Facts

Population: 143,432,057 For more visit Worldmeters

Area: 17.1 million km²

Russia, also officially known as the Russian Federation, is a federal state in Eurasia. At 17,075,200 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world by surface area, covering more than one eighth of Earth’s inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with over 146.6 million people at the end of March 2016. The European western part of the country is much more populated and urbanised than the East, about 77% of the population live in European Russia. Russia’s capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world, other major urban centers include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Samara. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both with Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait.The nation’s history began with that of the East Slavs, who emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus’ ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states; most of the Rus’ lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion and became tributaries of the nomadic Golden Horde in the 13th century. The Grand Duchy of Moscow gradually reunified the surrounding Russian principalities, achieved independence from the Golden Horde, and came to dominate the cultural and political legacy of Kievan Rus’. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world’s first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II,and emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world’s first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world’s second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the partition of the Soviet Union in 1991, fourteen independent republics emerged from the USSR; as the largest, most populous, and most economically developed republic, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognized as the continuing legal personality and sole successor state of the Soviet Union. It is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. The Russian economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015. Russia’s extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterized as a potential superpower. It is permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, as well as a member of the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), along with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Currency: Russian ruble

Agriculture

Russia’s total area of cultivated land is estimated at 1,237,294 square kilometres (477,722 sq mi), the fourth largest in the world. From 1999 to 2009, Russia’s agriculture grew steadily, and the country turned from a grain importer to the third largest grain exporter after the EU and the United States. The production of meat has grown from 6,813,000 tonnes in 1999 to 9,331,000 tonnes in 2008, and continues to grow. This restoration of agriculture was supported by a credit policy of the government, helping both individual farmers and large privatized corporate farms that once were Soviet kolkhozes and which still own the significant share of agricultural land. While large farms concentrate mainly on grain production and husbandry products, small private household plots produce most of the country’s potatoes, vegetables and fruits. Since Russia borders three oceans (the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific), Russian fishing fleets are a major world fish supplier. Russia captured 3,191,068 tons of fish in 2005. Both exports and imports of fish and sea products grew significantly in recent years, reaching $2,415 and $2,036 million, respectively, in 2008. Sprawling from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean, Russia has more than a fifth of the world’s forests, which makes it the largest forest country in the world. However, according to a 2012 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Government of the Russian Federation, the considerable potential of Russian forests is underutilized and Russia’s share of the global trade in forest products is less than four percent.

Culture

There are over 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in Russia. The country’s vast cultural diversity spans ethnic Russians with their Slavic Orthodox traditions, Tatars and Bashkirs with their Turkic Muslim culture, Buddhist nomadic Buryats and Kalmyks, Shamanistic peoples of the Extreme North and Siberia, highlanders of the Northern Caucasus, and Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian North West and Volga Region. Handicraft, like Dymkovo toy, khokhloma, gzhel and palekh miniature represent an important aspect of Russian folk culture. Ethnic Russian clothes include kaftan, kosovorotka and ushanka for men, sarafan and kokoshnik for women, with lapti and valenki as common shoes. The clothes of Cossacks from Southern Russia include burka and papaha, which they share with the peoples of the Northern Caucasus. Russian cuisine widely uses fish, poultry, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Crops of rye, wheat, barley, and millet provide the ingredients for various breads, pancakes and cereals, as well as for kvass, beer and vodka drinks. Black bread is rather popular in Russia, compared to the rest of the world. Flavourful soups and stews include shchi, borsch, ukha, solyanka and okroshka. Smetana (a heavy sour cream) is often added to soups and salads. Pirozhki, blini and syrniki are native types of pancakes. Chicken Kiev, pelmeni and shashlyk are popular meat dishes, the last two being of Tatar and Caucasus origin respectively. Other meat dishes include stuffed cabbage rolls usually filled with meat. Salads include Olivier salad, vinegret and dressed herring.

