Death and Dying in Russia

Information on how to report a death, and about the repatriation of remains for a burial or cremation outside Russia…

In the event of a death occurring during the daytime, a doctor needs to be notified (either private or at a polyclinic), as well as a regional police inspector (an obligatory duty of the doctor). The police certify inspection of the body, while the doctor issues a statement to certify the death.

If a death occurs during the evening, night or early morning, a call must be made to the emergency service doctors (112) to certify the death.

In case the doctor cannot identify the exact cause of death, the body will be subjected to a post-mortem examination at the morgue, which is also normal procedure for the death of a foreign national.

After the death is certified, the deceased is taken to a morgue by special transport arranged by the doctor. This is usually free, but sometimes an additional small tip needs to be paid by the next of kin or representative. If necessary, the morgue issues a document stating the cause of death.

If the death occurs in a hospital or another health care institution, this institution issues the necessary documents (a medical certificate, as well as in some cases the results of an examination of the body) and presents them to the next of kin to register the death with the authorities.

Within three days from the time of death or from when the body was found, the next of kin, friend, representative, or person who found the body, has to report the death in the regional civil registry office, ZAGS (website in Russian) (Zapis Aktov Grazhdanskogo Sostoyaniya / ?????????? ?????? ????? ???????????? ?????????). The certificates received from the doctor, the morgue and the police need to be presented. From this, an official death certificate (act o smerti / ??? ? ??????) is issued by ZAGS.

Death certificate

The death certificate includes the following information:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date and place of birth
  • Last known address
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Citizenship
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Name and address of the issuing body
  • Registration number of the certificate
  • Name and address of the person receiving the death certificate

This procedure is the same for foreign nationals or for Russian citizens. However, for foreign nationals, the embassy of the country of origin and the insurance company must also be contacted

Funerals

Funerals are arranged by funeral companies and paid for by the next of kin or relatives. There are execeptions in certain cases for Russian nationals, where the state covers the cost (including for military pensioners, the unemployed, the homeless or stillbirths). Both burial and cremation are possible, with cremation slightly cheaper. There are no specific rules about a minimum or maximum time after the death for the burial or the cremation to take place. The laws about funerals are reasonably flexible depending on the individual case and needs.

Repatriation of the Body

In the case of a death of a foreign national, funeral companies can also provide the service of repatriation, working in cooperation with the insurance companies to provide all the transport arrangements and undertake all the necessary formalities.

The deceased can be kept in the morgue for 14 day free of charge. As no foreign national can receive a Russian visa without medical insurance, the repatriation clause should be included in the policy, and in the event of repatriation, all the expenses should be covered by the insurance.

For more information on registering a death and repatriating the body of foreign national back to the country of origin, click on the links for the consular services of the different countries below:

For information and assistance with repatriation to Canada, contact:

  • The Embassy of Canada
    At: 23 Starokonyushenny Pereulok, Moscow, 119002??
    Tel: (495) 925 6000

Euthanasia

In Russia, euthanasia is illegal.