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Lived four years in Russia, region Perm. Last time to Moscow in 2002. Never seen an area so hostile to human settlement. That starts with sixteen lane motorways and ends with living machines for ten thousand peoples each, those faceless residential buildings you find for dozends of miles in each direction. Very little Green, parks and such. The river jailed between walls. Yeah, a little sightseeing in the very centre. A motley cathedral, a large naked place in front of the Kreml you must not visit, inside. The Arbat, an aisle with a little older and prettier buildings, you can walk from one end to the other in a matter of minutes. And some Stalin era buildings that are half a mile long and wide. A peculiar city, partly in decay, partly covered, literally, in Gold. Did they remove Lenin's corpse yet? That was the main attraction.
I go to Moscow every year in May. And I like what I see. The pricing is high in the center of the city, but it wasn't a problem for me to find a cheap meal and a hotel in Izmailovo (30 min. by metro to the Red Square).
Kreml is open for tourists, your flapdoodle, pal.
In the city I live with the population 600 000 we have 3 parks and a nursery-garden which is allowed for barbeque and skiing. Several hectars of pear and apple trees.
Looks like we should re-name the theme.
"Russians are appearing".
Green Wrote:Looks like we should re-name the theme.
"Russians are appearing".

The same thing. Just like global warming includes global cooling..S2
I'm almost confirmed for the return trip Moscow-Amsterdam-London, and will then plan Bangkok-Moscow. I hadn't thought ahead about visa rules; thanks for the warning. Is there an obvious website to go to? Do visiting Americans get up to 3 days' tourist visa upon entry, or do I need to go to an embassy, such as Bangkok?

Feel free to post in the travel section of this forum, or send me a PM.
quadrat Wrote:Plan a couple of hours for the check of your passport and visa at Sheremetjevo in
Moscow is a nice city, expensive true, but well worth a visit. If you can fly in via Domodedovo Airport do so, it's the better airport and immigration is much quick. Quadrat is correct about Sheremetyevo, it's very often a nightmare, I've spent more than 2 hours to get through immigration on several occasions.

Hotels aren't cheap, and the cheap ones aren't nice. June is busy in Moscow, lots of tour groups, so you'll need to book your hotel well in advance. It's not often I recommend the Holiday Inn but the Lesnaya Holiday Inn is good, has air conditioning, you'll need it summertime in Moscow, and it's within walking distance of the Metro, price is mid range at Rub 6,300 per night.

You will need a visa.

Have fun.
Quote:Do visiting Americans get up to 3 days' tourist visa upon entry

Fit, as a practical matter, you do need to have all your visa issues resolved before arrival in Russia (that is to say, they don't issue visas at the border/passport control except in special circumstances).

If your destination is Russia (not simply transiting the airport) you won't even be able to board the plane without a visa on any airline I'm aware of. The airlines get in trouble if people arrive without proper documentation, so they check everything before departure.

Even though a transit visa issued upon arrival to go from one terminal/airport to another is theoretically possible (I've never done it myself), the airlines still may not let you board the airplane. I personally wouldn't risk it, and advise you to just take the easy :? and safe route of obtaining your visa prior to arrival.

In the info I posted below they discuss the possibility of getting a transit visa upon arrival, and then give 2 warnings not to do so. I guess if you are really adventuresome you could give it a try and experience Russian hospitality and bureaucracy at it's best.

I use my nearest consulate for visas (been to Russia ~ 15 times).


Required for citizens of most countries.
Please ask your airline or travel agent for details.


Normally issued prior to arrival by embassies/consulates of Russian Federation abroad.

Available by rather higher prices in Moscow Sheremetyevo International airport for emergency cases only.

Beyond Russia, applicants must submit an invitation from friends, rela­tives or business/study relations, validated by local Russian authorities.
Passengers exceeding a stay of 3 months should present an Aids Test Certificate together with a visa ap­plication form to the consular department or embassy of the Russian Federation. Fraudulent representation causes refusal or, if revealed in the port of entry, fines and deportation.


