Russia is the world’s largest country and covers most of Eastern Europe and all of North Asia. The border between the continents goes via the Ural Mountains. The land area is almost twice as large as the world’s next largest country, Canada.
|Surface:||17 075 200 km²|
|Population:||143.5 million (2013)|
|Population density:||8 residents per km²|
|Life expectancy:||66 years|
|Currency:||Russian ruble (RUB)
1 ruble = 0.14 kr
|GDP per capita:||$ 15,700 (2010)|
|Time difference:||+1 to +11 hours|
|Electricity:||220 V AC, 50Hz|
|National Day:||June 12|
|Country area code:||7|
|2-Letter country abbreviation:||RU (See more abbreviations on Abbreviationfinder)|
|Business:||industry 27%, agriculture 15%, education and culture 11%, other 47%|
|Climate:||hot and dry in the south; cold temperatures (long, cold winters and short, mild summers) in large parts of the interior; polarkl|
Russia shows great differences, both in terms of climate and culture. From the European metropolises of Moscow and St. Petersburg to the inaccessible forests and tundra of Siberia, the seaside resorts around the Black Sea, and the mountainous and volcanic areas of eastern Russia.
Russia was formerly part of the Soviet Union. Prior to the dissolution, the Union consisted of 15 republics, of which the Russian Soviet Republic was the largest in both area and population. Russia declared itself an independent state on August 24, 1991, and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved on December 26 of that year.
The Russian Federation consists of a total of 89 administrative and territorial units, so-called federation subjects. These consist of 21 republics, 6 territories (kraj), 50 regions (oblast), 9 autonomous districts, 1 autonomous region and two federal cities.
Russia is most accessible to travelers in the western parts. If you want to see the rest of the country, the Trans-Siberian Railway is an excellent mode of transport.
The following objects in Russia are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The year in which the item was added to the list is indicated in parentheses.
- St. Petersburg Historic Center (1990)
- The wooden church on the island of Kizji in Onega (1990)
- Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow (1990)
- The cultural environment on the Solovetsky Islands (1992)
- Historic Buildings in Novgorod (1992)
- Historic buildings in Vladimir and Suzdal (1992)
- The built environment around the Sergiyev Posad Monastery (1993)
- Ascension Church in Kolomenskoje (1994)
- Komis primeval forests (1995)
- Lake Baikal (1996)
- Kamchatka Volcanoes (1996)
- Altai Mountains in Southern Siberia (1998)
- Western Caucasus (1999)
- Kazan Kremlin (2000)
- Ferapontov Monastery, Vologda (2000)
- Kuriska näset (2000)
- Middle Sichote-Alin (2001)
- Derbents Citadel, Old Town and Fortress (2003)
- Uvs Nuur Basin (2003)
- Wrangel Island and Herald Island with Surrounding Seas (2004)
- Novodevitjijklostret (2004)
- Yaroslavl’s historic city center (2005)
- Two measuring points in Struve’s meridian arc (2005)
- Putorana Plateau in Siberia, 100 km north of the Arctic Circle (2010)
- Lena’s pillars, spectacular stone pillars along the river Lena (2012)
- Bolgar’s Historical-Architectural Complex (2014)
Electricity and electrical outlets in Russia
Voltage: 220 V
Frequency: 50 Hz
Type of plug: C, F
Need an adapter: No, you do not need an adapter.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Weather in Moscow
|Average temperature °C||-13||-12||-6||3||10||15||17||15||9||2||-5||-10|
Grozny is the capital of Chechnya in southern Russia. The city has 226,101 residents (2008) and is located on the river Sunzja.
Grozny was founded in 1818 as part of the Caucasus War and was one of several Russian forts along the Sunzja. The resort itself was founded at the fort by terekkossacker. Grozny, whose name in Russian means roughly “terrible” (compare Ivan the Terrible), was granted city rights in 1870. It was a small outpost until commercial oil production gained momentum in 1883. This was the beginning of a rapid development of the city that became the center of the oil industry. in a larger area, with refineries, chemical industry and other activities related to oil and natural gas production. Production in the city reached its peak in 1932, when the oil fields at Grozny accounted for a third of total Soviet oil production.
