There are a number of areas in Moscow where you can buy all kinds of traditional Russian souvenirs. The most popular one is Old Arbat. As you walk along the famous historic street you’ll see a lot of tourist stores that sell t-shirts, Ushanka hats, matryoshka dolls, military watches, fridge magnets and lots of other Russian souvenirs. Check out the list of the most popular gifts that tourists love to buy in Moscow.

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Matryoshka Dolls

russian matryoshka dolls

Price: $16.96

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Made of: Real Linden Wood

Features: Beautiful Traditional Painting

CHECK AVAILABILITY ON AMAZON Matryoshka nested dolls are among the most popular products to take home from Russia. Sometimes you can hear tourists calling them babushka dolls or just stacking dolls. The staff working at local gift shops usually understands what they refer to, so it’s not a problem. The original name of this national souvenir actually comes from 2 words:
  1. The first one is female name “Matryona” that was popular in old Russia.
  2. The second one is Latin word “mater” translated as mother.
The typical design of Russian Matryoshka resembles a woman wearing traditional clothes and scarf on her head. There are lots of modern matreshka designs that include Soviet political leaders, cartoon characters and even rock stars. Lime tree is the most common type of wood used to make matryoshkas. There is a wood processing technique, used by the ancient woodworkers to build the famous souvenir.

The main feature of every Matryoshka is the number of nested dolls in a set. A typical set includes up to 5 dolls. There are unique options that have up to 40 wooden figures. The price of Matryoshkas increases with the number of dolls nested inside.

Moscow Mule Copper Mugs

Moscow mule mugs

Price: $21.97

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Made of: 100% Food Safe & Pure Copper

Features: Good quality handcrafting

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The demand for Moscow Mule Copper Mugs remains at high levels among tourists that want to bring an authentic gift from Russia back to their home countries. They get really surprised to find out that the copper mug has nothing to do with Moscow or Russia.

The drink was actually invented in US half a century ago. They mixed vodka with ginger beer and complemented the beverage with a squeeze of fresh lime. Some bars started serving the drink in copper mugs that have become inseparable from the beverage.

Some local gift shops follow the demand and sell Moscow Mule Copper Mugs to the tourists visiting Russia. A lot of people actually enjoy buying Moscow Copper Mugs in Moscow!

Russia 2018 World Cup Souvenirs

Moscow FIFA 2018 zabivaka toy

Price: $9.95

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Materials: Hypoallergenic materials used

Type: Soft stuffed plush toy

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Moscow FIFA Cup 2018 t-shirt

Price: $19.99

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Materials: 100% Cotton

Type: FIFA 2018 graphic t-shirt, officially licensed

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Russia has successfully hosted the 21st FIFA World Cup in summer of 2018. Soccer fans from all over the world enjoyed watching 64 games that took place on 12 stadiums in 11 cities.

The World Cup featured a lot of memorable moments and unexpected results. No one has expected Germany to rank as the lowest scoring team.

There are lots of Russia 2018 World Cup souvenirs that are sold all over the city. During his last visit to Moscow, one of my colleagues brought a whole bunch of gifts including a stuffed mascot of the World Cup 2018 called Zabivaka for his son and a T shirt with the World Cup Trophy Logo for himself.

Again you can find lots of these gift at Amazon.

Ushanka Fur Hats

Russian fur hat ushanka

Price: $16.97

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Type: Military style winter fur hat with Soviet Red Star badge

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Soviet army hat Ushanka helped soldiers fighting in World War 2 to survive extreme weather conditions. The name “Ushanka” comes from the Russian word “ushi”, translated as ears. The name underlines how critical it is to keep ears warm especially during cold months in Siberia!

During 70s, 80s and 90s ushanka was the most common kind of hat worn by majority of Russian boys and men during winter season. This started to change after collapse of the Soviet Union. Today it’s less common to see people wearing ushankas in larger cities of Russia, especially Moscow. There are modern versions of Ushankas made by fashion designers that you can encounter in cities like Moscow or Saint Petersburg worn by younger generation.

In general, the further you move away from the capital the more people wearing ushankas you’ll see in the streets. Today you can find numerous Ushanka hats sold at most of the tourist shops around the country. Tourists love buying ushankas as souvenirs that are closely associated with Russia and Soviet Union.

Most of Ushanka hats sold at souvenir stores are made of fake fur. You can also find ushankas made of real fur that are much more expensive depending on type of fur used.

Russian Vostok Watches

Russian Vostok Kommandirskie watch

Price: $103.00

Name: Vostok Komandirskie Automatic

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Type: Watch of official supplier of the Defense Department of the Soviet Union

Features: 200 m (660 feet) Water Resistant

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Similar to most of the well-known Soviet brands Vostok Watchmakers Company started its production during 1940s. Their key objective was to supply Soviet army during World War 2. The company produced high precision mechanical devices used in smart delayed-action mines and tanks.

