I was informed by my agency that my dossier (paperwork) left for Russia on Friday October 24, 2008. It will take about one week to translate all the documents into Russian then it will be delivered to the Ministry of Education in Vladivostok, Russia. Then the countdown will begin. My agency is still saying 12 to 18 months waiting time for referral but it is any ones guess. I'll just wait for the phone call from the agency.