Due to the immense size of the country, and the poor road safety, the best way to get around through the entire country quickly is by train. Russia has an extensive rail network linking nearly every city and town. For intercity travel, the train is generally the most convenient option for trips that can be covered overnight. Although accommodations may not be the best, Russian trains have efficient and courteous staff as well as timely departures and arrivals that would impress even a German. The train is an option for longer trips many Russians continue to use it for trips of 2 days or more, but mainly if you appreciate the nuances and experience of train travel in Russia. For the complete Russian rail experience, the one-week Trans-Siberian Railway has no equal.
Russian trains are divided into types: Long-distance Ð´Ð°Ð»ÑÐ½ÐµÐ³Ð¾ ÑÐ»ÐµÐ´Ð¾Ð²Ð°Ð½Ð¸Ñ DAHL'nyehvuh SLEHduhvahnyah trains generally cover trips more than about 4 hours or 200 kilometers 120 miles. Take a look at the Russian long-distance rail timetable. (http://eng.rzd.ru/wps/por...) (http://timetable.tsi.ru) (http://www.poezda.net/en/index) (http://rzd.nnov-airport.ru/) Shorter distances are covered by the commuter trains Ð¿ÑÐ¸Ð³Ð¾ÑÐ¾Ð´Ð½ÑÐµ PREEguhruhdnyyeh, which are popularly called ÑÐ»ÐµÐºÑÑÐ¸ÑÐºÐ¸ ehlehkTREECHkee. Most train stations Ð¶ÐµÐ»ÐµÐ·Ð½Ð¾Ð´Ð¾ÑÐ¾Ð¶Ð½ÑÐ¹ Ð²Ð¾ÐºÐ·Ð°Ð» zhehlyehznohdohROHZHny vohgZAHL have separate areas for selling tickets for these types.
Russia has a very lively hitchhiking culture, with many hitchhiking clubs, there is even an Academy of Hitchhiking. There are many competitions. Despite horror stories about bad things happening in Russia, it is relatively safe to hitchhike, especially in the countryside. In some regions Russians expect a little bit of money for a ride.
The tremendous distances of Russia make plane travel highly desirable if you plan to travel to some of Russia's more far-flung attractions. It's worth considering for any destination that is farther than an overnight train ride. Travelling across Russia by train can sound awfully romantic, but it's also time-consuming and rather monotonous. Nearly every major destination of interest has an airport nearby. The great majority of domestic flights are to/from Moscow, but other services exist.
The Russian domestic airline industry had an abominable reputation in the 90s due to uncertain safety records, unreliable timetables, terrible service, uncomfortable airplanes, and substandard airports. Substantial improvements have been made, however. Plane travel in Russia is unlikely to be the highlight of your trip but it has become tolerable.
Aeroflot(http://aeroflot.ru/eng/de...) based at Sheremetyevo airport (http://svo.aero/), Moscow, is Russia's national airline for local Russian and CIS flights and international flights to worldwide cities Germany, South Korea, US, etc.. Flights from St. Petersburg back into Moscow run only $57 USD May 2009 and makes this less expensive and less time consuming than taking the train. Since December 2010 Aeroflot operates both domestic and international flights from the new Terminal D located next to the old international terminal now Terminal F serving non-Aeroflot international departures. Many international flights and most internal ones are operated by Boeing and Airbus aircraft, only a few soviet era aircraft are left.
Transaero(http://transaero.ru/en/in...), based at the second biggest in Moscow area Domodedovo airport (http://domodedovo.ru/inde...). , Moscow across the city from Sheremetyevo is an independent airline with Boeing aircraft which operates to major cities in Russia and the CIS, and to a few western destinations.
S7 airlinesex-Siberia or Sibir Airlines (http://s7.ru/en/index.html) Russia's largest domestic carrier with international service to many cities in Germany, China and ex-Soviet republics.
Rossiya Airlines(http://www.rossiya-airlin...) has a substantial network based at St Petersburg Pulkovo airport (http://pulkovoairport.ru/eng/) to both major cities in Russia, and to western Europe.
UTair(http://utair.ru/en/) operates the largest aircraft fleet in Russia and ranks among the top five largest Russian carriers by passenger volume. UTair is the Russian market leader in helicopter services and is the world's fourth largest helicopter service provider by volume of international operations.
Yakutia Airlines(http://www.yakutia.aero/e...) is Siberian/Far Eastern air carrier having extensive flight network around Siberia and abroad.
Many of these airlines apart from Transaero, which started as an independent operation were formed out of the onetime-Aeroflot operation at their home city from Soviet times when the old Aeroflot was broken up.
In March 2009, Rosaviation federal aviation regulator has published stats on average delays of departure in 2008, broken down by domestic airline:
maximal delays in departure are reported for: Alrosa Avia 40% flights were delayed for 2 hours or more, Moskoviya 17%, Dagestan Airlines 16%, Red Wings 14%, SkyExpress 13%, VIM-Avia 12%, Yakutia 10%
minimal delays are reported for: Aeroflot-Russian airlines, S7/Sibir, Rossia, UTair and UTair-Express, Aeroflot-Nord, Aeroflot-Don, Kuban Airlines, Yamal, Saratov Airlines, Transaero, Tatarstan.
Most Russian cities have bus links to cities as far as 5-6 hours away or further. Though generally less comfortable than the train, buses sometimes are a better option time-wise and are worth looking into if the train timetables don't suit you. A small number of cities, notably Suzdal, are not served by train, and thus bus is the only option besides a car.
The Russian word for bus station is Avtovokzal Ahv-tuh-vahg-ZAHL. Most cities have just one for long distance buses and the state buses depart from there. However, in Moscow and in some other Russian cities, a number of commercial buses are available, and they generally don't depart from the bus station. Quite often, you'll see commercial buses near train stations. Sometimes they run on schedules, though for popular routes such as Moscow-Vladimir, Moscow/Yaroslavl, etc. the buses simply wait to fill up. On these buses payment is usually to the driver.
Russian buses have luggage storage, but if it's an old Eastern-bloc bus, you may find your luggage wet at the end of the trip.
Apart from regular buses there are private minibuses called marshrutka Ð¼Ð°ÑÑÑÑÑÐºÐ°. Marshrutkas have fixed routes, but usually no timetables and no regular stations. Stop at the roadside and wave a hand, if you are lucky and the minibus isn't full, it will stop. You can arrange with the driver to stop you at desired place on his route. At more frequent stops the driver waits until his minibus will fill up. There are no tickets, you pay directly to the driver.Marshrutkas ride both on countryside in this case they likely to have timetables and as city transport â in cities usually have number plates as regular buses.