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Interesting Facts about Russia
  • The official name of Russia is Российская Федерация (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), translated as the Russian Federation.
  • Etymology.  The word "Rus" may have originated from the Finnish name for Sweden, orignally used for the Viking "rowers" that settled on the coast, and then came to the area of the Kievan Rus'. Other researchers believe the word "Rus'" may have originally referred to the area west of Dnieper River. The name Russia was first used in the 17th century from an early Greek name for the people of Rus'.

  • History. Indo-European & Ural-Altaic peoples have occupied the area since the 2nd millennium BCE. Between 300-800 CE, the East Slavs spread out from the Elbe River. The Scandinavians unified these areas and formed Kievan Rus', which ruled for 300 years.

  • The Soviet era began in 1920, and the Russian Federation came into being in 1991.

  • Size. Russia is the largest country in the world, 17.1 million square km, covering 1/7 of the land of our planet. It has the longest borders in the world, bordered by 22 seas, has 12 inland seas, and covers 11 time zones. 
  • Russia is a transcontinental country, extending halfway around the northern hemisphere, covering much of eastern & north-eastern Europe & all of northern Asia.
  • Climate.  Because of its vast size, Russian climate differs drastically depending on where you are located. Most of Russia lives in a continental climate with distinct periods of warm and cold weather. 
  • Population.  Russia is the 9th largest nation in the world.  30 million Russians reside outside of Russia. 80% of Russians reside in Western Russia, 2/3 reside in the cities.  
  • Moscow alone has more than 11 million people (2013), it is the largest city in Europe.
  • St. Petersburg.  In 2008 there were reportedly 221 museums, 2,000 libraries, more than 80 theaters, 100 concert organizations, 45 galleries, 62 cinemas and 80 clubs of culture in St Petersburg.
  • Language. The official language of Russia is Russian.
  • Ladoga Lake is the largest lake in Europe. It spreads over 18,400 sq km & is about 51 m deep.
  • Natural resources.  Russia is rich in oil, natural gas and timber.
  • Government. Russia has a democratic and federal government system, which stands divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches.
  • National Parks. There are 100 reserves and 35 national parks in Russia.
  • St. Basil's Cathedral, "Pokrovsky Sobor", "Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed"and "The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat" are various names for the famous cathedral on Red Square in Moscow. The building is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky. 
  • Olympics. The country ranks second among all nations by number of gold medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The 1980 Summer Olympics were held in Moscow, the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia.
  • Russian Orthodoxy. The country’s main religion is Russian Orthodoxy.  Russian Orthodox Christmas falls on January 7th. The church still follows the Julian calendar & all Russian Orthodox holidays are 13 days after Western ones.
  • Islam in Russia.  Islam is considered as one of Russia’s traditional religions, legally a part of Russian historical heritage. Kurban Bayram and Uraza Bayram are celebrated by Russian Muslims.
  • Russian cuisine uses fish, poultry, mushrooms, berries, honey, winter vegetables, and cereals. Breads of various grains are an important part of meals. 
  • Maslenitsa is a Russian holiday, the celebration of the coming end of winter. The name is derived from "maslo", which means butter or oil in Russian. On this day "blini" (pancakes) are eaten.  



Statistics for Russia



About 143,000,000 (2013 est.)


Life expectancy at birth:

Total Population: 65.94 years 

Male: 64.04 years
Female: 76.02 years (2013 est.)


Total fertility rate:


1.61 children born/woman (2013 est.)


Russian: 81%

Tartar: 4%

Ukrainian: 1.4%

Bashkir: 1.1%

Chuvashes: 1%

Obscure or Unspecified: 11.8%

There are over 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in Russia: Ethnic Russians (Slavic Orthodox culture)Tatars and Bashkirs (Turkic Muslim culture), Buddhist nomadic Buryats and Kalmyks,Shamanistic peoples of the Extreme North and Siberia, highlanders of the Northern CaucasusFinno-Ugric peoples of the Russian North West and Volga Region.



Russian Orthodox 15-20%

Muslim 10-15%

Other Christian 2% (2006 est.)
*note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule


GDP - per capita (PPP):


$18,000 (2012 est.) 


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total Population: 99.7%
Male: 99.7%
Female: 99.6% (2010 est)


School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

Total: 14 years
Male: 14 years
Female: 15 years (2009)





Adoption Facts about Russia




In 1999 there were an estimated 637,000 children who were not living in their homes of origin in Russia, about a quarter of whom lived in institutions. In 2011, there were 1344 institutions for orphans in Russia including 1094 "children homes" and 207 "corrective" orphanages for children with serious health issues.  In 2012 the estimated number of Russian children in the care of the state varied from 100,000 to 800,000; and up to 4 million if “street children” are included.  As of early 2013, the Russian government reports over 650,000 children who are registered as “orphans”, increasing at the rate of 113,000 per year. Of these 370,000 are in state run institutions while some of the others are in foster care.  140,000 of these children have special needs.  Over sixty thousand Russian children were adopted to the USA from 1992 to 2012, with a peak of 5862 adoptions in 2004.


