17 Little-Known Facts About Russia
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Russia, the world's largest country, takes up one tenth of the Earth's total surface area. It stretches across 11 time zones, includes land on three oceans, and is split between Europe and Asia (the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Ocean).
With all eyes on Russia, we thought we'd share 17 fun and fascinating facts about one of the world's most intriguing countries.
1. In terms of land area, Russia is the biggest nation on earth. Russia is slightly larger than Pluto, which is only 6.1 million square miles, and is 1.8 times larger than the United States at 6.5 million square miles (17 million square kilometers) (16.6 square km).
2. There are 78 billionaires living in Moscow, the capital of Russia, which is more than any other city in the world.
3. After Moldova, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, Russia ranks fourth in the world for alcohol consumption per capita. Russians consume twice as much pure alcohol as is advised, or about 5 gallons (18 liters) annually. Males consume alcohol at a rate of about 90%. Russians consume the third-most alcohol globally, and they also import the most heroin and smoke the most cigarettes per person.
4. 40,000 Russians die from alcohol poisoning each year. One in five fatalities among Russian men is caused by alcohol.
5. Oil accounts for 60% of Russian exports, making it the top exporter of both natural gas and oil. Oil and gas pipelines in Russia could circle the globe six times.
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6. More than 12% of the population in Russia earns less than $220 per month, and about 17 million people live below the poverty line.
7. In 1957, the USSR sent the first satellite into orbit, known as Sputnik. Yuri Gagarin (1934–1968) became the first person to orbit the Earth when the USSR launched the Vostok spacecraft in 1961.
8. In an effort to modernize Russian society, Peter the Great imposed a tax on facial hair at the end of the 17th century. Every person with facial hair had to carry a copper or bronze token to show proof of payment for the tax.
9. In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a law against "homosexual propaganda" that makes it unlawful to inform a child that homosexuality is acceptable or not harmful. An arrest or fine may follow a pro-gay remark made to a minor. Later that year, Putin authorized the 14-day detention of any tourists or foreign nationals who were thought to be homosexual or pro-gay.
10. After the Library of Congress, the Russian State Library in Moscow is the largest library in Europe and the second-largest library worldwide.
11. Compared to the United States, where the homicide rate is 4.7 per 100,000 people, Russia has a higher homicide rate of 9.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
12. Over the course of 40 years in the 1700s, a Russian woman gave birth to 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets, all of whom were fathered by the same man.
13. More than any other nation in the world, Russia has over 8,400 nuclear weapons. After the United States, the nation is also the second-largest exporter of conventional weapons, such as infantry fighting vehicles, fighter jets, and battle tanks.
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14. The Romanovs, Russia's last dynasty, were assassinated in 1918. They went undiscovered until 1979, when they were discovered in Yekaterinburg's forest. However, the two kids' bodies were not found in the woods, which led to rumors that the daughter, Anastasia, had lived. Despite numerous women coming forward claiming to be the missing princess, Anastasia and Alexei's remains were discovered in 2007, proving they died in 1918.
15. With millions of people getting caught in traffic jams for hours at a time, Moscow was named the city with the worst traffic in the world in 2013. Rich Russians have been known to hire luxury taxis that resemble ambulances for an average cost of $171 USD to avoid getting stuck in traffic. These taxis come equipped with a siren that is used to clear traffic.
16. The biggest celebration in Russia is New Year's, which includes a lavish dinner, a Christmas tree that has been festively decorated, and gift-exchanging. Christmas, which is observed on January 7th according to the Orthodox Christian calendar, marks the culmination of the festivities, which last the entire week. Christmas celebrations are typically more low-key affairs that involve spending time with family and going to church.
17. In Ulyanovsk, Russia, Governor Sergi Morozov proclaimed September 12, 2003, the Day of Conception in an effort to combat the town's low population. People can take the day off to try getting pregnant, and women who give birth on or around June 12—Russia's National Day—win prizes like cars, cash, or home furnishings. As a result, the birth rate in the area frequently triples in June.