportation. Some of the units were created by combining two or
three smaller apartments and therefore have unusual, but functional,
layouts. All the buildings are secure and have designated parking
areas. GSO performs all routine maintenance and renovates the units
Suburban Townhouses. In the early 1990s, the Embassy acquired 20
two-bedroom, 20 three-bedroom, and 4 four-bedroom Western-style
townhouses from an American-Russian joint venture, Rosinka. The
complex is located about 45‑60 minutes' drive from the Embassy and
is situated in a large, wooded area overlooking a lake. The units
include Western kitchen appliances, central heating,
air‑conditioning and a fireplace. Each unit has a two-car garage.
Rosinka has a state‑of‑the‑art fitness center, with a swimming pool,
sauna, whirlpool, tennis courts, basketball gym, and other
facilities. Rosinka also has a beauty/barber shop,
daycare‑preschool, video store, and cafe. Rosinka Management
provides limited free daily bus services to and from the Embassy.
Bus service is provided to the Anglo‑American School for children
housed in Rosinka.
The Embassy recently leased 40 modern, Western‑style townhouses
in the new suburban development of Pokrovsky Hills (Hines). All the
units are tri‑level and have three bedrooms and a private garage and
driveway. The development is in the city, but surrounded by forests
and parks. Commuting time by car to and from the Embassy varies from
30 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Pokrovsky Hills Management
provides daily shuttle service to a nearby metro station, from which
it is possible to commute easily anywhere within the city, including
Pokrovsky Hills is also the site of the new Anglo‑American
School. The school includes preschool, kindergarten, primary, middle
and upper school, and has a total capacity of 1,200 students.
Pokrovsky Hills Management also runs a small daycare/preschool and a
small convenience store in the development and performs maintenance
on all units.
Furnishings Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
All apartments, except for the Ambassador’s residence and DCM’s
home, are furnished as follows:
Living Room. Couch or sofa, one or two easy chairs, loveseat (if
space allows), end and coffee tables, lamps, draperies, and
Dining Room. Dining table and chairs, sideboard or china cabinet,
and draperies. China and glassware are provided only for the
Ambassador and DCM.
Bedroom. Twin- or queen-sized beds, chest of drawers, double
dresser (if space allows), wardrobes or built‑in closets, lamps, and
draperies. Many of the larger apartments at the NEC are equipped
with bunk beds in one or more of the children’s bedrooms. An
additional, limited supply of bunk beds is available for apartments
outside the NEC. If you need beds longer than the standard 6‑foot
length, bring them.
Kitchen. Gas or electric range, microwave oven, sink,
refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, and cabinets. All NEC and most
off‑compound apartments have dishwashers. Only NEC apartments are
equipped with garbage disposals. (Note: Some apartments, both at the
NEC and around the city, have a separate utility room where the
washer and dryer, and sometimes the freezer, depending on space
availability, are located.)
As is the case at all posts where housing is government
furnished, bring personal items to add an attractive and individual
touch. The following list of equipment, supplies, appliances, and
furniture shows some items you should consider shipping. Almost all
items are available locally, although prices may be higher than in
the U.S. A limited number of the items marked with an asterisk (*)
should be included in your airfreight or accompanied baggage:
Household *steam iron and ironing board (extra pads and covers)
*bed and table linens *blankets, bedspreads *pillows *bathmats
*shower curtains and curtain hangers *ashtrays and candles *strong
canvas bag (large) or basket for shopping *flashlights *wind-up or
battery-powered alarm clocks *children's lunchboxes with unbreakable
Thermos bottles *wooden and wire clothes hangers hamper throw rugs
lamps, especially halogen floor lamps clothesbags wastebaskets
pictures and other wall decorations picture hooks, wire, and anchors
for masonry walls vases mothproof bags and mothballs extension cords
small set of household tools padlocks vaporizer and/or humidifier
pet supplies plant spray and food Christmas tree lights,
decorations, and ornaments portable ice chest wide-mouthed Thermos
bottle small grill portable sewing machine with supply of fabric and
notions portable home computer with a word-processing program
assorted gifts, cards, and gift wrappers “space savers”such as shoe
boxes and tie racks artificial flowers TV tables or trays for buffet
entertaining card tables and folding chairs heavy-duty doormats
Kitchen *china and glassware (for everyday use and entertaining)
*cooking utensils *cutlery, including good bread knives *flat silver
*salt and pepper shakers *mixing bowls *plastic glasses for children
*mixing bowls *measuring cup and spoons *can opener *food storage
containers for refrigerator and plastic freezer bags *plastic
garbage bags (garbage must be disposed in tied garbage bags)
*corkscrew colander and sink strainer toaster casseroles shelf paper
electric mixer waffle iron popcorn popper coffee grinder blender or
food processor dish drainer and rack trash/garbage containers
Cleaning brushes (utility, cleaning, clothes, etc.) brooms mops
dustcloths dustpans flat sink stoppers (needed also for travel in
Infants *disposable diapers (cases are too large to meet APO
requirements, so ship adequate supplies and sizes) *baby food,
including cereals and juices, bottles, nipples, and sterilizing
equipment *strollers *large supply of toys crib playpen
School-aged Children * indoor games and puzzles * books and comic
books * large supply of toys ice skates sleds large supply of
birthday gifts with gift wrappers craft or hobby kits art supplies,
felt-tip markers washable paste, crayons, construction paper, etc.
Converter Plugs. A limited number of converter plugs, available
at low cost locally, are provided by GSO. The NEC electrical outlets
are all NEMA standard (American) 220v, 15 ampere, which take a NEMA
6-15, 2-pole/3-wire grounding, nonlocking plug. This plug has two
prongs, one of which is perpendicular to the other, instead of being
parallel. Apartments outside the NEC have two round pins, similar to
European plugs, but thinner. Outlet types vary from apartment to
apartment and sometimes even within the same apartment. All
electrical current citywide is 220v/50 Hz, although frequency
stability is poor by U.S. standards.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
All apartments have hot and cold running water. During the
summer, hot water is cut off in city apartments for a three-to
four-week period for city water pipe cleaning. These apartments have
small water heaters installed for the annual hot-water outages.
Heating is more than adequate, but the Embassy provides space
heaters and insulation materials to seal windows during winter. Heat
is centrally controlled and is turned on later in the fall than in
Western Europe and turned off earlier in the spring. As winters are
exceptionally dry, the Embassy provides one humidifier per
household. If additional humidifiers are needed, these should be
brought to post. All homes have at least one telephone. Occupants of
Embassy housing are required to maintain local telephone service at
personal expense. In fall 2000 the cost of this service was $25 per
Transformers are provided for Embassy‑owned appliances, and two
additional transformers per apartment may also be checked out for
personal appliances. Electric clocks and other electrical items with
motors designed for 60 cycles may not work correctly; 220v 50hz
items can be purchased locally, if needed. Since many apartments do
not have a sufficient number of electric outlets, either bring a
number of 9‑to 12‑foot extension cords or be prepared to purchase
locally. Extra 220v bulbs for lighting may be purchased locally.
Food Last Updated: 8/2/2005 1:52 AM
For the Western consumer, the availability of food and household
products is improving and approaching European standards. Since most
food and household products used by a typical American family can
now be purchased locally, the Department of State no longer
authorizes a consumables shipment for employees assigned to Moscow.
This change in policy does not apply to constituent posts in St.
Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, or Vladivostok. U.S. Government employees
of AID, DOD, and other agencies are still authorized consumables.
Please check with your parent agency for current regulations and
shipping weight authorizations. The Community Liaison Office (CLO)
at Embassy Moscow will have suggestions for a consumables shipment.
When American brands are not available locally, a European
equivalent can usually be purchased. Vendors other than Russian
stores and markets include Western outlets such as Stockmann,
diplomatic supply houses, the American Embassy Community Association
(AECA) commissary, and a plethora of modern grocery and superstores
(Ikea, Ashan, etc.). Through AECA it is also possible to make
personal frozen food orders. Groceries may also be ordered through
the mail via online internet services. Prices for these types of
services are in most instances higher than in the U.S., especially
where shipping costs are involved.
The AECA commissary or “Liberty Store” is comparable in size to a
stateside 7–11. Located in the basement concourse of the New Embassy
Compound (NEC), it offers a variety of grocery supplies to full
members of AECA. The stock includes items such as soft drinks,
juice, milk and other dairy products, eggs, bread, assorted frozen
meat, dry cereal, snack food, bottled water, a limited selection of
wine, U.S. and European beer, liquor, cigarettes, canned goods,
paper products, health care products, pet food, a limited supply of
disposable diapers, and laundry and cleaning products. One cannot
depend on a constant stock of baby items in the AECA commissary,
since it does not stock baby food or baby formula at all.
The commissary accepts U.S. dollars (cash) and personal checks.
AECA must charge a significant mark-up to cover shipping from
suppliers in the U.S. and Western Europe. The commissary's location
and hours make it convenient, but most employees explore the other
shopping opportunities in Moscow for variety and price comparison.
Some employees do a lot of shopping at local “rynoks.” These are
open-air farmers' markets located in different parts of the city,
typically near metro stations. Rynoks carry a large selection of
fresh bread and seasonal as well as imported fresh produce. Meat is
also available for purchase, but buying fresh, unrefrigerated meat
is risky. Rynoks often have stalls that stock non‑food items, such
as cleaning products, soft drinks and liquor, health care products,
pet food and paper goods at prices that are cheaper than in the AECA
commissary and other stores. In many instances the quality of the
products tends to be lower. Larger rynoks also sell flowers, plants,
clothing items, and leather goods. Be aware, however, that shopping
in rynoks can pose challenges, including the need to maneuver
through crowded spaces and language problems for non‑Russian
speakers. Bargaining is an accepted and common practice at rynoks
but not at conventional stores and supermarkets, where prices are
Clothing Last Updated: 8/2/2005 1:53 AM
Temperatures during the year can range from ‑40° to +95 °F.
Moscow winters can be very cold, especially if one is used to winter
temperatures above freezing. It is necessary to be prepared for the
harsh winter climate with plenty of warm clothing and outerwear. Men
and women often wait until they arrive at post to buy a fur hat, and
many women also purchase fur coats and boots locally. Other locally
available winter gear may not meet American standards and/or style.
Summers are short and often cool. Sweaters and a coat are necessary
no matter what time of year you arrive.
The best type of clothing to have in Moscow is washable since
clothing soils easily. Sturdy, waterproof clothing and footwear with
good treads is essential. Sidewalks can be slick in winter and muddy
and wet during the rest of the year. One should consider bringing
enough clothing to last until replacements can be ordered through
catalogs or while on leave outside of Russia.
Slippers or clogs are useful around the house in winter and
spring as mud, ice, salt, and dirt can be tracked in off the streets
and playgrounds. Russians usually take off their shoes when entering
a home (and children are expected to), so it is appropriate to have
a couple of extra pairs of slippers for guests who do not feel
comfortable coming into your home with their shoes on. Slippers can
be purchased locally.
Sports equipment and sportswear should be brought to Moscow when
possible. There are various recreational activities at hand,
including swimming, soccer, baseball, volleyball, cycling,
rollerblading, etc. AECA Recreation has some life vests, bathing
suits, and water wings available for purchase. Traditional Russian
wooden children’s sleds are available for purchase in the city, but
may be hard to find. Western winter sports equipment can be found
around town but the prices tend to be high. Cross‑country skiing,
ice‑skating and sledding are all common winter sports. In the past,
a grassy area of the upper Embassy compound has been turned into a
small ice-skating rink in the winter. The outdoor tennis court at
Rosinka is also turned into a skating rink during the winter.
It is helpful to bear in mind that Western brands of clothing and
sporting equipment are increasingly available throughout Moscow, but
that prices remain higher than will be found in the U.S.
Men Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Both heavy and light topcoats are desirable for spring and fall.
Men wear down parkas and heavy topcoats appropriate for evening over
their suits in the winter. Lined raincoats are not warm enough in
the dead of winter although many people wear them in the spring and
Warm gloves, warm and waterproof boots, and a warm hat are all
essential. Building interiors are often too hot by American
standards in winter, but in fall and spring, when there is no
central heating, indoors can be uncomfortably cool. Light sweaters
or vests that can be worn under suit jackets are convenient. Bring
appropriate cold-weather clothes for outdoor sports. Lighter wool
suits are desirable for summer wear. Dark suits are worn for
representational affairs. Full dress (white tie) and morning dress
are never worn in Moscow, but some formal occasions (such as the
Marine Ball) call for dinner dress (black tie).
Women Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
In general, women in Moscow wear the same style clothing as worn
in the U.S. Moderately dressy suits with nice blouses and dresses
are worn most often for receptions, dinners, and evenings out.
Embassy employees often go straight from work to receptions,
dinners, or the theater. Cocktail dresses are not necessary, but
there is the opportunity to attend one or two formal occasions a
year, such as the Marine Corps Ball.
Women need a light coat, raincoat, and heavy coat. These could
include anything from a mid‑calf washable down coat with a hood, to
fur coats, and/or a raincoat with a zip‑out liner. Warm, waterproof,
thick‑soled boots, rainboots, warm gloves or mittens, and thermal or
silk long underwear are useful. It is quite common (and completely
acceptable by Russian standards) to wear sturdy boots to a dinner or
reception, carrying “inside”shoes and changing upon arrival.
Sportswear, a bathing suit, and a large supply of stockings, tights,
and underwear are important to bring, although they may all be
obtained locally at prices higher than in the U.S.
Children Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Children can never have enough hats and scarves, sets of gloves
and mittens, rain boots and rain gear, as well as snowsuits, pants
and boots. Since they grow out of clothes and shoes quickly, they
should have an extra size larger of each item to hold them over
until replacements can be ordered and received. Locally purchased
clothing may not meet American standards and/or styles and in many
cases is more expensive than in the U.S. The Anglo‑American School
requires that each child have a pair of ice skates, sweatpants and
shirts for gym. These can be brought to post, bought locally, or
acquired through a school Parent‑Teacher Organization (PTO) clothing
Babies need warm winter clothing. Scarves, hats, mittens, and
wool clothing for infants are available locally, but the prices are
much higher than one would pay in the U.S. The CLO can be contacted
for more details on needs for babies.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
European toiletries, paper goods, household cleaners, film, and
basic children's toys and games are available in local shops. Be
aware that prices are often much higher than in the U.S. The
Anglo-American School provides school supplies only for the lower
and middle grades. Upper School children provide their own-brought
from the U.S. or purchased locally (European A4 size items). Party
supplies, film, stationery items, and other household supplies are
available in Moscow, but it's always wise to bring some of these
items to post in case nothing but a favorite brand will suffice.