Grozny was severely affected by the fighting during both the First Chechen War and the Second Chechen War. In 1992, the city had about 480,000 residents, but after the two wars and more than ten years of unrest, the population has halved. The city’s oil and natural gas industry and large parts of its infrastructure are today in ruins, as is most of Chechnya’s economy.
Russian forces invaded Grozny in December 1994 during the First World War, capturing the city in March 1995, after heavy fighting that left much of it in ruins. The Chechen forces waged a guerrilla war based in the nearby mountains, forcing the Russian forces to withdraw in 1996. When World War II broke out in 1999, the Russian army again launched an offensive against the city, which fell in February 2000 and has been under Russian control since then. The Russian-backed government in Chechnya is based in Grozny. The government building was bombed in December 2002.
After Dzhokhar Dudayev’s death in 1996, Chechen separatists called the city Dzhokhar-Ghala. In December 2005, the Chechen National Assembly unanimously decided to change the name of the city to Achmat-Ghala, after former President Achmat Kadyrov, who was assassinated in May 2004. Critics say this is part of building a cult of personality around the Kadyrov family, which in addition to the former president also includes his son, the current president Ramzan Kadyrov. To take effect, the name change had to be approved by the Russian authorities, to which Russian President Vladimir Putin replied in the negative; Ramzan Kadyrov also rejected the proposal.
A reconstruction plan for Grozny and Chechnya as a whole over a 30-year period has been adopted by the Russian government. In 2006, the reconstruction of the city began, and its new airport was inaugurated in October of that year. However, many of the city’s residents still live in houses that were partially destroyed during the wars.
Yekaterinburg is a Russian town in Sverdlovsk Oblast on the Ural Mountains, founded in 1721 by Tsar Peter I of Russia and named after his wife, the future Catherine I. Here, Russia’s last Tsar Nikolai II and his entire family were executed in July 1918.
Between 1924 and 1990, the city was named Sverdlovsk, after the Bolshevik leader Jakov Sverdlov, but regained its old name after the fall of the Soviet Union. The city has about 1.3 million residents, and is Russia’s fourth largest city. Yekaterinburg was also the hometown of Boris Yeltsin.
Kaliningrad is a city in the federal region of Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian exclave located between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. Kaliningrad has 422,348 residents (2007).
Under the name Königsberg, the city was formerly the capital of the German province of East Prussia. The city became a center for knowledge and education. In 1736, the mathematician Leonhard Euler described the problem with Königsberg’s seven bridges, which later became the mathematical branch topology.
During World War II, Königsberg was completely laid in ruins. After World War II, the city was occupied by the Soviet Union and changed its name from Königsberg to Kaliningrad after Mikhail Kalinin. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, Kaliningrad was the main base for the Soviet Baltic Fleet.
Kazan is the capital of the Tatarstan Republic of Russia and has 1.1 million residents (2008). The city is located on the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka rivers in central European Russia. It is an important industrial, commercial and cultural center and has a university founded in 1804. Important industries are the chemical and electronic industries.
The city was probably founded at the end of the 13th century. It was destroyed by Muscovite troops in 1399 but rebuilt and served from the 15th century as the capital of the Mongol Kazankhanate until 1552 when the city was incorporated into Tsarist Russia by Ivan IV. During a peasant uprising led by Yemelyan Pugachev from 1773 to 1774, the city was burned down, but rebuilt through the merits of Catherine II. After the Russian Revolution, the city briefly served as the capital of independent Tatarstan between 1917 and 1920, before being incorporated into the Soviet Union to become the capital of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Republic.
The Kremlin in Kazan was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
According to Countryaah, Moscow is Russia’s capital and largest city, located on the Moscow River in the central part of European Russia. It is also Europe’s largest city (London is about the same size with suburbs) with 10.4 million residents, with suburbs 14.5 million residents (2005).
