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How to queue in Russia (a practical guide) Part 2

You need to have your passport to buy a train ticket. Actually, you will need your passport to do pretty much anything in Russia. Even for sightseeing and visiting museums. There are always two prices quoted for entry to many sightseeing attractions: one – for a Russian person, and the other – for foreigners, which is multiple times higher than the “Russian” price. The ticket salesperson wouldn’t want to play guessing games in order to charge you the right fee: “Your passport, please!” Well, “please” is usually not included.
As a rule, you should always carry your passport with you in Russia. That’s because at any given time someone somewhere might want to check your identity: at the bank while exchanging your foreign currency (the date of your birth is of high importance there!), at the train station while buying a ticket, on the street while sightseeing… Yes, if for some reason you stick out of the crowd, a militiaman, sorry, a policeman could stop you and ask you for your documents. I have never had the unfortunate experience of being stopped by a militiaman, sorry, a policeman, but I have seen plenty of random people being stopped and questioned on the streets or such venues like train stations. What happens to these people afterwards, I can’t say, but I never see them again. I’m not saying that I don’t see them again because they were stopped by the militiaman, but one can’t rule out that possibility. I apologise for calling the policemen by their old name “militiamen”. Their “christening” has happened quite recently, and apart from the name change nothing has changed, in particular their habit of harassing innocent people on the street. Why they do it is a separate story. Meanwhile remember to carry your passport with you at all times.
But we shall go back to the queue at the train station. You’ve joined the queue, carried out all the required procedures, received and passed on the information, and, after a considerable length of time, you are about to face the ticket-selling woman (it’s always a woman, as I said earlier) with your passport. There are just two more people in front of you… Now, just one… Any moment now! And then… You hear a very polite voice: “Excuse me, please! Allow me, please, to jump the queue in front of you and buy a ticket, please!” It could be a woman decorated with hanging crying babies. Or a man, whose fiancé is already sitting and waiting for him on the train, that leaves in 5 minutes to a particular destination containing her anxious parents. Or an elderly person, whose legs are about to give up while talking to you and begging you to allow him or her to jump the queue in front of you. You are not heartless. Even if you don’t believe them for a second, you still let them in…
Eventually, after what seems like eternity (certainly long enough to write a narrative about practical advice on how to stand in the queue in Russia) it is your turn to buy a ticket. You present your passport, specify the destination and the date/time of travel, and within minutes you are the proud owner of a double-paged elongated pink paper strip. A sense of anticlimax hits you. Suddenly, you want to be anywhere else but here, in the ticket hall of the train station…
So, choose your destination! Now you are armed with the knowledge and ready to master the ticket queue in Russia. Better still, you could pretend not to understand the whole art of queue-standing and be daring enough to jump that queue. You have a valid reason: your train really is leaving in the next 5 minutes!

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How to queue in Russia (a practical guide) Part 2 by 


The second half of the satirical guide to life in Russia dealing with queueing, buying tickets and the Russians themselves. If you missed the first part, you can read it here.
I would be happy to hear your feedback. The story is not the final version.

I make drugs for living and shoot things for pleasure.

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Comments

  • karina5
    karina5almost 2 years ago

    Well observed, Irina. I have nothing to add.
    Once my friends had sent me an invitation, but they only realized after we had arrived what burden it meant to them. We had to register at the local police station within a couple of days. But the police officer wanted us to show him a bill from the housing adminstration, saying that we had paid the bill for the water we would use. But the lady who was in charge of water was away, so we had to make dozens of phone calls – after a couple of days we were able to pay for the water (peanuts I’d say), took the bill to the police station and – our holiday started.
    The funny thing about this incident is – they didn’t have a water meter to find out how much water we would use.

  • Thank you for your comment and the fave, Karin!
    I know well your experience with vizas and registration :) Pain in one place! My next story is about that, but still only half-written.
    How do you get your viza these days without an invitation?
    And another question: why didn’t they ask you to pay for electricity as well? Would make more sense :) The thing is – nothing makes sense in Russia :)

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • karina5
    karina5almost 2 years ago

    Nowadays it is much easier. In summer I paid for an invitation at the visa office in Munich, got a tourist visa and I was told that you only have to register when you stay longer than 10 days in one place. As we travelled a lot and spent some time in hotels we didn’t have any problems.

  • Thanks for the info! I know the new regulations, but as I go to Russia for a month at a time, I still have to register (at a post office these days). I’ve never bought visa from an office. I hope they are trustable.

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • LudaNayvelt
    LudaNayveltalmost 2 years ago

    wow, I did not know about passport and the price differences between Russian and foreigners, I have not seen this in Kiev, and in Moscow I been last time over 30 years ago. great info, thank you

  • Pretty much all major attractions in Moscow and St Peters have two different prices.
    Example below is a copy-paste from the Hermitage site in St Peters:
    Стоимость билетов в Эрмитаж
    •для граждан России и Белоруссии – 150 рублей;
    •для пенсионеров, детей и студентов (любых стран) – бесплатно;
    •для иностранных граждан (в том числе страны СНГ) – 400 рублей;
    •фотосъемка и видеосъемка – 200 рублей (запрещена съемка с использованием штатива, съемка с использованием вспышки);
    Some Russians are much reacher than most foreigners. Is there a special price for them? :)

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • LudaNayvelt
    LudaNayveltalmost 2 years ago

    i Ya xotela tuda poexat….

  • shall we do it together?

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • Robin Brown
    Robin Brownalmost 2 years ago

    I think I’d need a guide to keep me on the straight & narrow :o) lol

  • I volunteer :)

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • Robin Brown
    Robin Brownalmost 2 years ago

    I will start saving so I can afford the tickets, might take me a few years though :o) lol xx

  • no rush! Russia might abolish visas by then! that’s my hopes anyway :)

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • Robin Brown
    Robin Brownalmost 2 years ago

    Will they still accept switch?

  • lol! :) no, Robin, cash only :)

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • Keith Reesor
    Keith Reesoralmost 2 years ago

    Outstanding Irina!! :)

  • thank you, Keith! :)

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • George Petrovsky
    George Petrovskyalmost 2 years ago

    At least I could get into the Hermitage gratis! No flash photography – but what’s that other device (pardon my ignorance)? I suppose pre-booking tickets on line is out of the question…they couldn’t check your passport! A few more pages to print out and take with me…one day perhaps… Have you considered a supplementary career as a personal Tour Guide? How do the group tourists fare? Is there such a thing as hiring/buying a campervan and touring the country, as many backpackers do over here? Riveting, well written story! :)george

  • A personal Tour Guide? You are not the first person to advise me that! My friend from Russia gave me that idea, but in UK, after I gave her a personal tour of London, Windsor and Oxford. I might have to consider this path seriously, since my career as a Medicinal Chemist ground to a halt :) So, George, any time you wish to visit UK, give me a shout! :)
    That was no photography with tripods. Standard rule in museums. They are afraid people would sell high quality reproductions of famous paintings round the corner :) Actually, what is RB policy on that?

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • And thank you very much for reading the story, for your feedback and for adding it to your favorites! :)

    – Irina Chuckowree

  • João Figueiredo
    João Figueiredoover 1 year ago

    Beautiful!! I loved to read your narrative!! :)

  • :) thanks!

    – Irina Chuckowree

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