Country - Russia
Russia Country Information
Russia is a country with a massive geographical presence in both the continents of Asia and Europe. With its territory extending more than 17 million square kilometers, Russia is the largest in the world by land area. Russia was the biggest and major integral body of the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) prior to 1991. Until the disintegration of the USSR into separate fragments in 1991, the country was perceived as one of the two formidable super powers of the world, the other being the United States of America. The former undivided USSR had a territorial area of 22.4 million square kilometers which was slightly less than two-and-half times that of USA. Even after the internal split-up of the USSR, the land area of the present Russia is still larger than the territory of USA by 1.74 times. Comparison in various parameters between the USA and the USSR had been a frequent periodical exercise of statisticians as both the super powers exerted overwhelming influence in defining the political and economic locus of the world nations.
In more ancient times, USSR was known as Russian Empire ruled by tsars between 1721 and 1917. The prolonged mutiny against the autocratic tsarist regime climaxed in one of the world’s most turbulent and violent upheavals called Russian Revolution and finally was able to overthrow the last Russian Czar Nicholas II in 1917 when the USSR took birth to become a major communist super power in the world. After three quarters of cohesive communist rule till the early years in the final decade of twentieth century, unsuccessful efforts were made to implement modern economic reforms Glasnost and Perestroika resulting in 1991 the disintegration of the communist behemoth USSR into twelve independent republics Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The dissolution of USSR had an antecedent in 1989 when two million civilians formed a human chain from three Baltic States Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia which put up a massive resistance against the Soviet rule called “Singing Revolution”. Disowning the Baltic States by the Soviet Union has initiated a chain reaction leading to further fragmentation of USSR by 1991.
Almost the entire north border of the present day Russia is a lengthy coastline with Atlantic Ocean. The north western border is common with Finland; the western frontier is shared by Belarus and Ukraine. The southern border is bounded by Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. Moscow is the capital and the largest city of Russia. The Russian is the official language of the country. The average density of the population is eight people per square kilometer as per the estimate of 2019. The per capita GDP (nominal) was recorded at US $ 12,191 ranking 67th in the world.
The economy of Russia is of upper middle income category and the exports mainly comprise oil, natural gas, metals and timber due to enormous natural reserves. The chief commodities of imports are machinery and equipment, vehicles, consumer goods, foodstuffs, chemical products and industrial consumer goods. The gross exports amounted to US $269 billion dollars and the imports were worth US $180 billion in 2016. The trade surplus was US $ 89 billion.
Being a country of mastodon proportions spread in two large continents, Russia has innumerable sightseeing places for international tourists. The dominating iconic monuments are Kremlin palaces, the Red Square housing St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower and the Cathedral of Dormition also known as the Assumption Cathedral, all in the capital city of Moscow upholster the supreme sovereign culture of ancient Russia. The glorious citadels of ancient past were the official residences for the most powerful rulers of Russia and the magnificence of the palaces dazzles in the highly ornate gilded exteriors that yank inward the attention of onlookers who watch the grandeur in unabated breath. The colossal intimate cluster of onion-domed towers of St. Basil’s Cathedral is a proud symbolic icon of Russia. Visiting the interiors with an experienced guide by your side will let you get an inkling of the superior power wielded by the Russian Czars, emperors and the subsequent rulers. The private inner complex of condominiums is the official residence of the current President of Russia.
The Military Disneyland in Kubinka, Moscow Oblast is an open-air display of battle tanks stationed in a systematic grid. Grenade launchers, surface-to-air missiles and Vladimir Putin’s accessories make the important exhibits which deserve an inevitable visit by tourists.
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and Hermitage in Moscow, the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines and Deutsches Hygiene Museum in St. Petersburg are quite a departure from the routine. While the sculptures and paintings in the museum of arts display mostly the skill of indigenous artists, the basic tenets of maintenance of health amid clean surroundings can be learnt here along with the imminent health hazards lurking in unhygienic ambience.
The most unique attraction is the Twin Star Diner where biological identical twins greet you to serve the customers with the dishes and refreshments. The Soviet film called “Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors” has been the inspiration to Mr. Alexei Khodorkovosky to open a restaurant to entertain customers in an unusually pleasant way.
For those who want to get elated psychologically and physically, the Star City forty kilometers from Moscow is the right place where visitors can try their hand to undergo themselves personally the special training given for soon-to-be cosmonauts like floating in zero gravity conditions and rotating in circular motion at dizzying speed being seated in a saddle around a central pivotal vertical rod. Named after the first human to travel in outer space Yuri Gagarin, the Star City is a science centre which was a highly secluded secret place till 1960s and has been since open to tourists to watch the various experiments carried out by cosmonauts getting ready for the future space missions.
In addition to off-beat tourist attractions, Russia is home to diverse plethora of lakes, mountains, snow-clad skiing tracks, diamond mines, cathedrals numerous enough to engage visitors in ways more than one and require to pre-plan for a sufficiently elaborate trip.