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Russian registration plate, as observed in 2007 -177 stands for Moscow.
Russian registration plate, as observed in 2007 -51 stands for Murmansk Oblast.
Bus with the licence number painted in large letters

Vehicle registration plates are the mandatory number plates used to display the registration mark of a vehicle, and have existed in Russia for many decades. Most motor vehicles which are used on public roads are required by law to display them.


The format of vehicle registration plates in Russia has changed immensely since the collapse of the Soviet Union. License plates in Russia originated 1910s and were not standardized, as there was a small amount of automobiles. In 1932, license plates became standardized for each region and had special numbers representing which region the automobile was from. Soviet plates prior to 1982 were white-on-black. They had combination of four digits, grouped by two and three Cyrillic letters in smaller type. The rear plate was square with letters located below the numbers. From those letters, the first two indicated the region. For example, the combination 75-63 КЛЖ referred to a car from the Kaliningrad Region. After 1982 a new black-on-white format for newly registered cars was adopted. The 1982 format differentiated privately owned from government owned cars and trucks (virtually all vehicles used for business, as all businesses belonged to the government). The government owned vehicles retained the NNNN LLL scheme (the digits were no longer grouped by two and all characters were the same size) and the rear plate was square on trucks and buses/coaches but oblong on passenger cars, while private vehicles used L NNNN LL (with a smaller-sized first letter - for example, c 5969 ME on a van from the Moscow Region) and invariably oblong format. The last two letters indicated regions or large cities. Largest cities usually had several two-letter codes to account for a larger number of cars. For example, the city of Kiev used КИ and ХТ codes while the Kiev Oblast' region (excluding the city itself) used КХ. The use of Cyrillic characters meant that in some cases replacement plates with characters looking like Latin characters had to be temporarily issued to vehicles going abroad.

Current plate format[edit]

Vehicle registration plates for motorcycles
License plate used by police
License plate for diplomatic vehicles
License plate for military vehicles

The current format uses a letter followed by 3 digits and two more letters. To improve legibility of the numbers for Russian cars abroad, only a small subset of Cyrillic characters that look like Latin characters are used (12 letters: А, В, Е, К, М, Н, О, Р, С, Т, У, Х). Finally, the region number (77, 97, 99, 177, 197, 199, and 777 for Moscow, 78, 98, and 178 for Saint Petersburg, etc.) and letters "RUS" are included, as well as the national flag (the flag was not used on some of the earliest plates of this format). There is a different format for trailers (2 letters and 4 digits).

The standard size for the license plate is 520 mm by 110 mm.

Some vehicles, like trolleybuses, are not required to have license plates, because they cannot leave the network they operate on and can be identified by number that is painted and is given by local public transport authority. Trucks and buses generally have their licence numbers repeated in large letters on the rear of the vehicle for easier identification (a practice continued from Soviet days), although they also bear licence plates.[citation needed] Some autonomous regions are not required to have the flag on the licence plates.[citation needed]

Vehicles used by certain organisations or categories of persons carry special plates:

  • Police forces have special numbers on blue colored plates and the format is one letter and four digits. The letter signifies the branch of the police force, and its meaning may change from city to city; for example, in Moscow, A ####|99 rus stands for traffic police, У ####|99 rus for patrol cars, O ####|99 rus for police guard service etc.
  • Diplomatic cars have white characters on a red background. The first three digits on the plate are a code identifying the embassy to which they belong, assigned in order based on the date at which that country established diplomatic relations with Russia or the Soviet Union. For example, the United Kingdom is 001, the United States is 004, and Paraguay is 157. On cars assigned to rank-and-file diplomats this code is followed by D and three digits (for example, 004 D 108|77 rus), while ambassadors' cars have a slightly different license plate format (004 CD 1|77 rus).
  • The Armed Forces have white characters on a black background and the format is NNNN LL for vehicles and LL NNNN for trailers. In this case the two digits on the right are not a regional code but a code for the Armed forces branch or service and go with a certain letter combination. For example, #### CA|14 rus is a vehicle belonging to the Railroad Troops; #### BC|27 rus denotes the Air Defence Force, #### TO|18 rus denotes the Ministry of Emergency Situations etc. Unlike all other categories, number plates of Armed Forces are not light reflective.
  • Public transport vehicles (such as buses, licensed taxis and licensed share taxis) have black characters on a yellow background and the format is LL NNN. Since such vehicles are relatively few, the region code does not change often; in Moscow, for example, yellow "public transport" plates are still issued with the code 77 in December 2009. (Note: This type is not to be confused with similar-looking yellow license plates having the format LL NNN L, which were issued to cars registered to foreign companies operating in Russia; the latter type has now been withdrawn.)

Special plates in the above four categories never carry the Russian flag.

There are special series (usually numbers starting with A) reserved for government officials (for example, A 001 AA usually belongs to the governor of the region). The license plates for federal government officials originally had a larger flag instead of the regional code but this type has now been withdrawn as well.

