Below you will find a list of the countries the citizens of which enjoy visa-free travel to Russia. If you are not a national of one of these countries (and do not have diplomatic status) you will need to obtain a Russian visa in your country of residence before you depart for Russia.
There is, however, one small exception. If you are traveling to St. Petersburg for up to 72 hours on a cruise ship (on the condition that you are sleeping on the ship and are accompanied by an authorized tour guide) or on ferries from Helsinki and Tallinn with St. Peter Line, you do not need a visa. There has been talk of extending this privilege to passengers on the Allegro train from Helsinki, but to date train passengers still need to get a visa. To find out more about visa-free travel for up to 72 hours, see our Step-by-step guide to getting a Russian visa page.
Countries the citizens of which can travel to Russia without visas are divided into four groups with different requirements and different limitations on length of stay. Even if you do not need a visa to enter Russia, you will certainly need a passport valid for at least six months after the date of your proposed exit from Russia, and you may require other official documents. Also bear in mind that, even if you don't require a visa to enter Russia, you will still need to register with the Federal Migration Service upon arrival.
Countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine.
Citizens of the countries of the CIS (the Commonwealth of Independent States) are permitted to stay in the Russian Federation for up to 90 days without a visa.
Countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela.
Citizens of these countries are allowed to stay in the Russian Federation without a visa for up to 90 days in each 180-day period, provided they will not be involved in any commercial or work-related activities during their stay.
Countries: Cuba, Montenegro, Serbia (with biometric passport), Thailand, Hong Kong SAR (up to 14 days), Macao SAR.
Please note that citizens of Turkey no longer qualify for visa-free travel to Russia (starting January 1 2016).
Citizens of the countries in this group can stay in the Russian Federation for up to 30 days without a visa. They are not entitled to work while in Russia.
Countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia.