RUSSIAN FEDERATION - ABOUT
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 opened the doors of Russia to international visitors curious to explore its engrossing history and diverse, ancient cultures. The economic impacts were felt from the imperial city of St. Petersburg to the anachronistic villages of Sibera and Irkutsk.
No longer forced into the rigid uniformity of the Communist Party, Russia began to reclaim the economic potential of its past. As Russia slowly opened its borders, tourists poured in to explore this mysterious land.
As the largest country on earth, Russia spans 11 time zones and two continents to offer an immense diversity of attractions.
The ancient cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg rapidly became a popular destination. With their abundant museums, art galleries, grand architecture and many monuments. May, June and September, January and February are the best months to plan your visit to these exotic cities.
You’ll find much activity in the spring months, engendered by the end of the harsh winter’s cold and snow. The end of June is a particularly magical time in St. Petersburg, as night is abolished in favor of the infamous “White Nights.”
Autumn offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Russia with its brightly hued trees, sun-filled days and cool winds.
Those unafraid of chill temperatures will find a blanket of snow turns the major cities turn into fairy wonderlands.
Heading into Russia’s rural territories, you’ll find diverse and rich cultures, as well as a treasure of natural attractions.
Tour companies offer river-rafting tours through the country’s matchless waterways. The snow covered mountains and lakes draw skiing, snowboarding, ice-diving and ice-skating enthusiasts. Jeep tours also cater to those wishing to explore Russia’s largest hunting grounds, where you’ll find a high population of brown bears.
Russia also is home to some of the oldest lakes in history, including Lake Baikal. In addition to its status as the largest freshwater lake in the world, Baikal is an estimated 25 to 30 million years old.
Don’t leave Russia without sampling its cuisine, which owes much to the vicious and long-lasting winters. Carbohydrates and fats dominate as a means of generating energy and warmth.
Potatoes, bread, eggs, meat and butter figure prominently, while fresh produce makes a rare appearance.
RUSSIAN FEDERATION - FACTS
Full country name: Russian Federation
Area: 17 million square kilometers (6.6 million square miles)
Population: 143 million (July 2006 est.)
Time difference: Eight hours ahead of Washington, D.C. during Standard Time
Location: Northern Asia (the area west of the Urals is considered part of Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean
Climate: Ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia; to tundra climate in the polar north. Winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia. Summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast
Terrain: Broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; and uplands and mountains along southern border regions
Reference map: http://worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/europe/eur.htm
Exchange rate: One Rouble = $0.03766 or $1 = 26.55116 Rouble
International calling code: 7
Ethnic groups: Russian 79.8%; Tatar 3.8%; Ukrainian 2%; Bashkir 1.2%; Chuvash 1.1%; other or unspecified 12.1% (2002 census)
Languages: Russian and many minority languages
Religions: Russian Orthodox 15-20%; Muslim 10-15%; other Christian 2% (2006 est.) Note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule.
Capital city: Moscow
GDP: $1.584 trillion (2005 est.)
GDP per capita: $11,000 (2005 est.)
Agricultural products: Grains, sugar beets, sunflower seed, vegetables, fruits, beef and milk
Major products/Industries: Complete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building, from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; defense industries, including radar, missile production and advanced electronic components; shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs and handicrafts
Recommended vaccinations: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/easteurp.htm
Environmental concerns: Air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; and abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides
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