Do you want to know more about the most enormous country in the world? Check out these fun facts about Russia!
Basic Facts About Russia
Russia is 6.6 million square miles, making it the largest country in the world by land mass.
It is almost twice the size of the US.
Russia has a population of 146 million people, with 13 million of these living in Russia’s capital city, Moscow.
The official language of Russia is (drumroll, please!) Russian.
Its flag consists of three horizontal bars of color: white on top, blue in the middle, and red on the bottom.
Russia’s official name is the Russian Federation. Its leader is the President elected by popular vote.
Now that you know some basic facts, let’s move on to some fun facts about Russia.
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1. Russia Is Everyone’s Neighbor
This is an overstatement, but Russia does have a whopping 14 neighboring countries: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and North Korea.
2. Russia Is So Large It Spans Two Continents
Russia is divided between two continents: Europe and Asia.
The split happens along the Ural Mountains, which run north to south in Russia.
Most Russians live on the western side of Russia (the European side).
That is where the populated cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are located.
3. The Blue Eye of Siberia Is Quite Deep
The deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal, is located in Siberia, Russia.
Its nickname is the “The Blue Eye of Siberia” because of its beautiful color.
Lake Baikal holds 20% of the world’s fresh water and 90% of Russia’s fresh water.
Not only is it the deepest lake in the world, but it is also the oldest.
You can visit Lake Baikal by traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
The track encircles the lake and has 200 bridges and 33 tunnels.
4. Russia Has 11 Time Zones
What time is it in Russia? That depends! Russia is so wide that it spans 11 different time zones.
The only country that beats that number is France because its territories are spread around the globe.
Another fun fact about Russia: they do not observe Daylight Savings Time. So there is no Spring Forward or Fall Back!
5. The First Person to Orbit the Earth Was Russian
Yuri Gagarin was no astronaut…he was a cosmonaut (that’s what the Russians call astronauts).
He was the first man in space and the first to orbit the Earth.
He completed his flight on April 12, 1961. Gagarin became a Russian hero and an international celebrity.
6. Russians Love Sour Cream
What’s the best addition to any Russian meal? Sour cream!
Russians love the thick topping, and they stir it into soups and stews, especially borscht (a red soup made from beets).
They also top thin pancakes called blinis with sour cream.
Sour cream is also a main ingredient in Russian salad.
The recipe is a bit like our chicken salad: potatoes, boiled chicken, boiled eggs, carrots, and pickles all mixed with sour cream.
7. Russian Caviar Is King
A snack for the very wealthy, caviar is fish eggs cured with salt.
The most famous caviar of all time is black caviar from the Beluga sturgeon of the Caspian Sea.
This Russian caviar sold for $10,000 a kilogram!
Today, it is illegal to fish and sell wild Beluga sturgeon caviar. Their population dwindled too much due to overfishing.
8. You Can Find Rare Cats in Russia
Two beautiful and endangered big cats live in Russia: the Amur leopard and the Siberian Tiger.
The Amur leopard is the world’s rarest cat; only 100 of them are left on the planet.
The Siberian tiger is an impressive cat. It can weigh up to 600 pounds!
Other animals found in Russia include the Arctic fox, caribou, reindeer, brown bears, and polar bears.
9. St. Petersburg Has White Nights
Because of its northern latitude, the city of St. Petersburg has two weeks in the summer when the sun never sets.
They call this time the White Nights.
Residents celebrate the White Nights with concerts, ballets, carnivals, and massive fireworks.
10. St. Basil’s Cathedral Is Topped with Onion Domes
The most recognizable building in Russia is the colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
Each of its towers is topped with a colorful dome in the shape of an onion.
The topmost onion dome used to be covered in gold!
The cathedral is quite old; it was built in 1561 by the Russian czar we now call “Ivan the Terrible.”
Read More About Russia
If you liked these fun facts about Russia and want to know more, check out these books.
This book is a short and sweet and best for middle schoolers. It has photos and quick summaries of the history of Old Russia up until the beginning of World War II.
This book focuses on the people and culture of Russia. Aimed at kids 8-12.
This bestselling history book for high schoolers and adults covers the action-packed time period of 1917 to 1921.
This travel book is packed with pictures, maps, and fun facts.