Economy

Russia has a developed, high-income market economy with enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas. It has the 15th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 6th largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Since the turn of the 21st century, higher domestic consumption and greater political stability have bolstered economic growth in Russia. The country ended 2008 with its ninth straight year of growth, but growth has slowed with the decline in the price of oil and gas. Real GDP per capita, PPP (current international) was 19,840 in 2010. Growth was primarily driven by non-traded services and goods for the domestic market, as opposed to oil or mineral extraction and exports. The average nominal salary in Russia was $967 per month in early 2013, up from $80 in 2000. In March 2014 the average nominal monthly wages reached 30,000 RUR (or US$980),while tax on the income of individuals is payable at the rate of 13% on most incomes. Approximately 12.8% of Russians lived below the national poverty line in 2011, significantly down from 40% in 1998 at the worst point of the post-Soviet collapse. Unemployment in Russia was 5.4% in 2014, down from about 12.4% in 1999. The middle class has grown from just 8 million persons in 2000 to 104 million persons in 2013. However, after United States-led sanctions since 2014 and a collapse in oil prices, the proportion of middle-class could halve to 20%. Sugar imports reportedly dropped 82% between 2012 and 2013 as a result of the increase in domestic output. Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of Russian exports abroad. Since 2003, the exports of natural resources started decreasing in economic importance as the internal market strengthened considerably. Despite higher energy prices, oil and gas only contribute to 5.7% of Russia’s GDP and the government predicts this will be 3.7% by 2011. Oil export earnings allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from $12 billion in 1999 to $597.3 billion on August 1, 2008, the third largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. The macroeconomic policy under Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin was prudent and sound, with excess income being stored in the Stabilization Fund of Russia. In 2006, Russia repaid most of its formerly massive debts, leaving it with one of the lowest foreign debts among major economies. The Stabilization Fund helped Russia to come out of the global financial crisis in a much better state than many experts had expected.

 

Health

The Russian Constitution guarantees free, universal health care for all its citizens. In practice, however, free health care is partially restricted because of mandatory registration. While Russia has more physicians, hospitals, and health care workers than almost any other country in the world on a per capital basis, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the health of the Russian population has declined considerably as a result of social, economic, and lifestyle changes; the trend has been reversed only in the recent years, with average life expectancy having increased 5.2 years for males and 3.1 years for females between 2006 and 2014. As of 2014, the average life expectancy in Russia was 65.29 years for males and 76.49 years for females. The biggest factor contributing to the relatively low life expectancy for males is a high mortality rate among working-age males. Deaths mostly occur because of preventable causes (e.g., alcohol poisoning, smoking, traffic accidents, violent crime). As a result of the large gender difference in life expectancy, and also because of the lasting effect of high casualties in World War II, the gender imbalance remains to this day; there are 0.859 males to every female.

 

Language

Russian is an East Slavic language and an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and many minor or unrecognized territories. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine and Latvia, and to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the Soviet Union and former participants of the Eastern Bloc. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of the four living members of the East Slavic languages. Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century and beyond.

Military

The Russian military is divided into the Ground Forces, Navy, and Air Force. There are also three independent arms of service: Strategic Missile Troops, Aerospace Defence Forces, and the Airborne Troops. In 2006, the military had 1.037 million personnel on active duty.It is mandatory for all male citizens aged 18–27 to be drafted for a year of service in Armed Forces. Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. It has the second largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines and is the only country apart from the United States with a modern strategic bomber force. Russia’s tank force is the largest in the world, its surface navy and air force are among the largest ones. The country has a large and fully indigenous arms industry, producing most of its own military equipment with only few types of weapons imported. Russia is one of the world’s top supplier of arms, a spot it has held since 2001, accounting for around 30% of worldwide weapons sales  and exporting weapons to about 80 countries. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, found that Russia was the second biggest exporter of arms in 2010-14, increasing their exports by 37 per cent from the period 2005-2009. In 2010-14, Russia delivered weapons to 56 states and to rebel forces in eastern Ukraine. The Russian government’s published 2014 military budget is about 2.49 trillion rubles (approximately US$69.3 billion), the third largest in the world behind the US and China. The official budget is set to rise to 3.03 trillion rubles (approximately US$83.7 billion) in 2015, and 3.36 trillion rubles (approximately US$93.9 billion) in 2016. However, unofficial estimates put the budget significantly higher, for example the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 2013 Military Expenditure Database estimated Russia’s military expenditure in 2012 at US$90.749 billion. This estimate is an increase of more than US$18 billion on SIPRI’s estimate of the Russian military budget for 2011 (US$71.9 billion). As of 2014, Russia’s military budget is higher than any other European nation. According to 2012 Global Peace Index, Russia is the sixth least peaceful out of 162 countries in the world, principally because of its defense industry. Russia has historically ranked low on the index since its inception in 2007.

