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Old 26 Jun 2006
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Is GPS illegal in Russia?

I saw the following on the Ken and Toni Website (Link Included Below) and was wondering if GPS is illegal in Russia?

Anyone have any information on this or anything to back this up?

"We have been warned that GPS?s could get you in trouble in Russia. A few years ago one biker was held up for a week because of his GPS. Strange as most of the up market cars would have them as standard these days."


Mike of Mikes World Tour
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Old 27 Jun 2006
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I took a GPS over the Finnish Russian border a couple of years ago, i declared it as well. No batted an eyelid
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Old 27 Jun 2006
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My understanding is that there is still a law that is a residual of the USSR era declaring a gps to be illegal in Russia, but that it isn't enforced. Last summer I rode completely across Russia with my gps openly displayed, including at police checkpoints, and it was never a problem. Some officers recognized what it was, some didn't. If I was asked what it was I said it was an "electronic compass" (which is about all it was functioning as because the mapping software had disappeared).

A gps can be a huge help in Russia for navigating through cities, which can can be very difficult, especially if the travler doesn't read Cyrillic well, and I would personally have no concerns taking one based on my experience.

Hope this helps.

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Old 28 Jun 2006
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Many travellers have had the same experience as Mike - no problem.
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Old 29 Jun 2006
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From Mongolia

At the Mongolian border the checked my car very carefully and asked for any Sputnik devices, wich they clearly explained was illegal in Russia.

In other words; To be safe, hide your GPS well.
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Old 29 Jun 2006
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I officially declared my GPS at the bordercrossing in Kjachta (russian-mongolian border) on the from they give you upon entry.

The reaction was, that the officer wanted to see the device and asked if it was permanently mounted on my bike (in opposite to if I could take it off). When I confirmed this, he did not care any more.

Apart from this, I experienced the same than everybody else. Not every official recognizes the device as GPS. Those who do, do not care.


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Old 11 Oct 2006
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i bought a Russian road atlas....on the last page was a full advert for my Garmin Quest - i was ready to pull this out and show poeple if i should get questioned.

But like most people, i just put it in my pocket or put it onto compass mode.
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Old 12 Oct 2006
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I work for a Japanese electronics company and we sell lots of GPS in Russia - I've never heard of any problems .
...on the road to nowhere...

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Old 16 Nov 2006
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GPS in Кussia

you know, some russian policemen are corrupted, so sometimes they just want to get money from motorcyclist, not only from foreigners, but even russian. So, if you have problems with them regarding you GPS you could solve the it in two ways: just give money or insist on your right position, as gps are not illegal here (you should ask for policeman identity card, and start to write down his name, number, in most cases this "show" could work and he will leave you).
Enjoy Moto!
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Old 17 Nov 2006
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Yes, it is:

formally forbidden to be in the possession of a device that determines your position with an accuracy of less than 30 meters.
But, as the earlier posts indicate, it is not taken very seriously. You might indeed run into troubles, being officials trying to pry some roubles off you.
However, living in Moscow now for almost a year I also can mention that lots of Russians hav a GPS, such a device is built in a lot of the western cars that are now being purchased into Russia.
My suggestion, do not advertise your possession of the device, and dif you get caught, do not speak Russian, say 'compass' and you'll be fine.

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Old 28 Nov 2006
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GPS units are legal and are now sold everywhere in Russia and the CIS states and are used by everyone, including the local authorities. About the only exception is Turkmenistan and this is a very grey area. I have worked in this region off and on for the past 6 years with a couple of different Garmin units and have never had a problem.
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Old 11 Dec 2006
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By the way I found the low which give all rights to use GPS in Russia: Federal Low from 07/07/2003 # 126 F3 (redaction 27/07/2006), article 22, item 5.
Enjoy Moto!
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