The area around the capital is part of Moscow’s Oblast, with Moscow as its capital. However, the city of Moscow itself is not part of this, but constitutes its own administrative unit with special administrative status.
Moscow is today a city torn between its ancient history and the development of modern times, as well as a world metropolis to be reckoned with both culturally and financially. New glass skyscrapers overshadow the old Soviet-style stone scrapers.
In the city center is Red Square, where the largest military parades were held during the Soviet era. Around this large square are, among other things, the Vasily Cathedral with its famous onion domes and the Lenin Mausoleum.
Art lovers are advised to visit the Tretyakov Gallery. For ballet or opera, you mainly go to the Bolshoi Theater. A visit to Circus Moscow is also a must according to many. Gorky Park is a large, central amusement park that is also one of Moscow’s attractions.
A new area is currently being built in eastern Moscow, Moscow City. The area consists of skyscrapers and the highest will be among one of the highest in the world. Moscow also has the tallest tower in Eurasia, the Ostankino Tower.
The Moscow Metro is famous for its artistic decoration and an attraction in itself.
Murmansk is a city in northwestern Russia, located on the north coast of the Kola Peninsula. It has 317,510 residents (2007) and is thus the largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle. Murmansk is the administrative capital of Murmansk Oblast.
The city has a port facing the Barents Sea, and is not far from Norway and Finland. The port is kept ice-free all year round thanks to the warm currents from the North Atlantic. In and around the city there are several large military installations. The headquarters of the Russian Arctic Fleet is located in Murmansk.
Before the First World War, Murmansk was just a small village. When the ice-free port of Murmansk was built in 1915-16 and connected to the railway from Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), the city began to develop into a large city. The city was officially founded in 1916 under the name Romanov-na-Murmane. After the Russian Revolution, the city got its current name. During World War II, Murmansk gained great importance because war material could come via its port to the Soviet Union from the United States and Britain. Murmansk was largely destroyed by German bombing but rebuilt after the war.
The two largest industries in Murmansk are fishing and transport.
Tourism in Murmansk is also important, visitors to Murmansk come from all over the world to go with icebreakers to the North Pole, skiing and salmon fishing.
Nizhny Novgorod is a city in Russia, and is the administrative capital of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. Between 1932 and 1990, the city was named Gorky after Maksim Gorky, who was born there. The city has 1,278,340 residents (2007) and is thus one of the largest cities in Russia.
The city is located about 350 km from Moscow and is located where the river Oka empties into the larger river Volga. It has many old buildings and is being refurbished. The city has long been the site of a military base and was previously not open to visitors from other countries.
The city has a metro that today consists of 13 stations.
Novgorod is a city with just over 200,000 residents in northwestern Russia. It is a trade and tourist center on the road between Moscow and St. Petersburg and the administrative capital of Novgorod Oblast.
Novgorod is located on a hill above the river Volchov, directly after its outlet from Lake Ilmen. It is located about 150 kilometers southeast of St. Petersburg, in an otherwise largely unoccupied lowland.
During the Middle Ages, Novgorod was one of Russia’s most significant cities. It is also one of the country’s oldest cities, mentioned as early as 859. The Vikings called the city Holmgård. There are many archeological finds from older history as it is Russia’s most excavated city. The condition of the soil has preserved the archaeological finds well. Among many other things, medieval handwritten letters have been found in Russian and also in Finnish that provide an insight into the everyday life of the Middle Ages.
No other Russian or Ukrainian city can compete with Novgorod for the variety of its medieval monuments. Novgorod, like many other Russian cities, has its own Kremlin. Here is the Sofia Cathedral and the Millennium Monument to Russia, shaped like a church bell (the motif can be found on the 5-ruble note).
Novosibirsk is the third largest city in Russia (after Moscow and St. Petersburg) and the largest city in Siberia. Novosibirsk has approximately 1.4 million residents, and is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast.