Rich businessmen, prominent politicians and crime lords often use para-legally acquired special licence plates (government or police) to get preferential treatment from the transport police and as a status symbol. Often, this is used in conjunction with a flashing siren. The Society of Blue Buckets is a protest movement that opposes this trend.[1]

Runout problem[edit]

As per GOST provision, only 1,726,272 combinations may be issued within one administration unit. In certain regions, the amount of vehicles exceeds that number, and the combination may not be reused after a vehicle was taken off the registration. All this creates an issue of running out of numbers.

A short-term solution was introducing more codes for those regions. Thus, some regions have two codes issued to them, Perm Krai and the city of St. Petersburg have three, Krasnoyarsk Krai has four, Moscow Oblast has five, and the federal city of Moscow has seven codes. But this does not fully solve the problem, as the authorities may eventually run out of regional codes because any code containing three-numeral code with any first numeral except for 1 will not fit without changing the standardized layout of the plate.[citation needed]

Introduction of new style license plate is being considered as a future solution.[citation needed]

Regional codes[edit]

Numbers of the license plates of Russia
Code The region of Russian Federation
01 Republic of Adygea
02, 102 Republic of Bashkortostan
03 Republic of Buryatia
04 Altai Republic
05 Republic of Dagestan
06 Republic of Ingushetia
07 Kabardino-Balkar Republic
08 Republic of Kalmykia
09 Karachay–Cherkess Republic
10 Republic of Karelia
11 Komi Republic
12 Mari El Republic
13, 113 Republic of Mordovia
14 Sakha Republic
15 Republic of North Ossetia–Alania
16, 116 Republic of Tatarstan
17 Tuva Republic
18 Udmurt Republic
19 Republic of Khakassia
21, 121 Chuvash Republic
22 Altai Krai
23, 93, 123 Krasnodar Krai
24, 84, 88, 124 Krasnoyarsk Krai
25, 125 Primorsky Krai
26, 126 Stavropol Krai
27 Khabarovsk Krai
28 Amur Oblast
29 Arkhangelsk Oblast
30 Astrakhan Oblast
31 Belgorod Oblast
32 Bryansk Oblast
33 Vladimir Oblast
34, 134 Volgograd Oblast
35 Vologda Oblast
36, 136 Voronezh Oblast
37 Ivanovo Oblast
38, 85, 138 Irkutsk Oblast
39, 91 Kaliningrad Oblast
40 Kaluga Oblast
41, 82 Kamchatka Krai
42, 142 Kemerovo Oblast
43 Kirov Oblast
44 Kostroma Oblast
45 Kurgan Oblast
46 Kursk Oblast
47 Leningrad Oblast
48 Lipetsk Oblast
49 Magadan Oblast
50, 90, 150, 190, 750 Moscow Oblast
51 Murmansk Oblast
52, 152 Nizhny Novgorod Oblast
53 Novgorod Oblast
54, 154 Novosibirsk Oblast
55 Omsk Oblast
56 Orenburg Oblast
57 Oryol Oblast
58 Penza Oblast
59, 81, 159 Perm Krai
60 Pskov Oblast
61, 161 Rostov Oblast
62 Ryazan Oblast
63, 163 Samara Oblast
64, 164 Saratov Oblast
65 Sakhalin Oblast
66, 96, 196 Sverdlovsk Oblast
67 Smolensk Oblast
68 Tambov Oblast
69 Tver Oblast
70 Tomsk Oblast
71 Tula Oblast
72 Tyumen Oblast
73, 173 Ulyanovsk Oblast
74, 174 Chelyabinsk Oblast
75, 80 Zabaykalsky Krai
76 Yaroslavl Oblast
77, 97, 99, 177, 197, 199, 777[2] Moscow
78, 98, 178 St. Petersburg
79 Jewish Autonomous Oblast
82 Republic of Crimea
83 Nenets Autonomous Okrug
86, 186 Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug
87 Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
89 Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
92 Sevastopol
94 Baikonur
95 Chechen Republic

Codes of diplomatic representative offices and the international organizations on diplomatic license plates[edit]

