Life in Arkhangelsk
practical guide 2003

The climate in Arkhangelsk is chilly, even sometimes in summer. There has four distinct seasons in our region. Winter temperature range is -25C to 0C in January and the snowfall is not moderate. Thanks to the nearness of the White Sea there are no too cold days in Arkhangelsk. For example, the temperature can reach the level -45C in Holmogory or Kotlas, and other towns situated farther from the coast, deeper in the continent. However it also may be too cold in Arkhangelsk. The temperature can reach the level of -35C. In April, the temperature range is 0C to 10C and it is raining and sleeting often. Sometimes it is snowing in May. July is mostly sunny occasional showers and the temperature range is +10C to +25C. October can be windy and rainy with temperatures from -5C to 10C.
In Arkhangelsk, the summer months are characterisised by long, light days. The summer period is called - The Period of The White Nights. On the contrary the length of the light day is no longer then 4 houres in December.

They say: "If there are many berries on the mountain ashes (rowans) winter will be extreamelly cold". Now all trees of rowan is full of red and orange berries, so you can make a conclusion about the winter.

The weather in Arkhangelsk is described on GIS-Meteo (in Russian)

Cost of living
The cost of living in Arkhangelsk is not so big as in Moscow, and is so little for foreighners! I am going to meet you with the prices in the city.
The rent of the common one-room flat with phone, gaz, electricity, and heating, not far from the centre, is around 3000-4000 rubles (100-130$). The services (electricity etc) are not included in the rent.
The cost of tickets in cinemas and theatres is
50 to 150 rubles (from 1.5$ to 5$). You can read more about cinemas, theatres and museams here (the link will be available soon)
Prices in a shop

Bread (ryebread, 0.8 kg) - 8 rubles (0.25$)
10 Eggs - 19-22 rubles (0.80$)
Milk (1l) - 12-14 rubles (0.40-0.50$)
Meat (1kg, beaf) - 70-100 rubles (2.50-3.50$)
Meat (1kg, pork) - 80-130 rubles (2.80-4.50$)
Sausage (1kg) - 60-180 rubles (2-6$)
Smoked sausage (1 kg) - 100-350 rubles (3-12$)
Corn Flakes "Ljubjatovo", - 19-25 rubles (0.60-0.80$)
Corn Flakes "Nestle" - 50-55 rubles (1.60-2$)
Juice (1l) - 20-60 rubles (0.70-2$)
Tea (25 bags of "Lipton") - 32 rubles (1$)
Coffee ("Nescafe", 250g) - 120 rubles (3$)
Pasta (Russia, 0.5 kg) - 10 rubles (0.35$)
Potatoes (fall/spring, 1kg) - 5/15 rubles (0.20/0.60$)
Apples (fall/spring, 1kg) - 25/60 rubles (1/2$)
Beer (0.5l) - 12-40 rubles (0.40-1.3$)
Vodka, ("Tsaritsa", Arkhangelsk, 0.5l) - 55-60 rubles (2$)
Vodka, ("Zastolje", Vologda, 0.5l) - 56 rubles (1.90$)
Vodka, ("Gzhelka", Moscow, 0.5l) - 90-100 rubles (3-3.10$)
Cigarettes ("LM-lights", 25 cigarettes) - 16-20 rubles (0.60$)
Cigarettes ("Marlboro-lights", 25 cigarettes) - 20-25 rubles (0.80$)

Photoprinting (Kodak, Fuji, Konika, for printing 1 pic) - 4.90 rubles (0.17$)

