Russian Flag

Russian Flag

  • Officially » Российская Федерация (Russian)
    • Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
    • Russian Federation
  • Capital » Moscow


  • Population » 142.7 million
  • Major language » Russian
  • Major religions » Christianity, Islam
  • Life expectancy » 63 years (men), 75 years (women)


  • Area » 17 million sq km (6.6 million sq miles)
  • Russian is the largest country in the world by total area
    • The border between Europe and Asia crosses through Russia, making it transcontinental.
      • The largest of the Asian countries by area is Russia, which occupies about 30% of the total territory of the continent.
      • Europe’s largest country is Russia, occupying 37% of total continental area.


  • Russia is the biggest country in the world and encompasses 11 time zones
  • Russians are very friendly and helpful


  • Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Russia.
    • Visa applications must be submitted electronically via the Embassy of the Russian Federation’s website. Visas are normally restricted to 30 or 90 days.
    • If planning to remain in Russia for more than 3 months, you must provide a medical certificate of a negative test for HIV infection.
    • Foreign nationals are expected to apply for a visa in the country of their citizenship unless they have a residence or work permit in a third country for the period more than 90 days. (Email)
      • However, several overlanders appear to have obtained their visas while on the road.
  • Routine police checks are common in public places. Carry your passport, visa and migration card with you at all times. Photocopies aren’t acceptable.
  • Visit the coast south of Vladivostok (recommended by LandCruising Adventure)
  • Visit the east shore of Lake Baikal (Google Maps) (recommended by LandCruising Adventure)
    • Lake Baikal is now overcrowded due to tourism operators taking advantage of this gem (WaPo (paid))


  • It’s mandatory to always drive with your headlights on
  • Russia requires you to have insurance
    • Available at most borders.
  • Outside the big centres there are many dead end roads, making it difficult to do loops
  • Mosquitos are bad in eastern Russia/Siberia until about September.
    • September/October leaves a narrow window to explore such a vast area.
    • Nights are already below zero in October.
    • Headnet, DEET, thick clothing, is required in summer.
    • Ticks are also an issue.
  • April – most dirt roads in eastern Russia are thawing out and quite difficult to travel on.
  • Ports of Entry – Vladivostok
    • Ferry boat crossing to South Korea
    • The starting or ending point of the legendary Trans Siberian Railway
    • Known as the Forbidden City, Vladivostok was closed to westerners until 1993 (NY Times)
  • The main road connecting Vladivostok to Novosibirskvia Khabarovsk, Chita, Ulan Ude, Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk is asphalted
  • Only local residents may travel by land between Russia and Belarus
  • Some will say to be careful of “the highway police who are always on the lookout for foreign vehicles to penalize them for some traffic violation”.


Russia’s World Ranking 2018

  • Innovation capability » 36th
  • Quality of vocational training » 67th
  • Reliability of police services » 88th
  • Judicial independence » 92nd
  • Life expectancy » 99th
  • Roads quality » 104th
  • Property rights » 112th
  • Freedom of the press » 121st

Government Tourist Advice



This page was last updated on 2021.04.05 by Robert Vinet