Expanding on our UK-Arctic Coronavirus Observatory, we are now compiling all of the relevant COVID-19 information pertaining to Russia’s measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, so you can have the information you need at your fingertips.
International Travel: (Note: These are the current coronavirus restrictions on international travel, but the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine may affect some of this in practice such as through the sanctioning and banning of airlines) Restrictions on international travel were first introduced on 18 March 2020, and some of these still remain. Certain groups are exempt from some restrictions – for example, this may be the case if you are a Russian resident. The list of countries with which the Russian Federation have resumed international air service are:Abkhazia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Great Britain, Hungary, Venezuela, Vietnam, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Kenya, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, China, Colombia, Korea, Costa Rica, Cuba, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Morocco, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, UAE, Oman, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Northern Macedonia, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Syria, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Finland, France, Croatia, Switzerland, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Japan. All arriving passengers (including children) must present a negative PCR-test certificate (in either English or Russian) that is dated no more than 48-hours before arrival into your destination (decrease from 72-hours following the Omicron variant). However, if you are arriving from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova (Rep.), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and you are not coming from a third country then you must present a negative PCR-test via the ‘travelling without COVID-19’ app. Foreign nationals from China, Israel and the UK will be required to take an express coronavirus test upon arrival. Those arriving into the airports may be temperature-checked. You may also have to be isolated for 14 days depending on the country you are arriving from, your vaccination status or even potentially your purpose in the country (e.g. if you are arriving for permanent work purposes). Individual cities and regions may set their own policy and so it is advised to enquire prior to travel.
Restrictions: Russia has been one of the worst impacted countries by the pandemic, but it only had one federal six-week long lockdown and has largely shunned the implementation of further restrictions. However, high cases, record number of deaths and a low rate of vaccination led Russia to experiencing something that at least resembles a quasi-lockdown. This was officially called a ‘non-working’ week and fell between 30 October to 7 November. However, the appetite federally has generally been against restrictions as is demonstrated by Russian lawmakers agreeing to withdraw a bill for QR-codes in order to access public spaces on 17 January. Nonetheless, some regions have already made use of their devolved power to implement regional coronavirus restrictions with this being demonstrated by the fact that health passes are already in operation in many places. Indeed, these devolved decisions are often quite ambitious with an example being mandated vaccinations for over 60’s in Saint Petersburg and the mayor of Moscow extending a requirement for businesses in the capital to ensure that 30% of their employees were working from home. Other regions have even had their own lockdowns in response to Omicron. It is important to note that these regional measures can come with little notice and there may be great variance between regions even if they are geographically close to each other and so it is imperative to enquire before visiting (seehere for links for regional government sites).
Shaan Afzal-Khan is a Global Leadership Fellow at Polar Research and Policy Initiative. He is part of the PRPI team behind the UK-Arctic Trade and Investment Observatory, and serves as the lead for the Kingdom of Denmark and Russia.