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Russian Guide

Guide to Russia

The Russian Federation - Russia is a democratic federal rule-of-law state with the republican form of government. It consists of republics, territories, regions, federal cities, an autonomous region and autonomous areas - equal subjects of the Russian Federation. It is one of the largest countries of the world.

Formal Name: Russian Federation.

Short Form: Russia.

Term for Citizen(s): Russian(s).

Capital: Moscow.

Russian Flag: Three equal-sized horizontal bands of white (top), blue and red.

Language: Russian.
Some people speak English, French, and German.

Population: Russian 81.5%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 3%, Chuvash 1.2%, Bashkir 0.9%, Belarusian 0.8%, Moldavian 0.7%, other 8.1%

Religion: Orthodox Christian, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism.

Size: 17,075,200 square kilometers.

Geography: Broad plain with low hills west of Urals in European Russia and vast coniferous forests and tundra east of Urals in Siberia. Uplands and mountains along southern border regions in Caucasus Mountains. About 10 percent of land area swampland, about 45 percent covered by forest. Its land ranges from the highest mountains in Europe to some of the lowest spots in the world, and from Arctic tundra to seemingly endless plains.

Climate: Ranges from temperate to Arctic continental. Winter weather varies from short-term and cold along Black Sea to long-term and frigid in Siberia. Summer conditions vary from warm on steppes to cool along Arctic coast. Much of Russia covered by snow six months of year. Weather is usually harsh and unpredictable. Average annual temperature of European Russia 0C, lower in Siberia. Precipitation low to moderate in most areas; highest amounts in northwest, North Caucasus, and Pacific coast.

City Average temperature
July (Centigrade)
Average temperature
January (Centigrade)
Moscow 22 -15
Saint Petersburg 22 -12
Vladimir 20 -15
Irkutsk (Lake Baikal) 20 -23

Time: Moscow and St. Petersburg are eight hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time and two hours ahead of Europe. Russia spans 11 time zones. The difference between Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) and the time in some Russian cities are: Moscow and Saint Petersburg +3, Volga-river towns +4, Krasnoyarsk and Enisei-river towns +7, Kamchatka +12.

Jan 1-2 New Year
Jan 7 Orthodox (Russian) Christmas
Feb 23 Day of Defender of Motherland
Mar 8 International Women's Day
May 1-2 Spring and Labor Day
May 9 Victory Day
Jun 12 Russian Independence Day
Nov 7 National Accord Day
Dec 12 Constitution Day

Currency: The Russian currency is Rouble.

Phone Dialing Information: IDD is available. Country Code: 7. Outgoing international code: 8-"wait for a tone"-10. Most international calls made from large cities can be dialed directly, but in smaller cities and towns it may be necessary to go through the international operator and these should be booked well in advance. Telephone booths for international phone calls are available at main post offices. International calls can be booked by dialing 8-"wait for a tone"-194. Some Moscow hotels have telephone booths with IDD.

Food and drink: A restaurant meal in Russia is an event to be enjoyed for the best part of an evening. You will have a choice Russian cuisine as well as Georgian, Armenian, Uzbek, to name just some. There are many international restaurants offering American, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Mexican menus, too.

Tipping: If a service charge is not already included in your restaurant bill, you might wish to leave the small change that is returned to you. Tips are not obligatory, but welcomed in Russia - from 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the total is normal.

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz.
European type of outlets is required.


Urban: Public transport in the cities is comprehensive and cheap. Many services are electric traction (metro, tramway, trolleybus). Stations on the Moscow metro are always elegant and often palatial. Fares are standard for the various modes. Taxis are also available; they can be hailed in the street, hired at a rank or booked by telephone. It is safer to use officially marked taxis which should not be shared with strangers.

Metro: 7 days a week from 6 am to 1 am. Most convenient transportation in Moscow and Saint Petersburg


Post office service: is available in all hotels in Russia.

Fax: Services are available in numerous business centers and hotels.

Post: There are mailboxes and post offices in every hotel.

Internet services: Available in business centers and modern large hotels.

Mobile phones for rent: You can rent a phone in some large cities.

Traveling time: for all type of transportation, the time posted on tickets for both Departure and Arriving is a local time.

Business hours: government offices and other service offices open Monday trough Friday from 9 am to 6 pm

Shopping hours: 9 am to 9-10 pm Monday to Saturday. Department stores and supermarkets are open throughout lunchtime. Stores which are open 24 hours a day are becoming more common.

Restaurants and other type of cuisine: usually open 7 days a week and business hours are 11 am to 1-2 am, some of them to 6 am. Fast food is also available (McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and many others).

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