Yes, English is less common here than in Western Europe. But anyone you’re likely to depend on for any kind of service — subway ticket sellers, hotel staff, restaurant waiters — will (probably) have a smattering of the language. Galleries, museums, zoos, etc., will provide all necessary info in English. And even Russian monoglots will still understand words like "beer," "hotel," and "bus
Galleries, museums, zoos, etc., will provide all necessary info in English.Sergey Kiselev/ Moskva Agency
Still, it might be a good idea to download the Google Translate app for Russian, and also brush up on the Cyrillic alphabet. Russian has borrowed many words from European languages, and they sound approximately the same. Once you know that C is S, П is P, У is U, and Л is L, etc., you’ll realize that СТОП and ТУАЛЕТ are thinly disguised forms of stop and toilet/restroom.
Don’t hail a cab in the street, and don’t ride with any of the unofficial drivers who swarm the arrivals area.Kirill Kallinikov/Sputnik
You can avoid problems with overbooking by reserving several places in advance.Evgeny Biyatov
Whatever you do, don’t look for an apartment on the spot with a host who’s a total stranger. Even if the stranger in question is a sweet-looking babushka.
Even friendly matches in Moscow are accompanied by solid lines of security personnel from the nearest subway station to the stadium.Anton Denisov/Sputnik
Security is perhaps the primary responsibility of the World Cup host country, and Russia will stop at nothing to ensure it. Even friendly matches in Moscow are accompanied by solid lines of security personnel from the nearest subway station to the stadium. Tourist areas are generally super-safe. That said, you won’t be immune to pickpockets or the odd skirmish with rival fans. It all depends on you. Our advice is, don’t react to provocation and steer clear of certain types (see our guide to Russian soccer fans). Common sense is the order of the day: be careful, don’t talk to dodgy individuals, don’t go “walkabout” in the city outskirts, and be sure to read up on what topics to avoid when meeting Russians for the first time.
Even if someone’s wearing a T-shirt with the letters CCCP (USSR), it means nothing.Vitaliy Belousov/Sputnik
Russia and Russians haven’t been communist for a while now. Believe it or not, they’re quite fond of sipping coffee in Starbucks, watching YouTube, going abroad, and chatting with foreigners. In fact, they’ll be more than willing to add to your life skills by teaching you how to swear in Russian and drink vodka correctly, or explaining what pelmeni are. Even if someone’s wearing a T-shirt with the letters CCCP (USSR), it means nothing. Soviet kitsch is not a sign of communism, but mainstream. You too can wear it. No problem.
Other transport options include carsharing and finding co-passengers on BeepCar or BlaBlaCar.Evgeny Biyatov/Sputnik
Dashcam footage might make you think that all Russian drivers are clinically insane and/or suicidal. YouTube is overflowing with "Russian driver" videos — real-life GTA.
But things aren’t that bad really (honestly). It’s just that Russians like to record everything, and that means EVERYTHING, that happens on the road. So there’s plenty of material to choose from.
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