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Criminal record report - from FBI or my state? (Moscow)

I am currently living in Montenegro. My wife and I (she is Russian, I am from US) are moving to Moscow this summer and I am finding it rather difficult to get precise info on the criminal records aspect of all this.

Does anyone have indication whether the Migration Services requires FBI level check or if state check suffices? I see nothing in Russian migration law that suggests the report is only accepted from national level.

Also, any indication on whether an apostille is truly required, as opposed to being a theoretical requirement per Hague Convention, or a requirement that only lawyers love to throw out there but in practice are not so (we all know how lawyers love to complicate things!)

I mean, when I think of the number of times I dealt with paperwork in Russia (such as dealing with passport translations, no one ever asked for an apostille, even though if you think about it, even a notarized (outside Russia) translated US passport in theory would require an apostille...). Heck, I even was in a Moscow court to get parental rights for my 8 year biological old son in Moscow (mother is not my wife), and all the times I dealt with court documentation, going to ZAGS, etc, etc, no one ever asked for an apostille... So forces one to wonder - has anyone been told "Sorry, you need an apostille!".

Also, I came across a site Protected content that offers to obtain your criminal record, either from your state or FBI. They mention getting fingerprints from IOM in Moscow, and while I read elsewhere that IOM charges around $35, IOM told me a few days ago it would cost $80. That said, for a state record check would the prints even be needed? I am from NH, and on their criminal records site they mention the fingerprints as being required for the FBI part of a check (if requested). Back to this site, their price is quite high, and since the majority of what they would do for one is simply mailing things back/forth to the states, I can't see any benefit in using their service. Any experience?

So... above all said, does anyone see flaw in this plan: Mail my state (NH) a request for my record. In that request, include prepaid envelope for UPS 2 day delivery to a Moscow address. Alternative plan (should apostille be a game changer): In mailing to NH include prepaid envelope and additional money for them to forward to the office in NH that does apostilles, and then have them return tome in Moscow with the other prepaid envelope.

Pretty insane how hard it is to get this record and how US embassies are completely useless in assisting. As if it should be overly difficult for an embassy's security officer, after confirming a US citizen's identity via passport, credit info, or the myriad of other ways every imaginable entity in the US is currently confirming identities, to get on the phone with the FBI and get a report.


For those interested (and who read Russian), here is more info on the record check, either from lawyer websites who deal with this stuff, or from govt sites:

Protected content

At this link note:
"Визовые иностранцы предоставляют справку об отсутствии судимости и ее нотариально заверенный перевод."

This is under the section that deals with those not in the quota system who arrive in Russia by visa (as in my case since I could move there based on having Russian wife, or biological child). Nothing there about apostille. Just says to have it notarized.

Protected content

This is from MVD, and nothing about apostille...

Protected content

Ok, now we are looking at Russian state law! In the Russian law governing issuance of temporary residence permits, we have this:

28.4. Документ, выданный не ранее 3 месяцев на день подачи заявления о выдаче разрешения полномочным органом государства постоянного проживания, подтверждающий отсутствие судимости у заявителя.

This simply says you need a document, no older than 3 months, issued from an authorized governmental body of the country of permanent residence. I would say a state government body is an authorized US govt body, since above does not cite a federal government body. And again, nothing about apostille.

That is from Protected content , and maybe it is superceded by this:

Protected content

This is from last year, and it is under different paragraph (30.4), but it says the same thing...

Protected content

This one is the Moscow govt site, and what it says about criminal record check is same from MVD of course.

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