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Welcome to Russia, the largest country in the world.

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Russia's People
Most people in Russia dress in modern clothes, especially in the cities.  Traditional dress is most often used for festivals.  In the smaller villages many women wear skirts and a shawl to cover their heads or shoulders.  In the colder regions of Russia, men often wear fur caps with ear flaps to protect from the bitter temperatures.

Russian children go to school for 10 years.  They start at age 6 or 7 and end when they are 16 or 17.  School usually begins at 8:30 and ends at 2:00.   Sometimes students go to school on Saturday.  Russian schools promote math and science.  Students can also attend music, art or sports classes after the regular school day.  If a student completes a 6 to 7 year study in music or art, they can apply to a music or art university when they graduate.

Russia's Homes
Most Russian people live in cities and towns.  In the city, most people live in high-rise apartments.  The apartments are small and some families share kitchens or bathrooms.  In towns and villages, people usually live in single homes.  The grandparents often live with the family and take care of the grandchildren.

Russia's Culture
Russia has been a leader in literature,  arts, and music.  It is home to some of the most famous composers including Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov,  and Stravinsky.    The Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow and the Kirov Ballet of St. Petersburg are two of the most famous ballet companies in the world. Ballet was first introduced to Russia from France more than 150 years ago.

One of the best ways to see the country of Russia is on the Trans-Siberian Railway.  The railway extends from Moscow to the Pacific Coast.  A train trip the entire distance takes 6 days.

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Russia's Foods
A traditional Russian meal consists of fish, potatos, vegetables and bread.  Fresh meat and vegetables were once very hard to get, but new trade agreements have increased the supply.  Borscht, a soup made from beets, is a traditional food.

Only about 10% of the land in Russia can be used for farming because of the cold.  The largest crops grown are potatoes, barley, and wheat.

Russia's Activities
The ancient game of chess became popular in Russia as a way of spending long, dark winter evenings. Two famous Grand Masters of Chess who are Russian are Karpov and Spassky.

Hockey and soccer are popular sports in Russia.

Folk dancing is a popular part of the Russian culture.   Dancers often perform with a handkerchief in their hands.

Russia's Animals
The forests of Russia are home to reindeer, wolves, bear, lynx, and the Siberian tiger. 

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Russia's Holidays and Celebrations 
Many people in Russia celebrate Christmas.  Christmas is celebrated on December 25th.   It is both a religious holiday and a time for children to get presents.   Children wait for Baboushka, the Russian name for Santa or St. Nicholas, to bring them presents.  On Christmas many people go to church and sing hymns.    Homes are decorated with colored lights and Christmas trees (Yelka).
Russia's Land
The Russian Federation stretches across two continents, Europe and Asia. It is the largest country in the world. The climate is bitterly cold in the winter, and because of this cold climate the country is not heavily populated.
  In Siberia, Russia's coldest area, temperatures may drop as low as -45 degrees F. 

The Ural mountains stretch for 1,500 miles across Russia.  The mountains lie between Russia and other European and Asian countries.

Russia is so big that it includes 11 time zones.  At its eastermost point, Russia is only about 50 miles from Alaska.

Russia's Cities and Landmarks
St. Petersburg is a major city in Russia. The Communists renamed it Leningrad to honor Lenin who was the leader of the Russian revolution in 1917. Since 1991, the new government has again called the city St. Petersburg.

The Kremlin was once the center of government for the entire Soviet Union.  In 1991, parts of the Soviet Union became independent countries.

St. Basil's Cathedral is located in Moscow's Red Square.   It is a popular tourist destination because of its history and interesting architecture.

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Russia's Facts:
Area: 6,592,800 sq mi.
Capital City: Moscow
Population: 146 million
Main Language: Russian
Currency: Ruble

All images from Microsoft Office Clip Art and Gallery licensed through Microsoft Front Page and Microsoft.
Map images from Lonely Planet,

EMJ Kids,
Graham, Leland and Brandon, Traci.  A Trip Around the World.   North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company,  1996.
Graham, Leland and Brandon, Traci.  Another Trip Around the World.   North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company,  1996.
Adams, Ganeri, and Kay.  The DK Geography of the World.  New York: DK Publishing,  1996.

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