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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  • 3 Post By PanEuropean
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  • 1 Post By AnTyx
  • 3 Post By PanEuropean

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  #1  
Old 16 Nov 2023
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Location: abu dhabi, uae
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IN and out of Russia

As this Ukraine war has made a lot of things difficult with regards to getting in and out of Russia, is there a particular way that is easier to get a motorcycle in or out next summer?


I thought shipping by boat to Saint Petes might not be possible. What about flying the bike to Georgia and riding across from there?



Starting in Canada.



Any other suggestions?


Thx
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  #2  
Old 25 Nov 2023
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The decision about whether it is wise for you (meaning, your body, forget about the motorcycle) to enter Russia at this time depends entirely on what passport you plan to use to enter Russia.

If you are a citizen of Canada, I think it would be unwise to enter Russia at this time because the Canadian government has come down quite clearly on the side of Ukraine in the current Russia-Ukraine conflict. This will certainly affect the level of consular service that the Canadian government can provide you with while you are in Russia, and your Canadian citizenship might even affect how you are treated by Russian citizens while you are in the country.

On the other hand, if you are travelling on a passport from Abu Dhabi, then do a little research and find out what position (if any) your government has taken on this conflict, and govern yourself accordingly.

Speaking both as a Canadian citizen and as a very experienced world traveller, I do not think it would be a good idea to visit Russia at this time due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia will still be there when this conflict ends, you can go visit it then. In the meantime, pick a place to visit that presents less risk to your personal security.

As for importation of the moto - I have imported aircraft into Russia numerous times (both for temporary transit, and for delivery to Russian airlines) and the process for importation is identical no matter which location you pick to enter the country. It is complex, takes a lot of time, and all the paperwork needs to be flawless, every 'T' crossed and every 'I' dotted, or you don't get in. The customs and immigration officers are professional and polite, but they have absolutely no latitude at all to make discretionary allowances if there is even the tiniest flaw in any of the paperwork.
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  #3  
Old 25 Nov 2023
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First. It's not "Ukraine war". It's Russian invasion into Ukraine.

Georgia is an option. Your best bet (if you really want to go to Russia while the invasion is ongoing) might be to go from Lithuania/Latvia/Poland to Belarus and from there to Russia.
I'd also have a look at going West from Canada and go through China.

Be aware that within Russia (and China):
There are limits to how foreigners are allowed to move within the country.
Communications in and out are monitored and restricted.
You might become a pawn in a political game.
Of course you could say that this applies to most countries with a dictatorship in one form or another.

Like PanEuropean said. All your documents must be spot on. Also expect delays at border crossings. Lastly. Make sure you have nothing in your luggage that might be considered illegal. Check rules for drones, vaporisers, etc before your trip.
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  #4  
Old 25 Nov 2023
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There's a lot of scaremongering and emotion over this, and I hope this thread will remain civil. My own take on it is that people are good, for the most part, and it's generally wrong to judge the people of a country by the actions of their political leaders.

The facts of the situation are that people have travelled very recently in Russia without hostility from locals or officials. In fact they report that people have been at pains to welcome them as visitors to dispel the adverse notions that some foreigners have about their country. As with most Asian states there is a tradition of hospitality towards travellers, because you never know when it might be you. Of course, you can't count out the occasional racist idiot, but that's not unique to Russia.

As a rule of thumb I suggest be guided by the policy of the Russian visa authorities towards your passport. If there are no restrictions outside the normal visa rules, you should have no problems. The normal guidance applies - act like a guest, avoid discussion of politics or religion and be sensitive to local customs and activities the authorities might deem incompatible with tourist status.

Practicalities, the European Nordic states are behaving very negatively towards Russians and persons passing their borders. There are stories of Euros being confiscated and 3-4 day waits to cross. Finland has closed all its crossing points except the one in the furthest frozen north. From Europe, the Turkey-Georgia route is the best option. There are some delays due to the volume of traffic but they recently enlarged the crossing infrastructure to help handle that. Reports are that the crossing is professional and courteous.

Be aware that due to western sanctions, western ATM/credit cards, phone SIMs and medical insurance will not work in Russia. You will need to take enough currency for your stay (also allowing for emergencies). USD preferred and if you don't want to carry large amounts of folding, open a debit card account from Tinkoff, you don't need to be a resident and you can pay your Rubles into any of many ATMs and use it like a normal card. The Mir card is also accepted by some other countries in the region, which is handy if you've loaded it with more than you need. You should be able to buy a Russian SIM and road and medical insurance at the border, or if not there will be many offices in Vladikavkaz.

You won't be able to freight your bike to Russia (again, sanctions) but shipping it to a nearby neutral country (Turkey or Georgia) should present no problems. Going in to Russia you will fill out a customs form for a TIP. I forget how many days this gives you (90?) but keep to it and don't lose the TIP slip and you'll be fine.
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  #5  
Old 29 Nov 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomkat View Post
... My own take on it is that people are good, for the most part, and it's generally wrong to judge the people of a country by the actions of their political leaders...
Hi Tomkat:

I understand what you are getting at, but on a purely practical level, it's not a good idea to visit other countries when they are in the middle of a war, either internal (civil war) or with another country.

I spent many years of my life working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the middle of other people's wars. The ICRC are the folks you see in the news this week exchanging prisoners between Gaza & Israel. I can tell you from first-hand experience that no matter how nice the average citizens of a country are - and I don't dispute that Russian citizens are generally nice people - when a country is involved in a war, everyone gets tense, and all the little things that should normally be simple and straightforward become complicated and sometimes fraught with peril.

