Famously, Winston Churchill defined Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” For most top analysts and political scientists, something about Churchill’s explanation ring true to this day, however strange it may seem.
I’ve compiled a list of the 20+ interesting things about the Russia that you should know:
- Russia is the largest country in the world by surface area 17,075,200 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi). 75% of Russian territory is located in Asia. Russia’s surface area is bigger than Pluto’s surface area.
- Russia has more time zones (11) than any other country in the world. Kaliningrad Time, Moscow Time, Samara Time, Yekaterinburg Time, Omsk Time, Krasnoyarsk Time, Irkutsk Time, Yakutsk Time, Vladivostok Time, Magadan Time, and Kamchatka Time. Daylight saving time is not used in Russia.
- Hotel Astoria in St. Petersburg: During World War II, Adolf Hitler planned to hold a victory banquet in the hotel’s Winter Garden. Hitler was convinced Leningrad would fall quickly, but he underestimated the city’s stubborn powers of resistance.
- Flower etiquette in Russia: Always give an uneven number of flowers. Unless it is a funeral, when even numbers are the rule. This rule cannot be underestimated. Additionally, some see yellow flowers as funeral flowers so to be safe, don’t give these either.
- Subbotnik (usually on a Saturday) is a day when millions of people across Russia volunteer to sweep up and tidy the streets without compensation.
- Yes, Mikhail Gorbachev recorded an album of romantic ballads. The “Songs for Raisa” sees Gorbachev sing a number of Russian songs that were favourites of his wife Raisa Gorbacheva, who died in 1999.
- Russia is home to the longest river in Europe, the Volga, at 3,690 km (2,294 miles).
- The name Red Square has nothing to do with communism or with the color of many of its buildings, but derives from the word “krasnyi”, which once meant “beautiful”.
- Take off your shoes: When entering a Russian home, it is absolutely imperative to immediately remove your shoes. The host will probably provide some tapochki or slippers to wear.
- They are the world’s 4th biggest drinkers, according to a WHO study, behind Belarus, Moldova, and Lithuania.
- Keep your cup half-full if you’re not ready for more alcohol: If you’re not a big drinker, be careful with how much they offer to drink. If they see an empty cup, they will automatically refill it to be polite.
- Vodka comes from the Russian word for “water,” which is “Voda.”
- When a Calendar Defeated Russia in the 1908 Olympics: In 1908 the Russian Olympic team arrived in London 12 days late because it was still using the Julian calendar. Unlike the other teams, the Russian Olympic team arrived on the Julian date, which was 12 days after the Gregorian one. The event was long finished.
- Russia is home to the coldest inhabited place on Earth – Oymyakon – population of 500 people. On February 6, 1933, a temperature of −67.7 °C (−89.9 °F) was recorded at Oymyakon’s weather station.
- Legend has it that Russians chose Christianity over Islam back in 988 AD in part because they didn’t want to give up alcohol.
- Lake Karachay (also known as Karachai or Karachaj), a dumping ground for nuclear waste from Mayak, one of the biggest nuclear waste storage and reprocessing facility in Russia, is so radioactive that standing for one hour beside it would almost certainly kill you.
- The day Pepsi became a great military power: For a brief period in the ’90s, PepsiCo had one of the largest submarine fleets in the world courtesy of a deal with Russia. Pepsico bought 17 submarines a cruiser, a destroyer, and a frigate.
With those 17 submarines Pepsico become, for a few days, the 6th largest military power in the world by number of diesel submarines. The president of Pepsi, Donald Kendall, told the National Security Adviser : “We are disarming the USSR faster than you”.
- Novgorod: The Russians once built a circular warship (Novgorod), and still survives in popular naval myth as one of the weirdest warships ever built.
- There is no word for “fun” in Russian: When you learn Russian and/or travel to Russia, you will probably have a lot of fun, but there is no Russian word that exactly describes it.
- Russians don’t put eyes on smileys when typing: They are ) or ))))) but never :) – the more parentheses you add, the more you like something.
- One odd Russian superstition is to avoid whistling indoors: “If you whistle in the house, then all the money will fly out of the window.”
- There is no word for “privacy” in Russian: The closest word is “конфиденциальность,” but that means confidentiality. And there’s “уединение,” which translates to “staying alone.”
- Russians use the same word to say “get healthier” and “get fatter.” – The word “поправиться” means both “to get healthier” (or “to recover”) and “to get fatter.”
- Never Argue with Babushki: The Russian babushki, or grandmothers, are not to be meddled with, they command a lot of respect and power. No matter what they tell you to do, just smile, nod, and do it their way. There’s absolutely no point in arguing with them. You will not win.
- Life expectancy: The male life expectancy is just 63.7, Russian women, on the other hand, can expect to live to 75.3.
- Russia has more women than men – gender breakdown in Russia is a serious problem the government has been trying to cope with for years. There are 1,197 women for every 1,000 men in Russia in the total population. And in urban areas, the imbalance is even greater: there are 1,216 women per 1,000 men.
- Russia Revealed 🇷🇺: 20+ Interesting Things You Might Not Know About Russia: Mind-Blowing Facts About Russia.
- Ukraine Revealed 🇺🇦: Here are 20+ fun and interesting facts you may want to know about Ukraine.
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