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Yu Yanji Oracle from Nature. The Cost of Living. Tarot Court Cards Revealed. The Millionaire's Ten Commandments. How to Develop a Positive Mental Attitude. How to Be Happy. Fortune-Telling Book of the Zodiac. Hope Always to Every End. Astrological Horoscope, Moon Phases, and More. After the Tumbles and Tangles. How to Read the Tarot Card Combinations. A Course in Meyericles. The Will of Love. Playing Card Divination for Beginners. A Little Bit of Tarot. Keep a Good Thought, Volume 2. Odd True Tales, Volume 1. Odd True Tales, Volume 5. Odd True Tales, Volume 3.
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We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them. Item s unavailable for purchase. Please review your cart. Soviet communism, already stagnant by the s and ill-equipped to meet the demands of Mikhail Gorbachev 's glasnost and perestroika, collapsed by , forcing Russia into a difficult transition toward a democratic state and market-based economy.
The Russian Federation continues to seek to redefine its relationships with its new independent neighbors, as well as its role in the world. Moscow's official population is approximately 9 million. It is the center of government and plays an important role in the country's political, economical, cultural, scientific, and military activity.
Moscow is first mentioned in history in A. Due to its strategic position on a north-south trade route from Rostov to Ryazan, Moscow was the center of trade and government in what eventually became the Russian Empire. As the Russian Empire expanded, so grew Moscow's influence and importance, until the early 18th century when Peter the Great moved the nation's capital to St. As Russia's second city, Moscow retained its primacy only in trade, until the leaders of Soviet Russia transferred the capital back to Moscow early in Subsequently, Moscow more than quadrupled in population and territory square kilometers.
In the past 20 years, the city's difficulties in housing and in supplying its large and growing population have led to calls for limits on growth and crack-downs on the huge "unregistered" population. After a decade-long lapse, the U. In , the U. The Russian Federation emerged as the largest of the new independent states of the former Soviet Union.
Russia has diplomatic relations with most of the world's countries, and more than of these maintain missions in Moscow. News correspondents, business representatives, and students from throughout the world live in the Russian capital. There is a heavy, year-round flow of foreign tourists and official delegations. Moscow's resident American community numbers about 5, including dependents , consisting of Embassy personnel, business representatives, correspondents, clergy, exchange students, and professors.
American tourists number about , annually. Moscow contains many attractions of interest for visitors. Those open to the public include the Kremlin; monasteries and churches in and around Moscow, as well as museums, parks, permanent exhibition centers, and a variety of musical, dramatic, and dance attractions. Many small towns of interest lie within a day's drive of Moscow, including the old monastery town of Sergiyev Posad formerly Zagorsk , Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy's home, and the Borodino battlefield, site of the greatest battle of Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
Moscow offers a rich cultural environment, and warrants the enormous local pride in its treasures and traditions. Myriad museums are devoted to the various arts, literature, music, politics, history, and sciences. Hundreds of small churches and large cathedrals throughout the city are open to visitors. In addition to the famous Bolshoi Theater, with its large repertoire of Russian and internationally famous opera and ballet, other theaters and concert halls feature popular and classical plays, concerts, recitals, and all of the performing arts. Children's theater, a puppet theater, a planetarium, and other performances geared especially to younger people are also available.
The Russian circuses with their rich history are overwhelmingly popular with children and adults alike. On the negative side, life in Moscow can be difficult and stressful. Air pollution, severe winter conditions, language barriers, chaotic rush hour traffic, and long hours at work take their toll on even the most well-adjusted residents.
Street crime is still a problem and African and Asian Americans have been victims of racially motivated attacks. Electric clocks and other electrical items with motors designed for 60 cycles may not work correctly; v 50hz items can be purchased locally, if needed. For the Western consumer, the availability of food and household products is improving. Most food and household products used by a typical American family can now be purchased. When American brands are not available locally, a European equivalent can usually be purchased.
Vendors other than Russian stores and markets include Western outlets such as Stockmann. Some visitors do a lot of shopping at local "rynoks" These are open-air farmers' markets located in different parts of the city, typically near metro stations. Rynoks carry a large selection of fresh bread and seasonal as well as imported fresh produce.
Meat is also available for purchase, but buying fresh, unrefrigerated meat is risky. Rynoks often have stalls that stock non-food items, such as cleaning products, soft drinks and liquor, health care products, pet food and paper goods at prices that are cheaper than in the other stores. In many instances the quality of the products tends to be lower.
Larger rynoks also sell flowers, plants, clothing items, and leather goods. Be aware, however, that shopping in rynoks can pose challenges, including the need to maneuver through crowded spaces and language problems for non-Russian speakers. Bargaining is an accepted and common practice at rynoks but not at conventional stores and supermarkets, where prices are marked.
