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Russia Facts & Information

 Location Northern Asia, bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean
 Climate Ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast
 Terrain Broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
 Population 143,420,309
 Nationality Russian
 Ethnic groups Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%
 Religions Russian Orthodox, Muslim
 Languages Russian
 Government Type Federation
 Capital Moscow
 Currency Russian ruble (RUR)
 Description of Flag Three equal horizontal bands of white, blue, and red.
 Russia Flag Russia Flag

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Moscow Culture

The Russians are a proud people. They love their country fiercely and you would be wise to avoid making derogatory comments. Calling a Russian a communist, for example, is a good way to find your self in trouble. Russians love their country above its government and do not identify their nation with the form of government in power. In America, we tend to identify our country with democracy because that is all we’ve ever known. Russians are quick to point out

their country has more than 1,000 years on America and communism was a small blip on its history.

Most Russians are very friendly toward Americans if you make an effort to be kind to them. If you meet a Russian who knows a little English, it is likely they will want to practice the language as much as they can. Many teens and young adults are nearly fluent and will help you find hotels, good shopping deals and restaurants. Older Russians are more likely to ignore you if you try to speak with them. Even if you know how to speak some Russian, a babushka (old woman) or dedushka (old man) is more likely to keep walking than stop to help.

The best way to earn a Russians respect is to try your best to blend in. Wearing American brand name clothing with English across the chest is a good way to get a patronizing look from any Moscow resident. Study the basics of the language and the layout of the city before you arrive so you can make a good impression. Russians are generally patient with a tourist if you make an honest effort to communicate.

Keep in mind the generation gap. Younger Russians spend their days at Internet cafes (available throughout the city), shopping malls, movie theaters and at school. Older Russians will buy produce at the outdoor markets and live a very modest life generally. Treat each group accordingly and you will be fine.

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Moscow Shopping

There are two types of shopping in Moscow. The first is done in a store. If you are in GUM or clothing store you act the same way you do in an American store. If you are in a grocery store you may have to go about business in a different way. First you decide what you want to buy then ask the clerk how much the item(s) cost. You then take the price to a counter and pay another clerk the total, then return to the first clerk with the receipt. You exchange the receipt for the products.

Obviously you should have some command of Russian to shop in this manner.

The second type of shopping is in an open market. While you don’t need to understand Russian to shop here, you may end up paying more than you need to if you don’t know any of the language. The main practice is haggling. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price, but remember that if you agree on a price, that’s almost as good as a written contract.

Everything from produce to the famous matrushka (nesting) dolls is open for haggling. If you know at least the numbers in Russian, you can escape a market without paying too much for your gifts and souvenirs. Famous markets like on the Arbat and around the Kremlin will be more expensive so you shouldn’t be afraid to shop around. Many entrepreneurs know at least a little English and some are completely fluent. Make sure you are aggressive in your bargaining, it is a tough place to find a deal. (Tip: A fuzzy Russian hat, famous in movies, is a good deal at around 250 rubles.)


Moscow Restaurants
Read reviews for some of the best restaurants in Moscow. You'll find the perfect restaurant for your vacation here. Choose a restaurant by cuisine type or visitor rating.
Name Address Phone Cuisine    
 Restaurant 011 Sadovaya Triumphalnaya, 10/13 095-209-39-64 Russian
 Piramida Tverskay,18A 095-200-36-03 Japanese


Moscow Travel Guides
 Frommer's Moscow
 Lonely Planet Moscow
 Let's Go Moscow
 Fodors Moscow