Russia Demographics

What is the population of Russia?

Population 141,722,205
Population Growth Rate -0.02%
Urban Population 73.8%
Population in Major Urban Areas MOSCOW (capital) 11.621 million; Saint Petersburg 4.866 million; Novosibirsk 1.478 million; Yekaterinburg 1.355 million; Nizhniy Novgorod 1.245 million; Samara 1.166 million
Nationality Noun Russian(s)
Nationality Adjective Russian
Ethnic Groups Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, other or unspecified 12.1%
Languages Spoken Russian (official), many minority languages
Language Note Russian is the official language in the country. It is a European language belonging to the Slavonic group of languages. This group includes Ukrainian, Belorussian, Serbian, Czech and Polish. The Russian alphabet uses the Cyrillic, which consists of thirty-three letters; this alphabet is related to but quite distinct from the Roman (Latin) alphabet. Standard Russian is spoken throughout the territory, with regional differences in pronunciation and vocabulary.

Russia Learning

What is school like in Russia?


In the classrooms, learning is often based on oral recitation and testing, although written tests are also frequently used. In part because of the highly oral nature of much of the instruction, classes are often kept to about 20 students. Recent research into innovative teaching methods, however, is leading teachers to be more open in how they teach. For example, small groups of students in a classroom may be encouraged to study together in class so they can help each other to learn; rather than relying on the teacher to provide information, the students focus more on understanding how and why things work instead of just memorizing facts.

The Russian government is working diligently to revise and update the educational system in the country. One way that seems to be working is to change the pay rates for teachers, especially for elementary schools. Since 2006, bonuses and incentives for quality teaching, in addition to an increase in base salary, have made being an elementary school teacher a very good position as they often earn more than university professors. As a result, many of those professors are leaving universities and returning to public schools. The elementary schools are benefiting from getting superb, well-educated teachers, and the teachers benefit by getting paid better. And, above all, the children benefit from an improved education.

The Russian school system has long been an important part of the culture. Some school buildings are quite old, whereas some are more modern with high tech teaching tools. In general, the facilities are adequate and well-maintained.

The wearing of school uniforms was done away with in the 1990s. Officials decided that students should wear whatever they needed to stay warm during the long, cold Russian winters. It is not unusual for students to wear fur coats.

Education Culture

Education is important in Russia. It has a 98% literacy rate, which is higher than most western European cultures.

Russian schools are part of a national rather than local system. There is no tuition for attending these state-operated schools.

There are very few private schools, and most of those exist for people from other countries who are living in Russia for business or other reasons. For example, some major Russian cities have English-speaking schools for the children connected to English-speaking embassies (such as the United States, Australia, Canada, England, and others). Private schools charge tuition fees and follow educational models more in line with the cultures represented by their students.


Russia has a very good system for educating the many thousands of children in this large country.

Attendance at school is required for children between the ages of 6 and 15. Primary school is for ages 6 through 10, and secondary or “senior” school is for ages 10 through 15. At the end of secondary school, students receive a certificate indicating they have completed their secondary general education. They then have a decision to make regarding future studies or work. If they so choose, they can get a job. They can also enter a vocational school or other non-academic institute. Such schools, known now as colleges, usually require study until the students become 17 or 18. Another option is to prepare for higher education, which requires that they attend two more years of secondary school education before moving on to a university.

The school year begins on September 1 and goes until the last week of May, which final tests being held in June. The year is divided into four terms with breaks in between the terms—a week in November, two weeks in January, and a week in March. The summer vacation is nearly three months long.

School normally starts at 8:00 or 8:30 AM, and is finished by 2:00 or 2:30 in the afternoon (often 1:00 for the younger students). There is usually a 5-, 10-, or 15-minute break after each subject (usually taught for 45 minutes). Primary school students study four subjects each day, secondary students will study five or six, and senior high students might even study six or seven subjects. Class is held five days a week, although some higher-level classes might require additional study and class time on Saturdays. In primary school, students have one teacher for all their subjects. Class sizes range from 20 to 30 students as a general practice.

Required classes include Russian literature, Russian language and grammar, Russian history, world history, and progressively more complex studies in the maths and sciences as the students get older. Technical or trade training schools of course will offer extensive classes in the school’s specialty areas. </p>

<p>Grading is on a 4-point scale, with 5 being excellent and 2 being the lowest. Students keep a grading book or diary in which the teachers enter the grades. If a student does not meet the required standard of learning, he or she will repeat that year’s study.

To School

Students often walk, ride bikes, or take advantage of the public transportation systems available throughout the country. Larger cities have metro trains that students and working adults alike will use to get around the city. In general, few families own their own cars, but the public transportation system throughout Russia is fairly good.

Russia Health Information

What are the health conditions in Russia?

Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 15-49 79.5%
Contraceptive Prevalence - note note: percent of women under age 50
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 13.97
Diseases - note highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 92.2%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 3%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 98.7%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial diarrhea
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 6.2%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 1%
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 9.7
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 6.29
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 8.04
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 7.19
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk intermediate
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 34
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 26.5%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 980,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 4.31
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 29.5%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 74.4%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of rural population improved 59.3%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 1.61
Vectorborne Disease (s) tickborne encephalitis

Russia Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Russia?

Life Expectancy at Birth 69 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 76 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 64 Years
Median Age 38 Years
Median Age - female 41 Years
Median Age - male 35 Years

Russia Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Russia median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 12
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 13.97
Median Age 38 Years
Median Age - female 41 Years
Median Age - male 35 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population 1.69
Population Growth Rate -0.02%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.06
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .96
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .86
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.06
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .86
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .44

Russia Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Russia?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care in most localities is below Western standards due to shortages of medical supplies, differing practice standards and the lack of comprehensive primary care. Those facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg with higher standards do not necessarily accept all cases. Access to these facilities usually requires cash or credit card payment at Western rates at the time of service. The U.S. Social Security Medicare Program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs in Russia. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk. We do not recommend elective surgeries requiring blood transfusions and/or non-essential blood transfusions due to uncertainties surrounding the local blood supply. Most hospitals and clinics in major urban areas have adopted the use of disposable IV supplies, syringes, and needles as standard practice. However, travelers to remote areas might consider bringing a supply of sterile, disposable syringes and corresponding IV supplies. We recommend travelers do not visit tattoo parlors or piercing services due to the risk of infection.

Outbreaks of diphtheria and hepatitis A have been reported throughout the country, even in large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend up-to-date tetanus and diphtheria immunizations before traveling to Russia and neighboring countries. Typhoid can be a concern for those who plan to travel extensively in the region. Cases of cholera have rarely been reported throughout the area. Travelers can reduce the risk of exposure to infectious and noxious agents by drinking bottled water and using bottled water for food or drink preparation. Tap water is generally unsafe to drink outside of Moscow. Tuberculosis is also an increasingly serious health concern in Russia. For further information about tuberculosis, please consult the CDC's information on Tuberculosis.

HIV infection rates have risen markedly in recent years. While most prevalent among intravenous drug users, prostitutes and their clients, the HIV/AIDS rate in the general population is increasing. Reported cases of syphilis are much higher than in the United States, and some sources suggest that gonorrhea and chlamydia are also more prevalent in Russia than in Western Europe or the United States.

Travelers may obtain information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, from the CDC hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Alternative Medical Treatments: Foreigners occasionally travel to Russia to receive medical treatment that is more expensive or prohibited in the United States, including stem-cell therapy and surrogate birthing. These treatments may involve considerable risks. Standards of infection control in both surgical and postoperative care may be inadequate. Patients undergoing treatment often develop secondary infections that cannot be handled by the facilities offering the procedures, and must be admitted to local hospitals of uncertain quality. In these cases, the patient is responsible for all additional costs, including repatriation back to the United States.

Russia Education

What is school like in Russia?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 4.1%
Literacy - female 99.5%
Literacy - male 99.7%
Literacy - total population 99.6%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 15 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 14 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 14 Years

Russia Literacy

Can people in Russia read?

Literacy - female 99.5%
Literacy - male 99.7%
Literacy - total population 99.6%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Russian (official), many minority languages

Russia Crime

Is Russia a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Incidents of unprovoked, violent harassment against racial and ethnic minorities regularly occur throughout the Russian Federation. The U.S. Embassy Moscow and Consulates General continue to receive reports of U.S. citizens victimized in violent attacks by "skinheads" or other extremists. Travelers are urged to exercise caution in areas frequented by such individuals and wherever large crowds have gathered. U.S. citizens most at risk are those of African, South Asian, or East Asian descent, or those who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be from the Caucasus region or the Middle East. These U.S. citizens are also at risk for harassment by police authorities.

While visiting Russia, be alert to your surroundings. In large cities, take the same precautions against assault, robbery, or pickpockets that you would take in any large U.S. city: keep wallets in inner front pockets, carry purses tucked securely under arms, wear the shoulder strap of cameras or bags across the chest, walk away from the curb, and carry purses and other bags away from the street. The most vulnerable areas include underground walkways, the subway, overnight trains, train stations, airports, markets, tourist attractions, and restaurants. Foreigner travelers who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around nightclubs or bars, or on their way home. Some travelers have been drugged at bars, while others have taken strangers back to their lodgings, where they were drugged, robbed and/or assaulted.

