Monthly Archives: August 2011

Trying to get a Russian visa is about as fun as getting punched in the face. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the wait, uncertainty, and feeling of helplessness can be quite unbearable, especially for anally retentive Type-A personalities like me. For those of you who don’t know, in order to get a Russian visa, you have to receive a letter of invitation. That can be from a university, a friend you’re staying with, a work place, etc. More often than not, tourists go through an agency that issue the visa directly, but those visas are only good for 3 months maximum, and I don’t think that they can get extended. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. The inherent problem with the letter of invitation is that there are many different types of visas one can choose from, but only a few are able to be extended to a stay of 12 months. Letters also take a month to make — I don’t completely understand why, since it’s basically a stamped piece of paper that has your name, passport number, and destination typed onto it.

In my case, my original host university messed up the letter of invitation twice — they had registered me for the wrong kind of visa, and I would have only been able to stay in Russia for 3 months. So after being reassigned to another university, I had to wait some more while they processed a new letter of invitation. I just got wind that the letter is almost done, and that it should be sent to me by DHL any time now. That’s some very welcomed news, because this has been the longest summer of my life.

Hoping to enter Russia somewhere around the middle of September. It’d be nice to catch a few warm days before it turns to winter.


Due to bureaucratic mishaps, I am no longer going to be teaching at Oryol State Agrarian University, but instead, Ukhta State Technical University…which is located about 30 hrs  (by train) north-east of Moscow. It’s August, and the high is 50 F. To me, that means that there is only two seasons in this area — winter and almost winter. It’s taiga-licious. But, on the positive side, I did get what I wanted — to see a part of Russia outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg

Ukhta State Technical University

Ukhta, thanks to its oil deposits, is an industrial powerhouse. According to the city’s website, the area gained importance after the Revolution because of its large amounts of oil. In the 40’s, the city expanded with the “help” of prisoner labor. Awesome.

So now I wait some more. That’s the general theme of this blog so far — waiting and patience. And not being able to really plan anything in advance.