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Disposition of Remains Report

In Case of Emergency

Disposition of Remains Report: Moscow

April 14, 2015

Part I: Name of Country


Part II: US Consulate General Information

Local Address:
U.S. Embassy
21 Novinsky Blvd.
Moscow, Russia 123242

Local Address in Russian:
Посольство США
Новинский блв., 21
Москва, Россия 123242

Telephone: (7) (495) 728-5577

FAX: (7) (495) 728-5084

After hours phone: (7) (495) 728-5000



State Department Country Specific Information: 

We encourage American citizens to sign up (register) for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program with the consulate, in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security. Enrollment is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in the event of an emergency. You do not need to come over to our office in person. You may sign up directly online at:

Part III: Profile of Religions and Religious Services available to visitors:

Country Profile: Visit the State Department's website “Background Note: Russia”

Religions: Russian Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant, Buddhist, other. More than 70% of Russians identify themselves as Russian Orthodox.

Internet Site: In Your Pocket Guide: Religious Services Available to Visitors

Part IV: Funeral Directors, Mortician and Related Services Available in Moscow:

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.

Short list of Moscow funeral homes

GUP Ritual
3 Peschanaya St.
Tel./fax: 8-499-157-43-83

22 Marshala Timoshenko St.  
Tel.: 495-530-0001, 8-499-728-8240 (24 hours)
Fax:  495-945-2335

6 Odesskaya St.
Tel./fax: (495) 310-72-92, (495) 310-2310

Balashikha Town, Moscow Oblast
6 Okolnaya St., Mkr. Saltykovka
Tel.: 495-701-1096, 495-702-7471, 702-7370
Fax:  495-701-1706

Part V: Profile of services available in Moscow regarding preparation and shipment of remains:

(1) Maximum Period Before Burial:

The maximum period before burial is one month. After the deadline, the remains are buried at the state’s expense. As a rule, only major cities in the Moscow consular district have mortuary facilities.

(2) Embalming:

There are no requirements for embalming if the remains are to be buried locally. Embalming facilities exist in large cities in the consular district. It should be pointed out that preparation and air shipment of remains are carried out in accordance with the laws and facilities available in Russia, and, in most cases, the services fall short of those expected in the United States. It is always recommended that the hometown funeral director be requested to determine the advisability of viewing the remains.

(3) Cremation:

Cremation is permitted by national law with the consent of the decedent's relatives. There are four crematoria in Moscow. Many major Russian cities, such as Kazan, do not have crematoria.  

(4) Caskets and Containers:

When remains are transported out of the country, the body should be appropriately prepared or cremated for shipment. It is then placed in a zinc coffin, or urn in case of cremation, which is then placed in a suitable transportation box.

(5) Exportation of Human Remains:

Remains: To export remains, the following documents are required by the Russian authorities:

· Official Death Certificate issued by the Russian Vital Records Office, acronym ZAGS;

· Certificate of Encasement (certifying that container is sealed and contains no extraneous objects);

· Medical Certificate from Forensic Bureau certifying absence of contagious diseases;

· Documents issued by the U.S. Consulate General in Moscow:

- Consular Mortuary Certificate;

- Affidavit of Mortician on Encasement;

(6) Exportation of Human Cremains/Ashes:

Ashes: To export cremated remains, the following documents are required by Russian authorities: 

- Official Death Certificate issued by ZAGS ;

- Certificate of Cremation;

- Certificate of Encasement (certifying that the container is sealed and contains no extraneous objects)

(7) Costs:

The approximate prices below are in the state of gradual change due to the inflation and local currency rate.
All dollar costs have been converted from the cost in local currency at the rate of exchange of 52.00 rubles to one dollar, average on April 14, 2015.


Service Dollars
Local interment of cremated remains including cremation, local transportation, urn, permanent grave plot, and gravestone
Embalming fee $300.00
Cremation fee $1,300.00
Preparation for shipment including embalming, documentation, casket, storage, local transportation $4,000.00
Preparation for shipment including cremation, documentation, coffin, local transportation and urn $2,500.00

When death occurs outside of Moscow City, the remains may have to be transferred to Moscow for preparation. Under these circumstances, the following additional transportation fees may be charged by Moscow undertakers for the round trip from Moscow to the location of the remains:


Location Dollars
Moscow City Region $1,500
Caucasus area of Russia (Stavropol, Krasnodar, Makhachkala, Sochi) $3,500
Siberian part of Russia (Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk) $4,500
Eastern segment of Russian European part (Kazan, Nizhniy Novgorod, Ufa) $2,500
Northern segment of Russian European part (Syktyvkar) $4,500
Southern segment of Russian European part (Belgorod, Voronezh) $2,500

Air Freight: Airline freight charge per kilogram differs from destination to destination. The minimum costs are for transportation of remains to the U.S. West Coast, maximum to the Hawaii.  Different air carriers' fees vary.

