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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 13 Apr 2013
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Russian language issues? Immigration and internet


I hope to be traveling west from Vladivostok by early June this year.My Russian language speaking is absent.I know the alphabet and a few words.It will be an adventure. My questions are:

1.When I fill out forms at the border crossings,do I always use English letters? Will I encounter times when I need to input on a keyboard that only has Cyrillic? How will the J and W of my VIN be displayed?

2.When I use wifi in hotels,I doubt I will see any English.How can I input passwords if required for a secure connection,?

Doug
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  #2  
Old 13 Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by doogle View Post

I hope to be traveling west from Vladivostok by early June this year.My Russian language speaking is absent.I know the alphabet and a few words.It will be an adventure. My questions are:

1.When I fill out forms at the border crossings,do I always use English letters? Will I encounter times when I need to input on a keyboard that only has Cyrillic? How will the J and W of my VIN be displayed?

2.When I use wifi in hotels,I doubt I will see any English.How can I input passwords if required for a secure connection,?

Doug
Its not really English letters, as the same letters are used by the French, Germans, Italians, Swedes, Dutch, actually pretty much half the world - and because the English definitely didn't invent it ... the Romans did. So it tends to be called the latin alphabet.

Usually logins and passwords are in latin script. Keyboards in Russia are switchable between Cyrillic and Latin letters.

Fill out forms in Latin script if its easier for you ... they can all read latin script. Russian car registrations even only use cyrillic letters that also exist in latin script - so even domestic registrations can be written in the latin alphabet without transliteration. You will not see Russian cars these days running registration plates that have uniquely cyrillic letters. They only use letters that exist in the latin alphabet as well - makes it easier when they travel abroad.
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  #3  
Old 14 Apr 2013
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Just to add to what Walter said - when I travelled there last year I was in pretty the same boat as you - I had no problem with either the forms (3 three borders crossings in and out) or Internet or much else for that matter.

I actually found more English in Russia (and central Asia generally) than I did on a recent trip to Mexico.
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Old 14 Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Its not really English letters, as the same letters are used by the French, Germans, Italians, Swedes, Dutch, actually pretty much half the world - and because the English definitely didn't invent it ... the Romans did. So it tends to be called the latin alphabet.

Usually logins and passwords are in latin script. Keyboards in Russia are switchable between Cyrillic and Latin letters.

Fill out forms in Latin script if its easier for you ... they can all read latin script. Russian car registrations even only use cyrillic letters that also exist in latin script - so even domestic registrations can be written in the latin alphabet without transliteration. You will not see Russian cars these days running registration plates that have uniquely cyrillic letters. They only use letters that exist in the latin alphabet as well - makes it easier when they travel abroad.
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Thank you colebatch.
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  #5  
Old 14 Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by craig.iedema View Post
Just to add to what Walter said - when I travelled there last year I was in pretty the same boat as you - I had no problem with either the forms (3 three borders crossings in and out) or Internet or much else for that matter.

I actually found more English in Russia (and central Asia generally) than I did on a recent trip to Mexico.
I like what I'm hearing.

I went through Mexico 2 years ago and had little trouble-other than ordering food.But I had a little better understanding of Spanish.
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Old 14 Apr 2013
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Russia seems daunting when you have never been there before. But once you have a bit of a feel for how they do things, get a bit used to the alphabet, and you unwind the stress level a bit, you will find its a load of fun.

Getting thru the borders are one of the very few administrative hassles you will have. The rest of the time you are free as a bird.

Getting thru Russian borders is pretty straight forward and these days the border guys are totally straight when it comes to foreigners entering on motorcycles - its still a bit of a bureaucratic process but its loads better than it used to be and loads better than many of the surrounding countries. You may have hassles from border people wanting bribes in Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and possibly Mongolia ... but it hasnt been a problem in Russia for about a decade now.
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Old 15 Apr 2013
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agree, login/pw for wifi is mostly in english/latin/roman/ oh whatever, normal script.

at the border there's a couple of forms to fill in, and often there's someone around to help you - they might speak enlish (Renglish?) a bit of german or even french, so you'll end up getting sorted either which way. just be patient and it'll work itself out.
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Old 19 Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Russia seems daunting when you have never been there before. But once you have a bit of a feel for how they do things, get a bit used to the alphabet, and you unwind the stress level a bit, you will find its a load of fun.

