About Russia

Moskva Crveni trg 
RUSSIA – country of contrasts

Russia is country of contrasts in every way and in all its geographical and natural features too. Travelling along Russia you will see pampas, deserts and icebergs, valleys and high mountains….Thanks to its place between west and east part of the world,natural features, vast space and rapturous history full of names that changed the world, the country rich in culture and diversity is created, the country  that for centuries intrigues and fascinates all visitors.

Area
largest country in the world
– total 17.075.200 km²

Population
– 8th in the world
–  total 141.997.526 (2007 y.)
 density 8,3/km²

Currency 
Russian roubles (100 kopecks)

Call number 
+7

Time zone
UTC +3 do +12 (without +5)

Internet domian
.ru

GEOGRAPHICAL  FEATURES

Russia (official name: Russian Federation) is in its area the biggest country in the world which connects Europe and Asia, East and West:17.075.200 km2.

If you wish to travel along Russia east-west, you can expect long 9000 km, and from North to South 5000 km. It is divided into European or Western part (about 3,5 mil. km 2)

and Eastern Asian part i.e.Siberia (13,5 mil. km2).The natural border of these two parts makes mountains Ural. Because of its huge size it has 9 time zones (previously it had 11) and the biggest number of neighbouring countries in the world.

It is interesting that today Russia is smaller than it was 300 years ago. Russian Empire was spreading very quickly during last 4 centuries. In 17th century the population of Siberia started, after the war against Sweden in 18th century, Russia spread in North and afterwards in South. In the middle of 19th century, Russia sold Alaska and in return got new territories on Far East. Russia also colonized Manchuria and part of  Central Asia .In 20th century Russia lost some parts of its territory – Finland and Poland. After USSR broke up,Russia lost 1/4 of its territory including Ukraine and Belarus.Russia has 30% less territory than it used to have and its vast size impresses until today.

CLIMATE

Do not be afraid of Russian winter!
Winter: -10° C
Summer: 20-25 ° C

Russia is not, against belief of many , eternally cold country covered with snow .If you go to Moscow in summer, you can forget about fur hat. In European parts of Russia, winters are not at least as cold as many believe. The average temperature is -10°C in winter. During the summer the temperatures in Moscow are around 26°C, and sometimes even 30°C.During the winter the average temperatures are around 10°C.The temperatures in Saint Petersburg are little bit lower. South part of Russia,where pampas are, is dry and quite warm. Winters are very cold but for your comfort –last short. If you decide to spend summer nearby Russian port Soča on Black sea, you will enjoy real summer temperatures-around 35°C.The weather in coastal regions is humid and temperatures are lower. On far east of Russia temperatures can be very high, up to 40°C.Against some beliefs,  in the part of Siberian it is not eternal winter. Temperatures can be up to 20°C.Yet, without fur hat and fur coats it is not recommendable to spend holiday there during the winter.-50°C in Siberia is not a myth. If you are not afraid of winter, visit village Oymyakon -the coldest  inhibited place in the world where it is recorded the lowers temperature ever-71.2 °C. If you decide to travel in cold Siberia, you will enjoy in “whisper of stars”. When you exhale, water steam turns into small icicles which when falling on the ground create melodious sound like a small bell sound .That’s why this is called “whisper of stars”. Try!

SUMMARY: the continental climate is present: warm summers and cold winters. The climate in Siberia is very sharp, and in Northern parts polar. On higher altitudes the climate is mountain like, and on far east of Russia monsoon .

POPULATION

Two quarters of  144.5 million inhabitants is inhabited in European part, and only one quarter is inhibited in cold Siberia and far east of Russia.In Russia you can meet members of more than 100 ethnic groups. Except Russians (about 80 % of total number) the population consists of Ukrainians , Tartars, Belarussian , Polish, Jews,Chechians,Ingush people and others.

