131 Fun Facts About Russia To Know Before You Visit The Country

Aryan Khanna
Feb 28, 2023 By Aryan Khanna
Originally Published on Nov 25, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Young girl waving the Russian flag

Russia, or as it is officially known as the Russian Federation, was formed on December 25, 1991 spanning over two continents, Asia, as well as, Europe.

The fact that it is a transcontinental country and spans over an area of 6,612,073 sq mi (17,125,191 sq km) means that Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of land area.

As an interesting fact about Russia being the largest country in the world, Russia covers around 11 time zones from one end to the other.

Even though Russia is the biggest country in terms of size, the land border of Russia isn't as long as China's and comes second at 12,577 mi (20,241 km).

However, Russia holds the record for sharing its border with the most number of countries. There are a total of 16 countries which share their borders with Russia, but of these 16, Japan and USA only share their maritime borders.

So, it is 14 countries that share their land border with Russia.

Russia tops the chart of the largest countries in the world but it doesn't have the highest population density as it ranks only ninth in the most populous countries in the world. However, it still is the most populous country among all the European nations with a total population of 146.2 million.

Moscow is Russia's capital and is also the largest city, not only in Russia but the entire European region.

Taking a look at some interesting geographical facts about Russia, this transcontinental country has a massive coastline of 23,397 mi (37,653 km).

The country is also home to the highest mountain and the longest river in Europe. Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe, located within Russia, and has a height of 18,510 ft (5642 m) and the Volga is the longest river of Europe covering a massive 2194 mi (3531 km).

The Volga ultimately opens into the Caspian Sea which in fact is the world's largest lake.

Despite the massive landmass of Russia, only 14% of the area is fit for agricultural use as the rest belongs to the region which faces harsh winter conditions. More than 75% of Russia's land cover is occupied by Serbia which has nothing but sprawling pine forests throughout.

Its landscape consists of deserts, mountains, frozen coastline, and marshes.

The majority of the Russian population lives on the western side where Moscow is and only a small part of the population lives in eastern Russia. Russia is also home to Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world.

It is also the deepest lake in the world and arguably the oldest source of fresh water on this planet, and it contains more than one-fifth of the Earth's fresh surface water.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about Christmas in Russia factsandRussian tortoise lifespan here on Kidadl?

Fun Facts About Russian Culture

Russian culture is one of the most ancient ones in the world.

The country of Russia was earlier known as the Soviet Union or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and at that time, the Soviet Union was even larger than current Russia signaling towards the diverse culture of the country.

There are more than 150 ethnic groups residing in Russia and there are also people who follow Islam as their religion. Additionally, even though only Russian is recognized as the official language of Russia at the national level, there are 35 languages that are also official languages in various parts of the country.

On top of that, there are more than 100 minority languages spoken in some remote regions by the Russian people.

The existence of Russian culture can be found on the national flag of Russia, in its national anthem, and also on the national symbol of the country, the two-headed eagle. The two heads of the eagle signify the two parts of Russia, one in Asia and the other in Europe.

Russians pay great importance to family, one's extended family is as close as the immediate family. Grandparents and grandkids all stay together in a well-knit fashion and exhibit togetherness.

Russians have carried on the heritage of art and culture from their forefathers, preserving the Russian art of doll making or as they are locally known 'Matryoshka'. These dolls are a great form of souvenir to anyone visiting Russia because they depict Russian culture.

A lot of countries that have been around for long periods of time and have a deep-rooted civilization have superstitions and beliefs embedded in their culture. Russia is no different and has its own sets of superstitions.

Some of the common ones are include that breaking a mirror is considered to be a sign of bad luck in Russia.

Moreover, if you wish someone happy birthday before their birthday in Russia, it is not appreciated in Russia as people tend to wish only on the day of the birthday or after.

Russians enjoy big fancy weddings; a traditional Russian wedding often lasts up to seven days. There are several rituals and practices which are also followed during the wedding days.

Short dialogues, Russian literature, vodka, tea, and ballet are some of the other specifics which are an integral part of the Russian culture.

