What is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to souvenirs from Russia? Of course, it is matryoshka, balalaika, vodka and caviar. Oh, and a hat with ear flaps as well! However, the ear flap hat is now in vogue, and has ceased to be such a rarity, vodka can be bought almost anywhere in the world.
Numerous souvenir shops are vying to sell magnets, mugs and T-shirts with slogans and thematic images (flag and coat of arms of Russia, funny sayings, bears, portraits of politicians and well-known writers), sailor's striped vests, as well as handicrafts. Khokhloma, Gzhel, enamel, birch amulets and Vologda lacework… the assortment is huge! But when you make purchases, don’t lower your guard.
Some unscrupulous sellers may try to sell you cheaper and substandard imitations. Of course, most of the shops have certificates for their goods and buy them directly from factories and workshops.
To help you not to get lost in all this colorful variety and tell how and where it is better to buy particular products, we have prepared separate articles for you on Russian folk crafts.
It makes sense to look for more valuable and rare souvenirs in antique shops.
Old coins, porcelain figurines of the Soviet era, icons, clocks, badges, decorations - one does not know where to look first!
But even here there are potential pitfalls. Apart from the fact that the seller may seriously inflate the price of what you want to buy, arguing that it is older or more valuable than it really is, there may be problems taking it out of the country.
As of today, it is prohibited to take any items of cultural value (books, figurines, icons, pictures, etc.), created prior to January 1, 1964 out of the country.
Important note: items of cultural value do not include cultural goods of serial and mass production, or modern souvenirs.
However, sometimes even an item of mass production manufactured over fifty years ago may attract the close attention of the customs service. If you want to protect yourself from unforeseen delays and undesired proceedings (the item is likely to stay with you, which, alas, cannot be said of your nerve cells), you can send the purchase to your own address by mail, after packing it carefully to avoid damage. Make sure that the package has a warning sign if the item is fragile.
Are you a little confused with all this information? Our team members are always ready to help you navigate all the rules, addresses, products and prices!
You will definitely find something to your liking and within your budget with all the variety of great Russian souvenirs!