Some interesting numbers: in average one out of four Russians is retired ,the average age is 30 years. Majority of Russian families consists of three members. Average life expectancy is 59 years for men, and 73 years for women

ECONOMY

Russia is a country rich in natural resources. It is one of the leading energy producers and army technology. The sectors of finances, telecommunications and buildings are developing rapidly. After the end of communism in Russia, very bad economical situation occurred. But ,today it is one of the countries with the fastest growing economy in the world. In the time of  world crisis, GDP of Russia grown for 4,3 % (2011 year).Despite these facts,huge problem of Russian economy is unequal difference between development and richness of some regions. In some provinces average income per inhabitant is up to ten times smaller than income in capital. So, in terms of Russian economy conditions ,it is one of those countries where you can notice extremes –there are people who drink the most expensive wines and those who don’t even have fresh water to drink. In the centre of Moscow the old model of cars is attraction lost in the sea of all luxury cars, and don’t be surprised if you see someone taking out the gold credit card with diamonds. On the other hand, if you visit some rural parts of Russia, you could think that the time of communism has ended  only recently. According to some recent researches  about 100 Russian multi millionaires hold 30% of total Russian wealth. This huge difference between poor and rich has became deeper after the end of socialism-the rich became even richer,and poor lost even that little that they had. This is possibly one of the reasons why Russians decided on another “firm hand”. Putin created the image of self confident leader who decided to take Russia safely and firmly on the way of economy development. His government has started huge economy investments,announced and already made some changes in health care, education, agriculture…There are contrary stories about Putin’s figure.Russian are divided on those who totally support him and those who consider him responsible and main author for lack of freedom and extremely low life standard of majority of Russians. What can not be disavowed is the fact that today Russia is, along with India,China and Brasil (BRIC countries),after long time, considered economical future of the world.

Official currency in Russia is rouble (RUB).One rouble consists of 100 kopjejka.One Croatian kuna is 5,3 RUB.

GOVERNMENT CONSTITUTION AND STRUCTURE

Political executive in Russia has the president and government with the Prime Minister.Legislative power is in hands of Federal Congress. The Federation consists of 89 administrative units:49 districts ,21 republics,10 autonomous distrits,6 areas, 2 federal towns and 1 autonomous district.

HOLIDAYS

Russian decided on Julian calendar even Gregorian calendar has more wide use.Today difference between Julian and Gregorian calendar (which is used in Croatia) is 13 days.

State holidays:
•    1st January (14th January according to Gregorian calendar)
•     7th January – Christmas
•     14th February-Valentine’s day
•    23rd February – Motherland defenders day
•    Easter (day is changeable, always Sunday in April)
•    1st May-Labour day
•    9th May –Victory day
•    12th June – Day of Russia
•    4th November –Unity day
Known holidays that are state holidays:
•    31th December – Old new year (celebrated on 13th January according to Gregorian calendar)
•    25th January – Tatjana’s day-day of students
•    Maslenica – a week before starting of Lent
•    12th April – Day of cosmonautics (dedicated to Gagarin’s flight in space)
•    7th July – Day of Ivan Kupal (paganism Slav holiday)
•    8th July – Day of Petar and Febronie (day dedicated to family love and fidelity)

RELIGION

There are four official religions in Russia-Orthodoxy, Islam, Budhism and Judaism.

The majority of Russian inhabitants are of Orthodoxy religion-75 %.According to some figures there are about 10% people of Islamic religion. They are mostly settled in Volško-Vjatska region and North Caucasus.The  members of other religions are in minorities.It is interesting that Budhism entered Russia in 16th century and that Russian area of Kalmykia is the only place in Europe where the Budhism is major religion.

LANGUAGE

Official language is Russian. It belongs to East Slavic group of languages. It is one of five world languages with the biggest number of speakers. Russian as a mother tongue is spoken by 170 million people, of which 130 million live in Russia.Russian,as a second language, is spoken by 300 million people. The official letter is Cyrilic.

Short  dictionary 

Croatian

Russian

Pronunciation

yes

да

da

no

нет

net

Hi!Hello!(at arrival)

привет

privet

greeting (more formal)

здравствуйте

zdravstvujte

Goodbye (when leaving)

пока

poka

Goodbye

до свидания

do svidanija

Good morning

доброе утро

dobroe utro

Good afternoon

добрый день

dobryj den

Good evening

добрый вечер

dobryj vecher

Good night

спокойной ночи

spokojnoj nochi

I don’t understand

я не понимаю

ya ne ponimaju

Do you understand?

