OVERVIEW OF RUSSIA
Winston Churchill described Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery within an enigma”. These words still sound true for the greatest country in the world. Most outsiders have only a vague idea of their realities. A mixture of the decadent greatness of old Russia and the sad legacy of the Soviet era, it is a country full of charm and mystery.
It is a land of extravagant palaces and brutal winters, meandering rivers and majestic mountains, classic ballet of physics advisors, legendary vodka, and a midsummer sun that never sets. His people are passionate and resilient. While they may appear austere, they also possess a loving fun nature, they are animated stories and can be extremely plentiful and hospitable. Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leo Tolstoy and Maria Sharapova are some of Russia’s famous characters whose spirit, balance and pose have enhanced the world with its inherent flare. In order not to forget the inventor of the radio, Alexander Popov and the esteemed scientist Dmitri Mendeleev who created our periodic table of elements and the formula for making vodka and 40% alcohols.
Russia has the fifth largest population in the world 148.8 million people. It contains some 130 nations and ethnic groups and covers an eighth of the land area of Europe and Asia. It is covered by plains and an extensive range of mountains, with an abundance of natural resources.
Architecture is glorious and horrible, history is mobile and monstrous, and art is. With the dismantling of the Soviet Union there has been a sensational revival of interest in Russia’s pre-Soviet past. This change has created an effort to recover their national heritage. Churches are being restored throughout the country, Russian writers and artists whose works had once been banned are being honored, and the unique characters of ancient communities are being restored.
The capital city of Moscow, founded in 1147, is the mythical refuge of Russia. It is an autonomous city with a montage of palaces, armories, and churches – a medieval fortress that links the modern nation to its legendary past.
Large, beautiful, brutal and intriguing, Russia is in fact an enigma that beckons to be shown by any serious traveler.
The best time to visit Russia is in May, June, September and October, when temperatures are mild by Russian standards, ranging from 1 ° C to 25 ° C. The precipitation usually occurs in July and August, while the winter months from November to March are below zero, with short, dark days. However, the snow scenes can be beautiful and the conditions for skiing are very good during January and February. Beware of icicles that fall dangerously at the beginning of spring (March-April)! The climate of Russia varies from an arctic ice forest to semi-deserts.
Russia has a long and dramatic history, like an epic novel of anguish and slaughter. Perhaps the most famous or important events in the history of Russia surround Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, the patriotic war of 1812, the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the Second World War.
The Novgorod Foundation in 862 AD by the Viking Rurik of Jutland is traditionally taken as the birth of what became the Russian state, although the human occupation of Russia dates back to the Neolithic eras (4000-2000 BC) and beyond.
The centuries of prosperity were crushed in the 13th century by the Mongol Tataros who invaded, who dominated until 1480. The 16th century witnessed the ugly expansionist reign of Ivan the Terrible, whose raids in the Volga region antagonized Poland and Sweden at the most Last cost of Russia. When the 700-year-old Rurikid dynasty ended with the Fyodor without children, the Swedish and Polish invaders avenged each and bloody demanded the Russian throne.
The edition was finally settled in 1613, with the 16-year-old Mikhail Romanov issuing in a dynasty that was to rule until 1917. Peter the Great, reigns with the strongest of the dynasty, celebrates defeating the Swedes by building a new capital Saint Petersburg .
Peter the Great dies in 1725. To this day he remains one of the most controversial figures in Russian history. Although he was deeply committed to making Russia a powerful new member of modern Europe, many of his reforms failed to take root, and it was not until the reign of Catherine the Great that his desire to make Russia into a great European power was achieved. .
On December 25, 1761, Peter III, a grandson of Peter the Great, was the crowned Tsar. In less than a year his reign ended when he managed to offend the entire court and his wife Catherine receives widespread and extensive political and public support to take his place. They confronted Peter with a prepared statement of his abdication and he was a week later dead.
Catherine the Great became the most powerful sovereign in Europe. She established the Hermitage Museum, commissioned buildings throughout Russia, founded academies, newspapers and bookstores.
