All services: 112
Police: 02 (For English-speakers - 164-9787)
|Address:||27, Ryleeva Ulitsa, St. Petersburg, 190000|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 401-0152|
|Address:||134, Naberezhnaya Kanala Griboyedova, St. Petersburg, 190121|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 714-7670|
|Address:||5, Tverskaya Ulitsa, St. Petersburg, 191015|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 271-0459|
|Address:||of.39, 42, Naberezhnaya Reki Moyki, St. Petersburg, 191186|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 703-3900|
|Address:||14, Bolshaya Monetnaya Ulitsa, St. Petersburg, 197101|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 702-0920|
|Address:||4, Preobrazhenskaya Square, St. Petersburg, 191028|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 331-7600|
|Address:||39, Furshtatskaya Ulitsa, St. Petersburg, 191123|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 320-2400|
|Address:||35, Ulitsa Ryleeva, St. Petersburg, 191123|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 640-7222|
|Address:||10, Teatralnaya Ploshchad, St. Petersburg, 190068|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 318-0791|
|Address:||29, Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki, St. Petersburg, 191186|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 314-1434|
|Address:||11, 10th Liniya Vasilyevsky Ostrov, St. Petersburg, 199178|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 449-8290|
|Address:||11, Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki, St. Petersburg, 191186|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 334-0200|
|Address:||13-15, Ligovsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg, 191014|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 612-4100|
|Address:||12, 5th Sovietskaya Ulitsa, St. Petersburg, 191036|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 336-3141|
|Address:||1/3, Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa, St. Petersburg, 191186|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 329-1430|
|Address:||17, Ulitsa Chernyshevskogo, St. Petersburg, 191123|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 327-0817|
|Address:||5, Proletarskoy Diktatury Square, St. Petersburg, 191124|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 320-3200|
|Address:||15, Furshtatskaya Ulitsa, St. Petersburg, 191028|
|Phone:||+7 (812) 331-2600|
Crime and the Police
St Petersburg made a name for itself in the nineties as the crime capital of Russia, although how much this was true and how much the reputation relied on discrediting journalism and gangster films is a debatable point. Either way, that type of organized crime never had any effect on tourists.
As in all large cities, petty crime can be a problem and tourists are often the target - for the obvious reasons that they stand out in a crowd and are more likely to be carrying large amounts of cash or valuables. Pickpockets of various species are the main threat, and they tend to be most prevalent on public transport, especially on the metro in the center, and round tourist traps. To avoid being a victim, follow the obvious precautions: do not carry more cash than necessary and try not to display large sums in public places, keep large sums in a money belt or sealable inner pocket, keep credit cards separately, and don't carry valuables in a backpack or easily opened bag. Recent police efforts seem to have cut the number of incidents considerably, but it's still worth being careful.
Violent crime of any sort is extremely unlikely to be a problem for tourists. Mugging is rare in St Petersburg and you are only likely to encounter this late at night if you are doing something to be ashamed of or are on your own a long way from the center. There are not really any 'no-go' areas of St Petersburg, or certainly none that a visitor is likely to wander into by mistake, but there is a constant low-level threat of drunken aggression from xenophobic thugs, so you are advised not to act too loudly or brashly in bars and clubs, and to be polite but firm with anyone who approaches you in the street and tries to strike up conversation.
This is particularly true for anyone who is dark-skinned, as St Petersburg has a small but high-profile skin-head population. Again, it is only really dangerous to be out late away from the center.
If you are robbed while in St Petersburg, then for insurance purposes you will need to obtain a police report (the same goes if you lose anything valuable). This will be easier with the help of a Russian or Russian-speaker, but can be done on your own (first call the English-language police line on +7 (812) 164 9787).
Finally, the Russian Police have a terrible reputation for corruption and abuse of authority. Again, this is very unlikely to be an issue in St. Petersburg (except if you are driving), where the police have not been known to target foreigners as they once did in Moscow. It's worth being careful if you travel outside the city, however, and it's also worth being aware of a few points of Russian legislation.