For school-age children, a computer with CD-ROM, modem and
printer is a near-necessity. Children are expected to type their
major school reports as early as the fifth grade. Encyclopedia and
other reference materials on CD would be practical to bring since
the school libraries are small. CDs are available for sale in kiosks
around town and in music stores. There is even a CD rynok. There are
numerous computer stores and a computer rynok in Moscow, but it
could be more affordable to buy dual-voltage equipment, computer
games and supplies in the U.S. Computer paper, ribbon cartridges and
other computer supplies are available at computer stores, kiosks and
large bookstores. Be advised that the locally available A4 size
paper may not fit all printers.
E-mail and Internet surfing helps keep employees in touch with
the U.S. There are several providers from which to choose. Plan to
spend about twice as much for an internet connection in Moscow as
you might in the U.S.
A multisystem television set and multisystem VCR receiving NTSC,
PAL, and SECAM (Russian) signals are useful in Moscow. Cable service
is available for a monthly fee to all housing units areas operated
by the Embassy, including CNN as well as English-language broadcasts
from BBC, EuroNews, EuroSport, MTV, a movie channel, and Cartoon
Network. The cable service also includes German, French and Italian
channels. Some Embassy housing may also include access to four Armed
Forces Network (AFN) channels with broadcasts of sports events and
other American television programming.
The AECA video store on the Embassy compound stocks a large
number of NTSC (American format) videotapes for rent.
Supplies and Services
Basic Services Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
All American personnel permanently assigned to Moscow are
eligible for full membership in AECA. AECA administers the
recreation facilities which include dachas (country homes), a
swimming pool, gymnasium with a full basketball court, exercise room
with free weights and Nautilus equipment, squash court,
handball/racquetball court, and men's and women's locker rooms and
saunas. It also runs the video store, commissary, Liberty Bar, Hair
Salon and dry‑cleaning concession.
The Embassy community has the use of three dachas in two
locations. The “Near Dacha”at Serebryanny Bor is a 20-minute drive
from the Embassy. The two “Far Dachas”are located at Tarasovka,
outside Moscow's city limits and about 45 minutes from the Embassy.
These areas provide venues for winter and summer recreation,
including tennis, volleyball, and cross‑country skiing. The Near
Dacha has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a large recreation room
with a fireplace, a kitchen, and a dining room. There are barbecue
grills and a tennis court on the dacha grounds. The tennis court may
be reserved separately by AECA members. The Far Dachas include a
large, two-story dacha with spacious, representational‑sized living
room with fireplace, dining/party room, two bathrooms, and three
bedrooms to accommodate 12. The other dacha at Tarasovka has three
bedrooms that sleep six people total, one bathroom, and a small
living/dining room with a wood‑burning stove. Each dacha is equipped
with a full kitchen, including basic cooking and dining utensils.
The Liberty Bar on the Embassy compound provides a relaxing
atmosphere for adults to unwind with a drink and a game of darts. It
is open nightly except weekends and holidays unless otherwise noted.
Many use the bar as a meeting point before a night on the town at
one of Moscow's numerous restaurants or dance clubs.
The Hair Salon is located on the Embassy compound and offers
haircuts, permanents, coloring, and styling. Facials, manicures,
pedicures and tanning beds are also available. Other hair salons are
located throughout the city.
The Embassy cafeteria is operated by AECA. It serves three meals
a day, Monday through Friday, including a salad bar, and serves
breakfast and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. It also provides a
coffee bar after breakfast and catering service for parties and
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Embassy families are allowed to employ Russian domestic
employees, but Russian domestics may not live with an Embassy family
on compound. Russian domestics employed by those living at the NEC
are allowed onto the compound only during restricted hours;
newcomers will be briefed on the specific policy in effect when they
arrive. The average wage is the ruble equivalent of $3‑$5 an hour.
Many third‑country nationals are also available for household help
(including childcare), with less stringent access restrictions than
those that apply to Russian domestics. Cost for third‑country
nationals averages $5-$6 an hour.
A small number of Embassy families arrange to bring nannies with
them to Moscow. The employer provides room and board and wages
averaging $350-$600 a month, depending on the number of children and
duties required. Nannies are given an Embassy‑sponsored visa, which
is for a single entry/exit good for 3 months and must be registered
with the Office of Visas and Registration (UVIR) in order to have
the (longer term) registration in their passports. They also need to
apply for subsequent exit and re-entry through UVIR. Contact the
Russia Desk (EUR/RUS), Room 4227, for more information, if you plan
to bring a nanny. Inquire early, as the process of obtaining a nanny
visa may take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. Anyone planning to
bring a nanny who is not from the U.S. should contact the Embassy
Personnel Office directly.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Most major religions are now represented in Moscow although
services in English are not always available. The Embassy CLO office
can supply you with a current listing of places of worship.
Dependent Education Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
The Anglo‑American School (AAS) is supported by the U.S., British
and Canadian embassies. The school accepts children from
pre‑kindergarten through 12th grade. It is located at the Pokrovsky
Hills (Hines) complex; children living in Pokrovsky Hills can walk
to school. Since AAS follows only the international baccalaureate
program in grades 11 and 12 with very limited flexibility, an away-
from-post education allowance is offered for those grades to enable
students to receive a more traditional American curriculum. The
school usually opens during the third or fourth week in August. It
is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and
For families with school‑age children, registration forms for the
Anglo‑American school (AAS) will be provided in the pre-arrival
orientation materials sent by the CLO office. Sponsoring Embassy
family members are given priority for available space in the school,
but may not be guaranteed a space until all admissions paperwork is
completed and submitted. The application fee is waived for
dependents of U.S. direct‑hire Embassy employees.
Embassy employees have also successfully placed their children in
local Russian, German, and French schools. The CLO office can
provide more information on local schools other than AAS. Most
schools in Moscow are unable to accept children with special needs.
If your child has an individual educational program (IEP), or needs
assistance outside the classroom, please discuss these requirements
with school officials as far in advance as possible.
Preschool and Child Care. The American Embassy Childcare and
Preschool (AECP) is a sub‑unit of AECA and is located on the NEC
compound. The AECP also offers a summer camp for younger children.
Pokrovsky Hills also has a small day care facility that always has a
long waiting list.
Some families choose to hire a nanny to care for children in the
home. Frequently, departing families will advertise and recommend
their nannies. Contact the CLO for more information.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Piano rentals, music lessons, horseback riding, fencing,
gymnastics, ballet classes, and private tutors for Russian and other
languages are reasonably priced. The International Women's Club and
American Women's Club both offer a variety of activities, such as
yoga, aerobics, and Russian conversation groups, depending upon
interest and availability of instruction.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Spectator sports include hockey, football (soccer), and
basketball. A large number of international tournaments and
championships are held, with increased participation by U.S. teams.
Some Embassy employees have participated in such diverse outdoor
sports as skydiving, whitewater rafting, and wild game hunting. Your
marksmanship can be tested at Moscow's shooting club; firearms,
ammunition, and lessons are available at the site. There is a
country club in Moscow that has a golf course. Unfortunately, this
sport here is extremely expensive and the golf course is a long
drive from town. There is a spring softball and baseball league for
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Moscow contains a broad spectrum of museums, from
pre‑Revolutionary art treasures to science and history. Tours to the
seat of the Russian Government, the Kremlin, Lenin's Tomb, and the
picturesque, colorful GUM Department store on Red Square, and the
homes of such revered Russians as Tolstoy, Gorky, and Chekhov may
all be arranged with the assistance of local travel bureaus or the
CLO office. Walking tours to the many architectural landmarks in
Moscow are a good way to get a feel for the city. Moscow's
underground metro system is justly famous. Many stations are
elaborately decorated. Izmailovsky Park has become the main
attraction for souvenir shopping in a frenzied bazaar atmosphere.
Every weekend, local artists and craftsmen gather there to sell
their wares to throngs of visitors.
In and around Moscow, sightseers will find historic palaces and
museums, surrounded by gardens and parks. You can reach St.
Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Kiev, and many other interesting
cities by overnight sleeper train. Other cities such as Sochi,
Tbilisi, and Tashkent are only a few hours away by air.
The Embassy's Visitors' Unit will assist you in obtaining travel
notes. All diplomatic and official passport holders must submit
advance notice to the Russian Government to travel to cities more
than 40 kilometers from the center of Moscow (measuring from the
Kremlin). All Embassy personnel and families travel freely to Moscow
county towns. The Ambassador and officers with the rank of counselor
and above and their families enjoy note‑free travel to all areas of
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
The principal hotels and restaurants offer American, European,
Russian, and ethnic cuisine from the Commonwealth of Independent
States. The quality of food and service is generally acceptable, and
new restaurants seem to be opening daily. English/Russian menus are
available at many. On the whole, dining out in Moscow is more
expensive than in equivalent restaurants in the U.S. Western chains
such as McDonald’s, TGI Fridays, Sbarro’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut
continue to grow. There are several English-language publications
for the foreign community that regularly print restaurant reviews
and reliable guides to the better restaurants.
Embassy personnel and business representatives and correspondents
entertain each other informally at dinner, cocktail receptions,
dacha picnics, or for a meal and a movie out in town.
For the theatergoer, Moscow offers a wide range of entertainment
at prices lower than in the U.S. The Bolshoi Theater offers
world‑famous ballet and opera programs during all but the summer
months. For Russian speakers, the city also has several
extraordinarily good dramatic theaters. One of the best is the
Moscow Art Theater, where plays by classic Russian playwrights such
as Chekhov are often performed. The city’s children's and puppet
theaters, including the world‑famous Obraztsov Puppet Theater, are
prime attractions for families. Both Moscow Circuses are highly
recommended for children and adults alike. For classical music
lovers, the Moscow Conservatory has a full annual schedule of
concerts and recitals featuring Russia's best musical performers.
The city also has an active jazz scene. Rock music has gained in
popularity in recent years, and concerts are held quite frequently
around the city. Tickets to most events are inexpensive and can be
bought in advance at the theater or stadium box office, at special
kiosks scattered about the city, or obtained by local tour companies
that sit in the CLO office area as a service to the community.
Several movie theaters show first‑run, Western-made movies in
English or dubbed in Russian.
The American Women’s Organization offers children’s holiday
parties. The CLO also sponsors seasonal family activities. Past
events include a holiday party at Spaso House (the Ambassador’s
residence) in December, a Halloween party, and an Easter Egg Roll,
Special Information Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Post Oreintation Program
Both before and upon arrival, new employees receive a packet of
written material from the CLO that contains information on the post
and its operations, the commissary, recreation, descriptive material
on Moscow and its environs, maps, and various materials dealing with
specific local issues. The Personnel, Medical, and General Services
Offices conduct an orientation in a practical, half-day program
organized by the Administrative Section. The Security Office
schedules a separate briefing that is mandatory for all newly
Consulate General - St. Petersburg
Post City Last Updated: 9/21/2004 2:01 AM
St. Petersburg, with a population of nearly 5 million, is the
second largest city in Russia. Peter the Great founded St.
Petersburg in 1703 and transferred the capital from Moscow to St.
Petersburg in 1712 to provide Russia with a “Window on the West.”
The city was renamed Petrograd at the outset of World War I, and in
1918 the capital was moved back to Moscow. On January 26, 1924, 5
days after Lenin’s death, the city's name was changed to Leningrad.
During WWII, the city suffered historic tragedy as over one million
people perished during a 900-day siege. In 1991, as a result of a
citywide referendum, the city resumed its historical name of St.
St. Petersburg is slightly warmer than Moscow, but it is damper
since winter winds blow off the Gulf of Finland. Snow may fall as
early as October, and sunlight dwindles to only a few hours a day in
the months of December, January and February. Streets and sidewalks
are icy during these months. June brings the beautiful “White
Nights” when the sun barely dips below the horizon. Summer weather
can be quite varied, with temperatures fluctuating between the 50s
and 80s. August is statistically the rainiest month of the year.
Although the city declined in political importance with the move
of the capital back to Moscow in 1918, St. Petersburg retained
importance as a military‑industrial complex until the early 1990’s.
It remains a cultural center and one of Russia’s major ports. With a
highly skilled labor force and a long history of industry and
commerce, St. Petersburg is a major producer of electric and
electronic equipment, machine tools, nuclear reactor equipment,
precision instruments, TV equipment, civilian and military ships,
heavy machinery, tractors, chemicals, and other sophisticated
products, as well as consumer goods. It has one of the country's
largest dry‑cargo ports. It remains a major center for publication,
education, and scientific research.
Since August 1991, St. Petersburg has been a reform‑minded city.
Its large military-industrial center, however, has been slow to
adapt to changing conditions and many factories have closed. U.S.
investment in St. Petersburg has increased significantly in recent
years with the opening of several major production facilities by
Caterpillar, Ford, General Motors and International Paper. The St.
Petersburg consular district taken as a whole accounts for
approximately 50% of all U.S. investment in Russia. Nevertheless
overall U.S. investment in Russia remains quite modest. This is due
in part to the lack of transparency, government bureaucracy and
uneven enforcement of court decisions which have favored American
investors. Street crime remains a problem in St. Petersburg and
organized crime effects entrepreneurs of all sizes.
Designed by some of Europe’s most imaginative architects of the
18th and 19th centuries, the city center is one of the world’s
architectural masterpieces filled with cathedrals, palaces, parks
and canals. Fortunately, a great deal of restoration took place
throughout the city in preparation for the city’s 300th Anniversary
in 2003. Both local and foreign donations have been focused at
preserving and restoring the historical sites in the city and the
outlying imperial residences, which were heavily damaged during
World War II. However, many parts of St. Petersburg continue to
suffer from the lack of investment in its infrastructure.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 9/21/2004 2:05 AM
Like its Russian counterpart in San Francisco, the American
Consulate General officially opened in July 1973. The chief U.S.
representative in St. Petersburg is the Consul General. Consulate
General staff includes the Deputy Principal Officer, a Public
Affairs Officer, a Regional Security Officer, an Assistant Regional
Security Officer, a Political/Economic officer, an office management
specialist, three Consular Officers, one Management Officer, one
General Services Officer, one Information Programs Officer, two
Information Management Specialists, three Pacific Architects and
Engineers (PA&E) contractors, a Fascell Fellow, a six‑person Marine
Security Guard detachment, and a number of Eligible Family Member or
locally hired American citizen employees. A staff of capable Foreign
Service National employees supports American personnel.