During the post-war years Vostok Watchmakers Company started using it’s high tech military devices expertise to produce wrist watches.

Vostok Production Company was granted its official supplier of USSR Ministry of Defense status in the late 1960s. That’s when they released two of their most iconic watch models: Komandirskie (“the Commander’s watch”) and Amphibia. The latter model featured water-resistance up 200 meters deep.

The company had some special standards applied to the production of watches sold to the Ministry of Defense. All of these watches were marked with “ЗАКАЗ МО СССР” tag on the back side, translated as “Ordered by the Ministry of Defense of USSR”.

Russian Vostok Amphibian watch

Price: $91.90

Name: Vostok Amphibian Divers Automatic

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Type: Watch of official supplier of the Defense Department of the Soviet Union

Features: 200m (660 feet) Water Resistant

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None of these watches were available to the general public. Instead they were sold through some special military retail stores that required a “Military Id” from their customers.

Today you can purchase your Komandirskie or Amphibia watches at the stores located in Moscow and other major cities of the country. Usually they sell the updated versions of all the famous Vostok watches.

The most rare and valuable Vostok timepieces are the ones produced during Soviet times and marked with the “Ordered by the Ministry of Defense of USSR” tag.

Russian Shawls

Russian shawl

Price: $25.99

Name: Vostok Amphibian Divers Automatic

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Type: 53L*53W Inches big size square shape fashion scarves with fringe

Details: Perfect and Stylish in Any weather

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Pavlovsky Posad is a small town located 45 miles away from Moscow. The town is well known for its factory that produces various types of Russian shawls and scarves. The production facility is more than 200 years old and still uses a lot of the sewing techniques that make these national products so unique.

There are three things that make shawls produced in Pavlovsky Pasad a great gift that you can bring home from Russia.

  • The shawls are made using top quality 100% wool.
  • Beautiful color paintings designed by professional craftsmen
  • Russian shawl is really warm that makes it an essential piece for all winter outfits
  • Original shawls are really durable and can be used for many years
How and where to wear them? The best way to wear a Russian shawl is to put it over the shoulders. This way it becomes a great addition to any outfit at home or at work. Some women prefer to use it as head wear.

Russian Vodka

Russian vodka shot glass

Price: $39.98

Name: SET of 6 Russian Cut Crystal Shot Glasses

Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

Type: 24K gold rimmed stemless shot shooter

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Vodka will always remain a substantial part of Russian culture. Just keep in mind that a huge part of the vodka market in Russia is dominated by its cheap illegal versions that can damage your health.

Good quality vodka is sold at major supermarket chains and in many cases remains unaffordable to a lot of people living in remote towns and villages of the country.

I think that despite the fact that you can buy vodka anywhere in the world, a bottle purchased in the source country makes an excellent gift.

Caviar

Russian caviar

Price: $61.80

Name: Pink Salmon Roe (Alaskan) caviar is commonly used at high end restaurants

Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars

Type: Rich in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats

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Caviar is considered another national product enjoyed both by the locals and tourists from all over the world.

There are two types of caviar: red and white. Red caviar is fish roe that comes from various kinds of salmon. Black caviar is fish roe that comes from sturgeon.

The most common type of caviar is “red” and it’s sold at all major retails chains in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Caviar is an integral part of the list of dishes served on New Year eve. Russians love eating caviar on top of white bread covered with a thin layer of butter.

Here are some decent options you can buy on Amazon (don’t forget to also buy white bread and butter!).

Gzhel

Russian gzhel

Price: $24.99

Name: Russian Gzhel styled cup and saucer

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Material: Porcelain

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Gzel is another small town about 15 miles away from Moscow. Several hundred years ago local craftsmen discovered a way to make white porcelain mass that was used to produce various pottery items.

Local production plant became the largest producer of these porcelain items in the country during the early 1800s.

Today Gzhel porcelain is one of the well known national products recognized all over the world. Each blue-and-white piece is beautifully designed with precise detail making it a great Russian gift.

Faberge Eggs

Russian faberge eggs

Price: $34.95

Name: Inspired by the Faberge Eggs of the Russian Czars, with exquisite scalloped edges!

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Dimensions: 3.25 inches tall

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The story of Faberge Eggs started in 1885 when the Russian emperor Alexander the 3rd decided to impress his wife with a high end jewelry Easter gift. The gift was ordered from a local jewelry company owned by Carl Faberge.

Company’s top craftsmen have managed to created one of the most elegant art jewelry pieces in the world decorated with diamonds and gold.

The emperor was so impressed by the result that he continued to order the so called Imperial Eggs from Carl Faberge every year. 50 Faberge Eggs were created for the Russian royal family during more than 30 years.

Each egg was a unique masterpiece that took up to 2 years to create. Inside, each egg contained a surprise. The most expensive egg is called “Winter” that has a basket of anemones inside.

