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Russia Country Guide

Explore Russia in Europe

Russia with the capital city Moscow is located in Europe (Northern Asia (the area west of the Urals is considered part of Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean). It covers some 17,100,000 square kilometres (approximately 1.8 times the size of the US) with 140,702,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Russia

The terrain features broad plain with low hills west of Urals with vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia and uplands and mountains along southern border regions. The average density of population is approximately 8 per km². The notable climate conditions in Russia can be described as ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia with subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north, winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia and summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast. Potential natural disasters are permafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development or volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands, volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula or spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia.

To reach someone in Russia dial +7 prior to a number. There are 44,802,000 installed telephones. And there are 230,500,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900/1800 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".ru". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Russia

Russia Flag Icon

Three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red note: the colors may have been based on those of the Dutch flag; despite many popular interpretations, there is no official meaning assigned to the colors of the Russian flag; this flag inspired other Slav countries to adopt horizontal tricolors of the same colors but in different arrangements, and so red, blue, and white became the Pan-Slav colors.

Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize Communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state in which the leadership seeks to legitimize its rule through managed national elections, populist appeals by President PUTIN, and continued economic growth. Russia has severely disabled a Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: Europe
Neighbours: Georgia, China, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Mongolia, Norway, Azerbaijan, North Korea
Capital: Moscow
Size17,100,000 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 6,602,346 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
approximately 1.8 times the size of the US
CurrencyName Ruble, Currency Code:RUB
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).ru
Telephone Country Prefix+7
Mobile Phone Connections230,500,000
Landline Phone Connections44,802,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area17,098,242 (sq km)1

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population142,500,482 9
Population growth rate-0.02 (%)198
Birth rate12.11 (births/1,000 population)164
Death rate13.97 (deaths/1,000 population)10
Net migration rate1.69 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)46
Maternal mortality rate34.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)120
Infant mortality rate7.19 (deaths/1,000 live births)160
Life expectancy at birth69.85 (years)152
Total fertility rate1.61 (children born/woman)178
Health expenditures5.10 (% of GDP)136
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate1.00 (%)48
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS980,000 10
Obesity - adult prevalence rate26.50 (%)46
Education expenditures4.10 (% of GDP)110
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2415.50 (%)83


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)2,555,000,000,000 7
GDP - real growth rate3.40 (%)99
GDP - per capita (PPP)18,000 77
Labor force75,600,000 8
Unemployment rate5.70 (%)54
Distribution of family income - Gini index41.70 52
Investment (gross fixed)19.70 (% of GDP)101
Taxes and other revenues20.90 (% of GDP)158
Public debt12.20 (% of GDP)139
Inflation rate (consumer prices)5.10 (%)142
Central bank discount rate8.00 (%)32
Commercial bank prime lending rate8.45 (%)110
Stock of narrow money452,800,000,000 12
Stock of broad money1,061,000,000,000 19
Stock of domestic credit922,600,000,000 17
Market value of publicly traded shares796,400,000,000 17
Industrial production growth rate2.60 (%)102
Current account balance81,300,000,000 5
Exports530,700,000,000 9
Imports335,400,000,000 16
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold537,600,000,000 5
Debt - external631,800,000,000 22
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home504,200,000,000 14
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad412,500,000,000 15


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production1,064,000,000,000 (kWh)5
Electricity - consumption1,038,000,000,000 (kWh)5
Electricity - exports19,140,000,000 (kWh)9
Electricity - imports2,661,000,000 (kWh)48
Electricity - installed generating capacity223,100,000 (kW)5
Electricity - from fossil fuels67.70 (% of total installed capacity)112
Electricity - from nuclear fuels17.20 (% of total installed capacity)13
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants15.10 (% of total installed capacity)104
Crude oil - production10,370,000 (bbl/day)2
Crude oil - exports4,690,000 (bbl/day)3
Crude oil - imports16,380 (bbl/day)72
Crude oil - proved reserves60,000,000,000 (bbl)9
Refined petroleum products - production4,802,000 (bbl/day)5
Refined petroleum products - consumption3,341,000 (bbl/day)6
Refined petroleum products - exports2,699,000 (bbl/day)2
Refined petroleum products - imports24,300 (bbl/day)97
Natural gas - production653,000,000,000 (cu m)2
Natural gas - consumption460,000,000,000 (cu m)3
Natural gas - exports200,100,000,000 (cu m)2
Natural gas - imports32,500,000,000 (cu m)14
Natural gas - proved reserves47,570,000,000,000 (cu m)2
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy1,634,000,000 (Mt)5


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use44,152,000 5
Telephones - mobile cellular236,700,000 6
Internet hosts14,865,000 10
Internet users40,853,000 10


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports1,218 5
Railways87,157 (km)2
Roadways982,000 (km)7
Waterways102,000 (km)2
Merchant marine1,143 11