Moscow winters can be very cold, especially if one is used to winter temperatures above freezing. It is necessary to be prepared for the harsh winter climate with plenty of warm clothing and outerwear. Men and women often wait until they arrive to buy a fur hat, and many women also purchase fur coats and boots locally. Summers are short and often cool. Sweaters and a coat are necessary no matter what time of year you arrive. The best type of clothing to have in Moscow is washable since clothing soils easily.
Sturdy, waterproof clothing and footwear with good treads is essential. Sidewalks can be slick in winter and muddy and wet during the rest of the year. One should consider bringing enough clothing to last until replacements can be ordered through catalogs or while on leave outside of Russia. Slippers or clogs are useful around the house in winter and spring as mud, ice, salt, and dirt can be tracked in off the streets and playgrounds. Russians usually take off their shoes when entering a home and children are expected to , so it is appropriate to have a couple of extra pairs of slippers for guests who do not feel comfortable coming into your home with their shoes on.
Slippers can be purchased locally. Sports equipment and sportswear should be brought to Moscow when possible. There are various recreational activities at hand, including swimming, soccer, baseball, volleyball, cycling, rollerblading, etc. Traditional Russian wooden children's sleds are available for purchase in the city, but may be hard to find.
Western winter sports equipment can be found around town but the prices tend to be high. Cross-country skiing, ice-skating and sledding are all common winter sports. The outdoor tennis court at Rosinka is also turned into a skating rink during the winter. Both heavy and light topcoats are desirable for spring and fall.
Men wear down parkas and heavy topcoats appropriate for evening over their suits in the winter. Lined raincoats are not warm enough in the dead of winter although many people wear them in the spring and fall. Warm gloves, warm and waterproof boots, and a warm hat are all essential. Building interiors are often too hot by American standards in winter, but in fall and spring, when there is no central heating, indoors can be uncomfortably cool.
Light sweaters or vests that can be worn under suit jackets are convenient. Bring appropriate cold-weather clothes for outdoor sports. Lighter wool suits are desirable for summer wear. In general, women in Moscow wear the same style clothing as worn in the U.
Moderately dressy suits with nice blouses and dresses are worn most often for receptions, dinners, and evenings out. Women need a light coat, raincoat, and heavy coat. Warm, waterproof, thick-soled boots, rainboots, warm gloves or mittens, and thermal or silk long underwear are useful. It is quite common and completely acceptable by Russian standards to wear sturdy boots to a dinner or reception, carrying other "inside" shoes and changing upon arrival.
Sportswear, a bathing suit, and a large supply of stockings, tights, and underwear are important to bring, although they may all be obtained locally at prices higher than in the U. Children can never have enough hats and scarves, sets of gloves and mittens, rain boots and rain gear, as well as snowsuits, pants and boots. Babies need warm winter clothing. Scarves, hats, mittens, and wool clothing for infants are available locally, but the prices are much higher than one would pay in the U.
European toiletries, paper goods, household cleaners, film, and basic children's toys and games are available in local shops. Be aware that prices are often much higher than in the U. CDs are available for sale in kiosks around town and in music stores. There is even a CD rynok. There are numerous computer stores and a computer rynok in Moscow, but it could be more affordable to buy dual-voltage equipment, computer games and supplies in the U.
Computer paper, ribbon cartridges and other computer supplies are available at computer stores, kiosks and large bookstores. Be advised that the locally available A4 size paper may not fit all printers. E-mail and Internet surfing helps keep visitors in touch with the U. There are several providers from which to choose.
Plan to spend about twice as much for an internet connection in Moscow as you might in the U. Cable service is available. Most major religions are now represented in Moscow although services in English are not always available. The school accepts children from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. It is located at the Pokrovsky Hills Hines complex; children living in Pokrovsky Hills can walk to school. The school usually opens during the third or fourth week in August. Most schools in Moscow are unable to accept children with special needs. If your child has an individual educational program IEP , or needs assistance outside the classroom, please discuss these requirements with school officials as far in advance as possible.
Piano rentals, music lessons, horseback riding, fencing, gymnastics, ballet classes, and private tutors for Russian and other languages are reasonably priced. The International Women's Club and American Women's Club both offer a variety of activities, such as yoga, aerobics, and Russian conversation groups, depending upon interest and availability of instruction. Spectator sports include hockey, football soccer , and basketball.
A large number of international tournaments and championships are held, with increased participation by U. Some people have participated in such diverse outdoor sports as skydiving, whitewater rafting, and wild game hunting. Your marksmanship can be tested at Moscow's shooting club; firearms, ammunition, and lessons are available at the site.
There is a country club in Moscow that has a golf course. Unfortunately, this sport here is extremely expensive and the golf course is a long drive from town. There is a spring softball and baseball league for children. Moscow contains a broad spectrum of museums, from pre-Revolutionary art treasures to science and history. Tours to the seat of the Russian Government, the Kremlin, Lenin's Tomb, and the picturesque, colorful GUM Department store on Red Square, and the homes of such revered Russians as Tolstoy, Gorky , and Chekhov may all be arranged with the assistance of local travel bureaus.
