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Ekaterina Mamina
5 myths about Russia
Here's a list of myths which might hold people back from visiting Russia. Let's see how far they are from reality
Russia remains an unusual and even an exotic destination for tourists. While traveling, I often meet people who are excited about visiting my homeland, and yet don't do it! Usually, people start saying: "Oh I would love to go to Russia but…"
Have you ever dreamt of visiting Russia but didn't do it for some reason? Let's see what can stop you and whether these reasons are real or just myths.
Myth 1: It's too expensive
Every second person has heard that Moscow is one of the most expensive cities. Really? We wouldn't say so.

It's a myth! Indeed, renting (or buying) an apartment here is not cheap, but for a traveler, a lot depends on type of the accommodation. The price of a hostel bed in Moscow starts from 500 rubles (7 euros), good hotels can have a very reasonable price, and in case you are on a tight budget, there are always welcoming people on couchsurfing.

A metro/bus ride is only 55 rubles (0.7 euros) for one ticket, and with a city transport card ("Troika") it would be 50 cents. A lunch in a café might cost you from 4 to 7 euros. Compared to Europe and USA, museums are relatively cheap as well, and there are a lot of free places to see and events to visit.
Myth 2: It's a wild and dangerous country
In media, Russia is often depicted as a dangerous authoritarian country. Have you heard about bears walking on the streets. Well, ok, this is too ridiculous, right?

This is what I often hear from travellers: "my family/friends tried to dissuade me from coming to Russia as it is dangerous, but now I see it's not!"

Actually, Russia isn't more dangerous than many other European cities. Common sense is usually enough to avoid incidents: don't leave belongings without keeping an eye on them, don't get carelessly drunk, and avoid showing off your expensive items at night. Should work well for you.

No. This is not how Russia looks in reality.
Myth 3: It's hard to get a Russian visa
If you are used to traveling without any paperwork, getting a Russian visa might seem complicated, while, in fact, it's not! You just need to have 2 blank pages in your passport, fill out an application form, buy an insurance policy and get an invitation (by booking a hotel or by using a travel agency).

And yes, it's true that a Russian visa will cost you some money: you will have to pay the application fee, travel agency service and insurance.

These complications might seem tricky, but they are not that time-consuming!
And guess what: Russian citizens have to overcome similar obstacles when it comes to visiting other countries – yet it can hardly stop them from travelling.
Myth 4: Russians speak only Russian
Okay, we must admit that this is partially true. If you get out of a big city you may have some problems being understood. Still, it is very likely that you'll have someone to help you out with translation and other stuff. You will often find English-speaking services in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and even the directions and transport system is being thoroughly translated now (some places are even Chinese-friendly). Recently, the situation outside of the biggest cities has got way better thanks to the upcoming 2018 World Cup.

However, once you leave common touristic routes, it's getting more complicated: most Russians do not know foreign languages. If you want to see alternative paths and feel confident without using your acting skills to be understood, you may ask for a city helper service this person will be the personal intermediary between you and the country, and will help with understanding the locals.
Myth 5: Russians are impolite and unfriendly
Russian people might look way too serious and even rude in public places (it may also apply to services and shops), but it all changes when they are meeting their family or friends.

Here in Russia we define the word "friend" in a different way. "A friend is a person who can call me in the middle of the night asking for help, and I will do whatever I can to help". Other people (even if occasionally you go out together) are often considered acquaintances. Still, having small talks here is not really appreciated. You either talk seriously, or you don't at all. If they ask you about how are you doing – they mean it and they look forward to hearing your answer. As soon as you realise it, you won't consider Russians that mean. It is more about being sincere. What might be perceived as crudeness is often just directness or curiosity. It's a part of the culture – you will get used to this.

And still, like in any country, you can find all sorts of people in Russia: nice and unfriendly, gentle and brutal, intelligent and ignorant. We will help you be surrounded by the most wonderful Russians during your travels.
Thank you for being so curious! If you want to understand Russia and our culture better, make sure you have a look at all our activities that are available in the city you are travelling to!
I've been living in Moscow since 2010 and I'm absolutely in love with it: every traveler can find so many amazing things to see and do here. Also, Moscow is so multi-faced, so even the locals can always find something new!

So, I'm very enthusiastic about sharing my expertise and my feelings towards the city and the country with others. It's always such a pleasure to see the faces of travellers lit up with admiration when they encounter something magnificent: metro stations or parks, old streets or modern buildings. Yes, I can show you different sides of Moscow - depends on what you would like to see.

What's more, I believe that every country and every place has its charm and its soul, so my mission as a guide is to help the traveler feeling the true spirit of Russia and, in particular, the true spirit of Moscow.


Ekaterina Mamina
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