Is it possible to drive across Russia?

It certainly is. Most of the urban areas of Russia have modern expressways. But in the vast expanse of the country east of Moscow, many of the roads are rough gravel or dirt and are only intermittently paved. Driving across Russia is therefore entirely dependent upon the season. During the winter, from November to May, the roads are frozen and can be driven upon; during the summer, many roads become quagmires and are unusable.

How do most people travel across Russia?

Most people, as well as goods, travel across Russia by airplanes or train. In 1891, Czar Alexander III launched the building of a railroad that would unify eastern and western Russia. Traveling from Moscow, through Siberia, to Vladivostok on the Pacific Coast, the Trans-Siberian Railroad was opened in 1904. The Trans-Siberian Railroad is the longest railroad line in the world.

How long does it take to travel by train across Russia?

Depending on the number of stops the train makes, it can take anywhere from five to eight days to travel across Russia. Ticket prices can be anywhere from $500 to more than $10,000, which allows for the most pampered class of service. Train lines end in Irkutsk; Beijing, China; and even Vladivostok, along the Eastern Pacific coast.

Which Russian city is among the most expensive in the world?

Moscow is ranked thirty-seventh in the world, in terms of expensive cities to live in. It is just ahead of Singapore; Athens, Greece; and Caracas, Venezuela.

How many people live in Moscow?

Approximately 10 million people call Moscow home. Nearly five million people live in St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city.

How many tourists visit Russia each year?

Approximately 1.6 million people travel to Russia each year. The majority of these tourists are from Germany, followed by the United States, China, Great Britain, Italy, France, Japan, and Spain.

How fast is the Russian economy expanding?

The Russian economy grows at approximately 7.9 percent per year, with most of the growth coming from the energy sector.

How much market share does Russia's national airline, Aeroflot, have?

For domestic flights, Aeroflot has a 23 percent market share of all domestic travel in Russia. Nearly 10 million people fly Aeroflot each year. Siberian Airlines handles more than 3.5 million passengers each year.

What role did Russia play in World War II?

Russia was the target of Germany's war machine on its eastern front. More people were killed during Germany's war with Russia—30 million people (20 million of whom were civilians) lost their lives between 1941 and 1945—than in all other theaters of World War II combined. Without the active participation of the Russian military against the Nazis, the outcome of the war in Europe may have been drastically different.

What is the longest river in Europe?

The Volga River, which lies entirely within Russia, is Europe's longest river. The Volga River flows 2,290 miles (3,685 kilometers) from the Valdai Hills, near the city of Rzhev, into the Caspian Sea.

How big is Siberia?

Siberia makes up approximately three-fourths of Russia. Siberia is bounded on the west by the Ural Mountains, on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, and on the south by China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. Russia conquered the area now known as Siberia in the late sixteenth century.

What Russian city lost the most people during World War II?

During the German 900-day siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) from 1941 to 1943, nearly 1.5 million people lost their lives.

What is the largest city in Siberia?

Located in southern Siberia—and on the Trans-Siberian Railroad route—Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia, with a population of 1.4 million.

How big is Russia's Lake Baikal?

Lake Baikal, located in southern Siberia, holds one-fifth of the world's non-frozen fresh water. Lake Baikal is also the world's deepest lake, with a maximum depth of just over one mile (5,371 feet [1,637 meters]). The crescent-shaped Lake Baikal is also famous for its crystal-clear water and bountiful plant and animal life.

How did factories in the U.S.S.R. end up on the east side of the country?

During World War II, the U.S.S.R. enacted their scorched-earth policy as Germany invaded from the west. The scorched-earth policy involved moving everything they could to the east and burning what they couldn't move. Factories were disassembled, shipped by train to the region near the Ural Mountains, and reassembled to keep Soviet industry working. The Ural Region is still a major manufacturing area for Russia.

What started the fighting in Chechnya?

Chechnya was once part of a Soviet republic called Chechen-Ingush. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Chechen-Ingush was divided into two internal republics, Chechnya in the east and Ingushetia in the west. Though the Chechens declared independence in 1992, Russia did not approve, and invaded Chechnya in 1994. The Russians crushed the rebellion, killing thousands of Chechens. However, the region is still in a state of unrest today.

Where was the Pale of Settlement?

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Pale of Settlement was an area in which Russia attempted to restrict Jewish settlement. It extended from what is now eastern Poland to Ukraine and Belarus. Within the confines of the Pale, Jews were subjected to anti-Jewish regulations as well as mass killings.

Abandoned and crumbling buildings near the Chernobyl power plant are a stark reminder of the Soviet-era disaster in the Ukraine.

Abandoned and crumbling buildings near the Chernobyl power plant are a stark reminder of the Soviet-era disaster in the Ukraine.

What was the world's worst nuclear disaster?

In April 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, near the border with Belarus, had a major accident that released radiation into the atmosphere. The protective covering of the nuclear reactor exploded and deadly radiation escaped, immediately killing at least 31 people. The radiation exposure that initially occurred is still killing people through related diseases, and this will continue for many years. More than 100,000 people were evacuated from the region, and deaths due to radiation poisoning continue as radioactive isotopes spread across Europe.

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