It’s a fact! part 2

Photo: Yuri Molodkovts, State Hermitage


As the world’s largest country by far, it’s no surprise that there are endless fun and fascinating facts about Russia. Here are just a few of them…

  • Russia is home to Europe’s longest river – the Volga – at 3690km (2293 miles).
  • The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is home to around 70 cats, which guard its treasures against rodents.
  • ‘Subbotnik’ is the day when residents of Russian cities volunteer to sweep up and tidy the streets and other general ‘outdoor housekeeping’ tasks. It started after the revolution but still happens today.
  • There are around 11 million more women than men in Russia.
  • The name Red Square has nothing to do with communism, but comes from the word ‘krasny’, which meant ‘beautiful’ in old Russian.
  • There is a bronze sculpture of a dog with a shiny nose at Ploshchad Revolutsii metro station – it’s shiny because touching it brings you good luck.
  • It isn't the only sculpture of a dog in Russia – there's also a monument to Laika, the former stray that went into space in 1957.
  • The Ter Sami language of the Kola Peninsula is on the verge of extinction – just two people speak it.
  • Chicken's foot soup (kholodets) is a traditional delicacy.
  • In St Petersburg, next to the bridge by the Peter and Paul Fortress, there’s a statue of a hare which commemorates the large number of hares that used to live on the island. It's considered good luck to hit it with a coin.
  • In the White Dining Room in the Hermitage Palace, there's a clock on the mantelpiece. It was stopped at 2.10am on the night of 25 October 1917, when Kerensky’s provisional government, which had held power since the February revolution, was arrested by the Bolsheviks. It marks the moment Russia slipped into communism.
  • The word ‘vodka’ comes for the word ‘voda’, meaning ‘water’.
  • Moscow's underground is perhaps the world's most beautiful. There is said to be another secret metro system - Metro-2 - which links a collection of military bunkers.
  • Padlock trees can be found in Moscow - couples place them here to prove their love.
  • The Astoria hotel in St Petersburg is where Hitler planned to hold a huge celebratory banquet once he'd conquered the city.
  • In the vault/museum beneath the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, the only sound you’ll hear is the steady ticking of a metronome – it’s the noise that was played on local radio during the siege so that residents knew the city was still alive.
  • It's considered un-Russian to lower the ear flaps on your ushanka (fur hat) unless the temperature drops below -20°C.