30 Curious Facts About Russia

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Some of these facts are widely known but we think they worth another mention here, in this post.

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1. Russia is the only country of the world washed by twelve seas.

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2. The Ural mountains dividing Russia into European and Asian parts are the most ancient mountains in the world.

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3. The distance from Moscow to Chicago is shorter than the one from Chicago to Rio Janeiro.

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4. Saint Petersburg is the northernmost city of the world with a population of over one million people.

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5. The area of Siberia is 9.7343 million square kilometers, which occupies 9% of all dry land.

6. Russia has never had slavery. The period of feudal dependence and serfdom in Russia was shorter than in England, for example, and other majority countries of Europe. Russian serfdom law was much softer.

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7. On January 16, 1820 the Russian expedition of Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev discovered the Antarctic continent.

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8. The most popular computer game “Tetris” was created by a Russian programmer Alexey Pazhitnov in 1985. It gained popularity in the USSR too, and later, in 1986 in the west.

9. Ivan the Terrible was not a tyrant, he ruled the country very softly for those times. With the similar size (at that time) of Europe and Russia, for all years of his rule, Ivan the Terrible executed 100 times fewer people than his European colleagues for the same period – 3-4 thousand people against 300-400 thousand people.

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10. Waiting intervals in the Moscow subway are shorter than in any other subway of the world. In rush hours, people have to wait for another train for a maximum of 90 seconds. Some trains are rather unusual like, for example, the “Akvarel” (“Watercolors”) train that represents a mobile art exhibition.

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11. Half of Chelyabinsk is located in Ural, the other half – in Siberia. Its municipal arms depict a camel which seems to be rather strange because no camels inhabit Chelyabinsk. However they did 200 years ago. The city often accepted loaded trading caravans.

12. Some time ago, Moscow had more billionaires than any other city in the world. Today their number is fewer but Moscow citizens always know how to spend a billion…

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13. The Russian Public Library is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world after the Library of Congress in the USA. The library stands in Moscow, it was founded in 1862.

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14. On the day when the first McDonalds restaurant with 700 seats opened in Moscow, 5000 people formed an enormous line on Pushkin Square by 5 in the morning! For the first working day, the restaurant managed to serve 3000 clients. It is still the most visited McDonalds in the world.

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15. According to the UNESCO rating, in 2002 Yekaterinburg was included in the list of twelve ideal cities of the world.

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16. Suzdal city occupies an area of only 15 square kilometers and has a population just a bit more than 10 000 people. These facts, however, do not prevent Suzdal from having 53 temples.

17. Scientists of Russia invented a light bulb, TV set, electronic microscope, helicopter, bomber, video recorder, caterpillar tractor, color photography, model of an artificial heart, gasoline engine, harvesting machine, gun, electric welding, synthetic rubber, charcoal gas mask, radio, aerial acrobatics, turbodrill, projector, automatic telephone station, Element Periodic Table, electric submarine, heat engine, detergents, coal combine, heart and lung machine, mortar, electric engine, back pack parachute and many other useful things.

18. Russia has at least 15 secret cities. They do not exist on maps and no road signs help you to find them.

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19. In the 1930s, Russian fishermen caught a sturgeon in the Tikhaya Sosna river under Belgorod that has 245 kg of black caviar inside.

20. In 1980, naval forces of Sweden took bearings on strange sounds coming from under the water and announced they were produced by Soviet submarines. A diplomatic conflict between the USSR and Sweden was close to happening but the scientists quickly found out that the origin of the sounds was… farting fish. Those scientists were given a parody “Shnobel” prize.

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21. “Dacha” is an exceptionally Russian phenomenon. Many European languages put it just like this – “dacha”. Dachas appeared in the time of Peter the Great, who gave country plots of land to his servants where they could experiment with architecture. The gift from the tsar was named “dacha” (“davat” – “to give”).

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22. Every monarch of the Romanovs dynasty gave their successor a country of a bigger size than was inherited from their father.

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23. Russian cosmonaut Sergey Krikalev set a record of being in space for 803 days. This man is also a world champion of glider piloting, Candidate Master of Sports of multi athlon, and a founder of the space photography genre.

24. Any person who had been living in tsarist Russia up until 1917 could buy a revolver as cheaply as a loaf of bread.

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25. The park and garden area of Moscow is much bigger than those in western megapolises. Izmailovsky Park, founded here in 1931, is one of the largest city parks in the world. Its area is 15,34 km2 which is six times bigger than Central Park of NY.

