LAYOUT

Moscow, like many European cities, has a circular design. The Kremlin stands at the central point of the city. It is then encircled by the Boulevard Ring, which in turn is located inside the next outer ring, the Garden (‘Sadovoe’) Ring.

The Boulevard Ring is the most charming ring of the city, and not only because it is located in the historic center part of Moscow. Moscow boulevards are designed so that the traffic lanes run along a beautiful park, designed with pedestrian walks and benches, ponds and playgrounds.

The name Garden Ring derived it’s name from the gardens that were once situated on the outskirts of the old city. Now, however, the gardens are long gone, and the Garden Ring has become one of the major Moscow central transport arteries with ten lanes of traffic.

The Garden Ring is encircled by the Third Transport Ring. The Third Ring is the city's only modern highway with complex transport junctions, bridges and tunnels. It was recently built to ease transport connection between different parts of Moscow.

And finally, the Outer Transport Ring, or the MKAD, runs along the outer borders of the city of Moscow.

Higways (so called Prospekts and somewhere Shosse) outgo from downtown to the outskirts, and then out of the city towards Russian provinces.

 

 

PERSONAL SAFETY

Given the size of the city, many tourists and expats comment how safe Moscow feels. However, while you may feel safe, it’s important to be always aware of your surroundings.

  • Do not draw attention to yourself by speaking too loudly. If you act like an unruly foreigner or if you look out of place you will become an obvious target.
  • When at home do not open the door to any unexpected visitors (including people in police uniforms)
  • Avoid visiting shady nightclubs, casinos etc because these places are usually full of suspicious people
  • Do not demonstrate your wealth, or discuss salaries
  • Watch out for pickpockets while travelling on public transport and in busy shopping areas.
  • Do not walk alone late at night
  • Do not take a taxi if there is more than one person on the vehicle. Registered taxi companies are always the preferred option.
  • Car theft happens rather often. Please ensure that your vehicle is fitted with adequate alarms and that no personal items are left in plain sight. Theft insurance policy is strongly recommended.

Most crimes occur at night and are alcohol related, so think twice about getting into a car with a group of new ‘friends’ who offer you a ride home. Rather than go out alone, take a friend.

 

LOCAL TIME

Local time in Moscow is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich mean Time (GMT). The clocks are set forward by 1 hour at the end of March and set back 1 hour during the last weekend of October.

 

CLOTHING AND CLIMAT

You will need warm clothing in the winter, but it is advisable to wear ‘removable layers’ as homes and public buildings are well heated. A hat is an essential item for everyone. The predominant fashion color in the high street is dark due to the preponderance of furlined leather and suede. In the winter, boots are worn outside and a change of shoes is often taken for indoors.

In the summer temperatures can soar to 30C. It can get uncomfortably hot in the city center, so plan your wardrobe accordingly.

When in public Russians present the most positive impression they can, regardless of their income. Women tend to dress up when going out, paying special attention to style, nails, make up and hair.

 

LANGUAGE

If you have the opportunity to learn some Russian before you come, it will be an obvious advantage. At the very least a working knowledge of Cyrillic alphabet is a definite advantage especially when reading place names. Street signs on buildings are only in Cyrillic.

An inconvenience is that some letters look like Latin but sound totally different, the letter ‘H’ sounds like ‘N’, ‘C’ sounds like ‘S’, and ‘P’ sounds like ‘R’.

 

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

1 - 5 January New Year
7 January Christmas
23 February Defender of the Motherland Day.
On this day women give gifts to the men, often flowers
8 March Women’s Day. On this day men give gifts to the women
1 May International Labor Day
9 May Victory’s Day. This commemorates victory over the Nazis.
Military Parades are common and gifts or flowers are given to veterans
12 June Russian Independence Day
4 November Day of Reconciliation and Accord

If public holiday falls on a day off, day off shifts to the next workday after the public holiday.

 

RUSSIAN CUSTOMS

The following superstitions & customs are taking seriously by Russians of all ages:

  • When presenting flowers, only give an odd number. Russians reserve even numbers of flowers for funerals.
  • Ladies shall wear headscarves in church and gentlemen remove their hats.
  • If you're invited over for dinner, or just for a visit, don't come to a Russian house with nothing. What you bring doesn't really matter — a box of chocolates, flowers, or a small toy for a child, but don’t come empty-handed
  • Take off your shoes when you enter private residence unless otherwise is allowed by a host.  The host usually offers slippers;  if you go to a party, women usually bring a pair of nice shoes to wear inside.
  • Don't joke about the parents. You can easily tell a joke based on ethnicity, appearance, or gender stereotypes; just steer clear of jokes about somebody's mother or father. You won't be understood.
  • If you ask a lady out, don't expect her to pay for herself, not at a restaurant or anywhere else. Russian women wouldn't think of bringing money when going out with a man, unless she doesn’t want to be obliged to you in any form.
  • Don't let a woman carry something heavy. Russians believe a man who watches a woman carry something heavy without helping her is impolite.
  • Give up your seat on public transport for older people, mothers with children, pregnant women and people with disabilities. When Russians come to America and ride public transportation, they're very confused to see young people sitting when an elderly person is standing nearby. They don't understand that in America, an elderly person may be offended when offered a seat. In Russia, if you don't offer the elderly and pregnant women a seat on a bus, the entire bus looks at you as if you're a criminal. Women, even (or especially) young ones, are also offered seats on public transportation. But that's optional. Getting up and offering a seat to an elderly person, on the other hand, is a must.