Internet Dating Schemes: Reports of fraud committed against U.S. citizens by internet correspondents professing love and romantic interest are common. Typically, the correspondent asks the U.S. citizen to send money or credit card information for living expenses, travel expenses, or "visa costs." The nature of the internet means that you cannot be sure of the real name, age, marital status, nationality, or even gender of the correspondent. We have received many reports of citizens losing thousands of dollars through such scams. Never send money to anyone you have not met in person. Please review our information on Internet Dating Schemes.

Turkey Drop Scam: A common street scam in Russia is the "turkey drop" in which an individual "accidentally" drops money on the ground in front of an intended victim, while an accomplice either waits for the money to be picked up, or picks up the money him/herself and offers to split it with the pedestrian. The individual who dropped the currency then returns, aggressively accusing both of stealing the money. This confrontation generally results in the theft of the pedestrian's money. Avoidance is the best defense. Do not get trapped into picking up the money, and walk quickly away from the scene.

Drug Crimes: The Russian media report that the drug GHB is reportedly gaining popularity in local nightclubs, under the names butyrate or oxybutyrate. This drug can also cause amnesia, loss of consciousness, and/or extreme intoxication when mixed with alcohol, and death. The drug, typically in the form of a capful of liquid mixed with a beverage, gained notoriety in the United States after incidents of date-rape and death. In many cases, stolen credit cards are used immediately. Victims of credit card or ATM card theft should report the theft to the credit card company or issuing bank immediately.

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Crimes Involving Public Transportation/Highway Crime: Travelers should be vigilant in bus and train stations and when taking other public transportation. Bogus trolley inspectors, whose aim is to extort a bribe from individuals while checking for trolley tickets, are also a threat.

Travelers have generally found it safer to travel in groups organized by reputable tour agencies. We discourage the use of unmarked taxis, as passengers have been victims of robbery, kidnapping, extortion, and theft. Criminals use these unmarked taxis to rob passengers, and often wait outside bars or restaurants to find travelers who have been drinking and are more susceptible to robbery. Robberies may also occur in taxis shared with strangers. Although there are few registered taxi services in Russia, you should always use authorized services when arriving at a major airport.

To avoid highway crime, try not to drive at night, especially when alone, and do not sleep in your vehicle on the side of the road. Do not pick up hitchhikers; they pose a threat to your physical safety and put you in danger of arrest for unwittingly transporting narcotics.

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Crimes Involving Businesses: Extortion and corruption are common in the business environment. Business disputes may involve threats of violence and even acts of violence. Organized criminal groups, and occasionally even local police, target foreign businesses in many cities and have been known to demand protection money. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable. Please report all extortion attempts to the Russian authorities and inform consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or the nearest Consulate General.

Certain activities that are considered normal business activities in the United States and other countries are either illegal under the Russian legal code or are considered suspect by the Federal Security Service (FSB). There are particular risks involved in any commercial activity with the Russian military-industrial complex, including research institutes, design bureaus, production facilities or other high technology, and government-related institutions. Any misunderstanding or dispute in such transactions can attract the involvement of the security services and lead to investigation or prosecution for espionage. Rules governing the treatment of information remain poorly defined.

Airport Scams: Traveler's should be cautious when traveling in any of Russia's airports. There have been instances where U.S. citizens and other foreigners have been targeted. These scams usually involve a friendly stranger, who will ask you to watch his/her bag or purse, and then leave and either contact the police or return with someone appearing to be a policeman/woman. The bag may contain drugs or other illegal items. The perpetrators then extort money or other valuables to avoid hassles with the police. Travelers should never accept or agree to watch a bag that belongs to a stranger.

Personal Privacy: Travelers should be aware that in 1995, the Russian Federal Law on Operational Search Activity passed, in conjunction with Order No. 130 by the Minister of Information Technology and Communications (July 25, 2000), the "System for Operative Investigative Activities." Commonly known as "SORM," this law permits the monitoring, retention and analysis of all data that traverses Russian communications networks, including fax transmissions, telephone calls, internet browsing and e-mail messaging. U.S. citizens should be cognizant of this law when using any of these means of communication.

It is not uncommon for foreigners in general to become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law-enforcement and other officials. Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question, or detain individuals. If stopped, obtain the officer's name, badge number, and patrol car number, and note where the stop happened, as this information assists local officials in identifying the perpetrators. Authorities are concerned about these incidents and have cooperated in investigating such cases. U.S. citizens should always report harassment or crimes to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or the nearest U.S. Consulate General.

Russia Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While traveling in Russia, you are subject to its laws. This is true even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from those in the United States and criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but are still considered illegal in the United States. For example, U.S. citizens can be prosecuted under U.S. law if they buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or the use and/or dissemination of child pornography in a foreign country is also a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Russia, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Therefore, it is very important to know what is legal and what is not legal in the country you are visiting.

Russia Population Comparison

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