Russia, a country-continent, the land of extremes and diversity, whose influence was marked in the 20th century.

This sheet is quite dense and perhaps a little complex for the youngest, but Russia is a complex country too, not easy to summarize!

Where is Russia?

Its flag:


General data

Capital : Moscow.
Surface : 17 098 400 km²
Population : 143.5 million inhabitants.
Density: 8.4 hab / km².
Life expectancy: 64.3 years for men and 76 years for women.
Language : Russian.
Change : the ruble (1 euro = approximately 57 ruble)
Type of State: federal Republic.
President of the Federation: 3rd term for Vladimir Poutine (elected in March 2012).
Prime Minister : Dmitri Medvedev.
- Jet lag : different depending on the region: from + 1h to + 11h!

Some sites listed as World Heritage by Unesco:
In Moscow, and its immediate surroundings: the Kremlin and Red Square, the Novodevichy Convent complex, the Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye and the Trinity Sergius Lavra architectural complex in Serguïev Possad.
In Saint Petersburg: the historic center and the associated monumental groups.
Other classified sites in the Russian Federation: the virgin forests of Komi; Lake Baikal; the volcanoes of Kamchatka; the golden mountains of Altai; the West Caucasus; the entire Ferapontov Monastery; the Uss Nuur basin; the citadel, the old town and the fortress of Derbent; the historic center of the city of Yaroslavl; the Putorana plateau ...


Russian history is rich in events, especially over the past millennium. Russia, through many wars, has passed from a small principality to the largest country in the world.

On May 7, 1682, Peter I of Russia or Peter the Great ascend the throne. He had St. Petersburg built, which in 1712 became the capital. On November 2, 1712, he proclaimed himself “Emperor”. In the early 1800s, the Russian Empire played a large role in the Napoleonic Wars. The Empire undertakes great colonizations.

World War I : The Russian Empire goes to war to defend its ally, Serbia, against Germany and the Empire of Austria-Hungary. She withdrew from the conflict in 1917 because of the Russian Revolution.

Russian Revolution of 1917: In 1917, living in Russia was very hard. Poverty was not uncommon and the people had had enough. February : In Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg), protests began. The people were tired of the Czars who opposed any change. Tsar Nicholas II wanted to send soldiers, but they refused to go. He then began to make some reforms, but, to the displeasure of the people, he continued the war. October : The Bolsheviks (= Communists) seized power and very quickly took measures to satisfy the people. But some Russians were unhappy with Communism and wanted the return of the Czars.

Russian civil war : it lasted 6 years, from 1917 to 1923. It opposed the White Army (monarchists wanting the return of the tsars) to the Red Army (Bolsheviks aiming to completely overthrow the tsars)

By the end of 1922, the Bolsheviks had reconquered the great majority of the territory which became the USSR (Soviet Union, Federal State of 15 Soviet Republics). The country fell under the Communist dictatorship of Stalin in 1929.

The USSR in World War II: Before the war, on August 23, 1939, Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler. It was broken up on June 22, 1941 by the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. At first, the Soviet army, not ready, retreated. Then after the long battle of Stalingrad, the Soviets regained lost ground, then continued by recapturing countries in Eastern Europe from the Nazis.

Cold War : In 1946, when the former great European powers had collapsed, only two superpowers remained: the USSR and the United States. The two countries are radically different politically, economically and culturally. The Soviet Union is a communist dictatorship, while the United States is a capitalist democracy. The two great powers do not confront each other directly because of the fear of a nuclear war, but by interposed countries, as in Afghanistan or Vietnam.
However, from 1963, international relations relaxed. But the Cold War didn't really end until 1991, when the USSR fell.


Considering the immense size of this country, inevitably it has common borders with many countries!

  • in the north-west: the Norway and the Finland
  • West : Estonia, the Latvia, the Belarus and l’Ukraine
  • to the south: the Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Kazakhstan, the China, the Mongolia
  • Russia also has a small part of territory between the Lithuania and the Poland (Kaliningrad)

Russia's 17 million km² stretch from west to east. From north to south, we find:

- the tundra, covered with ice in winter, and which allows the lichen on which reindeer to feed in summer to grow;

- the taïga, which constitutes the largest forest massif in the world;

- the mixed forest where deforestation undertaken from the 12th century allowed the development of agriculture in central Russia;

- Then steppe, and a few stretches of desert north of the former Central Asian republics.

