Other Information Russia and St. Petersburg


Some Facts About Russia

Official Name
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya (the Russian Federation)
This flag consists of three equal bands of white, blue and red
Music by Alexander Alexandrov, 1944words by Sergei Mikhalkov, 2000.
Russia, our holy country!
Russia, our beloved country!
A mighty will, a great glory,
Are your inheritance for all time!
Be glorious, our free Fatherland!
Eternal union of fraternal peoples,
Common wisdom given by our forebears,
Be glorious, our country! We are proud of you!
From the southern seas to the polar region
spread our forests and fields.
You are unique in the world, inimitable,
Native land protected by God!
(Repeat refrain)
Wide spaces for dreams and for living
Are opened for us by the coming years
Faithfulness to our country gives us strength
Thus it was, so it is and always will be!
(Repeat refrain)
Form of Government
Presidential republic
Bicameral legislature
Federal Assembly
Council of the Federation 178 members
State Duma 450 members
The Web-site of the Russian Federation administrative bodies: www.gov.ru
17,075,200 sq km (6,592,800 sq mi)
142.4 Million (2008)
Population Density
9-persons/sq km (22 persons/sq mi, 1996 estimate)
Largest Cities
Moscow. Population: 10,4Million (2008)
St. Petersburg. Population: 4.6Million (2008)
Novosibirsk. Population: 1.406 Million
Yekaterinburg. Population: 1.304 Million
Official Language - Russian
There are many dialects and minority languages in Russia
60% None
24% Russian Orthodoxy
15% Islam
1% Other including non-Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism
Exchange Rate (11.03.2009)

35,11 RUR = 1 USD

44,42 RUR = 1 EURO

Major Universities and Colleges:
St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg Moscow State University in Moscow



St. Petersburg’s history

The city emerged on the lands that once belonged to Kievan Rus, on the major route of the Slavs, “from Varangians to the Greeks”, which lay across the Gulf of Finland, along the Neva and Lake Ladoga, linking Norther and Southern territories of Russian and also the Baltic Lands and Scandinavia to Byzantium.
In 1700, a war broke out between Russia and Sweden for the age-old Russian lands, for an outlet to the Baltic. Known in history as the Northern War, it ended in 1721 with Russia’s victory.
On May 16 (May 27, New Style) of the year 1703, after the Russian troops had captured the Nienschantz Fortress, Peter the Great ordered the construction of the Peter and Paul Fortress on the Zayachi Ostrov (Hare Island). This date marks the beginning of the building of a trading port on the Baltic coast - St. Petersburg.
In 1712, Peter I moved the capital from Moscow, and it remained here until 1918. During these years the city grew rapidly. Founded much later than most Russian cities and spared the worst of Soviet reconstruction in the thirties, St. Petersburg has quite a different feel to other places in Russia. It has an architectural splendor, now somewhat dilapidated, all of its own. Summers are marked by never-ending daylight, while winter visitors should be prepared for very gloomy days.
For more information on St. Petersburg history, please visit:




