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Visa-Free on a Russian Passport (Photo Essay)

Obtaining a Schengen, British or American visa is notoriously tricky and unpredictable for Russian citizens, making trips abroad hard to plan, but Russian citizens do not need a visa to enter 94 countries. (See also TMT's recent news reports on Russia's visa negotiations with the EU: here, here and here)

The Henley Visa Restrictions Index, which ranks countries based on the number of other countries its citizens have visa-free access to, places Russia 49th, in-between South Africa and Montenegro.

While the Black Sea and Turkey see their fair share of Moscow tourists, here are 10 less-traveled destinations for the upcoming New Year's break that take advantage of a Russian passport.

1. Morocco

Essaouria, near Marrakech, is a haven for surfers. (Antonio Caselli / Flickr)

Surfing in winter? Morocco has some of the best waves during this time of the year. Russian citizens can stay for up to 90 days with a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds.

2. Seychelles

Port Victoria, the capital of Seychelles. (Wikimedia Commons)

An island archipelago in the Indian ocean, Seychelles is the least-populated African state. It is also a favorite getaway for Russian oligarchs, who be there for up to 30 days without a visa.

3. Argentina

Argentina's capital Buenos Aires is the most visited South American city, and is known for its European-style architecture and rich cultural life. (Beatrice Murch / Wikicommons)

Argentina allows Russians to travel for 90 days without a visa. If this runs out, just take a boat from Buenos Aries across the River Plate to Montevideo, Uruguay for another visa-free 90 days. During winter in Russia, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, so more reason to stay longer.

4. Colombia

The skyline of the capital Bogotá, which sits at 2,265 meters above sea level. (Elviper / Wikimedia Commons)

Russians can stay the longest in Colombia, where 180 visa-free days should give travelers enough time for one to pick up some Spanish and some dance moves.

5. Cuba

The old-world charms of Havana, Cuba. (Nathan Laurell / Flickr)

Take a trip back into a past of pastel-colored houses and vintage cars for up to 30 days in Cuba. Aeroflot even flies direct from Moscow.

6. Brazil

Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, only 5 miles from Sugar Loaf Mountain. (bisonlux / Flickr)

Russia has great visa relations with many South American countries, and a trip around the continent, perhaps by motorcycle, to take in the sights of Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and many more countries is possible without a visa. Start in Brazil, where Russian travelers can stay 90 days on a Russian passport.

7. Jamaica

A six-pack of Red Stripe beer, cigarettes, and a phone card to call home are all you need on a beach like this in Jamaica. (Peter Q / Flickr)

"Soulful town, soulful people. Said, I see you're having fun. Dancing to the reggae rhythm. Oh, island in the sun," Bob Marley once sang about his native Jamaica. Nothing could be more far removed from a dreary Moscow winter. 30 days!

8. Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. (Sam Gao / Flickr)

A visa-free Southeast Asian beach holiday can be arranged with a Russian passport, which allows access to Malaysia for 30 days, Thailand for 30 days, Laos for 15 days and Vietnam for 15 days. Singapore also allows 96-hours visa-free transit, which should give tourists enough time to explore a large chunk of the small island nation.

Even if you choose not to leave Malaysia during your vacation, there are enough beaches, islands, bustling cities, rainforests and mountains to keep you occupied.

9. Fiji

The islands and clear waters of northern Fiji. (airpanther / Flickr)

Feel like floating around the Pacific for a while? Russian citizens can head to Fiji for 4 months with a return ticket and proof of funds. Guam, Micronesia, and the Cook Islands could make interesting stops along the way.

10. Israel

A Russian bookstore in Arad, Israel. (J Brew / Flickr)

If you really need the company of  other Russians during your holiday, there's always Israel, where the amount of Russians who vacation or have migrated there can help you feel right at home for up to 90 days. Furthermore, Russian is the second most widely-spoken foreign language after English in Israel.

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