Telephone Numbers in RussiaThe phone code of Russia is +7. All cities and regions in Russia have their own code (495 for Moscow, 812 for St. Petersburg,8162 for Novgorod, 3432 for Ekaterinburg, 3832 for Novosibirsk, 3952 for Irkutsk etc.) The city phone number itself usually has from 5 to 7 digits.
So, if you phone to Russia from abroad, you should dial 00, +7 (for Russia), the code of the Russian city you're phoning to (e.g. 495 for Moscow, 3952 for Irkutsk), and finally the city phone number (e.g 655-5555 or 123-456).
When you make a phonecall inside any Russian city, you should dial the phone number, without any codes (e.g. you're in Moscow, Russia, and you want to make a phone call to your friend, who has the number 655-5555 in Moscow, you should just dial 655-5555 directly, without the Moscow code). Normally, all phonecalls inside the city are free or cost very little.
If you make a phonecall from Russia to any other Russian city, you should dial 8, wait for a long tone, then dial the code of the city you're phoning to (e.g. 812 for St. Petersburg), and then dial the phone number itself. Usually, a phone call from Moscow to St. Petersburg costs about 9 R ($0.3), from Irkutsk to Moscow -- about 15 R ($0.5), but it depends very much on the providers and the time of the day.
If you want to make a phonecall from Russia to abroad, you should dial 8, wait for a long tone, then dial 10 (international access), then dial the code of the country you're phoning to (e.g. 1 for the USA, 44 for UK, 49 for Germany, 33 for France etc.), then dial the code of the city you're phoning to (e.g.1482 for Hull in UK, or 617 for Cambridge in the USA) and then the city phone number (e.g. 555-5555). Usually, a phonecall from Russia to Europe and the US costs about 30 R ($1) a minute.
Connecting a new telephone landline in Russia is quite complicated. You may end up paying about $1000 US in fees and might have to wait for a month or so. However, the good news is that almost every apartment in Russia has a telephone number and it's quite easy to change a telephone contract to another name, provided you have a copy of the contract with your landlord.
If you need a local number for business use, you could get a divert local Moscow number through LogicLine and have it forwarded to your mobile.
If you want to get a UK or USA phone number that diverts at no cost to you to any number in Russia, please, read the section on divert numbers below.
Normally, 5-pin telephone plugs are used in Russia. However, a lot of plugs have also a socket for standard RJ American plug. If not, the coverters are readily available in any appliance store.
Telephone Plugs & Modes
Nearly all telephones in Russia use pulse system of dialing (as in Germany), unlike the tone system used in USA, England and France.
Prepaid Telephone CardsPrepaid IP phone cards are available at any telecom shop or a bank branch (called "telefonnaya karta" in Russia). The most popular ones are Zebra Telecom, MTU-Net, Matrix-Telecom. We recommend Zebra Telecom phone cards, because they can also be simultaneously used for dial-up internet access, and you can top up your card through the internet, provided you have a registered account with them.
Usually, phone cards have nominal value of 5, 10 and 20 US dollars. A minute with Europe or USA will cost about $0.15-$0.20, the calls within Russia vary depending on distance, but usually it’s cheaper than using a normal phone line.
It is also possible to purchase a card PIN through the internet. Recently, we set up the new Russia phone card shop, where you can see listings of the cheapest prepaid calling cards available. Plus you get an online interface where you can trigger incoming calls (great to save on roaming charges). They have access numbers in the USA, Europe, Asia, and Russia (access numbers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk (Trans-Siberian), Vladimir (Golden Ring), and Ukraine (Kharkov). The calling rates are very low: for example, 1 minute from USA to Russia costs 2 cents, a phone call from Russia to USA costs 10 cents. If you call between USA and Russia there's no delay, no echo, and the connection quality is good.
Follow-Me Numbers - Diverts to RussiaGenerally, this is your personal number in the USA or UK. When somebody dials this number, the call is diverted to any local or international location at little or no cost to you.
To illustrate this better, imagine the following situation: David lives in the UK and is going on a vacation. He wants his friends and business partners from both UK and USA to always be able to reach him on the phone, whether he is in a restaurant in France or trekking somewhere in Russia. The easy solution is to get so-called "follow-me" number, which allows diverts to be set online through the internet to any local or international landline or mobile.
If John travels to Russia, he can set up a 07005 8XX XXX number in UK (call cost: about 10p / minute) and 888 XXX XX XX toll-free number in USA. Then he can set a divert through his online panel, so that all the calls to these numbers are diverted to his hotel room in Moscow and then, if unanswered, to his Russian mobile, and if not answered - to his mailbox later to be delivered via e-mail. John wouldn't pay anything for the phonecalls diverted from his UK number (because those who dial it have to pay about 10 p / minute, which is a standard national rate for UK), and there would be a very little fee for the USA number (about 8.5 cents / minute for a divert to Moscow, toll-free for those who dial it from the US!).
Russian City Dialing CodesHere's a list of dialing codes for major cities in Russia. If you're calling from abroad, you should dial your international access code first ("011" for USA, "00" for UK and France), then the code for Russia - "7", then the city code (usually 3 or 4 digits - see below) and a 5 or 7 digit number of the person or company you're calling to.
St. Petersburg: 812