Russia is a huge country, the largest in the world by geography and densely-populated despite having hundreds of millions of residents. The predominant language is Russian, and Tatar and Ukrainian (spoken by the largest minority groups) are #2 and #3. The terrain includes plains (largely steppes), mountains, and coastline. Overall the climate is humid continental besides in the tundra and a few other places. Native animal species include the Amur tiger, the Russian boar, and the emblematic brown bear. Mainstays of the developing Russian economy include services, energy and natural resources, and agriculture. Iconic sights include Moscow's Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral, and St. Petersburg's extraordinary State Hermitage Museum, which contains work by some of the finest European artists and antiquities from all over the world. You can relax at Sanduny baths, the oldest and finest banya in Moscow. If you want to get out in the wilds, check out the striking terrain of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East. Its volcanoes are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, and millet are popular cereal grains, and Russians eat plenty of bread and pancakes. Typical vegetables include beets, cabbage, and mushrooms. Fish, poultry, and game are commonly eaten. Soups are a major part of the cuisine. Try a cabbage-based soup like shchi or the vegetable stew swekolnik. Pelmeni and vareniki are varieties of dumplings. For lighter options, try vegetarian Indian and Chinese cuisine, some organic raw food, or a fresh juice. Health food stores and all-organic restaurants aren't exactly common, but they exist. Tired of vodka? Try some more exotic liquors like medovukha, a sweet, low-alcohol drink, made with fermented honey and spices, or the stronger and also honey-based stavlenniy myod, which is often added to berry juices. Speaking of drinking, about a quarter of the world's fresh water is contained in Russia's lakes. Plenty to drink there!


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