We recommend following basic precautions that would apply to living in any city.
- Always have a copy of your passport, visa, and the original registration card on you
- Have your country's embassy number on the contact list of your mobile phone.
- Watch out for pickpockets in crowded places
- Keep an eye on your luggage while travelling and try not to take more than you can comfortably carry
- Store your valuables (money, wallet, credit cards, passport) in zipped pockets (on your clothes or in your bag)
- Always know how you will get home, i.e., the time of the last train/bus or the telephone number of a reputable taxi firm
- Do not react to verbal abuse/invitations
- Police are allowed to stop anyone on the street or in the Metro and ask for the documents.
BEHAVIOUR (unwritten codes)
- Men should be aware that in Russia they still pay the bill on dates and let a girl of woman take a seat in public transport
- Youngsters (both girls and boys) should let older people, kids and pregnant ladies take seats in public transport
- If you are wearing gloves, take them off when you shake hands.
- Shoes: bear in mind that you will be walking a lot. Make sure that when you buy shoes, they are built for comfort.
- When you visit a typical home, you will be asked to remove your shoes and wear house shoes or slippers.
- Russians, especially women, pay attention to their appearance both at the market and at the club. Looking too casual identifies you as a tourist.
- Bring a gift if visiting someone's apartment; chocolates or flowers (an odd number over 2 flowers and not yellow) are a good idea. (Even number of flowers is good at funerals only.)
- Ask Russians to take you shopping if you wish to visit a market. People at the markets raise the prices when they see foreigners.
- Be polite to the people who you see everyday like security guards, etc.
- Have some tea and sweets on hand. You never know when your Russian friends may pop in unexpectedly. Tea and sweets are a tradition to have for guests.
- Do not assume that everybody in Russia is ethnically Russian. There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Russia.
- Don't expect people to smile at you. It is not customary in Russia, especially in big cities, to talk or smile at strangers, so don't interpret this behavior as coldness or unfriendliness.
- Don't expect everyone you meet with to be on time.
- Don't expect high standards in public places like restrooms.
- Do not wear caps / hats in the class rooms.
- Do not eat in classrooms - that is unaccepted behavior.
- Do not hesitate to open your soul to Russians. You will be considered a real friend.