In Russia, you will see a “Buy” number (покупка) on the left, and a “Sell” number (продажа) on the right. You’re looking at it from the bank’s perspective. If you hold RUB and want the bank to sell you foreign currency, you look at the “Sell” number.
Check out my earlier post on where to find the best exchange rates online.
Every day, the central bank rate is published but this can fluctuate throughout the day at exchange points.
Watch out, because some Buy/Sell rates are quoted on the street for amounts over 1000 units of the foreign currency, and this is written in small print. Some also charge you commission. Sometimes they won’t have large sums in the morning, and you should call ahead if you find a good rate online to make sure they have the amount you need.
It’s advisable to take your passport when making such transactions.
Check the Central Bank of Russia’s notice on illegal currency exchange points.