It is a good idea to bring some cash, approximately 500 EURO, for the start (can be in traveler’s checks).
For the rest of the semester, you have several options:
  • Open an account at a local bank. Check on this before you arrive. Some Russian banks have offices overseas these days.
  • Use your credit/debit card. Visa, Eurocard/Mastercard, or American Express are widely accepted these days. There are lots of ATMs downtown where you can get cash. Most ATMs will only produce rubles. You can get foreign currency from you credit card in a bank but they will require your passport.
Exchange of cash (US dollar and EURO) is no problem. There are exchange offices in most banks and some shops. Do not forget to bring your passport with you as the teller may ask for it. However, it is not advisable to bring all your money in cash.
Travelers Checks can be changed into Dollars or Rubles in most big hotels (there is a commission that usually depends on the amount), and there is an American Express Office next to St. Isaac’s Square.
Life costs in St. Petersburg, like in most places, depend on you lifestyle and spending habits. Please, remember that the city is not cheap. Most foreign students say you can survive on 150-300 EURO a month (exclusive accommodation).
The Russian currency is the “RUBLE”. A Ruble is abbreviated “RBL” or “RUR”.
1 Ruble equals 100 kopecks. The name originates from the word “kopje” (a spear) since the first coins came with St. George and his spear on them. Coins in the following denominations are in use: 1 kopeck, 5 kopecks, 10 kopecks, 50 kopecks, 1 ruble, 2 rubles, 5 rubles, 10 rubles. In addition, we have 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 rubles banknotes.
For more information on currency of the RF, please, visit:
You can find the exchange rates in some Russian newspapers, such as: "Izvestia", "Kommersant", and “The Saint-Petersburg Times”.
Currency declaration
All foreigners entering Russia must fill in a currency declaration form stating exactly how much money they are bringing into the country. Forms are often handed out onboard the plane shortly before landing, and can be obtained at Pulkovo-2 airport or any border crossing. You'll also need to list valuables such as personal stereos, gold jewelry, video cameras or laptop computers. The customs officer will stamp the form. You must keep your stamped declaration until the end of your stay and present it when the country.
When leaving the country, you must fill in an identical form stating how much currency you are taking out of Russia. Normally, you are not expected to take more money out than you brought in. Customs rules are subject to sudden changes, so try to get the recently updated information from the Russian embassy/consulate when you apply for the visa.


The metro
There are five lines in operation and the trains run daily from 05.30 am until 01.00am (you have to get in before 00.30am). Note, however, that connections between lines may close at 00.30am or earlier - in particular, between Mayakovskaya and Ploshchad Vosstaniya or Gostiniy Dvor and Nevsky Prospekt.
Note also that at the intersection of lines the station may have two separate names, one for each line.
Metro tokens or cards can be purchased at any metro station.
Buses, trams and trolleybuses
St. Petersburg has an extensive network of buses, trams and trolleybuses that run to almost every part of the city. However, the buses are often overcrowded and run at irregular intervals, which are somehow compensated by private companies operating “commercial” routes (indicated by the letter “K” or “T” in front of the route number).
Public transport is running daily from 05.30am to 01.00am, although the intervals get longer after 10pm. Tickets are available from the conductor or driver onboard each vehicle. 
Licensed taxis are usually painted yellow and carry a chequered logo on the sides and a taxi sign on the roof.
To order a taxi, call: 327-2400, 332-1333 or 333-3233.
Locals often hitch rides, although they are not free. The price is discussed with the driver before (!) the ride.
Always be on guard when accepting a lift from a strange driver (“gypsy cabs”). Don't get in a car that has more than one person inside and never accept lifts from anyone who approaches you, particularly outside restaurants and nightclubs. The stories of drunken foreigners being robbed in the back seats of private cars are not entirely untrue.
In summer be aware of the Bridges across the Neva. They open between April and November for a few hours every night to allow ships to pass under, severing the islands from the mainland.
For more information, please, visit here.


Long distance calls are rather cheap in Russia, and price depends on the time of the day. All calls are much cheaper after 10 pm (Moscow time). To make an international call dial 8, wait for the tone and dial 10, followed by the country code, city code and telephone number.
For public phones you can buy phone cards, which are sold in Metro stations, post offices and banks. The most common public phones are the green-and-white SPT phones, which can be used for local, intercity and international calls.
The blue BCL phones use satellite links and also take credit cards, but their rates for international calls are higher.
From private phones a minute of outgoing call costs about 0,2 RUR, all the incoming calls are free of charge.
Cellular phones
There are 5 mobile companies operate in St. Petersburg, offering different rates for calls. In general, all the incoming calls are free; you pay only for outgoing calls. TELE2 operator offers the cheapest calls to the Europe. For further information visit these web-sites:

Sending Post To And From Russia

Russian Postal Service
The Russian postal service, or Pochta, works reasonably well and costs almost nothing if you need to mail something inside or outside the country. Several companies offer express delivery (such as FedEx, DHL or TNT) that can be rather expensive. You can make a long distance call or send a telegram from most of post offices in St. Petersburg.
Central Post Office
Open: MON.-SAT. From 09.00am to 07.30pm, SUN. From 10.00am to 05.30pm
Phone: +7 (812) 312-8302
Address: 9, Pochtamtskaya st. 
For more information on Russian post, please visit here.


