Russian is one of the six official languages of the UN and it is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken Slavic language. Ethnic Russians comprise 79.8% of the country's population. The Russian Federation is also home to several sizeable minorities. In all, 160 different other ethnic groups and indigenous peoples live within its borders. Russia's 160 ethnic groups speak some 100 languages. Despite its wide dispersal, the Russian language is homogeneous throughout Russia.
Total Area: 17,075,400 km2 (6,592,800 sq. miles)
Population: 143,030,106 (2012 estimate)
Officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation, Russia is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It also has maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, and the US state of Alaska by the Bering Strait.
It is the largest country in the world, covering more than one eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. 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 reserves of mineral and energy resources and is the largest oil and natural gas producer globally. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's fresh water.
According to the Constitution of Russia, the country is a federation and semi-presidential republic, wherein the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Russian Federation is fundamentally structured as a multi-party representative democracy, with the federal government composed of three branches:
• Legislative: The bicameral Federal Assembly, made up of the 450-member State Duma and the 166-member Federation Council, adopts federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse and the power of impeachment of the President.
• Executive: The President is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
• Judiciary: The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the President, interpret laws and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.
The foreign policy is determined by the President and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia plays a major role in maintaining international peace and security.
Russia maintains strong and positive relations with other BRIC countries. It is indeed a powerhouse and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the G8, G20, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and is the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. It is also one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Sources: Wikipedia, russian-victories.ru
The two widest separated points in Russia are about 8,000 km (4,971 mi) apart along a geodesic (the notion of a "straight line" to "curved spaces) line. These points are: the boundary with Poland on a 60 km (37 mi) long Vistula Spit separating the Gdańsk Bay from the Vistula Lagoon; and the farthest southeast of the Kuril Islands. The points which are furthest separated in longitude are 6,600 km (4,101 mi) apart along a geodesic line. These points are: in the west, the same spit; in the east, the Big Diomede Island. Due to the fact of these vast distances being involved, The Russian Federation spans 9 time zones.
The Ural Mountains, rich in mineral resources, form a north-south range that divides Europe and Asia. Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water providing it with one of the world's largest surface water resources. The largest and most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious fresh water lake.
Sources: Wikipedia, geography.about
The simply huge area size of Russia and the remoteness of many of its areas from the sea, result in the presence of a predominantly humid continental climate, which is prevalent in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme southeast. In the South of the country, mountains obstruct the flow of warm air masses coming from the Indian Ocean, while the plain of the west and north makes the country prone to Arctic and Atlantic influences.
Most of Northern European Russia and Siberia has a subarctic climate, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of Northeast Siberia (mostly the Sakha Republic, where the Northern Pole of Cold is located with the record low temperature of −71.2 °C (−96.2 °F), with more moderate temperatures elsewhere. The strip of land along the shore of the Arctic Ocean, as well as the Russian Arctic islands, have a polar climate.
The coastal part of Krasnodar Krai on the Black Sea and most specifically the area around the coastal town of Sochi, possesses a humid subtropical climate with mild and wet winters. Winter there is dry compared to summer in many regions of East Siberia and the Far East, while other parts of the country experience more even precipitation across all seasons. Winter precipitation in most parts of the country usually falls as snow. The region along the Lower Volga and Caspian Sea coast, as well as some areas of southernmost Siberia, possesses a semi-arid climate.
Throughout much of the territory there are only two distinct seasons—winter and summer; spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low temperatures and extremely high. The coldest month is January (February on the coastline), 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, even in places such as Siberia. The continental interiors seem to be the driest areas.
Sources: Wikipedia, geography.about, infoplease
Russia is one of the world's fastest growing major economies and boasts a market economy with enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas. It has the 10th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 6th largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). The Russian economy is the world's ninth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity, with the 3rd largest nominal military budget. Since the turn of the 21st century, higher domestic consumption and greater political stability have bolstered economic growth in Russia.
A simpler, more streamlined tax code adopted in 2001 reduced the tax burden on people and dramatically increased state revenue. Russia has a flat tax rate of 13 percent. This ranks it as the country with the second most attractive personal tax system for single managers in the world after the United Arab Emirates. The middle class has grown from just 8 million persons in 2000 to 55 million persons in 2006.
Growth in the years 2005-2009 was primarily driven by non-traded services and goods for the domestic market, as opposed to oil or mineral extraction and exports. Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of Russian exports abroad. In 2006, Russia repaid most of its formerly massive debts, leaving it with one of the lowest foreign debts among major economies. The Stabilization Fund (a Fund with excess income which was primarily created via oil export earnings) helped Russia to come out of the global financial crisis in a much better state than many experts and scholars had expected.
