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Thread: We want to visit Russia (or Ukraine)...

  1. #1
    Увлечённый спикер jjjiimm's Avatar
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    We want to visit Russia (or Ukraine)...

    Hi guys, this is my first post here (I was once registered in 2002, but I have long since forgotten the log-in information).

    The girlfriend and I would like to visit either Russia or Ukraine, preferably sometime next year or the year after that. I'm saving up vacation days and we're getting married in April.

    We want to visit Moscow or St. Petersburg, but we're also considering Kiev as an easier possibility, as my fiance is a Ukranian citizen. My main purpose for going is to enhance my knowledge of Russian language and experience the "Soviet" lifestyle. She wants to visit relatives (relatives live in both Russia and Ukraine). She left Ukraine at 6, so I think she'd be interested in seeing it again. Yet I'd inevitably feel like I'd be missing out on "Matushka Rosiya."

    What's the typical process? We're saving money (a ticket looks like it's going to be $1,500 - $2,000), and doing research as to the things we can do when we get there. I don't think we have anybody to stay with... but her step-dad's son lives in Moscow, and she has other relatives so we might be able to find a temporary residence. We plan on staying for 2-3 weeks.

    Thanks guys!

    Edit: Looks like there is a totally different forum for temporary travel and tourism, sorry guys.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    You need an invitation, health insurance, a visa, and a passport. You should have certain shots updated, but it's not a requirement.

    The Russian govt makes travel to Russia very difficult, probably even more so if you're American. I recommend you go to a site like http://gotorussia.com/index.htm to learn what you need to do. I don't think Ukraine is anywhere near as troublesome.

    My wife and I are planning to go to Moscow and Piter next spring if we still have any investment money left and still have the energy to face the bureaucracy. (Hey, Olya, maybe we'll meet?!)

  3. #3
    Увлечённый спикер jjjiimm's Avatar
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    Thanks for your response and the link. I'll look into it.

    Yeah, I know it'd be a lot easier to go to Ukraine, but I can't help but feel like I'd be missing out on Russia. It's like... you go to Ukraine and it's great and all, but you can't help but feel like this is the closest to Petersburg or Moscow you'll ever get. You might as well go now! Heh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    Hey, Olya, maybe we'll meet?!
    До весны еще так далеко... И кто знает, где я буду. Посмотрим.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: We want to visit Russia (or Ukraine)...

    I spent 2 weeks in Ukraine, it was my first trip to a Russian speaking country and my Russian is only entry level.

    Flying into Kiev was dreary, from the air, it looked like I was flying into a gray, bleak country. When I got to Passport Control in Kiev, long lines, long wait. BTW, from the air I had the same impression of Donetsk too. Flying into Odessa was better, but that is because we flew out over the Black Sea and circled back. Once you are in country, the flights were internal flights so I did not have to go thru Passpost control.

    Once past Passport Control in Kiev, it was great. I rented two different apartments, the average cost was about $50 per night. I would recommend UkraineFares.com, they were great to work with.

    The bad (funny), I got to my apartment, dropped my bags, and walked to the store for groceries. I went to buy bread, milk, coffee, eggs, and bacon. In the diary section, I found what I thought was milk, but it did not say moloko on the carton. It did have a picture of a cow, so I bought it. In the US, eggs are packaged by the dozen, at the store near my apartment they were packaged 15 eggs to a package. Buy water, do not drink the tap water. Water comes with gas, or no gas. Never heard it stated that way, but it was easy to understand.

    The next morning, I made coffee, and when I poured some milk into my coffee, I thought it looked a little thick, so I tasted it. IT WAS BUTTERMILK! The next time I will not just accept the picture of a cow to make sure it was milk.

    Then I got out the bacon, opened the package, and tried to seperate the slices of bacon. I could not get them apart, so I put the bacon in the pan without seperating the slices. In the US, I have never seen anyone put thin sheets of plastic between the slices of bacon. It took me over an hour to scrub the plastic from the pan.

    I LOVED Ukraine. My Russian is poor, and I never had a problem. In my favorite resturant, just up from the Opera House, the bartender did not speak English and my Russian is still in it's infancy. But we both are musicians, we both are bass players. We spent over an hour talking about music. The people are friendly, and there was no problems with Visa's, or anything. My next trip will be in March, and I am cramming Russian every day to be better prepared.

    I would like to go to Russia with the Ukrainian lady I am dating, but it seems like the trouble to get a Visa and meet the requirements to go might be too great an obstacle. Anyone with info about travel in Russia, I would be interested in.

  6. #6
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    Re: We want to visit Russia (or Ukraine)...

    It may be a little easier to go to Ukraine than to Russia, but it's not as hard as expected.
    In Russia it's made to sounds very difficult and frightening but in actual fact it is not.

    You will need:
    An invitation,
    Insurance,
    Visa

    Invitations can be done through the internet instantly, it's very easy and costs around 30 dollars or something like that. You will most likely receive it by E-Mail. Then you submit this to the Russian embassy along with a filled out form, the standard form to receive a visa(it is not difficult). You pay the consular fee by postal order or credit card, cash it obviously varies and i'm not american so i don't know how it works with you.

    The only difficult part is the registration of visa. If you are staying in a hotel, it will be done for you automatically so you should not even think about it. If you're not staying in a hotel, then it's difficult. But the company who provided your invitation are responsible for registering it and will be fined by УФМС if it is not registered, so they will give you all the information on how to register it if not in a hotel. Basically, the most common is you go to their office - pay a small sum and it will be registered by the next day.

    If you are struggling, contact me privately and I can take you through the whole process if you need.
    I have a lot of experience helping foreigners(mainly europeans however) getting their visas to visit friends etc studying their, so don't hesitate to ask
    Слово — дело великое. Великое потому, что словом можно соединить людей, словом можно и разъединить их!

  7. #7
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    Re: We want to visit Russia (or Ukraine)...

    I forgot to add!! Your fiancee is Ukrainian, she does not need a visa to Russia or if she has American passport, yes she will require it but the good news is that American citizens do not require visas to enter the Ukraine!
    So why not do such that when you are finished in Russia, go by train to the Ukraine, train prices from Moscow - Kiev is about 35/40 dollars prices vary and lower priced tickets are avaliable.
    One thing to remember is that if you have a Odnokratnaya viza - one visit visa, and you go to Ukraine you would not be able to enter Russia again! So be sure you go to Ukraine with no intention to return to Moscow Thus you'd need return tickets from Ukraine if you did it this way.
    Слово — дело великое. Великое потому, что словом можно соединить людей, словом можно и разъединить их!

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