Russia

Shopping

shopping
Down pillows

Of very high quality are to be found

shopping
 

MatRyoshka матрёшка — a collection of traditionally painted wooden dolls, each one stacking neatly within another

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SamoVAR самовар — an indigenous design for brewing tea. Note that when purchasing samovars of value historical, precious gems or metal, etc., it is wise to check with customs before attempting to take it out of the country

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Russian wrist watches

часы — russian watches have a great reputation amoung collectors. be carefull not to buy counterfeits that usually sell in souvenir shops. the last factory still manufacturing and that you can even visit is in saint petersburg. the petrodvorets watch factory.

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Chocolate

шоколад — russian chocolate is very good

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Ice-cream

мороженое - russian ice-cream also especially good. in general check dairy products, you may like them.

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Winter coats

In department stores are well made, stylish and excellent values

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Military greatcoats

sheenel available in hard-to-find stores of military equipment

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ushi

USHANka ушанка — a warm hat with ears ushi

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HalVA халва — it's different from the kind found in Turkey or Greece in that it's made of sunflower seeds, rather than sesame, but Rot-Front products are really good

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Honey

мёд — produced around the country; sorts and quality vary dramatically, but the higher-quality are worth seeking. moscow hosts a honey market in kolomenskoe some part of the year. a number of honey shops working all the year round can be found on vdnkh/vvts grounds.

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Caviar

икра, only red since 2007 producing and selling black caviare is prohibited for ecological reasons most easy to find in large stores but maybe not the best one and only tinned since most of russian territory lies far from the ocean. it is best to buy fresh caviare directly at the production places, ie the pacific coast of russia.

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Hard cheese

Mostly produced in altai; occasionally available from there in large stores in moscow

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Sparkling wine

шампанское — sparkling wine, "russian champagne" is surprisingly good abrau-durso is believed to be the best brand, yet there are other good ones, too. make sure you order it "sukhoye" dry or brut. many restaurants serve it at room temperature, but if you request it "cold" they can usually find a semi-chilled bottle. the cost is surprisingly low also, about usd10 for a bottle of authentic abrau-durso.

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Skin-care products

While when it comes to make up, you'll find all the same products, that are popular on the west, a lot of people prefer locally produced skin-care products because of their superior price/quality combination. brands to check: nevskaya cosmetica невская косметика and greenmama

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Many more traditional crafts

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Accordions

Russia is second only to italy in the significance of these instruments; the soviet union had its own unique system for accordion playing and many such instruments still exist. the jupiter bayan accordions are legendary for their unique construction, although extremely expensive.

Supermarkets

supermarkets
 

There are a number of cheap food/goods chains.

Billa - a bit more expensive than the others.

supermarkets
Perekrestok

перекресток (http://www.perekrestok.ru/) - also one of more expensive ones.

supermarkets
Carousel

карусель (http://karusel.ru/shops.html)

supermarkets
Auchan

ашан (http://www.auchan.ru/) and atac атак (http://www.ataksupermarke...) - two brands of the famous auchan french chain, smaller supermarkets are called atac, while hypermarkets have auchan brand. one of the cheapest, notorious in russia for occasional selling out-of-date food, so double-check expiration date, however mostly it is ok.

supermarkets
Magnit

магнит (http://www.magnit-info.ru...)

supermarkets
Pyatyorochka

пятёрочка (http://www.e5.ru/shops/)

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Lenta

лента (http://www.lenta.com)

supermarkets
Diksi

дикси (http://dixy.ru)

supermarkets
O'Kay

о'кей (http://www.okmarket.ru)

supermarkets
Globus

глобус or гиперглобус (http://www.globus.ru) - german chain of discounting hypermarkets. most of them have a self-service restaurant with delicious cuisine and pretty reasonable prices, a bakery, and a meat processing shop with very tasty production.

money

Throughout its history Russia has had various version of the ruble рубль, which is divided into 100 kopeks копеек. The latest manifestation RUB, replacing the RUR was introduced in 1998 although all notes and first issues of coins bear the year 1997. All pre-1998 currency is obsolete.

