Russia is one of the (if not the) largest countries in the world, its land covering a vast space of northern Asia and eastern Europe, respectively. Initially, it was part of the U.S.S.R, famously known as the Soviet Union. However, it became an independent country in December of 1991 after the dissolution of this union. With eleven time zones across the country, you can imagine its geographic size.
So, how much exactly do you know about Russia apart from its role as a superpower in the 20th century? Here we have compiled a list of some of the most intriguing facts you probably don’t know about this Eurasian country.
1. It is a transcontinental country
Perhaps one thing that most people don’t know about Russia is the fact that it is located on more than one continent. Yes, that’s right! Russia is not exclusively European or Asian, as some might think. However, its soil extends to both continents, with 77% of the land located in Asia. The rest covers some parts of eastern Europe. As such, we can say Russia is a Eurasian country.
Surprisingly though, not many people live in Asian part of the country, an interesting fact about Russia. Only 23% or so of the total population live here with the rest setting up their homes in European Russia. According to recent statistics, over 110 million people are in European Russia.
2. Russia is the largest country in the world
Considering how much area it covers in Asia and Europe, it comes as no surprise that Russia is the largest country geographically on earth. In total, the Russian territories cover as much as 6.6 million square miles. In fact, it is almost twice as large as the runner-up Canada, which covers about 3.8 square miles.
As we stated earlier, European Russia accounts for 23% of the total land. What’s impressive is the fact that this area is about 40% of the European continent – mind-blowing, right?
3. It has the 9th-largest population
It is not surprising that Russia has one of the highest number of citizens. A fun fact about Russia is that the size of its land is not proportional to the population size. You would expect the country to have the largest population, but that’s not the case. Many theories have been put forth to explain this mismatch, and one of them has to do with the birth and mortality rates.
To put it into perspective, Russia is experiencing a low birth rate and high mortality rate at the same time, coupled up with a lot of abortions. It is almost the opposite of what’s happening in countries like India. President Putin addressed this issue in 2006, but minimal changes have taken effect. It is estimated that the country’s population could fall to as low as 111 million in the next 30 years.
4. It has the longest single railway in the world
You must have heard of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for its length. Well, it is located in mighty Russia. How far can you travel on a single railway line? I bet you’ve not gone past 10 or 20 cities – that’s a teeny-tiny part of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
The railway runs for about 6,152 miles going through 87 cities. In other words, you’d need at least seven good days to complete your journey from Moscow to Vladivostok, an interesting fact about Russia. During this time, you’ll also need to be prepared to experience eight different time zones. I think that gives you an idea of this route’s length.
5. Russian brides tour the city after their wedding
Think of it as a mood-setter for what’s to come during the honeymoon. If you stood and observed one Russian city for a few days, you’d see very couples posing for pictures in front of churches and other landmarks. From my understanding, it is a norm – or rather a tradition – for couples to go on a city tour immediately after the wedding ceremony.
6. The schools in Russia have no-smile lessons
What comes to mind whenever one mentions a Russian? Exactly, that’s the picture that most people have in mind, probably due to prejudice and an image imprinted in our brains by their history and culture. It is said that Russian schools train their students not to smile, hence the scowly looks you are used to.
However, that doesn’t mean the people are not friendly. A fun fact about Russia is that most people are willing to help with translations and so on. There is no denying that you’d struggle to blend in if you don’t know how to speak their language, but there are many people willing to assist than you’d think.
7. Moscow has one of the busiest metro
Moscow’s metro ranks as the third busiest in the world, according to recent statistics. It is estimated that about 2.4 billion people ride on the train annually. On a daily basis, the Russia Metro in Moscow receives up to 6.6 million passengers, either heading to the Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Bolshoi Ballet, or the Kremlin. The beautiful decorations on the stations make the whole system quite attractive to the citizens and the outside world.
8. Russia’s capital has the highest number of billionaires per capita
This might come as a melody to the ears of any Russian, considering that Moscow is one of the richest cities on earth. Well, that’s just part of it, the most significant act in that regard is that the city is home to more billionaires than any other city on earth. According to Forbes, 79 billionaires hail from Moscow, and that’s evident even as you walk along the streets.
Are you planning to visit Russia at any time soon? Well, that’s a great idea, and there are many things that you’d probably enjoy in this country. Russia has some of the most historic features considering that it was home to one of the most active powers in the world. However, make sure you understand some Russian words because it can be quite frustrating to navigate the streets full of Russian speakers.
I hope that this article on Russia facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!