National holidays and symbols

Scarlet Sails celebration on the Neva river in Saint Petersburg

There are seven public holidays in Russia, except those always celebrated on Sunday. Russian New Year traditions resemble those of the Western Christmas, with New Year Trees and gifts, and Ded Moroz (Father Frost) playing the same role as Santa Claus. Orthodox Christmas falls on January 7, because the Russian Orthodox Church still follows the Julian calendar, and all Orthodox holidays are 13 days after Western ones. Two other major Christian holidays are Easter and Trinity Sunday. Kurban Bayram and Uraza Bayram are celebrated by Russian Muslims. Further Russian public holidays include Defender of the Fatherland Day (February 23), which honors Russian men, especially those serving in the army; International Women’s Day (March 8), which combines the traditions of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day; Spring and Labor Day (1 May); Victory Day; Russia Day (June 12); and Unity Day (November 4), commemorating the popular uprising which expelled the Polish occupation force from Moscow in 1612. Victory Day is the second most popular holiday in Russia; it commemorates the victory over Nazism in the Great Patriotic War. A huge military parade, hosted by the President of Russia, is annually organised in Moscow on Red Square. Similar parades take place in all major Russian cities and cities with the status Hero city or City of Military Glory. Popular non-public holidays include Old New Year (the New Year according to the Julian Calendar on January 14), Tatiana Day (students holiday on January 25), Maslenitsa (a pre-Christian spring holiday a week before the Great Lent), Cosmonautics Day (in tribute to the first human trip into space), Ivan Kupala Day (another pre-Christian holiday on July 7) and Peter and Fevronia Day (which takes place on July 8 and is the Russian analogue of Valentine’s Day, focusing, however, on family love and fidelity). State symbols of Russia include the Byzantine double-headed eagle, combined with St. George of Moscow in the Russian coat of arms. The Russian flag dates from the late Tsardom of Russia period and has been widely used since the time of the Russian Empire. The Russian anthem shares its music with the Soviet Anthem, though not the lyrics. The imperial motto God is with us and the Soviet motto Proletarians of all countries, unite! are now obsolete and no new motto has replaced them. The hammer and sickle and the full Soviet coat of arms are still widely seen in Russian cities as a part of old architectural decorations. The Soviet Red Stars are also encountered, often on military equipment and war memorials. The Red Banner continues to be honored, especially the Banner of Victory of 1945. The Matryoshka doll is a recognizable symbol of Russia, and the towers of Moscow Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow are Russia’s main architectural icons. Cheburashka is a mascot of the Russian national Olympic team. St. Mary, St. Nicholas, St. Andrew, St. George, St. Alexander Nevsky, St. Sergius of Radonezh and St. Seraphim of Sarov are Russia’s patron saints. Chamomile is the national flower, while birch is the national tree. The Russian bear is an animal symbol and a national personification of Russia, though this image has a Western origin and Russians themselves have accepted it only fairly recently. The native Russian national personification is Mother Russia.

Politics

According to the Constitution of Russia, the country is a federation and semi-presidential republic, wherein the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Russian Federation is fundamentally structured as a multi-partyrepresentative democracy, with the federal government composed of three branches:

  • Legislative: The bicameral Federal Assembly of Russia, made up of the 450-member State Duma and the 166-member Federation Council, adopts federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse and the power of impeachment of the President.

  • Executive: The President is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Government of Russia (Cabinet) and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.

  • Judiciary: The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the President, interpret laws and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.

The president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term, but not for a third consecutive term). Ministries of the government are composed of the Premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister (whereas the appointment of the latter requires the consent of the State Duma). Leading political parties in Russia include United Russia, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and A Just Russia. In 2013, Russia was ranked as 122nd of 167 countries in the Democracy Index, compiled by The Economist Intelligence Unit, while the World Justice Project currently ranks Russia 80th of 99 countries surveyed in terms of rule of law.

