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Moscow - boots on the ground?

Hello fellow vicarious travelers,

We're planning a 2-week trip to Uzbekistan for late July – early August, and would like to stop by Moscow on the way back. What is the situation like on the ground lockdown-wise, any pointers?

Best,
R.

Posted by
1177 posts

Check the lastest Tourist Travel Advisory for Russia. Right now US Citizens are restricted by Covid rules. Also the political unrest could be a problem because of street demonstrations.

Posted by
944 posts

Hi RPerez, when I begin planning an international trip, the first website I visit is travel.state.gov to find out if it’s safe, what documents are needed, etc. At this time, most of Europe is under a level 4: do not travel warning. If you enroll in STEP, you’ll be notified my email on updates concerning safety and health. Here’s the latest advisory: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/RussianFederation.html.

Posted by
2094 posts

The current situation will have very little to do with the situation in August. But from what I've heard, the Covid situation has been pretty bad in Russia. And I'm not sure I trust the official figures.

Posted by
18752 posts

You definitely shouldn't trust the death figures (around 100,000) showing up on at least some websites. A Russian government institute has acknowledged that the number of excess deaths since early 2000 is much, much higher than that.

I assume you are aware that people traveling on US passports need a visa for Russia. (There's an exception for short visits to St. Petersburg made via ferry.) By all accounts there's a somewhat tricky--and costly--process involved. Check that out to be sure it's worth the hassle to you if you're thinking about a brief stop.

Posted by
417 posts

Hi, R!

Not quite "in the field", but, based on what I hear from people, there's virtually nothing left of the lockdown measures.

Theaters, cinemas, etc. operate at 50% capacity.

Bars, restaurants and clubs are up and running, the QR-code "contact tracing" app system for public venues has been moved from mandatory to "recommended", which was pretty much the end of it.

Traffic is back to unbearable; metro is back to normal - there is a country-wide requirement on wearing gloves (in addition to masks) in public places, but it's rarely enforced (there are hand sanitizer stations at every metro station). That said, there'll likely be a crackdown on gloves over May holidays (May 1 to 9). The fines are not too outrageous, but kind of a pain in the neck for foreigners.

Vaccination numbers are still unacceptably low. Authorities seem to be trying to do whatever they can (short of making vaccinations mandatory) to promote it - including monetary "gifts" and other incentives for the newly vaccinated, but even this doesn't seem to cut it.

The borders are still closed for US citizens.

All things considered, I think your primary concern would be your ability (or inability, rather) to get the visa. The most recent move on the part of the US embassy will likely add fuel to the fire (as of today, they decided to cease consular services in RUS altogether... Not changing much on the practical side of things - their consular services have been notoriously inefficient for years now - but still a pretty "in your face" diplo move, which is unlikely to improve the situation).

Posted by
16 posts

Got my Uzbek visa the other day! Have visa - will travel (hopefully).

Posted by
417 posts

Moscow and spb seem to be going back into a bona fide lockdown, with QR codes for restaurants and all, on the 28th. Sorry, RPerez, looks like you'll have to do without your Russia fix this time around. Have fun in UZ, though!

Posted by
16 posts

Hi, well, THAT I certainly did. Just back from Uzbekistan, it was wonderful. Loved it. I don't think I'd ever seen so many white cars and so much basil in one place, though. A bit of an eerie feeling seeing no covid restrictions whatsoever.

As to Russia - well, there's always next year.
Thanks to all for suggestions and information.

Posted by
1041 posts

Glad you had a good trip! Would love to read a more comprehensive trip report if you have the time! :)