The Consulate General building is located on Furshtadtskaya
Street near the center of town. The building is U-shaped with a
courtyard in the center. The base and one wing contain the Consulate
General Office Building and Marine Bar. The other wing contains
additional office space, several apartments for TDY personnel and
the Marine Detachment, the Medical Office and a small fitness
The Consulate General’s Public Affairs Section is located in the
Northern Capital House building on the Moika Embankment. A branch
Public Affairs Officer leads a nine‑member staff of Foreign Service
The Consulate General also includes a U.S. Foreign Commercial
Service Office. The Commercial Officer leads a 12‑member local
national team of industry sector specialists, a Department of
Commerce BISNIS representative, and a local national representative
of the Foreign Agricultural Service. The St. Petersburg chapter of
the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia is co-located with the
Foreign Commercial Service Office in the Atrium Building at Nevsky
An assignment to St. Petersburg offers a unique set of challenges
and rewards. The small size of the Consulate General provides each
individual with more responsibility than is typical at larger
missions. The absence of a sizable support infrastructure or
compound provides employees with opportunities to experience Russian
society firsthand. Individuals interested in history and culture
find a tour in St. Petersburg a memorable and enjoyable experience.
The Consulate General’s mission is first and foremost to fulfill
its role as a consular post; that is to provide protection and
welfare work for American citizens, to do notarials and to issue
non-immigrant visas. Second, the Consulate’s Public Diplomacy office
runs outreach programs throughout Northwest Russia. Third, it
supports American business interests and promotes the sale of U.S.
goods and services in Russia. In addition, the Consulate reports on
political and economic events in the region and supports numerous
VIP visits to St. Petersburg. Opportunities to meet with leading
political and cultural figures from both Russian and the United
States are commonplace. The Consulate's General small size offers
all staff members the opportunity to participate in many of the
At the same time, service in St. Petersburg can be challenging.
Although many improvements have taken place in the quantity and
quality of goods and services available in the past several years,
some consumer conveniences to which Americans are accustomed are
lacking. Thus, while the rewards can be significant, the work
regimen is not typical. Amenities such as a commissary, snack bar,
or government provided athletic facilities do not exist in St.
Petersburg. Energetic, self-starters should approach this assignment
as an opportunity to experience Russia at its best and to live in
one of the great cities of the world.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:22 AM
Post has two TDY apartments on compound. The major western-level
hotels in St. Petersburg are the Nevskij Palace, Grand Hotel Europe,
SAS Radisson, the Angleterre, the Astoria and the Marriott
Renaissance Hotel. These hotels offer rooms at the U.S. government
per diem rate.
Transients and persons on temporary duty should be aware that the
Consulate General does not have a commissary, cafeteria, or snack
Every effort is made to move employees and their families
directly into their permanent quarters. Occasionally, this is not
possible in which case suitable temporary quarters will be made
available. Permanent personnel should check with their sponsors
before they arrive. Sponsors will provide guidance about the post
and housing. Please discuss any special needs or concerns with your
sponsor to help them prepare for your arrival.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:23 AM
All residential properties are owned or leased and furnished by
the U.S. Government. Living space is ample, although storage space
for supplies and consumables may be limited.
The Consul General’s home is a large semi-detached house built in
1898. The last owner before the revolution was Grand Duke Konstantin
Romanov, an uncle of Tsar Nicholas II. In 1971‑72, the building’s
interior was restored. The first floor has large salons suitable for
a wide range of representational entertaining, a large, formal
dining room, library, and guest suite. Spacious, private quarters
for the Consul General and family and additional guest rooms are on
the second floor. A few steps below entry level is a theater that
comfortably seats 80. It has been used for lectures, movies,
Anglo‑American School events, and American Chamber of Commerce
events. The Consul General's home also has a guesthouse (domik) and
a small garden. Located at the end of a cul‑de‑sac, the residence is
a 10‑minute walk from the office.
The U.S. Government leases several additional apartments: eight
units in three buildings on Furshtadtskaya Ulitsa, just down the
street as the Consulate General, and four units on 7 Sovietskaya
Ulitsa, a 20 minute walk from the Consulate General. The U.S.
Government also owns 4 apartments on Kovensky Pereulok near the
center of the city, a 20 minute walk from the Consulate.
The post Inter‑Agency Housing Board makes housing assignments
after considering available space, family size, rank of employee,
and time of arrival. Although all housing units are apartments, most
are quite spacious. A majority of the apartments have two or three
bedrooms, with a few larger apartment having four bedrooms. Most
apartments have high ceilings and large windows, creating a feeling
of spaciousness. Some have small pantries. Most apartments have at
least two bathrooms; larger apartments may have two and a half or
The General Services Office (GSO) has a full maintenance staff,
including janitors, an electrician, carpenters, a plumber, and a
handy man. This staff is a mix of FSN employees and PA&E
contractors. Although the Consulate General has improved maintenance
services and expanded the GSO staff, employees must sometimes cope
with delayed repairs and equipment shortages. See post's Housing
Manual for specifics.
Furnishings Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:23 AM
Apartment furnishings are from the Eighteenth Century Queen Anne
collection. Furnishings include sofa, love seat, occasional chairs,
coffee table, end tables, several lamps, dining room suite with
table, chairs, china cabinet and buffet, and bedroom sets with bed,
side tables and dressers. Beds have box springs and mattresses on
steel frames with a wooden headboard. Queen-sized (60" x 80") and
twin-sized (39" x 75") beds are used.
Area rugs are provided for some rooms. Bring an ample supply of
bed linens, blankets, and towels. Post furnishes draperies and
shades. Bring additional household furnishings, such as doormats,
pictures, reading lamps, bookcases, or an easy chair, depending on
personal tastes, but be advised that storage space is limited. Post
does not have the space to store government furniture replaced by
Welcome Kits of linens, dishes, glasses, pots and pans, and
silverware are available for use until arrival of household effects
and after pack‑outs. Children’s furniture and supplies may be
brought to post or purchased locally, often at a higher cost than in
the States. IKEA opened a store just outside St. Petersburg in
December 2003; it is a great place to purchase quality, reasonably
priced items for your home.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:24 AM
Hot water and heating comes directly from central heating plants
located throughout the city. The Consulate General office building,
all apartments, and the Consul General's home are supplied in this
manner. In summer, the city's hot water supply to these facilities
is shut down for periods of up to six weeks for maintenance. All
apartments are equipped with water heaters so that hot water
continues to be available during these shut-downs. Bathrooms are
comparable to those in American apartments, and some offer amenities
such as heated floors and jetted tubs.
All interior areas are heated by exposed cast iron or fabricated
sheet metal radiators. During early cold snaps, the central system
may not be sufficient. The post provides materials for sealing
windows and doors against the cold and electric space heaters for
some bedrooms (particularly children's rooms). Electrical power
limitations and fire safety considerations restrict extensive use of
Gas or electric ranges, Western-made refrigerators with freezing
compartments, and automatic washers and dryers are provided. Most
apartments have dishwashers and microwave ovens. Some apartments
also have humidifiers and stand‑alone freezers.
All apartments have dial or touch‑tone telephones. Direct‑dial,
long‑distance calls are possible, and there is a local AT&T access
number to place phone card calls. Internet service is widely
available at varying prices. One of the leased apartment buildings
includes a DSL connection in each unit. Other employees have
obtained low-cost Internet access through various local service
Electrical service in St. Petersburg (including off‑compound
apartments) is 220v, 50 Hz. Most electrical sockets are standard
European sized with two round prongs. The on-compound TDY apartments
are equipped with both 220v and 110v outlets. The Kovensky
apartments (owned by the Consulate) are equipped with British style
3‑pronged outlets. Socket adapters and at least two transformers
will be provided in each apartment for using personally owned
appliances. Small, appliances, such as mixers, blenders and hair
dryers, will operate satisfactorily with the appropriate
transformer. High‑wattage appliances, such as toasters and irons,
are more convenient and safer to operate if designed for the
available voltage. An initial supply of incandescent light bulbs is
provided for each new resident. Replacements bulbs are available
locally. Do not bring American‑made fluorescent lamps.
AFN satellite TV is available in all apartments. Local Russian
television is also available. Some apartments also get BBC World
through their local television connection.
Post makes every effort to inform incoming employees of their
housing assignment well in advance of their arrival. However, this
is not always possible. Please be in touch with the CLO or your
sponsor if you have questions about your housing assignment.
Food Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:18 AM
The quality and selection of food available in St. Petersburg has
improved significantly in recent years. Employees are able to find a
variety of foodstuffs including seasonal fresh fruits and
vegetables, meats, fish, dairy and grains at reasonable prices at a
variety of stores and markets. Many employees shop at the farmers’
markets (known as rynoks in Russian) or at small Russian grocery
shops in their neighborhood that offer basic food products, like
milk, cheese, cereal and breads. The farmers’ markets often offer a
wonderful variety of seasonal produce and fresh meats at reasonable
prices. A few “Western-style” grocery stores are now open throughout
the city. These stores are often more expensive than the markets,
but offer the American style shopping experience, and tend to be
more manageable for those with a limited grasp of the language. They
also offer some specialty items, not available at the smaller shops.
The selection of meats available locally is somewhat more limited
than in the U.S. The cuts of pork and beef tend to differ from those
in the U.S.
Effective October 2005, staff in St. Petersburg will no longer be
eligible for Consumables shipments. Such shipments are no longer
necessary given the quality of products now available on the local
market and the availability of specialty items on the internet.
American personnel expecting a new baby can request a layette
shipment prior to the baby’s due date. Baby food, diapers, clothing
and other children’s products are available in the local market,
although some Western brand products are more expensive than in the
Clothing Last Updated: 9/21/2004 2:08 AM
Winter temperatures in St. Petersburg can fall to -40°F. The
climate is damp and the winter season is quite long. All employees
should pack appropriate clothing. Warm parkas, long underwear, warm
socks, hats, gloves, etc., are invaluable during the winter months.
Streets and sidewalks are often icy. Good boots are essential. Be
sure to include plenty of warm clothing, including a snowsuit or
snow pants for your children.
Rain, melting snow, and dirty streets combine to make walking in
St. Petersburg messy during fall and spring. Sturdy footwear is a
must. Dark-colored clothes (especially slacks and jeans) are more
practical than white or light‑colored clothes. Winter-wear and
rainwear of all sizes are available in St. Petersburg, but prices
The summer season is short. Days can be warm in summer, and there
is an air conditioner provided in one bedroom in every apartment. By
August, nights are cool. Throughout the summer months, you may find
many opportunities to wear a sweater or light jacket. Summer is the
time of mosquitoes. Insect repellent and effective plug-in devices
are available locally.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:26 AM
Most everyday household personal care items can be found in St.
Petersburg, although prices on certain items tend to be higher than
in the U.S. Feminine hygiene products, Western name brand kitchen
and cleaning supplies, cosmetics, and name brand drugs are generally
more expensive. Instructions on cleaning products, kitchen and
automobile supplies are often written in languages other than
Russian or English, causing difficulty for first-time users. You
might wish to stock up on health and beauty care items you use
regularly prior to arriving at post.
It is recommended that you bring a basic set of hand tools to
make small repairs or hang pictures in your apartment. Employees are
expected to hang their own pictures and other items in their
apartments. Most walls are solid and require special nails. A few
large, modern hardware stores have opened, but some supplies are
still difficult to find.
Supplies and Services
Basic Services Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:26 AM
Local dry cleaning facilities are improving, but service is not
always consistent. Detergents and fabric softener are available
locally but you may wish to bring spot remover with you. Clothing
that can be machine-washed is most practical. You may wish to limit
clothing that needs frequent professional cleaning. Russian beauty
salons and barbershops are satisfactory, and prices are reasonable.
Several salons are located near the Consulate. Appointments are
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:27 AM
Domestic help is readily available at affordable rates. You may
hire Russian citizens as housekeepers or nannies for your children,
since permanent day care is not always available. The CLO maintains
a list of recommended nannies and housekeepers. Before hiring
domestic help, consult with the regional security officer for a
Religious Activities Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Within or near St. Petersburg are many active Russian Orthodox
churches, several Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Baptist churches, a
Jewish synagogue, several branches of the Mormon church, and various
other religious organizations. There are also missionaries from many
Most religious services take place in Russian. Strictly foreign
congregations hold services in their native languages, including
English, French, and German.
At Post Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM The Anglo‑American School
of St. Petersburg, a branch of the Anglo‑American School of Moscow,
serves students in kindergarten through grade 12. The strong
American‑based curriculum is enriched with instruction in local
culture and history through visits to and instruction from the
city's numerous museums. Kindergarten students must be 5 years old
by December 31 of the year of entrance. The school is located in a
former Russian kindergarten building on Petrograd Island and is able
to accommodate approximately 95 students. For the 1999/2000 academic
school year, approximately 90 students were enrolled representing 18
nationalities. For further information, write to the AASSP Principal
through the U.S. Consulate General. Some Consulate General employees
have enrolled children in an international school with a
An international preschool, which is housed in a Russian
kindergarten located directly across from the Consulate General, is
sponsored by parents from the international community. This facility
serves children ages 3‑5 from the international community. There is
also a Montessori preschool in operation. Contact the CLO for
further information on preschool options and availability.
Some parents have used Russian day care or kindergarten
facilities. They have proven satisfactory for those few parents and
children who are willing to cope with learning a new language,
unfamiliar food, and rather strict discipline. During the initial
months, the adjustment can be difficult. Russian facilities operate
on a three-quarter or full‑day basis. As they are set up for working
parents, the facilities are often crowded, and significant delays
can be expected in finding and getting access to a suitable
facility. The international preschools (see above) have proven to be
more satisfactory solutions for most Consulate General families.
Away From Post Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM Request a list of
boarding schools with English instruction from the State
Department's Office of Overseas Schools or the Allowances Staff.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Employees and dependents of all ages may take advantage of
private tutoring and special instruction in various areas of
interest, the most common being private language and music lessons.
Those individuals with even average language skills may take
advantage of public classes and lessons in all areas of interest
where other students and participants are Russian‑speaking
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:40 AM
Depending on the season, there are many opportunities to attend
football (soccer), ice hockey, figure skating, track‑and‑field,
boxing, basketball, auto, bicycle and motorcycle racing, and
swimming events. In most cases, prices are inexpensive. Soccer and
ice hockey are especially popular; teams in both sports are
excellent. This past year, many employees participated in a
Consulate bowling league, competing twice a month with employees
from other Consulates here in St. Petersburg. Some employees also
play on recreational soccer teams in the area. Indoor and outdoor
tennis courts and squash courts are located in the city area as
well. Several fitness clubs, with modern equipment and personal
trainers have opened in town recently, including one located near
the Consulate General.
Swimming is not recommended in the Gulf of Finland because of the
high level of organic and other pollutants. However, indoor swimming
pools are available, with some restrictions. If you wish to use a
public pool, you must have written permission from a Russian doctor
attesting to your state of health.
Fishing is popular in the Neva and the Gulf, but eating fish from
the Neva is not recommended. Some employees also hunt in the region,
but it is complicated and time-consuming to work out arrangements to
go hunting. Do not attempt to bring your own guns as they will be
confiscated by the authorities. Sightseeing boat trips are a
wonderful option in the summer months. There are good bicycle paths
in some city parks and along the Gulf. A variety of sporting goods
are sold at a few shops in town.