вы понимаете?

vy ponimaete?

I’m sorry

извините

izvinite

Here you are

пожалуйста

pozhalujsta

Thank you

спасибо

spasibo

What

что

shto

this

это

eto

What is this?

 что это

shto eto

I don’t speak Russian

я не говорю по-русски

ja ne govorju po russki

Do you speak Croatian?

Вы говорите по-хорватски

vy govorite po horvatski

I’m from Croatia.

я из Хорватии

ya iz Horvatiji

I can’t hear well.

мне плохо слышно

mne ploho slyshno

 

Russia is, for hundreds of years, considered to be one of the countries with the richest culture. Russian names has taken all the top positions on the list of best artists in theatre,literature, music, the most important scientists in different fields. To mention all Russian names who are part of Russian and world culture it would be like making the list like one thick book. How developed and important cultural life is,witnesses the fact that only in Saint Petersburg there are about 2000 libraries,221 museums,80 theatres and 45 art galleries.

Russian soul – some features of Russian characters and mentality

Russians don’t smile. Indeed ,Russians are not like other westerns trying to be friendly and attractive to all around them. If you stop them on the street  and ask how to find some street, they will barely mutter the answer and will not help you feel comfortable in their country. But that does not mean that they are not people who will not gladly help you and be devoted friends once they got to know you well. Their regime and social distresses might be the authors for starting  fears and unsociability ,but be patient and you will have one devoted Russian soul for friend.

Carefully on Russian streets.

Gužve na moskovskim ulicama

Red sign is not always sign for stop on Russian streets. Be careful, train you reflexes because Russians, thanks to huge traffic jams, don’t always drive according to rules. Pedestrians ,be very careful on zebra crossings. In Russia you can not get very far or arrive quickly if you stop to every pedestrian on the zebra crossing.

Come very hungry for lunch in Russian home. Be careful, you can  try to refuse food from Russians,but you will probably finish with full stomach and laying on the bed. Do not forget to bring drinks and small thing as a gift if you are invited to lunch or party.

Generosity is at price for Russians. Russians will, like a majority  of Slavic nations, often offer you with food and drink. Parsimony is considered unacceptable in society and it is better to forget “clean bill-long love”

Russian soul  is sensitive  and sympathetic. From outside cold and closed, it is the nation which gave many artists and philosophers,sympathetic to not only their personal pain but on global problems and sufferings. Many find the origin of that sensitivity and sympathy in very strict  and often very cruel government regime which bothers people, but on the other hand joins them and make them sensitive to others problems.

Russians have clear attitudes and say them loudly. Maybe political system does not allow western freedom of expressing someone’s views through all medias,but blogs,social networks and simple gatherings are great opportunity for Russians to express their personal opinions, attitudes clearly, without many thinking, without word choosing what is politically correct. There is not false tolerance and it is yet one of their virtues

Strong men, pretty women

Yes, Russian man thinks that he is the one who has to be strong and earn money, and she has to be pretty and caring.Russia can really praise with beautiful women models like Natalie Vodianova or Irina Šejk.In Russian society it is desirable for woman to fulfil all stereotypes-to be pretty, always look good, gentle and so on..So you will on town streets see, specially in Moscow, women who look good at any time,going everywhere walking top dressed and with excellent make up. If you come in trainers, you could very possibly, feel like Cinderella before meeting with Fairy tale.

Russians are not racists. To be proud of its country and nation,does not implies discrimination towards other nations.In Russia there are many different ethnic groups and it is not unusual to meet strangers, people of different skin colour,religion and so on….

Region is important part of life for Russians but superstition as well. Orthodoxy has always been important part of cultural development,like other religions  in different regions. But for Russians even strong religion did not manage to erase traces of paganism. They are simply too interesting .Do not sit at the end of table, like in Croatia, it is the reason for not getting married. If you would like to receive the visit from man, accidentally knock down the knife. If you would like woman to come to you, accidentally knock down the fork…Russian culture is a culture of writing and talking so it is not surprising that many superstitions stayed kept and that they are forwarded, really these are parts of very interesting stories.