When Catherine the Great dies in 1796, her son Paul I succeeds her. Paul’s reign lasted only five years and was considered a complete disaster. He is succeeded by his son Alexander, who is remembered above all for having reigned Russia during the epic campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Russian campaign of Napoleon, was also called the Patriotic War of 1812, fur the beginning of the end of the Napoleon Empire. Russia became the place of the destruction of the great army. Even as Russia emerged more powerful than ever from the Napoleonic era, its internal tensions began to increase.
The nineteenth century began with an explosion, thanks to Napoleon, and ends with a sinister turmoil in the country. The events of the 100s Servants were freed next years led to the 1917 revolution. Suffers in 1861 and growing opposition to the repressive and autocratic rule of the Tsarist. The peasants were angry about having to pay for the land that belonged to them, the liberals advocated constitutional reform along the lines of Western Europe and the terrorists murdered Alexander II of 1881. Many radicals fled, including the famous exile Vladimir Ulyanov, better known as Lenin.
Under the young and notoriously weak Nicholas II and the humiliating defeat in the war with Japan (1904-5) led to further discomfort. The massacre of civilians on bloody Sunday led to strike strikes and the murder of industrialists. The social activists of the Democrat formed workers’ councils (the Soviets), and a general strike brought the country to its knees in October 1905. The Tsar finally surrendered and allowed the formation of the first parliament of the country (the Duma), to dissolve it only when they did not like their leftist demands. The disastrous performance of Russia in the First World War fostered further discomfort. Soldiers and policemen mutinied and formed again the Duma that assumed the government and formed by the commercial elite. The Soviets of workers and soldiers were also formed, thus creating two alternative energy bases. Both were unified in their demands for the abdication of the Tsar, an action Nicholas was forced to resign on March 1, 1917.
Formerly exiled Lenin had founded the Communist Party, and together with Leon Trotsky, led his comrades in the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Russian Revolution ended the long reign of Zars in Russia and created the Soviet Communist Union. Tsar Nicholas II remained as the last Russian emperor from 1895 to 1917. He, his wife, his children were executed after the revolution.
Leon Trotsky later served as leader of the Soviet Union under Lenin. After Lenin’s death, Trotsky was exiled and murdered later.
The economic consequences of the revolution were disastrous, culminating in the enormous hunger of 1920-21. The union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was established in 1922 and, after the death of Lenin in January 1924, a new world record in the mistreatment of human beings was achieved by his successor, Stalin. Millions were executed or exiled to the Siberian concentration camps.
The pact of non-aggression by Russia with Germany set the scene for World War II, with Hitler and Stalin passing states between them. The tables turned in 1941 when Hitler’s operation Barbarossa became a bloody period of war that would eventually kill a sixth of the population.
At the end of the war, the Soviet “liberation” of Eastern Europe was soon recognized as misnamed. Russia’s expanded control over much of Eastern Europe was the key to its emergence as one of the world’s superpowers. Stalin reestablished the old pattern of unpredictable purges and, as the Cold War developed, he established Western ideology as the new enemy of the country.
After Stalin’s death in 1953, Nikita Krushchev emerged as the leader and cautiously sought to de-Stalinize the party, while Cuba shamelessly armed himself. His efforts were undone by the conservative Brezhnev, and the leadership of JFK. In spite of the growing repression, the dissident movements originated. But the change was under way and the poor image of Russian communism was soon reconditioned thoroughly by the iconoclastic Soviet Mikhail Gorbachev.
Gorbachev introduced political and economic reforms and called for greater openness. In 1988 he held elections to transfer powers of the party to a new parliament. Reduced repression led to the eventual independence of the 15 Soviet republics, with the Baltic republics leading the way. This reduced sphere of influence and severe economic crisis caused the strife of Gorbachev’s domestic rivalry.
Before 1990 the Soviet Union had been voted out of existence, to be replaced by a Common Wealth of Independent States (CIS). On December 25, Gorbachev resigned, and at midnight on December 31, the Soviet flag on top of the Kremlin was replaced by the Russian tricolor. Post-Soviet Russia was marked by the poor leadership of corrupt officials, financiers and gangsters, as well as sky-high indices of drug abuse, blackmail and murder.
