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Russian Transportation

GETTING TO RUSSIA AND AWAY

There are daily flights to Moscow from all major European capitals and New York, as well as from Hong Kong and other Asian travel centres. There are also daily services to St Petersburg from many European capitals.

The main western rail gateways to European Russia are Helsinki, Warsaw, Prague and Budapest. There is a daily service from Paris and Amsterdam to Moscow via Berlin and Warsaw. There's also a service from Berlin to Omsk. The Trans-Siberian Railway runs from Moscow to Vladivostok, and you can get a train from there to Beijing. There are limited cruise and ferry services between Russia and Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Turkey and Georgia.

GETTING AROUND

Main russian airline Aeroflot has been broken up into many small airlines, leading to virtually unregulated skies and the worst regional safety record in the world. Flying within Russia used to ba an unreliable, unpredictable and difficult business, although it is getting much better lately. Try to get a seat on a domestic flight that ultimately has an international destination, because these carriers are certified to meet higher standards than domestic-only services.

European Russia is crisscrossed by an extensive rail network that makes trains a viable means of getting to practically anywhere. They're cheap and comfortable and usually take a long, long time. The rail network runs on Moscow time; the only general exception is suburban train services, which stick to local time.

Russian buses are now completely open to foreigners and when going between small towns are a great way to travel. Driving in Russia isn't everybody's cup of tea but, if you've got a sense of humour, don't mind some fairly rugged road conditions, a few hassles finding petrol, and getting lost now and then, it's a great way to see the country.

River transport remains important and in summer it's possible to travel long distances across Russia on passenger boats. The main passenger services ply between Moscow and St Petersburg, and between Moscow and various points on the Volga and Don, including Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Volgograd, Astrakhan and Rostov-on-Don.


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