International adoptions to the USA have been suspended since of Dec. 29th, 2012, with the exception of a few families whose final court dates in early January, 2013 were honored by the Russian government. The goal is encouragement of domestic adoptions, making it easier for Russian families. Other goals reportedly include emphasis on assistance and benefits to foster families.










On December 28, 2012, President Vladimir Putin signed into law Federal Law No. 272-FZ. This law went into effect on January 1, 2013. It bans the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens, bars adoption service providers from assisting U.S. citizens in adopting Russian children, and requires termination of the U.S.-Russia Adoption Agreement.




At the time the program closed, these were the guidelines for adoption from Russia:


Ages of children: 8 months - 16 years.


Hague Convention country:  No. Russia signed the treaty, but has not taken the steps necessary for the treaty to be in force; therefore, the Hague rules do not apply.


Timeline: Children must be registered with the local databank for 1 month, the regional databank for 1 month, and the federal databank for 6 months (8 months total) before the child can be released for intercountry adoption. The time between dossier completion until referral varies. If a waiting or special needs child is chosen, the timeline is shorter. Infant girls often have a longer referral time. Travel after referral may occur in 1-4 months.    After Russian court, there is a 10 day "right of recission" during which the family may reverse their decision. Post placement supervision and reports are required for three years.


Ethnicity of Children: Caucasian, Asian, and Mediterranean. Some children of Roma (gypsy) heritage.


Gender of Children: More boys available than girls


Siblings: Available (for couples, not singles)


Adopting more than one unrelated child at same time:  Allowed by Russia, but not be some agencies.


Singles: Single women are allowed to adopt and in a few regions, single men may adopt. More documents are required of singles in the dossier, including a psychiatric evaluation.  Must show above-average financial resources. The cours look for evidence of extended family support and opposite-gender role models. 


Parent Qualifications: There are no age or family size requirements, however, many individual agencies have their own criteria. Generally the judge in Russia expects that the mother be no more than 45 years older than the child, although there are no similar expectations of the father. Regions may have more explicit requirements.  Russian judges have not looked favorably on more than 2 divorces per parent. 


Health of Children: Comprehensive medical and developmental information provided, tested for HIV, hepatitis and syphilis.


Travel: Two trips are required for adoption from Russia. The first trip is to meet the child and accept the referral. Only one parent must travel for this meeting, but for couples it is preferred that both parents travel. The second trip requires both parents to travel and appear before a judge to complete the adoption.


Post Placement Registration:


Post Placement Reports and Supervision: Russia requires post-placement reports to provide information regarding the welfare of children. Reports are prepared in accordance with the requirements established by the Russian government and as agreed to during the adoption process. Currently, As of 2011 Russia requires that adoption agencies produce post-placement reports at six, 12, 24, and 36 months after adoption, and families continue to submit these reports annually after that until the child turns 18 years old. All reports should be translated into Russian. Reports may be submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation directly at the address included below or can be sent to the regional authorities where the adoption was completed.  


Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation
Department of State Policy for the Protection of Children’s Rights
51 Lysinovskaya St.
Moscow, 115998




We strongly urge you to comply with the requirements established by the government of the country you are adopting from and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process and/or provide you with more specific guidelines.  


If your agency is unable to help you with this, or no longer has an active program, it is suggested that you enlist the assistance of another agency that is able to help you complete the post-placement reports.  If all else fails, filing the report directly with the embassy or Minister of Education of the country adopted from may be acceptable.


In Fall 2006, the following advice was obtained by Karen's Adopiton Links for all families who needed to file their own Post Placement Reports:

  1. Use a Licensed Social Worker to do the Post Placement Report 
  2. Translate report with a Certified Translator. 
  3. Get the Post Placement Report apostilled.
  4. Include 5 pictures
  5. Suggested Sample form 
  6. Send directly by DHL or FedEx to the Minister of Education in the country or region of adoption. 

click here for more Information on Post-Placement Reports in general 






Helpful Links


Resources below are presented for information purposes only. Unless noted specifically as a FRUA INC group, FRUA INC does not endorse, nor have any connection with the following.


FRUA INC Russia Chat 

Russia Adoptive Family Support Group

Russian Adoptions (U.S. Department of State)


25 Factors to Consider When Adopting from Russia

Russian Adoption Blogs

Russian Adoption Information (Ministry of Education)

Adopting from Russia

Building Your Family: Adopting from Russia

Russia (Wikipedia)

Russia (CIA Factbook)

Russia (Info Please) 

Russian Embassy

Trans-Siberian Railway 

FRUA INC Facebook Page

Karen's Adoption Links

InterCountry Adoption Service Provider Search

International Adoptive Medical Clinics & Physicians

Child Welfare Gateway

North American Council on Adoptable Children

Hague Accreditation and Approval

Post Adoption (US Department of State)

Intercountry Adoption (US Department of State)

PEAR (Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform)




 There may also be other online parent support groups, lists and forums related to adoption from this country on Yahoo GroupsFacebook, the EEACAdoptive FamilesAdoption Services Support Groups, and







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