Religion

The ancestors of many of today’s Russians practiced Orthodox Christianity since the 10th century. According to the Orthodox Church Tradition, Christianity was first brought to the territory of modern Belarus, Russia and Ukraine by Saint Andrew, the first Apostle of Jesus Christ. Following the Primary Chronicle, the definitive Christianization of Kievan Rus’ dates from the year 988 (the year is disputed), when Vladimir the Great was baptized in Chersonesus and proceeded to baptize his family and people in Kiev. The latter events are traditionally referred to as baptism of Rus’ (Russian: Крещение Руси, Ukrainian: Хрещення Русі) in Russian and Ukrainian literature. At the time of the 1917 Revolution, the Russian Orthodox Church was deeply integrated into the autocratic state, enjoying official status. This was a significant factor that contributed to the Bolshevik attitude to religion and the steps they took to control it. Bolsheviks consisted of many people with non-Russian, Communist Russians and influential Jewish backgrounds such as Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Grigori Sokolnikov who were indifferent towards Christianity and based on the writings of Jewish philosopher Karl Marx with Marxism–Leninism as an ideology went on to form the Communist party. Thus the USSR became the first state to have, as an ideological objective, the elimination of religion and its replacement with universal atheism. The communist regime confiscated religious property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in schools. The confiscation of religious assets was often based on accusations of illegal accumulation of wealth. The vast majority of people in the Russian empire were, at the time of the revolution, religious believers, whereas the communists aimed to break the power of all religious institutions and eventually replace religious belief with atheism. “Science” was counterposed to “religious superstition” in the media and in academic writing. The main religions of pre-revolutionary Russia persisted throughout the entire Soviet period, but they were only tolerated within certain limits. Generally, this meant that believers were free to worship in private and in their respective religious buildings (churches, mosques, etc.), but public displays of religion outside of such designated areas were prohibited. In addition, religious institutions were not allowed to express their views in any type of mass media, and many religious buildings were demolished or used for other purposes.

Sports

Combining the total medals of the Soviet Union and Russia, the country is second among all nations by number of gold medals both at the Summer Olympics and at the Winter Olympics. Soviet and later Russian athletes have always been in the top three for the number of gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics. Soviet gymnasts, track-and-field athletes, weight lifters, wrestlers, boxers, fencers, shooters, cross country skiers, biathletes, speed skaters and figure skaters were consistently among the best in the world, along with Soviet basketball, handball, volleyball and ice hockey players. The 1980 Summer Olympics were held in Moscow while the 2014 Winter Olympics were hosted in Sochi.

Space exploration

Russian achievements in the field of space technology and space exploration are traced back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of theoretical astronautics. His works had inspired leading Soviet rocket engineers, such as Sergey Korolyov, Valentin Glushko, and many others who contributed to the success of the Soviet space program on early stages of the Space Race and beyond. In 1957 the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched; in 1961 the first human trip into space was successfully made by Yury Gagarin. Many other Soviet and Russian space exploration records ensued, including the first spacewalk performed by Alexey Leonov, Luna 9 was the first spacecraft to land on the Moon, Venera 7 was the first to land on another planet (Venus), Mars 3 then the first to land on Mars, the first space exploration rover Lunokhod 1 and the first space station Salyut 1 and Mir. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, some government-funded space exploration programs, including the Buran space shuttle program, were cancelled or delayed, while participation of the Russian space industry in commercial activities and international cooperation intensified. Nowadays Russia is the largest satellite launcher. After the United States Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, Soyuz rockets became the only provider of transport for astronauts at the International Space Station.

Tourism

Grand Cascade in Peterhof, a popular tourist destination in Saint Petersburg. Tourism in Russia has seen rapid growth since the late Soviet period, first domestic tourism and then international tourism, fueled by the rich cultural heritage and great natural variety of the country. Major tourist routes in Russia include a journey around the Golden Ring of ancient cities, cruises on the big rivers like the Volga, and long journeys on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway. In 2013, Russia was visited by 28.4 million tourists; it is the ninth most visited country in the world and the seventh most visited in Europe. The number of Western visitors dropped in 2014. The Motherland Calls in Volgogradis the tallest statue of a woman in the world (not including pedestals). The most visited destinations in Russia are Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the current and former capitals of the country. Recognized as World Cities, they feature such world-renowned museums as the Tretyakov Gallery and the Hermitage, famous theaters like Bolshoi and Mariinsky, ornate churches like Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Saint Isaac’s Cathedral and Church of the Savior on Blood, impressive fortifications like the Kremlin and Peter and Paul Fortress, beautiful squares and streets like Red Square, Palace Square, Tverskaya Street and Nevsky Prospect. Rich palaces and parks are found in the former imperial residences in suburbs of Moscow (Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno) and St Petersburg (Peterhof, Strelna, Oranienbaum, Gatchina, Pavlovsk and Tsarskoye Selo). Moscow displays Soviet architecture at its best, along with modern skyscrapers, while St Petersburg, nicknamed Venice of the North, boasts of its classical architecture, many rivers, channels and bridges. Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, shows a mix of Christian Russian and Muslim Tatar cultures. The city has registered a brand The Third Capital of Russia, though a number of other major cities compete for this status, including Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. The warm subtropical Black Sea coast of Russia is the site for a number of popular sea resorts, like Sochi, the follow-up host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The mountains of the Northern Caucasus contain popular ski resorts such as Dombay. The most famous natural destination in Russia is Lake Baikal, the Blue Eye of Siberia. This unique lake, the oldest and deepest in the world, has crystal-clear waters and is surrounded by taiga-covered mountains. Other popular natural destinations include Kamchatka with its volcanoes and geysers, Karelia with its lakes and granite rocks, the snowy Altai Mountains, and the wild steppes of Tyva.