A reactionary coup began in August 1991 and the road to an even more radical successor, Boris Yeltsin. The Yeltsin era was marked by the globalization of the Russian economy. For 1999 things seemed even more unstable while Yeltsin looted their governments regularly and the economy grew steadily more melancholy.
In March 2000, Vladimir Putin became president of Russia. Russia became the world’s largest oil exporter outside OPEC and, to everyone’s surprise, the economic climate was clarified. Around the millennium, Moscow could boast of having the most multimillionaire residents than any other city except New York.
Russia’s military reputation, however, continued its decline. In August 2000 the Kursk nuclear submarine sank in the Barents Sea, losing the entire team. The war in Chechnya ignited. About 120 people died when the paratroopers fell in a Moscow theater where they rebelled that the Chechen had taken hostages to the theater audience. A hostage-taking similar to this one by the Chechen terrorists took place in a school in Beslan in September 2004, there were about 300 dead, more than half of them children.
Russia is clearly no stranger to tragedy and change. As Russia enters the 21st century, development and reconstruction are at an all-time high and tourism is on the rise, perhaps sparked by the curiosity of this tumultuous, and captivating country.
Russia does not belong to the EU, so European citizens need a visa to travel. This paperwork takes time, you must make an appointment if you go to the Russian Consulate, so we advise you to start from today, because if you want it urgently, the price rises considerably.
There are many countries in the world that have special agreements that prevent their citizens from having a visa to travel to Russia. You have to consult each case by calling the Russian Consulate in each country.
The easiest is the tourist visa, for stays of up to one month. This is achieved by presenting the suppor visa, that is, the confirmation of accommodation and tourist services contracted, considered as an “invitation” to the country, showing that you are only going to visit.
The paperwork does not end there, in addition to the visa, you must present: passport, medical insurance, a photo ID and fill out the famous “visa questionnaire”.
Once the visa is obtained, it is pasted on a page of the passport.
The time is GMT +3 for Moscow and St. Petersburg. The territory of the spans of Russia with seven times zones: GMT +2, GMT +3, GMT +4, GMT +5, GMT +8, GMT +10, GMT +12.
As for the store hours, it is interesting to know that they open every day of the week, not resting on Sunday, or even close at noon. The opening hours of the stores go from 10:00 to 22:00 hours.
The official language of Russia is Russian, difficult language wherever there are. They have an alphabet very different from ours, Cyrillic. If one rehearses before traveling, it is relatively easy to recognize the Cyrillic letters and to be able to read some names, for example streets or proper names.
English is popular and among young people in easy who know how to speak it, while older generations do not.
Those who are dedicated to the tourism sector will have some notion of English, from hotels, where it is easy to speak, to souvenir shops, where they at least intend to put it.
The ruble is the official currency of Russia, they are found in bills and coins.
The tickets range from 10 to 5000 rubles;
10 rubles: 0.269570 €
5000 rubles: € 134.795
€ 1 equals approximately 40 rubles.
The coins are 1, 2 and 5, although 1 ruble is 100 kopeikas, so there are smaller coins, from 1 to 50 kopeikas, which at the change are 0.0134796 €
The euros will not accept them directly in the purchases, so it is convenient to change and not in any place, change only in those establishments dedicated to it.
It must be changed only in official offices and authorized banks, and all transactions must be recorded in the form of the currency declaration that is issued at the entrance. It is best to keep all change receipts. The exchange offices are numerous and easy to locate. Stores and large hotels offer their own exchange facilities. The US dollars. in pristine conditions it is the easiest currency to change. It is illegal to place accounts in hard currency and change money unofficially. Do not accept any printed ticket before 1998.
Credit and credit cards
European debit and credit cards, including Visa, American Express, and Diners club are accepted in the larger hotels and in stores and restaurants, but cash is preferred (in rubles). Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services that might be available.
To avoid additional charges of the change, the “Traveler’s check” in US dollars. they are recommended.
