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Best guidebook to Russia – Astolphe de Custine, Letters from Russia (first written in1839; banned until 1996; published in English by New York Review of Books, 2002

Best Russian food – Café Pushkin, Moscow

Best Russian drink – medovukha – liqueur fermented from honey, the original mead, but 30% proof

Best Russian song – Levko’s serenade from May Night, opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1879)

Best Russian laugh – Polunin the clown

Best Russian cry – Polunin the clown

Best Russian decoration – full-length sable

Best film about Russia – Woody Allen’s Love and Death (1975)

Best Russian travel tip – Aeroflot and the Moscow Metro

Best tip for travellers – watch for sidewalk ice under your feet in winter

Best Russian casino – Russian Trading System (RTS), the first Moscow stock exchange, open 10:30 am to 6:45 pm

Best Moscow stock market tip – don’t