They love vodka, very much

Maybe because of heavy winters,maybe because of rapturous social happenings, Russian incline to drink one glass too much. And be prepared to join them ,otherwise they could be offend. But because of that they are not alcoholics who have litre of vodka for breakfast and lunch. They are simply more resistant to alcohol.

They jump into cold water after sauna. It seems crazy, but Russian custom is in fact really useful and healthy. In that way the body strengths and develops resistance to different illnesses.

Russians don’t speak English or any other foreign languages. Just like French, Italians and Germans, Russians are not the best foreign language speakers.And why they should  be. There are about 145 million people whose native language is Russian (for comparison-there are 105 million German native language speakers).If you decide to communicate  in Croatian language (becasue it is also Slavic language),don’t be surprised if the Russian thinks that your t-shirt (majica) has just gone to shop instead of your mother (russ. majka means majica),that you want garden (vrt), and not now (sad) (russ.sad means vrt) or that your stomach is unbearable heavy (russ. život-life means trbuh).

 

Guests in Russia– behaving rules

Hand shaking
Hand shaking is typical way of greeting .Be ready for firm Russian hand shake and don’t forget to look in eyes the person you shake hands with. If man shake hands with a woman the shake will not be as firm, and Russian women will often not offer hand because it is not custom that they shake hands. If you meet with a Russian girlfriend ,greet her with a kiss on the cheek three times starting from left cheek.

Russian names
Russians have first name, middle name-patronymic (name according to father’s name) and surname. If you meet with Ivan,Petar’s son,or with Ivana,Petar’s daughter their middle name will be Petrovič, or  Petrovna (female form).In official situations all three names are used. Friends and acquaintances can refer one to another with just name or patronymic. Russians often use nicknames for close friends:Maša,Mašenjka,Katjuša,Vanja…

Gifts for Russian acquaintances
If you come to visit Russian family or friends ,bring small gift. It is expected from men to bring flowers (only not yellow because it symbolizes departure!). Russian might take the gift with certain reservations ,but like all, they will be glad that you thought of them and brought them small token of attention. Do not forget the gifts for a child  who is about to be born. Russians believe that something like that brings mischief. Wait for baby to be born and surprise them with a gift.

Dinner in Russian home
The behaviour in Russian home as a visitor does not differ from behaviour expected in Croatian nation or any other nations. Be careful to be on time or not to be late more than 15 minutes. On arrival take off your shoes. Decent clothing is also advisable. Offer your help in the kitchen in preparation before dinner and helping out in setting off  the table afterwards. At meal follow ordinary manners –do not get up until the host asks you to or until the guest of honour does not get up. Men, pour women next to you a drink, do not eat all food from the plate so that someone would not think that you did not have enough…And of course, enjoy in Russian meals and company.

Business opportunities
Inspire many myths about Russians, you do not have to be afraid of associates involved in the net of mafia, rude and impolite characters from films about Russians. More or less, there is no difference in business communication with Russians and other nations. Show respect, don’t overdo. Be sincere and patient. Don’t try to leave an impression of person concentrated only on job.Create the relationship of sympathy and good will .Make it sure that the Russian business partner can trust you. Make the net of people who you can trust to, and if they are on high positions it will be of your help indeed. If you arrange the meeting with Russian partner, try to arrange that as early as possible, a month or even earlier in advance. Russians often take their time to answer so don’t hurry with an organisation. Of course, few days before express your delight about the meeting in order to remind them about it. Don’t be surprised if they cancel at last minute. Come to the meeting formally and conservatively dressed –in a suit or in a skirt covering  your knees .Don’t forget the business card and translator for Russian language. Small gift will not do any harm but if you forget nobody will resent. Before the conclusion of  arrangement ,Russians will try to find out about you as much as possible. Prepare long presentation about the subject of your arrangement (Russians are used to long presentations).Russians don’t like compromises or don’t believe in win-win situation. In case if they don’t like your offer or proposal, they will not try to keep calm .Contrary, with their  nervousness and threats that they will cancel everything,they will try to force you to change terms to one more suitable for them. They take time in negotiations so you have to be ready to spare some time for negotiation with them. It is important to mention the age, experience and status  hierarchy  which Russians really respect.