Palekh Lacquer Boxes

Russian palekh box

Price: $29.97

Name: Hand Painted Palekh Box

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Dimensions: Handmade in Russia

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Another truly Russian gift worth mentioning is a Palekh Box. The national souvenir’s name comes from a small town located about 200 miles away from Moscow.

Two centuries ago Palekh was the center of religious icon-painting. After the revolution local craftsmen started using their skills to create Palekh boxes.

The top of a typical Palekh Box is decorated with unique colorful paintings made by hand. The detailed paintings are usually made on top of black background using gold color lines. Every box is covered with a thin layer of lacquer coating.

Russian Chocolates and Sweets

Russian candy Alenka

Price: $18.99

Name: Mishka Kosolapy, Belochka and Alenka Assorted Famous Russian Candies

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Notes: Produced by the famous Red October factory

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There is one Russian candy brand that is recognized at the international level called Alenka. They started to produce Alenka chocolate bars in 1965 as part of the government food program.

The production was ordered by Soviet government that picked Red October factory in Moscow to execute the program. The plan was to fulfill country wide demand for affordable confectionery products.

Red October management decided to start a competition to select the best design for the package. The most voted option had a picture of a girl wearing traditional scarf on her head.

There were some speculations about who that girl was in real life. Some people referred to her as the daughter of Stalin. I’m not sure if that’s really true though.

Cheburashka

Russian soft toy Cheburashka

Price: $16.00

Name: Soft stuffed plush toy (with face made of plastic)

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Details: Size 17cm (7")

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Cheburashka is a cartoon character that was created by Russian writer Eduard Uspensky in the 1960s. Cheburashka is known for his big ears and still remains popular among Russian kids. Cheburashka was featured in the original book as well as several cartoons. From 2004 to 2010, the character was used as an official mascot by the Russian Olympic team.

Cheburashka was extremely popular in Japan in late 2000’s following the premier of the locally produced cartoon series. Several European countries like Germany and Sweden also produced their own Cheburashka cartoons.

Budenovka

Budenovka Russian army hat

Price: $16.99

Name: Exact copy of the Red Army "budenovka" winter hat worn by the military during the Civil War in Russia

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Details: Made of 100% wool. Has folding flaps.

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Budenovka is a lighter version of Soviet army ushanka hat named after the famous Civil War general Semyon Budyonny. It is made of wool and can also be a lifesaver during cold weather conditions.

Every budenovka has a star badge attached to the front. Different types of troops had their own colors for the star. For example black stars were used by artillery troops and blue stars by cavalry troops.

Today they make woolen sauna hats styled like Budenoka. They are really great for keeping your head from overheating and thus extending your time in sauna.

Pilotka

Pilotka Russian army hat

Price: $19.92

Name: Soviet Army Pilotka Hat W/Red Star

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Details: Material: 100% cotton

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Pilotka is another Russian army hat that is used during warmer weather. The name “Pilotka” comes from the word pilot.

Pilotkas are made of camouflage green cotton fabric and worn with red metal star badge attached to the front.

Zhostovo Style Items

Zhostovo hairclip

Price: $18.99

Name: Hand painted Zhostovo style hair clip with a glossy lacquered finish.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Details: Size of the barrette: 4" x 2 1/4" Metal clip: 2.5”

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Zhostovo is a small town located about 15 miles away from Moscow. During early 1800s the town has become famous for various painted items (hair clips, boxes, trays) produced by local craftsmen.

Zhostovo painting handicraft depicts flowers, landscape and leaves using bright colors on the black background. A typical painting includes several large flowers (usually 3 or 4) surrounded by a set of smaller flowers and leaves.

During the process, oil paint is applied in multiple layers using special kinds of brushes made from squirrel fur.

During Soviet times local producers were merged into the state owned production plant that has managed to preserve original enamel painting techniques. Today Zhostovo Factory of Decorative Painting produces famous metal trays in more than 30 sizes. The souvenirs are purchased by numerous tourists from around the globe.

In Moscow you can pick your Zhostovo Tray at the souvenir shops located on Old Arbat street.

Russian Valenki

Valenki is another example of a Russian national product still used by people located in smaller remote towns and villages of the country. Valenki are made by applying multiple layers of combed wool on top of each other. Only whole pieces of wool are used in the process thus eliminating the need of sewing tools like scissors and needles. In the major cities of Russia like Moscow and Saint Petersburg Valenki are mostly sold at souvenir stores. Here are some pros and cons to consider when buying your pair of Valenki. Pros
  • Valenki is a 100% natural product made of sheep wool.
  • The manufacturing process remains unchanged for the past several hundred years.
  • Cheap comparing to regular winter shoes
  • Warm - people wear them during severe winter weather. By the way, Soviet army soldiers wore Valenki during World War 2.

Cons

  • Not really comfortable to take longer walks
  • Not water resistant - best suited for really cold weather (like -58F). There are robber shoes called “Galoshi” that are put on top of Valenki to make them usable during wet weather.

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