Strong alcohol (vodka, liquer, cognac, wine etc) are sold in shops and supermarkets (never buy it in stalls!); beer and gin&tonic are done in any stall. The legal drinking age in Russia is 18.
BEER: "Beer without vodka is throwing money to the wind" say Russians. It is the most favorite beverage in Russia. Good snack for it is "Suhariki" (flavored croutons) costing 4-7 rubles (0.20$), but traditionally beer is imbibed with a dried fish "Vobla".
VODKA: Vodka and toastes go hand in hand together. It is impossible to drink vodka without a toast. The simple one is "Za nas!" (For us!), it is not necessary to think too much just say it and drink! Or you can say "Nu, poehali!" (Let's get going!).
If you start drinking with Russians you should know your companions will continue to do it until the last drop of alcohol is consumed. But if you want avoid the measure you can calm down - Russians will not force alcohol on somebody who does not drink, but they are all going to laugh at you!
If you've begun to drink... Once you raise the glass to a toast, you must drink the entire contents in one gulp. Never put a hulf-full glass back on the table. If you are pouring yourself or others a drink and you finish the bottle, place the empty bottle under the table. An empty bottle on the table heralds poverty.

As a foreigner you can expect to pay anything from double to ten-times more than the natives (for example, in museam "Malye Karely", or in markets, where goods are selling without price tag). Dress down and don't say too much in a foreign language (or badly-accented Russian). It would be better to ask a friedly local to buy the tickets to museams or goods in the markets for you.

Local transportation
The city and surrounding area are accessible by regular bus, trolleybus, tram, train, and rivertram lines. The common bus fare is 5-6 rubles (0.17$) for one trip. Upon entering a bus, trolleybus or tram, look for the conductor to pay.

Taxis are available around the clock. If the taxi-driver offers you pay more than it costs, especially after hearing your foreign accent, just politely decline and say that you know real prices. For example, the taxi fee from airport "Talagi" to centre is 100 rubles (3.33$) one way. The numbers of taxi-phones see here.
Also you can catch an unofficial taxi, just hold out your hand on the kerb. But don't get in a car with more than one person and if travelling alone, sit in the back seat.

For more information on transport, see here.

There are no any network of bicycle paths and bicycle parkings. You should know - it will be not easy to have and use a bike in our city. By the way our road police doesn't pay attention to bicyclists at all. So you can use for driving roadway or pavement as well.

Banks and Money
The Russian natinal currancy is Ruble [rubl]! One ruble contains 100 kopeyek. Bank notes are available in denominations of 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 rubles, coins in 1 kopeyka, 5, 10, 50 kopeyek, 1, 2, 5 and 10 rubles.
Normal banking hours are between 9.00 and 18.00. They are generally open from Monday to Saturday. Both traveller's cheques and international money orders may be used to set up a new account with a bank in Russia.
Automated teller machines (ATM) can be found at convenient location throughout the city. The ATMs accept Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard, Maestro etc.
For instant, some addresses of ATMs:
1) in hotel "Dvina" (Troitsky pr.)
2) 137, Lomonosova pr.
3) 99, Voskresenskaya st.
4) Supermarket "Premier" (from 9.00 till 22.00)
5) "Polus" shop, 4/3, Timme st. (from 8.00 till 22.00)
and so on.
In July 2003, 1 EURO equalled approximately 34.5 rubles and 1$ approximately 30.6 rubles.
Also there are offices of "Western Union" in Arkhangelsk.

Shopping hours are generally between 8.00 and 22.00 everyday. Department stores begin to work at 10.00 or 11.00 and remain open until 19.00. There are too many shops being available all 24 hours in a day in Arkhangelsk.
In some shops you can use your credit cards.

Public holidays
Official holidays (non-working days)
1-2 January - New Year's Day
7 January - Christmas
23 February - The Day of Motherland's Defenders
8 March - The International Woman's Day
1-2 May - May Day
9 May - The Day of Victory over The Fascist Germany in 1945
12 June - The Day of Russia's Independence
7 November - The Day of The Great October Revolution in 1917 or the Day of Consent
12 December - The Day of Russian Constitution

Postal services
The Russian postal services, Pochta, have stands in some retail chains and in service shops for domestic and international mail. There and in magazins' stalls you can buy stamps, prepaid envelopes and cardboard boxes, send letters, collect and leave packeges. Many of the outlets are open from 8.00 until 19.00-20.00.
You can also make international payments.