What is Russia's old name?

Over the years, Russia has had many different names. Even to date, local Russians call Russia 'Rossiya'.

It all began way back in the early parts of the 18th century when there existed the Russian Empire or as it was commonly called Imperial Russia. Nicholas II was the last Russian emperor who reigned until 1917 who was then removed due to the Russian revolution which began in 1917.

It was until 1918 that Saint Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire which was then changed to Moscow. The Russian revolution led to the end of imperial rule and saw the formation of the USSR, the first socialist state at that time.

From 1917- 1922 the state of Russia was called Soviet Russia but from 1922-1991 it was referred to as the Soviet Union. The dissolution of the Soviet Union lasted from 1988-1991 which saw the emergence of many countries which were earlier part of the Soviet Union.

In 1991, the Russian Federation emerged with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. There were multiple reasons which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union but ever since, Russia has emerged as a world power.

Ever since 1991, there were a lot of changes in the way the Russian Federation functioned.

It was formed as a democratic country and the Russian economy was a mixed economy from then on. Russia did face a lot of hiccups in its transition, although it did have resources.

The functioning was very inefficient and there was a lot of chaos at the beginning. As of this day, Russia's economy is the fifth-largest of all European nations and 11th in the world in terms of GDP.

St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

Weird Facts About Russia

In the past, there have been some astonishing events in Russia, facts which can be considered weird at times. Some of these Russia facts date back to the time of Adolf Hitler when he planned to take control of Leningrad, which is now known as St Petersburg.

This is one of the lesser-known Russia facts that there exists a hotel in St Petersburg named Hotel Astoria where Hitler had planned to organize a celebratory banquet had he conquered the then Leningrad.

St Petersburg was earlier a city of great importance during the times of the Russian Empire. Since the shift of the capital to Moscow, its significance has reduced but it is still one of the biggest cities in Russia.

Interestingly, the greatest Russian museum known as The Hermitage is in St Petersburg. This will sound weird to many but there are 70 cats who guard the treasures of the museum from rodents and this practice has been going on since 1745.

Did you know, on a particular day recognized as the Subbotnik, the people of Russia voluntarily come on to the streets to sweep them and keep them tidy, and this tradition has been going on for decades.

You perhaps didn't know this one but there exists a statue of Laika, the dog that went to space in 1957, and the statue is situated in Star City, Russia.

There is also a rule about the number of flowers you give to someone in Russia when you meet them depending upon the situation.

If you are giving flowers during a funeral, they must be in even numbers, but if it is on some other joyous occasion or as a form of greeting, you must bring an odd number of flowers.

Did you know there is a huge life expectancy discrepancy between males and females in Russia? Men have a life expectancy of 65 years, whereas, Russian women have a life expectancy of 76 years.

Russians celebrate Christmas on the seventh of January every year and not on December 25 as they follow the old Julian calendar? Moreover, Christmas isn't as largely celebrated in Russia as it is in some other parts of the world.

Another weird fact about Russia is, many wealthy Russians hire fake ambulances to beat the traffic in Moscow!

Russian Wildlife Facts

Russia has extensive wildlife and this is no surprise considering the large amount of area it covers. Russia is unsurprisingly home to a huge variety of animals and a number of ecosystems.

The steppes and tundra of Russia are home to many rare animals such as snow leopards, polar bears and also Asiatic black bears. All these animals have adapted to the harsh weather conditions in their areas.

The gem of Russia's wildlife is the Siberian tiger, indigenous to the forests in the eastern parts of Russia. The Siberian tiger, the largest species of cat in the world, can sometimes weigh up to 661 lb (300 kg).

Arctic foxes and reindeer are some of the other animals which can be spotted in the snowy forests. In the waters of the Arctic Ocean, one can spot seals and whales signifying the diversity of Russian wildlife.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked learning these 131 fun facts about Russia to know before you visit the country, then why not take a look at facts about Moscow Russia, or Cold War facts?

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Written by Aryan Khanna

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

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Aryan KhannaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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