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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 Sep 2005
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Russian Trip - Details

Just come back from my trip to Russia and thought I would relate my experiences.

I bought car insurance on the Finnish side of the border at Brusnichnoye. Funny little booth at a shop just before the border - no english but can speak russian. The Raja Kaapa shop at Nuijama. Did not cost alot - about 40 euros for 30 days. Green card doesn't extend to russia yet.

Border crossing on Russian side was okay except they didn't know about migration cards (like landing cards) and did not give me one (Ha Ha see later). I got only a 2 week temporary import permit for the car in spite of my protests to give me one for the length of my visa (2 months). Did not need to give photocopies of any documents. They just looked at my Russian insurance certificate and my english car registration documents. I already have a russian driving license but took and international driving permit as well just in case. I made an ordinary customs declaration in duplicate and kept a stamped copy.

Visa registration without a migration card in moscow took a whole day. Very exhausting ans lots of pushing but eventually got a migration card from OVIR and got it stamped. result! I could have not registered at all, but since I needed to extend the temporary import certificate at Tsaritsino (Customs HQ), I needed it.

Trip to Tsaritsino wasted a whole afternoon but everybody was quite kind and helpful. The administrator tried to infer that my migration card wasn't in order because they messed up the dates (visa to 15/9 but registered only to 30/8). Migration card is needed to extend temporary import. Car was inspected and assessed. Paid about RBL 4,000 fixed fee for goods with value $5k - $10k. Received certificate. Inspectors offer to buy my car!

Got stopped by the DPS (cops) 3 times in 5 weeks. Twice for documents - all in order. Once for speeding but got let off! (116kph in 75kph zone).

Officer:You were going very fast!
Me:Really? But this is the Moscow-St Petersberg motorway with a 110kph limit. (It was a section through a small village - not a motorway).
Officer: you were going 116 in a 75 zone (shows me radar gun)
Me:Really? Where is the 75kph sign?
officer: It's over there (points)
Me: Really? I'm sorry I didn't see it cos I was overtaking a car at the same time (this was on the equivalent of double white lines - but this was not the issue here).
Officer: Where are you from? (looks at number plate, wife etc in car)
me: Returning from holiday to london, United Kingdom.
Officer: Okay, go a little more slowly in future!
me: Thank you, have a nice day! (cue swift departure)

Cruising around was very easy as cars tended to get out of the way for the mercedes!

Disaster struck on the last day in heavy traffic in moscow when a ZIL-130 rear ended me and took out one tail light and the whole estate tailgate. DPS handed sitation very well and were really helpful and polite. Filled in accident form and exchanged details with truck driver.

At the site of accident, DPS write report. Vehicles moved of the road and everyone has to write a statement which the DPS keep. Given date to turn up at DPS office for decision. Got lots of contact phone numbers for all other drivers involved. Owner of vehicle turns up with his friend who speaks a little english. They feel guilty and give me some cash to buy a new tail light. They tried to find and buy one for me (really!) but failed.

I stop off at mercedes office in moscow and discuss car with mechanic who recommends and independant outfit who can do work at short notice. Book car in at garage same day and authorise gathering of spare parts needed.

Next day go to truck drivers insurance company to ascertain claims procedure. Everybody helpful and gives me list if stuff I need to gather.
Note the claim is made by the innocent party to the guilty party's insurance company.

Three days later turn up at DPS office for decision. Other driver doesn't turn up. Phoned owner of vehicle and gave my mobile to the DPS officer dealing with our case - he has words with the owner(!) After 90mins other driver appears (!). Driver admits guilt and I get some forms - protocol, prilozhenie 12 and 31 and reshenie (decision). Note protocol can only be written in the presence of all parties to the accident.

Travel to the garage. Pick up the car - not yet repaired (needs to be inspected in damaged condition). Drive to the insurance company and fight to get claim registered. They said english registration document and passport need certified translations. I throw a fit in their office and the claim gets accepted (using the temporary import certificate to back up the vehicle registration) They still claim I can't collect the money in cash until I get certified passport translation but I solve this another way. I fill an application/claim form.They take the forms from the DPS and the accident form where details exchanged. they give me copies and stamp them. Allocate me a claim number. They say payment only after 15 working days. Alot of sitting around then car gets inspected. Inspector writes up the report REALLY well. I get copy of the report. Drive back to the garage to install new parts previously bought and painted. Garage does job in 24 hours (tailgate already painted).

Next day I give a doverenost (power of attourney) to a relative to collect the money on my behalf using their russian passport which doesn't need a certified translation. Collect the car at 6.30pm. This is Friday - 4 days after accident, 2 days after DPS office and insurance company.
Garage owner offers to buy my car!

Next day set off for finnish border. Getting out of russia was easy. I made one customs declaration for whole family of 3 people. Customs kept the temporary import extension from Tsaritsino. Passport control didn't even ask about a migration card (kept it hidden to see if they would notice).

So that was it. Alot of hassle but my russian improved alot. Fantastic journey through europe and back plus travelled alot in Russia. It hasn't put me off one bit.