Walking tours to the many architectural landmarks in Moscow are a good way to get a feel for the city. Moscow's underground metro system is justly famous. Many stations are elaborately decorated. Izmailovsky Park has become the main attraction for souvenir shopping in a frenzied bazaar atmosphere.
Every weekend, local artists and craftsmen gather there to sell their wares to throngs of visitors. In and around Moscow, sightseers will find historic palaces and museums, surrounded by gardens and parks. You can reach St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Kiev , and many other interesting cities by overnight sleeper train. Other cities such as Sochi, Tbilisi, and Tashkent are only a few hours away by air. The principal hotels and restaurants offer American, European, Russian, and ethnic cuisine from the Commonwealth of Independent States. The quality of food and service is generally acceptable, and new restaurants seem to be opening daily.
On the whole, dining out in Moscow is more expensive than in equivalent restaurants in the U. There are several English-language publications for the foreign community that regularly print restaurant reviews and reliable guides to the better restaurants. For the theatergoer, Moscow offers a wide range of entertainment at prices lower than in the U.
The Bolshoi Theater offers world-famous ballet and opera programs during all but the summer months. For Russian speakers, the city also has several extraordinarily good dramatic theaters. One of the best is the Moscow Art Theater , where plays by classic Russian playwrights such as Chekhov are often performed. The city's children's and puppet theaters, including the world-famous Obraztsov Puppet Theater, are prime attractions for families.
Both Moscow Circuses are highly recommended for children and adults alike. For classical music lovers, the Moscow Conservatory has a full annual schedule of concerts and recitals featuring Russia's best musical performers.
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The city also has an active jazz scene. Rock music has gained in popularity in recent years, and concerts are held quite frequently around the city. Tickets to most events are inexpensive and can be bought in advance at the theater or stadium box office, at special kiosks scattered about the city, or obtained by local tour companies. Several movie theaters show first-run, Western-made movies in English or dubbed in Russian. Petersburg, with a population of nearly 5 million, is the second largest city in Russia.
Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in and transferred the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg in to provide Russia with a "Window on the West. On January 26, , 5 days after Lenin's death, the city's name was changed to Leningrad. During WWII, the city suffered historic tragedy as over , people starved to death in the day siege. In , as a result of a citywide referendum, the city resumed its historical name of St. Petersburg is slightly warmer than Moscow, but it is damper since winter winds blow off the Gulf of Finland. Snow may fall as early as October, and sunlight dwindles to only a few hours a day in the months of January and February.
March is generally the rainiest month of the year. June brings the beautiful "White Nights" when the sun barely dips below the horizon. Summer weather can be quite varied, with temperatures fluctuating between the 50s and 80s. Although the city declined in political importance with the move of the capital back to Moscow, St. Petersburg retained importance as a military-industrial and cultural center.
With a highly skilled labor force and a long history of industry and commerce, St. Petersburg is a major producer of electric and electronic equipment, machine tools, nuclear reactor equipment, precision instruments, TV equipment, ships, heavy machinery, tractors, chemicals, and other sophisticated products, as well as consumer goods. It has one of the country's largest dry-cargo ports.
It remains a major center for publication, education, and scientific research. Since August , St. Petersburg has been a reform-minded city. Its large military-industrial center, however, has been slow to adapt to changing conditions. Petersburg has increased significantly in recent years with the opening of several major production facilities. Nevertheless, crime has increased as a result of the uncertain political and economic situations. Both local and foreign donations have been focused at preserving and restoring the older parts of the city and outlying imperial residences, which were heavily damaged during World War II.
The older parts of St. Petersburg continue to suffer from the lack of investment over the past 8 decades. Electrical service in St. Petersburg including off-compound apartments is v, 50 hz. Most electrical outlets accept two round prongs; two general types are in use. Most apartments have both "German" and the smaller European-sized outlets.
The growing season in St. Seasonal produce appears in the local markets for shorter periods than in Moscow. In winter, local greenhouses provide a small supply of produce; fresh fruits and vegetables are also brought from the southern parts of Russia and Europe at inflated prices. Finnish supermarkets offer a selection of fruits and vegetables year-round at prices considerably higher than those in the Washington, D.
The selection of meats available in local Western-style grocery stores is more limited than in the U. Beef tends to be significantly inferior to that found in the U. Winter temperatures in St. All visitors should pack appropriate clothing. Warm parkas, boots, long underwear, face masks, hats, etc. Warm clothing for children and infants is essential. Rain, melting snow, and dirty streets combine to make walking in St. Petersburg messy during fall and spring. Waterproof, insulated footwear or galoshes are a must.
Dark-colored clothes especially slacks and jeans are more practical than white or light-colored clothes. Winter clothing and rainwear of all sizes are available in St. Petersburg, but prices are high. Days are warm in summer, but by August, nights are cool. Except in the middle of summer, you will find many opportunities to wear sweaters.