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures3.90 (% of GDP)25

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad
This is a fine example of a working Orthodox monastery, with military features that are typical of the 15th to the 18th century, the period during which it developed. The main church of the Lavra, the Cathedral of the Assumption (echoing the Kremlin ...
Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex
This property lies on the shores of the Volga River, south of its confluence with the River Kama, and south of the capital of Tatarstan, Kazan. It contains evidence of the medieval city of Bolgar, an early settlement of the civilization of Volga-Bolg ...
Central Sikhote-Alin
The Sikhote-Alin mountain range contains one the richest and most unusual temperate forests of the world. In this mixed zone between taiga and subtropics, southern species such as the tiger and Himalayan bear cohabit with northern species such as the ...
Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye
The Church of the Ascension was built in 1532 on the imperial estate of Kolomenskoye, near Moscow, to celebrate the birth of the prince who was to become Tsar Ivan IV ('the Terrible'). One of the earliest examples of a traditional wooden tent-roofed ...
Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent
The Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent were part of the northern lines of the Sasanian Persian Empire, which extended east and west of the Caspian Sea. The fortification was built in stone. It consisted of two parallel walls that ...
Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands
The Solovetsky archipelago comprises six islands in the western part of the White Sea, covering 300 km2 . They have been inhabited since the 5th century B.C. and important traces of a human presence from as far back as the 5th millennium B.C. can be ...
Ensemble of the Ferapontov Monastery
The Ferapontov Monastery, in the Vologda region in northern Russia, is an exceptionally well-preserved and complete example of a Russian Orthodox monastic complex of the 15th-17th centuries, a period of great significance in the development of the un ...
Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent
The Novodevichy Convent, in south-western Moscow, built in the 16th and 17th centuries in the so-called Moscow Baroque style, was part of a chain of monastic ensembles that were integrated into the defence system of the city. The convent was directly ...
Golden Mountains of Altai
The Altai mountains in southern Siberia form the major mountain range in the western Siberia biogeographic region and provide the source of its greatest rivers – the Ob and the Irtysh. Three separate areas are inscribed: Altaisky Zapovednik and a buf ...
Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin
Built on an ancient site, the Kazan Kremlin dates from the Muslim period of the Golden Horde and the Kazan Khanate. It was conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 and became the Christian See of the Volga Land. The only surviving Tatar fortress in Rus ...
Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments
The 'Venice of the North', with its numerous canals and more than 400 bridges, is the result of a vast urban project begun in 1703 under Peter the Great. Later known as Leningrad (in the former USSR), the city is closely associated with the October R ...
Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings
Situated on the ancient trade route between Central Asia and northern Europe, Novgorod was Russia's first capital in the 9th century. Surrounded by churches and monasteries, it was a centre for Orthodox spirituality as well as Russian architecture. I ...
Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl
Situated at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosl Rivers some 250 km north-east of Moscow, the historic city of Yaroslavl developed into a major commercial centre from the 11th century. It is renowned for its numerous 17th-century churches and is ...
Kizhi Pogost
The pogost of Kizhi (i.e. the Kizhi enclosure) is located on one of the many islands in Lake Onega, in Karelia. Two 18th-century wooden churches, and an octagonal clock tower, also in wood and built in 1862, can be seen there. These unusual construct ...
Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow
Inextricably linked to all the most important historical and political events in Russia since the 13th century, the Kremlin (built between the 14th and 17th centuries by outstanding Russian and foreign architects) was the residence of the Great Princ ...
Lake Baikal
Situated in south-east Siberia, the 3.15-million-ha Lake Baikal is the oldest (25 million years) and deepest (1,700 m) lake in the world. It contains 20% of the world's total unfrozen freshwater reserve. Known as the 'Galapagos of Russia', its age an ...
Lena Pillars Nature Park
Lena Pillars Nature Park is marked by spectacular rock pillars that reach a height of approximately 100 m along the banks of the Lena River in the central part of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). They were produced by the region’s extreme continental cl ...
Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve
Located well above the Arctic Circle, the site includes the mountainous Wrangel Island (7,608 km2), Herald Island (11 km2) and surrounding waters. Wrangel was not glaciated during the Quaternary Ice Age, resulting in exceptionally high levels of biod ...
Putorana Plateau
This site coincides with the area of the Putoransky State Nature Reserve, and is located in the central part of the Putorana Plateau in northern Central Siberia. It is situated about 100 km north of the Arctic Circle. The part of the plateau inscribe ...
Virgin Komi Forests
The Virgin Komi Forests cover 3.28 million ha of tundra and mountain tundra in the Urals, as well as one of the most extensive areas of virgin boreal forest remaining in Europe. This vast area of conifers, aspens, birches, peat bogs, rivers and natur ...
Volcanoes of Kamchatka
This is one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world, with a high density of active volcanoes, a variety of types, and a wide range of related features. The six sites included in the serial designation group together the majority of volc ...
Western Caucasus
The Western Caucasus, extending over 275,000 ha of the extreme western end of the Caucasus mountains and located 50 km north-east of the Black Sea, is one of the few large mountain areas of Europe that has not experienced significant human impact. It ...
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal
These two artistic centres in central Russia hold an important place in the country's architectural history. There are a number of magnificent 12th- and 13th-century public and religious buildings, above all the masterpieces of the Collegiate Church ...