The police need little pretext to ask to inspect your documents although, as mentioned above, they rarely target foreigners (again, unfortunately, dark-skinned travelers are more likely to have problems). If you are stopped, a foreign passport is normally enough to pacify them, and you are not legally obliged to carry identification. In practice, it's easier to carry photocopies of your documents just in case.
Rules for the sale of alcohol have changed regularly over the last few years, and it is likely that soon it will be impossible to buy any type of alcohol in shops after 11pm (as is already the case for wines and spirits). Drinking low-alcohol drinks (beer) in the street is not technically illegal, although it is illegal in "public places", which include several parks and areas near railway stations, schools, and major monuments. It is also illegal to be drunk in public, and if you are severely intoxicated (unable to stand, or causing a disturbance), the police have grounds to take you into custody until you have sobered up.
Jaywalking is illegal in Russia, and you can only cross the street at designated pedestrian crossings (be aware that not all drivers can be relied on to stop, however). It has been know for the traffic police to stop jaywalkers and issue them with small fines to be paid via local banks, which they are entirely within their right to do
Health and Insurance
In theory, most foreigners are entitled to free emergency care in Russian hospitals, and some countries have reciprocal agreements with Russia for free healthcare for their citizens. Russians are extremely proud of the quality of their doctors, but few can deny the chronic under-funding of the public healthcare system, and free treatment is almost unheard of even for Russian citizens - even if you are admitted to hospital free, you will almost certainly have to pay for medication, and for reasonable treatment by nurses.
Before you travel
For the reasons stated above, it is well worth taking out effective travel insurance for your trip to St. Petersburg, or ensuring that your current travel insurance covers the city (you may want to know exactly what services they cover, as well).
Booster-shots for diphtheria, polio and tetanus are recommended for travelers.
While in St. Petersburg
If you do have health problems in St. Petersburg, there are a large number of private clinics in the city, many of them with English-speaking staff and many with their own ambulances. In fact, Russia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for medical tourism, as many procedures are available here at much lower prices than in the US or some parts of Europe. You can find a list of recommended clinics here. In a real emergency, you should be able to organize a medical evacuation to Finland.
The emergency services number for the ambulance service is 03. For an ambulance, say: "skoraya pomosh", literally meaning quick help.
A few factors to be aware of during your stay...
The situation with tap water in St. Petersburg has recently improved, with a new purifying plant in the city bringing the water supply up to international standards of safety, at least at source. Unfortunately, the pipe system in many districts and buildings is very old and neglected, and by the time the water comes out of the tap it often has quite high levels of heavy metals - and may be a rather unpleasant yellow color. Therefore it's still probably safer to drink bottled water, unless there's a filter system installed where you're staying.
Every winter when there is a reasonable level of snowfall followed by a freeze, large quantities of ice form on the roofs of the city's buildings. When temperatures rise above freezing, this has to be cleared quickly or it is likely to break off in large chunks and fall to the street. Unfortunately, the municipal authorities seem unable to organize this process effectively, and there are regular casualties among pedestrians. There is not that much that can be done to avoid randomly falling blocks of ice, but it's worth keeping your wits about you during sudden thaws, and keeping your time on the street to a minimum.
This is more of an irritation than a real health risk, but by Western European standards the number of mosquitoes during the summer in St. Petersburg can be very high, particularly anywhere near bodies of water (which covers most of the city). If your accommodation does not have netted windows, you will probably want to invest in a chemical anti-mosquito plug-in.
Available in all supermarkets, pharmacies, and many kiosks (Raid and Raptor are popular brands), these simple devices will only cost a few dollars with refills (either tablets or screw-in bottles of liquid). Plug the unit in a couple of hours before you go to bed and you should be able to sleep peacefully. If you are planning a trip into the countryside, you will definitely need to buy some kind of repellent cream or gel, also widely available in supermarkets and pharmacies.
In recent years, the risk of tick-borne encephalitis has spread from its nexus in Western Siberia all across Russia and most of Europe. There have been (very few) incidences of infection in the countryside around St. Petersburg, and local ticks are also known to be carriers of Lyme disease. There is no risk in urban areas, and this should only ever be an issue if you are involved in outdoor activities (camping, hiking, fishing, etc.) in forest areas. If you are, it is worth keeping as much of your body covered as possible (this will also help against mosquitoes).
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