The country’s main postal service is Russian Post, which has a rather affordable price range and relatively longer delivery times (unless you choose to pay for express options). If you want to send a simple letter or even a postcard, we’ve shared tips on this in one of our previous articles.
Here’s what you need to know when sending a package with Russian Post:
- First of all, to send or receive a parcel, you will need your passport. However, you can make the process simpler by registering an account on the official website of the service. Then, you will just receive confirmation codes on your phone when you come to pick up a parcel. This comes in especially handy if you’ve picked Russian Post as the delivery option for your online order. For additional convenience, you can download the service’s official app (iOS, Android).
- Even though deliveries might take longer than with alternative services described below, the prices are comparatively lower. For instance, sending a 1 kg package from St. Petersburg to Novosibirsk will cost around 300 rubles and take 2-5 days. You can calculate the price and delivery time for various routes (including international ones) on this page.
- If you are sending a package abroad, you will need to fill out a customs declaration form in English, including a description of the contents.
- When sending any type of parcel, you will get a tracking number that you can use to check on its whereabouts along the way. There are also other options available. For instance, you can choose to insure the contents of your parcel so that you can get a full or partial refund if anything happens to it during delivery. Another option (for smaller packages under 5 kg) is the “first-class parcel”: in this case, it will be mostly delivered by air mail, which will ensure a faster delivery to remote locations. You can find more types of deliveries here (in Russian).
- And what if you wish something to be delivered ASAP? Then you can opt for the EMS courier service – a pricier option that comes with the bonus of your parcel being delivered not to a post office, but to your addressee’s home or office. EMS packages are also trackable, so you will always be able to check where it is once you’ve sent it. As of 2023, the prices start from about 2,000 rubles for a package under 1 kg.
- Pro tip: it’s always best to find a Russian-speaking friend or Buddy who will help you with all the documents and formalities at the post office.
In addition to the big boss, Russian Post, there's no lack of reliable courier companies ready to mail your parcels within Russia and abroad. Most of these companies require only a passport when sending packages. Their websites allow you to calculate shipping costs based on weight, delivery terms, and destination, and in some cases, even prepare an invoice in advance. And once your package is on the way, you can track its progress using the same website.
Boxberry is best suited for small-scale deliveries, as the weight of one package is limited to 15 kg (you can send several to one address). The service provides free boxes and envelopes for their clients, but there’s also an opportunity to do your packing at home.
CDEK’s key advantage is the variety of rates for shipment: from urgent deliveries throughout the country and worldwide to special deals for those relocating to a new city. For added convenience, customers can join the CDEK ID loyalty program to access discounts and receive parcels without needing a passport.
Delovye Linii handles both documents and large shipments. It’s a major company that also provides services for businesses, e-commerce, and goods manufacturers.
Let's compare these three courier companies to see which one is the best option for your needs, using the calculators built into their websites. If you are sending a small box at a basic rate, Boxberry offers the fastest delivery, while CDEK provides the lowest price. On the other hand, if you need to send a 30 kg suitcase, both CDEK and Delovye Linii offer similar estimated delivery times, but CDEK's services are almost twice as expensive.
Once again proving themselves to be resourceful people, the Russians have found a way to send their goods for a low cost via Avito, a classified advertisement website that has introduced in-app delivery for just 49 rubles. Users create the ad for their goods and enable in-app delivery. Then, using a friend's or a family member's account, they purchase the item from themselves, paying the price of the goods and a delivery. When the goods arrive, they get their money back, having paid only 49 rubles for delivery as a result.
While this method is not prohibited by Avito and does not violate any of the platform's rules, some may question its ethical implications. It's also worth noting that the delivery discount is only available for the first three orders.