Those continuing their journey to a third country within 24 hours provided holding confirmed onward tickets and all documents required for next destination. Leaving the transit area is not allowed.
If transiting via St. Petersburg - Pulkovo airport passenger must arrive and depart on the same day between 07.00 a.m. and 10.00 p m. Passenger needs a transit visa if switching between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

If transiting via Moscow - Sheremetyevoairport and staying longer than 24 hours, a transit visa can be obtained upon arrival for a stay of max. 72 hours. Fee: USD 110-. Please mind fees are subject to change. If not holding hotel vouchers, these can be obtained togeth­er with the visa. However, obtaining the transit visa prior to arrival is strongly rec­ommended, as visa issue on arrival can cause considerable delay. Hotel accommodation is available at Sheremetyevo Moscow airport.
Stateless persons and refugees can only transit without visa if they transit within 24 hours.

Passengers transiting Russian Fed. and continuing to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bela­rus, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine or Uzbekistan must:
hold visa and all other required docu­ments for next destination, and either hold visa for entry Russian Fed. prior to arrival, or obtain visa on arrival (only possible at Sheremetyevo-2 airport). A 72-hour transit visa can be obtained on payment of USD 110-. Please mind fees are subject to change. If not holding hotel vouchers, these can be obtained together with the visa for extra pay.

However, obtaining the transit visa prior to arrival is strongly recommended, as visa issue on arrival can cause consider­able delay
I may cancel my plans to stay more than 20 hours in the transit lounge. I may go to a country that's not paranoid about Americans. Like two days in London, stop by and see my old buddy Elizabeth at her palace. Or visit Dublin and fly directly to LHR.
Fit2BThaied Wrote:I may cancel my plans to stay more than 20 hours in the transit lounge. I may go to a country that's not paranoid about Americans. Like two days in London, stop by and see my old buddy Elizabeth at her palace. Or visit Dublin and fly directly to LHR.

Paranoid about Americans? What made u think that?
Thaied, told you, let it be. :lol: They are paranoid about everybody, as though there would be a risk Europeans or North Americans could immigrate to Russia. Not really.
Good. Myths and Realities of Russia’s Population Crisis. By Dietwald Claus (the Santa).
[Image: img_a0200.jpg]

While at odds with each other on almost everything else, Russia watchers and Russian officialdom seem to agree on the problem of Russia’s demographic decline. That there is a problem here is indubitable. Unfortunately, much of the debate about Russia’s demography is rubbish. Though I will not claim to have solutions for the real problems, I would like to debunk some obvious myths that seem to permeate a significant part of the public debate on the issue, whether by experts or laypeople.

Myth (1): If Russia’s population continues to decline, Russia will cease to exist.

That’s patent nonsense. Population density has nothing to do with whether a country can exist or not. But, even if there was a lower population density limit at which countries magically disappear, Russia really has not much to worry about. Even the worst case scenario of only 80 million people on Russia’s territory by 2075 would still leave Russia with a greater population density than contemporary Canada. Russia’s current population density is about 8.5 people per square kilometer, more than three times that of Australia, and twice that of Canada. And last time I checked, Canada’s still on the map. It’s actually hard to miss there. So, Russia’s population has a lot of shrinking to do before Russia is going to disappear, and we can stop worrying about this for the moment.

Myth (2): If Russia’s population declines, others will take over its territory.

That’s really just a correlate of Myth 1, and equally nonsensical. Yes, much of Russia’s territory is pretty empty. But so is that of Canada and Australia, and quite a number of other countries, including the USA. The reason for this is that nobody wants to live there. There is an explanation why much of Siberia was settled by fugitives and convicts — given the choice, people much rather settle where the weather is reasonably warm and the soil fertile. So, folks are not exactly lining up to move into the empty vastness of Russia’s East.

Of course, some people seem to believe that if the Russian East is not settled systematically by Russians, China might just forget the place belongs to Russia. Tired of paying for Russian oil, gas, and other resources, it will instead move in and cut out the middleman. This line of reasoning is so absurd in so many ways I will limit myself to a very obvious rebuttal: the Chinese government is highly unlikely to start annexing Russian territory, even if it wanted to, for the very simple reason that Russia has a lot more relative firepower there. Russian nukes are a lot closer to Beijing than Chinese nukes are to Moscow. I leave the rest of this morbid scenario to those with a greater tolerance for absurd apocalyptic visions than I have.