Summer is the time of mosquitoes, so bring plenty of insect repellent. Mosquito nets are also advisable to make sleeping more comfortable for small children. Although most everyday items can be found in St. Petersburg, prices on certain items tend to be higher than in the U.
Feminine hygiene products, Western name brand kitchen and cleaning supplies, cosmetics, and name brand drugs are generally more expensive than in the U. A common problem when buying cleaning, kitchen, and automobile supplies is having to contend with usage instructions in a language other than Russian or English.
Local drycleaning facilities are improving, but consistently acceptable service remains elusive. Reliable drycleaning is available in major hotels and through a few private services, although rates are much higher than in the U. Spot remover and cold-water detergents are indispensable. Avoid clothing that needs frequent cleaning. Russian beauticians and barber-shops are satisfactory, and prices are reasonable. Domestic help is readily available at affordable rates. You may hire Russian citizens as housekeepers or nannies for your children, since permanent day care is not always available.
Within or near St. Petersburg are many active Russian Orthodox churches, several Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Baptist churches, a Jewish synagogue, several branches of the Mormon church, and various other religious organizations. There are also missionaries from many religious denominations. Most religious services take place in Russian. Strictly foreign congregations hold services in their native languages, including English, French, and German. The Anglo-American School of St. Petersburg, a branch of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, serves students in kindergarten through grade The strong American-based curriculum is enriched with instruction in local culture and history through visits to and instruction from the city's numerous museums.
Kindergarten students must be 5 years old by December 31 of the year of entrance. The school is located in a former Russian kindergarten building on Petrograd Island and is able to accommodate approximately 95 students. Some parents have used Russian day care or kindergarten facilities. They have proven satisfactory for those few parents and children who are willing to cope with learning a new language, unfamiliar food, and rather strict discipline. During the initial months, the adjustment can be difficult. Russian facilities operate on a three-quarter or full-day basis.
As they are set up for working parents, the facilities are often crowded, and significant delays can be expected in finding and getting access to a suitable facility. Those individuals with even average language skills may take advantage of public classes and lessons in all areas of interest where other students and participants are Russian-speaking nationals. Depending on the season, you may make your own arrangements to attend football soccer , ice hockey , figure skating, track-and-field, boxing, basketball, auto, bicycle and motorcycle racing, and swimming events.
In most cases, prices are inexpensive. Soccer and ice hockey are especially popular; teams in both sports are excellent. Swimming is not recommended in the Gulf of Finland because of the high level of organic and other pollutants. However, indoor swimming pools are available, with some restrictions.
If you wish to use a public pool, you must have written permission from a Russian doctor attesting to your state of health. Fishing is popular in the Neva and the Gulf, but eating fish from the Neva is not recommended. Excursion motorboats, including hydro-foils, also ply the river and canals for sightseeing. There are good bicycle paths in some city parks and along the Gulf. Winter sports include cross-country skiing and ice-skating. Outdoor rinks throughout the city are open to staff members. Cross country skiing is possible at city parks outside the city center and in the Repino-Zelenogorsk resort area near the Consulate General recreation facility on the Gulf of Finland.
Skates and skis are available in St. Petersburg or in Finland, although if you are an avid winter sports enthusiast, bring your own equipment. Petersburg are former royal palace grounds that have been beautifully restored and are now open to the public. These include Peterhof, with its magnificent grounds and fountains; Pavlovsk, the most completely restored royal home; and Tsarskoe Selo, formerly Pushkin, in which are located several palaces, one of which was the home of the last tsar and his family.
Other palaces, such as Oranienbaum and Gatchina, are easily accessible for day trips. Many people usually travel to these palaces in their own vehicles, but public transportation, including summer hydrofoil service to Peter-hof, is available, convenient, and inexpensive, though crowded. Petersburg has about 40 museums covering a broad range of exhibits, from anthropology to zoology. First among these is the world-famous Hermitage, well-known for its collections of Rembrandts, French Impressionists, and Scythian gold. In the Russian Museum, you can see the best of Russian art through the centuries from the icons of Rublev to present-day painters.
Several large cathedrals have also been opened to the public as museums, though many-such as St. Isaac's Cathedral, one of the largest in the world, and the Kazanskiy Cathedral-now function again as churches. Petersburg offers a feast for the amateur and the serious photographer. There are a number of very good local photography shops which offer color developing and printing at reasonable prices. The Finnish border is about miles away-a 3-hour auto trip in good weather from St. You may like to travel to border towns, such as Lappeenranta, for shopping or relaxation. Helsinki is another 3 hours from the border, for a total trip of about miles.
Several flights operate daily between St. The flight is about 43 minutes. Petersburg and Helsinki run daily. A one-way trip takes about 5 hours. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is approximately miles away and can be reached in hours by car and 10 hours by train. There is one night train that runs between St.
