Living in Russia

Living in Russia

The Russian Federation (Russia), (Российская Федерация (Россия) is a country in northern Eurasia. Each region has its own regional government and parliament. The Head of the State is elected by direct voting every six years. Russia was formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1991.


The total area is 17 million square kilometers. Length — 9000 km from west to east, 5000 km from north to south. One quarter of the territory is located in Europe and the rest — in Asia.

Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one eighth of the Earth. Russia is home to a wide range of environments and landforms.


Moscow (Москва), 12.2 million (2015).


146.3 million people (2015). Russia is the world’s ninth most populous nation. The ethnic groups of Russia are Russians (80%), Tatars, Ukrainians, Bashkirs, Chuvashs, Chechens, Armenians and others (more than 190 different ethnic groups).


Russia is a secular country – there is no official religion. However, the majority of the population consider themselves as Orthodox (75%). Also, Russia is home to many Muslims (6-7%), Buddhists and others. Many people are atheists (16%).

Official language

Official language is Russian.


The Russian currency is the Russian Ruble (рубль) – RUB, 1 ruble = 100 kopecks (копейка).

Time in Russia

Russia spans eleven time zones. St. Petersburg is located in the same time zone as Moscow (+3 hours from Greenwich).

Living in Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург) is the second largest city in Russia.

Saint Petersburg is situated on the middle taiga lowlands along the shores of the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland and islands of the river delta. In 1914 the name of the city was changed from Saint-Petersburg to Petrograd, in 1924 to Leningrad and in 1991, back to Saint-Petersburg.

In Russian literature, informal documents, and discourse, the word “Saint” (Санкт) is usually omitted, leaving “Petersburg” (Петербург). In casual conversation Russians may drop the “burg” as well, referring to it as “Piter” (Питер).

Saint Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on May 27, 1703. Between 1713-1728 and 1732-1918, Saint Petersburg was the imperial capital of Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved from Saint Petersburg to Moscow.

Saint Petersburg is a major trade gateway, financial and industrial center of Russia specializing in oil and gas trade, shipbuilding yards, aerospace industry, radio and electronics, software and computers; machine building, heavy machinery and transport, including tanks and other military equipment, mining, instrument manufacture, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, publishing and printing, food and catering, wholesale and retail, textile and apparel industries, and many other businesses.

Saint Petersburg is one of the largest scientific centers in Russia; the Saint Petersburg Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences unites over 60 academic and research institutions. Petersburg is a renowned center of higher education in Russia. The city has dozens of public and private higher education institutions.

Main attractions

Saint Petersburg is often described as the most westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. The city has a large number of cultural and historical monuments. The historic centre of Saint Petersburg and related groups of monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them are located in historic buildings. The largest museums are the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. The Russian Museum is a large museum devoted specifically to Russian fine art. In Saint Petersburg there are more than 70 theaters.

Petersburg is not only the city itself but also its famous suburbs. The Southern suburbs of the city feature former imperial residences, including Peterhof, with majestic fountain cascades, parks, Pushkin, with the baroque Catherine Palace and the neoclassical Alexander Palace, and Pavlovsk, which contains a domed palace of Emperor Paul and one of the largest English-style parks in Europe.