Myth (3): If Russia’s population continues to decline, there will be an invasion of immigrants.

That’s just stupid. Whether Russia’s population is shrinking, expanding, or staying the same makes no difference to people who want to come and live here. Population size, density, and dynamics have no bearing on immigration; just ask the Dutch, Germans, or Pakistanis.

That being said, there is something absurd about this argument: on the one hand, everybody seems to complain that not enough people live in Russia, but when people try to actually come, live, and work here, it’s no good either.

Immigration has traditionally been a major factor in the economic success of nations, just witness the US, Canada, Australia for contemporary examples. Historic examples would be Prussia, whose rise to economic fortune, political power, and cultural prowess had much to do with Frederick II enlightened immigration policy. Russia, too, has fared quite well in the past when it adopted generous immigration policies. There is no reason in principle to assume it won’t do so now.

Does this mean I am in favor of uncontrolled and unlimited immigration? Of course not. I’m not in favor of uncontrolled and unlimited anything. A modern society needs rules, and that includes rules for immigration. What a modern society does not need is tribalism, which brings us to the next point:

Myth (4): If there is an invasion of immigrants, Russia will cease being Russian.

This is outright xenophobic, racist, and stupid: if Russia gave citizenship to all those Chinese, Azeris, and what have you, would Russia cease to be Russian? Only if being a Russian citizen is conditional on being Slavic. But, since when did being a Slav have anything to do with having Russian citizenship? The answer to that is obvious: it never did. Any assertion to the contrary simply displays a complete ignorance of Russia’s history, culture, and ethnography.

And even IF being Slavic was once a prerequisite for being a Russian citizen, would it not be time to stop living with a tribal mindset? All successful civilizations of the past and present have been and are multi-cultural. This is no argument against Russian language and institutions being the unifying element of Russian society — far from it — but it’s an argument against tribalism.

Myth (5): Russia needs a large population to have a good economy.

Balderdash. Countries like Luxemburg and Switzerland have very small populations, but nobody would argue their economies are anything but stellar. Nigeria has a huge population; its economy, however, isn’t doing so well. The USA has a population about ten times that of Canada, but both are doing just fine economically. There is no relationship whatsoever between population size, population density, and economic performance. Any assertion to the contrary is just ignorant.

Myth (6): Russia’s shrinking population is bad for the economy.

Nonsense. Changes in the number of people in a country have nothing to do with its economic performance. Let’s assume we are having an annual population growth of 10 percent, and the productivity of every member of the population is equal and does not change, then the economic growth should be 10 percent as well. Ten percent economic growth seems like a good thing, but in reality, if it is caused by a 10 percent population growth, this economic growth really means nothing. Nobody in such a country is better off. All you have is more people who live no better or worse than before.

Of course, the inverse is equally true. If the population declines by x percent, while each member of society remains equally productive, overall GDP shrinks by x percent, while per capita GDP remains unaffected. In other words, changes in total population numbers are neutral in respect to GDP per capita.

Myth (7): Russia needs to increase its birth rate.

That’s actually a really, really dumb idea. Russia needs an increased birth rate as much as it needs more snow. Children may be a biological necessity, but since infants and children are not economically productive members of society, they are bad news for the economy. If a lot of children are born, a lot of economic resources will go into feeding, clothing, housing, and educating them — these expenses are, at least in the short run, an economic net-loss. So, obviously, children do not contribute to the growth of GDP.

In fact, children decrease the productivity of a society. After all, somebody has to look after them — and time spent looking after children is time not spent engaging in economically productive activities. Logically, the more children somebody has, the less economically productive this person will be. Thus, high birth rates also mean decreased general economic productivity, negatively impacting GDP growth.

At the risk of offending mothers and romantics everywhere, I’ll state it bluntly: children make us poorer. In order to maintain any given level of GDP per capita, productivity of the working population has to increase at the same rate as the birth rate just to maintain current levels of GDP per capita. Anything less would lead to a decrease in GDP per capita and consequently to a pauperization of the general population.

