Official Name          : Russian Federation

Capital                     : Moscow

Currency                 : Russian Ruble (RUB)

Language                : Russian

Population              : 140.000.000

Visa Required         : YES (incl. LOI)


Russia is by far the largest country in the world; it has several different time zones, climates and so many landscapes and a large number of different ethnic population groups within its area. It is therefore almost impossible to include the whole of Russia in a paragraph. The history of Russia, the Soviet Union and the CIS is also of such a vast nature that it is almost impossible to make a brief summary.

Everyone knows Tsar Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and Catherine the Great who made the great Russian empire a world empire. Of course, the attempt at submission by the French attack on Napoleon in 1812 became world famous and also the loss of "Le Gran Armee". As also the Russian Revolution, the resulting civil war between the Reds and Whites and the creation of the Soviet Union. The Russian empire was formed by a series of federal states and federal republics that were partly pleased with the German attack in 1941 - Operation Barbarossa - which resulted in a major defeat for the Germans. Russia would swallow up Eastern Europe and, as a superpower, would enter the Cold War with the United States. The first man in space, the arms race, the deportees who perished among the millions in the gulag, the near-nuclear war against Cuba, wars in Korea, Vietnam and the support of communist uprisings all over the world. In 1979, Russia would in turn get its Vietnam in Afghanistan. In the 1980s it became clear that Russia could no longer keep up with the arms race and the economy of the colossus thundered like a house of cards. President Gorbachev would preach "glasnost" and "perestroika", the Soviet Union and the Warchaupact fell apart, countries in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and in the Caucasus became independent. After years of decline there was suddenly an old KGB agent who put Russia back on the map - he dared to take on the powerful America - he took action when problems arose in the Ukraine and he occupied the Crimea. Even now it is claimed that he would assist the Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine with troops (mercenaries) and weapons. Last fact is that Putin intervened in Syria what would shook up the civil war up there.

The steppes, the tundra, the taiga, the Caucasus mountains and the Urals, the sea of Azov and the Baikal lake. Russia has a wealth of natural beauty - the polar plains in the north, the vast forests and the almost jungle near Vladivostok. In this nature animals like the Siberian tiger, the brown bear, the wolf and not to forget the elk, the polar bear and the lynx live. The country is divided into numerous sub-republics and has just as many different populations - the Tartars, the Mongols, the dozens of different ethnic minorities in the Caucasus (with all the problems among themselves) and the people living in the European and Asian part of the Kingdom. All with their own culture, history, backgrounds, religion, language, culinary habits and externalities. In terms of sights, Russia also has a diversity that few countries have; of course there are the big cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow. But also the golden Ring around the capital, the old cities of Novgorod and Smolensk and the wooden churches in the north of European Russia are certainly worthwhile. War interested people can indulge themselves in this country in terms of museums and remnants of bunkers and trenches, but also culture lovers who love architecture, art, theater and music will not fall short.

As a Westerner, the country is not easy to travel; there are few people who speak a language other than Russian, there is a serious lack of information offices (both in the city and in train and bus stations) and there are few hostels. There is also a lot of bureaucracy and you have to poke through the Russian, so to speak, before you understand and appreciate it. His population and the country itself is one of ups and downs; sometimes you are overwhelmed by the kindness, then again you stand by bluntness. You need a lot of self-confidence, energy and patience to get to know this country and its people, but you will not regret it.

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