Electricity in Russia
Electricity in Russia is 220V/50Hz and typical wall sockets there use two round prongs, whereas standard U.S. electrical outlets operate on 120V/60Hz and use two flat holes (you probably already knew that). If you fail to plan for these differences your electrical devices may not work there, or even worse, they may be damaged, or even worse still, you may burn down your hotel or apartment building!
Unfortunately, it's more complicated than just voltage. Personally I'm not even qualified to write the "Idiot's Guide to Electricity", but from what I read you need different voltage transformations for "electronic items" (laptops, phones, cameras, etc.), "heating items" (irons, blow dryers, etc.), and "motorized items" (many electric shavers, etc.). AND, although many recent model laptops, phones, and cameras operate on "dual voltage" (no voltage transformations are needed), they warn you AGAINST plugging them into a voltage converter/transformer.
Fortunately you can get dual-purpose step-down transformer that will work with both "heating" and "non-heating" devices, or with "motorized" and "electronic" devices. I know exactly what you are thinking: Why not just have one transformer that just works on EVERYTHING? Sorry, that would be far too easy, and I would have nothing to write about here :-)
Fortunately the real solution to all this is really pretty simple. If you want to avoid having to figure out what kind of crazy step-down transformer/converters you need and loading your luggage with 20 lbs. of this kind of stuff to accommodate electricity in Russia, just bring "dual-voltage" devices!
Chances are probably pretty good that if your laptop, camera, and phone were made within the past five years, they're dual voltage. It's pretty easy to tell by reading the label on the power adapters for these items. For instance, on my Sony laptop charging adapter it says "Input 100V-240V ~ 50/60Hz". My Nikon and Canon camera battery chargers say the same thing. So they will all work in Russia and Ukraine without any power transformation/conversion. For these things you will only need adapters to adapt your flat U.S. plugs to their round wall sockets.
My Sonicare electric toothbrush, however, says "110-120V 50-60Hz", so it won't work without a step-down transformer/converter. My advice on that: leave it home and use the old fashioned manual toothbrush.
If you can limit yourself to using only dual-voltage devices you only need a simple adapter to accommodate the shapes of the plugs and wall sockets, and that's pretty cheap and easy.
You can get them cheap online at www.EuroPlugs.com
(you want the "EA-9" model), or you can look for them locally (that WonPro EA-9 is resold by nearly everyone for double the price of the website).
The only question then becomes whether you have faith that the apartment or hotel is going to have enough outlets to take care of your laptop, camera, phone, and whatever else you need to power or charge. Because if there are not enough outlets, you are going to need a power strip too... BUT NOT JUST ANY POWER STRIP WILL DO... Your standard power strip in the U.S. is almost always going to be able to only accommodate 120V, so the 220V electricity in Russia could possibly cook your U.S. power strip if you just used an adapter to fit it into the Russian plug.
solves this problem too... and they're the only ones who do! If you internet-search "220V Power Strips" all you will find are links to EuroPlugs or other WonPro resellers. So click HERE
to go directly to the page with the correct power strip that will work for your U.S. dual-voltage electronic items in Russia/Ukraine (although on the site it is labeled as "Germany/France" or "Schuko").