Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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Re: Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Post by steven »

Hi Rögnvaldur,

In terms of traffic-related deaths, Russia is on par with Armenia and twice as safe as Iran. Turkey and Georgia are much better, though. ... death_rate

Bandits and burglars? I guess that happens. Couldn't comment, but haven't heard of them sofar.

Police: yes, I think that is the likeliest option, especially in Chechnya and Dagestan police might question you thinking you are a spy. And if you break the rules, they will catch you, and you will have to pay. Bribes without reason are less likely in Russia these days I would say.
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Re: Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Post by stephjoy »


I struggled to find up to date and specific information on crossing the border from Russia to Georgia, so I'm sharing the route I took in November 2017.

I flew from Moscow to Vladikavkaz and stayed in a hostel for a night. In the morning (Friday), the hostel manager (who spoke no English, we were using google translate) said there was a bus leaving from Bus Station No 1, which is located on Arkhonskoye Highway in Vladikavkaz, at 10:10am and it was 700 rubals. When I arrived by taxi to the bus station, the bus was already full. Apparently there was a minivan leaving at 11am for 900 rubals however, that too was full.

There were a number of taxi drivers standing out the front of the bus station, and a helpful Russian lady and a random man who spoke some English helped me find a driver who was going to Tbilisi. When the car filled up we left. It cost me 1,500 rubal for the journey.

When we got to the Zemo Larsi/Verkhnij Lars border crossing (about an hour or so from Vladikavkaz) we showed our passports to the Russian offical. 3 of 5 people in the car were allowed to pass (all Russian) however, me (Australian) and a Russian passenger were asked to step to the side and wait for a minute. We were both then interrogated by Russian officials for about an hour. No one at the border spoke English, and it was only by luck that there was an English speaking Russian in my car who could act as my translator. If he was not there, I was told they would have had to call a translator which could have taken a serious amount of time. The interrogating wasn't intimidating, but they wanted where I had spent each day in the country, if I knew any Russians, if I had made friends, where I was going, how I could afford to travel etc etc

When they finally gave us back our passports we drove through no mans land to Georgia, and from there it was a pretty painless process. A quick check that Australians were allowed in the country without a visa, a stamp in the passport and away we were.

We did get caught in a blizzard along the Georgian Military Highway, but the driver was experienced and handled it well.

We got dropped off at a central bus station in Tbilisi, walked a very short distance to the metro and jumped on a train to the city.

I am 24, female, travelling alone and speak basically no Russian.
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Re: Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Post by jelger »

rkvis wrote:on the other hand i read much about being bribed by police, road bandits, burglars en traffic accidents in Russia. Therefore i am not sure if it´s worth to take the risk and drive through Russia. Most forums on the internet about this are some years old. Does someone know how the roadsafety is from Georgia to Latvia by Rostov on Don, Voronezh, Smolensk?
Probably outdated to reply this, but for future travellers.

In the North Caucasus republics that you'll cross (North Ossetia-Alania, Kabardino-Balkaria, Stavropol Krai and Krasnodar Krai) you will see quite a few traffic police, more than further up north. Higher risk of getting bribed. Happened to me. It always happens to me at least once in Russia. There a few DPS checkpoints to be passed as well.

The road to from Kazbeg/Larsi to Moscow is safe, and mostly upgraded in recent years and in good condition.. Most of it is upgraded to 2 + 2 highways. I haven't experienced any seriously dangerous situations.
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Re: Russia-Georgia border update

Post by brigante32 »

16th April crossing from Georgia. One hour questioning by the FSB. Reason? First time in Russia and my passport (especially visas from Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan). After that they help me catch hitch-hiking.
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Re: Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Post by CallumT »

Crossed this border today with my partner. Like most foreign tourists we were pulled aside for questioning, although the man who spoke to us was actually quite friendly. Perhaps it was because I knew some basic Russian, but compared to when we crossed into Russia from Mongolia this was a breeze. Nobody there speaks any English though.

Fortunately for me I had brought what was essentially a complete biography of myself translated into Russian with me. As an Australian I needed one to apply for the Russian visa in Tbilisi and being able to give that to the officer made a huge difference I think.

