Some Caucasian Visa Research
The planned travel route is:
Of these countries, I will need a visa to Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia. Unfortunately only the visas to Russia and Ukraine are available from Lähialuematkat, and take 12 business days to get. Georgian and Armenian visas need to be applied to in embassies of those countries.
The closest Georgian embassy is in Moscow. The travel bulletin on Georgia issued by Foreign Ministry of Finland claims:
Finnish citizens require a visa for entry. Visas can be bought from the airport when entering the country. Visas can also be bought from land borders of Georgia.
However, I'm inclined to doubt this. Especially as Georgian embassies in UK and USA don't say anything about it.
I guess the best course of action is to apply for Russian and Ukrainian visas now. I should also get in touch with both the Georgian embassy in Moscow and my Georgian contacts from Summer Source, Nata and Taya.
I'm not currently sure of whether to skip Armenia completely. While they sell visas over the web, the travel bulletin on Armenia tells that the border between Armenia and Turkey is closed. The history of that country would be very interesting, though.
While researching this, I found a Finnish travel journal of a similar trip done in 2002 with a car. Interesting story which also brings hope for actually accomplishing all the required paperwork. However, they also encountered some red tape:
After the good roads, tourists and gorgeous mountains of Turkey we crossed the Georgian border at night. The crossing involved a collection of dubious payments and intense arguing with bribe collecting border officials. (typical border crossing fees in East Europe include disinfection fees, road taxes, registration fees, car fees, fees for printing out documents, fees for the official to stamp a paper, fee for the border guard to open the final gate...)
So far I've never had to bribe anybody when traveling in East Europe, but maybe I've been just lucky. Most border officials and cops also seem to consider my motorcycle so cool that they don't bother with bribes.
If everything goes well, the trip will start directly after GUADEC. Looks like a group of my friends will come to Saint Petersburg for couple of days of good time, and to say farewells. We had lots of fun on similar trip to escort Jose to his Asian tour.
Updated 18:00: None of the embassy phone numbers I've found online seem to work. Hopefully my email to Nata and Taya gives some leads, otherwise it will be up to trying to get working numbers from my telco's number service.
Updated 2004-06-23 16:15: Taya sent some information on this:
georgian visa is available at border, and it costs 2 times more then if you take it somewhere else, . it's about 80 USD at border and must less in georgian consulate.. so i think you should drop by georgian embassy in moscow..