The Baikal lake

In Russia, we are going to spend some time around this famous lake, it is necessary to say a few words about it.

It is located in the south of Siberia, in eastern Russia. It represents the most large reserve of liquid fresh water from the surface to the world (about 23 500 km3). It has unique transparency and perfect visibility up to 40 meters deep. It is sometimes nicknamed the "Pearl of Siberia".


The Russians have an extremely sentimental relationship with their land. The first nature reserve was established in 1916 (there are now 101), and Russia today has some 40 national parks.

But the environment ministry created in 1988 under Gorbachev ... was dissolved in 2000 by Putin. As a cold country, Russia has no vested interest in taking action against global warming. One degree more in the average annual temperatures can indeed significantly reduce its heating bill. The government agreed to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 2004 - its application could become a source of profit for it - however, in 2012, it refused to enter into the second phase of the protocol.

Customs and beliefs


The Orthodox Christians are the most numerous (41%) and the Church is very present in people’s lives.

The Russian Orthodox songs, the churches with very heavy decorations and icons are undoubtedly the most striking things when talking about religion in Russia.

L’islam comes in 2nd position (6.5%).

Know-how and customs

It is clear that human relations in the public space are not apparently warm. They are however completely transformed in the private space, where the masks fall more easily.

Different superstitions

For example, we do not shake someone's hand across a doorstep: because the traditional threshold is a border protecting the izba (traditional wooden house) from the evil forces of the outside world.

But these superstitions tend to have less and less importance today.


Snacks (Entrées)

We also find the caviar, the real one, the "black", but also the "red" (salmon eggs) and the other "caviars", eggplant or zucchini. But also a multitude of smoked fish (raw or cooked) or salted.

And the Russians are also masters in salads ; particularly the seliodka pod chouboy (the “herring under his coat”): what serves as a “coat” for the small pieces of salted herring is a mixture of grated beets and carrots, diced potatoes and mayonnaise. The "vinaigrette" (viniegriet) Russian style is actually a salad in which we mix beetroot and potato.

Piervoye (Soup)

Soup is an almost obligatory component of a complete meal. We don't call it soup anyway, but piervoye (the first). Borchtch : a soup made from beets; usually meaty, it includes a blend of vegetables and spices that makes it a dish well worth a look.

Vtaroye (Main course)

The main course, called, quite logically, vtaroye (the second).

Some examples :

- Goloubtsi are stuffed cabbage, but zucchini is also stuffed.

- Pielmeni and varienniki (literally: “porridge”) are different kinds of bites made up of meat and chopped onions in envelopes of fresh dough, which are either grilled or boiled - in plain language, kinds of ravioli.

- Beef Stroganov, thin strips of well-cooked meat bathed in a cream and onion sauce, essential in the menus of traditional restaurants.

Konfiety (Candy)

Russians love klioukvas (cranberries), these berries that come from the North. Their favorite thing is eating them coated in icing sugar while sipping tea (just like poppy seed cookies).


State revenues from the production and trade of alcohol represent a major budgetary source. However, an evolution may be taking place. In the big cities, the younger generations are abandoning vodka in favor of beer. The “new Russians” have started the wine fashion.

Wine: At the end of the 19th century, the Church adopted for its needs a cooked wine, initially imported from Cahors, then produced in Crimea. This inexpensive local Cahors (Kagor) is still one of the favorite bottles of Russians on the holiday table. Still at the end of the 19th century, Prince Lev Sergeyevich Golitsyn brought the recipe for champagne back to Russia. This Champanskoye is a sweet sparkling wine just as cheap as vodka, much appreciated by the fairer sex.


In Russia, it is the food that accompanies vodka, and not the other way around ... It can be either perfectly pure, or slightly sweetened with the addition of certain herbal aromas, or even prepared with red fruits or chilli. pickled. In this case, we speak of nastoïki. In any case, it is always drunk ass!


We cannot talk about Russia without talking about culture: cinema, literature, ballets ...


Russian cinema has an eventful history, closely linked to the country's politics and to various events.

