Lonely Planet Russia & Belarus, Third Edition
by Richmond Simon, Mark Elliott, Patrick Horton, etc.
Release Date: July, 2003
So you have already seen the present (Moscow) and former (St. Petersburg) capital, and now you would like to see the "real Russia", or you have an airplane conference to attend in Kazan, or you have adopted a child from Murmansk, or you are meeting a prospective bride from Magadan (don't laugh--whenever I answer questions from people who are traveling to regions outside of Moscow/St. Petersburg, 80% are going for adoption or marriage!). There are almost no current guidebooks to regions such as Perm, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Volgograd, Crimea, Minsk, and the Far East. The 'Lonely Planet Russia and Ukraine' has the largest area coverage of any guide currently published in English.
It is also ideal for those taking a river cruise between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The coverage of the famed Trans-Siberian route is ok, although I think the 'Trans-Siberian Handbook' and 'Siberian Bam Guide : Rail, Rivers & Road' do a better job for those particular regions.
The Moscow/St. Petersburg sections are ok as well, although anyone spending more than a few days in each of those cities should look into guides that cover only those cities.
Restaurant, hotel and travel information are good, although could use more details. The history sections are adequate considering the scope of the book. Also, the twice-yearly updates at Lonely Planet's web site, although lacking in breadth and depth, provide some more timely information than what appears in the book.
Marc David Miller, Discovering Russia, New York