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Russia in brief

Russia is the world's biggest country with its vast territory that occupies the east of Europe and the north of Asia, i.e. 11.46% of the Earth's land area. Russia is washed by the waters of twelve seas and three oceans: the Arctic in the north, the Atlantic in the west and the Pacific in the east. The country has thousands of rivers and about 2 million lakes, among which are the Caspian Sea, the biggest lake in the world, and Baikal, the world's deepest fresh-water lake.

Neighboring 18 countries (Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Japan and the U.S.) and having world's longest land border of about 60,000 km (over 37,000 miles) Russia has a population of 142,905,200 people (according to the census of 2010).

 The Russian Federation consists of 83 federal subjects, among them there are 2 cities of federal importance - Moscow, the capital of Russia with a population of more than 11 million inhabitants, and St.Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia also called "the northern capital" with its population of around 5 million people. There are 10 more cities in Russia with a population more than a million inhabitants - Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Omsk, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Ufa and Volgograd.

With about 80% of the population being ethnic Russians, the rest 20% covers more than 150 nationalities living in Russia. The official language is Russian. As for the religion communities, the majority of Russian people are Orthodox Christians, there are also many Muslims, Catholics, Hebrews and Buddhists.

The climate in Russia varies from the subtropical on the Black Sea coast to the continental in Southern Siberia, as well as from the arctic in the Far North to the maritime one on the Baltic Sea and to the moderately monsoon in the southern part of the Far East. Russia's weather is known to change from extremely cold to extremely hot. Northeastern Siberia is one of the coldest regions in the world. Average winter temperatures there are below -50 °F (-46 °C). The summer temperature in this region can be registered up to 100 °F (38 °C). No other part of the world registers such a wide range of temperatures. While a swimming season may start in the Black Sea region, a harsh snowfall in the Eastern Siberia may be registered at the same time. Still, the most densely populated part of Russia's territory lies within the moderate climatic zone. Rather dry summer is hot and rather snowy winter is mild in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in the towns of the 'Golden Ring' and in the cities of the Volga Area. Such weather conditions make the European part of Russia more attractive for the travellers from all over the world.

The most popular and convenient transportation means throughout the vast territory of Russia is air and railway transport, so the whole year around the majority of Russian people and tourists prefer travelling by plane and train.  The trip from Moscow to St.Petersburg takes either 5-7 hours by train or an hour by plane, whereas the flight from Moscow to Kamchatka takes around 10 hours. Moscow and other largest cities have several kinds of urban transportation: subway, buses, trolleybuses and trams, as well as routed and regular taxis. Subway is the most popular transport in Moscow, some of its stations are monuments of art frequently visited by tourists.

Russia has a vast territory that stretches for about 9,000 km (almost 6,000 miles) from west to east, spanning the country's terrtory into 11 time zones. The most western and eastern time zones in Russia are +2 hours GMT in Kaliningrad and +12 hours GMT in Kamchatka and Chukotka peninsulas). Therefore, while people in the European part of Russia enjoy the sunset, the Far East inhabitants start their day.

Russia is a democratic federative state with a republican form of government and a head of the state is the President elected by the citizens of Russia every six years. The current Russian President is Vladimir Putin, the Supreme Commander of the country's Armed Forces. The Government is headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev endowed with an executive power.

The history of Russia and its culture traces back to the ancient times of the Kievan Rus when the Russian Empire came to be known and flourished later for about three hundred years. Ancient churches and monasteries have been preserved in many Russian cities, towns and suburbs leaving us the great memorial heritage of the Russian culture, art and literature. Many world famous writers, artists, sportsmen, scientists originated from Russia brought great success and have glorified the national culture which Russia people are proud of.


Russian people love to celebrate and take most of their national holidays very seriously.

New Year is the most widely celebrated holiday, followed by Orthodox Christmas, so Russians enjoy the whole holiday week at the start of the New Year.

The following holidays are announced to be official public ones recognized by the Russian government:


February, 23 - Defender of the Fatherland Day, celebrated for the sake of honor of men serving in the Armed Forces, can be regarded as Father's day


March, 8 - International Women's Day, celebrated with the love and respect for women


May,1 - Labor Day


May,9 - Victory Day, celebrated with regards and commemoration of those who died in World War II


June, 12 - Russia Day can be considered as an Independence Day with a celebration of the Russian sovereignty from the USSR


November, 4 - Unity Day, aka Consolidation Day


Religious holidays, such as Easter, and western holidays and festivals, such as Valentine's Day and Halloween are also celebrated in Russia, although they are not considered as official days off.

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