Do summer trains to Russia from Poland, Germany, or France really sell out as soon as their booking opens (apparently 45 days before departure, but other sources say 60 days? I have a hard time booking a train ticket from Germany to Russia. Do they all get bought by agencies?
For example, Frankfurt-Moscow shows as sold out on 12 July, 19 July, 9 August, and only De Luxe Sleeping left on 26 July and 2 August (unavailable on 16, 23, or 30 August, probably because it's more than 60 days from today). Berlin-Moscow on 27 July or 3 August (43 and 50 days respectively from today, so not exactly a late booking) has only two sleeping places per car left: one for a disabled person and one for a person accompanying a disabled person:
Warsaw-Moscow for 10 August (57 days from today) shows 1 place available. Milano-Moscow shows as sold out for 4 August, but has a few places available for 11 August, which must have only just gone on sale.
Long distance domestic trains within Russia show up fine with plenty of seats available.
Is there a problem with the online booking system, or do international trains to Russia apparently really get sold out as soon as tickets go on sale? Do they all get pre-booked by travel agencies?
According to the Real Russia travel agency, "due to the high demand, all cheapest tickets will be highly likely sold out within few sales hours. Thus we recommend to take an advantage of pre-booking.", it seems that indeed travel agencies buy all the cheapest tickets within the first few sales hours...
Some trains are sold out on RZD but available on Polrail:
With RZD advising:
Уважаемые пассажиры! Для продажи на сайте ОАО «РЖД» в поезд №10 Варшава-Москва «Полонез» предложено 12 мест. Продажа остальных мест на данный поезд осуществляется в международной билетной кассе. При отсутствии свободных мест на сайте, просьба обратиться в международную билетную кассу.
which seems to mean that only a limited number of tickets are available online via RZD for this train — so even when it shows as sold out there, there may still be tickets available elsewhere...