Hitchhiking across Russia (1 Viewer)

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saw this post on reddit's /r/vagabond today and thought it might be worth reposting here for anyone that was interested:

Hitchhiking across Russia (self.vagabond)

submitted 23 hours ago by lonelyhoncho

I’m about to go on a gap year and am thinking about hitchhiking across the whole of Russia from east to west as a part of my travels. I was wondering if anyone had any experience with hitchhiking in and around Russia and if they had any tips and tricks. Cheers
HitchyMcHitchface 32 points 17 hours ago*

First of all, the negative comments here are ridiculous. I have hitchhiked tens of thousands of km in Russia over the years without any horror stories. Hitchhiking in Russia is easy and the Russian hitchhiking community is the most organized in the world, there are several clubs and lots of group activities where it is easy to meet Russian hitchhikers and learn from them. I come from another Eastern European country, and when I first became interested in hitchhiking, meeting the Russian community was a lifechanging experience, not only for hitchhiking in Russia but also because the Russians hitchhike all over the world. Anton Krotov’s blog is a good source of information.

The police have a bad reputation in Russia, but they are not a big problem for foreign hitchhikers. If you hitchhike from traffic police checkpoints (known as ДПС/ГАИ/гаичники), which are often a good place because all traffic slows down there, you might get some attention from them. However, most probably they will just check your documents and then wish you good luck. I have never had been asked to pay a bribe or any of those stereotypes people have of Russia.

It is true that there can be drunk people in rural Russia, and you should avoid them because they can quickly turn from friendly to aggressive. You should turn down a lift if the driver seems drunk. But really, if you are just crossing Russia from east to west on the main roads, most of your drivers will be long-distance truck drivers, and these guys are very friendly and not drunk.

Start learning Russian. Very few drivers in Russia speak foreign languages, but distances are very long and the drivers are going to want to talk to you for all those hours. To be a polite hitchhiker you really need some basic knowledge of the language.

Hitchwiki has information for how to leave many Russian cities. When you are leaving Moscow, be careful about Central Asian immigrant drivers. They are usually working as taxi drivers and they think you only want to go a short distance and pay for it (they do not know about the concept of hitchhiking for free). But in the rest of the country everyone will know what you are trying to do, and waiting times are often very short.

Finally, most foreign nationalities only get 30 days in Russia on a tourist visa. That can make it a challenge to cross the entire country by hitchhiking without being stressed and in a hurry. Depending on where you want to go after Russia, you might want to instead hitchhike at a more relaxed pace across Russia from Europe to western Siberia and then cross into Kazakhstan. Then, do the rest of Siberia and the Far East on a later trip.

Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/vagabond/comments/8kqa2a/hitchhiking_across_russia/
 
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