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Ice Road at Lake Baikal

  • Russia is the world’s largest country spanning Eastern Europe, and northern Asia
  • It shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine to the west , Georgia, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia to the south east, and Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea to the east and much of the south.
  • It spans nine time zones
  • Its territory covers nearly twice as much of the earth as that of the next largest country, Canada
  • Despite its massive size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture. Instead it has huge reserves of some of the world’s most important resources (oil, gas, coal, platinum, gold, chrome, water).
  • Mount Elbrus at 5,633 m is Europe’s, and Russia’s, tallest peak.
  • The terrain consists of broad plains with low hills west of the Urals, vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia, uplands and mountains along southern border regions, and mountains and volcanoes throughout much of the Russian Far East.
  • Russian is the official language. English is becoming a requirement in the business world, and younger people especially will often know enough to communicate, but by no means is English universally understood and spoken. In upscale hotels almost the entire staff has a working knowledge of foreign languages (including English).
  • The country’s main religion is Russian Orthodoxy


  • Russia was a monarchy, ruled by ‘Tsars’, for most of recorded history.
  • After Russia suffered greatly in the First World War, a Communist revolution occurred in 1917. The Tsars were overthrown, and the last Tsar and his family were killed.
  • Russia was renamed the ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’ or USSR.
  • Lenin, the first Premier, died soon after the Russian Civil War was won by the Communists.
  • After Lenin’s death, two men named Trotsky and Stalin competed to see who would run the country.
  • Stalin won, and had Trotsky killed. Stalin survived the Nazi invasion of 1941-44, despite huge losses to the Red Army, and extended Soviet control over most of Eastern Europe.
  • Stalin and his successors turned Russia into an industrial, economic and military superpower.
  • However by the 1980s, the last Soviet Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev announced that the country was essentially going bankrupt and was going to become a democratic country in the near future.
  • In 1989, Russian control of Eastern Europe collapsed, and the Berlin Wall was torn down.


    St. Basils Cathedral

    • Russia is the largest country in the world, stretching over an area of 17.1 million square kilometer.
    • It covers 1/7th of the total land of our planet and neighbors more countries than any other country on earth.
    • Russia is a transcontinental country, extending halfway around the northern hemisphere and covering much of eastern and north-eastern Europe and the whole of northern Asia.
    • There are 221 museums, 2,000 libraries, more than 80 theaters, 100 concert organizations, 45 art galleries, 62 movie theaters and 80 nightclubs in St. Petersburg alone.
    • Russia has some of the best art institutions in the world, like Bolshoi Theater and Pushkin Art Gallery in Moscow, and Mariinsky Theater and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
    • St Petersburg plays host to as many as 100 cultural and art festivals every year, including 50 international ones.
    • Russia boasts of the Urals, the oldest mountains in the world, and Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake and the largest reservoir of fresh water on earth.
    • Russia houses more than 100 different ethnic groups, representing a multiplicity of national histories and cultures and distinct language groups, including Indo-European Slavic, Turkic, Finno-Ugric and others.
    • In terms of population, Russia is the ninth largest country in the world.
    • Russia is the only country with 12 seas on its territory.
    • There are 100 reserves and 35 national parks in Russia.

Avg. Costs

Historical Museum in Red Square, Moscow

  • Soft Drinks usually 20-30 RR
  • Loaf of bread 20 RR
  • Beer 100 RR
  • 3 Course Meal 1000 RR
  • Cigarettes 50 RR
  • Coke/Water 30 RR
  • Fast Food Meal 190 RR
  • Coffee 100 RR
  • Bus Fare 20 RR
  • Taxi per km/ 20 RR
  • Hermitage Museum – 1 day 350 RR (for main museum) + 60 RR (for every other building) Photo and video license 200 RR *Bring ID


Click here to see The Economist’s Big Mac Index.  It is arguably the world’s most accurate financial indicator to be based on a fast-food item.


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  • Assault, robbery, or pickpockets are the most common crimes and they are more common in underground walkways and the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, and restaurants.
  • If you intend to take a stroll during the night, have someone  accompany you – going alone may make you a target for corrupt officials and maybe criminals.
  • Driving by the majority of Russians is routinely reckless, and has claimed more than 35,000 lives each year.