Usually vaccination is recommended before you enter Russia, such as for diphtheria, polio, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis. Though there's no danger of malaria, mosquitoes can be fierce during the summer months, so an efficient repellent is important.
Giardia and heavy metals
Drinking water in St. Petersburg comes from the Neva river and its outdated water treatment plants are often unable to deliver tap water free of the parasitic bacteria Giardia lamblia (to which locals are largely immune). To avoid Giardia, use only bottled (or at least boiled or filtered) water for drinking and cleaning your teeth.
Prescriptions from other countries are not accepted in Russian pharmacies. Brand names for common over-the-counter drugs may be different from one country to another. To avoid any possible complications:
  • If you need to take any prescription drug regularly bring an adequate supply for the whole stay.
  • Keep the prescription for any prescription drug to clear through the customs.
To buy common medicine for slight maladies or to buy sanitary items go to the nearest pharmacy (“APTEKA”). Many Western brands are available in Russia today. Most pharmacies are open daily from 8 am to 9 pm but some stay open round the clock.
For all pharmacies in St. Petersburg, please, visit here.
Medical Centres 
  • Call ambulance at 03 (24 hours)
  • Clinical Treatment:
    • SPbSU policlinic ? 1.
      Phone: +7 (812) 328-2202
      Address: 5, Mendeleevskaya line.
    • Policlinic Complex
      Phone: +7 (812) 316-5882
      Address: 22, Moskovsky pr.
    • EuroMed Clinic
      Phone: +7 (812) 327-0301
      Address: 60, Suvorovskiy pr.
      Internet: http://www.euromed.ru/
    • 21 Century Medical Centre
      Phone: +7 (812)326-1730
      Emergency Phone: +7 (812)326-1730.
      Address: 48, Marata st.; 45, Bolshoy Sampsonievskiy.
  • Dental Clinics:
    • Veronica
      Phone: +7 (812)430-7330, +7 (812)327-7500
      Address: 8/2 Savushkina st.; 48/27 Sredniy pr. V.O.
      Internet: http://www.veronica.ru/
    • Medi
      Phone: +7 (812)324-0000
      Address: 82, Nevsky pr.; 31 Italiyanskaya st.; 84 Ligovsky pr.
      Internet: http://www.emedi.ru/
    • Dental Clinics chain “Stoma
      Phone: +7 (812)717-4571, +7 (812)344-0708
      Address: 163,Nevsky pr.; 6, Teatralnaya Sq.; 135, Savushkina st.
      Internet: www.ctoma.ru




The St. Petersburg climate is influenced by the huge expanses of the Atlantic Ocean and its immediate proximity to the Gulf of Finland; water also accounts for 10% of the city's area - a great number of rivers, lakes and marshes.
The region varies from a marine to a continental climate, mild and humid, with a significant amount of cloudy weather, frequent mists and substantial rainfall. In summer the city enjoys periods of hot, dry weather when the temperature can reach 35 degrees C. The average temperature in winter is –7.8 degrees C.
To see a weather forecast, please visit:



The St. Petersburg Times and The Pulse (City news in English and Russian) are free and available from hotels, restaurant, cafes and some shops.
The GSOM library has a selection of foreign periodicals. Check it out!

