Destination: Russia

Official Name: Russian Federation
Established: Duchy of Moscow (1283), Monarchy abolished (1917), Russian Federation (1991)
Population: 146,748,590 (2020 estimate)
Religion: 70% Russian Orthodoxy, 15% No religion, 10% Islam
Language(s): Russian 
Capital: Moscow
Order of Visit: Twenty-First   
First Visit: 09 July 2006
Last Visit: 16 July 2006
Duration: 8 Days
Visit Highlights: 
St Petersburg; Peter and Paul Fortress, Pushkin Palace (Summer Palace), Petredvoert (Tsar Peter the Great’s summer residence), ballet performance – Swan Lake, Yusupov’s Palace, St Isaac’s Square and Cathedral, the amazing Hermitage and it’s art collection.  
Novgorod; Millennium Monument, Kremlin Fort and St Sophia Cathedral.  
Moscow: Metro Rail system (really it is stunning), Red Square, Peter the Great Statue, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, St Basil’s Cathedral (very colourful), Borodino Panorama Exhibition, The Kremlin (in particular Kremlin Armoury Chamber), Russian White House
Places Visited: Novgorod, Moscow, St Petersburg
Russia Journal Entry  

History and Geography 
Russia is a transcontinental country located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the south.

Russia covers over 17,125,200 square kilometres, spanning more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, stretching eleven time zones, and bordering 16 sovereign nations; Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China,  Mongolia, North Korea, Japan, United States (Alaska).

Russia is the largest country in the world, the ninth-most populous country, as well as the most populous country in Europe.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognisable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. The medieval state of Rus’ (Russia) arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus’ ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states, until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which became a major European power, and the third-largest empire in history. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian SFSR became the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the world’s first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognised as the continuing legal personality and a successor of the Soviet Union.

In June 1991, Boris Yeltsin became the first directly elected president in Russian history when he was elected President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, which became the independent Russian Federation in December of that year. The economic and political collapse of USSR led to a deep and prolonged depression, characterised by a 50% decline in both GDP and industrial output between 1990 and 1995.  During this time privatisation largely shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to individuals with inside connections in the government.

On 31 December 1999, President Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned, handing the post to the recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin (a role he still holds), who then won the 2000 presidential election. High oil prices and the initially weak currency followed by increasing domestic demand, consumption, and investments helped the economy grow at an average of 7% per year from 1998 to 2008.  On 2 March 2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected President of Russia while Putin became Prime Minister. The Constitution of Russia prohibited Putin from serving a third consecutive presidential term. Putin returned to the presidency following the 2012 presidential elections, and Medvedev was appointed Prime Minister.

Russia has the world’s second-most powerful military, and the fourth-highest military expenditure. As a recognised nuclear-weapon state, the country possesses the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Pushkin Palace, Russia (Taken 10 July 2006)

Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia (Taken 12 July 2006)

Beach weather (20c) – Novgorod, Russia (Taken 12 July 2006)

Moscow Metropolitan Train System, Russia (Taken 13 July 2006)

Red Square in the background – Moscow, Russia (Taken 14 July 2006)

What I experienced
I visited Russia during the short summer months and was taken back by who many people were sunbathing in temperatures I considered barely warm.  The women I saw were stunning and most of the men very average.  It made me conclude that looks are very important for Russian women but not really a concern for Russian men.

Unlike the rest of Europe I really struggle to even guess what the words of the Russian language meant.  Most of Europe has a root language foundation allowing for possible guesses but Russia has additional characters in their alphabet that make this a lot harder.

Visiting the grand and historic city of Moscow was an impressive experience.  Having watched some many movies and documentaries about Moscow especially from the Cold War era I found some places like St Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square very familiar but also new.  The Metro system in Moscow had chandeliers and artwork celebrating the workers.  I found St Petersburg to very must be the stunning city the Tsar wanted with the pivot to Europe.  The Russian Cathedral are first rate and I found the Hermitage art collection to be as good as and in same ways better then the Louvre in Paris France.

I loved my visit of Russia, such a country of world influencing history and more beautiful then I expected.

St Basil’s Cathedral – Moscow, Russia (Taken 14 July 2006)

About Nathan

A World traveller who has so far experienced 71 countries (76 by June 2023) in this amazing world.
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