At the end of the 19th century, Alexander III argued that it was necessary to build a railway to the area of Russia that had the largest natural resources. Thus began the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Work on the Ob River began in 1893 and ended in 1897. Farmers from Altai and the surrounding areas soon began using the railway to transport grain from Siberia. In 1903, Novosibirsk was granted city status. The city soon became a financial center in Siberia. By 1915, seven banks had established themselves in the city, and in 1913 the city introduced compulsory primary school as one of the first cities in Russia. Even before the revolution, the city had over 80,000 residents and the city changed its name in 1926 from Novonikolaevsk to the current one, Novosibirsk. The city then gained the status of an administrative center in Siberia. The city got its science center in 1957. In the early 1960s, the population exceeded one million. Construction of the metro began in 1979 and was completed in 1985.
Omsk is a city in western Siberia in Russia, and is the administrative capital of Omsk Oblast. The city is located in the lowlands of western Siberia on the banks of the river Irtysh. Omsk was founded in 1716.
Omsk is a significant industrial city for Russia. The city has also had a university since 1974 and has a railway junction on the Trans-Siberian Railway, which is of great importance to the city and has influenced its history.
Petrozavodsk is the capital of the Republic of Karelia within the Russian Federation. The city is located on the western shore of Lake Onega and has 268,784 residents (2008). It is a culturally vibrant city with theaters, institutes and universities. The city’s signs are subtitled in Russian and partly in Finnish, although in addition to Finnish, Karelian is also spoken. Boats, tractors, machines, clothes and shoes are produced industrially.
After the Russian Revolution, mainly in the 1920s and early 1930s, many foreign communists came to Petrozavodsk and the surrounding area, to create a new socialist society in Karelia. The majority were Finns, directly from Finland or via the USA or Canada, depending on Karelia’s Finnish language. The Swede Signe Kaskela has in the book Under Stalin’s dictatorship written about these foreign emigrants, as she herself belonged to the group Kiruna Swedes who were attracted to Karelia on the same terms, but most of whom disappeared during Stalin’s purges. The mass arrests began in Petrozavodsk in 1937. In the same vein, the Finnish newspaper Punainen Karjala (Red Karelia), which had been the mouthpiece for Finnish and Karelian readers in Petrozavodsk, disappeared. Not only was the newspaper banned, the Finnish language was also banned when terror was at its worst.
During the outbreak of the Continuation War, October 1, 1941, Finnish troops conquered Petrozavodsk. The name of the city was changed to Äänislinna (Onegaborg) and the memorials of the Soviet Republic were removed from the city. The name Äänislinna is a translation from Abraham Ortelius’ map in 1592, where Onegaborg was the name of the place of residence on the site of the future city. It was also decided that East Karelia would not be incorporated into the rest of Finland, but would instead be managed by a military administration and thus the East Karelian military administration was created.
During their presence in Äänislinna, the Finns moved, among other things, Lenin’s statue from the city center to a secluded place and placed a Finnish field cannon in its place. The Soviet administration in East Karelia managed to evacuate most of the population and those who remained were barely half of them in any way of Finnish “descent”.
The remaining Russian population was partially restricted and various restrictions were introduced in East Karelia for the entire population. Those of Russian descent who lived closest to the front line were interned in transit camps by the Finnish military administration.
The Russian-speaking Petrozavodsk residents were taken to an internment camp built in the city, which was opened in 1941. The internment camps in Äänislinna, among other places, were in principle cordoned-off districts surrounded by barbed wire fences. Conditions were difficult in the Finnish detention camps, but gradually improved. The Red Cross and journalists from Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet, among others, made several inspection trips to East Karelia and the camps that were published in the newspapers.
The city was in Finnish hands for almost three years, when it was recaptured by Russian forces in 1944 after the Finnish Armed Forces evacuated the city the day before and nearby municipalities.
