OFFICIAL NAME: Russian Federation
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Federation
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Russian
AREA: 6,592,772 square miles (17,075,200 square kilometers)
MAJOR MOUNTAIN RANGES: Ural, Altay
MAJOR RIVERS: Amur, Irtysh, Lena, Ob, Volga, Yenise
The current form of government in Russia is fairly new to the country. It was formed in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is called a federal semi-presidential republic. Sounds complicated but if you break it up into the three parts it’s easier to understand.
Federal: means that power is shared by the national government and small local governments.
Semi-presidential: the president shares power with a prime minister; however, the president is more powerful.
Republic: the people of Russia have the power to vote representatives into government office.
The official residence of the Russian president is the Kremlin (which means fortress) in Moscow.
Many people in Russia celebrate Christmas. Children wait for Ded Moroz, the Russian name for Santa or St. Nicholas, to bring them presents. As with Christmas, Orthodox Easter falls later than Easter on the regular Christian calendar, usually in early April. It’s a quieter celebration, but perhaps the loveliest religious festival of the year, taking place from Palm Sunday through the church services on Easter Sunday.
People and Culture
Russia is a huge country, so big it earns the title of largest country in the world. In fact, it covers two continents, Europe and Asia and has 9 different time zones within it.
Although there are many different types of religions in Russia, more than half of the population are Orthodox Christians.
About three-quarters of Russian families live in small city apartments. Some families also have a country cottage, which is called a dacha. In Russia, grandmothers—babushkas—are famous for the strong role they play in families, public life and fairy tales.
Russia is famous for it’s literature, arts, music and two of the most famous ballet companies in the world.
Despite its relatively short history in Russia, football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports. With the cold weather and long winters, hockey is also very popular. Russian athletes have won many medals and awards in the fields of figure skating, ice hockey, and skiing.
Russian people like to eat home-cooked food, and rarely buy prepared meals at supermarkets. They usually eat three times a day, with lunch being the main meal. Due to the long, cold winters, fresh fruits and vegetables are not often used. There is almost always bread on the table, particularly rye bread (black bread). Black bread is a symbol of wealth and health and is the traditional staple food of Russia. The most common ingredients of a Russian meal are potatoes, bread, eggs, meat and butter. Main dishes, which are often soups or stews, contain pork, beef, lamb, chicken or fish.