Explore Russia in Europe

Russia
Country Guide

Map of the area of  in

Russia with its capital Moscow is located in Europe (Northern Asia (the area west of the Urals is considered part of Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean). It covers some 17,100,001 square kilometres (approximately 1.8 times the size of the US) with 140,702,000 citizens. Russian is the language commonly spoken by the majority in Russia. Georgia, China, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Mongolia, Norway, Azerbaijan and North Korea are bordering countries.

Russiaofficially known as the Russian Federation — is the world's largest country, spanning Eastern Europe, and northern Asia, sharing land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine to the west , Georgia (including the disputed regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and Azerbaijan to the southwest, and Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea to the east and much of the south. Russia is immense, and extraordinarily long on attractions for visitors, although many lie in the hard-to-reach stretches of the planet's most remote lands. The best known sights are in and around the nation's principal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Russia's history is the number one reason why tourists come to this country, following the draw of its fascinating, sometimes surreal, oftentimes brutal, and always consequential national saga.

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Pictures from the Russian capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Moscow is like. We have selected more pictures from Moscow on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

The terrain offers broad plain with low hills west of Urals with vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia and uplands and mountains along southern border regions. The average density of population is about 8 per km². The climate in Russia can be described as ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia with 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. Possible natural disasters include permafrost over much of Siberia being a major impediment to development or volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands, volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula or spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia.

To reach someone in Russia dial +7 prior to a number. There are 44,802,000 installed telephones. And there are 230,500,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".ru". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 220V - 50Hz.

Learn more on our Russian Facts page.

Description of the flag of Russia

Three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red
note: the colors may have been based on those of the Dutch flag; despite many popular interpretations, there is no official meaning assigned to the colors of the Russian flag; this flag inspired other Slav countries to adopt horizontal tricolors of the same colors but in different arrangements, and so red, blue, and white became the Pan-Slav colors.

National administrative regions of Russia

Historical background information

Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize Communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state in which the leadership seeks to legitimize its rule through managed national elections, populist appeals by President PUTIN, and continued economic growth. Russia has severely disabled a Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.

Learn more on our Russian Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.