Birth rates around the replacement level (2.1 children per woman, on average) seem to be economically harmless. Anything much above that, however, leads to trouble. If you don’t believe this, just look at the facts: no country with a birth rate significantly above replacement rate is doing well on any scale, whether economically or politically.

Myth (8): Russia needs to increase its GDP.

Wrong. Russia needs to increase its GDP per capita. Economic growth by itself does not mean increased average economic welfare. Economic growth only leads to an increase in overall economic welfare if it is the result of an increased GDP per capita. GDP per capita matters. GDP doesn’t. Write that down. Any economic policy not targeted at increasing GDP per capita, preferably through increased productivity, is meaningless.

These aren’t exactly new insights, but considering the debates currently taking place about Russia’s economy in and outside Russia, the obvious does seem to need repeating.

Myth (9): Russia’s low life expectancy is a bad thing.

Not necessarily true. Those of you with no stomach for a little cynicism may want to skip this section, the rest, please bear with me.

This point is not about economics per se, but about some larger sociological factors, which also impact on economics. There is no adult in Russia today who was not born under the previous regime. In other words, the vast majority of the population has been brought up to think along lines of official Marxist-Leninist ideology about a wide range of things, including public policy in general, and economics in particular. As time passes, these generations seem to forget all the bad things about the previous regime, and increasingly become rather nostalgic about Soviet economic policies. Since these generations also tend to vote more than younger people who are not overly affected by such ideas, government policies in Russia must of necessity take into consideration the sentiments of the older generations. But since Marxist-Leninist ideas are not exactly a good basis for sound public policy, accommodating ideas based on Marxist-Leninist thinking cannot be good public policy. If Russia’s current low life expectancy means that the generations whose ideas about public life are largely informed by Marxism-Leninism is dying off quickly, this means that demand for public policies based on Marxist-Leninist ideas is decreasing. Politically, this can only be a good thing, with definite benefits for the economy.

There, I’ve said it. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in. Calm down. This is a ‘there’s a good side to almost everything’ kind of situation, not a Soylent Green scenario.

Myth (10): Russia needs a big population because it needs a big army.

This one is so inane, it hurts. If population size was the main factor determining military capacity, China would have taken over Korea, the USA would have beaten the Vietcong, Afghanistan would be part of Russia, Taiwan part of Red China, Canada part of the USA… you get the idea. Throughout history, size did not matter much in military affairs. The Greeks were hopelessly outnumbered by the Persians, the dreaded Mongol hordes, contrary to common belief, were actually much fewer in numbers than most of the armies they defeated, and Frederick II of Prussia was significantly outnumbered in almost all the wars he fought. What matters in military affairs are first and foremost training, equipment, and morale. Numbers do make a difference, but are far less important than most civilians believe.

Russia’s armed forces face a lot of problems, no question about that. Military reforms should focus on training, equipment, and morale — worrying about its size really isn’t an issue, at least not from a purely military security point of view.

Myth Busting Summary:

Much of the current debate on Russia’s demographic situation is nonsense. Russia is not going to disappear from the map because of its shrinking population. It’s not going to lose territory to the Chinese, it’s not going to be overrun by hostile armies, and it’s not going to be taken over by those swarthy immigrants from the South. Neither Russia nor the Russian narod are going the way of the Dodo any time soon.

Now that we have dealt with the nonsense, let’s take a brief look at the real issue:

The Real Issue: Quality, not Quantity

Russia’s overall population is not too small nor is it shrinking too much: the share of economically productive people in Russia is too small, and arguably shrinking. Russians smoke more, drink more hard liquor, have more abortions, have more preventable diseases, drive more dangerously, and eat less healthy than most people in other industrialized nations. Sick people are not productive workers. As a result, for each unit of GDP per capita, each Russian worker has to work harder and longer than each Canadian worker, and each Russian unit of money has to be more productive than each Canadian unit of money.

