When you think of Russia, you probably think of big. From a purely visual standpoint any map shows it extends over much of Eurasia – the combined continents of Europe and Asia. In fact, Russia is the largest country in the world by land mass, consuming 10,610,161 sq. miles and covering more than one-ninth of the Earth’s land area. It is 1.8 times larger than the total size of the United States. Even more out of this world, Russia has more surface area than Pluto’s 10.3 million sq. miles!
But land isn’t the only thing the Russian Federation—its official name—has in large supply. Not surprisingly, a country with so much space is bound to have other associated “big” attributes. Below are some other interesting facts about Russia that underscore its sizable reputation.
- Russia is second largest oil producer in the world, behind only Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia tops the charts by producing about 10.6 million barrels of oil a day, while Russia is not too far behind at 10.2 million barrels a day. The United States is currently third with roughly 8.7 million barrels a day.
- The Trans-Siberian Railway is the single longest railway in the world, almost spanning the entire country. The 5,700-mile railway begins in Moscow and extends across Asia to the Pacific Ocean port of Vladivostok. The entire journey non-stop takes 152 hours and 27 minutes to complete.
- Russia is bordered by 14 countries: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It also shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, and with the United States by the Bering Strait.
- Russia is located across nine contiguous time zones, down from 11 since two were combined in 2010.
- Russia’s population is estimated at about 143 million people, placing it among the Top 10 in the world.
- Russian is the official language and is spoken by the vast majority of citizens, but there are more than 100 minority languages spoken in different parts of the country, including Tartar, Ukrainian, Chuvash, Bashir, Mordvin, Circassian and Chechen.
- Nine million commuters ride the Moscow subway system every day. That’s more than London and New York combined. The Park Pobedy (Victory Park) station is probably the deepest of Moscow’s subway system, going 272 feet underground.
- Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world. It is only half as big as
Lake Michigan, but it is the world’s deepest lake at 5,387 feet, containing around 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water.
- Russia’s Volga River is the longest in Europe, winding 2,293 miles through central Russia into the Caspian Sea. Eleven of Russia’s 20 largest cities, including the capital, Moscow, are in the Volga’s watershed (drainage basin).
- Russia has the world’s largest area of forests. The forested area—nearly 3 million sq. miles, or 45 percent of the country’s land area—is the size of the entire continent of Australia.
Clearly, from a physical perspective alone, Russia’s considerable size makes it one of the most interesting places on earth. In our next blog, we’ll look more closely at the country’s culture and customs in case your business or leisure travels ever lead you there.
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