• Norway!

    Norway: Sunnylvsfjord. Go Now!

    Known for its natural beauty, Norway is home to isolated villages, fjords, and mountains that create a culture and landscape without compare. Begin Your Journey!

  • Vatican City!

    Vatican City: Vatican Museums. Go Now!

    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

  • Macedonia!

    Macedonia: Traditional architecture. Go Now!

    Macedonia is a country still finding its unique identity, but its architecture is already one of a kind. Explore Macedonia!

  • Austria!

    Austria: Belvedere Palace. Go Now!

    Belvedere Palace (pictured) is just one of many palaces found in Vienna. The capital is a good start to Austria, which also features the Alps, the Lakes District, and incredible history & food. Go Now!

  • Spain!

    Spain: Guell Park and Gaudi architecture. Go Now!

    Fusion foods, lively music, historic ruins, and cultural events like the Running of the Bulls and La Tomatina make Spain and Barcelona (pictured) a favorite tourist destination. Explore Spain!

  • Ukraine!

    Ukraine: Traditional Village. Go Now!

    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

Culture & Identity of Russia

WARNING: Russia's border with Ukraine is unstable and tensions are high, read this travel warning before going!


The way of life in Russia has incredible variations. Go to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and a village and in many ways they may appear to be different countries. St. Petersburg has a youthfulness and liberal aura as a student center, Moscow exudes power and wealth, Yekaterinburg feels like an industrial town allowing life in the desolate unknown, and villages seem to move slowly, but peacefully. The traditional Russian culture is heavily based on rural living and village life, but the Soviet heavily industrialized and urbanized the people, changing the daily way of life in the country.

Today nearly 75% of the people are urban and nearly a third work in industries, such as mining, oil, coal, metals, machinery, and military equipment. Only about 10% of the people still work in agriculture and the rest work in the services fields. Although the farmers tend to work from sun up to sun down, for most people the work day begins at about 8:00 or 9:00 am and continues to about 5:00 or 6:00 pm. The GDP per capita in Russia is about $18,000, but the wages differ greatly from urban to rural settings and some occupations, such as engineers in the oil industries and lawyers everywhere, make significantly more money than nearly any other occupation.

Russian Culture - New Year
New Year

Education is very important to the Russians and getting into some university programs can be very difficult (although bribery helps). Like workers, most students get to school via public transportation in the cities. School runs at about the same hours as most work schedules, but usually finish at about 3:00 pm.

Evening and weekend (Saturday-Sunday) life for young singles tends to be based on grabbing a drink with friends after work, checking out the local dance club, or perhaps going for a forest walk. Other forms of entertainment are prevalent in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but elsewhere the options are limited. For families the evening and weekends are more about spending time with family as most meals are eaten at home and during the school year homework occupies much of the evenings.

The way of life as mentioned above is typical, but Russia is anything but typical. Russia is diverse in every sense of the word and the way of life and culture is no different. Moscow has high end car dealerships for those looking to spend some of their excessive millions of dollars and high end shops for the unemployed spouses of the rich to shop, while village life is simple, filled with hard working couples trying to make ends meet, but often this comes with a simplicity that revolves around going to the neighbor's banya (similar to a sauna) to enjoy conversation and company.


Russians identify in multiple different ways, but most see themselves first as Russian. This term is one that is based heavily on ethnicity and language, while the culture attached to these people has little role in the identity and citizenship has no role in the identity. Much of the former Russian culture was destroyed or re-defined under Soviet rule and today the culture vastly differs from region to region and from rural settings to urban settings so the cultural similarities are strong, but not an important aspect in defining the Russian identity. Ethnic Russians and Russian speakers abroad are always considered a part of this identity, no matter where they were born or live.

Russia is home to dozens of ethnic minority groups and most of these people primarily identify with their ethnicity, but perhaps also with their language, culture, and religion. The way each group identifies varies drastically as some groups have abandoned their native language for Russian, while for others religion is very important and one of the most important parts of thei identity.

This page was last updated: May, 2014