The Russian Federation

The largest country in Europe, the Russian Federation, also normally called Russia, is a transcontinental country, since it occupies also wide areas of Asia, and has a great variety of peoples often speaking different languages; it is the largest country in Europe and also in the world.

In short

Area: 17,075,400 km² -- Population: about 142 million -- Density: 8.3 per km² -- Government: Semi-presidential democracy -- Capital: Moscow -- Language: Russian, 30 other languages are co-official in different areas -- Religion: mainly Christian orthodox, large Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish minorities -- Currency: ruble (RUB) -- Telephone code: +7 -- International car plate: RUS -- Internet suffix: .ru -- Member of: the UNO since 1945 (as Soviet Union) 25 dec 1991 as the Russian Federation -- Useful Links: Official website of the Russian Tourist Board (in English) -- Postcards from Russia


Administrative division

Russia is a Federation consisting of 85 entities :
  • 21 republics (or states) that enjoy a large autonomy and mostly corresponfd to the ethnic minorities of the country: Adygea (AD), Altai Republic (AL), Bashkortostan (BA), Buryatia (BU), Chechnya (CE), Chuvashia (CU), Dagestan (DA), Ingushetia (IN), Kabardino-Balkaria (KB), Khakassia (KK), Kalmykia (KL), Karachay-Cherkessia (KC), Karelia (KR), Komi (KO), Mari El (ME), Mordovia (MO), Sakha o Yakutia (SA), North Ossetia-Alania (SE), Tatarstan (TA), Tyva (TY), Udmurtia (UD)

  • 8 krais (territories): Altai Krai (ALT), Kamchatka, Khabarovsk (KHA), Krasnodar (KDA), Krasnoyarsk (KYA), Perm (PER), Primorsky (PRI), Stavropol (STA),

  • 47 oblasts (provinces), Amur (AMU), Arkhangelsk (KDA), Astrakhan (AST), Belgorod (BEL), Bryansk (BRY), Vladimir (VLA), Volgograd (VGG), Vologda (VLG), Voronezh (VOR), Ivanovo (IVA), Irkutsk (IRK), Kaliningrad (KGD), Kaluga (KLU), Kemerovo (KEM), Kirov (KIR), Kostroma (KOS), Kurgan (KGN), Kursk (KRS), Leningrad (LEN), Lipetsk (LIP), Magadan (MAG), Moscow (MOS), Murmansk (MUR), Nizhny Novgorod (NIZ), Novgorod (NGR), Novosibirsk (NVS), Omsk (OMS), Orenburg (ORE), Oryol (ORL), Penza (PNZ), Pskov (PSK), Rostov (ROS), Ryazan (RYA), Samara (SAM), Saratov (SAR), Sakhalin SAK(), Sverdlovsk (SVE), Smolensk (SMO), Tambov (TAM), Tver (TVE), Tomsk (TOM), Tula (TUL), Tyumen (TYU), Ulyanovsk (ULY), Chelyabinsk (CHE), Chita (CHI), Yaroslavl (YAR)

  • 6 okrugs (autonomous districts): Aga Buryatia (AGB), Nenetsia (NEN), Ust-Orda Buryatia (UOB), Khantia-Mansia (KHM), Chukotka (CHU), Yamalia (YAN)
  • 2 federal cities: Moscow (MOW), St. Peterburg (SPE),
  • the Autonomous Jewish Province (YEV)
  • The Territory

    The Russian Federation is bordered by Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea, and surrounded by the Baltic Sea to the north west, the Arctic Sea to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Caspian and Black Sea to the south. The main heir of the former Soviet Union, the Federation has maintained a powerful, worldwide political influence, and has a unique position in the ISC that includes 13 of the 15 former Soviet Republics, with the exception of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.


    For centuries the peasants, called "mujik", were obliged to live in a feudal semi-slavery condition, a situation well-documented in Tolstoj's great novels, while a very tiny minority lived in privileged positions, studied at schools and universities and attended the fine court life. Then came the Revolution of 1917, and for over half a century the Soviet rule engaged in a massive effort to transform the country into a modern industrial economy, and to eradicate a culture that was based, especially in the countryside, on a deep Christian faith.

    Before the revolution in the small, poor peasant houses all over the wide plains the most important place in the common room was reserved to the Holy Icon, representing the Virgin Mary or a saint, closed in a 3-sided case or hanging on a wall, always looking to the East. The Russians developed through thousands of years a lifestyle that allowed them to survive the harshness of the climate; peasants' houses have double walls as a protection against winter temperatures, that can easily reach -40 Celsius degrees, very small windows, and farm animals used to share the same living quarters as their owners. In the long evenings after a hard day's work the peasants used to gather, drink the tea prepared in the typical "samovar", or the vodka that with its high alcoholic content successfully kept the freezing cold away, and performed energetic dances requiring great stamina both in men and women.

    UNESCO World Heritage Sites

    logo Unesco
      Cultural Sites :
    • Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments
    • Kizhi Pogost
    • Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow
    • Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands
    • Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings
    • White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal
    • Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad
    • Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye
    • Curonian Spit
    • Ensemble of the Ferrapontov Monastery
    • Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin
    • Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent
    • Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent
    • Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl
    • Struve Geodetic Arc
      Natural Sites :
    • Virgin Komi Forests in Northern Urals
    • Lake Baikal
    • Volcanoes of Kamchatka 20
    • Golden Mountains of Altai
    • Western Caucasus
    • Central Sikhote-Alin
    • Uvs Nuur Basin
    • Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve

    Phone Area Codes for Russian cities

    (in alphabetical order, preceded by +7) Almaty 3272, Arkhangelsk 8182, Ashkhabad 3632, Baku 8922, Belgorod 07222, Bishkek 3312, Bryansk 0832, Chelyabinsk 3512, Cherepovets 8202, Cherkessk 87822, Chernigov 0462, Chita 30222, Dnepropetrovsk 0562, Donetsk 0622, Dushanbe 3772, Ekaterinburg 3432, Erevan 8852, Fergana 3732, Vitebsk 0212, Vladivostok 4232, Vladikavkaz 86722, Vladimir 09222, Volgograd 8442, Vologda 8172, Vorkuta 82151, Voronezh 0732, Groznyi 8712, Ivanovo 0932, Izhevsk 3412, Irkutsk 3952, Kazan 8432, Kaliningrad 0112, Kaluga 0842, Kemerovo 3842, Kiev 044, Kirov 8332, Kislovodsk 86537, Kishinev 0422, Kostroma 0942, Krasnodar 8612, Krasnoyarsk 3912, Kurgan 35222, Kursk 0712, Khabarovsk 4212, Kharkov 0572, Lipetsk 0742, Lvov 0322, Mogilev 0222, Moscow 095, Murmansk 8152, Nizhnii Novgorod 8312, Nikolaev 0512, Novgorod 8162, Novosibirsk 3832, Odessa 0482, Omsk 3812, Orel 0862, Orenburg 3532, Penza 8412, Perm 3422, Petrozavodsk 81422, Pskov 81122, Riga 0132, Rostov-na-Donu 8632, Ryazan 0912, Samara 8462, Sant-Peterburg 812, Saratov 8452, Sverdlovsk 3432, Sevastopol 069, Semipaalatinsk 3222, Simferopl 0652, Smolensk 0812, Sochi 8622, Stavropol 8652, Sukhumi 88122, Syktyfkar 8212, Tashkent 3712, Tver 08222, Tbilisi 8832, Tomsk 3822, Tula 0872, Tyumen 3452, Ulan-Ude 30122, Ulyanovsk 8422, Ufa 3472, Yaroslavl 0852