The world's first film school was founded in Moscow in 1919 with the VGIK, a real institution which also explains the dynamism of Russia in this field (and the theoretical quality of the works).

A few names over the ages ...

Russia is the country of Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin), Vsevolod Poudovkine (The mother), Alexander Dovzhenko (Earth) et Dziga Vertov (dont The man with the camera influenced generations of filmmakers). It was the revolutionary ideological impetus that inspired these masters of world cinema, like many other artists in the 1920s.

Then World War II provided an endless source of inspiration. We see the names of Serguei Bondartchouk, Grigory Tchoukhraï, and especially André Tarkovski.

When the storks pass by Mikhail Kalatozov marked in 1957 the return of Soviet cinema to the world stage (Grand Prix at Cannes).

In the 1970s, Nikita Mikhalkov appeared, son of Sergei Mikhalkov, author of the Soviet anthem. He is arguably one of the best known of Russian filmmakers and one of the most commercial today.


It is often by the names of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Gogol or Tolstoy that some of us have heard of Russia. Russian literature, like music and painting, is largely global. There is Russian literature from before Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), little known, and that after Pushkin, appreciated around the world. The Russian writer or poet is more than an artist: he was a social, political and moral conscience and fulfilled the role of a political opposition most often prohibited, both under Tsarism and under the Soviet regime.


The country has seen the birth of great figures important in the history of music. We can cite…

Piotr Tchaïkovski (1840-1893), Serge Rachmaninov (1872-1943), Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Serguei Prokofiev (1891-1953), Dimitri Chostakovitch (1906-1975)

The Russian Ballets

The Ballets Russes are a famous ballet company founded in 1907 by Serge de Diaghilev. It is undoubtedly to the genius of Stravinsky and Prokofiev that Serge Diaghilev's ballet company owes its development. The first performances of the Ballets Russes took place in 1909. For 20 years, the European stages were a fan. Choreographies are still part of the repertoires of the Moscow Bolshoi Theater and the St. Petersburg Mariinsky.

Human rights

The human rights situation in Russia has worsened in recent years. After the demonstrations of Russian civic movements after the legislative elections of december 2011, many thought that a protest movement was emerging which would make it possible to make the voice of civil society heard. The government seemed surprised by the scale of the protests. Subsequently, the government "took things in hand" ...

Justice, by order of power, frequently harasses opponents, even their entourage. On the legislative side, the Duma adopted a law on the Russian Internet, which, behind laudable objectives, such as the fight against pedophilia, could, according to some opponents, serve to limit the action of bloggers who are, very often, the the most visible face of the opposition to power.

In Russia there are still penal colonies, real work camps, where living conditions are very difficult. But on a daily basis, and far from cameras or media concerns, human rights activists in Russia are often worried, even threatened or harassed.


The functioning of the Russian economy underwent radical transformations following the reforms initiated by Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s. And this development allowed Russia to be part of the 10 world's largest economies. But now, geopolitics has caught up with the economy: the year 2014 saw Russia return to an adventurous policy which is costing the country dearly, in terms of its image but much more in the proper sense, the country's economy. being strongly impacted.

World's leading producer of hydrocarbons, Russia lives in the short term: when the price of a barrel of crude falls too sharply and too permanently, the difficulties of the Russian economy become dramatic. Because Russia doesn't have a lot of other trumps up its sleeve. Certainly it remains the world's leading exporter of weapons, but low productivity, industrial age and underinvestment remain the main problems of the Russian economy. The economic sanctions of the West are also important.

So we see the country turning its back on the West. Russia is now turning to China : a gas agreement was signed in 2014, allowing Siberian gas to be transported to the Chinese partner. The contract runs for 30 years. Another attempt: the creation of a Eurasian union, bringing together for the moment only Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, pending Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, and which should result, by 2025, by the creation of a single market.

The disparities are enormous in the country, great poverty rubs shoulders with great wealth ... Wealth has been concentrated in a few favored regions: Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Siberian regions where the hydrocarbon deposits are located, and a few industrial regions. Health care is often reserved for the rich, education is neglected or left to the private sector.

The Russian economy has recently entered a period of severe turmoil.

Thank you The backpacker and Vikidia !