AAT (All About Town)

Every Friday the newspaper The St. Petersburg Times has a section called “AAT - All About Town”. This section provides you with a calendar for the following week, listing various cultural activities in St. Petersburg (concerts, exhibitions, festivals etc.).



Miscellaneous Activities

From the famous State Hermitage Museum, possessing one of the best art collection in the world, to Gramophone museum, the museums of St. Petersburg are among the most interesting ones in the world: icon painting and pop-art, statues by Rodin and objects by Phillip Stark, Egyptian mummy and glass man in the Hygiene museum... Hundreds of exhibitions, taking place at the same time, add even more diversity to the museum life of the city.
St. Petersburg has over 100 museums, there is entrance fee in most of them. Foreigner tourists are charged more than Russians. Most museums have student discount or free entrance for students.
To read more, please, visit:
St. Petersburg theatres are a whole world by themselves. Mariinsky (ex-Kirov) Opera and Ballet theater is located here, as well as the Big Drama Theater (BDT), Maly Drama Theater – “Theatre of Europe”... Except of regular performances, St. Petersburg yearly hosts such theater festivals as “Golden Masque”, “Tanz-Festival” and others.
The best Russian and world companies come here with the tours: Bolshoy, New York Ballet, Boris Eifman Ballet, and many others. A lot of experimental theatres are performing in the city, plenty of directors work with modern drama and fiction, contemporary staging and dance. There are more than 70 different theaters.
To read more, please, visit:
Palaces and suburbs
Despite of all glamour and magnificence of St. Petersburg, the Emperor’s family loved the quietness and solitude of suburban life. The best architects, who constructed the most beautiful buildings of the city – Francesco Rastrelli, Domeniko Tresini and others – were invited to develop the suburban parks and palaces.
Peterhof (also called Petrodvorets), situated right on the Finnish Gulf, is famous for its gorgeous fountains. The park in Pushkin is regular, with austere alleys and lakes, everything is severe and regularly cut here, everything is breathing with the air of 18th century. The park in Pavlovsk is of an English type, and sometimes it looks just like forest, in winter it is the best place for skiing, sledding and skating.
The city is concerned with expanding its sporting infrastructure. Sports were always given great importance in the Soviet times, and the city inherited a lot of facilities from that era. However, development does not stop with the advancement of new economic and social order:
  • "Petrovski" stadium situated in the Petrogradskaia side of St-Petersburg, on a small island of Smaller Neva. The stadium has became known after the 1994 Good Will Games. Now it is the Official stadium of the "Football Club - ZENIT". Home games normally start at 17.00 (weekends) and 19.00 (week days). To get there, go to SPORTIVNAIA metro station. Stations Vasiliovstrovskaia, Chkalovskaia, Petrogradskaia and Gorkovskaia also not very far from the stadium.

  • Ice Palace(The New Arena) was built in 2000. There is a skating-rink and skates renting in the sport complex. Popular music groups and singers from Russia and abroad (such as Sting, Gary Moore, Brian Adams, Roxette) tour here. situated in the Petrogradskaia side of St-Petersburg, on a small island of Smaller Neva. The stadium has became known after the 1994 Good Will Games. Now it is the Official stadium of the "Football Club - ZENIT". Home games normally start at 17.00 (weekends) and 19.00 (week days). To get there, go to SPORTIVNAIA metro station. Stations Vasiliovstrovskaia, Chkalovskaia, Petrogradskaia and Gorkovskaia also not very far from the stadium.

  • Sports Palace Jubileiny had been reconstructed by the World Ice Hockey Championship-2000. The figure skating school, which has grown up Olympic champion Alexey Urmanov, works here. All the year round temporary exhibitions, big concerts, best competitions are held in Jubileiny. The smaller arena is constantly given to matches of master teams during championships of Russia.


