Russian Postal Delivery and Letter Writing Expenses
First, overland mail to Russia and other CIS countries takes about two to three weeks to arrive from the US first class. That is assuming your letter gets to the intended person.
Many people who work in the Post Office of CIS countries view it as the privilege of their position to recover whatever imagined bounty passes through their hands. This is an attitude that is shared by just about any government official in those countries such as customs inspectors, passport officers, and policemen.
They justify this as a way to bolster the low salaries that they receive. Samuel Pepys, in his famous diary of England during the reign of Charles II, quoted his superior, Lord Sandwich, in expressing this principle:
“…that it was not the salary of any place that did make a man rich, but the opportunity of getting money while he is in the place.” entry Aug 16, 1660
Consequently, mail from the U.S., and other Western countries, is frequently (read ‘almost always’) opened looking for money or other objects of value. Sometimes they just want the stamps on the envelope.
Usually they can’t be bothered putting the letter back together and sending it to the recipient. Rather it gets marked as undeliverable or ‘lost’ in the circular round file.
I recommend that you send ALL correspondence by registered mail.
I have had 100% delivery without fail by sending registered (not certified) mail, including packages.
I wouldn’t bother paying for a return receipt – you know, the little pink certified mail card they mail back to you showing proof of delivery. My experience is that about half of them get returned to you.
Usually they show up about three or four months later. The likelihood of you tracking down a violator in a foreign country is about the same likelihood as you winning the state lottery. Save your money to pay for registered mail.
Don’t bother with Federal Express or Overnight Letters. They will get to the foreign post office overnight and then they will spend two weeks delivering it by local mail, if it gets there at all.
If you can get something in a diplomatic pouch it will get there overnight. If you can, fax it. If you have to send it through regular mail, send it registered mail, and be prepared for it to take two to three weeks to arrive. Period. No exceptions.
I spent an average of about fifteen to twenty five dollars per letter. That was for email forwarding, translation into Russian, and Postal Delivery to be sent by registered mail. In my introductory letter, I sent two photographs in black and white for an additional four dollars.
If you send the same introductory letter to ten recipients, you only pay for the translation once.
I recommend that you pay all the letter-writing expenses of the women you write to, as it is significantly more expensive for them than it is for you as a percentage of their income. That is, if you want to have any one write back to you.
Bear in mind that her income may be anywhere from fifty dollars a month to two hundred dollars per month. Twenty dollars for a letter provides a tremendous financial burden on her.
About the Author: John has been married to a Russian women for over five years. He has travelled the path from finding her, to traveling to Russia, to bring his wife to America, and adjusting to married life. He will show you step by step how to do this yourself.