Official language: Russian
Largest cities: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Samara, Kazan, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Ufa, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Krasnoyarsk.
Government: Federal semi-presidential constitutional republic
President: Vladimir V. Putin
Religion: Multi-confessional state
Area: 17 098 276 km?, the largest state in the world
Population: 143 030 106 people (2012 estimate)
Currency: Ruble (RUB)
Phone code: +7
Russia is situated in the north of Eurasia continent. It has an extensive coastline of 37,653 km along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as along the Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov, Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The Ural Mountains divide Russian into European and Asian parts, with North Caucasus, Siberia and Far East belonging to the latter.
Our country is situated in several climatic zones, including arctic, subarctic, continental and partly subtropical, with the dominance of the humid continental climate, which is prevalent in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme southeast.
From north to south the East European Plain, also known as Russian Plain, is clad sequentially in Arctic tundra, coniferous forest (taiga), mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland (steppe), and semi-desert (fringing the Caspian Sea), as the changes in vegetation reflect the changes in climate. Siberia supports a similar sequence but it is largely taiga.
Moscow has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfb) with warm, and sometimes hot, somewhat humid summers and long, cold winters.. The average temperature in summer is around +20-25 С, in autumn it varies from 0 С up to +15 С, in winter the average temperature seldom goes below -15 С, in spring it is around +15 С.
Russia has the 7th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP (2009 estimates). Its strongest branches of industry are electric equipment production, electrical and optical equipment production, chemical production, mineral production, cellulose and paper production, metallurgical production, etc. Russia has a market economy with enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas. In recent years, Russia has frequently been described in the media as an energy superpower. The country has the world's largest natural gas, oil and coal reserves. Russia is the world's leading natural gas exporter and second largest natural gas producer, while also the largest oil exporter and the largest oil producer. The largest coal deposits are located in Komi Republic, Eastern Siberia and Far East. Our country has rich supplies of iron stone, nickel, stannum, gold, diamonds, platinum, plumb and zinc.
Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are Russia’s traditional religions. The Russian Orthodox Church was the country's state religion prior to the Revolution and remains the largest religious body in the country. Estimates of believers widely fluctuate among sources, and some reports put the number of non-believers in Russia at 16–48% of the population. Easter is the most popular religious festival in Russia, celebrated by more than 90% of all Russian citizens, including large number of non-religious. More than three-fourth of the Russians celebrate Easter by making traditional Easter cakes, coloured eggs and paskha.
- Matryoshka doll (aka Russian nest-ing/ed doll) refers to a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other.It is one of the most popular souvenirs.
- Khokhloma or Khokhloma painting is the name of a Russian wood painting handicraft style, known for its vivid flower patterns, red and gold colors over a black background, and the distinctive effect it has when applied to cheap and light wooden tableware or furniture, making it look heavier, metal-like, and glamorous.
- Orenburgskiy downy shawl– a knitted shawl from goat's fuzz, a work of art, which strikes the beauty and variety of pictures and decorative patterns.
- Dymkovo toys, also known as the Vyatka toys or Kirov toys are moulded painted clay figures of people and animals (sometimes in the form of a pennywhistle). It is one of the old Russian folk art handicrafts, which still exists in a village of Dymkovo near Kirov (former Vyatka). Traditionally, the Dymkovo toys are made by women.
- Gzhel is a style of ceramics which takes its name from the village of Gzhel and surrounding area, where it has been produced since 1802. The pottery was painted solid white with distinctive blue designs.
The greatest Russian writers of the 19th–20th centuries include Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Bunin, etc.
The most famous poets are Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Afanasiy Fet, Fyodor Tyutchev, Nikolai Nekrasov, Sergey Esenin, Alexander Blok, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Marina Tsvetaeva, Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, etc.
Five Russian poets and writers were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature: Ivan Bunin (1933), Boris Pasternak (1958), Mikhail Sholokhov (1965), Alexander Solzhenitsin (1970) and Joseph Brodsky (1987).