Winter sports include cross‑country skiing and ice-skating.
Outdoor rinks throughout the city are open to staff members. Cross
country skiing is possible at city parks outside the city center and
in the Repino‑Zelenogorsk resort area near the Consulate General
dacha (see below) on the Gulf of Finland. While skates and skis are
available in St. Petersburg or in Finland, if you are an avid winter
sports enthusiast, bring your own equipment.
The Consulate General leases a dacha for recreational purposes in
Zelenogorsk, 34 miles northwest of St. Petersburg on the Gulf of
Finland. The CLO coordinates a schedule for employees’ use of the
dacha. Generally, each officer can expect to have the dacha three or
four weekends a year. Post personnel and their guests need only pack
consumables and make the short journey to Zelenogorsk to enjoy a
refreshing visit to the country.
The house has three bedrooms with separate dining and living
rooms, a small game room, a fully equipped kitchen, central heating,
indoor sauna, and fireplace. Linens are provided, as are basic
kitchen supplies. A barbeque grill and picnic tables are found in
the yard, making for excellent summer picnics. Located on a large,
fenced lot, only a short walk from the Gulf, it provides relaxation
and a convenient base for taking advantage of the various seasonal
diversions, such as boating, hiking, cross‑country skiing, or
cycling. The facility is open year round.
The Consulate General has a small gym located in the residential
wing of the Consulate Office Building. The gym offers a limited
selection of equipment, including a treadmill, stationary bike,
stair master, free weights, weight lifting machines and fitness
tapes. One of the leased apartment buildings also offers a small
fitness center, indoor swimming pool and sauna.
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 9/22/2004 2:23 AM
Near St. Petersburg are several former royal palace grounds that
have been beautifully restored and are now open to the public. These
include Peterhof, with its magnificent grounds and fountains;
Pavlovsk, the most completely restored royal home with surrounding
gardens; and Tsarskoe Selo, the site of several palaces, including
Catherine’s Palace with its famous Amber Room. Other palaces, such
as Oranienbaum and Gatchina, are also easily accessible for day
Staff members usually travel to these palaces in their own
vehicles, but public transportation, including summer hydrofoil
service to Peterhof, is available, convenient, and inexpensive,
though often crowded.
St. Petersburg has numerous museums covering a broad range of
exhibits, from anthropology to zoology. First among these is the
world-famous Hermitage. Located in the Winter Palace on the Neva
River, it is well‑known for its collections of Rembrandts, French
Impressionists, Picasso, and Scythian gold, as well as its beautiful
interiors. In the Russian Museum, you can see the best of Russian
art through the centuries from the icons of Rublev to contemporary
painters. Several large cathedrals have also been opened to the
public as museums, though many — such as St. Isaac's Cathedral, one
of the largest in the world, and the Kazansky Cathedral — now
function again as churches. The Cathedral in Peter and Paul Fortress
contains graves of Russian tsars since Peter the Great, including
Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
Photography. St. Petersburg offers a feast for the amateur and
the serious photographer. There are a number of very good local
photography shops that offer color developing and printing at
reasonable prices. The view from the colonnade atop St. Isaac’s
Cathedral is a photographer’s dream. Taking pictures in Russia is no
longer restricted. Taking pictures in Russia is no longer
Travel Abroad. Finland: The Finnish border is about 140 miles
away — a 3-hour auto trip in good weather from St. Petersburg.
Helsinki is another 3 hours from the border, for a total trip of
about 250 miles.
Several flights operate daily between St. Petersburg and
Helsinki. The flight is about 43 minutes. Trains between St.
Petersburg and Helsinki run daily. Round‑trip train fare currently
ranges from $90 to $150. A one-way trip takes about 5 hours.
Estonia: Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a popular
destination among Consulate staff. Tallinn has a charming Medieval
Old Town, a variety of great restaurant and shopping, and
wonderfully friendly people. Tallinn is approximately 200 miles away
and can be reached in 4-5 hours by car, 7 hours by bus or 10 hours
by train. Euro lines Bus Service runs several buses a day between
Tallinn and St. Petersburg. Bus tickets are very reasonably priced,
around $20 for a round trip. There is one night train that runs
between St. Petersburg and Tallinn. Round-trip train fare is less
The smaller university town of Tartu is located less than 150
miles west of Tallinn and can be reached from Tallinn by daily buses
and trains in 3-4 hours. Round-trip bus fare is $20 and
train/electrichka fares range from $30-$60.
Latvia: The capital, Riga, is 400 miles from St. Petersburg. A
total trip by car is approximately 7-8 hours, by train approximately
11-12 hours. One train runs daily from St. Petersburg to Riga.
Round-trip train fare is approximately $85-$145.
Lithuania: The capital, Vilnius, is approximately 460 miles away.
A total trip by car is about 8-9 hours, by train 11-13 hours. Trains
to Vilnius run daily. Round-trip train fare is between $60-$125.
Rest and Recuperation Travel. Consulate General employees serving
a full 24-month tour of duty in St. Petersburg, uninterrupted by
home leave, are authorized one R&R trip. R&R travel is generally not
authorized during the first or last 6 months of a tour of duty. St.
Petersburg's designated R&R point is Rome, Italy, for employees not
choosing to travel to the United States.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:43 AM
St. Petersburg has about 30 theaters, concert halls, opera
houses, and “palaces of culture” that offer a wide variety of
ballet, opera, classical music, and plays. The best known is the
Mariinskiy Theater, formerly named and recognized around the world
as the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater. The Mussorgskiy Opera and
Ballet Theater (formerly Maliy Theater) also has a full repertoire
of ballet and opera, and arranges its vacation period so that it
performs throughout July and August, when the Mariinskiy is usually
on vacation or on tour. St. Petersburg has two symphony orchestras,
one of which enjoys a worldwide reputation. The Philharmonic Hall,
named after local composer Dmitriy Shostakovich, is one of the
finest in Europe. There are other concert halls and a choir hall,
all of which offer programs during the September‑June season. Most
cultural events are quite reasonably priced.
The St. Petersburg Circus is definitely worth a visit. Light
operettas are given at the Musical Comedy Theater, and there are two
puppet theaters in town. The October Concert Hall and the city's
several palaces of culture often have concerts that feature popular
music or play host to foreign troupes. Both cultural and sporting
events are staged at the Yubileyniy and several other palaces of
Serious theater fans, whether or not they speak Russian, will
find visits to the Maliy Dramatic Theater, Otkrytiy Theater, and the
Theater on Liteiniy worthwhile. These are considered locally to be
the most avant-garde of the regular theaters and include in their
repertoires works by contemporary American playwrights, such as
Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. The Pushkin Theater is one of
the most splendidly housed in Europe.
Films shown in English or with English subtitles are a rarity.
Foreign movies are usually dubbed. A few movie houses have begun to
show films in their original language. Some employees will take a
weekend trip to Tallinn to see a new film in English. Videos and
DVD’s in English are available for sale in many stores. When
purchasing videos or DVD’s, check the back of the box to see if the
film is in English. A few stores do offer rentals as well.
Recreation and Social Life
Among Americans Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:46 AM Consulate General
personnel entertain frequently at informal functions, such as small
dinners and after‑hours gatherings. Some employees have friends in
the growing expat community. The Marine Security Guard Detachment
invites both members of the Consulate General community and private
citizens (including Russians) to parties at the Marine House about
once a month. The Marines also host the annual Marine Corps Birthday
Ball in November.
Restaurants. In the past few years, St. Petersburg has enjoyed a
significant increase in the quantity and quality of restaurants. A
quick glance at the restaurant guide in the city's English‑language
newspaper shows restaurants that specialize in Chinese, European,
French, German, Indian, Italian, Korean, Mexican, and Russian
cuisine, as well as several pizza establishments. Other restaurants
offer Georgian and Central Asian cuisine. A few of the Georgian
restaurants are among the favorites of Consulate staff. Many
restaurants offer a mixture of Russian and international dishes.
With the exception of the hotel restaurants and few other very
high-end establishments, most restaurants are reasonably priced.
Several local restaurants offer some form of entertainment — from
jazz combos to folk ensembles — often somewhat louder than musical
entertainment to which Americans are accustomed. Service at
restaurants is often slower and less consistent than in the States,
but most employees find an evening out a welcome diversion and
chance to relax.
Recent years have also seen a large growth in fast-food
establishments in the city, with prices comparable to those in the
U.S. There are several McDonald’s around town as well as a Kentucky
Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Subway. There are local fast food shops
specializing in roasted chicken, pizza, and Russian treats.
Recreation and Social Life
International Contacts Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:47 AM
Possibilities for social contacts between Russian citizens and
foreigners have normalized and become comparable to those in other
countries. Frequently, opportunities arise for such contacts during
daily work or while traveling outside the city. St. Petersburg also
has an active American and international business community. Many
women join the International Women’s Club that offers opportunities
for socializing, sightseeing, and charity work with other women from
around the world.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:48 AM
Throughout the year, luncheons, dinners, and receptions are held
at the Consul General's home. These functions are well attended by
Russians. Consulate General personnel and their spouses are also
regularly invited. Other officers hold representational events
throughout the year.
Only a few of the officers at post are invited to official
Russian functions. These officers also attend functions at the other
29 Consulates and 17 honorary Consulates in St. Petersburg. Some
entertaining is done within the international business community as
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 9/21/2004 6:49 AM
Formal calls are not expected within the American staff. The
senior officers at the Consulate make calls on Russian officials and
their counterparts in other consulates. You will be briefed on what
calls are appropriate when you arrive.
Those with consular titles will need business cards in English
and Russian. These can be printed locally.
White tie and morning dress are never worn in St. Petersburg.
Black tie is rarely worn and is necessary only for a male consul
general and deputy.
Special Information Last Updated: 9/21/2004 2:16 AM
Post Orientation Program
Before arrival, the CLO will send you a folder of information
(including maps) about the city and post. On arrival, the CLO
coordinator and your post sponsor will help you with the practical
side of getting settled and familiarizing yourself with St.
Petersburg. The CLO coordinator can also provide useful information
regarding local rules of the road and traffic conditions with which
drivers should become familiar prior to taking to local streets. The
regional security officer schedules a separate security briefing,
required for all personnel. Security briefings are also set up for
The post-language program encourages employees and their family
members to improve their language skills by offering language
lessons. Currently, three Russian teachers are contracted by the
Consulate to provide individual or small groups lessons. Language
lessons may be taken during working hours.
Health. General health conditions in St. Petersburg are similar
to those in Moscow, although dampness probably accounts for a higher
incidence of colds and respiratory ailments. The post has a
part‑time registered nurse, who American personnel consult on minor
health problems and issues and who refers major problems to one of
the recommended medical clinics listed below, the Embassy Moscow
Medical Unit, or to medical facilities in London if a medical
evacuation is called for. An American doctor or nurse practitioner
from Moscow visits St. Petersburg quarterly and is available for
For health problems outside the purview of the post nurse,
American personnel and their families primarily use one of the three
Western style clinics: the International Clinic, the
British-American Clinic or the Euro Med Clinic. The staffs at all
three clinics are English speaking and often Western-trained.
Pharmacy and laboratory service are available at each clinic. Dental
services are available at Euro Med. These clinics can be expensive.
Often employees must pay upfront and then seek reimbursement from
their insurance provider.
The post maintains a Medical Unit stocked with basic medicines
from the Embassy clinic. Medicines can also be specially ordered
when necessary from Moscow and other embassies. Personnel are
strongly advised to bring an adequate supply of prescription and
over‑the‑counter medications with them to post. While local
pharmacies offer a panoply of medications, it is often difficult to
find a particular brand or formulation.
The St. Petersburg water supply originates from nearby Lake
Ladoga. Western health authorities have noted a high incidence of
infection by the intestinal parasite giardia lamblia in travelers
returning from St. Petersburg. Such evidence points to St.
Petersburg as a possible site of infection. This diarrhea‑inducing
parasite is found in many parts of the world and can be contracted
by drinking untreated tap water. Each apartment is equipped with one
water filter, which makes the water suitable for cooking, but does
not filter out heavy metals, such as lead. Employees often boil
their filtered water, use an additional filtering device like a
Brita pitcher, or buy bottled water. The Consulate General drinking
fountains are also equipped with water filters.
Automobiles. The Consulate’s Motor Pool Supervisor recommends
bringing cars only in excellent condition as well as some extra
wiper blades, oil, air filters and bulbs. The city has a growing
number of service stations, and replacement parts for most cars can
be ordered locally. Delivery time is generally three to ten days.
However, supplies and services can be expensive and service station
employees often do not speak English. Preventive maintenance for
your automobile remains important. Unleaded gasoline is now
available throughout St. Petersburg.
Winterizing your car is important because of low winter
temperatures. Low viscosity oil and antifreeze protection to -40 °F
should be provided before a fall or winter shipment. Since few
vehicles will start without assistance on the coldest mornings,
bring a strong battery and jumper cables.
Snow tires, or at least tires with good all‑weather treads, are
necessary for winter driving (November through March). If you are in
Finland, the law requires snow tires during severe winter weather.
Studded snow tires may be used only between mid‑October and
mid‑April. Snow tires (and studs, when used) must be on all four
wheels. All types of tires are now available locally.
Parking space at post is limited. Privately owned vehicles driven
to work may be parked in spaces in front of the Consulate General
building, or on the street within convenient walking distance. There
is no charge for parking. At residential apartments, parking is
either in a guarded lot or on the street.
Mail. The Consulate utilizes the APO mail system for letters and
packages. Mail is routed through Embassy Helsinki and arrives on a
truck once a week. Mail delivery is generally reliable but it often
takes two to three weeks for letters and packages to travel between
the States and St. Petersburg. Please bring your own supply of
stamps to post as the Consulate is not authorized to sell postage.
You can order stamps by mail or on-line but delivery can take some
Travel. American diplomatic and consular personnel must still
notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) when they travel
outside of St. Petersburg. Since July 1992 and the signing of the
Memorandum on Open Lands, however, this is merely notification and
not a request for permission to travel. Please notify the Management
Office Assistant several days before you plan to travel. She will
prepare the necessary documents for you.
If you have a diplomatic passport and a diplomatic, multi‑entry
visa, you may depart St. Petersburg by air or rail for destinations
abroad without submitting a travel note, provided St. Petersburg is
designated in your visa as a departure point. All new personnel
should see the Management Office Assistant for a full briefing on
travel in Russia.