Myths about Russia and Russians

After everything which can be read about Russia and Russians in newspapers, books or on internet, see or hear on TV, it is very possible to make conclusion that Russia is Wild West, still trapped in communist period, under the boot of Ivan Grozni….The one who lived there or still lives, probably laughs at these prejudice and lives similar to us.

Which are the most common prejudice about this beautiful country and its wonderful people?

Russian economy is trapped in socialism.

Socialism belongs to past. Of course, consequences are still healed and there is still present the gap between rich and poor ,and Russian economy has parted from social and became modern, respectable and for some experts one of the most stable in the world. It is the fact that in last 20 years, millions of Russians came out of poorness and have decent life.

Do what Russian told you or you will sleep with the fishes!
No, the plot of Godfather did not move from USA to Russia. Not all rich people are really dangerous mafia men who will drown you into their dirty businesses with no reason. Mafia probably exists, like in West countries, but there is no reason to be afraid that you will witness or be a part of their quits on the streets, in some clubs or similar. The streets are full of policemen and it is very unlikely that you will meet with some street gangs in town so you will feel more secure than in some other countries. Prejudice that Russia is a country of mafia and criminal which endanger travellers and the rest of the world is probably a result of American film industry. Notice that Russians are taken as dangerous characters because Americans can’t be these characters, and Russians are far away and communism created negative picture about them in whole world, and it is very impossible to happen that they can be accused of racism which is not case with, for example ,Hispanic Americans.

Organising trip to Russia is a real hassle!

 To get the visa for Russia is not that complicated as it seems at first. All you need is the complete documentation for the visa. With one phone call to the Consulate of the Russian Federation  or our Atlantist Travel agency you will receive all the necessary information. In any way, proper travel arrangements should be done in advance. Or just give it into the hands of experienced professional of Atlantis Travel. On our site you can do everything by sitting at home drinking coffee – few clicks and you get all prices, information and voucher thanks to agencies which help us maintane this site.

Russia is led by a dictator.

Putin - sadašnji ruski predsjednik
Russia is seen by many as a country in which the freedom is limited thanks to new dictator-Putin. Until he has candidated himself for president  for 3rd  time,he was relatively popular in the country and in the world and many thought that he followed democracy. But 3rd candidacy was not good. Affairs surrounding the election ,different political processes have made negative impact on Putin’s popularity ,but the figure of Putin can not be compared to figure of Stalin or some other dictators. Most think that are disputable in Putin’s rule stay only on assumptions, statements from political opposition  and without any evidence. He is still considered, by many Russians, as a men who lifted Russia on its feet .

Russians are drunk from morning till evening.
It is true that alcoholism is a big problem in Russia. But isn’t it a big problem in Croatia and many other countries? Aren’t we as well the nation who can’t imagine sports game without huge amount of beer.  People had to cope with ,after the end of one system, or in our case the war, difficult consequences as a result of haste politics, social problems, traumas….And many has turned to alcohol to erase the awareness of terrible situation they found themselves in. Yet, in Russia you will not be surrounded  by people who carry the bottle of vodka in the street instead of bottle of water or instead of morning coffee drink vodka. Maybe one small glass before going into cold street and little more glasses when with friends-like most other nations.

No man will resist to Russian woman.
Men are sometimes leaned to equate exotic with beautifull. It is understandable that, thanks to books, films and stories,the prejudice that Russian women are real, mysterious beauties .The situation is the same as everywhere-the beauty is in the eye of the holder and it is not place for discussion. Walking down the streets of Russian towns you will be delighted with the beauty of women or left totally neutral. What can not be denied is, that specially in Moscow, many women, from our point of view, often look “too nice”.

Winters in Russia are cold hell!

Ruska zima
The climate in Russia is explained in details in part about Geographical features. If you go to Siberia, you need very warm clothes but European part of Russia is not very different in temperatures from continental Croatia. Average winter temperature is -10 °C, and summer  20  to 25°C.The temperatures in Moscow during the summer  are  around 26°C,and  sometimes 30°C.The thing that is not a myth is that Russia  covered in snow is a beautiful sight which rests eyes.

 

« Vrati se na prethodnu stranicu