NB this section is for information only and reflects the personal views of its authors. UCL does not endorse any companies dealing with visas, and cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information or advice given here.
Since the start of 2015 several cases have come to light of researchers being interrogated by the police, fined and expelled from Russia for using business or tourist visas to carry out archival work in an apparent tightening of rules that had not previously been enforced. Some sections of the Russian media have also run lurid stories about so-called "spies". Although to date no cases have been reported in Moscow or Saint Petersburg, this is a worrying development for all, and it is difficult to predict how the situation will develop.
The safest way to carry out archival research is on a humanitarian visa; this will require more forward planning to obtain than the usual business visa.
For information about recent visa problems see: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-western-scholars-alarmed-deportations/26929921.html
For a statement from the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies see: http://www.aseees.org/news-events/aseees-news-feed/russian-visas-researchers
Ukraine does not currently require citizens of the EU, USA or Canada (among others) to have a visa, and you are permitted to stay in the country for up to 90 days.