Summary: Russia is located mostly in northern Asia, although the part west of the Urals is included with Europe, and borders the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean. Its terrain is broad plains with low hills west of Urals, vast coniferous forests and tundra in Siberia, and uplands and mountains along the southern border regions. Investment and consumer-driven demand have played a noticeably increasing role in the Russian economy, although corruption and organized crime are key concerns.
Time Zone: DST +0400 UTC
Power: 220 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Russian Ruble
- Currently 1 RUB = 0.0319 USD $
Climate: Russia ranges from steppes in the south through a humid continental climate in much of European Russia, subarctic in Siberia to a tundra climate in the polar north. Winters vary from cool along the Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia, and summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along the Arctic coast.
- Currently 54º, Mostly Cloudy
Russia shutters 2nd of its 3 remaining plutonium reactors - AP via Yahoo! News - Jun 05 2:20 PM
Standard Bank Awaits Lower Prices for Deals in Russia, Brazil - Bloomberg.com - 25 minutes ago
Russia showcased as world economy sputters - AFP via Yahoo! News - Jun 05 5:22 PM
Russia's Medvedev warns Ukraine on NATO bid - Reuters via Yahoo! News - 21 minutes ago
NATO calls on Russia to withdraw railway troops from Georgia - International Herald Tribune - Jun 03 10:09 AM
| Moscow: Moscow may be the capital of Russia, but more importantly it is the spiritual heart of the nation and once living closer to its moniker as the Third Rome. Home to famous sites such as St. Basil's Cathedral on the Red Square, the part fortress, part citadel Kremlin with its red walls, and the Lenin Mausoleum featuring the actual body of the former dictator, Moscow’s skyline is resplendent with the onion- shaped domes of some of the older churches and buildings.|
| St. Petersburg: Around 450 miles from Moscow, Saint Petersburg has a culture and feeling that makes it different from the rest of Russia by carrying more of the historical architecture of the Tsars. With such a large city, the Venice of the North, so close to Finland and the rest of Europe, you can easily trip over and see the Bronze Horseman, featuring Peter the Great pointing back across the river, find Saint Isaac's Cathedral, one of the largest in the world, and see the State Hermitage Museum.|
| Lake Baikal: The greatest natural attraction in Siberia is 1,725 meters deep, making it the deepest lake in the world, accounting for 1/5 of the world's fresh water supply, and is a beautiful sight along the Trans- Siberian Railway near Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in this area, and Ulan Ude, Russia’s Buddhist center. A few hundred kilometers away is Tunguska, devastated by a massive comet strike in 1908 where interested tourists still come to visit and see one of the world's newest large craters.|
| Sochi : The resort town of Sochi sits between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea and lies close to Georgia, and its warm climate makes it a popular destination spot for both world leaders and regular folk. From the countryside attractions like the Agura Waterfalls, and cable car rides up the grassy sides of the mountains in the Red Meadow, or Krasnaya Polyana, to local sights like sunny beaches, the Dendrary Botanical Garden, or the Denrarium, and the aquariums and marine shows at the Dolphinarium. |
No Comrade: Refer to the country as Russia and not the Soviet Union. As a tourist, don't call anyone Comrade - Russians only use that title among themselves and it is quickly becoming antiquated.
Phoning Home: It is not uncommon to find a pay phone that doesn't work, so have a supply of plastic phone tokens, which are sold at metro stations, just in case one eats your supply.
Don't Litter: Russians are extremely tidy, so respect the beautiful countryside and cities and don't drop trash in the street.
No Pictures: Never photograph police (recognizable by their gray uniforms and dark red hatbands) or the police enforcement squad, the OMON. You should avoid provoking any unpleasantness.
Travelling: Tourists are being warned to avoid Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, as the political climate is unstable in those areas. Fortunately, Russia is one of the largest countries in the world and has many other attractions.
When To Visit: The high summer months are warm, but also tend to be rainy. As a result, try going May to June, or September to October, as you'll also avoid a lot of the tourist crowd. Of course, despite its cold winters, the Russian Winter Festival that spans the weeks across the new year is beautiful and helps you appreciate the snow.
Food: Russia pulls meals from all quarters of the food groups, from fish to meat, and vegetables to soups. Traditional foods from Russia include not only the well known caviar and vodka, but also pilmeni, meat dumplings, solianka, a meat and vegetable soup, borsch and beef stroganov.
Phrases: Yes = da, no = nyet, hello = privet, please = pozhalujsta, thank you = spasibo, to your health = na starovia, do you speak English? - govorite li vy po angliyski?
Tipping: Although not required, a 5 to 15 percent tip is gladly accepted, especially if you receive extraordinary service. A road tax is required by motorists entering the federation, but not if coming by train or plane.
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