Russia

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
dondelion
Posts: 45
Joined: 13 Sep 2014, 10:48am

Re: Russia

Postby dondelion » 30 Jan 2016, 10:19am

To get a visa I've both used agencies and done it all myself. The agencies are preferable as their markup isn't too great. I'd recommend Real Russia for a hassle free experience.
Regarding politics, Russians are some of the most cynical and sceptical people I've met and most are inclined to disbelieve anything the government tells them or look for an ulterior motive. State monopoly on the media definitely has an impact but Russians would also query the relationship between the BBC and the state. I loved that most didn't do small talk and you'd chat with a railway guard or taxi driver and immediately dive into a meaty conversation about world affairs. Russian politics is a whole other world though. If you're interested, a couple of modern films I thought were a bit representative of Russia were Leviathan (society) and Ostrov (the Russian soul).
I did keep a blog during my travels...http://onanddon.co.uk/?tag=russia

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Russia

Postby TonyR » 30 Jan 2016, 10:34am

dondelion wrote:I'd recommend Real Russia for a hassle free experience.


I can recommend them too. Entry at major places like Moscow airport is relatively easy but some of the remote or eastern border crossings like into Mongolia can be very intimidating and unforgiving. People are very friendly but especially as you go east it has a wild west character about it. And don't expect anything not locked down outside to be there when you get back. Someone stole the petrol cap off a bus we'd just boarded as we watched! ATMs are available in most reasonably sized towns although be prepared to have to Skype your card company if they block you - transactions in remote areas of Russia seem to trigger their fraud prevention systems.

pwa
Posts: 13873
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Russia

Postby pwa » 30 Jan 2016, 10:42am

dondelion wrote:To get a visa I've both used agencies and done it all myself. The agencies are preferable as their markup isn't too great. I'd recommend Real Russia for a hassle free experience.
Regarding politics, Russians are some of the most cynical and sceptical people I've met and most are inclined to disbelieve anything the government tells them or look for an ulterior motive. State monopoly on the media definitely has an impact but Russians would also query the relationship between the BBC and the state. I loved that most didn't do small talk and you'd chat with a railway guard or taxi driver and immediately dive into a meaty conversation about world affairs. Russian politics is a whole other world though. If you're interested, a couple of modern films I thought were a bit representative of Russia were Leviathan (society) and Ostrov (the Russian soul).
I did keep a blog during my travels...http://onanddon.co.uk/?tag=russia


Interesting. Putin is popular, though. As is his annexation of Crimea. But your general point about Russians being sceptical makes me wonder if Russians will fit into the modern world in my lifetime. Europe would be so much better if Russia were simply another part of the European family of nations, all trying to move forward together without ruffling each other's feathers. But Russians seem to mistrust the West too much for that to happen. It's a pity. And the idea that the BBC's coverage of world events is dictated by the UK government is laughable, but you can understand that view seeming reasonable in a country where the media is genuinely under the thumb of the state.