Pets. If you plan to bring a dog or cat, be prepared for the
problems inherent in keeping pets in apartments: cramped conditions,
regular trips outside to walk dogs (even in the cold winter), and
finding pet sitters when you are traveling. Pet food is available
though expensive at most grocery stores in the city. You may wish to
bring some basic supplies in your luggage when you first arrive. Pet
owners should also be aware that Finland has strict rules regarding
rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats. Both must have a current
vaccination record no more than 1 year old (this creates problems
because the U.S. rabies vaccine is good usually for 3 years, while
the Finnish vaccine is updated yearly). Animals without proper
vaccinations will not be admitted to the country. To avoid problems,
the Embassy recommends avoiding Finland.
Facilities. A cashier's office is located in the Consulate
General building. The cashier provides check-cashing services, in
addition to exchanging dollars for rubles. Local St. Petersburg
Telephone System telephone bills may also be paid through the
Consulate General - Vladivostok
Post City Last Updated: 8/2/2005 1:48 AM
Vladivostok is Russia’s principal Pacific port and the largest
city in the Russian Far East, with a population of more than
600,000. Founded in 1860 as a military outpost, Vladivostok abruptly
became the Russian Pacific naval base when Port Arthur fell in the
Russo‑Japanese War. The city now serves as the capital of Primorskiy
Kray (Maritime Territory). Vladivostok’s harbor is a major fishing
and shipping hub, and the city acts as the eastern terminus of the
Before World War II, Vladivostok was well on its way to becoming
an international commercial center. The Soviets closed the city to
Westerners in 1958, however, and it was only declared an open city
as of January 1, 1992. Currently, Vladivostok's foreign contacts and
foreign population are growing as American, Japanese, Korean, and
Chinese businesses and tourists move into the Russian Far East in
Vladivostok has a relatively mild climate by Russian standards,
moderated by its location on the Pacific Ocean. Spring is chilly
until May, with occasional snow occurring in March. Summers are cool
and humid, and autumn is sunny and beautiful. With its sunny
weather, year-round, there is no need for Seasonal Affective
Disorder lighting. Winter is cold and dry, with temperatures
normally between 10 °F & 35 °F. Brisk sea winds can make low
temperatures seem colder. Generally, winters in Vladivostok are less
severe than Chicago.
Vladivostok is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich mean time (GMT), 15
hours ahead of eastern standard time (EST).
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 6/22/2005 5:14 AM
U.S. representation in Vladivostok has a long history. The first
U.S. Consulate was established in 1875, but the office was closed
and reestablished several times. At the conclusion of the Russian
Civil War in 1922, the office was closed for 18 years. The Consulate
was open again from 1940 until 1948 when, as the only Western
diplomatic office in Soviet Asia, it was forced to close. On
September 22, 1992, the post was reopened as a Consulate General. It
has been located in its current, very functional office building,
for eight years.
Vladivostok’s consular district is composed of ten regions of the
Russian Far East: Primorskiy (Maritime) Kray, Khabarovsk Kray, the
Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Magadan, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, and Amur
Oblasts as well as Chukotka, Birobidzhan, and Koryak Autonomous
Okrugs. The district encompasses an area larger than two‑thirds of
the continental U.S., but its population is only about 10 million.
The Consulate General consists of 8 American officers and 50
Russian Foreign Service Nationals (FSN) and contract employees. The
chief U.S. representative in Vladivostok is the Consul General. The
Commercial Service and Agricultural Trade Office maintain an office
with a permanent staff of 1 American and 5 FSN and contract
employees. USAID has one FSN employee at post.
The workweek is Monday through Friday. Nonimmigrant visa
applications are accepted through ‘Pony Express ‘. Visa interviews
are held 0900-1300, Monday through Thursday. American and Russian
holidays are observed. The Consulate General is located in downtown
Vladivostok at Pushkinskaya 32, near the circus. Employees receive
mail by diplomatic pouch once or twice a week, and through Dulles
Virginia post box(personal mail) at the following addresses:
Department of State 5880 Vladivostok Pl. 5880 Vladivostok Place
Dulles VA 20189-5880 Washington, D.C. 20521-5880
Travel to post is usually by air via Seoul. Employees may travel
via Moscow for initial consultations and security in-briefs.
The availability of a variety of foods and consumer goods has
increased significantly in the last few years. However, many
specialty items are still not available, or only sporadically
available. Many staff make use of their consumables allowances for
U.S.-brand foodstuffs and cleaning supplies and supplement their
wardrobes through catalog or internet shopping. The city’s remote
location makes travel in and out of the area expensive.
Establishment of a Community Liaison Office in FY 2005 has made
all aspects of life, from shopping to cultural and recreational
activities, more accessible and enjoyable.
Current information about post may be viewed on the Internet at
http://vladivostok.usconsulate.gov and on the Intranet at the
Mission Russia Life Forum,
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 6/22/2005 5:15 AM
Personnel arriving at post who do not have permanent housing
assigned in advance are housed at contemporary hotels, including the
Vlad Motor Inn. This Canadian‑built hotel is located 15 kilometers
north of downtown Vladivostok in an attractive, wooded region on the
Amur Bay. All suites, although small, share the advantages of the
hotel’s backup generator and boiler (for heat and hot water) in
addition to having electric, wall‑mounted heaters. These amenities,
including a two minute walk to VMI’s excellent Western restaurant,
ensure that residents are not adversely affected by Vladivostok’s
occasional infrastructure outages.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 6/22/2005 5:15 AM
Post makes every effort to assign incoming personnel to permanent
housing immediately. Currently, most staff members are housed in
American-style townhouses with wonderful views of the Golden Horn
Bay. Contact the management officer for further information on
Furnishings Last Updated: 6/22/2005 5:16 AM
All permanent housing is fully furnished. However, wardrobes are
somewhat limited, so you may want to consider bringing these items
if you require a lot of storage space. Post provides primary and
backup heat for each apartment, to supplement city heating in the
winter. As storage space is very limited, employees should bring
only essential items, such as pots, pans, china, glassware,
utensils, linens, and personal effects. Virtually any small
appliance, clothing or personal care item is available. One-stop
shopping is a relatively new phenomenon, so some “hunting and
gathering” is necessary to find the goods, if not the brands,
Americans need. Contact post's management officer or CLO for further
information on apartment furnishings.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 6/22/2005 5:17 AM
Electricity is 220v, 50-hertz, AC. Post has a limited number of
transformers which are assigned to each family, so bring
transformers for hair dryers and other personal household
appliances. Electrical outlets are primarily standard Russian
two‑prong (round). This size is similar to standard European, but
the prongs are somewhat thinner. Currently, post temporary quarters
are furnished with refrigerator and microwave oven (all 220v). The
Russian TV system is Pal/SECAM, so those wishing to watch local
programming and American videotapes should bring multisystem
televisions. Imported multisystem TVs and VCRs and other household
appliances are available on the local economy, but at prices
somewhat higher than in the U.S. A shortwave radio is useful for
listening to news and entertainment programming from outside Russia.
You may purchase a satellite dish and decoder to receive the Armed
Forces Network (AFN) programming, which consists of two television
stations and two radio stations; satellite channels including
Disney, CNN, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet and Cartoon Network are
currently available. Contact the management officer for more
Vladivostok's utility systems are antiquated. Hot water outages
are common in summer and fall, and occasional heating and
electricity outages occur. Post's housing is equipped with backup
water heaters and generators.
Food Last Updated: 6/22/2005 5:18 AM
Employees assigned to Vladivostok are allowed a full consumables
shipment and should take advantage of it. The range and quality of
foods available locally is improving, but still somewhat limited,
especially in winter. Foods available locally in summer/fall
include: fruits (apples, oranges, lemons, bananas), onions,
potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, garlic, pork, beef, eggs,
fish (fresh, frozen, smoked, and salted), and shellfish. Imported
soft drinks, beer, and juices are available as well as imported
tinned meats, rice, and macaroni. Imported wine and liquor is also
available, but at higher prices than in the U.S.. In winter, certain
vegetables can be harder to find, and the availability of some other
foods varies from week to week. Prices are relatively low by
American standards, outside of high-end outlets frequented by
expatriates. All career employees can join the Moscow Commissary for
a nominal fee. This enables purchase of must-haves such as
Thanksgiving turkeys in the Fall. Delivery must be arranged on trips
to Moscow or with the help of colleagues at the Embassy there.
Include in your consumables shipment favorite paper products,
cleaning products, herbs and spices, dried milk/formula, and any
favorite food or drink items. Diapers are readily available at
Clothing Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:31 AM
It is suggested that you bring a 2‑year supply of all types of
clothing, or replenish on annual R&Rs. Although the availability and
quality of clothing in Vladivostok is increasing, it remains
difficult, if not impossible, to purchase Western‑style clothing
locally- Benetton is one of the number of boutiques exploiting this
commercial opportunity. Inexpensive, Chinese‑made clothing and shoes
are becoming increasingly available, but quality is less than that
exported to Europe.
When traveling through Tokyo, Frankfurt or Seoul, career American
staff have commissary, exchange and package store privileges. Taking
advantage of this requires a front-channel telegram to the post to
Men Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:31 AM
Men should bring wool suits, sweaters, gloves, heavy winter
coats, lightweight jackets, and a good raincoat with liner.
Insulated boots, scarves, long underwear and winter hats are useful
in the cold winter months. Good‑quality fur hats and excellent
leather coats may be purchased in Vladivostok at reasonable prices.
Even in the summer months, heavyweight, woolen clothing can often be
worn. Business attire in Russia is similar to that in the U.S.; dark
suits are popular among the foreign business and consular community.
Evening attire is not needed. Bring a sufficient quantity of dress
clothes with you. Local dry-cleaning is uneven in quality, expensive
and often slow, so employees usually have their suits dry-cleaned in
Moscow or abroad when the opportunity arises. Bring sturdy,
comfortable shoes, since Vladivostok’s weather can cause shoes to
wear quickly. Bring a full supply of casual clothes, including
bathing suits, as swimming is possible at some beaches in late
Women Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:32 AM
Bring warm business attire, a heavy winter coat and accessories,
including long underwear – silk long underwear is especially
light-weight and warm. Good –quality fur hats and fur and leather
coats are available at good prices. Basics likes shoes, pantyhose,
etc. can be purchased locally. Good quality, Western-style women’s
clothing is very expensive; cheap clothing of lesser quality, mostly
from China, is available. Of course, clothing can also be ordered
through the Internet. Business attire is similar to that in the U.S.
At social events, cocktail dresses or business attire is usually
worn. Evening wear is not required.
Children Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:32 AM
Bring mainly sturdy, warm, washable play clothes. Zippered,
one‑piece nylon snowsuits are recommended, together with material to
patch this type of garment. Waterproof boots with insulated foam
lining, several pairs of waterproof mittens, long thermal underwear,
and waterproof snow pants are all recommended. Bring scarves, woolen
hats and hoods, rubber boots, warm slacks, knee socks, tights,
slicker raincoats with hoods, tennis shoes, and warm sweaters.
Nightgowns or pajamas, slippers, and bathrobes are also needed.
Summer clothing should include washable play clothes, slacks, jeans,
shorts, and bathing suits. Babies need warm winter clothing, with
wind protection for all except the eyes.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:33 AM
Write the post’s management officer concerning specific needs for
your future home. Current post housing lacks finished storage space,
so do not bring excess items which would not tolerate dry but
primitive basement storage.
In general, bring a 2‑year supply of all types of paper products
and cleaning supplies that you expect to need. Bring insect
repellent effective against mosquitoes and ticks if you hunt, fish
or hike in summer. Bring any necessary over‑the‑counter and
prescription medicines, cosmetics, and toiletries, such as shampoo,
soap, and toothpaste, when “only my brand will do.” Catalog and
Internet mail orders can be received through the diplomatic pouch,
normally within 3 weeks Bring children’s toys and English greeting
cards or order through catalogs/internet.
Supplies and Services
Basic Services Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:34 AM
Although many basic services are available in some form in
Vladivostok, quality is often poor and service slow. Local barbers
and hairdressers can provide basic, competent haircuts for
relatively low prices. Shoe repair and tailoring services are
available. Electronics and appliance repair is available, although
not all imported items can be serviced, and spare parts are
difficult to find. Employees may prefer to bring Japanese or Korean
vehicles and appliances to post, as better servicing is available
for these goods than for American or European models.
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:34 AM
Post employees may hire Russian or third-country nationals to
work in domestic positions in their home. There are currently few
third-country nationals available for employment in Vladivostok.
Domestic wages are somewhat lower than what is paid in Moscow. (See
Embassy Moscow section for information on wages for Russian
Russians, Americans, or third-country nationals may be hired as
live-in nannies. Contact the Consulate General or the State
Department's Office of Russian Affairs for the latest information,
if you plan to hire a nanny. Inquire as early as possible, as it may
take from 6 weeks to 3 months to obtain a visa for a nanny.
At Post Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:35 AM Inform the administrative
officer as early as possible of educational needs. There is an
international school, operated by Quality Schools International, for
grades kindergarten through sixth grade, and correspondence course
management in upper grades. It offers a recognizable American
curriculum, with an American headmaster. English-language schooling
in Vladivostok is limited. Several city schools offer
"English-language" programs that are actually carried out primarily
in Russian with one or two classes a day taught in English. Local
schools have adequate curriculum by American standards, but the
schools lack sufficient supplies, equipment, and teaching materials.
Overcrowding has forced most of the schools to adopt a two-shift
daily schedule. The language barrier may make total reliance on the
Russian system difficult. That said, several Consulate’ children
attend local Russian schools, with good results.
Away From Post Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:36 AM Some Americans
send their children to boarding schools in the U.S. and Western
Europe. Request a list of overseas boarding schools with English
instruction from the State Department's Office of Overseas Schools
or the Allowances Staff.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:36 AM
Vladivostok is a college town, as well as a seaport. There are
several area universities offering courses on a variety of subjects,
leading to a degree. However, students must have a strong command of
Russian to be accepted.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:37 AM
Vladivostok, Primorskiy Territory, and the entire Russian Far
East offer a wide variety of outdoor activities. In Vladivostok,
popular summer sports include sailing, swimming, fishing, hunting,
tennis, baseball, and soccer. Winter sports include basketball,
downhill/cross-country skiing, ice-skating, and ice fishing. There
are several public tennis courts in Vladivostok, although most are
in relatively poor condition, and during the peak season
(May‑September), players often must wait for a court. Public
basketball courts (indoor and out-door) and soccer/baseball fields
are also available. There are many opportunities for Americans to
participate in local sports through affiliation with various club
teams or through social contacts. Sailboats and motor vessels may be
rented and are popular in the summer for trips to nearby islands and
beaches. It is also possible to go deep‑sea fishing, while shore
fishing and freshwater (particularly trout, salmon and char) fishing
are popular throughout the region. Hiking and camping are also
popular, particularly in the mountains and taiga (primeval forest)
north of the city. Swimming is not recommended at many of the
beaches near the city due to environmental concerns and the
relatively cold water. There are several sandy beaches, which offer
good sites for picnics and sunbathing, within an hour’s drive of the
city and on islands accessible by chartered boat. Scuba diving for
advanced divers is available and some scuba equipment may even be
rented locally. Some year-round indoor pools have good water
quality. There are a few gyms in town with decent equipment for
working out. Yoga classes are also available.