The smaller university town of Tartu is located less than miles west of Tallinn and can be reached by daily buses and trains in hours. The capital, Riga, is miles from St. A total trip by car is approximately hours, by train approximately hours. One train runs daily from St. The capital, Vilnius, is approximately miles away. A total trip by car is about hours, by train hours.
Trains to Vilnius run daily. Petersburg has about 30 theaters, concert halls, opera houses, and "palaces of culture" that offer a wide variety of ballet, opera, classical music, and plays. The best known is the Mariinskiy Theater, formerly named and recognized around the world as the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater.
The Mussorgskiy Opera and Ballet Theater formerly Maliy Theater also has a full repertoire of ballet and opera, and arranges its vacation period so that it performs throughout July and August, when the Mariinskiy is usually on vacation or on tour. Petersburg has two symphony orchestras, one of which enjoys a worldwide reputation.
The Philharmonic Hall, named after local composer Dmitriy Shostakovich, is one of the finest in Europe.
There are other concert halls and a choir hall, all of which offer programs during the September-June season. Petersburg Circus is definitely worth a visit. Light operettas are given at the Musical Comedy Theater, and there are two puppet theaters in town. The October Concert Hall and the city's several palaces of culture often have concerts that feature popular music or play host to foreign troupes.
Both cultural and sporting events are staged at the Yubileyniy and several other palaces of sport. Serious theater fans, whether or not they speak Russian, will find visits to the Maliy Dramatic Theater, Otkrytiy Theater, and the Theater on Liteiniy worthwhile. These are considered locally to be the most avant-garde of the regular theaters and include in their repertoires works by contemporary American playwrights, such as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller.
The Pushkin Theater is one of the most splendidly housed in Europe. Films shown in English or with English subtitles are a rarity-usually, Russian is dubbed over the original language. Two movie houses in St. Petersburg show first-run films in English, although only infrequently. Videocassettes in English may be rented at a few places in the city. The American community in St. Petersburg-including students on study-abroad programs, research fellows, businessmen, interns, missionaries, and volunteers-is close-knit, and informal get-togethers and spontaneous acquaintances with a wide variety of individuals from the U.
The Marine Security Guard Detachment invites both members of the Consulate General community and private citizens from outside of the Consulate General including Russians to social functions at the Marine House approximately every weeks. In the past few years, St.
Petersburg has enjoyed a significant increase in the quantity and quality of restaurants. A quick glance at the restaurant guide in the city's English-language newspaper shows restaurants that specialize in Chinese, European, French, German, Indian, Italian, Korean, Mexican, and Russian cuisine, as well as several pizza establishments.
Other restaurants offer Georgian, American, and Central Asian cuisine. Many of the "Western-style" restaurants offer a mixture of Russian and international dishes. Several of the hotel restaurants, and many of the Russian restaurants, offer floor shows. Most of the others offer some form of entertainment-from jazz combos to folk ensembles-often somewhat louder than musical entertainment to which Americans are accustomed. Service is sometimes slower than in American restaurants. Recent years have also seen a large growth in fast-food establishments in the city, with prices comparable to those in the U.
There are fast food shops specializing in roasted chicken, pizza, and Russian treats. The first of five Golden Arches appeared in St. Possibilities for social contacts between Russian citizens and foreigners have normalized and become comparable to those in other countries.
Frequently, opportunities arise for such contacts during daily work or while traveling outside the city. Petersburg also has an active and growing American and international business community. General health conditions in St. Petersburg are similar to those in Moscow, although dampness probably accounts for a higher incidence of colds and respiratory ailments.
Petersburg or the EuroMed Clinic. It is staffed with both Western-trained medical doctors and Russian doctors. AMC currently offers the services of a Western-trained dentist. Pharmacy and laboratory services are available on site. The AMC offers hour doctor availability, house calls, and emergency care. All of these services are extremely expensive. American's have also used the services of special St. Petersburg polyclinics for adults and children, depending on the circumstances of the illness or injury. While local pharmacies offer a panoply of medications, it is often difficult to find a particular brand or formulation.
Petersburg water supply originates from nearby Lake Ladoga. Western health authorities have noted a high incidence of infection by the intestinal parasite giardia lamblia in travelers returning from St. Such evidence points to St. Petersburg as a possible site of infection. This diarrhea-inducing parasite is found in many parts of the world and can be contracted by drinking untreated tap water.
Unleaded gasoline is available throughout St. The city has a small but growing number of service stations, but replacement parts for both Russian and Western automobiles can often be difficult to obtain locally. Bring only cars in excellent condition. The following dealers also have offices in St. Petersburg, with limited service centers: Supplies and services are expensive.
Winterizing your car is important because of low winter temperatures. Since few vehicles will start without assistance on the coldest mornings, bring a strong battery and jumper cables. Snow tires, or at least tires with good all-weather treads, are necessary for winter driving November through March. If you are in Finland, the law requires snow tires during severe winter weather.
