16 Interesting and Surprising Facts About Russia

Written By: The Planet D

Did you know that more than 5 million tourists visited Russia in 2019? While that may seem like a lot of people, Russia is a country that many people never visit. It is an underrated destination that you should add to your bucket list if you haven’t already. Russia is the perfect travel destination to experience delicious food, interesting culture, and beautiful architecture!

Are you thinking about traveling to Russia? If so, there are some facts you need to know before you go. Keep reading for 16 facts about Russia that will make you want to jump on an airplane soon. 

Fun and Interesting Facts About Russia

1. The World’s Longest Railway Is in Russia

Trans siberian Railway is in Russia

Did you know that the longest railway in the world is in Russia? The Trans-Siberian Railway extends from Moscow to Vladivostock, a total of 5,772 miles. If you want to take your time and travel around Russia by train, the Trans-Siberian Railway makes it easy to do so. You can choose to ride in a first-class cabin or third-class seats, depending on your budget and the experience you want to have. 

The Trans-Siberian Railway even connects to China and Mongolia if you have the desire to visit those countries as well. Read more: Mongolia Pictures from the Russian Border to the Gobi Desert

2. Russia Is Home to A Lot Of Famous Literature 

facts about russia

If you are someone that loves literature, you probably know that Russia is home to some of the best and most esteemed writers. A few of the great Russian authors include Alexander Pushkin, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Ivan Turgenev, and Vladimir Nabokov. The famous Russian authors that you may also know are Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment) and Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace) and Anton Chekhov (A renowned playwright known for The Seagull)

Many famous literary writers have a museum dedicated to them that you can visit in Russia. Most can be found in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Whether you are a superfan of their work or you don’t know who they are, you can learn something new about them and Russian literature by visiting their museums. 

3. Russia Has 12 Active Volcanos

Kamchatka in Russia

Another one of the most surprising facts about Russia is that it has 12 active volcanos! Of those volcanos, Kamchatka is one of the most commonly visited due to its accessible location. 

If you are someone that loves nature and beautiful landscapes, you should visit Kamchatka. This active volcano has over 1,000 different species of plants. It’s also home to brown bears, sheep, and wolves.  You can choose to visit Kamchatka on your own or go on a guided tour. If you are unfamiliar with the Russian language, an organized tour is the easier option. 

4. Siberia Makes Up a Majority of the Land

Russian Facts Siberia

Did you know that Siberia makes up 77% of the Russian Federation? Siberia is a large region in Northern Russia. While it makes up 77% of the land, only 20% of Russian people live in Siberia due to the harsh conditions. 

We drove across Siberia in the summertime and it was beautiful. Siberia reminded us a lot of Canada. And the people were so friendly and welcoming. If you love to get off the beaten path while traveling, you should visit Siberia. It is known for its natural beauty, and if you are lucky, you may even spot a reindeer. Read: Motherland Calls – Mother Russia Stands Proud Over Volgograd

5. Russians Have Plenty of Superstitions

Another interesting fact about Russia is that, in general, Russians tend to have many superstitions and traditions. One of the most common traditions is to only give flowers in odd numbers. Many Russians believe that an even number of flowers are only for cemeteries. If you give a Russian an even number of flowers, they make take it personally. 

In addition to not giving out an even number of flowers, Russian’s also believe you should not wear clothes inside out. If you put your clothes on inside out, the Russians believe you will be beaten. 

6. Russia Has One of the World’s Busiest Metros

Moscow Metro in Russia

The metro station in Moscow is the fourth busiest metro station in the world. The only busier metro stations are in Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo. More than 2 billion people ride the metro each year in Russia.

One of the best things about Russia having a busy metro is that it makes it easier for locals and tourists to get around. There are trains for almost everywhere you could want to go. Read more: 17 Exciting Things to do in Moscow

7. Tetris Was Invented in Russia

Many people don’t know that the game, Tetris, was invented in Russia. In 1984, Alexey Pajitnov developed the first version of Tetris for the Electronika 60 computer. The game quickly caught on and spread throughout Russia. By 1987, the game was released in Europe and North America, and it became one of the most popular computer games in the world. 

8. Russians Learn Not to Smile

Fact about Russia Learn Not to Smile

Another one of the best Russian facts is that Russians learn not to smile while growing up. While smiling in many cultures is a sign of happiness and friendliness, Russians don’t view it that way. To Russians, smiling is a sign of weakness and not showing one’s true feelings. Russians do smile at people they know well and care about, but not at strangers as many other cultures do. 

