Russia -- School-age


Flag Map Russia

Things to Know

The official name for Russia is the Russian Federation.

From 1917/22–1991 Russia was called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, (U.S.S.R.) also called the Soviet Union.

Capital: Moscow

Official Language: Russian


The rouble or ruble (RUB) is the currency of Russia. The rouble is divided into 100 kopecks; 100 kopecks to one rouble.

Russian Currency

Russia is the world's largest country in terms of landmass. It occupies about one-tenth of all the land on Earth. There are 9 time zones, until 2010 there were 11 time zones, in Russia across two continents (Europe and Asia). It has coasts on three oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic).



Russia's land varies from desert to frozen. Much of Russia is made up of treeless plains called steppes, large areas of flat grassland. Siberia occupies a hugh territory in Russia. It occupies three-quarters of Russia. It is a vast region that extends from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Siberia is known as the Asian part of Russia.

The Volga River is the longest river in Europe and flows about 2,300 miles (3,700 km). It ranks among the world's great rivers. Eleven of Russia's largest cities, including its capital Moscow, are situtated in the Volga basin.

Lake Baikal (baykal) is the deepest lake in the world, it is a freshwater lake and contains about 20% of the worlds freshwater. Lake Baikal is located in Siberia near the Russian-Mongolian border.

The Ural Mountainsextends over 2500 km/1500 mi from the Arctic Ocean to the Caspian Sea, and is regarded as separating Europe from Asia.

Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains


Russia's vast landmass is home to a variety of animals. A few of the animals native to Russia:

The Siberian roe deer (Eastern roe deer) is native to Russia and is found in Eastern Europe and Asia.

Siberian Roe Deer
Siberian Roe Deer

The Russian Boar and bears are native to Russia.
The Russian Bear is a widespread symbol (brown bear) for Russia.

BBC-Russian Wildlife Videos

Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger

Siberian Tiger

The Siberian tiger (Amur tiger) is the largest cat in the world and lives in the Siberian Alps in Russia.


There are 4 periods of importance in Russia's history:

The Kievan and Appanage Periods(860-1698)

The House of Rurik

Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) --Became the first Russian tsar(czar) in 1547.

Ivan IV
18th century depiction
in the State Historical
Museum of Ivan IV

The Imperial Period (1698-1917)

The House of Romanov

Peter I (Peter the Great)

Alexander II of Russia (1818-1881)
Notable for the abolition of serfdom. He sold Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to the United States.

Nicholas II, the last Russian Czar
Anastasia-The youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II.

Alexander Palace Time Machine

Faberge Eggs
Faberge eggs are jeweled eggs made by Peter Carl Faberge and his assistants between 1885 and 1917. Many Faberge Eggs were created for Russia's royalty, from Czars Alexander III to Nicholas II.

The Soviet Period (U.S.S.R.) (1917/22-1991)

The U.S.S.R. was the successor to the Russian Empire of the tsars.

The political system was thus authoritarian and highly centralized, and this also applied to the economic system. The government centred on the one-party monopoly (Communist party). The political and economic order was communism that drastically suppressed political dissidence, newspapers, changed the education system, and tried to eliminate religious beliefs.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)
The Father of Communism

Mikhail Gorbachev
His changes were factors that contributed to the collapse of the U.S.S.R (Soviet Union).

The Post-Soviet Period (1991-Present)

In 1989, communism fell in Germany and so did the Berlin Wall, then communist rule fell throughout Eastern Europe. Boris Yeltsin was elected President of the Soviet Union in 1990. The Soviet Union officially, and communism, came to an end in 1991, the once-mighty Soviet Union had fallen. A peaceful end to a long and sometimes bloody history. Many Baltic States would declare their independence and break away from Russia.

Russia is a federation of republics, provinces, territories, and districts, all controlled by the government in Moscow. The head of state is a president elected by the people.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin


Russia is known all over the world for its literature,  arts, and music, including writers like Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and ballet dancers.

The two major ballet companies of Russia are the Kirov Ballet (Mariinsky Ballet) and the Bolshoi Ballet.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
A towering figure in Russian music and one of the most popular composers in history.

Keeping Score (San Francisco Symphony)
Four Movements-explore the movements of Piotr Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.
SFA Kids (San Francisco Symphony)
Have fun exploring, enjoy the beautiful orchestra, and play the radio to listen to works by composers such as Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky.

Russian Folk Tales



Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake was composed in 1875.

In 1891, Tchaikovsky was commissioned to compose the music for Alexandre Dumas’s adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King." The origin of the Nutcracker ballet, a classic Christmas Story, is a fairy tale ballet in two acts centered on a family’s Christmas Eve celebration. Here the story "Clara and the Nutcracker Doll" with Tchaikovsky's music.


The Enormous Turnip
by Sue Arengo


Russian inventions have changed the world

Igor Sikorsky -  the "father" of helicopters. He invented the first successful helicopter, upon which further designs were based.

Dmitri Mendeleev has been credited with the invention of the periodic table.

Sputnik I – the world's first artificial satellite, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.

Nikolay Pirogov was one of the first physicians to administer ether as an anesthetic.

The worlds first personal computer was designed by Arseny Gorokhov, who in 1968.

Sites to See

Greatest Russian Inventions

Ten Russian Inventions That Have Quietly Changed The World

Around 1985 the computer game Tetris was invented in Russia (Soviet Union).

Play a game of Tetris.


St. Basil's Cathedral

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia was ordered built by Ivan the Terrible in 1552. It was completed in 1560. It is very whimsical tower, painted turrets with swirls and strips.

St Basil Cathedral
St. Basil's Cathedral

Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city. It was was under construction for 40 years (1818-1858). There are 300 steps a person can climb to the observation walkway at the base of the cathedral's dome

St. Isaac's Cathedral
St. Isaac's Cathedral

Things to Do


Matryoshka nesting dolls fit one inside the other. The first Russian nested doll set was made in 1890.

Paper Baboushka/Matryushka Doll
Print the templates and create a Russian nesting doll.

Russian Cathedral Drawing
Use an onion shape and rectangles, add curves and swirls to decorate.

Concentric circles by Kandinsky
Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky's most recognizable work is Squares and Concentric Circles (also known as Farbstudie Quadrate). Fold paper and use oil pastels or crayons to create your own squares and concentric circles. Kandinsky Color Studies--Put all together as a display to make a large piece of art.

Art Project for Kids - Kazimir Malevich
Create a picture in the style of Kazimir Malevich with geometric shapes.

Paper Snowflake Ballerinas

English translation
Step by step pictures and ballerina template.

Sites to See

Color Pages

Matryoshka doll color page

St. Basil's Cathedral color page


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