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26. There is a stunning valley of lotuses in the delta of the Volga river under Astrakhan.

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27. In May 1990, the Russian newspaper “Komsomol Truth” (“Komsomolskaya Pravda”) set an absolute and probably eternal record for the biggest edition of a paper – 22 million copies.

28. In the list of countries whose citizens illegally copy software, Russia occupies a modest 37th place between Lebanon and Peru. The world leader of software pirate copying is Armenia.

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“Drinking much will finally make you carry your liver in your hands”.

According to the information from the sociological center Levada.ru, 28% of Russians do not drink alcohol at all, 26% drink it less than once a month, 16% – once a month, 14% – twice or thrice a month, 9% – once a week, 6% – several times a week.

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30. Russia is considered to be a European country, but 2/3 of the state is situated in Asia.

25 thoughts on “30 Curious Facts About Russia”

  1. Mostly interessing, with one small mistake : The Urals (300 million years) are not the oldest mountains in the world. The Caledonian orogeny is (much) older (now, Scotland, Scandinavia and Appalaches – at least 420 million years). The Armorican mountains (in French Britanny – 330 million years) are also quite older (although MUCH smaller – but that’s normal, because of erosion. Even Vosges are (partly) older, up to 400 million years for their oldest parts.

    I am pretty sure you can find old mountains like these elsewhere in the world. I know Europe, but less the rest of the world. And these kind of mountains are, often, barely hills now. But older than Ural whatsoever…

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    • Yeah, and they also had labor camps, gulags etc. in Russian Empire and ZSRR. Majority of prisoners were there because of political and bullshit reasons. They built roads, dig in mines etc. in extremely harsch conditions. They didn’t need slavery when they had that…

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  2. 10 : almost true. The line 14 in Paris metro has a 60-second interval in rush hours. But (there is a but) it is automatic. So waiting intervals in the Moscow subway are shorter than in any other non-automatic subways of the world…

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  3. @Alain: 90sec is the max interval at Rush hour, it happens train almost follow each other at 30sec intervals. And considering the their speed vs Paris metro, this is quite an achievment!

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    • The Moscow metro is indeed huge. It is fast (I have dug a bit : lowest interval is 35 seconds for Moscow, and indeed 60 seconds for Paris, which makes Moscow’s faster in rush hour). But I wouldn’t compare it with Paris metro (especially lines 1 and 14).

      In fact, the best metro in the world would have Moscow stations and Paris lines 1 and 14 trains 🙂

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    • He is no longer called a president,his terms are too long for that name.He wants to keep his expensive lavish lifestyle while staying in control of the largest country on Earth!

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  4. Light bulb: Thomas Edison, Sir Joseph Wilson Swan, Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim
    Television: Philo Farnsworth, Charles Francis Jenkins
    Electronic Microscope: Ernst Ruska, Max Knoll
    Helicopter: Paul Cornu, Igor Sikorsky
    Bomber: Gianni Caproni
    Video recorder: Charles Ginsburg
    Caterpillar tractor: Benjamin Holt
    Color photography: Louis Lumière, Auguste Lumière, James Clerk Maxwell, Thomas Sutton
    Gasoline engine: Lemuel Wellman Wright, Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir
    Harvesting machine: Charles Withington
    Gun: in China, Tang Dynasty (9th century)
    Electric welding: Sir Humphrey Davy, Nikolai Benardos, Stanisław Olszewski
    Syntetic ruber: Gustave Bouchardat, Sergei Vasiljevich Lebedev, Ivan Ostromislensky
    Chrcoal mask: John Stenhouse
    Radio: Hans Christian Ørsted, Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, Guglielmo Marconi
    Turbodrill: Matvei Kapelyushnikov
    Projector: Ibn al-Haytham, Johannes de Fontana
    Automatic telephone station: Tivadar Puskás
    Element periodic table: Dmitri Mendeleev
    Electric submarine: Isaac Peral
    Heat engine: complicated history, no certain known inventors
    Detergents: complicated history, no certain known inventors
    Heart anf lung machine: John Heysham Gibbon
    Mortar: unknown, first used by Fatih Sultan Mehmed
    Electric engine: Allessandro Volta, Moritz Jacobi
    Backpack: Dick Kelty

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  5. 28% of the population does not drink? Russia never had slavery? Born and raised, and I’m not buying those two “facts”.

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  6. Also, would love to visit some of the “better”, “more civilized” cities of Russia, but sadly that will most likely never happen.

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