dear simon my brother I and 4 other guys are travelling thru europe, tukey, iran, turkmenistan, etc into russia and then flying to alaska and down thru the americas on a trip called Terra Circa. for the russian section i got in touch with a visa company in london who have a contact in russia that could "vouch" for us and so we could get the visa without having to list down every nights accomodation. the company is called global visas tel. no. 0044 207 734 5900. they are very helpful and can sort out other visas as well. however they couldn't help us with turkmenistan uzbekistan etc and i still havn't found out how to get around this as they are as stubborn as the russians, i'm presuming i can get one on the boarder. good luck!
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