The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
Citizens of most of the post-Soviet states can visit Russia without a visa. Countries like Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Although Ukraine is not a member of the CIS, it is included in this list, nonetheless. However, a Russian visa is required for citizens of Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, despite these states’ Soviet past.
The rules vary as to how long citizens of these countries can stay in Russia without filing additional paperwork with Russian migration authorities. For example, citizens of Belarus can stay in Russia for up to 90 days without registering with a police department which handles migrant-related affairs in Russia.
Citizens of Kazakhstan can stay in Russia for up to 90 days, but the law requires them to register with the police if they intend to stay in Russia longer than 30 days. For citizens of Tajikistan, this registration-free term is reduced to 15 days; for citizens of Moldova this term is even shorter and amounts to 7 days.
Citizens of the above-mentioned countries are allowed to extend their stay in Russia for up to one year if they obtain a work permit or come to study.
Up to 90 days
Citizens of several other countries are allowed to visit Russia without a visa and stay in the country for up to 90 days during every 180-day-long (6 months) period. Countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela and South Africa fall into this category. However, their citizens are not allowed to work or engage in any commercial-related activities during their visa-free stay in the country.
Up to 60 and 30 days
Citizens of Cuba, Montenegro, Thailand and South Korea may also visit Russia visa-free. Cubans can stay in Russia for up to 90 days. Thai nationals can stay in Russia up to 30 days without a visa. Citizens of South Korea are allowed to stay in the country for up to 60 days, citizens of Montenegro – up to 30 days. Сitizens of Serbia have the right to visa-free entry into Russia only if they have a biometric passport issued after 2008.
Residents of Macau are also allowed to enter Russia without a visa and stay for 30 days. Residents of Hong Kong may also travel to Russia visa-free, but can only stay a maximum of 14 days in the country. Chinese citizens, however, require a Russian visa.
An interesting fact is that foreigners arriving by ferry from Helsinki or Tallinn to St. Petersburg can stay freely in the country for up to 72 hours without any additional requirements, but provided that they stay overnight on the ship.