Saint Petersburg is a city in western Russia, located at the mouth of the River Neva in the Gulf of Finland. Saint Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city with a total of 4,571,184 residents (2007).
St. Petersburg was founded on the ruins of the Swedish 17th century city of Nyen by the Russian Tsar Peter the Great in 1703. The city is named after the apostle Peter. The strategic location on the Baltic Sea favored the city’s development. St. Petersburg was intended to be – and soon became – Russia’s “window to the west”, a Russian center of modern Western ideas.
In 1712, St. Petersburg took over the capital function from Moscow, and the city remained the seat of Russian power until 1918 (with the exception of 1728-32), when Moscow in the shadow of the Russian Revolution and the First World War was again declared capital.
The city was called Petrograd between 1914 and 1924, and then changed its name when World War I broke out. This is because they did not want the capital to have a German-sounding name when fighting the Germans. Three days after Lenin’s death, the city was renamed Leningrad.
During World War II, Leningrad was besieged between 1941 and 1944. Over a million people, mostly civilians, died. Most did not die from the German grenades and bombers’ raids, but from starvation and cold, mainly during the cold winter of 1941-42 when up to 4,000 people per day died in the city.
The lands around Leningrad were cut off by Germans and Finns and the only escape route was across Lake Ladoga. In early 1943, the blockade and siege were largely broken, although German artillery continued to bomb the city with grenades for another year. The event is known as the Nine Hundred Days.
In July 1991, the city’s old German name Saint Petersburg was reintroduced after a referendum. However, the official name of the area around St. Petersburg is still Leningradskaya oblast (“Leningrad County”). The city is the main center for machine development, including power plant equipment, machinery, shipyards, tool manufacturing, metallurgy, chemicals, printing and as one of the largest ports in the Baltic Sea.
Saint Petersburg is known for having a rich cultural life, but also an exciting and active nightlife.
Vladivostok is the capital of the Primorje Krai region of southeastern Russia, located on the Pacific Ocean, about 100 kilometers from the border with China. Vladivostok is the main base for Russia’s Pacific Fleet and the terminus of the Trans – Siberian Railway. The city is the port of entry for used cars and machines from Japan. The city has 580,821 residents (2007).
From 1958 to 1991, only Soviet citizens were allowed to live in Vladivostok, and no foreign visitors were allowed. During the period, Soviet citizens outside the city had to apply for a permit to visit Vladivostok. The reason was that the Soviet Pacific Fleet was based in the city.
Before 1958, Vladivostok had a large proportion of Korean and Chinese residents. Many Koreans were deported from the Far East under Stalin’s rule, and have since returned to the region. Recently, North Korean refugees have also settled in Vladivostok.
Vladivostok is home to one of the largest Armenian groups in eastern Russia. The city has several Armenian bakeries and restaurants.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, many companies have opened offices in Vladivostok that have a good strategic location, close to many major port cities. After the fall of the Soviet Union, crime and the cost of living also increased. Many observers today believe that Russia’s organized mafia has its seat in the city.
Two-thirds of Vladivostok’s suburbs are so polluted that living there is considered directly dangerous to health, according to local environmental experts. Even central parts of the city are considered to be so polluted that they are considered environmental disaster zones. Only a few parts of the city have levels of environmental toxins that are below the limit values for what is not hazardous to health. Soil, water and even people in the area have significantly elevated values of heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, cadmium and zirconium which affect respiration and the nervous system.
The cause of the pollution is primarily heavy industry that has not been built up with regard to the environment and people, but partly also extra vulnerable geography that amplifies the impact of emissions.
Volgograd is a city on the Volga River in Russia with about 1 million residents. It was founded in 1589 under the name Tsaritsyn and was called Stalingrad from 1925-1961. The city is the administrative capital of Volgograd Oblast.
During World War II, the battle of Stalingrad was fought between German and Soviet troops, during which the city was largely completely annihilated. Along with the Battle of Kursk, the battle became the so-called geographical turning point during the German invasion of the Soviet Union.