The main postoffice, Glavpochtamp, is situated on the square of Lenin in the centre of Arkhangelsk.

All magazins and newspapers are in Russian in our city. You can buy it in any magazins' stall disposing around bus-stops. The main newspapers of our region are: Pravda Severa (The Truth of the North) - 6-7 rubles (0.20$), Arkhangelsk 4-5 rubles (0.17$), Vedomosty Pomorja (Lists of Pomorje) - 4 rubles (0.15$) etc.

TV and Radio
There are 8 free TV-channel in Arkhangelsk.
If you have cable TV you can get about 30 channels (in Russian, English, German, Polish and French), available European channels are: Eurosport (russian translation), VH1, DW, VIVA Polska, Fashion TV, ONYX, TV5, Game TV, and BBC (from 2a.m. till 7a.m.). Cost of watching is 140 rubles (5$) per month. The site of the cable TV company -
We have too many radiostations in FM-diapason. Russian and English music: Europa plus (102.8FM), Region 29 (106.0FM), Autoradio (106.4FM). Russian music only: Radio Shanson (101.6FM), Russkoe Radio (103.8FM), Nashe Radio (104.7FM). News and music: Unost (102.0FM), Mayak (103.4FM), ORR (105.4FM).

Emergencies and SOS calls
In case of emergency, dial 02 to contact police, 01 to do fire brigade or 03 to do ambulance. Emergency calls made from payphones are free of charge.

Most of Russians don't know any foreign language, so it will be funny if you try to speak with us in English. It would be better to learn some Russian phrases to reach coprehension. You can find some expressions here.

Russian cooking
"Uha" - the Russian fish soup, but never, NEVER call it "fish soup"! Russians can be offended! It is just "uha", and other names wont be accepted. Real Uha is made from fresh fish, water and species in the nature. Some people add potatoes in it.

"Mors" - usually it is the juice of cranberries. But you can often hear that people use the word for 'the juice of raspberries, strawberries, bilberries or other berries'. It is made from water, crumpling berries and sugar. Then you have to filter the mixture and you'll get Mors.

Miscellaneous - a few practical things to keep in mind
Dates are often written in the following order, day, month, year e.g. July 20, 2003 is written 20-07-2003 (or just 20.07.03).

Driving. Russia, like most European countries, has right-hand traffic. The legal driving age is 18 and you are expected to have your driver's license with you when driving. The laws on drinking and driving are very strict and such behaviour is generally not socially accepted.

Drug laws are strict in Russia. Foreign citizens in possession of any type of illegal drug may be arrested and expelled from the country. What are sometimes referred to as soft drugs, for example marijuana and hashish, are illegal in Russia.

Electricity is standard European 220 volts and 50 cycles (Hz).

Time zone. Arkhangelsk has Moscow Time, GMT +3. Daylight saving time (GMT +4) applies from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October. Clock time is written according to the European system, e.g. 1 p.m. is written 13.00.

Tipping (in restaurants and taxis) - Service charge is not included in the price. It is normal practice to leave a small tip if you feel you have been treated well.

Don't shake hands, kiss, or hug over the threshold of the home. Doing so will cause you to have quarrel with that person.

Don't whistle inside the home. It is believed that whistling causes money to disappear.

If you step on someone's foot, you have to let them step on yours, or you will fight with them later.

If you leave the house and realize that you forgot something, when you enter the flat again you must look in the mirror and change something (fix your hair, adjust your scarf), or else you will have bad luck.

When you gonna go far away, to another city or country, it is necessary to sit down with your luggage before leaving your home. Russians say: "Syadem na dorogu" (Let's sit down for the road) otherwise traveling may be unluck.

If you are leaving for Arkhangelsk, sit down for the road and I wish you have nice trip.

Soho, 2003
J. Davis, "Pulse"

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