If you smile at a Russian on the street, don’t expect them to return the favor, however, we found that many Russians smiled and waved back while driving in Russia.

9. Russia Is the Largest Country by Land Mass

Based on the total landmass, Russia is the largest country in the world. That is excellent for travelers because that means there is plenty to explore. The total landmass of Russia is 6,601,665 square miles. That is equal to 11% of the world’s total landmass! For comparison, the next biggest country is Canada at 3,855,101 square miles. Read: 72 Funny And Interesting Facts About Canada

10. 54% Of the Russian Population Is Female

Population of Russia is mostly female

There is a big difference between the male and female population in Russia. While females in Russia make up 54% of the population, males only make up 46% Why is there such a big difference in the population? The population gap began during World War II when 25 million Russian soldiers died during the war. While there is no longer a war going on, men still have a much shorter lifespan than women do in Russia. 

Many Russians live in rural communities where the way of life is harsh. Russian men often fall victim to hunting accidents, poor health care, and too much vodka. We can attest that there was a lot of Vodka drinking in Russia at all times of the day.

11. Folk Dancing Is a Tradition in Russia 

Folk dancing is an important part of Russian history and Russian culture. Khorovod is one of the most common types of Russian folk dancing. This style of dance consists of people dancing in a circle while holding hands. 

Russians perform folk dances at festivals, markets, and in the theater. If you get the chance to travel to Russia, be sure to attend a Russian folk dance performance to learn more about the culture and traditions of Russia. 

12. 20% Of the Earth’s Trees Are in Russia

Russia has a lot of trees

If you are someone that loves nature, this is a fact you will enjoy. Around 20% of all the trees in the entire world are in Russia. That ends up being around 640 billion trees. 

Many of the trees are in remote areas of Siberia. They are part of wild, untouched forests that are too cold to travel to. These untouched forests are home to the endangered Siberian Tigers

13. Russia Is Home to the Coldest Village in the World

Because Russia has harsh winter conditions, it is probably no surprise that Russia is home to the coldest village in the world. Winters in Oymyakon, Russia average -58 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest recorded temperature in Oymyakon is -96 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Living in these harsh temperatures comes with its fair share of disadvantages. For example, if someone tries to wear glasses outside, the glasses will freeze on their face. Also, cars have to stay in heated garages or they will not start. 

If you want to take a trip to the coldest village in the world, it won’t be easy. To get there, you first have to travel to Yakutsk, and from there, it is a two-day car ride to Oymyakon. If you decide to visit Oymyakon, be sure to pack for winter

14. Russia Sold Alaska for 7.2 Million Dollars

Places to Visit in Alaska Must See

In 1897, Russia sold Alaska to the United States for only 7.2 million dollars. With inflation, that is around 120 million dollars today. At the time, Russia needed the money, and there weren’t many Russian settlers living in Alaska

In addition to needing the money, Russia believed that selling the land to the United States would help offset Europe’s power. Check out: The Best Places to Visit in Alaska

15. Russia Has 11 Time Zones

Did you know that Russia is so big that it has 11 different time zones? Even though Russia has 11 time zones, it still isn’t the country with the most time zones. France has the most time zones due to all the small islands that are a part of France.  While Russia doesn’t have the most time zones, it still has a lot. If you decide to travel across Russia, you may experience jet lag without even leaving the country!

16. Lake Baikal Has More Water Than Any Other Lake on Earth

Located in Siberia, Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world by water volume. It contains 23% of the world’s freshwater and has more water than all of the Great Lakes in North America combined.

Did You Enjoy These Facts About Russia?

Interesting Facts about Russia

Russia is an amazing place to visit if you love history, culture, and architecture. While Russia isn’t one of the most popular tourist destinations, it is perfect for anyone that wants to get off the beaten path. 

Did you enjoy reading this article on facts about Russia? Are you currently planning a trip to Russia? If so, check out our ultimate Russia travel guide to learn everything you need to know about traveling in Russia. 

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Book Your Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner. We have used them for years and have found that they have the best flight deals.

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor.

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Safety Wing - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Book Your Activities: Looking for walking tours, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more? Then we recommend Get Your Guide.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

1 thought on “16 Interesting and Surprising Facts About Russia”