Vladivostok’s relatively snow-free winters make it necessary to
travel inland for the best cross‑country skiing, but deep winter
snow can nearly always be found less than 100 miles away. Downhill
skiing is available in various locations in the Russian Far East.
Bring all sports equipment, including skis, skates, balls, and
rackets. Equipment available locally is of excellent quality at
slightly higher thanks to U.S. prices.
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:38 AM
Although the Russian Far East lacks the variety of historic sites
and old cities found in the European parts of Russia, it does offer
a wide variety of beautiful scenery for the adventurous traveler.
The Primorskiy territory coast, marked by numerous rocky islands,
steep cliffs, and isolated beaches, is accessible by chartered boat.
Tour companies offer hiking and camping tours to the taiga,
Kamchatka's volcanoes and salmon fishing, and winter ski trips to
Siberian ski areas. Hunting and fishing expeditions can also be
arranged. The city of Khabarovsk, about 450 miles north of
Vladivostok on the Amur River, is the other main center and economic
hub of the Russian Far East and can be reached by overnight train or
a 90‑minute Aeroflot Flight. It is a very pleasant and clean city
with excellent museums and good shopping which is a draw for
Travel within Russia can be tiring. Frequent transportation
schedule changes, below‑standard hotels, and harsh weather can
combine to make an international trip more attractive. Currently,
there are international flights to Korea, Japan, Vietnam and China.
In summer, there is regularly scheduled passenger liner service to
Japan and South Korea on Russian ships. Package trips to Thailand
via Seoul are also readily available and popular among Russians and
Personnel assigned to Vladivostok currently receive two R&R’s
during a 2‑year tour. The designated R&R point is Sydney, Australia.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:39 AM
Vladivostok has limited entertainment facilities, but the number
is increasing as the city develops. There are several good
joint‑venture restaurants in the city, with prices ranging from
inexpensive to moderate. Although there are nightclubs and casinos,
nightlife for the foreign community centers around restaurants and
home entertaining. Chinese and Russian cuisine predominate, but
Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants have proven
Vladivostok has several small museums, including an art museum, a
museum of natural and regional history, antique car museum, and a
military museum. Concerts of classical and jazz music, played by
both local and visiting musicians from other parts of Russia and
abroad, are held several times a year. Local theaters offer periodic
plays, ballet and other entertainment. There is an excellent puppet
theater for children, which offers a full schedule when the weather
turns cold. Circuses transiting to Japan and Korea usually spend 3
weeks here, en route. There are a number of modern movie theaters in
town with foreign films dubbed into Russian.
Many foreign residents bring multi-system videocassette recorders
and DVD players; high quality “zone-free” DVD players are available
locally. Because there are few tape rental clubs in Vladivostok,
bring a supply with you. You can add tapes by ordering from
catalogs/Internet or by borrowing from friends. Some Russian
(PAL/SECAM) videos may be purchased on the local economy, including
American films and TV shows that have been dubbed into Russian.
Multi-language DVDs usually cost 6-10 dollars. Bring a large supply
of books and other reading materials with you, or order from
Amazon-type retailers. English-language books, periodicals, and
newspapers are not available in Vladivostok, so magazine
subscriptions are also important. The Consulate General maintains a
small reading library for use by the American community that is
stocked with donated books and magazines. The Information Resource
Center in the Public Affairs Section also subscribes to news and
scholarly magazines and journals. These may be borrowed overnight or
on weekends by Consulate staff.
You may read about current events in Vladivostok on the Internet
at the following sites: http://vladivostok.com/golden-horn or
http://www.vladnews.ru. The former is a Russian-language daily which
has an English weekly page. The latter is an English-language
Recreation and Social Life
Among Americans Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:39 AM The social life
among the small American community is casual and personally
arranged. The total resident American population of Vladivostok is
less than 40, not including the official American community, so
contacts between Americans are frequent.
Recreation and Social Life
International Contacts Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:39 AM Americans
have no difficulty meeting Russians through professional and social
interaction. There is an International Women's Roster in CLO,
consisting of American, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and Indian women.
Due to the relatively small size of the foreign community, contacts
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:40 AM
Official functions, hosted by the territorial or city
administrations, or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
representative office, occur regularly and are usually attended by
the consuls general from the various Consulates in Vladivostok.
There are also occasional functions hosted by Vladivostok’s other
foreign missions: India, South Korea, Japan, China, and Vietnam
maintain consulates in the city, and several other countries are
represented by honorary consuls or some other form of representation
in the city. Official receptions are large affairs, but small-scale
entertaining at restaurants or in homes is more popular. The
Consulate General hosts an annual Fourth of July reception, and all
Consulate General officers are strongly encouraged to entertain.
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:40 AM
Formal calling cards are not exchanged with officers of other
consulates or local officials. The consul general should plan on
making courtesy calls on the Governor and Mayor soon after arrival.
Other calls are optional. Officers should bring a large supply of
informal business cards to post. Cards may be printed locally, but
are of lower quality than those available in the U.S. or Moscow.
Special Information Last Updated: 6/24/2005 2:41 AM
Post Orientation Program
Vladivostok has an informal orientation program. Post officers
and CLO provide briefings on local conditions and post operations
upon arrival. This is a follow-on to CLO’s pre-arrival long distance
orientation. Employees should plan on spending about 2 days in
Moscow en route to post or soon after arrival for consultations.
Health. Permanent and temporary duty staff should endeavor to
receive all necessary inoculations before arriving in Vladivostok.
Among those strongly suggested are Japanese B encephalitis vaccines
(for both tick and mosquito), hepatitis B vaccine, and gamma
globulin. Several of these vaccines are given as a series over
several months, so advance planning is required.
Embassy Manila’s regional medical officer is responsible for
medical care at post and makes periodic trips to Vladivostok. The
post also has a resident English-speaking Russian doctor who
provides medical services to Consulate General staff, including
inoculations. Local Russian medical facilities are generally not
recommended, except in case of emergency and with the full
involvement of our local physician. When necessary, Consulate
General staff and family members can be medevaced to Korea (DoD
hospital) or the U.S. In non-emergency situations, staff and family
members can also receive care in Moscow.
Vladivostok's water is not potable. Post provides at least one
water distiller per apartment which provides suitable, safe drinking
water. Bottled water is also readily available in the city. Other
post hazards include very slick sidewalks and roads after snows.
Automobiles. As Vladivostok’s public transportation is limited,
bring a vehicle to post. Japanese vehicles are common in the city,
and Toyota and Nissan maintain service centers with trained
mechanics. South Korean and European vehicles are slowly becoming
more common. Bring a good supply of spare parts, particularly air,
fuel, and oil filters, spare windshield wipers, and fan belts, since
parts for certain imported vehicles are hard to find and expensive.
Consider a four‑wheel‑drive vehicle, because Vladivostok’s hilly
terrain makes winter driving difficult. Snow tires are helpful in
winter, but are not mandatory, as snowfall is relatively infrequent.
As protection against car theft and vandalism, bring a steering
wheel lock or other theft‑protection device. The commute to the
office from most of our apartments is less than 10 minutes, when a
snowstorm is not actually underway.
Travel. Before departing for post, ensure that Vladivostok is
listed as an entry point on your Russian visa. Consulate General
staff are required, with the help of FSN staff, to file a diplomatic
travel note notifying the Foreign Ministry of any intended travel
outside a 40‑kilometer radius of downtown Vladivostok. Incoming
personnel will be fully briefed upon arrival as to all pertinent
Pets. Contact the post administrative officer for restrictions at
your specific housing assignment. Good veterinary services are
Currency Transactions. Check with the post's administrative
officer regarding the availability and exchangeability of funds
before departing for post. Currently, post provides full
accommodation exchange services to all permanently assigned and
temporary duty personnel on travel orders.
Consulate General - Yekaterinburg
Post City Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:24 AM
Yekaterinburg lays claim to the title of Russia's third largest
city and former President Yeltsin's hometown. It is best known to
Americans as the place where the last Tsar and his family were
murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and the location where American
U-2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers was shot down in 1960. Yekaterinburg
is situated in the foothills of the Ural Mountains and is nominally
an Asian city, lying 20 miles east of the continental divide between
Europe and Asia. Like Chicago, its closest American counterpart,
Yekaterinburg is the unofficial capital of a key region in the
country's heartland, the Urals.
Yekaterinburg was founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, who named
it for his wife Catherine I. Tsar Peter recognized the importance of
the iron and copper-rich Urals region for Imperial Russia's
industrial and military development. By the mid-18th century,
metallurgical plants had sprung up across the Urals to cast cannons
and Yekaterinburg's mint was producing most of Russia's coins.
Today, Yekaterinburg, much like Pittsburgh in the 1970's, is
struggling to cope with dramatic economic changes that have made its
heavy industries uncompetitive on the world market. Huge defense
plants are struggling to survive, while retail and service sectors
are developing rapidly. Yekaterinburg and the surrounding area were
a center of the Soviet Union's military industrial complex. Soviet
tanks, missiles and aircraft engines were made in the Urals. As a
result, the Soviets closed the entire region to contact with the
outside world for over 40 years during the Cold War. In 1992, thanks
to lobbying efforts by local leaders, the new Russian Federation
opened Yekaterinburg and the Urals to contact with the West.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:13 AM
The United States was at the forefront of Western efforts to seek
to establish contacts in the Urals. In 1994, Secretary of Commerce
Ron Brown opened the U.S. Consulate in Yekaterinburg, the first
diplomatic mission in the Urals since World War II. The Consulate's
primary mission is to encourage openness and contact with American
business, culture and ideas.
As Russia's regions have begun to play an increasingly important
role in the country's development, Yekaterinburg offers the United
States a unique post in the Russian interior to encourage greater
democratization and market reform. U.S. policy has increasingly
targeted Russia's regions in its assistance, trade assistance and
exchange programs. U.S. investment in the Yekaterinburg area has
dropped since the August 1998 financial crisis. However, American
and other foreign investors continue to consider the Urals as
Russia's economy recovers. There are over 50 Russian-American joint
ventures, including household names such as Crane and United
Technologies. Pepsi and Coca-Cola have bottling plants in
The Consulate staff consists of seven American officers and fifty
Russian FSN and contract employees. The Consulate occupies the top
two floors of one wing of a four-story modern office building with
19th century-style facade located near the city center. The British
Consulate is located in the same building.
The Consulate has Management, Commercial, Consular,
Political-Economic and Public Affairs Sections. The post's size
provides its American employees with broader portfolios and greater
management opportunities than their counterparts in larger missions.
The Management Officer is also the Post Security Officer and the
Political-Economic Officer manages the Commercial Section.
ConGen Yekaterinburg's consular district includes all of the
Urals region and the west part of Siberia. The consular district is
larger than the United States east of the Mississippi and is home to
40 million people. Consulate staff regularly visit major cities
throughout the consular district by automobile, train, and plane.
Winter weather, vast distances and an underdeveloped transportation
infrastructure make travel a challenge.
The Consulate's main attraction as a place to serve is its
location in central Russia. It offers an opportunity to interact
with ordinary Russians and to observe their society evolve in the
country's ongoing transformation into a democracy with a market
economy. In addition, the region's economic and political strength
make it a key player in shaping federal policies. A Post here is a
chance to influence people and attitudes toward America, a country
that was viewed only a few years ago as an enemy and a threat.
Paradoxically, the Consulate's main drawback as a place to serve
is its location. About 200 Americans reside in the Consular district
and Yekaterinburg's English-speaking expatriate community is small.
Parents with minor children should consider carefully whether to bid
on positions in Yekaterinburg at this time. Social opportunities for
children are extremely limited, an international school is
nonexistent, and Western medical care is not available.
Communications and mail service are limited, but improving. In
addition to commercial long distance telephone service,
Yekaterinburg has five reliable Internet providers that offer full
Internet access and e-mail. The Consulate is connected to the
Internet and has its own website www.uscgyekat.ur.ru. Incoming mail
service is limited to weekly diplomatic pouch and takes 2-3 weeks to
reach Yekaterinburg from the U.S. Consulate personnel may receive
packages that do not exceed 17” x 18” x 30” in size or 45 pounds in
weight and do not contain liquids (pouch limitations). Outgoing mail
is limited to letter mail and can also be sent via the APO in
Post's pouch address is:
U.S. Dept. of State
5890 Yekaterinburg Place
Washington, DC 20521-5890
Housing Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:15 AM
Incoming Consulate personnel usually move into permanent quarters
upon arrival. If permanent quarters are not ready, new arrivals are
lodged in hotels. Permanent housing consists of fully furnished
USG-leased apartments, most of which are located within walking
distance of the Consulate building. Each apartment has a kitchen,
dining room, living room, and at least two bedrooms and at least one
and a half bathrooms.
The furniture is similar to that issued by Embassy Moscow and
each apartment has living room furniture, lamps, two bookcases, a
dining room suite, a desk set and bedroom sets. Master bedrooms have
queen-sized (60 inches x 80 inches) beds and guest rooms have
twin-sized (39 inches x 75 inches) beds. All apartments have
draperies; some rooms are fully carpeted. Should incoming personnel
wish to bring additional furnishings, we would suggest reading
lamps, area rugs, door mats, pictures and other wall hangings,
additional bookcases and/or stereo and TV stands.
New arrivals receive a welcome kit (linens, pillows, blankets,
towels, dishes, glasses, pots and pans, silverware and an iron) for
use until their UAB arrives.
Utilities and Appliances
All apartments are equipped with large hot water heaters for
kitchen and bathroom use. All have effective central heating and
additional portable radiators. All are outfitted with ranges,
refrigerators/freezers, washers and dryers, dishwashers (in most
apartments), humidifiers, microwave ovens and an electric water
All apartments have at least one telephone; telephone jacks are
U.S. standard. Russia has no touch-tone service and any push-button
telephones or automatic dialing equipment, such as computer modems,
should be able to convert to pulse dialing.
Electrical service in Yekaterinburg is 220v, 50 Hz. Most
electrical outlets accept two round prongs, with a mixture of
"French/Italian" and "German" sized outlets. Each apartment is
equipped with three step-down transformers to operate standard 110v
Russian television operates on the SECAM system, and multi-system
televisions and VCR's and available for purchase in Yekaterinburg.