Transport

Railway transport in Russia is mostly under the control of the state-run Russian Railways monopoly. The company accounts for over 3.6% of Russia’s GDP and handles 39% of the total freight traffic (including pipelines) and more than 42% of passenger traffic. The total length of common-used railway tracks exceeds 85,500 km (53,127 mi), second only to the United States. Over 44,000 km (27,340 mi) of tracks are electrified, which is the largest number in the world, and additionally there are more than 30,000 km (18,641 mi) of industrial non-common carrier lines. Railways in Russia, unlike in the most of the world, use broad gauge of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in), with the exception of 957 km (595 mi) on Sakhalin island using narrow gauge of 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in). The most renowned railway in Russia is Trans-Siberian (Transsib), spanning a record 7 time zones and serving the longest single continuous services in the world, Moscow-Vladivostok (9,259 km (5,753 mi)), Moscow–Pyongyang (10,267 km (6,380 mi)) and Kiev–Vladivostok (11,085 km (6,888 mi)). As of 2006 Russia had 933,000 km of roads, of which 755,000 were paved. Some of these make up the Russian federal motorway system. With a large land area the road density is the lowest of all the G8 and BRIC countries. Much of Russia’s inland waterways, which total 102,000 km (63,380 mi), are made up of natural rivers or lakes. In the European part of the country the network of channels connects the basins of major rivers. Russia’s capital, Moscow, is sometimes called “the port of the five seas”, because of its waterway connections to the Baltic, White, Caspian, Azov and Black Seas. Major sea ports of Russia include Rostov-on-Don on the Azov Sea, Novorossiysk on the Black Sea, Astrakhan and Makhachkala on the Caspian, Kaliningrad and St Petersburg on the Baltic, Arkhangelsk on the White Sea, Murmansk on the Barents Sea, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean. In 2008 the country owned 1,448 merchant marine ships. The world’s only fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers advances the economic exploitation of the Arctic continental shelf of Russia and the development of sea trade through the Northern Sea Route between Europe and East Asia. By total length of pipelines Russia is second only to the United States. Currently many new pipeline projects are being realized, including Nord Stream and South Stream natural gas pipelines to Europe, and the Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline (ESPO) to the Russian Far East and China. Russia has 1,216 airports, the busiest being Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, and Vnukovo in Moscow, and Pulkovo in St. Petersburg. Typically, major Russian cities have well-developed systems of public transport, with the most common varieties of exploited vehicles being bus, trolleybus and tram. Seven Russian cities, namely Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Samara, Yekaterinburg, and Kazan, have underground metros, while Volgograd features a metrotram. The total length of metros in Russia is 465.4 kilometres (289.2 mi). Moscow Metro and Saint Petersburg Metro are the oldest in Russia, opened in 1935 and 1955 respectively. These two are among the fastest and busiest metro systems in the world, and are famous for rich decorations and unique designs of their stations, which is a common tradition in Russian metros and railways.

 

Weather

The enormous size of Russia and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental climate, which is prevalent in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme southeast. Mountains in the south obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean, while the plain of the west and north makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences. Most of Northern European Russia and Siberia has a subarctic climate, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of Northeast Siberia (mostly the Sakha Republic, where the Northern Pole of Cold is located with the record low temperature of −71.2 °C or −96.2 °F), and more moderate winters elsewhere. Both the strip of land along the shore of the Arctic Ocean and the Russian Arctic islands have a polar climate. The coastal part of Krasnodar Krai on the Black Sea, most notably in Sochi, possesses a humid subtropical climate with mild and wet winters. In many regions of East Siberia and the Far East, winter is dry compared to summer; other parts of the country experience more even precipitation across seasons. Winter precipitation in most parts of the country usually falls as snow. The region along the Lower Volga and Caspian Sea coast, as well as some areas of southernmost Siberia, possesses a semi-arid climate.  Throughout much of the territory there are only two distinct seasons—winter and summer—as spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low and extremely high temperatures. The coldest month is January (February on the coastline); the warmest is usually July. Great ranges of temperature are typical. In winter, temperatures get colder both from south to north and from west to east. Summers can be quite hot, even in Siberia. The continental interiors are the driest areas.

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