Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin
plugs are standard.
Russian is the official language. Some people speak
English, French or German.
Hotel bills in the large Russian cities include a 10 to 15%
service charge; otherwise 10% is usual. If a service charge hasn't
been added at a restaurant, a 10% tip is expected. City Guides and
their drivers also expect a small tip and tipping in bars and
nightclubs is common.
Travellers are advised against all travel to Chechnya,
Ingushetia and Dagestan because of the security situation in the
North Caucasus, including the regions of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky,
Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kurskoy. Travellers are advised against
all but essential travel to North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia and
Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Elbrus area) as terrorism and
kidnapping in these regions persist. Between April and August 2008,
there was a series of explosions in and around Sochi. There is a
high risk of domestic terrorism throughout Russia, particularly in
Moscow and North Caucasus, with suicide bombings and explosions in
public areas and on public transport, and hostage-taking is a
serious threat. Visitors are advised to be vigilant and to watch
out for pickpockets and street crime. There has been an increase in
crime, specifically targeting tourists, in St Petersburg and
visitors are advised to be cautious on the metro and buses, and
should insist on seeing official ID from police officers. Political
protests often end in violence and detention; visitors are advised
to avoid all demonstrations.
Photography of anything to do with the military, strategic
sites, or the airport, is prohibited. It is impolite to refuse
alcohol, food and gifts. In Russian Orthodox churches, women are
advised to wear skirts and cover their heads with a scarf. It is a
legal requirement for visitors to carry passports for
identification; copies are not sufficient.