Consequently, it does not matter whether Russia has 100 or 500 million inhabitants: if the proportion and productivity of economically active population does not increase, GDP per capita will not increase, and nobody will be better off. The most important task for Russia’s government is to increase the proportion and productivity of its economically active population.

If Russians drank as little as the Swiss, ate as well as the Japanese, drove as carefully as the Dutch, and continued to work as hard as, well, Russians, doubling Russia’s GDP per capita in ten years would be a very modest goal.

The Real Solution: Decreased Mortality

Too many Russian men drink, smoke, drive, and infect themselves to premature death. Too many Russian women suffer from the health effects of too many abortions, or have too many babies who die too early. Demographically, it does not matter whether people aren’t born at all, or whether they die prematurely. Economically, the difference is significant, since bearing and raising children only to have them die early is a waste of resources. A single healthy person with a good education employed in a good job when he reaches maturity is better than two sickly people who line up for government handouts.

Historically, this is how the rich countries became rich: they improved labor productivity by simultaneously reducing birth and mortality rates. Incidentally, these factors also contributed to a significant population growth. But, since this population growth went hand in hand with an even greater increase of the size and productivity of the economically active population, today’s rich nations were able to combine rapid population growth with rapid economic development.

What Russia needs is not more babies, but more healthy people who are able to work. For this, it has to find both short- and long-term solutions, including, but not limited to, a significant increase of excise taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, smart immigration policies, public education campaigns on general and reproductive health, more stringent enforcement of traffic and workplace safety rules, and improved medical care. Some of these policies will cost little, while others may prove expensive in the short term.

Clearly, none of this should come as news to any literate person. But, considering the tendency of the current demographic debate in Russia to focus on non-issues such as population size, birth rates, territorial integrity, or military security, it seems necessary to point out the trivial. There have been serious voices suggesting natalist policies — it should be clear to anyone that this would be a serious blow against the future of Russia. Any fear-mongering regarding the security of Russia’s territory or identity due to a decreased overall population should be nipped in the bud, and natalist ideology should be exposed as the idiocy it really is.
Hey green may I ask where you got your avatar? S2 Maybe it's popular in a lot of places but something tells me you might be a MLF like me. Unless if you're a lib.
Excellent series of myth-busters there about demography.

Well, a few hours ago I got my invitation to visit Russia. The lady at a visa service says I qualify for a double entry tourist visa, and the Thai lady at the Bangkok embassy says, "Hey big boy, come on down and see us sometime." I'm going to BKk Feb 25-26; cost of double visa is $120. The lady at the embassy said I don't have to fill in all the countries and uni's I've visited, and I only put the main ones (from my current passport) and a few uni's.

If I get the visa, then I'll reserve three nights in Moscow. Or maybe St. Petersburg. At least, the jet lag would be in my favor, flying from London. But if I have to stay overnight in London at Heathrow, I won't get much sleep.

It's really for my huge family reunion in Ireland. All 6 kids, maybe all 10 grandchildren!
Independents4Bush Wrote:Hey green may I ask where you got your avatar? S2 Maybe it's popular in a lot of places but something tells me you might be a MLF like me. Unless if you're a lib.
What is MLF?
And the avatar is fresh from pro-Timoshenko site. She's kind of orange revvy princess.
and don't forget a fur-cap and mittens. Wink1
I hope you'll get the visa finally and enjoy your time in Moscow and St. Pete.
Yeah I knew I was mistaken. Just that I saw that emoticon in only one other place.
Mistaken? What do you mean?

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Stop that you're going to give someone a seizure. :lol:

I just thought you belonged to another site I know about.
In re By Dietwald Claus' article.

It is actually a good one and most of his points I agree with. However, he is incorrect on some important issues.

Population loss is acceptable only if the borders are sealed, otherwise you get Kosovo. This is the main current danger, and it comes in two flavors:
1. In the far east region, the current trend will result in the Chinese majority. Eventually it will link up with the home country.
2. In many other regions, the population is actually growing. These are the Muslim regions. In fact, some said that the breakup of the old Soviet Union was forced to avoid the Muslim majority; spinning off Central Asia did this...but only for a while.
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