Getting thru the borders are one of the very few administrative hassles you will have. The rest of the time you are free as a bird.

Getting thru Russian borders is pretty straight forward and these days the border guys are totally straight when it comes to foreigners entering on motorcycles - its still a bit of a bureaucratic process but its loads better than it used to be and loads better than many of the surrounding countries. You may have hassles from border people wanting bribes in Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and possibly Mongolia ... but it hasnt been a problem in Russia for about a decade now.
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Originally Posted by reallybigtruck View Post
agree, login/pw for wifi is mostly in english/latin/roman/ oh whatever, normal script.

at the border there's a couple of forms to fill in, and often there's someone around to help you - they might speak enlish (Renglish?) a bit of german or even french, so you'll end up getting sorted either which way. just be patient and it'll work itself out.
Thanks for the responses.I've been unable to log in to HU recently.Hopefully I have that worked out.
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Old 29 Apr 2013
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a lot depends on the individual at the Border and how helpful they are feeling. Most of the forms they can print off an English version and at the bigger borders there will be an example in English posted up on the side of some of the huts (worth having a look round). Also, there is often other people around who can help. At one border one of the officicials provided translation, but I had to pay for that, about $20 I think but it was worth it as it sped the process up no end.

If someone wants to be a pain they will be. I once got stuck at the Belorussan border because I was missing a stamp on my piece of paper and couldn't work out which one. It turned out there was a form I needed to fill out, which the guy could print off his computer in English, he just couldn't be bothered.
Unfortunately for him my wife is Belorussan and Knows 'the big boss' at the border, so I rang her, she rang him, and the awkward minion got a lesson on international relations!

If you need some help with translation let me know.

The main thing is t know the alphabet. On my first trip there I didn't and navigating is a nightmare because as you get further in to Russia the signs are in Cyrillic so look nothing like their roman equivalent!
On major routes and closer to the borders though both versions are generally given.
Other than that it's just the usual courtesies that are handy: please, thankyou, hello (not privyet which is the informal hello and a bit of a faux pax with officials, as I now know!), I don't understand (handy with the rozzers!) Docmente, passport na machina etc!
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Old 30 Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by moggy 1968 View Post
a lot depends on the individual at the Border and how helpful they are feeling. Most of the forms they can print off an English version and at the bigger borders there will be an example in English posted up on the side of some of the huts (worth having a look round). Also, there is often other people around who can help. At one border one of the officicials provided translation, but I had to pay for that, about $20 I think but it was worth it as it sped the process up no end.

The main thing is t know the alphabet. On my first trip there I didn't and navigating is a nightmare because as you get further in to Russia the signs are in Cyrillic so look nothing like their roman equivalent!
On major routes and closer to the borders though both versions are generally given.
Other than that it's just the usual courtesies that are handy: please, thankyou, hello (not privyet which is the informal hello and a bit of a faux pax with officials, as I now know!), I don't understand (handy with the rozzers!) Docmente, passport na machina etc!
I've got the alphabet down pretty good.

I'll look for the english version examples on the walls. I will make a copy of it when I first go into Russia.Then maybe I'll know what I'm trying to do the second time.

I hope I can find examples for declaring tablet,GPS,and cameras I bring in.
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Old 1 May 2013
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I hope I can find examples for declaring tablet,GPS,and cameras I bring in.
For the Belarus / Russia / Kazakhstan customs zone you will not need to declare any of that stuff. Any personal items (up to 35 kgs) is fine.

Unless you have proper professional equipment with individual items worth more than 10,000 EUR or more than 10,000 EUR in cash, the only thing you need to declare is your vehicle ... car or motorcycle. It should be the only item on the Russian customs form for of 99.9% of adventure travellers.

(obviously no guns, drugs, animal products etc)

Its only Uzbekistan customs thats anal about all electronic goods.
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  #12  
Old 1 May 2013
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Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
For the Belarus / Russia / Kazakhstan customs zone you will not need to declare any of that stuff. Any personal items (up to 35 kgs) is fine.

Unless you have proper professional equipment with individual items worth more than 10,000 EUR or more than 10,000 EUR in cash, the only thing you need to declare is your vehicle ... car or motorcycle. It should be the only item on the Russian customs form for of 99.9% of adventure travellers.

(obviously no guns, drugs, animal products etc)

Its only Uzbekistan customs thats anal about all electronic goods.
Thanks for taking one more thing off my worry list.
Doug
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