Form of government
1990 Russian Federation
UTC+2 to UTC+12
International dialling code
Russia is the largest country in the world. Officially known as the Russian Federation, it is one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Europe for Bavarian students. With over 17 million km² Russia covers 11% of the world’s landmass. It shares a border with 18 countries and is divided into eleven time zones. 143 million people live in Russia, 85% of which live in the European part. Both the major cities of Moscow and St Petersburg in the European part of the country, as well as some of the lesser-known major cities in the Russian regions like Siberia, offer many interesting opportunities to get work or research experience. There is great mutual interest for cooperation and exchange between Germany and Russia in the areas of economics, science and culture. A huge variety of student programmes and funding options are available to support young people who want to study, work and gain experiences in Russia.
Deteriorating diplomatic relations between the EU and Russia and the ongoing economic crisis have hardly affected the allure of Russia for students and researchers. Active exchanges at the university level will continue to grow over the coming years and are a priority for both the Bavarian and Russian governments. Partnerships have now been established between Russian universities and 24 Bavarian universities. A detailed overview of higher education in Russia can be found at BAYHOST-Kompetenzatlas. This will give you some quick and comprehensive information about scientific and higher education institutions in Russia. You can also apply to the universities and research institutes for internships.
German industry and small businesses continue focussing on the Russian market. Exports to Russia have fallen sharply in the last few years due to the economic crisis in Russia. Many businesses are attempting to maintain good business relations by adapting to new import substitution regulations and moving production to Russia with some even investing in new factories. Russia continues to be seen as a market with huge potential. Bavarian companies with production facilities in Russia include Knorr-Bremse, Leoni, Siemens, Knauf and Ehrmann. In order to bring some fresh energy to economic relations between Germany and Russia, a German-Russian business platform was created at the end of 2015.
To successfully live and work in Russia you will have to be prepared to deal with Russian culture and the Russian way of life. There are a few significant differences when comparing Russia to Germany, which you will very quickly notice. Your work life and private life are not as strongly separated as they are in Germany. Work related issues will occasionally be discussed in the evening or at weekends. To get by in the workplace: learn to improvise and do not rigidly plan everything. From the first time you meet new work colleagues they may want to get to know you socially and invite you to join them in various activities. People in Russia are inquisitive and exceptionally hospitable. They enjoy showing foreign guests the things they are proud of. They also expect that you will be interested in their country and its sights. The richness of the different cultures and peoples in Russia is reflected in daily life. It all depends which part of the country you go to.
The following sites can also provide you with useful information about living and working in Russia:
The BAYHOST Jobs Board lists current openings and has tips for writing your application as well as reports from previous students. There is also the Perspektive Osteuropa Bewerberdatenbank, an applicant database that is open to businesses and non-profit organisations with strong links to Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe who are looking for suitable candidates for internships or graduate positions. Students at Bavarian universities with a particular interest or knowledge of Eastern Europe can set up a qualifications profile in the database. The site Junge Osteuropa Experten sends out a regular newsletter with information about work experience opportunities in Eastern Europe. Both the Ost-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft and the Deutsch-Russische Auslandshandelskammer represent German businesses in Russia and give fresh impetus to maintain and expand bilateral relations that have been good so far. They also provide information about businesses operating in Russia which offer regular work experience placements in Germany and Russia.
Russia has a multi-ethnic population. Some of its constituent republics have several official languages. The lingua franca in Russia and across the former Soviet Union is still Russian. Knowledge of English is not guaranteed, even when talking to people who live in larger cities. A stay in Russia is not recommended without some basic knowledge of Russian. To help orientate yourself in Russia you should at least know the Cyrillic alphabet so that you can read street signs and shop names. For short trips to Moscow and St Petersburg you can get by with bilingual city maps, by writing down some key words phonetically and keeping some change for the metro. Passers-by are often willing to help and will make an effort if you ask for help in Russian and explain that you are a foreigner. Polite phrases such as “good afternoon” – “Добрый день” (Dobryy denʹ), “please” – “Пожалуйста” (Pozhaluysta) and “thank you” – “Спасибо” (Spasibo) should be learned. You will find language courses available at your university along with many online options for learning the Cyrillic alphabet, pronunciation and gaining some initial knowledge of the language. One such site is Russland Journal. As part of the Go-East Programmes, the DAAD offers summer schools in Russia each year so that you will have the necessary skills before starting your placement.
Official documents and permits such as a visa and, if needed, a work permit must be acquired before entering Russia and starting your placement/job. Failing to adhere to legal regulations can lead to severe financial consequences and expulsion. If you will be staying in Russia for an extended period, you must register with the local authorities. Your supervisor or a travel agency may be able to help you with this. Keep hold of every document you receive upon entry and when registering until you leave the country, and always carry a copy of your passport with you. It is advisable to sort out all necessary documents as early as possible. Your passport must have at least six months’ validity after the date of travel. Further information is available from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Germany.
• Find out about hepatitis from your GP and get vaccinated
• Get an online bank account with a credit card that allows fee free withdrawals abroad. An overview of financial institutions offering this can be found here
• Get private health insurance (required for the visa)
When preparing for your trip, always refer to the current foreign office travel and security advice
Before preparing to send off any speculative applications you should first contact the relevant institution and ask about the ways in which you can apply. Within Russia it is normal to apply by simply submitting a CV without any additional information. However, when applying from abroad it is recommended to include a short letter of application. The application should be written in the language of the advertisement. If a particular level of Russian is required for the position, this will be mentioned in the advert. Your CV should contain the usual information as well as your career goals. Hints and tips for writing your application and recent reports from others who have completed placements in Russia can be found on the BAYHOST Jobs Board website.