To find more, please visit:
While Moscow has become a shopping destination attracting the cream of world fashion labels, St Petersburg is still rather lagging behind the capital in this sense. The retail scene is a little generic, but where the city does excel is in its books and (incredibly cheap) music.
St. Petersburg has a growing number of stores offering a variety of goods and services including everything from hand-made arts, crafts, and souvenirs to fresh fruits and vegetables. Shopping along the city's festive main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt makes you feel more like a native Petersburger, and offers good variety of stores. Bolshoi Prospekt on Petrogradskaja side also offers a comparatively good selection of stores.
Many stores accept credit cards, and all stores accept only rubles.
For more look here
The city of St. Petersburg is one of Russia's main entertainment centers. The music scene is diverse and colourful: the majority of most well-known Russian rock bands have originated from here. Movie theatres equipped with advanced sound reproduction systems demonstrate the latest Western films. The city also has a great diversity of high-quality restaurants, bars and night clubs. The prices are very affordable in comparison to those in any other large European city, including Moscow.
For further information check the following web-sites:
Activist (entertainment portal)



Consulate General of The United States of America
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 331-2600 / +7 (812) 331-2852
Address: 15, Furshtatskaya st.
Consulate General of Canada
Phone/Fax: +7 (495) 105-6000 / +7 (495) 105-6004 
Address: 23 Starokonyushenny Pereulok
Moscow, 119002 Russia
Royal Consulate General of Denmark
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 703-3900 / +7 (812) 703-3901
Address: 13, Kamenniy Ostrov, Bolshaya Alleya
Consulate General of United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland
Phone/Fax +7 (812) 320-3200 / +7 (812) 320-3211
Address: 5, Proletarskoy Diktatury Sq.
Embassy of Ireland in Moscow
Phone/Fax: +7 (495) 742-0907 / +7 (495) 975-2066
Consulate General of Federal Republic of Germany
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 320-2400, +7 (812) 273-4075 / +7 (812) 327-3117
Address: 39, Furshtatskaya st.
Consulate General of Austria
Phone/Fax: +7(812) 275-0502, 275-0496, 272-4117 / +7 (812) 275-1170
Address: 43, Furschtadtskaja st.
Consulate General of Switzerland
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 327-0819 (NO Visa inquiries), +7 (812) 336-5777 (VISA ONLY) / +7 (812) 327-0829
Address: 17, Chernyshevskogo Pr.
Consulate General of France
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 332-2270, 332-2283/ +7 (812) 332-2290
Address: 15, Moyka Emb.
Consulate General of the Kingdom of The Netherlands
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 334-0200 / +7 (812) 334-0225
Address: 11, Moyka Emb.
Embassy of Belgium in Moscow
Phone/Fax: + 7 (495) 780 03 31 / + 7 (495) 780 03 32
Address: 7, Ulitsa Malaya Moltchanovka, Moscow
Consulate General of Finland
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 331-7600 / +7 (812) 331-7601
Address: 4, Preobrazhenskaya Sq.
Consulate General of Sweden
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 329-1430 / +7 (812) 329-1450
Address: 1/3, Malaya Konyushennaya
Consulate General of Kingdom of Norway
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 336-6420 / +7 (812) 336-6423
Address: 25, Nevsky pr.
Consulate General of Italy
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 312-3106 / 312-3217/ +7 (812) 3115150
Address: Theatre square, 10
Consulate General of the Czeh Republic
Phone/Fax: +7 (8120 271-0459 / +7 (812) 271-4615
Address: 5, Tverskya St.
Consulate General of the Republic of Poland
Phone/Fax: +7 (812) 336-3140, +7 (812) 336-3141 /
+7 (812) 274-4318
Address: 12/14, 5th Sovetskaya st.
Embassy of Slovenia
Phone/Fax: (+7 095) 209-0815 / (+7 095) 200-1568
Address: 14, Mal. Dmitrovka st., Moscow
Embassy of the Republic of Hungary
Phone: +7 (812) 312-9200
Address: 5, Marat st.
To find General Consulates of other countries in St. Petersburg, please visit here.

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