Russia Health & Security
Health and personal security
When you visit Russia, you’ll find it’s a safe country. In the unlikely event you need help, people will be ready to offer it.
Of course, as always when going abroad, it’s useful to take precautions: if you have any medical conditions that require special attention, make yourself known to staff who provide healthcare services in advance, take out health insurance, and make sure you know your emergency contact numbers.
Important phone numbers:
112 – Emergency phone line, in English and Russian
102 – Police contact line
For your safety, we recommend you carry your passport and health insurance with you at all times. There’s a chance a member of the police might approach you, quoting his name and rank, and then ask you to show your ID documents. This is a standard counter-terrorism safety measure in Russia, so if asked, you should show your documents to the policeman.
Tourist police in Moscow
In Moscow, you will find qualified tourist police officers who can speak your language. As well as ensuring safety and order in public spaces, these policemen will answer your questions about Moscow and help you find your way around.
The policemen patrol pedestrian areas in Moscow – you will see them on Red, Revolution and Tverskaya Squares and several other locations which are popular with tourists.
In 2018, the service was introduced to other Russian cities which hosted the FIFA World Cup. It is likely that tourist police will soon appear on the streets of other cities in Russia.
Every pharmacy, or apteka in Russian, has a green cross sign by the entrance. Alternatively, look for a green “АПТЕКА” sign.
Pharmacies in Russia generally open from 8.00-10.00am to 7.00-8.00pm; some city pharmacies are open 24/7. In smaller towns, pharmacies often have an hour break from 1.00 to 2.00pm or from 2.00 to 3.00pm.
Most medicines are sold without prescription, and you will need a doctor’s authorisation only for medicines containing narcotic drugs.
Below are some of the most common Russian medicine brands for various symptoms:
- Cold relief: Antigrippin, Coldrex, Theraflu
- Anti-virus: Ibuprofen, Amiksin
- Nasal spray: Otrivin, Tisin
- Sore throat: Geksoral
- Stomach ache: Charcoal (Russian: oogol)
- Diarrhoea: Imodium, Smekta
- Heartburn: Gastal, Renni
- Painkiller: Nurofen
- Pulled muscles – Fastum gel
For visitors with diabetes
Insulin can be purchased in 40 u/ml or 100 u/ml concentration. Note that not all smaller pharmacies sell insulin. Large chain pharmacies are more likely to have it in stock without the need to pre-order online: Doktor Stoletov (Доктор Столетов), Samson-Farma (Самсон-Фарма) and IFK (ИФК) (Moscow); Baltika-Med (Балтика-Мед) and Fialka (Фиалка) (St Petersburg).
The largest pharmacy chains in Russia are 36.6, Rigla (Ригла), Planeta Zdorovia (Планета Здоровья), and АСНА.
24-hour pharmacy chains in central Moscow: A5, Planeta Zdorovia (Планета Здоровья), Samson-Farma (Самсон-Фарма) and Econom (ЭкономЪ).
24-hour pharmacies in central St Petersburg: Nevis (АПТЕКА НЕВИС), Fialka (Фиалка) and Doctor Stoletov (Доктор Столетов).
Although you can travel to Russia visa-free, we strongly recommend every visitor takes out standard tourist health insurance valid in Russia which would cover all the expenses for medical assistance, if – hopefully, not – it is required.
Your insurance allows you to get medical treatment and hospitalisation in addition to free emergency help which all foreign visitors to Russia are entitled to.
In an emergency
Dial 112, an emergency toll-free contact line. The call can be made even from a blocked phone and without a network signal.
- In case of fire, call 101 from a mobile and 01 from landlines
- To contact the police, call 102 from a mobile and 02 from landlines
- For health-related emergencies, call 103 from a mobile and 03 from landlines