Rgds

Les

PS drove 8,000 miles - 3,000 there, 3,000 back, 2,000 in Russia.
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  #2  
Old 4 Nov 2005
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enjoyed reading your tale!! It backs up what I found, people are generally helpful and don't try to rip you off, but the chosen few can really kick the arse out of it. I think mainly I was lucky to be in a landcruiser hit by a lada. All it did was knock the end cap on my bumper out of shape. don't know how you only got pulled once for speeding!!! the roads through the ukraine, up to Moscow and out to Kazan were crawling with coppers when I went!! (maybe the merc helps!)

andy
landy 101 ambie
TLC H60
morris minor traveller!

[This message has been edited by moggy 1968 (edited 04 November 2005).]
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  #3  
Old 17 Nov 2005
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Today, 17th November 2005 will always be a special day! Why? Because the russian insurance company 'PECO' (reso in english) just paid me 38,000 roubles for the truck driver that marmelised the rear door of my estate car in Moscow on Monday 1st September. Its been a long time coming but this is £760 in UK terms and goes a long way (80%) to covering my costs of this little escapade!
So, people, having just proved that i CAN get blood out of a stone, I'm feeling pretty darned good today!
Anyone requiring help of advice in respect of Russian insurance is welcome to post.
Les
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  #4  
Old 28 Mar 2006
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Hi Les
Read your info - very interesting.
I am planning a trip thru Turkey into 'Stans' then Mongolia and then Russia thru to Magaden to then ship over to Canada.
I am driving an ex RAF iveco 4x4 truck.
what advice can you offer with regards to paperwork needed to get in and out.
I speak no russian whatsoever, do you think this will be a major problem ?
Thanks
Phil.
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  #5  
Old 30 Mar 2006
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Hi Phil,

I did the reverse route last year, Magadan to Istanbul on a KLR650. The road from Yakutsk to Magadan is particularly difficult. I don't know much about 4x4 Iveco trucks, but the only trucks I saw on the road up there were really really big Kamaz's and UAZ. Be prepared for mud, bog, swamps, bad/no bridges and plenty of river crossings. Apart from that you'll be fine.....

I posted some picture and stories at www.users.bigpond.net.au/AdrianScott that might be interesting.

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  #6  
Old 30 Mar 2006
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Dear Phil
The first port of call for Russian advice would be www.waytorussia.net where there is a 'talk lounge' - I post as DITTRICH there. The website itself has a very good write up on the documentary requirements of taking vehicles through Russia.
I see several issues:-

1 You may need to get the temporary import certificate for the vehicle extended. Customs rules are a variable thing, but your t.i.c. for the truck might be valid only for 10 working days (in the worst case). See posts/website above for paperwork. Everything you need to know is on HUBB (north asia) or WTR.
2 Your route to magadan via skovorodino and yakutsk is the 'worst road' in russia. Really only doable in late summer august/september because of the river crossings (no bridges in alot of places. Your equipment should take this into account. Look at the video done by Ewan Mcgregor and Charlie Boorman 'The long way round' - you will be able to estimate the size of the russian trucks and the depth of the crossings they made. It all depends too on whether its been raining. My advice is to hook up with a russian truck going in the same direction - so if one gets stuck...
3) You have no russian language skills - start learning - alphabet first, simple stuff next - russian is nice in that words are said how they're spelt - unlike english. Then you can read cyrillic on maps. Language not a problem until things go wrong - and they will - learn.
4)Spares for your truck - take everything that might need replacing - I doubt dealers exist in siberia!
5)diesel quality won't be a problem - but fuel stations few and far between. My 10yr old diesel had no problems with russian fuel
6)Once you work out how to get your truck from magadan to Canada, post the results. From Vladivostock, ferries exist to Japan. I was researching using a cruise ship to get my car from Japan to Anchorage, but for 2006, found only one sailing and they didn't reply to my emails. I wanted to travel with my car on a WTR trip. Wallenius lines I believe ship RORO from East coast to Southampton OR maybe cruise ships on the atlantic crossing route might oblige - someone did do this a long time ago.
Trip sounds nice - good luck.
Les
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  #7  
Old 31 Mar 2006
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Thanks Adrian and Thank you Les.
'learn russian' - well yes i figured i'd probably have to but it's been so cosy with my head in the sand!
Seriously, thanks for help and info.
I realsie difficuties of road and plan is to be travelling that part during late August/Sept. I sort of have a schedule to be out of Russia by end of Sept.
Getting from Magadan to Canada is relatively easy (subject to money!). Already know of company running weekly container ship and it's just a case of paying the price of a 40ft container (approx us$4000). seems expensive but in theory two medium vehicles could squeeze in (i hope) or obviously a number of motorbikes.
I am hoping to be able to travel on same boat as passenger (officially, company says 'no') but i'm confident that $ will talk in Russia !!!
When i have some hard an fast facts I'll post a fresh thread.
Thanks again.
If you think of anything else, then let me know.
P.
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  #8  
Old 31 Mar 2006
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Dear Phil
You have the right attitude for russia. However, getting out on a ship from magadan, will require dealing with...
1)Ship's captain
2)immigration people
3)local customs
Without russian language skills getting close enough to these people to do a deal might be difficult. You need a backup plan in case you don't travel with the ship.

Can your truck fit inside a 40' container?
You're probably thinking 'idiot' but for me trucks are things that carry containers, not the other way around and so one is bigger than the other???

Les
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