Republic since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.
Head of state:
President Vladimir Putin since 2012.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev since 2012.
220 volts AC, 50Hz; Russia uses a standard two-pin European plug.
From gold-leaf imperial glitz to icy Siberian tundra and from Soviet-era monuments to uber-hip urban culture, Russia has as many contrasting faces as its size would suggest. The country that Churchill famously described as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” is the largest in the world, and remains a destination that’s hard to fully grasp.
Visitor activity tends to be almost wholly concentrated on west Russia, where the big-name cities of St Petersburg and Moscow serve up sweeping postcard sights by the dozen. Those who look further afield, meanwhile, will find a little understood land with a whole host of under-the-radar travel secrets to discover. And bear in mind that there’s more local diversity than most imagine – under the vast Russia umbrella are in excess of 150 different ethnic groups.
It is perhaps the country's combination of diverse landscapes, stunning cities and mysterious nature that have begun to attract increasing numbers of tourists eager to discover modern Russia for themselves in recent years. Even more visitors are set to flood the country in 2018 when Russia will act as host for the World Cup games. Winning the bid over countries such as England, the Netherlands and Spain has further sealed its bid as an increasingly popular destination, and is set to give a major boost to the country's economy.