it looks like I may have an 8 hr lay over in Moscow. Is it possible to see some of the city in that short a time? if so, how? I have never been and will be traveling on my own (American, English speaker). It seems the train could get me from the airport to the city but I'm not sure what to do from there. Any thougths on is it safe these days with all that's going on (travel is in April 2015) -- better to just sit it out in the airport? any thougths, ideas, suggestions more than welcomed! thanks
Unless Russia has changed the visa policy, you will need one to leave the airport. That will cost a couple hundred dollars.
As far as I know they do not issue visas at the airport. You would have to apply, pay for, and receive it before arriving in Russia. Definitely not worth the effort for a few hour visit.
Even if you had the visa, you wouldn't have time (which is a shame, cuz Moscow is awesome). Getting thry airport security there is a lengthy, tiresome process. When I was there it took an hour and a half to get off the plane after it landed! Then it was another hour to get through security, fill out immigration forms, etc. Its even longer to get back in to leave the country. The airport is far from everything and depending on the traffic (always awful) it could take 2 hours each way to get from the airport to the Kremlin. Sadly, even with your lengthy layover, it's likely not enough time.