Life in Russia

It is quite possible that Russia may be best known for it”s long, and bitter winters. This extreme coldness also aided the country as a whole by keeping invaders at bay; For example, Adolf Hitler, and his Nazi army, were hesitant in entering the country during World War II. In Moscow, snow covers the ground for at least five months of the year. In the Northernmost region of Russia, there is snow present for between eight and ten months. Most of the coastal waters, such as: ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams, remain frozen during the majority of the year.
But after the harsh winter months have past, the weather swings harshly in the opposite direction. During the warmest days of the summer, it is not uncommon for the mercury to hit 100? F, although they average around 60? F. Precipitation throughout the year, rain, sleet, and snow, is usually light to moderate. The wettest part of the country is the European Plain, or the East Siberian Uplands, where rain falls on a daily basis during the spring. The majority of the vast inland receives little or no rain, but approximately four feet of snow during the winter.
Russians, like Americans, enjoy watching television, and reading. They also love to play chess; visit the movie theaters; soak up the culture of an opera, or play; travel to a local museum; go for a walk, or participate in sports. The government of Russia strongly supports athletic events, especially team sports. Soccer is unopposed as the most popular participant, and spectator sport in the country. Russians also enjoy gymnastics, basketball, and during the winter, ice hockey is a hit among the children of the countrymen. Russians also enjoy nature. They really enjoy going on hikes, and spending time in the forests.

