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Full country name: Russian Federation
Area: 17,098,242 sq km
Population: 140 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Moscow
Languages: Russian, other regional languages, some English, French or German
Religion: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2%
Government: Federal semi-presidential republic
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +2 (Kaliningrad region), GMT/UTC +4 (Samara and Izhevsk), GMT/UTC +5 (Orenburg, Perm, Ufa and Yekaterinburg), GMT/UTC +8 (Irkutsk), GMT/UTC +10 (Vladivostok), GMT/UTC +12 (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky), GMT/UTC +3 ((+4 Summer) Moscow and St Petersburg)
Dialling Code: 7
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Rouble
Average yearly salary: USD 15,100

Meals:
Budget: R110-200
Mid-range: R200-280
High: R280-440
Top: R440+
Accommodation:
Budget: US$10-45
Mid-range: US$45-80
High: US$80-100
Top: US$100+

It is possible for the budget traveller to get by on US$30 a day. Staying in more comfortable hotels and dining out two or three times a day, will cost at least US$85 a day. Dining in Moscow's finest restaurants and staying in the better hotels, will cost  around US$350 a day. Very few places in Russia expect you to tip. Top-end hotels and restaurants add 5% to 15% to your bill, while room porters expect around US$1 a bag. Shops have fixed prices, but in markets you'll be expected to bargain.

Geography: The Russian Federation is the largest of the 21 republics that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States. It covers almost twice the area of the USA, and reaches from Moscow in the west over the Urals and the vast Siberian plains to the Sea of Okhotsk in the east. The border between European Russia and Siberia (Asia) is formed by the Ural Mountains, the Ural River and the Manych Depression. European Russia extends from the North Polar Sea across the Central Russian Uplands to the Black Sea, the Northern Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. Siberia stretches from the West Siberian Plain across the Central Siberian Plateau between Yenisey and Lena, including the Sayan, Yablonovy and Stanovoy ranges in the south to the East Siberian mountains between Lena and the Pacific coast including the Chukotskiy and Kamchatka peninsulas.

It is bordered by Norway and Finland in the northwest, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania in the west, Georgia and Azerbaijan in the southwest, and Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and North Korea along the southern border.

Climate:
Northern & Central European Russia: The most varied climate; mildest areas are along the Baltic coast. Summer sunshine may be 9 hours a day, but winters can be very cold.
Siberia: Very cold winters, but summers can be pleasant, although they tend to be short and wet. There is considerable seasonal temperature variation.
Southern European Russia: Winter is shorter than in the north. Steppes (in the southeast) have hot, dry summers and very cold winters. The north and northeastern Black Sea has mild winters, but heavy rainfall all the year round.

Recommended clothing: Rainwear is essential when visiting Russia, since precipitation occurs throughout the year. Light- to mediumweight clothes are required when traveling to Russia in summer, however, note, that even in summer, the temperature can drop as low as only 5 C, therefore a jacket and a warmer sweater is strongly advised. Fur or woolen coats are worn in winter period. Warm winter shoes/boots are also to be packed.

Social conventions: Small business gifts are appreciated. Smoking is acceptable, unless it is stated otherwise. You should avoid ostentatious displays of wealth, since pickpocketing is a major problem, especially in bigger cities. It is advisable to keep expensive jewelery and cameras out of sight also.

Health: It is advisable to have up-to-date vaccinations for hepatitis A, tuberculosis and typhoid fever, especially for long-term travelers. There is also a risk of tick-borne encephalitis in rural and forested areas (particularly in the Ural and Siberian regions). HIV/AIDS is on the increase.

Food & Drink: Russian cuisine is characterized by rich and varied dishes, that derive from the vast and multi-cultural expanse of Russia. Food and traditional dishes vary from region to region and the time of the year. Russian cuisine is strongly influenced by the harsh climate, such foods as fish, game, poultry, mushrooms, honey and berries are plentiful and widely used for the preparation of the dishes. In Moscow, St Petersburg and other larger cities good quality international cuisine is widely available. The most popular dishes of the traditional Russian cuisine include: Kasha (porridge), Blini (small pancakes filled with caviar, fish, melted butter or sour cream), Ponchiki (hot sugared doughnuts), Pirozhky (fried rolls, usually filled with meat), Borshch (a beetroot soup served hot with sour cream), Pelmeni (meat dumplings), and etc. In summer season big barrels of 'kvas' (mildly alcoholic drink made from fermented sourdough Russian rye bread) can be found in the street carts. Tap water is not recommended for drinking, you should stick to bottled water instead. One of the most ancient and traditional drinks of Russia is Medovukha. It is made of water with small amounts of honey and sometimes hops. Stavlenniy myod is an alcoholic drink based on large amount of honey and berry juices.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1-2
New Year
Jan 7 Russian Orthodox Christmas Day
Mar 8 International Women’s Day
May 1 Spring and Labour Day
May 9 Victory in Europe Day
Jun 12 Independence Day
Nov 7 Day of Reconciliation and Consent
Dec 12 Constitution Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

Study in Russia: Below are the latest Russian language schools, art schools, business schools & colleges to join our directory.

Schools & colleges listing on Learn4Good:Location
Liden & Denz, St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg, Russia
International TEFL Academy, St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg, Russia
Proba Language Centre, St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg, Russia
Educacentre Language SchoolSt. Petersburg, Russia
Globus International, St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg, Russia
Globus Worldwide LtdMoscow, Russia
EDUCA Russian Language SchoolSt. Petersburg, Russia
Representation of Russian Universities: Aerospace TechnologyMoscow, Russia
American Language Master, St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg, Russia
The Babylon Project - Russian Language OnlineSt. Petersburg, Russia
Bkc - International House MoscowMoscow, Russia
Derzhavin Institute, St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg, Russia

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