The importation and exportation of local currency is prohibited. The importation of foreign currency is unlimited but the amounts US $ 3000 greater than (or the equivalent) must be declared. The export of the foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
Russia is a very cold country. In the north of Russia are the Arctic deserts, therefore temperatures there are freezing, not exceeding -10 º C throughout the year.
There are places in Russia where the trees do not grow and the cold does. There are other areas where climate is more pleasant and the sun exists. Still, Russia is not known for its bikinis, but for those gray-haired, famous, round caps. There must be a reason.
The best time to visit Russia is one in which you do not get overweight in your luggage for all the coats you take with you.
The prefix of the country is +7, which will have to be put before the number you dial.
Moscow, capital of Russia has five airports, the most important are:
Moscow-Sheremetyevo International Airport
Vnukovo Airport, which is the oldest
St. Petersburg, Russia’s second most important city, has one:
Pulkovo International Airport
Like all the gastronomy of the countries of the North, Russia also has a food rich in calories, to withstand the characteristic cold.
As in Hungary, soups are one of the star dishes in your diet. The most famous are Ujá, it is a fish soup, Borsh, with ingredients such as beet, meat, cabbage, and Solianka soup.
The famous Russian salad, known in Spain as such, is not of Russian origin, but French, and does not have as many ingredients as we know. Although its origin is French, it is true that salads are very famous in Russia, and the Olivié, which is like what we know by Russian salad, is very typical.
A plate of meat that you should not miss is the Shashlik skewers.
As for fish, from salmon and cod, to sturgeon.
Which leads to caviar, red or black, expensive or expensive, but Russian caviar is the caviar par excellence. The most exquisite is the one that comes from beluga, arriving to pay a minimum of 600 € per 100 grams. The caviar that comes from sevugra fish is cheaper, although it is also not worth the price. Especially because the fish from which the caviar is removed is in danger of extinction.
If you see a very cheap caviar, it is not caviar.
The empanadillas are also very famous in Russia. In general, Russians are lovers of those dishes prepared with masses, consistent and heavy. The Pirozhki can be filled with whatever you want and are very rich. Even as a dessert, filling them with apricots, cottage cheese or jam.
To drink, beer and wine. Georgian wines that are very good, and let’s not forget the Vodka, drink of Russian origin and that they drink only and without ice … It will be because of the cold.
Electricity. Electricity through Russia is 220 volts / 50 hertz. The plug is the fine European standard two-pin. Be sure to bring your own converter as most places in Russia do not carry them.
Do not drink the tap water, nor to clean your teeth.
Check with your doctor to make sure you are up-to-date with all vaccines, and consider including vaccinations for diptheria, typhoid, hepatitis A and B. A flu shot is also useful if you plan to travel to Russia in the spring or fall in which viruses are common.
Foreigners usually prefer to be treated in private clinics, which are very expensive. Travel insurance is highly recommended. Remember to bring any medication you may need.
With the demise of the Soviet Union, crime has been rising through Russia, but it is mostly related to rival gangs of the Mafia. Take normal precautions that you in many of the cities of the world should suffice; i.e. valuables, do not boast of them or not only walk at night through the streets or parks of the city.
Chopping pockets can occur in crowded public transport and hotel rooms are not burglar proof. Lock everything in your bags before leaving the room and use a secure deposit if there is one.
Take care with taxis. Do not use taxis without markings or accept rides in taxis that already have an occupant.
The route to Chechnya and the North Caucasus is not recommended; check foreign operators of the site or the travel office for updated warnings. If you do not stay on the regular tourist routes.
It is strongly advised not to travel to Chechyna, Ingushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria (including Elbrus area) and to the eastern and southern parts of Stavropol Krai, particularly where it borders Chechnya and North Ossetia. It is advised that potential travelers monitor this situation. There is a high threat of domestic terrorism in Russia, including suicide bombings in public places.
Despite recent improvements in the telecommunications infrastructure, the call in Russia can be difficult and expensive. It is best to use the telephone at your hotel or use AT & T, Sprint or direct US services. of the MCI.