Studded snow tires may be used only between mid-October and mid-April. Snow tires and studs, when used must be on all four wheels. Vladivostok is Russia's principal Pacific port and the largest city in the Russian Far East, with a population of about , The city now serves as the capital of Primorskiy Kray Maritime Territory. Vladivostok's harbor is a major fishing and shipping hub, and the city acts as the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian railroad.
Before World War 11, Vladivostok was well on its way to becoming an international commercial center. The Soviets closed the city to foreigners in , however, and it was only declared an open city as of January 1, Currently, Vladivostok's foreign contacts and foreign population are rapidly growing as American, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese businesses and tourists move into the Russian Far East in increasing numbers.
Vladivostok has a relatively mild climate by Russian standards, moderated by its location on the Pacific Ocean. Spring is chilly until May, with occasional snow occurring in March. Summers are cool and rainy, and autumn is beautiful, with its warm temperatures and sunny weather. Brisk, humid sea winds can make temperatures seem even colder. Electricity is v, hertz, AC. Outlets are primarily standard Russian two-prong round. This size is similar to standard European, but the prongs are somewhat thinner. Vladivostok's utility systems are antiquated.
Hot water outages are common in summer and fall, and occasional heating and electricity outages occur. The range and quality of foods available locally is improving, but still limited, especially in winter. Imported soft drinks, beer, and juices are available as well as imported tinned meats, rice, and macaroni.
In winter, vegetables and meats are much harder to find, and the availability of most other foods varies from week to week. Prices are relatively low by American standards. Although the availability and quality of clothing in Vladivostok is increasing, it remains difficult, if not impossible, to purchase Western-quality clothing locally.
Inexpensive, Chinese-made clothing and shoes are becoming increasingly available, but quality is low. Men should bring wool suits, sweaters, gloves, heavy winter coats, lightweight jackets, and a good raincoat with liner. Insulated boots, scarves, and winter hats are useful in the cold winter months.
Good-quality fur hats may be purchased in Vladivostok at reasonable prices. Even in the summer months, heavyweight, woolen clothing can often be worn. Business attire in Russia is similar to that in the U. Bring sturdy, comfortable shoes, since Vladivostok's weather can cause shoes to wear quickly. Bring a full supply of casual clothes, including bathing suits, as swimming is possible at some beaches in late summer.
Bring two pairs of each style shoe you plan to wear. Women's shoes, particularly pumps, wear quickly here and cannot be easily repaired. Business attire is similar to that in the U. At social events, cocktail dresses are usually worn. Bring mainly sturdy, warm, washable play clothes. Zippered, one-piece nylon snowsuits are recommended, together with material to patch this type of garment.
Waterproof boots with insulated foam lining, several pairs of waterproof mittens, long thermal underwear, and waterproof snow pants are all recommended. Bring scarves, woolen hats and hoods, rubber boots, warm slacks, knee socks, tights, slicker raincoats with hoods, tennis shoes, and warm sweaters. Nightgowns or pajamas, slippers, and bathrobes are also needed. Summer clothing should include washable play clothes, slacks, jeans, shorts, and bathing suits.
Bring insect repellent effective against mosquitoes and ticks. Bring any necessary over-the-counter and prescription medicines, cosmetics, and toiletries, such as shampoo, soap, and toothpaste. Although many basic services are available in some form in Vladivostok, quality is often poor and service slow. Local barbers and hairdressers can provide basic, competent haircuts for relatively low prices.
Shoe repair and tailoring services are available, but of low quality. There is an international school, operated by Quality Schools International, for grades kindergarten through sixth grade. It offers a traditional American curriculum. English language schooling in Vladivostok is limited. Several city schools offer "English-language" programs that are actually carried out primarily in Russian with one or two classes a day taught in English.
Local schools have adequate curriculum by American standards, but the schools lack sufficient supplies, equipment, and teaching materials. Overcrowding has forced most of the schools to adopt a two-shift daily schedule. The language barrier may make total reliance on the Russian system difficult. There are several area universities offering courses on a variety of subjects, leading to a degree. However, students must have a strong command of Russian to be accepted. Vladivostok, Primorskiy Territory, and the entire Russian Far East offer a wide variety of outdoor activities.
In Vladivostok, popular summer sports include sailing, fishing, hunting, tennis, baseball, and soccer. Winter sports include basketball, cross-country skiing, ice skating , and ice fishing. There are several public tennis courts in Vladivostok, although most are in relatively poor condition, and during the peak season May-September , players often must wait for a court.
There are many opportunities for Americans to participate in local sports through affiliation with various club teams or through social contacts. Sailboats and motor vessels may be rented and are popular in the summer for trips to nearby islands and beaches. It is also possible to go deep-sea fishing, while shore fishing and freshwater particularly trout fishing are popular throughout the region.
