Tipping abroad can be a bit of a minefield. The process is often confusing, awkward and uncomfortable — even when you know the rules by which you’re playing. Add to that Russian currency, different service standards.
Russians don’t tip in bars, tea houses, casual dining places, etc. Russia has some amazing casual dining chains, where you can get a great meal and some artisanal tea for a very cheap price. It’s all self-seating so you don’t tip there unless you really liked the server. Then leave about 5%.
In formal restaurants, it’s more common to tip. Russians usually tip 5-15% if truly satisfied with the service. The fancier the restaurant and the bigger your group, the more customary it is to tip. A 15% tip is very rare, unless you’re at a very nice restaurant in Moscow or St. Petersburg . Tips are given in cash directly to the waiter .
Locals never tip in a taxi or a hair salon. You can, but no one will fault you for not doing it. Usually, you just round up the price of service. Also, remember that Russia does have Uber – often this a good alternative for tourists, since prices are set in advance.
If you have a bellboy bring your suitcases up to your room, you can tip a few dollars.
If you have a private driver or tour guide, a tip is customary but up to your discretion. For a half-day tour, $10-15 is reasonable. For a full-day tour, $ 20-50. However, be careful when you are in a group or museum tour group. Some tour guides may be disciplined if they accept tips. So wait until the end and see if others are tipping – if yes, you can tip a few dollars.
If you are on a tour of a religious site like a monastery and your guide is a religious figure, never tip them. It would be inappropriate.