Heck, I remember that back in 2001, when the Americans were in the middle of their 'War on Terror' following the September 11 attacks, it was a real PITA for me, a Canadian citizen and a WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) to enter the USA! The customs folks were grouchy and tense, and the overall mood in the country was not what you would call serene.

Far better that the original poster postpone his trip until the current conflict ends. Russia will still be there, and he'll have a much more enjoyable trip than he would have at the present time - not to mention not having to put up with all the inconveniences you mentioned, such as not being able to use credit cards, ATMs, etc.

Michael
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  #6  
Old 29 Nov 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
when a country is involved in a war, everyone gets tense...

back in 2001...
I respect your experience in warzones, and for sure I wouldn't propose going anywhere near an area of active hostilities, but Russia is a big country and for most people the war is as distant as it is to you and me. In 2001 as you say a number of western countries were involved in foreign military activities regarded by many as illegal, but that didn't stop visitors arriving and travelling. Not saying Russia's a particularly free or open society but if we're talking moral angles...

FWIW I have changed my future plans, which previously included quite a few miles in Russia, though that's more due to the practicalities than anything else. I reckon a few days passing through the Caucasus shouldn't present too many challenges - farther afield is a matter of personal choice. However anyone in Europe who wants to travel east is faced with passing through either Russia or Iran, with the choices and difficulties that entails. Similar applies to Afghanistan, arguably more so, but there have been a few (fascinating and sometimes quite hairy) stories told by intrepid travellers who have been through there recently.

As for waiting until sanctions are lifted, good luck with that. Neither Russian nor Iranian regimes are likely to see much change in the foreseeable future, neither do I see western sanctions being lifted from its traditional bogeymen for a decade or more.

To be clear, I'm not taking a position on the foreign activities or internal politics of any particular country, just pointing out that if one did want to travel through it, it can be done.

Des
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  #7  
Old 29 Nov 2023
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A bit of context re: yes it can be done but:

https://www.euractiv.com/section/glo...tering-russia/

Quote:
Russia’s Internal Affairs ministry is preparing a bill that would oblige foreigners entering the country to sign a “loyalty agreement” that would bar them from discrediting official policies, the TASS state news agency reported early on Wednesday (29 November).
...
A foreigner entering Russia would be prohibited from “interfering with the activities of public authorities of the Russian Federation, discrediting in any form the foreign and domestic state policy of the Russian Federation, public authorities and their officials.”
...
The internal affairs draft bill provides that foreigners would be prohibited from disparaging or inciting the denial of “significant moral” values, such as marriage as a union of a man and a woman, family, as well as from disseminating propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships.

Distortion of the “historical truth” about the Soviet people’s defence of the country and its contribution to the victory over fascist Germany in World War Two would also be prohibited, TASS reported.

TASS did not specify what repercussions foreigners would face if they broke the agreement.
Not a law yet, but Russia has definitely both passed and actively, viciously enforced laws like that on its own citizens.
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  #8  
Old 30 Nov 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomkat View Post
I respect your experience in warzones, and for sure I wouldn't propose going anywhere near an area of active hostilities, but Russia is a big country and for most people the war is as distant as it is to you and me. In 2001 as you say a number of western countries were involved in foreign military activities regarded by many as illegal, but that didn't stop visitors arriving and travelling.
Hi Des:

Thanks for your response.

I might not have expressed myself as well as I wanted to in my post #5 above.

What I was trying to say is that whenever a country is engaged in hostilities, either internal or external, all interactions with government or quasi-government officials everywhere in the country become more tense, unpredictable, and fraught with peril than they normally are.

I cited my own entry into the USA back in 2001 as an example. In that case, I entered the country as a tourist, a citizen from a neutral 3rd country, via a land border crossing that typically sees over 100,000 vehicles a day transit between Canada and the USA, and it took hours to do so, compared to the normal "minutes". The conflict that the USA was involved in at the time was taking place halfway around the globe, but the effects on all travelers going in and out of the USA were very pronounced.

I suspect the same problem would exist today at any border crossings into either of the countries that are parties to the current Russia - Ukraine conflict (or Gaza-Israel conflict, or Libyan internal conflict, etc.).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomkat View Post
Not saying Russia's a particularly free or open society but if we're talking moral angles...
I did not mean to express an opinion of any kind about the propriety of America's conflict in 2001, nor do I have an opinion of any kind about the propriety of the current Russia - Ukraine conflict, or any of the many dozens of conflicts that have taken place worldwide in the past 40 years. That's a holdover from my time working with ICRC, during which all of us had to take a position of strict neutrality at all times.

We could not afford to hold personal opinions - we just looked at these conflicts as "Team A vs. Team B". They were all the same anyway - one party to the conflict wanted to control land or people held by the other party. The motivations of the parties involved may have varied from conflict to conflict, but the objective was always the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomkat View Post
As for waiting until sanctions are lifted, good luck with that. Neither Russian nor Iranian regimes are likely to see much change in the foreseeable future...
That's a reasonable analysis, but usually there are small but significant shifts in "which way the wind is blowing" immediately after the end of active hostilities, even though all the policies, sanctions, rules, etc. that were in place during the hostilities are still there. I've seen this many times following either the end of hostilities or a mutually acknowledged pause in hostilities.

My guess is that this change happens because 99% of the people on both sides of the conflict are grateful and relieved that things have settled down (if only temporarily), and they long to get back to normal life and long to get back to welcoming visitors to their country.

Michael
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