Hiking and camping are also popular, particularly in the mountains and taiga primeval forest north of the city. Swimming is not recommended at many of the beaches near the city due to environmental concerns and the relatively cold water. There are several sandy beaches, which offer good sites for picnics and sunbathing, within an hour's drive of the city. Scuba diving for advanced divers is available and some scuba equipment may even be rented locally. Vladivostok's relatively snow-free winters make it necessary to travel inland for the best cross-country skiing, but deep snow can be found less than miles away.
Downhill skiing is available in various locations in the Russian Far East. Bring all sports equipment, including skis, skates, balls, and rackets. Equipment available locally is of poor quality. Although the Russian Far Eastlacks the variety of historic sites and old cities found in the European parts of Russia, it does offer a wide variety of beautiful scenery for the adventurous traveler.
The Primorskiy territory coast, marked by numerous rocky islands, steep cliffs, and isolated beaches, is accessible by chartered boat. Tour companies offer hiking and camping tours to the taiga, Kamchatka's volcanoes, and winter ski trips to Siberian ski areas. Hunting and fishing expeditions can also be arranged. The city of Khabarovsk, about miles north of Vladivostok on the Amur River, is the other main center and economic hub of the Russian Far East and can be reached by overnight train or a minute Aeroflot Flight.
Travel within Russia can be tiring. Frequent transportation schedule changes, below-standard hotels, and harsh weather can combine to make an international trip more attractive. Currently, there are international flights to Korea , Japan , and China. In summer, there is a regularly scheduled passenger liner service to Japan and south Korea on Russian ships.
Vladivostok has limited entertainment facilities, but the number is increasing as the city develops. There are several good joint-venture restaurants in the city, with prices ranging from inexpensive to moderate. Although there are nightclubs and casinos, nightlife for the foreign community centers around restaurants and home entertaining. Vladivostok has several small museums, including an art museum, a museum of natural history, and a military museum.
Unlike many Russian cities of its size, Vladivostok has no major, permanent orchestra, theater, or circus troupe. Visiting musical and theatrical performers, the Moscow Circus and other travelling circuses, a small local orchestra, and several small local theater groups provide cultural entertainment. Many foreign residents bring video-cassette recorders. Because there are no tape clubs in Vladivostok, bring a supply with you.
You can add tapes by ordering from catalogs or by borrowing from friends. Bring a large supply of books and other reading materials with you. English-language books, periodicals, and newspapers are not available in Vladivostok, so magazine subscriptions are also important. You may read about current events in Vladivostok on the Internet at the following sites: The former is a Russian-language daily which has an English weekly page.
The latter is an English-language internet newspaper. The social life among the small American community is casual and personally arranged. The total resident American population of Vladivostok numbers about 70, not including the official American community, so contacts between Americans are frequent. Americans have no difficulty meeting Russians through professional and social interaction.
Due to the relatively small size of the foreign community, contacts are frequent. You should endeavor to receive all necessary inoculations before arriving in Vladivostok. Among those required are Japanese B encephalitis vaccines for both tick and mosquito , hepatitis B vaccine, and gamma globulin. Several of these vaccines are given as a series over several months, so advance planning is required. Bottled water is also readily available in the city. Other health hazards include mosquitoes, which carry a strain of Japanese B encephalitis, and ticks, which carry another strain of the same disease.
Vaccinations provide complete protection, but bring mosquito and tick repellent anyway to avoid bites. As Vladivostok's public transportation is limited, bring a vehicle. Japanese vehicles are common in the city, and Toyota and Nissan maintain service centers with trained mechanics. South Korean and European vehicles are slowly becoming more common. Consider a four-wheel-drive vehicle, because Vladivostok's hilly terrain makes winter driving difficult. Snow tires are helpful in winter, but are not mandatory, as snowfall is infrequent.
As protection against car theft and vandalism, bring a steering wheel lock or other theft-protection device. Yekaterinburg lays claim to the title of Russia's third largest city and former President Yeltsin's home-town. It is best known to Americans as the place where the last Tsar and his family were murdered by the Bolsheviks in and the location where American U-2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers was shot down in Yekaterinburg is situated in the foothills of the Ural Mountains and is nominally an Asian city, lying 20 miles east of the continental divide between Europe and Asia.
Like Chicago , its closest American counterpart, Yekaterinburg is the unofficial capital of a key region in the country's heartland, the Urals. Yekaterinburg was founded in by Peter the Great, who named it for his wife Catherine I. Tsar Peter recognized the importance of the iron and copper-rich Urals region for Imperial Russia's industrial and military development. By the midth century, metallurgical plants had sprung up across the Urals to cast cannons and Yekaterinburg's mint was producing most of Russia's coins.
Today, Yekaterinburg, much like Pittsburgh in the s, is struggling to cope with dramatic economic changes that have made its heavy industries uncompetitive on the world market. Huge defense plants are struggling to survive, while retail and service sectors are developing rapidly.
Yekaterinburg and the surrounding area were a center of the Soviet Union 's military industrial complex. Soviet tanks, missiles and aircraft engines were made in the Urals. As a result, the Soviets closed the entire region to contact with the outside world for over 40 years during the Cold War.
