Work and Travel in Russian Federation
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR TRAVELLERS
Russia is full of interesting and exciting possibilities, and your relationship to the country will depend very much on what you make of it! There are many potential benefits of making a journey here, from the extraordinary nature to the fascinating culture experiences you can have. You will find that Russians' attitude towards you will be much better if you can speak at least a little of the language, and likewise, your experience may be very different depending on which part of the country you are in.
As for work opportunities, assuming you're not a high-level corporate professional, your best bet in Russia is to work as a language teacher. English is the most in demand, though German, French, and Italian are all quite popular as well. While certified teachers can earn quite a good salary, it is also possible to teach as a volunteer in many places in exchange for living expenses. In the major urban centers like Moscow and Saint Petersburg, it's relatively easy to find students for private lessons, though you should be aware that Russian society overall is quite educated and will spot an unqualified teacher quickly. If you know what you're doing, however, your students are sure to find you more students rather quickly.
Another possibility is working in a restaurant or bar. If you've got good interpersonal skills, it is quite possible to find some work in Moscow. You'll find that Russian society is very good at networking and if people respect your skills and qualification, then they will often go out of their way to help you find a good situation. You may also work as a nanny or private teacher/mentor for children. While Russians are usually looking for candidates with very high qualifications and are ready to pay a premium for such teachers, people with less money will sometimes offer room and board in exchange for some time spent teaching their children.
As for work in rural areas, such as farms or in villages away from the big urban areas, you should think long and hard before you agree to such a situation and be very precise about all the details. Russia is huge and such places can often be very, very far away from any kind of meaningful infrastructure. It could end up costing you a lot of money just to manage to get to the place, and if you encounter any kind of emergency, you could be very far from any meaningful assistance.
Volunteering opportunities are increasing regularly in Russia. At the moment, such work centers around official organizations, though individuals are starting to realize the positive possibilities that such exchange or volunteer work can present, and they are more frequently participating in sites like this one.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR RUSSIAN FEDERATION
I can only speak to the situation as it regards US citizens. If you're coming to Russia to work formally as a volunteer for a specific organization, they should handle all the visa requirements for you. However, it is possible to enter Russia on a multiple-entry Business visa and work as a volunteer, as long as you indicate your intention on the migration card you receive when you first enter the country:
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN RUSSIAN FEDERATION
What kinds of work are available in the spring time in Russian Federation. Remember to keep work that is all year round in the section above and not mention it again here.
There are English language camps for children year round, but in Summer their numbers increase dramatically. Many of them offer paid positions which require a visa, but it's not that difficult for native speakers to get hooked up as a volunteer at a summer camp. You probably won't get paid and you'll have to get there yourself, but they'll feed you and give you a place to sleep, usually in a beautiful natural area. You'll also have lots of fun playing camp games with the kids.
After the heat of the summer has passed but before the frigid snow of winter sets in, now is a good time to head to Russian cities to book up work, either in bars or restaurants, or teaching English. Walking tours would be most pleasant at this time of year as well, so if you have some city guiding experience, you may want to link up with some opportunities here.
Winter in Russia will be an extreme experience in all parts of the country except the extreme southwest, so be prepared.
Dombay and Sochi are the main ski resorts in the country, so this is a good place to start if you have had experience working in other resorts. It's imperative that you speak Russian, however.
If you're still struggling with your Russian language skills, then booking up work with a host family may not earn you money, but will go a long way in preparing you for future work opportunities in the country.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN RUSSIAN FEDERATION
As far as work is concerned, being an expat in Russia can be a big advantage. Qualified professionals from abroad are generally among the best paid foreign specialists worldwide and are widely respected. On a personal level, adult Russians are not generally friendly or open at first to complete strangers. However, if you make the effort to make a connection with someone, they will generally respond quite positively. Though many Russians have negative opinions towards foreign politics, they seldom hold this against visitors from those countries and can be very hospitable.
People in cities are mostly open-minded and interested in finding foreign friends. It's not unusual for a Russian to offer to show a foreigner around the city and some may even invite you to stay in their flat for a night or two. Unlike in many other countries, there are no 'small' or really even 'mid-sized' cities in Russia. Outside the developed urban areas there are only villages and the attitudes of the people there towards foreigners can be unpredictable, depending partly on what kind of people live there and on which part of the world you are from. Also, there's very little chance that there's anything for you to do in a village, so it's best to leave such places up to truly adventurous travellers.