Diplomatic license plate.JPG
Code Country or Organization
001  United Kingdom
002  Germany
003  Canada
004  United States
005  Japan
006  Spain
007  France
008  Belgium
009  Greece
010  Denmark
011  Italy
012  Luxembourg
013  Netherlands
014  Norway
015  Turkey
016  Australia
017  Austria
018  Algeria
019  Egypt
020  Rwanda*
021  Argentina
022  Afghanistan
023  Burma
024  Bolivia
025  Brazil
026  Burundi
027  Ghana
028  Bangladesh
029 Guinea
030 Zambia
031 Peru
032  India
033 Indonesia
034 Jordan
035 Iraq
036 Iran
037 Ireland
038 Iceland
039 Cambodia (the former Kampuchea)
040 Kenya
041 Cyprus
042 Congo
043 Costa Rica
044 Kuwait
045 Laos
047 Lebanon
048 Libya
049 Mali
050 Morocco
051 Mexico
052 Nepal
053 Nigeria
054 Venezuela
055 New Zealand
056 Pakistan
057 Burkina Faso*
058 Senegal*
059 formerly Syria. Now code 133 is used.
060 Somalia
061 Sudan
062 Sierra Leone
063  Thailand
064 Tanzania
065 Tunisia
066 Uganda
067 Uruguay
068 Philippines
069 Finland
070 Sri Lanka
071 Chad
072 Switzerland
073 Sweden
074 Ecuador
075 Ethiopia
076 Angola
077 Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Republic Zaire)
078 Colombia
079 Cameroon
080 Guinea-Bissau
081 Portugal
082 Bulgaria
083 Hungary
084 Vietnam
086 Poland
087 Korean People's Democratic Republic (North Korea)
088 Cuba
089 Mongolia
090 China
091 Romania
092 formerly Czechoslovakia (nowadays Czech Republic (148) and Slovakia (149))
093 Serbia
094 Benin
095 Gabon
096 Guyana*
097 Mauritania
098 Madagascar*
099 Malaysia
100 Niger*
101 Singapore
102 Togo*
103 Central African Republic (code 106 used earlier)
104 Jamaica*
105 Yemen
106 formerly Central African Republic. Now code 103 is used.
107 Palestine
108 Nicaragua
109 Mozambique
110 Equatorial Guinea
111 Sovereign Military Order of Malta (earlier code 111 belonged to Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon))
112 Malta
113 Cape Verde
115 Zimbabwe
116 United Arab Emirates
117 Côte d'Ivoire*
118 Namibia
119 formerly Republic of South Africa. Now code 137 is used.
120 Oman
121 Qatar
122 formerly Arab League. Now code 503 is used
123 formerly Liechtenstein
124 South Korea
125 Chile
126 Panama (earlier code 126 belonged to UNESCO; see code 512)
127 Israel
128 FYR Macedonia (earlier code 128 belonged to EU)
129 Albania
130 formerly international organizations
131 Holy See (Vatican)
132 Lithuania
133 Syria (code 059 used earlier)
134 Estonia
135 Latvia
136 Bahrain
137 Republic of South Africa (code 119 used earlier)
138 Armenia
139 formerly Georgia. Now code 158 is used.
140 Saudi Arabia
141 Slovenia
142 Uzbekistan
143 Kyrgyzstan
144 Croatia
145 Azerbaijan
146 Ukraine
147 Moldova
148 Czech Republic
149 Slovakia
150 Belarus
151 Tajikistan
152 Turkmenistan
153 Kazakhstan
154 Guatemala
155 Bosnia and Herzegovina
156 Eritrea
157 Paraguay*
158 Georgia (code 139 used earlier)
159 Brunei-Darussalam
160 Gambia
161 Vietnam
162 Mauritius
163 Dominican Republic
164 Montenegro
165 South Ossetia
166 Abkhazia
167 Djibouti
499 Eurocommission (code 502 used earlier)
500 European bank for Reconstruction and Development
501 formerly UN Information Centre
502 formerly Eurocommission. Now code 499 is used.
503 Arab League (جامعة الدول العربية)
504 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
505 International Monetary Fund (IMF)
506 International Organization for Migration
507 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
508 International Committee of the Red Cross
509 International Finance Corporation (IFC)
510 United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
511  United Nations
512 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); code 126 used earlier.
514 International Bank for Economic Complementation
515 International Investment Bank
516 The Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications
517 International Centre of Scientific and Technical Information
518 International Scientific and Technical Centre
520 International Labour Organization
521 The Interelectro International Organization for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Electrical Industry
522 Coordination Centre of the Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation in Computing Machinery
523 Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States
524 European Space Agency
525 Eurasian Patent Organization
526 earlier Taipei-Moscow Coordination Commission for Economic and Cultural Cooperation
527 The Headquarters for Coordination of Military Cooperation of the state-participants of the Commonwealth of Independent States
528 Interstate Bank
529 Eurasian Economic Community (earlier - Integration Committee of the Eurasian Economic Community)
530 International Research Institute of Management Problems
531 Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTA)
532 Intergovernmental Statistical Committee of the CIS
533 Secretary of Council of Interparliamentary Assembly of state-participants of the Commonwealth of Independent States
534 Eurasian Development Bank (EDB)
535 The Intergovernmental Foundation for Educational Cooperation of the CIS
900 Honorary consuls and offices headed by them.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elder, Miriam (May 28, 2010). "Moscow's limos halted by blue buckets". The Guardian (London). 
  2. ^ http://platesmania.com/regionstat-777 Statistics of region Moscow City. License plates of Russia, Cars (type 1, 1a)

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_registration_plates_of_Russia — Please support Wikipedia.
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