A Guide to Russia


A traveler should understand the size of Russia before deciding to make a trip. The country is larger than the United States and stretches from its European core to the Ural Mountains, the Russian Far East and Siberia. The population of Russia’s Far East has stronger ties with China than with Europe. Traveling by train from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok can take up to a week. No paved highways cross the entire country, and there are eight time zones. Travelers should also be aware of these differences when choosing the best time to visit Russia.

The Russian history begins in the 10th century, with the Kiev Empire, the first East Slavic empire. In the early 10th century, the country adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, which influenced Russia’s culture significantly. The Russian empire was eventually shattered into many smaller feudal states, including Novgorod. The Grand Duchy of Moscow was the largest successor state and was key to the later unification of the country and the fight against the Golden Horde from Asia.

Most of the country’s population lives in the Eastern European Plain, also known as the Western Russian Plain. This region is the most productive in terms of agriculture. The Ural Mountains are a low-lying mountain chain that stretches from the Arctic Ocean to Kazakhstan. In this region, you will find reserves of precious stones, coal and iron ore. The Caucasus Mountains are another major source of natural gas, and vast oil and gas exploration have increased Russia’s export profits.

Unrest has impacted Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Numerous conflicts in this region have cost hundreds of lives. Non-Russian territories are attempting to break away from Russia. If this process continues, Russia is fearful that its country will fall apart. For example, Russia has fought Chechnya independence but not Armenia. This has resulted in an unstable situation in the region. In the meantime, the Russian government is working to halt these conflicts.

Russia’s authoritarian political system is characterized by an excessive concentration of power and corruption. The government is supported by loyal security forces, an incompetent judiciary, and a tightly controlled media. The legislature, known as the Duma, is composed of a ruling party and several pliable opposition factions. Corruption and widespread social problems are also widespread in Russia. Human rights are routinely violated in the North Caucasus.

The Soviet Union lasted from 1922 to 1991. The Soviet government under Stalin was a totalitarian regime led by Josef STALIN. Stalin murdered anyone who got in his way and implemented economic reforms. He also banned personal property and privatization of agricultural production. He weakened organized religion in the Soviet Union, and thirty million people died as a result. And, of course, the country’s economy was in bad shape by the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

The government of Russia is unlikely to declare an official state of war until the end of the conflict in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the Russian military has suffered heavy losses, and the country cannot mobilize its national forces without declaring war. Moreover, Russia can’t declare war before it declares war, so the Donbas offensive is the last chance for the Russian government to do so. While a draft may not be an effective solution, it may cause major blowback if the military is called off the battlefield.