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Useful facts about Russia

Useful facts about Russia (5)

That's the kind of information you think you don't need until you realize that your notebook cannot be charged or the time on your ticket actually meant 5 o'clock in the morning, not in the evening. So here's some of that useful information

Monday, 25 July 2011 12:23

Great reading for your trip

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Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
A masterpiece by Bulgakov, it was banned by the Soviet authorities. It contrasts the human and soviet nature of the 1930s Moscow. This mystical novel is one of the best pieces of satire in Russian literature and provides an amazingly fun read.

Journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg – Alexander Radishev
One of the first intellectual attacks on the czarist regime, this book inspired an entire generation of Russian authors.

Hero of Our Time – Michail Lermontov
The Napoleonic Wars sent many Russian troops across Europe, a trek that introduced them to a vastly different array of liberal traditions and ideas. The Russian soldiers became inspired to change their society when they returned home, a revolution known as the Decembrist Movement. Their ideals were defeated and a period of intellectual crisis followed. The hero of this book is trapped in this time.

War and Peace – Lev Tolstoi
War and Peace is the saga of the Russian empire, nobles, and peasants during the Napoleonic Wars. Tolstoi originally wanted to write about the Decembrists, but as he sought answers to his questions, he found that he had to look 40 years prior to their radical movement.

Fathers and Sons – Michail Turgenev
This highly-acclaimed work focuses on intergenerational issues. The story takes place in the country estate of a Russian noble. When the noble’s son returns home with a friend, the views of the three men clash as they represent the different epochs and classes of society. Turgenev masterfully explores the causes of the conflict.

Eugeniy Onegin – Alexander Pushkin
This is the most well-known piece of Russia’s famous poet. He skillfully shows the life of St. Petersburg’s nobility two centuries ago and foretells his own death. Pushkin developed so many rhyming techniques that he is considered the father of modern Russian poetic rules.

Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak won a noble prize in literature for this piece, but was banned from receiving it by the Soviets. The movie based on this novel is fantastic, but nothing compares to the original.

Heart of a Dog – Michail Bulgakov
A master of allegories, Bulgakov argues that you cannot put a dog in a human body and hope that it becomes human. This book was also banned in the Soviet Union.

Monday, 25 July 2011 12:23

Weights, Measures & Numbers

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The Russian system of weights and measures is similar to the one used in Continental Europe. Russians use kilometers, meters and centimeters to measure the length, and kilograms and liters to measure the weight.

1 inch

1 foot

1 yard

1 mile

1 acre

1 pound

1 gallon

2,54 cm

0,304 m

0,914 m

1,609 km

0,405 hectars

0,454 kg

4,546 liters


Also, decimal numbers are separated with a comma, not with a dot (e.g. two thousand two hundred ninety nine is 2,200.99 in the USA, and is 2 200,99 in Russia).
The Celsius temperature scale is used in Russia. 0 degrees Celsius equals 32 degrees Fahrenheit. To calculate the temperature, the following rule can be applied: T (Celsius) = 5/9 * [T (Fahrenheit) - 32] or 
T(Fahrenheit) = 9/5 * T(Celsius) + 32. So, for example, 20 C degrees in Russia equals 9/5 * 20 + 32 = 68 F degrees.
Monday, 25 July 2011 12:22

Time & Open hours

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The Time in the European part of Russia is 3 hours more than Greenwich meridian time or two hours more than central European part. (+3 GMT or +2 CET).
So if in London it’s 10.00 in Moscow it’s 13.00 (in Russia the 24-hour system is used).
There are 9 time zones in Russia - so when it’s evening in Moscow, it’s morning of the next day in Vladivostok (a Russian port on the Pacific Ocean). 
Open Hours. One great thing about Russia is that all shops are opened even on Sunday. The food shops are usually opened from 8.00 to 20.00 except on Sundays from 8.00 to 18.00; however many of them are opened 24 hours a day. 
Big department stores, clothing stores, supermarkets are opened all week long from 9.00-10.00 to 21.00-22.00. 
State institutions, offices, companies are usually opened from 9.00 or 10.00 to 18.00 or 19.00 and do not work on Saturdays and Sundays. 
Most banks are opened 9.00 to 17.00 Monday to Friday; some are opened on Saturday as well. Self-service ATMs operate 24 hours a day usually.
There are many currency exchange offices in the big cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg) working until late night and sometimes 24 hours a day.
On public holidays all banks, offices, museums and some shops are closed. However big department stores, food stores, supermarkets are all opened.

Monday, 25 July 2011 12:21

National Holidays

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31st of December- 1 of January - New Year's Day, which is the main holiday in Russia, everybody’s happy because people wait for the great new life in the New Year and give each other presents. There’s no Father Christmas, there’s Father Frost in Russia. He comes on New Year’s Eve and gives presents. Traditionally people gather with family or friends. See out the old year with vodka and welcome in the new one with champagne while listening to the Kremlin chimes on TV
7th and 8th of January - Orthodox Christmas. In Russia, contrary to many western countries, Christmas is being celebrated not on 25th December but on 7th January, because it’s orthodox’ Christmas. And the New Year is much more celebrated than Christmas.
8th of March - Women's Day. Flowers are sold for doubled prices, and men suddenly realize the importance of women. Celebrated like Valentines Day with women getting presents of flowers, chocolates and the like and a chance to rest up.
1st and 2nd of May - May Day & the Day of Spring. In the Soviet times they called it The Day of Labor, but it was a holiday for everybody. Now it’s just May Day - another free day to meet friends.
9th of May - Victory Day. The day of victory in the World War II 
12th of June - Independence Day Still not everybody knows exactly why this date was chosen, but we reckon that this is the day when the first president of the Russian Federation was selected.
7th of November - Day of Reconciliation and Harmony. After 1917 until 1992 that was the Day of the Great October Revolution (1917). It’s a wise decision to rename the day when the civil war began to the Day of harmony of the whole society.
12th of December - Constitution Day.

Monday, 25 July 2011 12:19

Electricity

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Everywhere in Russia 220 Volt and 50 Hz AC current supplies are used. Most of the sockets are standard European-size for double round-pin plugs (see the image), the same as in France or Germany. Appliances from the US, Canada, Britain will need adaptors (it's better to buy them in your own country, as it's very hard to find them in Russia). 
Most trains have electricity sockets where you can change your mobile telephones or plug in a shaver, but it is not recommended to use them for sensitive devices (such as laptops) without a stabilizer.