The transition of Russia to capitalism has left a large portion of the population lagging behind. The bottom Forty percent of the Russian population living in suburbs, is earning a continuously decreasing income since 1991. The government has been ineffective in resolving their problems. Volunteers can provide a tremendous service by helping in social services and other areas.
There are many opportunities for volunteers to shadow doctors in fields like surgery, paediatrics, or therapeutics. This can be a great chance for potential doctors or new M.B.B.S. graduates to perk up resumes while providing a community service. There are also options to work with the elderly or help disabled children and adults.
Community development is another area that needs volunteer help. Working with sexually abused women, homeless shelters, youth camps and senior centres allows volunteers to help enrich the lives of natives at a local level while, observing Russian culture first hand.
Native English speakers are in great demand in Russia. Volunteers can take part in Conversation Camps that are run throughout the year. Volunteers live with a local host family and teach them English for fifteen hours a week. Such positions are usually available in larger cities, so volunteers can experience the Russian city life in their free time at a nominal cost.
For those volunteers more in tune with nature, conservation working holidays is also an option. Volunteers help in studies relating to snow leopard activity through tracking, observing and analysing field signs. Volunteers stay at a 2200m base camp in a secluded mountain range overlooking an open steppe.