According to Bloomberg, Russia is considered well ahead of most other resource-rich countries in its economic development, with a long tradition of education, science, and industry. The country has more higher education graduates than Eurasia. The economic development of the country has been uneven geographically with the Moscow region contributing a very large share of the country's GDP. This is being tackled by the Government in various ways.
In December 2011, Russia finally joined World Trade Organisation, allowing it a greater access to overseas markets. Some analysts estimate that WTO membership could bring the Russian economy a bounce of up to 3 per cent annually.
Sources: Wikipedia, cia factbook, infoplease
Tourism in Russia has seen rapid growth since the late Soviet times, first inner tourism and then international tourism as well, fueled by rich cultural heritage and the country’s great natural variety. Russia registered over 22 million international tourist arrivals in 2010 (UNWTO). Most popular visited cities were Moscow and St. Petersburg, informally known as the first and second capitals of Russia respectively.
Major tourist attraction routes in Russia include a travel around the Golden Ring of ancient cities, cruises on the big rivers like Volga, and long journeys on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway. Typical Russian souvenirs include matryoshka doll and other handicraft, samovars for water heating, ushanka and papaha warm hats, and fur clothes. Russian vodka and caviar are among the food that attracts foreigners.
The warm subtropical Black Sea coast of Russia is the site for a number of popular sea resorts, like Sochi, the follow-up host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The mountains of the Northern Caucasus contain popular ski resorts, including Dombay. The most famous natural destination in Russia is Lake Baikal, the Blue Eye of Siberia. This unique lake, oldest and deepest in the world, has crystal-clean waters and is surrounded by taiga-covered mountains. Other popular natural destinations include Kamchatka with its volcanoes and geysers, Karelia with its lakes and granite rocks, the snowy Altai Mountains, and the wild steppes of Tyva.
Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, shows a mix of Christian Russian and Muslim Tatar cultures and worthwhile visiting. The city has registered a brand The Third Capital of Russia, though a number of other major cities compete for this status, including Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod.
Sources: Wikipedia, Europe.UNWTO.org (2011), waytorussia, csr.ru
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Most visited destinations in Russia are Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the current and the former capitals of the country. Recognized as World Cities, they feature such world-renown museums as Tretyakov Gallery and Hermitage, famous theaters like Bolshoi and Mariinsky, ornate churches like Saint Basil's Cathedral, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Saint Isaac's Cathedral and Church of the Savior on Blood, impressive fortifications like Moscow Kremlin and Peter and Paul Fortress, beautiful squares and streets like Red Square, Palace Square, Tverskaya Street and Nevsky Prospect.
Rich palaces and parks are found in the former imperial residences in suburbs of Moscow (Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno) and St Petersburg (Peterhof, Strelna, Oranienbaum, Gatchina, Pavlovsk and Tsarskoye Selo). Moscow displays the Soviet architecture at its best, along with modern skyscrapers, while St Petersburg, nicknamed Venice of the North, boasts of its classical architecture, many rivers, channels and bridges.
Snowy in the winter and sunny in the summer, Moscow will change the way you think about Russia. Luxurious five star hotels, famous night life, historic sightseeing or fashion shopping - one can get the full scope of thrilling travel experience and a collection of emotions for a lifetime.
If you choose to visit Moscow, or indeed any other Russian city and rent one of our cars, be sure that you will be impressed by the energy of this unique city that combines the charm of European capitals, traces of thousand year old Russian history and culture and the peak of Asian luxury. Our dedicated purchasing team compares prices across all the main suppliers all over Russia such as Europcar, Sixt, Budget, Avis, Hertz as well as an abundance of other carefully selected and reliable local suppliers to find you the best car rental rates possible, 24/7 all year round. Visit any of our pages and receive a concise Online quote today and see how much can be saved on your next car rental in Russia, simply by using our services.
Speed limits in Russia are:
• Towns and cities : 60/80/100 km/h (36/50/62 mph)
• Open Roads : 90-100 km/h (56-62 mph)
• Motorways : 110 km/h (68 mph)
Tough punishments are in effect for drunk driving, enforced previously to 2010, including the suspension of drivers' licenses and penalties of up to 15 days in jail, had been effective. However and in addition to the above strict measures, as of May 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill enforcing a zero alcohol limit for drivers in Russia.
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