 

ELECTRICAL OUTLETS

Russia uses both – Russian and European standards for home electrical outlets.

European standard uses 220- 240 volt/50 Hz while in the USA it is 110 -120 volt/60Hz). A regular American appliance uses 110 volts, so it will simply break if you plug it in a standard Russian outlet which gives 220 volts.

Moreover Russian and European outlets differs from American one, and you will not be able to plug an American appliance in. You will need an adaptor, but it is selling only in large electronic stores.

 

WATER

The water in Moscow in general is safe to drink but might be unpalatable. Most expats use some form of filtration system or buy bottled water in supermarkets or arrange delivery of water with or without the cooler systems, hand pumps and ceramic water dispensers.

Некоторые производители воды:

Nestle WaterCoolers www.nestle-purelife.ru (rus / eng)
Cone Forest  www.cone-forest.ru (rus / eng)
Kingwater  www.kingwater.ru (rus)
Vitelia  www.vitelia.ru (rus)

 

LONG-DISTANCE CALLS

3 long-distance calls’ operators in Russia - Comstar, MTT, Rostelecom – provide people with telephone connection from stationary phone. They have their own codes for dialing.

Comstar
For international dialing dial:  8 – 28 – country code without 00  – city code – telephone number
For calls to another Russian town dial:  8 – 23 – town code – telephone number
 
MTT
For international dialing dial:  8 – 58 – country code without 00 – city code – telephone number
For calls to another Russian town dial:  8 – 53 – town code – telephone number

Rostelecom
For international dialing dial:  8 – 10 – country code without 00 – city code – telephone number
For calls to another Russian town dial:  8 – 55 – town code – telephone number

If you are calling from mobile phone dial:
+7 – city code – telephone number  if you’re calling to another Russian town
+country code without 00 – city code – telephone number if you are calling abroad

But the cheapest way to call abroad and to other towns is to use a special telephone card for IP-telephoning. You can use these cards from any phone in Moscow, even public ones if they have tone mode. Just dial the Moscow access number written on the card, switch to the tone mode (usually a * (star) button), dial your PIN and then the number you’re calling. There are many companies selling those cards, and they have an English-language menu to explain you what to do while calling. Those cards can be bought in kiosks all over the city

 

MOBILE PHONES

The three main Moscow and Russian mobile operators are

MTS www.mts.ru  (rus / eng)
Beeline www.beeline.ru  (rus)
Megafon www.megafon.ru  (rus)

All of them cover the biggest Russian cities as well as well populated provinces. The easiest way to pay for mobile phone is to pay with a banking card through the web-site (without fees) or with cash through street terminals (with 5% fees).

By the way, almost everything can be paid through street terminals: Internet, satellite TV, utilities payments, etc.

 

VETS AND PETS

We recommend the following website for information regarding pets: www.moscowanimals.org (eng) – select ‘Importing and Exporting pets to and from Russia’

‘Center’ vet clinic www.vetcentr.ru (rus)
The largest clinic in the city center. Equipped with newest diagnostic equipment, own laboratory, surgical unit, intensive care section. Don’t’ expect staff to speak English.
Moscow vet academy www.vetacademy.ru (rus)

 

SHOPPING

There are 3 MEGA malls situated on the MKAD. Website: www.megamall.ru. Each has Auchan (French hypermarket), IKEA, OBI over hundred department stores, a cinema, ice rink, food court and parking 

Large megamalls in the center:

European www.europe-tc.ru  (rus / eng)
Atrium www.atrium.su (rus / eng)
Okhotny Ryad http://ox-r.ru// (rus)

Electrical equipment:

Media-Markt www.mediamarkt.ru/  (rus)
M-video www.mvideo.ru (rus)
MIR  www.mirinfo.ru (rus)
Eldorado  www.eldorado.ru (rus)
Technosila www.tehnosila.ru (rus)

There is an option for purchasing through web-sites in some of them

Food delivery

7th Continent supermarket chain www.7continent.ru (rus / eng)
Utkonos www.utkonos.ru (rus)