Today's Russia is often exhilarating, sometimes ominous. Everyday life goes on amid a jumble of trial-and-error capitalism, glitzy casinos, billboard politics, czar mania, slick gangster-hangout restaurants and posh nightclubs.
So far, travelers haven't been affected directly by the country's turmoil or corruption. But conditions are changing so quickly that you should keep a close eye on the news. And you should be aware that despite all the new doors that have opened and the greater flow of information, there are still plenty of murky areas in Russia -- sudden changes of rules, unexpected shortages and mysterious surcharges. Nevertheless, you'll find that the overall quality of hotels, restaurants and services - although wildly variable - is improving.
In any case, travelers should be flexible, tolerant and patient -- and aware of risks. Russia can be both an enthralling adventure and a tiring ordeal. For those willing to endure the risks and inconveniences, Russia is simply a fascinating place -- from the imperial beauty of Moscow and St. Petersburg to the bleakly romantic Siberian countryside.
Travel in Russia has become easier than ever. Remember, however that visas are required. All necessary information you can get from Russian Embassy which is located in your country. In Russian Embassy you can find all documents that you need to fulfill in order to get a visa.
In order to obtain a visa for a business/tourist trip to Russia, you should submit the following papers: Completed visa application form, Copy of the passport pages (if you have diplomatic passport you should submit the originals),Three standard passport-size pictures of the applicant (one only for the diplomatic passport holders going on an official trip). If you going on a Business trip and you need a business visa then you need an Invitation from a duly registered Russian organization. Multi-entry visas can be issued only upon authorization of the Russian Foreign Ministry based on a request of hosting Russian organizations.
For tourist visas you need a copy of a telex/fax message from the Russian tour operator with appropriate reference and confirmation numbers that can be obtained through your local travel agency.
After you went to Russian Embassy and got your visa, you have to check everything with your flights and the place where you are going to live during your stay in Russia. There is a rapidly increasing number of hotels operated by well known international hotel chains in Moscow and in other major cities. Hotel prices for Westerners are often very high but the standards of the buildings, service and food are as good as anywhere else in the world. If it is your first visit, it is strongly recommended that you ask your hotel to send a car to meet you at the airport. It is not recommended to sit in the car of a stranger. Arrange this in advance and ask for confirmation of the price - it may be expensive but the price will be fixed and the car and driver will be trustworthy. Information about hotels, maps and customs in Russia can be asked in Russian Embassy.