Tokens are required for paid street telephones, which can be purchased at newspaper kiosks, in some stores, and many kiosks.
Hotels in Moscow and other large cities include a service price of 10-15%. If not 10-15% percent are a custom tip in restaurants, depending on the service.
There is no sales tax. However, in most cases, VAT (value added tax) is 18%.
There are reduced VAT rates of 10% which mainly refers to children’s products and food products.
VAT is charged on assets and services in Russia as well as on imports into Russia. Medicines and medical and technological products are exempt from VAT on importation.
VAT refunds are made once a month, if the VAT to pay is more than Rbl 3,000; payment is made until the twentieth day after the current month.
When the VAT to pay is less than Rbl 3000, it is made quarterly, and not monthly.
The Best Things to Do in Russia
From the country that brought us Ana Pavlova and Tchaikovsky, Russia is in the world famous for its exquisite classical ballet. See classic performances such as the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet, made by some of the best dancers in the world! Regular classical ballets are held in Moscow and St. Petersburg in elegant and historical places such as the Kremlin Palace of Moscow. It is something that should be seen! Visit www.aha.ru/~vladmo/ for more information.
The Russian-style sauna is, not only a perfect way to get warm and to relax – it’s a fabulous introduction into Russian social life. Banyas are everywhere – from small wooden huts in the woods next to a lake, to palaces banyas in luxury hotels and spas. The traditional routine is then to sweat and jump into a lake or roll around in the snow! Most of the hotel’s banyas will have a cold pool to dive into. He will be rejoicing and will leave his skin smooth as silk!
A perfect evening of Moscow to dine and classical ballet starts the historic and charming restaurant of Khlestakov. Located in one of the fashionable side streets remote from the bank of the river, the restaurant was discovered by the current owners after the demise of the Soviet Union. Inside the building they found an amazing treasure – the entire film set designed for the Russian film the Inspector General!
A Kremlin is an autonomous city within a city. The Moscow Kremlin at the red corner is the most photographed and most famous sight in the capital. The Kremlin is extensive, with imposing architecture, palaces, cathedrals, medieval fortresses and an air of mystery.
Just a few hours drive from Moscow, the Golden Ring contains many ancient, picturesque cities, many of them along the banks of the river. The cities have a great historical value, an architectural and spiritual meaning; a rich collection of kremlins, monasteries, cathedrals and fortresses. Since many of the cities were founded on the banks of the river, a cruise is a pleasant way to discover the region.
Ice skating is perhaps Russia’s most popular pastime with frozen lakes and outdoor tracks all over during the long winter and even indoor tracks that open in the summer. The central recreation park of St. Petersburg is the favorite among skaters and also has a ski center. The ice tracks tend to be cheap and very cheerful.
This is an excellent way to see the historical sights, scenic jungle and interesting people. The main route is the Volga river with boats that go from Moscow, St Petersburg, Novgorod, Stalingrad and many other attractive cities. Boat trips are the easiest and safest way to go around Russia, and some trips offer Russian language lessons on board. Of good reputation these trips work from June to September only. A reputable travel company is Intrav, to see the offers of boat cruises of the Czars River; Visit www.intrav.com for more information.
The two most famous exports of Russia are the most enjoyed in their homeland. An array of vodka and colorful caviar offer a perfect way to jump at the start of the night!
Picturesquely situated on the banks of the Volkhov River, 190 kilometers south of St. Petersburg, Novgrod is a treasure trove of ancient architecture, with 39 cathedrals and churches. Within the walls of the Kremlin, St. Sophia’s Cathedral is the oldest stone structure in Russia.
This is the elegant cousin of Moscow, with heaps of palaces, museums and magnificent restaurants, all spread across 42 islands, giving it its nickname of “Venice of the North”. Compared to Moscow, which tends to have more of the east in character, St. Petersburg has always retained a European flavor. The corner of the palace and the winter palace are among the most popular attractions. Tired of the city? Head to the shores of Lake Ladoga for a picnic … in the right season of course.