Early Russian painting is represented in icons and vibrant frescos, the two genres inherited from Byzantium. As Moscow rose to power, Theophanes the Greek, Dionisius and Andrei Rublev became vital names associated with a distinctly Russian art. In the early 19th century, when neoclassicism and romantism flourished, mythological and Biblical themes inspired many prominent painings, notably by Karl Briullov, Alexander Ivanov and Ivan Aivazovsky. In the mid-19th century the Peredvizhniki (Wanderers) group of artists broke with the Academy and initiated a school of art liberated from academic restrictions. Leading realists include Ivan Shishkin, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Ivan Kramskoi, Vasily Polenov, Isaac Levitan, Vasily Surikov, Viktor Vasnetsov, Ilya Repin and Boris Kustodiev. The turn of the 20th century saw the rise of symbolist painting, represented by Mikhail Vrubel, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin and Nicholas Roerich. The Russian avant-garde was a large, influential wave of modernist art that flourished in Russia from approximately 1890 to 1930. The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that occurred at the time; namely neo-primitivism, suprematism, constructivism, rayonism, and Russian Futurism. Notable artists from this era include El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, and Marc Chagall.
Since the Christianization of Kievan Rus' for several ages Russian architecture was influenced predominantly by the Byzantine architecture. Apart from fortifications (kremlins), the main stone buildings of ancient Rus' were Orthodox churches with their many domes, often gilded or brightly painted. Aristotle Fioravanti and other Italian architects brought Renaissance trends into Russia since the late 15th century, while the 16th century saw the development of unique tent-like churches culminating in Saint Basil's Cathedral. After the reforms of Peter the Great the change of architectural styles in Russia generally followed that in the Western Europe. The 18th-century taste for rococo architecture led to the ornate works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli and his followers. The reigns of Catherine the Great and her grandson Alexander I saw the flourishing of Neoclassical architecture, most notably in the capital city of Saint Petersburg. The second half of the 19th century was dominated by the Neo-Byzantine and Russian Revival styles. Prevalent styles of the 20th century were the Art Nouveau, Constructivism, and the Stalin Empire style.
Our country is motherland of many world-famous composers as Mikhail Glinka, Modest Musorgsky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergey Rakhmaninov, etc.
There are over 160 theatres in Moscow only, including the famous Bolshoi Theatre, Maly Theatre, the Satire Theatre as well as a lot of theatre schools and groups.
Soviet cartoon animation is famous all over the world – ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ cartoon directed by Yuriy Norshteyn was named the best cartoon of the world in 2003 in Tokyo.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN RUSSIA
There are 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the Russian Federation, including Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Group of Monuments, Kizhi Pogost, Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, Historic Monuments of Novgorod, Lake Baikal, Virgin Komi Forests, etc.
- January 1 – New Year;
- January 7 – Christmas (orthodox);
- February 23 – Defender’s Day;
- March 8 – International Women’s Day;
- May 1 – Spring and Labour;
- May 9 – Victory Day (marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War);
- June 12 – Independence Day;
- November 4 – National Unity Day.
There are also many professional and religious holidays.
The most popular sports in Russia are football, hockey, figure skating, biathlon, box, basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis, gymnastics, synchronous swimming, chess and weight-lifting. Russian sportsmen traditionally come first in figure skating, biathlon, cross country skiing, track and field and synchronous swimming.
In 1980 Moscow hosted the 22nd Summer Olympic Games, in 2014 Sochi will host the 22nd Winter Olympic Games. And in 2018 Russia will host FIFA World Cup.
Russian system of education includes 3 stages: preschool/kindergarten, general and professional.
General education consists of three stages: primary, basic and secondary (complete), it also includes vocational training and additional education of children. Professional education comprises several stages as well, including postgraduate and further vocational education.
About 7 million students take various course in 1068 higher educational establishments, having government accreditation.
Since 2008 higher education is being transferred to two-level system: bakalavr/barchelor – magistr/master. One-level system (with “Specialist” qualification) is kept for medical courses only.
The duration of the academic year in Russia is 10 months (September 1 – June 30) and it is divided in two semesters. In the end of each semester students take examinations, they have 2-week holidays after mid-term examinations and 2-month holidaus in summer. Grading system of marks: «5» – excellent; «4» – good; «3» – satisfactory; «2» – unsatisfactory; – «pass» and «not pass».
IMPORTANT! More information on support of international students in Russia you can find atMore information on support of international students in Russia you can find at - http://www.russia.edu.ru/support.
You can find more detailed information about our country at - http://www.russia.edu.ru/edu/description/sysobr/902, а также на сайте Свободной энциклопедии Википедии - http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Россия.