Many have country cottages called dachas. There, they garden, hike, bicycle, swim, fish, gather mushrooms, and take part in the other outdoor activities. Russian people also love going on vacation to places other than their dachas during the summer. Popular vacationing sites include: the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Volga River. In Russia, fighting has been a way of life, as seen during all parts of its history. Russia has been a fighting country since the 800″s. They were involved in constant war with the Mongols. Also, civil war has been a enormous problem for the Russians.
In the early 1600″s, a civil war broke out, inspired by an invasion by the Mongols, and the political confusing that followed about killed the country as a whole. Most recently, Russia was involved in World War I, fighting countries such as Germany, and Austria-Hungary. Shortly after, there was another civil war between the Communists and the anti-Communists. This war lasted two years, and ended up with a communist victory that led to the establishment of the USSR, or the Union of Soviet Social Republics, or in Russian, Rus Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik, A union of the several countries that lay around Russia.
Politically the USSR was divided (from 1940 to 1991) into 15 constituent or union republics-, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia Gerogia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia Russia, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, until its breakup in 1991. Since then, Russia, and other Soviet republics have become independent nations. The most well known being the Ukraine. Ukraine broke off, and quickly established its own currency, the Ukraine Ruble.
The Ukraine is constantly bragging to Russia of all its wealth, but the Ukraine also boasts much higher inflation, and higher unemployment, for they are not as successful as they brag to Russia to be. Russia”s health care is free to its citizens. The government cares a lot about the health of its citizens, and it most certainly shows. They”re committed to meeting the basic needs of its people. Because of their poor economic state, the government does not have sufficient funds to support its health-care systems. This has led to medicine and equipment shortages, and low wages for health-care providers.
Russia has an abundance of farmland. Due to the short growing season, insufficient rainfall, and lack of fertile soil, farming in Russia is extremely difficult. Many of the farms are operated like government factories. These farms are called sovkhozys. People do work, but don”t have much say in what”s grown. The other farms, called Kolkhozys, are government controlled, but partly managed by the farmers. What goes on here is that the farmers decide what to grow and the government tells them if it is acceptable to them or not. The major crops grown in Russia are barely, fruits, oats, potatoes, sunflowers, rye, sugar beets, and wheat.
The diet of the Russians is very healthy and hearty. They eat bread virtually every meal. They also consume large quantities of sugar. Their main method of preparing food is by frying. They also drink large amounts of tea because coffee is too expensive. Their trademark drink is Vodka. They also drink wine, champagne, beer, and other alcoholic beverages. Alcohol abuse has been and remains to be a major social problem in Russia. The education in Russia is much different then the USA”s method of education its people. It consists of first through 10th grade, plus higher education.
Using this method, which may seem abridged to Americans, eliminates two years of useless classes, and allows for Russians to leave school, and either begin to work, or go on to higher education. Elementary school consists of first through fourth grade. Classes meet six days a week for 4 ? hours a day with shorter periods on Saturday. Courses include math, art, music, language, P. E. , simple skills, and history. Intermediate grades consist of fifth through eighth grade. They meet thirty hours a week and are taught, zoology, physics, geography, shop work, and chemistry.
Secondary grades consist of ninth through tenth grades and consist of math, science and work skills in different trades. This is to meet the governments need for specialists in science and Industry. Graduates with high marks receive medals and are relieved from required mandatory services so the can continue their education; these mandatory services include 2 years of military service for all graduates, except when they are relieved to pursue higher education. The higher schools that are present in Russia consist of 650 specialized schools and 70 universities which are currently educating some 6 ? illion students.
Most programs take five years to complete, and then they must work for the government for 3 years, in order to repay their country for relieving them of their mandatory military service. They receive their diploma after one year of work. Russia thinks education is their road to success, and instead of offering countless useless classes, Russia provides healthy education, with strong emphasis on chemistry. They have over 52 million students and a strong majority of Russia”s country men are able to read and write in their native language.
The U. S. S. R has a long constitution that gives all political power to the people and their elected representatives. However the country”s completely controlled by the communists. The Soviet Union lets no other political party to oppose the communist party. The ironic thing is only 17 million of the people in Russia are actually communists. Russia”s government resembles a triangle because each government body has to report to a higher authority. At the top of this triangle is the Supreme Soviet of the USSR The members are elected to 5 year terms and they only meet twice a year for about two weeks.
They pass without question all the laws proposed by the communists party. The freedom of the Supreme Soviet is the head of state or president. He is elected by the communist leaders and he handles legislative matters between sessions of the Supreme Soviet. The council of Ministers are another government group in Russia and are the highest executive body. It controls economic and cultural life through various ministries and committees. The council of ministries also handles relations with other nations. It consists of 120 members, many of them are the highest ranking officials in the communist party.
The Russian Orthodox Church was the central religion of Russia until the communists came to power. Communists are atheistic (people who are against the belief in God or Gods) and they view religion as “Opium for the people” a drug, or disease. When the communists came to power they destroyed churches and killed church leaders. However religion in Russia survived. In the 1940″s, persecutions and restrictions eased up mainly because the church supported the governments choice of being involved in world war two. Then in the late 1850″s the communists began closing non official places of worship.
They also tried hard to discourage religion through education and propaganda. Still religion survived, there are 20 to 45 million followers of the Russian Orthodox Church; The people in the former Soviet Union are still among the most spiritually open people in the world – especially the youth – and for this, the number is rising. Muslims are the second largest religious group. Some religions like Jehovah”s witness are strictly prohibited by the communists. Russian language is remarkably similar even though there is such a diverse population. Russian language is understood from the west to the east part of the country.
The Russian language is based on the Cyrillic alphabet. Certain minorities in Russia have their own language but they speak Russian as a second language. Russia like most countries has both urban and rural life styles. ? of Russia”s people live in cities. Russia has 35 cities that have 800,000 people or more, and Moscow along with St. Petersberg has 4 million. Many modern conveyances such as plumbing and air conditioning are not found. There is also a shortage of food and too much crime in Russian cities. Farmers populate much of Russia rural areas.
There is also a lot less education and health care in the rural areas of Russia, for schools are not easily paid for in areas such as these. Russia is one of the richest countries on natural resource. Russia”s vast area provides for a lot of forest space, and water for hydraulic energy. There are also extensive mineral deposits. Russia also has a wide variety of plant and animal life. Industry is vital to Russia”s economy. Moscow and St. Petersberg are the biggest areas for manufacturing in Russia. Russia produces a lot heavy machinery and has many chemical, oil, and plant refineries as well.
St. Petersberg also has a large ship building industry, and an even larger airplane parts industry. There is heavy trading with the US in airplane parts. Russia”s chemical plants produce items such as chemical fibers, mineral fertilizers, plastics, and synthetic resins. Transportation in Russia is very difficult because of its lack of roads and it”s vastness. Trains are the most common form of transportation and shipping. Aero Flat is Russia”s national airline and makes up most airline travel, although most people are unable to afford the enormous bill created by purchasing an airline ticket through Aero Flat.
Roads are not commonly found because only 60 out of every 1,000 Russians own a car. City travel in Russia is taken care of by buses, trains, and subways. Communication equipment is unevenly distributed and not modernized, because of this only 15 out of every 100 Russians own a telephone. Russia is in a state of economic turmoil at the moment. It has had a lot of trouble moving from a centrally planned economy to a modern market economy. However Russia is making advancements under president Yeltsin; Inflation fell from 131% to 22% in 1996.
These advancements are partially due to the fact that now, 80% of industry is now privatized; meaning, that 80% of all goods produced in Russia, are produced in a private sector of the country, by companies who control themselves. As of May 16, 1999, one United States Dollar would be converted into 24. 7367 Russian Rubles. Currently over 30 billion United States Dollars circulate throughout Russia, for just as in all foreign countries, the Russians hold on to the Dollars, and when the exchange rate is just right, they can make a pretty profit from their Dollar. Unemployment is not a very big problem in Russia.
Only 9. 3% of its population remain unemployed, leaving a 73 million manned labor force ready to work. Many of these men work closely with the government, packaging and shipping exports, or receiving and checking over its imports. Major exports of the country include petroleum, natural gas, metals, and chemicals. Hard to find in Russia, and therefore heavily imported are: machinery, medicines, meat, grains, and especially sugar. The majority of this trading is done with North America, although Russia is also close trade partners with most of Europe, Japan, and some third world countries.

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