Coins are issued in 1, 5, 10, and 50 kopek and 1, 2, 5, and 10 ruble denominations. Banknotes come in RUB5, RUB10, RUB50, RUB100, RUB500, RUB1000, and RUB5000 denominations. The RUB5 note is no longer issued or found in general circulation. The RUB10 ceased being printed in 2010 and will suffer the same fate. Both remain legal tender. Kopeks are generally useless, with most prices given to the nearest ruble. The 1 and 5 kopek coins are especially useless: even places that quote prices in non whole rubles will round to the nearest 10 kopeks. From 1998 until approximately 2012, the ruble enjoyed relative stability, but has become rather more volatile in recent times, and towards the end of 2014, suffered a significant and sudden decrease in value, especially compared to the dollar, euro and pound.

All banknotes have special marks dots and lines in relief to aid the blind in distinguishing values.

Forget about travellers' cheques only some banks, such as Sberbank, will cash even American Express, but it does so without commission, and bring enough cash to last you for a few days, as occasionally communications networks handling ATM and credit card transactions are not available as elsewhere in the world.

Russian law forbids payments not in rubles. Fortunately, currency exchange offices called bureaus in Saint Petersburg are common throughout Russia. Banks and small currency exchange bureaus offer very good rates; hotels are generally expensive and thus not recommended. You need to show your passport at banks. Be sure to take your time to count how much money you got — different ways are sometimes used to trick the customer.

Small window-in-the-wall offices abound in Moscow and Saint Petersburg but are rare in other cities. They usually offer better exchange rates but don't require identification nor provide any receipts in most cases. Branches of large banks can be found in any major city, and Sberbank outlets are a must in any village down to rayonny centr. Branches of banks are more trustworthy for not-so-attractive rates, and exchange session would last longer requiring a passport and giving you all the receipts you can imagine.

Window-in-the-wall exchanges frequently attract clients by declaring rates for amounts >USD1000 / >EUR1000 but stating this in small font. Rates for smaller amounts are demonstrated only in the window itself and are typically less attractive than even at regular banks. Frequently, people don't notice that rates are different. To make the difference even less evident, rates are set exactly 1 ruble different, like 34.18 and 35.18 per euro. Another trick used by windows-in-the-walls is a tray that makes 1-2 banknotes stick so they become hidden from you. Always check the amounts you are given. Many exchange bureaus will also convert other currencies beyond USD and EUR, although often the rate is not as good. You can compare rates if you buy USD/EUR in your country and sell them in Russia vs direct exchanges from your at local currency to rubles — it displays exchange rates for cash in Moscow for every currency exchanged in Russia.

You will have an easier time changing money if your banknotes are absolutely clean, and dollars should be the most recent updated design, as few places will accept the older versions.

Don't change money on the street. Unlike during Soviet times, there is no advantage to dealing with an unofficial vendor. There are several advanced schemes of scam for exchange on the street — better not give them a try.

ATMs, called bankomats, are common in large cities and can generally be found in smaller cities and towns. Though some may not accept foreign cards. English language interface is available. Some may also dispense US dollars. Russian ATMs will often limit withdrawals to about USD1,000 per day. Big hotels are good places to find them.

In Moscow and Saint Petersburg more and more shops, restaurants, and services take credit cards. Visa/MasterCard are more accepted than American Express; Discover, Diners Club and other cards are rarely accepted. Most upmarket establishments will accept credit cards, but beyond these it is pure chance.

Museums and sightseeing places take only cash, no credit cards. Have plenty of cash on hand each day to cover entrance fees, photographic fees museums charge a fee for cameras and video recorders, tours, souvenirs, meals and transportation.

Train Stations may accept plastic, even outside the big cities, be sure to ask as it won't always be obvious. Otherwise take plenty of cash. ATM machines at train station are popular and often out of cash, so stock up before going to the train station.

Like anywhere in the world, it's better to avoid street ATMs or at least to be very careful, as sometimes swindlers attach spy devices to them, to get your PIN and card details; the safest option is the ATMs in hotels, banks or big shopping centres.