Human Remains: The average weight of an export type casket with human remains is 185 kilogram (approx. 410 lb). Costs for air freight shipment from Moscow to various points in the United States are as follows:


Moscow to:   Total USD aprrox.
New York, NY $2,100
Honolulu, HI $2,800.00
Atlanta, GA $2,100.00
Los Angeles, CA $2,500.00
Seattle, WA $2,500.00

In addition to the above, there could be a security surcharge, fuel surcharge, handling and airway bill charges totaling up to $300.

Human Ashes: Ashes in an urn are shipped at the same rate as bodies. The minimum weight of an export type urn with human ashes including packing material is 5 kg (approx. 11 lb). Costs for air freight shipment from Moscow to various points in the United States are as follows:


Moscow to:   Total USD approx.
New York, NY $300.00
Honolulu HI $500.00
Atlanta, GA $300.00
Los Angeles, CA $400.00
Seattle, WA $400.00

In addition to the above, there could be a security surcharge, fuel surcharge, and pickup, handling and airway bill charges totaling up tol $250.

Smaller U.S. cities are served by small planes, which makes the total cost of shipment of remains much more expensive. Often families prefer ground transportation of remains from the major airplane hubs to smaller destinations.

Total Estimated Cost:

Below are prices for preparation and freight of air shipment of remains from Moscow to several U.S. cities.

Embalmed Remains:

Moscow to: Total USD approx.
New York, NY $6,400.00
Honolulu, HI $7,100.00
Atlanta, GA $6,400.00
Los Angeles, CA $6,386.50
Seattle, WA $6,800.00

Cremated Remains:

Moscow to: Total USD approx.
New York, NY $3,050.00
Honolulu, HI $3,250.00
Atlanta, GA $3,050.00
Los Angeles, CA $3,150.00
Seattle, WA $3,150.00

(8) Exhumation and Shipment:

There is no time limit for exhumation after burial. In order to exhume a body an application must be made to the Authority of the Cemetery.

(9) Local Customs Regarding Funerals, Disposition of Remains, Mourning, Memorial Services

Funerals typically include a funeral ceremony, a burial in a grave or cremation of the remains, a wake and a periodic memorial service. Local customs depend on religion.

(10) Remarks:

Preferable Funeral Services

Ritorg Funeral Home provides full services and has a few English speaking staff members. It is generally less expensive than other large Moscow funeral parlors. The four companies mentioned above coordinate with US insurance companies on a regular basis. Non-Russian speaking families who choose to use Russian mortuaries may have to hire a Russian speaker to handle arrangements. Certain types of U.S. travel insurance imply the family’s reimbursement for the expenses incurred, while full insurance usually allows funeral homes to charge U.S. insurance companies directly.

Autopsy Requirements

Russian law requires an autopsy if foul play is suspected. Only state pathologists are authorized to perform autopsies. An autopsy may be waived upon request of the next-of-kin if the police do not suspect a criminal cause of death. However, in practice, autopsies are automatic, with authorities occasionally requesting a letter from the Embassy relaying the relatives' permission for or objection to an autopsy. Objection to an autopsy causes the Russian authorities involved to spend up to three additional days completing the necessary paperwork. The next-of-kin usually must wait two months to receive complete autopsy results. The full autopsy report will be in Russian. In general, it is easier and less expensive to translate the document in the United States rather than attempting to obtain a translation in Moscow.

Options for in-country transportation

In most cases, Moscow-based funeral homes engaged to do necessary logistics prefer to send their own representatives to the local mortuary to expedite the process, as well as to ensure proper embalming and encasement. This may create additional costs.

Local Law Governing Disposal of Personal Effects

Russian law provides for a six month waiting period before effects can be released to the next of kin. This period is calculated to allow potential heirs (both foreign and local) time to claim their inheritance rights. In the six months’ course the deceased’s apartment is supposed to remain officially sealed, the local police department keeping the keys. In practice, the Embassy has seldom encountered serious delays in taking custody of the deceased’s effects and the full six month waiting time was not observed.