Provodnitsa’s are the ladies who look after each carriage on long distance trains in Russia. There are usually two or three per carriage working in shifts, meaning they are available 24 hours a day.
The provodnitsa’s will check your tickets, sell you snacks and drinks, clean, resolve any issues you have and will scold you if you misbehave! Most only speak Russian, but they are generally very good at getting their point across.
You will find some are more helpful, and friendlier, than others. If you do encounter one of the sterner provodnitsa’s, you may find their disposition lightens and brightens once you have bought a little something from them, such as tea or coffee!