Click here to see Canadian Government Travel Reports and Warnings on  Travel Reports offer information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.


Mountain Landscape

  • Russia has a largely continental climate because of its sheer size
  • Extensive regions experience six months of snow cover over subsoil that is permanently frozen to depths as far as several hundred meters
  • The average yearly temperature of nearly all of European Russia is below freezing, and the average for most of Siberia is freezing or below
  • Most of Russia has only two seasons, summer and winter, with very short intervals of moderation between them
  • Transportation routes, including entire railroad lines, are redirected in winter to traverse rock-solid waterways and lakes
  • The mildest areas are along the Baltic coast. The summer is mostly dry and sunny; sunshine may be nine hours a day.
  • Siberia – This area of Russia is famous for its extreme climate with very cold winters, but warm to hot summers, although they tend to be short and wet.


Required clothing:

Varies due to the region you want to visit. Heavyweight clothing is needed for the winter, no matter where you go. Waterproof light to medium weight is advised for the summer. Be prepared for extreme conditions in the northern and northeastern parts of Siberia in the winter; the temperatures there are one of the lowest in the world.

Places to See

Smolny Cathedral

St. Basils Cathedral

  • A Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–1561
  • Built on the order of Ivan IV of Russia to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the geometric center of the city
  • It was the tallest building in Moscow until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600
  • The building’s design is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky

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The Kremlin

  • A historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square and the Alexander Garden
  • It includes four palaces, four cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers
  • The complex serves as the official residence of the President of Russian Federation

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Lake Baikal

  • The world’s oldest and deepest lake at 30 million years old and with an average depth of 744.4 meters
  • It is the second most voluminous lake, after the Caspian Sea
  • Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia
  • It is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s surface fresh water that is unfrozen
  • Since the water body was formed via tectonic activity, and not geomorphology, many experts believe that Lake Baikal is a misnomer, and that the body of water cannot technically be classed as a lake in the scientific sense of the word

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St. Isaac’s Cathedral

  • Located in Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • It is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city

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Catherine Palace

  • Located in the town of Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), 25 km south-east of St. Petersburg, Russia
  • The residence originated in 1717, when Catherine I of Russia engaged the German architect Johann-Friedrich Braunstein to construct a summer palace for her pleasure

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Red Square

  • A city square in Moscow
  • Major streets of Moscow radiate from here in all directions
  • It is often considered the central square of Moscow and all of Russia
  • There are many important buildings surrounding the Square such as, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, and The State Historical Museum
  • The only sculptured monument on the square is a bronze statue of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, who helped to clear Moscow from the Polish invaders in 1612, during the Times of Trouble
  • The square itself is around 330 meters (1100 ft) long and 70 meters (230 ft) wide

View Map


Communication Etiquette:
• Initial greetings are formal
– Very firm handshake
– Direct eye contact
– Appropriate greeting for the day
– With women it is less firm
– Female friends may kiss on the cheek three times starting with the left
– Close men will hug and pat each other on the back
• Russian names consist of a first, middle name:
– Boys – adding “-vich or –ovich”
– Girls – adding “-avna or –ovna”
– Last name which is the family name
– Formal situations they will use all three names
– Close family will use only the first name

Business Etiquette:
• Russians do not need to develop long term relationships in order to conduct business
– It is convenient to have a network of people who know you and trust you
– Patience is key
– Most Russians will not trust someone who is “all business”
– If you are asked a favor this is an indication that you have developed this long-term relationship
• Appointments are necessary and to be made in advance as far as possible
– It is confirm in email or writing
– It will take roughly 6 weeks to meet a government official
– Meetings can be canceled on short notice
– Long periods of socializing to get to know one another will take place
– Meetings are frequently interrupted
• Negotiations are very slow
– Russians do not like to be rushed
– Hierarchy is important
– They will respect rank and position among your company
– Nothing is final until the contract is signed
– Do not use high sales tactics
• Business dress is conservative and formal
– Men – conservative business suits
– Women – Skirts that cover the knees or business suits
– Shoes are highly polished
• Business cards are exchanged upon initial greetings
– Have one side translated into Russian in Cyrillic text

Contributions (1)

  • [email protected] says...

    Very helpful information.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 3rd 2013 at 1:17 pm

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