About Russia

Russian flag and coat of armsRussia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. Russia is also the eighth most populous nation with 143 million people. It extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning nine time zones and incorporating a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's fresh water.

Siberia covers more than 3/4 of the whole country, but less than 25% of population lives here. Most part of nearly 142 millions. Russian citizens live in European part of the country where largest cities are situated. Russia is a very urban country. The absolute majority of population (>73%) live in towns and cities, 11 Russian cities exceeding population of 1 million people. The biggest city in Russia and even in Europe is Moscow with ~11 millions people, then goes Saint-Petersburg (~4.6 millions) and Novosibirsk (1.4 millions).

Geographical position

Russian relief Russian territory spreads on 1/3 of Eurasia continent covering more than 17 mln square km and neighboring 18 countries - more than any other country on the planet. Vivid illustration to this statistical data is the fact that the Sun always shines over Russia. When it's evening in Kalinigrad and Saint-Petersburg, the new day begins on the other side of the country, in Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk. It will take almost a week to get from Moscow to Vladivostok by train or 10 hours by air flight.

As with its topography, Russia's climates, vegetation, and soils span vast distances. The country contains 23 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 40 UNESCO Biosphere reserves, 40 National parks and 101 nature reserves. Russian Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and also the largest reservoir of the fresh water on the planet. The longest river in Europe is Russian river Volga, the highest mountain of Europe – Elbrus. There are more than 120 thousand rivers and 2 millions lakes in Russia. Russia has the world’s largest forest reserves known as the “lungs of Europe”, second only to Amazon rainforest in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs. Russian forests provide a huge amount of oxygen not just for Europe but for the whole world.

The country has a wide natural resource base unmatched by any other country, including major deposits of timber, petroleum, natural gas, coal and other mineral resources.


The climate of the Russian Federation formed under the influence of several determining factors. The vast size of the country and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental and sub-arctic climate, which is prevalent in European and Asian Russia except for the tundra and the extreme southeast.

Most Russians live in continental climate with distinct periods of warm (summer) and cold (winter) weather. The coldest month is January (February on the shores of the sea), the warmest usually is July. Great ranges of temperature are typical. In winter, temperatures get colder both from south to north and from west to east. Summers can be quite hot and humid, even in Siberia. A small part of Black Sea coast around Sochi has a subtropical climate. The coldest temperature in the world (-71 C) is fixed in Oimyakon also known as the Frost Pole. Temperature in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg range from +25 C in July down to -25 C in January.


The Russian monetary unit is the ruble. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency allowed to be brought into Russia. However, all money brought into the country (including traveller’s checks) must be declared upon entering the country.

Tourists can exchange any amount of hard currency for rubles at any authorized Russian banks, foreign currency offices or ATM located in major hotels, shopping malls, international airports and sea ports. Exchange rates between the ruble and hard currencies are set by authorized Russian banks within Russia and by authorized banks within each of the independent republics. All major credit cards including American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard/Mastercard, Visa International and others are accepted for payment in shops, restaurants and banks in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Kazan and other big tourist centers.

See current exchange rate of Russian currency now.


Getting in and out of the Russia

AirplaneThe common way of arriving to Russia is an air flight. You can get to Russia by regular flights and charters of world’s biggest carriers as well as discounters, from all European capitals, New York, Washington and Los Angeles in the USA, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Delhi, etc. Main tourist traffic goes through 3 international airports (Domodedovo, Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo) in Moscow and Pulkovo in Saint-Petersburg. All these airports conform to the international standards. There are international airports in other Russian cities. The biggest Russian air carriers are Aeroflot, S7, Transaero, Pulkovo airlines.

Other ways of arriving to Russia are by train, by ferry or by bus. Moscow has regular train connections with Helsinki, Prague, Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, Kiev, Minsk, Riga, Vilnius, Tallin. Main railway stations in Moscow are Leningradsky, Yaroslavsky and Kazansky located nearby on one square, Belorussky, Kursky and Paveletsky. All of them are located in the center of the city. In Saint-Petersburg there are Baltic, Finlandsky, Moskovsky, Ladogsky stations. Ferry lines connect Saint-Petersburg with Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia. Bus terminal connects Saint-Petersburg with Helsinki, Tallin and Riga.

In-country transportation (Getting around the country)

TrainFor short trips from major cities to the nearby towns, bus is the most convenient mean of transportation. For long-distance trips it is advisable to use train services, provided by Russian Railways, a government-owned railway monopoly. The company is one of the biggest railway companies in the world with 1.2 million employees. Compartments with 4 beds provide comfort and secure journey and can be booked in advance. 2 bed-compartments are also available.

Most Russian cities have well-developed and diverse systems of public transportation. Tickets are required for buses, trolleybuses and train journeys. One ticket must be validated for each journey. It is best to purchase tickets prior to boarding, but they can also be purchased directly from the driver while boarding. If you need to get a taxi you can either order it from your hotel or hail in the street. Taxis are normally yellow with checkers.

The fastest public transportation in the cities is Metro. The Moscow Metro opened in 1935, now it is the most popular kind of transport used by approximately 9 million passengers. The major advantage of Moscow metro is a good combination of reliability, comfort and transportation speed which is crucial, assuming the close conditions and the pace of life of the modern metropolis. Every day 9915 trains run over 12 lines of the system (~300 km and 180 stations) with the minimum headway of 60 seconds and less during peak-hours. The Moscow Metro is well known for it’s outstanding design of halls and stations. The Moscow Metro use magnetic contact cards for tickets with a fixed number of pre-paid journeys (1, 2, 5, 10, 20) with small discounts starting with 5-ride cards.

Metro systems also operate in Saint-Petersburg (5 lines, 63 stations), Novosibirsk (2 lines, 12 stations), Nizhny Novgorod (1 line, 13 stations), Samara (1 line, 8 stations), Yekaterinburg (1 line, 8 stations), Kazan (1 line, 6 stations). Metro systems are under construction in Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Chelyabinsk.
© WRC2013 Organizing Team