Limited European satellite television, such as BBC World (PAL), is
Food Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:15 AM
Employees assigned to Yekaterinburg should take full advantage of
the authorized consumables shipment. The availability and quality of
foods is improving here, but is still limited, especially in winter.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually available, but selection
varies seasonally. Many American staples rarely appear on store
shelves. Imported liquor and wine are in short supply and expensive.
Availability of items is subject to change. It is recommended that
incoming personnel check with the Management Officer or others at
post regarding suggestions for consumables.
The Consulate suggests that a consumables shipment might include
favorite snack foods, crackers, paper products, personal care items,
herbs and spices, breakfast cereals, soups, canned vegetables and
fruit, coffee, and ingredients for ethnic cuisines (e.g. Chinese and
Yekaterinburg's water is not potable. The water distillers issued
to each apartment provide water for drinking and cooking.
Clothing Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:16 AM
Yekaterinburg has a continental climate similar to that of the
American Midwest, with freezing winter temperatures and warm
summers. Winter temperatures occasionally drop as low as minus 40
degrees Fahrenheit and the first snow usually falls in October.
Planning for winter weather should be a high priority. Winter-weight
clothing and boots are essential. Snow and ice make the sidewalks
very slippery and footwear with traction is highly recommended. The
climate is very dry during the winter months and skin moisturizer
and lip balm are recommended items to bring to post.
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:19 AM
Most personnel at post currently do not have POV's. Parking in a
guarded lot or garage is provided near each employee's apartment.
Toyota and Ford have dealerships in Yekaterinburg but service and
parts are very expensive. Employees are encouraged not to purchase
vehicles locally. A vehicle with four-wheel drive and high clearance
to cope with the winter conditions is strongly recommended. Unleaded
premium gasoline is not readily available in Yekaterinburg and other
major cities in our consular district. Personnel who decided to
import vehicles should consider disconnecting the catalytic
converter. They should also bring basic spare parts, including air,
synthetic oil (to handle the cold temperatures), fuel and oil
filters; spark plugs; windshield wipers; and drive belts.
Yekaterinburg's health care delivery system does not meet
American standards. There is no Western clinic in the city and no
reliable 24-hour emergency ambulance service. Basic health care is
marginal; dental care is inadequate. Incoming personnel should visit
a physician and dentist prior to arrival and obtain all inoculations
recommended by M/MED. Inoculations against all forms of hepatitis as
well as tick-borne encephalitis (usually received in Russia) are
especially important. The nearest Western-style basic medical care
is available in Moscow, a two-hour flight from Yekaterinburg, or in
Frankfurt, a four-hour flight away. Embassy Moscow's Regional
Medical Officer makes periodic trips to post and is responsible for
authorizing medical evacuations. Yekaterinburg's designated medical
evacuation point is London.
Yekaterinburg is a cash-only economy; credit cards are rarely
accepted; travelers checks are not accepted anywhere. The Consulate
cashier is open daily to cash personal checks and provide
dollar-ruble accommodation exchange.
Domestic help is readily available on the local market. Consulate
employees can expect to hire a maid or cook (for cooking, laundry
service, cleaning, and grocery shopping) for about $3 per hour.
Employment Opportunities for Dependents
Employment opportunities for spouses and dependents are limited.
The Consulate has two part-time EFM positions as a NIV Visa
Assistant and Community Liaison Officer. No spouse or dependent at
post has worked on the local market.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:20 AM
There are no religious services conducted in English in the city.
Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Muslim, Seventh Day Adventist,
Pentecostal, and Jewish services are held weekly. The Methodists,
Baptists, Lutherans and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints carry out missionary activities locally, and several of these
missions also have weekly services.
Education Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:21 AM
There are no international schools, however, a few schools accept
international students but the classes are taught in Russian. There
are no schools that teach in English. Education allowance allows for
home schooling or schooling away from post.
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 9/13/2004 5:23 AM
Outdoor Sports and Travel in the Consular District
The Urals' many lakes, forests and mountains are great for
hiking, swimming and fishing. Winter sports include cross-country
skiing and ice-skating. The Ural Mountains, however, offer only
limited opportunities for downhill skiing. Yekaterinburg's most
popular spectator sports are hockey, basketball and soccer.
The Urals possess beautiful natural scenery, particularly
northern Tyumen's distant tundra and taiga. For Russian history and
culture buffs, ConGen Yekaterinburg's consular district offers many
landmarks including the childhood home museums of classical composer
Tschaikovskiy and mad monk Rasputin; the Nizhnyaya Sinyachika
village outdoor museum of pre-revolutionary architecture; historic
cities like Tobolsk; and the 400-year-old monastery at Verkhoturye,
the 16th century capital of the Urals.
Consulate personnel are required to notify the local Ministry of
Foreign Affairs representative of any planned travel outside of a
25-mile radius of the city center three working days in advance.
Notification is made through diplomatic notes filed by the
Travel Outside the Consular District
Yekaterinburg is a two-R&R/two-year tour of duty. Yekaterinburg's
designated R&R point is Rome.
Travel to and from post is usually routed through Frankfurt (via
Lufthansa's direct flight three times per week) or through Moscow
via daily Urals Air, Transaero or Aeroflot flights. There are also
regular flights to St. Petersburg and other major cities in the
former Soviet Union. Yekaterinburg's airport now features charter
flights to many foreign countries, including Turkey, China and the
United Arab Emirates.
The performing arts are Yekaterinburg's cultural strongpoint. The
city has an excellent symphony orchestra, opera and ballet theater,
and many other performing arts venues. Tickets are inexpensive. The
city's most notable museums are its fine arts museum, which contains
paintings by some of Russia's 19th century masters, and the
geological museum which houses an extensive collection of stones and
gems from the Urals.
Yekaterinburg's nightlife options are limited. There are a
handful of expensive Western-style restaurants and bars, none of
which would be worth frequenting in a more cosmopolitan city. Glitzy
nightclubs and casinos have appeared to serve the city's nouveau
riche clientele. Several new dance clubs have sprung up that offer a
chance to rub shoulders with Yekaterinburg's more affluent youth.
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
Apply for your passport and Russian visa well in advance of your
intended travel. Regardless of agency affiliation, this must be
coordinated through EUR/RUS, Department of State, Room 4227,
telephone (202) 647‑8956. By allowing 4 weeks to obtain your
passport and 3 weeks for your Russian visa, you can spare yourself
needless last-minute efforts.
Notify the Embassy Personnel Office in advance of the date, time,
and place of your arrival in Moscow. It is Embassy policy to meet
all incoming personnel. Arrivals who find no Embassy representative
awaiting them should telephone the Marine Security Guard at 728‑5025
In order to register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
obtain an Embassy identification, Embassy employees and their
dependents must bring the following to the Embassy on the first day:
12 color, full‑face photographs, U.S. passport‑sized, and eight
black‑and‑white, measuring 1 1/2 x 2 1/ 4 (4 cm x 6 cm). The
black-and-white photos must have paper backing (not Polaroid). All
incoming personnel should check in at the Personnel Office on the
first business day after arrival.
Include in your accompanied baggage or airfreight enough clothing
appropriate for the time of year to last for a few weeks. Airfreight
from the U.S. takes about 3 weeks to arrive in winter and 2‑6 weeks
in summer. Shipment of your airfreight must be timed to arrive in
Moscow after you arrive at post to comply with Russian customs
regulations. In summer, you need both summer clothes and warm
clothing to wear after mid‑August.
Shipping time for HHE from Washington, D.C. to Moscow can take 3
months or more. No general rule can be given for shipping time from
other areas, but assume that surface shipments will move slowly.
If you are moving immediately into temporary or permanent Embassy
quarters (or if you are departing post), the GSO will issue you a
Welcome Kit, including a minimum supply of bedding, towels, dishes,
glasses, cutlery, and pots and pans. The Kit is intended only to
help new personnel and their families until their airfreight
arrives. Include in your airfreight those things you will need until
you receive your HHE shipment. If you will need a baby crib, notify
the GSO in advance of your arrival and one will be loaned to you.
Choice of Route to Moscow. Currently, Delta is the only American
airline that regularly flies to Moscow and St. Petersburg. However,
check the latest schedules to determine what carriers and stopover
combinations are authorized.
You can drive to post over the routes Prague-Warsaw‑Brest‑Moscow
or Helsinki‑St. Petersburg-Moscow with prior Embassy and Russian
Government approval. When driving by way of Warsaw, allow at least 6
weeks to arrange the Russian-Brest entrance visa and Czechoslovak
and Polish transit visas.
If driving to Moscow, notify the Embassy well in advance of the
route, stopover points, dates, and car license plate number, so that
the required travel note can be sent to the Russian Ministry of
The overland trip should be undertaken only by experienced
drivers accompanied by another passenger or by two cars traveling
together. If you do not have a Russian driver's license, have a
valid U.S. license and an international driver's license available.
Gasoline is often difficult to find in Russia outside of major
cities. Gas stations take cash only.
Road travel in Russia is not geared to high-speed, long-distance
runs. Surfaces vary greatly, detours are frequent, and drivers often
do not perform according to expectations. Heavy truck traffic makes
passing extremely dangerous. Service facilities are seldom seen and
never to be depended on for parts. A carefully planned pacing is the
best approach, but there are many accidents involving diplomatic
vehicles, and the risk is high. Most employees arrive initially by
plane or train and have their personally owned vehicle shipped in,
or purchase a vehicle after arrival.
Travel to Moscow by air or surface routes other than those
specified above must be cleared in advance by the Embassy.
Send post sufficient advance notice (10 days minimum) so that it
can arrange a Welcome Kit and necessary transportation. Most
employees arrive via plane. After disembarking from the plane and
proceeding through passport control, you will be met near the
baggage claim and assisted through immigration and customs. Most
arrivals proceed through customs formalities without any difficulty.
If arriving by rail, you will be met near the head of the train on
If you are not met by an Embassy representative, request to be
put in touch with the Embassy duty officer by calling Marine Guard
Post 5 at 728-5025.
If traveling via Helsinki, inform the Embassy by cable of the
date of arrival, means of travel, and flight number (if applicable).
Travel to St. Petersburg. Currently, Delta flies into St.
Petersburg. If transiting Eastern Europe en route to post, check for
compliance with visa requirements and be aware that flight schedules
between St. Petersburg and Eastern European cities often change
without notice. If arriving by car, enter from Helsinki and notify
the post well in advance of arrival so that a travel note may be
submitted to the Russian Government. You must provide the Consulate
General with names of travelers, date you will enter Russia (you may
not enter before the date given on your travel note), make of
vehicle, the license plate number, and country that issued the
Travel to Vladivostok. Employees assigned to Vladivostok should
arrange routing to Vladivostok via Moscow, allowing 2 days of
consultations at Embassy Moscow. Although this route is longer, post
strongly recommends that employees consult with the Embassy before
arriving at post. Initial travel to post is possible either by air
via Moscow or across the Pacific on an American carrier. There are
frequent trans‑Pacific flights from Seattle, Portland, San
Francisco, and Los Angeles to Tokyo and Seoul, and biweekly flights
in summer from Seattle to Vladivostok via Anchorage and Magadan.
Travelers choosing to transit Tokyo must take a “bullet train” from
Tokyo to Niigata (about 2 hours). Aeroflot flies twice weekly
(Thursdays and Sundays) from Niigata to Vladivostok. Travelers
transiting Seoul must catch the weekly (Sunday) Aeroflot flight from
Seoul to Khabarovsk, then fly or take an overnight train from
Khabarovsk to Vladivostok.
Travel to Yekaterinburg. Employees assigned to Yekaterinburg
usually fly on the thrice weekly (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday)
Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt. The Department has approved this
routing. Travelers to Yekaterinburg are strongly advised to check
that their visa allows entry to Russia via Yekaterinburg, as the
Russian Embassy in Washington does not always put it as an entry
point even when requested.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
According to Russian customs regulations, effective January 1,
1966, personnel with diplomatic titles may import articles duty free
throughout their tenure. No limit, other than “quantity required for
personal use,” is stipulated. Although customs regulations have
changed since 1966 and have been updated since the dissolution of
the U.S.S.R. in 1991, the privileges extended to accredited
diplomats remain essentially unchanged.
Those with diplomatic passports are not required to fill out a
customs declaration upon entering or leaving Russia, nor are they
required to submit their bags to a customs inspection. Others, such
as a nanny employed by an American diplomat, are required to fill
out the declaration and to submit their bags to a customs
Shipments: No personal shipments (HHE, UAB, personally owned
vehicle) should arrive at the Embassy or the consulates before the
employee arrives at the post of assignment. Shipments that arrive
before the employee experience customs clearance difficulties,
cannot be cleared through customs, and accrue expensive storage
charges. The Embassy and consulates do not have storage facilities
for personal shipments.
Shipment of Effects‑Moscow. Mark HHE shipments bound for Moscow
American Embassy Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok No. 8 121099
Moscow Russian Federation via ELSO, Antwerp in transit For: (full
Send the original bill of lading to the European Logistical
Support Office (ELSO), Antwerp, Belgium, and a copy to the general
services officer, American Embassy, Moscow.
If you are on direct transfer from Western European posts, you
may ship HHE by truck directly to Moscow. In this case, the losing
post must advise Moscow in advance (by cable) of the shipping
company's name, the truck and trailer numbers, the number of pieces,
the weight, the date of entry into Russia and the entry point, and
the estimated time of arrival in Moscow.
Maximum dimensions for liftvans are as follows: capacity, 9 1/2
cubic meters; weight, 2 1/2 tons; width, 7 feet; length, 8 feet; and
height, 6 feet.
Airfreight‑Unaccompanied Baggage. Airfreight shipments to Moscow
should be marked as follows:
American Embassy Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok No. 8 121099
Moscow Russian Federation For: (full name)
Personally Owned Vehicles. Winterize all vehicles before shipping
them. Install alarm systems and removable radio/cassette players
before shipping as well, due to a high incidence of vandalism. Post
recommends shipping vehicles through Helsinki. Employees may either
drive the vehicle in from there or have it trucked in at government
expense. Personally owned vehicles should be consigned as follows:
European Logistical Support Office (ELSO) Antwerp, Belgium
Noorderlaan 147, BUS 12A, B-2030 Antwerp For forwarding to American
Send original bill of lading to ELSO Antwerp with a copy to the
GSO in Moscow. For those employees on direct transfer from Western
European posts, the same shipping instructions apply as those for
shipment of HHE, listed above. You may ship your personally owned
vehicle directly to Moscow via truck. The losing post must advise
Moscow in advance (by cable) of the shipping company's name, the
truck and trailer numbers, the weight, the date of entry into Russia
and entry point, and the estimated time of arrival in Moscow.