In , thanks to lobbying efforts by local leaders, the new Russian Federation opened Yekaterinburg and the Urals to contact with the West. The availability and quality of foods is improving here, but is still limited, especially in winter. Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually available, but selection varies seasonally.
Many American staples rarely appear on store shelves. Imported liquor and wine are in short supply and expensive. Availability of items is subject to change. Yekaterinburg's water is not potable. Yekaterinburg has a continental climate similar to that of the American Midwest, with freezing winter temperatures and warm summers. Planning for winter weather should be a high priority. Winter-weight clothing and boots are essential.
Snow and ice make the sidewalks very slippery, so footwear with traction is highly recommended. Since the climate is very dry during the winter months, skin moisturizer plus lip balm are recommended items to bring. There are no religious services conducted in English in the city. The Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints carry out missionary activities locally, and several of these missions also have weekly services. There is now one English-language school in Yekaterinburg, but with a Russian curriculum.
Other city schools offer one or two classes a day conducted in English. There are no international schools. The Urals' many lakes, forests and mountains are great for hiking, swimming and fishing. Winter sports include cross-country skiing and ice skating. The Ural Mountains, however, offer only limited opportunities for downhill skiing. Yekaterinburg's most popular spectator sports are hockey, basketball, and soccer.
The Urals possess beautiful natural scenery, particularly northern Tyumen's distant tundra and taiga. For Russian history and culture buffs, ConGen Yekaterinburg's consular district offers many landmarks including the childhood home museums of classical composer Tschaikovskiy and mad monk Rasputin ; the Nizhnyaya Sinyachika village outdoor museum of pre-revolutionary architecture; historic cities like Tobolsk; and the year-old monastery at Verkhoturye, the 16th century capital of the Urals.
Travel is usually routed through Frankfurt via Lufthansa's direct flight three times per week or through Moscow via daily Urals Air, Transaero, or Aeroflot flights. There are also regular flights to St. Petersburg and other major cities in the former Soviet Union. Yekaterinburg's airport now features charter flights to many foreign countries, including Turkey , China, and the United Arab Emirates. The performing arts are Yekaterinburg's cultural strong point. The city has an excellent symphony orchestra, opera and ballet theater, and many other performing arts venues.
The city's most notable museums are its fine arts museum, which contains paintings by some of Russia's 19th-century masters, and the geological museum which houses an extensive collection of stones and gems from the Urals. Yekaterinburg's nightlife options are limited. There are a handful of expensive Western-style restaurants and bars, none of which would be worth frequenting in a more cosmopolitan city. Glitzy nightclubs and casinos have appeared to serve the city's nouveau riche clientele.
Several new dance clubs have sprung up that offer a chance to rub shoulders with Yekaterinburg's more affluent youth. Yekaterinburg's health care delivery system does not meet American standards. There is no Western clinic in the city. Basic health care is marginal; dental care is inadequate. Visit a physician and dentist prior to arrival. Inoculations against all forms of hepatitis as well as tick-borne encephalitis usually received in Russia are especially important. The nearest Western-style basic medical care is available in Moscow, a 2-hour flight from Yekaterinburg, or in Frankfurt, a 4-hour flight away.
Yekaterinburg is a cash-only economy; credit cards are rarely accepted; travelers checks are not accepted anywhere. It was founded in The city's position at the convergence of the Volga and Samara rivers contributed to its growth as a trade hub, as well as its status as a provincial capital.
There are a number of factories here, many powered by a hydroelectric plant up-river. Samara has research and cultural organizations, and a population of nearly 1. The city was almost totally destroyed, and the losses of human life on both sides numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Volgograd was known as Tsaritsyn before its name was Stalingrad; in , it was given its present designation. It originated as a Russian fort against raiders in , and became an important city with the advent of railroads. Today, it is a major river port and railroad junction, and has over one million residents.
A large hydroelectric power station is located in the city, which is situated at the terminus of the Volga-Don canal. Its population is over 1.
Its named was changed in from Nizhniy Novgorod to honor Maksim Gorki, novelist and playwright who was born here in In , its name was changed back to Nizhniy Novgorod. The city, situated where the Volga River meets the Okra, was a frontier post in the early part of the 13th century. It was a principal trading center for Russia and the East. Nizhniy Novgorod was the capital of its principality in the 14th century, before its annexation by Moscow in , and later became famous for its large, successful trade fairs.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was known as a cultural and political center. It is the capital of the oblast whose name it bears.
The Siberian branch of the world-famous Academy of Science is located here. The population is over 1. Known as Novonikolayevsk from its founding in until it was renamed in , the city became a trade center during the building of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. During the Second World War , entire industrial plants were moved here from threatened areas of the western Soviet Union. The Russian Federation is physically the largest country in the world, covering 17 million square kilometers or 1. The territory of the Russian Federation covers 11 time zones and stretches 6, miles from east to west.