ET_ wrote:Rate seems to be 17 at the moment (10 Oct)
There is some big CIS head of government meeting in town so our hotel (swarming with secret service types and dignitaries) would only offer us the offical rate.
The aforementioned ‘iPhone’ shop in the Russian Bazaar was easy to find and efficient, offering me 17 for my $100 bill.
Other managed to get a rate of 15 with our tour bus driver
This is exactly the situation i've been to, during these types of events oftentimes the WHOLE city will be cordoned off (absolutely no joke), and being stuck in the city is a surreal expirience. Most locals are forced to stay at home, and some are subjected to participate in "Chare".