Total crossing from arriving at the Georgian post to leaving the Russian post took about 3 hours. Surprisingly easy if still annoying with the whole background check questioning
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Re: Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Post by zoey_wong »

I entered Russia from Georgia on 9 October this year. There is a bus departing everyday at 5am from Tbilisi to Vladikavkaz at Dibube terminal, if you miss this bus there are private drivers going the same way before 5pm. I paid 50 Gel after bargaining, and it should take 4 hours without problems at border.

I used British passport (overseas nationals) for Georgia and Hong Kong SAR passport for Russia. Both sides went very smooth they just asked me one or two simple questions. They even didn't check my luggages. It may help that I understand a little Russian.
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Re: Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Post by Granite2018 »

Crossed into Russia in early July and back out again at the same border crossing a few weeks later.

I asked my hostel in Tbilisi about the 5am bus from Didube (bus station) and was told that it no longer runs and that shared taxis from Didube are now the only option, costing 50 Lari for a seat. When I arrived at Didube, the drivers told me it was 60 Lari and refused to negotiate. There appears to be a fixed price on this route now, 1,500 RUB/60 or 65 Lari (depending on exchange rate).

After about 45 minutes waiting, the car was full and we left.

Georgian side of the border was a breeze and we were on our way to the Russian side after ten minutes. The Russian border guard stamped my passport and told me to wait, the same happened to a young Russian woman who was in the same car. Turns out she was a journalist at an opposition newspaper. This and the fact that I was an EU male who speaks Russian put a target on my back. We were both interrogated by a plain clothes FSB officer for about 30-45 minutes each and then allowed to continue. All personnel at the border behaved professionally.

I stayed at Diamond Hotel in Vladikavkaz, who refused to register me with immigration/interior ministry. So after two nights, I went to another hostel near the train station, Hostel Podkova, who did register me. That evening, I was taken by immigration police to their HQ and questioned for four hours by the FSB about my trip, why I hadn't already registered etc. Etc... Overall, an annoyance and waste of time. Turns out Hotel Diamond was raided a week later and fined for not registering foreigners properly. Give them a miss and go to Podkova.

Leaving Russia was a breeze, both sides of the border were fast. I went with a shared taxi again, but found out later that there is a daily mashrutka (weekdays anyway, don't know about weekends) which departs VK Avtovokzal at 10:00 and costs 700 RUB.
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Re: Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Post by Felix1993 »

A while ago now, but crossing this border in July 2019 I had a very long, frustrating but not otherwise unpleasant experience crossing from Georgia into Russia.

I came up from Tbilisi on a shared taxi, the only foreigner (UK passport) in a car full of Russians. At the border post, the officer took my passport and asked me to wait on one side. I was kept for almost an hour waiting on my own outside the border hut; so long that my shared taxi from Tbilisi had to leave because the other passengers had a flight to catch. The border guard had said she was calling a colleague to come up from Vladikavkaz, but after a while, one of the other uniformed guards just took me to an office in the barracks and asked a *long* series of easy, and entirely non-intrusive questions about myself. Parents, jobs, etc - the stuff you have to give on any visa form.

The problem, as they told me, was that they didn't like the fact that I'd exited Russia through Dagestan two or so weeks before. I suspect it was just local Ossetian guards being suspicious of Dagestan as chaotic and dangerous more than anything else. For what it's worth, a friend of mine who did the same route on an Israeli passport a few months later had a similar thing - he was taken aside for a bit too, told them he was heading for Dagestan, and the guards strongly warned him against it. As such, if there's any hint of travel involving Dagestan, Chechnya or Ingushetia, I'd expect a bit of a wait at Verkhniy Lars.

I was in the office for about two hours (my interviewer was multitasking on about eight other things the whole time!).

The positive post script is that after I'd missed my taxi, the guards found me an alternative ride to Vladikavkaz in another share taxi. Nice guy.
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Re: Georgia to Russia Border crossing (Zemo Larsi - Chertov Most)

Post by Yourneighbourtotoro »

It's been good to read all your responses, as I'm planning on making the trip next year. Any idea what it might be like for a late 20s solo female British tourist who doesn't speak Russian? Easier, or would they give me a hard time?

I've been to Russia before (Trans-siberian trip) with an old visa in my passport, and Georgia several times.
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