Russian Federation FAQ
Geography of Russia
Area: 17 million sq. km. (6.5 million sq. mi.); about 1.8 times the size of the United States.
Cities: Capital--Moscow (pop. 10.4 million). Other cities--St. Petersburg (4.6 million), Novosibirsk (1.4 million), Nizhniy Novgorod (1.3 million).
Terrain: Broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains (Caucasus range) along southern borders.
Climate: Northern continental.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Russian(s).
Population (August 2011): 142.9 million.
Ethnic groups (2002 census): Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, other 12.1%.
Religion: Russian Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant, Buddhist, other.
Language: Russian (official); more than 140 other languages and dialects.
Branches: Executive--president, prime minister (chairman of the government). Legislative--Federal Assembly (Federation Council, State Duma). Judicial--Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration, Office of Procurator General.
Political parties: At the State Duma elections on December 4, 2011 won the party "United Russia", which received 49.32% of votes. Also remained the following parties: "the Communist Party" (KPRF) (19% of votes), "Just Russia" (13% of votes) and "the Liberal Democratic Party" (LDPR) (12% of votes). The next round of Duma elections will be held in 2016.
Subdivisions: 83 federal subjects (members of the Federation), including 21 republics, 9 krays, 46 oblasts, 2 federal cities, 1 autonomous oblast, and 4 autonomous okrugs.
Suffrage: Universal at 18 years.
Offices: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
Banks: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
Museums: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Most closed Monday
Shops: 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
The Russian monetary unit is the ruble. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency allowed to be brought into Russia.
However, more then 10 000 $ brought into the country (including traveller's checks) must be declared upon entering the country. In Russia, tourists can exchange any amount of hard currency for rubles at any of the following locations: authorized Russian banks, foreign currency offices located in major hotels, international airports, banks and sea ports.
Exchange rates between the ruble and all hard currencies are set by authorized Russian banks within Russia and by authorized banks within each of the independent republics.
Many international credit cards are accepted in Russia (Visa, Master Card etc.).
The electric current in Russia is 220 V. European type plugs are required.
The difference between Greenwich Mean Time and the time in St.Petersburg & Moscow is +4 hours (called "Moscow time"). The difference in summer time is + 3 hours.
Telephone area code in St. Petersburg is: (+7) 812
Telephone area codes in Moscow are: (+7) 495 and (+7) 499
Russian food is famous for its meat dishes, ukha (fish soup), shchi (cabbage soup), pokhlebka (thick broth), okroshka (cold vegetable soup), bliny (pancakes) with sour cream or caviar, cabbage pie, and beef a la Stroganoff. Tea with lemon is a traditional Russian beverage.
St. Petersburg has all characteristic of the marine environment. Active cyclonic activity, and frequent changes of air masses determine the unstable weather in all seasons.
By geographical location short-term storms are possible, so it's better to take an umbrella.