- 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.
© Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption Including Neighboring Countries
FRUA is a service-marked acronym of Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption in use since 1994. It and the full organizational name, Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption, are not to be used to describe any organization or service not related to FRUA, without permission.