Ten interesting facts about Russia

  • Moscou, la capitale
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Published 2 months ago

As we're just a day away from the World Cup 2018 kick-off, the whole world is focused on Russia who is hosting the much-awaited event. You probably know Russia, the largest country in the world by size, for its rich culture and history, and especially for its Soviet heritage. Many of you are probably planning to fly to Russia to support your favourite football team. Before you do, here are some interesting facts about Russia that you might have never have heard about.

Russia has nine time zones

Stretching over some 17.09 million square kilometres, Russia is the largest country in the world, so large in fact that you may probably feel lost in its vasteness. However, Russia's size is far from being its only peculiarity. The country now has nine time zones, and prior to 2010 it had eleven! If you're moving to Russia, it might be good to plan your schedule according to your region's time zone. Also, keep in mind when getting around by public modes of transportation that stations abide by Moscow time.

Hockey is the national sport

Although Russia is hosting the 2018 World Cup, football is far from being the national sport. Even though you can find a couple of football teams, hockey is the most popular sport in the country. In the winter, lakes turn into huge ice rinks where children and adults can make the most of the pallets. As an avid hockey fan, Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a hockey match every year with famous players. Therefore, it might not be a good idea to bet on the Russian national football team to win the World Cup.

Getting a leave to make babies

You have probably heard of the importance of family to Russians, especially since the country's demographic downfall over the past two decades this is why Russians workers enjoy a special day off to make babies! Indeed, September 12, proclaimed the Day of Conception, has been a public holiday since 2014. The idea is to offer the country a patriot baby to Russia, so any mother giving birth on June 12 wins a prize.

Smiles are meant for special occasions

Russians are world famous for their legendary seriousness and suspiciousness. Their way of life is often assumed to be part of their historical heritage. However, this does not mean that Russians are not warm and welcoming people. Smiles are considered as a sign of affection and are simply meant for special occasions. Therefore, do not expect a stranger you cross in the street or at the bar to smile back at you!

Russians like to drink

It is believed that Russia has one of the world's highest rates of alcohol consumption after Belarus, Moldova, and Lithuania. The average consumption is around 18 litres of alcohol per year. You might be surprised that before 2013, beer was considered as a soda rather than an alcoholic drink. Another epic fact is that in times of crisis, professors were paid in Vodka! Now it's clearer why the mortality rate related to alcohol consumption is so high in Russia.

Russians are superstitious

You may not believe in superstitions, but the Russians do! So it's better to learn about local superstitions to avoid misunderstandings and landing in embarrassing situations. For example, shaking hands on the doorstep is considered as a bad omen, which can lead to an argument. Also, if you have forgotten something at home, don't go back to fetch it – better ask a family member or a friend to bring it to you. Russians also believe that whistling in a closed place can bring bad luck.

There are more women than men in Russia

Did you know that there are about 11 million more women in Russia than men? In 2016, the Russian population was estimated at 144.3 million people with 86 men for 100 women. So if you're moving alone to Russia, hold your breath! Life expectancy in Russia is estimated at 73 years for women and 59 years for men. The high alcohol consumption rate could be the reason behind this demographic imbalance. You will also recall the significant drop in birth rate over the past few decades.

Russians used to pay a beard tax

Today, having a beard is fashionable. With the rising trend, new styles have been designed to give men a cooler look. However, did you know that Russians were made to pay a beard tax back in the 1535s? The beard tax was introduced by King Henry VIII who had a beard himself. Somehow, this tax which varied according to the beard holder's social status faded away over the past centuries. Be thankful that it no longer exists; otherwise, you would have to pay good money for your hipster beard!

Driving a dirty car is illegal

You may want to rent a car to get around more easily in Russia. While roads in Russia are poorly maintained, it seems like authorities have other priorities. For example, you're liable for a fine for driving a dirty car, so make sure to wash it before driving. On the other hand, it's so much more pleasant to see only clean vehicles on the street. Don't you think so?

Moscow, a city of billionaires

In 2016, Moscow, the Russian capital city was named the "capital of billionaires". Today, it is still one of the cities with the most significant number of billionaires in the world with an overall fortune estimated at $227 billion USD. Also, there is no need to panic upon seeing helicopters flying over the capital city. It's just that a few wealthy people who have found the way to avoid traffic congestion.