Shipment of HHE, St. Petersburg. HHE, airfreight, consumables,
and personally owned vehicles should all be sent via the Unified
Regional Support Activity Office (URSA/Helsinki). Make sure that
they are not shipped to Helsinki far in advance of your estimated
arrival. The Embassy in Helsinki cannot take possession of the
goods, since you are not assigned to Finland; storage space is
minimal; and storage costs are high. Under no circumstances should
you consign them directly to the Consulate General. The Consulate
General also cannot clear goods until after you are registered with
the St. Petersburg Diplomatic Agency and has neither a warehouse nor
storage space to hold incoming goods. All items should be marked as
American Ambassador American Embassy Helsinki, Finland TAG: Attn:
URSA For: (full name)
Send the original bill of lading to the URSA/Helsinki office with
a copy to the general services officer in St. Petersburg.
Shipment of Effects—Vladivostok: Mark HHE, consumables, and
airfreight shipments bound for Vladivostok as follows:
American Consulate General Pushkinskaya Street, 32 Vladivostok,
Russia For: (full name)
Send a copy of the bill of lading to the administrative officer,
American Consulate General, Vladivostok. Shipments should not arrive
in Vladivostok before employees. Post has no storage facilities for
Personally Owned Vehicles—Vladivostok: Winterize all vehicles
before shipping them. Install alarm systems and remove
radio/cassette players before shipping as well, due to a high
incidence of vandalism. Post recommends shipping vehicles directly
to Vladivostok by sea through the appropriate U.S. Dispatch Agent
(usually Seattle). Personally owned vehicles should be consigned as
American Consulate General Attn: (full name) c/o Administrative
Officer 32 Pushkinskaya Street Vladivostok, Russia
Send original bill of lading to the administrative officer in
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Passage Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
To enter Russia, have a Russian visa specifically valid for your
point of entry. If entering by car, train, or ship, ensure that your
visa is valid for the selected entry point. Immunization and
inoculation certificates are not required at the border. You may not
arrive before (or leave after) the validity dates of your visa that
appear in DD/MM/YY format on the visa.
If you are stationed abroad at the time of assignment and are not
going through Washington, D.C., apply for your Russian entrance visa
at the nearest Russian Embassy or Consulate General. On the basis of
reciprocity, permanent Embassy personnel applying in Washington
should be issued Russian visas within 7 days of date of application.
Temporary duty personnel applying in Washington, D.C, also should be
issued visas within seven days of application and, if applying
outside Washington, D.C., within 15 days. No visa request should be
submitted to the Russians until after the travel has been approved
by the Embassy and the Department (EUR/RUS).
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Pets Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
All pets should be given distemper, hepatitis, leptospira
bactrin, parvovirus, and rabies immunizations before entering the
Russian Federation. A rabies and an immunization certification
stating dates must be available for customs formalities. Check with
your airline concerning regulations and how far in advance you need
the shots given to your pet.
There are veterinary clinics in Moscow that stock rabies,
distemper, leptospira bactrin, and parvovirus vaccines for dogs and
cats. Other pet medicines and supplies (worm pills, flea powder,
vitamins, soap, etc.) should be brought with you.
In your notice of arrival cable, notify the Embassy that you are
bringing a pet.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
4/30/2001 6:00 PM
The Russian unit of currency is the ruble, composed of 100
The rate of exchange is relatively stable at 28‑29 rubles to the
dollar. Check the Embassy, local banks, or hotels for the latest
rate. Embassy personnel receive no preferential rate of exchange.
The metric system of weights and measures is used.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 4/30/2001
Other than airport and indirect taxes, which are included in the
selling price of goods, employees are not subject to any special
With the prior approval of the minister counselor for
Administration, you can sell articles that you have imported to
official members of the American Embassy or third‑country diplomats
at the end of your tour of duty. This privilege is restricted to
reasonable amounts of personal property during your tour. Russian
law forbids the sale of duty‑free goods to Russian citizens.
Many employees, during a tour of duty in Russia, will want to
purchase and export items that are typical of the country and that
will remind them of their tour of duty. Bear in mind that under
Russian law, you must have the permission of the Russian Ministry of
Culture to export any antique item and/or works of art. Russia is
within its rights under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and
Consular Relations to prohibit the export of any such items (Article
In addition to samovars, paintings, and rugs, this restriction
applies as well to collections or separate works of fine, applied,
and folk art; icons; archeological and numismatic items; valuable
musical instruments; gold; silver; precious stones; hand‑woven
carpets; manuscripts; books published before 1966; and furniture
made before 1945.
GSO staff in the Shipping/Customs Section will advise employees
on how to request export permission from the Ministry of Culture;
questions about specific cases should be addressed to GSO personnel.
In Moscow the AECA cashier sells travelers checks, and American
and Finnish stamps. You may also cash checks at the Embassy cashier
window for U.S. currency. There is currently no accomodation
exchange offered at the Embassy. However, numerous banks and dollar
exchange facilities are located throughout the city. A personal
checking account with a U.S. bank is a necessity.
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse
In much the same way that knowledge of the language can enrich a
tour in Russia, or in any country, some familiarity with its history
and culture may prove helpful. Much has been written about Russia.
The following selections, therefore, are intended only as a sampling
of this vast literature.
Baedeker, Karl. Baedeker's Handbook for Travelers: Russia. Arno
Press: New York, 1914 (Reprinted 1970).
Binyon, Michael. Life in Russia. Pantheon: 1984.
Daglieb, Robert. Coping with Russia. Basil Blackwell, Ltd:
Feshback, Murray and Fred Friendly, Jr. Ecocide in the USSR.
Basic Books: New York, 1991.
Kaiser, Robert. Russia: The People and the Power. Atheneum: New
Klose, Kevin. Russia and the Russians. Norton & Co.: 1984.
Louis, Victor and Jennifer. The Complete Guide to the Soviet
Union. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1980.
Massier, Suzanne. Land of the Firebird. Simon & Schuster: New
Plessix Gray, Francine du. Soviet Women Walking the Tightrope.
Doubleday: New York, 1989.
Pozner, Vladimir. Parting with Illusions. Avon Books: New York,
Schecter, Jerrold. An American Family in Moscow. Little, Brown &
Co.: Boston, 1975.
Shipler, David K. Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams. Times
Books: New York, 1983.
Smith, Hedrick. The New Russians. Random House, Inc.: New York,
Smith, Hedrick. The Russians. Quadrangle Books: New York, 1976.
Willis, David. KLASS: Status and Privileges in the Soviet Union.
St. Martin's Press: New York, 1985.
Wilson, Edmund. To the Finland Station. Praeger: New York, 1968.
U.S.-Soviet/U.S.-Russian Relations Bishop, Donald G. The
Roosevelt-Litvinov Agreements: The American View. Syracuse
University Press: Syracuse, 1965.
Bohlen, Charles E. Witness to History, 1929-1969. Norton: New
Daniels, Robert V. Russia: The Roots of Confrontation. Harvard
University Press: Cambridge, 1985.
Feis, Herbert. From Trust to Terror: Onset of the Cold War,
1945-1950. Norton: New York, 1970.
Harriman, W. Averell, and Elie Abel. Special Envoy to Churchill
and Stalin, 1945-1946. Random House: New York, 1975.
Horelick, Arnold L., ed. U.S.-Soviet Relations-The Next Phase.
Cornell University Press: Ithaca and London, 1986.
Kennan, George F. Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1920 (two
volumes). Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1956-58.
Kohler, Foy. Understanding the Russians: A Citizen's Primer.
Harper & Row: New York, 1970.
Newhouse, John. Cold Dawn: The Story of SALT. Holt, Rinehart &
Winston, Inc.: New York, 1973.
Ulam, Adam B. Expansion and Coexistence: The History of Soviet
Foreign Policy, 1917-1973. Praeger: New York, 1974.
The Bolsheviks. Macmillan: New York, 1965.
Foreign Policy Edmonds, Robin. Soviet Foreign Policy, 1962-1973:
The Paradox of Super Power. Oxford University Press: New York, 1977.
Horelick, Arnold L. and Myron Rush. Strategic Power and Soviet
Foreign Policy. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1966.
Kennan, George F. Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin.
Little, Brown & Co.: Boston, 1961.
The Old Regime Bialer, Seweryn. The Soviet Paradox: External
Expansion, Internal Decline. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1986.
Billington, James H. The Icon and the Axe. Knoft: New York, 1966.
Blum, Jerome. Lord and Peasant in Russia from the Ninth to the
Nineteenth Century. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1961.
Byrnes, Robert F., ed. After Brezhnev, Sources of Soviet Conduct
in the 1980s. Indiana University Press: Bloomington, 1983.
Pares, Bernard. A History of Russia. AMS Press: New York, 1965.
Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Old Regime. Scribner: New York,
Venturi, Franco. Roots of Revolution. Grosset and Dunlap: New
The Revolutionary Period Cohen, Stephen E. Bukharin and the
Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938. Alfred A.
Knopf: New York, 1973.
Courtois, Stephane & others. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes,
Terror, Repression. Harvard University.
Deustcher, Isaac. The Prophet Armed: Trotsky, 1879-1921, vol. 1;
The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky, 1921-1929, vol. 2; and The Prophet
Outcast: Trotsky, 1929- 1940, vol. 3. Random House: New York, 1965.
Hunt, R. Carew. The Theory and Practice of Communism. Penguin
Books: New York, 1963
Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. Penguin Books: New York,
Pipes, Richard. The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and
Nationalism, 1917-1923. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1964.
Reed, John. Ten Days That Shook the World. International
Publishing Co.: New York, 1967.
Rosenberg, William G., Ed. Bolshevik Visions: First Phase of the
Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. Ardis Publishers: Ann Arbor,
Salisbury, Harrison. Black Night, White Snow: Russia's
Revolutions (1905-1917). Doubleday & Co.: New York, 1978.
Trotsky, Leon. The Russian Revolution: The Overthrow of Tzarism
and the Triumph of the Soviets. (Abbreviated edition). Doubleday &
Co.: New York, 1959.
Tucker, Robert C., ed. The Lenin Anthology. W.W. Norton and Co.:
New York, 1975.
Ulam, Adam. Dangerous Relations: The Soviet Union in World
Politics, 1970- 1982. Oxford University Press: New York, 1983.
Wolfe, Bertram. Three Who Made a Revolution. Dell Publishing
Company: New York, 1964.
Zbarsky, Ilya & Samuel Hutchinson. Lenin's Embalmers. Harvill.
The Stalinist Period Carr, Edward H. A History of Soviet Russia
(9 volumes). Macmillan: New York, 1953.
Conquest, Robert. Kolyma. The Arctic Death Camp. Viking Press:
New York, 1978.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the
Thirties. Macmillan: New York, 1973.
Djilas, Milovan. Conversations with Stalin. Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, Inc.: New York, 1962.
Ginsburg, Yevgenia. Journey into the Whirlwind. Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, Inc.: 1975.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of
Stalinism. Random House: New York, 1973.
Medvedev, Zhores. The Rise and Fall of T.D. Lysenko. Doubleday &
Company: New York, 1971.
Salisbury, Harrison. 900 Days: The Seige of Leningrad. Harper &
Row: New York, 1969.
Ulam, Sm. Stalin: The Man and His Era. Viking Press: New York,
Post-Stalin Period Barron, John. KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet
Secret Agents. Reader's Digest Press: New York, 1974.
Bloch, Sidney and Peter Reddaway. Psychiatric Terror. Basic
Books, Inc.: New York, 1977.
Brzezinski, Zbigniew. Ideology and Power in Soviet Politics.
Greenwood Press, Inc.: Westport, 1976.
Fainsod, Merle. How Russia Is Ruled. Harvard University Press:
Hingley, Ronald. The Russian Mind. Scribner: New York, 1977.
Katz, Zev, et al. Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities. Free
Press: New York, 1975.
Medvedev, Roy and Zhores. A Question of Madness. Random House:
New York, 1972.
Medvedev, Roy and Zhores. Krushchev: The Years in Power. Columbia
University Press: New York, 1976.
Shapiro, Leonard. Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Random
House: New York, 1971.
Talbott, Strobe, ed. Krushchev Remembers. Little, Brown & Co.:
Tatu, Michael. Power in the Kremlin: From Krushchev to Kosygin.
Viking Press: New York, 1969.
Tokes, Rudolph L. Dissent in the USSR: Politics, Ideology, and
People. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 1975.
Russian Literature Chekhov, Anton. The Cherry Orchard. Grove
Press, Inc.: New York, 1977.
The Sea Gull. Harper & Row: New York, 1977.
Three Sisters. Macmillan: New York, 1969.
Dostoyevsky, Fedor. Brothers Karamazov. Norton: New York, 1976.
Crime and Punishment. Norton: New York, 1975.
Notes from the Underground. T.Y. Crowell Co.: New York, 1975.
Gogol, Nicolai. Dead Souls. Norton: New York, 1971.
Lermontov. A Hero of Our Times. Penguin Books, New York, 1966.
Tolstoy, L. Anna Karenina. Bantam Books, Inc.: New York, 1977.
War and Peace. Apollo Editions: New York, 1977.
Turgenev. Fathers and Sons. Washington Square Press, Inc.: New
Soviet Literature Bulgakov, Mikhail. Heart of a Dog. Grove Press,
Inc.: New York, 1968.
Master and Margarita. Grove Press, Inc.: New York, 1967.
Gorky, Maxim. Mother. Progress Publications: Chicago, 1976.
Kopelev, Lev. To Be Preserved Forever. J.B. Lippincott, Company:
Pasternak, Boris. Dr. Zhivago. New American Library: New York,
Sholokhov, T. Mikhail. And Quiet Flows the Don. Random House: New
Solzhenitsyn, A. August 1914. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.: New
Cancer Ward. Dell Publishing Co.: New York, 1974.
The First Circle. Bantam Books, Inc.: New York, 1976.
The Gulag Archipelago (3 volumes). Harper & Row: New York,
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Praeger: New York, 1963.
Tertz, Abram. The Trial Begins. McCosh, Melvin, Bookseller:
Voinovich, Vladimir. The Ivankaid. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.:
New York, 1977.
Voinovich, Vladimir. The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of
Private Ivan Chonkin. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.: New York, 1977.
Voznesensky, Andrei. Antiworlds and the Fifth Ace. Schocken
Books, Inc.: New York, 1973.
Zamiatin, Eugene. We. Gregg Press, Inc.: Boston, 1975.
If you expect an assignment to Russia, see Russian films being
shown at your current post, as well as any exhibitions of touring
groups. The Overseas Briefing Center at FSI has a set of slides with
narrative prepared at post.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM
You can arrive on any day of the year; local customs, border
entry points, and hotel facilities are open on all holidays.
New Year's Day January 1, 2 Russian Orthodox Christmas January 7
International Women's Day March 8 International Labor Day May 1
Spring Day May 2 Victory Day May 9 Independence Day (Russian) June
12 Revolution Day November 7 Day of Constitution December 12