How Do I Address a Letter to Russia?

No one knows where life will lead you. Maybe you’ll have to send a letter to Russia one day. Maybe the day has already come. The task is more complicated than expected as the world’s largest and most mysterious country is not that helpful when it comes to understanding its rules. All you should know about Russia that there are rules but abiding by them is a rare thing.

They say you should write the address in reverse to what is common globally. That’s true — but that’s not the case. Most Russian people are still used to the old, country-to-street order while the international, street-to-country order is now advised by delivery services.

Well, this means you can choose whatever you want.

Follow the Advice by Russian Post

Being the biggest Russian postal delivery service, Russian Post (Pochta Rossii) writes as follows:

Please make your writing legible.

Write the recipient’s address to the lower right of the envelope. Write the sender’s address to the upper left of the envelope.

The address should include:

  • The recipient’s full name with last name indicated first, followed by first name and patronymic (a Russian equivalent of middle name);
  • Name of the street, house number, apartment number;
  • Name of district, region (oblast, krai, or republic);
  • Name of country;
  • POB, if any;
  • Postal code in a special format

Write every bullet point in a separate line.

Official instructions from Russian Post website

Postal Code Special Format

As you have noticed Russian Post suggests to put down the postal code in a special format. And if you buy an envelope at one of the Russian Post's offices, it will feature a dedicated place for the postal code in that format.

Putting down the postal code in this special format is not mandatory. It just means that your letter may be processed automatically and will be delivered faster. It is perfectly fine if you write it by hand. In this case your letter will be processed manually (i.e. slowly), but still delivered anyway. Just put down the postal code right below the address, and make sure the digits are big and legible.

Keep Track of the Detail

Keep in mind that Russian addresses can be both translated and transliterated.

If you have your Russian address both in Russian and in English, arrange it according to the advice above and indicate the address in Russian below the address in English. It is OK to have 1 address written in different languages just in case.

If you have your Russian address in English only, and it has obviously been transliterated (no streets and buildings, only weird "ulitsa", "pereulok", "korpus" etc.), just arrange it according to your choice and let it be.

If you have your Russian address translated into English (with streets, regions and houses) but no original address in Russian, arrange it according to your choice and let it be, hoping that the local postal officer knows English just enough to understand it.

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