The Russians are very helpful and many people speak English, especially in bigger cities. But those who are preparing to visit
Russia should at least learn the Russian alphabet to be able to read the names of cities and towns, metro stations, street signs and other important information. Even basic knowledge of the
Russian language show respect and is warmly welcomed. Besides, Russian is very helpful for making good bargains at street markets and dealing with taxi drivers.
Travellers to Russia who import or export icons, artwork, antiques and other cultural items, might get into trouble at the customs. You have to prove that you are not illegally trade in Russian cultural property.
It is advisable to get more information about customs regulations of your home country.
Also check the official website of the Russian Federal Customs Service for detailed information about export and import of cultural valuables.
The opening hours of shops and supermarkets are quite irregular. In major cities some supermarkets are open round the clock. Shops that still belong to the state are usually open from 8 / 9 /10 AM to 6 /7 /8 PM. Few close for lunch for an hour between 1 and 2 or between 2 and 3 PM. Many shops and department stores open during the weekend and close on Mondays. On holidays most of the shops are closed. If not, the customers are usually informed about special opening hours by a note in a shopping window.
Opening hours for most museums are 10 AM to 6 PM They are closed one day a week and another day each month for cleaning.