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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Know the Rules Before Lighting Up Your BBQ

Now that hot weather has finally come, it's time to enjoy one of Russians' favorite summer activities.


But before you shove the coal on the grill and throw on the juicy, marinated shashlyk or try to roast marshmallows over an open flame in the woods, know the rules: You can't just barbecue anywhere you want in Moscow.

Yevgeny Bobylov, spokesman for the city's fire department, said it was forbidden for anyone to start an open fire in Moscow.

This means no open flames, even with a barbecue, anywhere in the city's parks, manicured lawns or courtyards.

Those who try to barbecue face an administrative fine of 1,500 rubles (about $55) and possibly other fines starting at 300 rubles for loitering.

While that may mean little for Russian citizens other than a strain on their cash flow, foreigners could be denied future visas or refused visa renewal after being fined twice in three years for administrative violations in Russia.

Bobylov also cautioned it was illegal to grill on a balcony.

"In Moscow no one will ever do that," he said. "There are special devices for that in every kitchen. It's called an oven."

Once you leave the city, though, the rules change, said a police official who declined to give his name. He said the most important thing about barbecuing in the woods was to observe the rules, which include picking up garbage and making sure an open flame does not cause a fire in the woods.

"Most Muscovites leave the city to have shashlyks because you're going to have an extremely hard time finding a place where barbecues are allowed" within the city limits, he said.

He said one way to make sure you are not breaking the law is to look for signs when entering a forest.

"If there's a sign with a crossed-out flame on it, then you can't barbecue there," he said.

And at popular parks that one might expect to be barbecue-friendly, beware that appearances can be deceiving. At Kuzminki and Bittsevsky parks, for example, open fires are forbidden.

Nadezhda Borisovna, a Bittsevsky Park administration employee, said the area was protected and that it was illegal to have any sort of fire there. This means no grills or fires in the ground, she said.

"People can bring sandwiches and eat them there and picnic, but no fires," she said.

But if you plan to buy a barbecue to use outside the city, there are choices galore, ranging from a 590-ruble ($22) Landmann grill with a diameter of 35 centimeters to a 17,145-ruble BST grill on wheels with a 76-by-43-centimeter surface. Azbuka Vkusa has a large selection.

And once you have that grill, there are plenty of web sites that offer mouthwatering recipes, including and

Or if you can't be bothered with all that preparation and want to buy ready-made shashlyks, stores such as Perekryostok and Globus Gourmet should have all you need for an instant barbecue.