Facts about Russia
A fascinating and mysterious land
Although not officially proclaimed an empire until 1721, it is claimed that Tsardom – a term first used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547 – was a Russian word for empire. It lasted uninterrupted until October Revolution, 1917, leading to the proclamation of the Soviet Republic. A country with a rich and turbulent history, despite many destructions, tragedies, and severe social problems, Russia remains fascinating and mysterious.
1Russia is the largest country in the world.
It covers over 17 million square kilometers.
2It has a population of over 146 million people.
In terms of population, it ranks 9th in the world.
3Over 12 million people live in the capital city of Moscow.
It makes it the second-most populous city in Europe. Istanbul holds first place.
4The currency in Russia is the ruble.
One ruble is equal to 100 kopecks.
5There are nine time zones in Russia.
There used to be 11 time zones, but in 2010 the government reduced the number to 9.
6The highest mountain in Russia is Mount Elbrus, with an altitude of 5,642 meters above sea level.
It is located in the western part of the Caucasus Mountains.
7The deepest lake in Russia is Lake Baikal, with a maximum depth of 1,642 meters.
Apart from being the deepest lake globally, it is also the largest freshwater lake by volume, containing about 23% of the world’s surface water.
8The Caspian Sea is the deepest point in Russia, about 28 meters below sea level.
9The longest river in Russia is the Lena River, with a length of 4,400 kilometers.
The second-longest is Ob River – 4,338 kilometers and Yenisey River – 4,102 kilometers.
10The Volga is the longest river in Europe.
It is 3,531 kilometers long.
11Russia is the leading exporter of oil and natural gas.
The export of oil accounts for more than 60%. The network of all Russian gas and oil pipelines could encircle the globe six times.
12About 17 million Russians live in a state of extreme poverty.
13Beer was not considered an alcoholic beverage until 2013.
14About 40 thousand people die of alcohol poisoning in Russia every year.
15The value of the Russian stock index is less than the value of Apple stock.
16There are 12 active volcanoes in Russia.
The largest and most active stratovolcano in Eurasia is Klyuchevskaya Sopka. Its height rises to 4,750 meters. It is also the highest mountain on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
17St. Petersburg is called the Cultural Capital of Russia.
It houses about 2.000 libraries, 221 museums, 80 theaters, 100 concert halls, 45 art galleries, 62 cinemas, and 80 nightclubs.
18St. Petersburg changed its name three times.
First, it was known as Petrograd (1914 – 1924) and later as Leningrad (1924 – 1991). Since 1991 it has been known as St. Petersburg.
19Russian forests are called the lungs of Europe.
They cover about 60% of the country’s land area and are second only to the Amazon forest in size and capacity to absorb carbon.
20Russians celebrate the New Year twice.
The first New Year is celebrated on January 1, and the second, the Orthodox New Year, on January 14.
21The first man in space was Yuri Gagarin.
The mission took place in 1961. The flight which orbited the Earth lasted 108 minutes.
22Russia has the longest railway line in the world.
The Trans-Siberian Railway is 9,200 kilometers long. It connects Western Russia with the Russian Far East, starting in Moscow and ending in Vladivostok.
23During World War II, subways were used as air-raid shelters.
The Russians built new stations while the conflict was still going on. About 150 people were born in subways during the war.
24Most of Russia’s territory is Siberia.
25About 25% of Russians die before they reach 55.
The average life expectancy for a man in Russia is 64 years. The main factor that affects life expectancy is alcohol consumption.
26The first McDonald’s restaurant opened on January 31, 1990, at Pushkin Square.
The queue in front of the restaurant stretched for several kilometers on an opening day.