1. Russia is larger than Pluto. The country’s total area is about 6.6 million square miles, while Pluto has roughly 6.43 million square miles of surface area.
2. Up until three years ago, beer wasn't considered alcohol in Russia. Instead it was classified as a foodstuff because it contained less than 10 percent alcohol, meaning it was as widely available as juice and soda from street vendors and 24-hour stores. That all changed when the government changed its liquor guidelines in 2011, and today beer is classified under the same umbrella as other spirits.
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3. Moscow is home to hundreds of stray dogs, many which of have learned to use the city’s metro system. Dogs can be seen boarding trains and getting off at certain stops in order to find food, and they reportedly use escalators and are able to understand train conductors’ voices.
4. A riot police unit in the southern Russian town of Rostov-na-Donu has a squad made up entirely of identical twins. Officials created the unit when three pairs of identical twins enlisted all around the same time, according to Russian NTV. Leaders liked the way the pairs worked in tandem, so the fully twin army was formed.
a pack of 400 wolves descended upon the town, and local residents were forced to patrol the area on snowmobiles until government forces reached the area.5. Verkhoyansk is a town in Russia located on the Yana River near the Arctic Circle that has an average temperature of -50 degrees. In January 2012,
6. Lake Karachay is a small lake in the southern Ural Mountains in western Russia. Beginning in 1951, the Soviet Union used the lake as a dumping site for radioactive waste. In 1990, standing on the shore of the lake for just one hour would poison and kill a person with a lethal radiation dose of 600 roentgen.
7. The Russian game show "Intercept," which aired from 1997 to 1998, was a real-life Grand Theft Auto competition. Contestants on the show were given a chance to steal a car, and if the police didn’t catch them within 35 minutes, competitors won the car. Otherwise, they were arrested and thrown in jail.
8. The Day of Conception is a Russian holiday celebrated in the region of Ulyanovsk on Sept. 12. The holiday, which gives couples time off from work so they can try and conceive, was created in response to Russia’s significant aging population, which Putin has called the most urgent problem facing the country. Couples that give birth to “a patriot” nine months later on June 12, Russia’s national day, receive money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes from the local government.
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9. Certain medals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will contain fragments of space. The athletes who win their events on Feb. 15, 2014, the one-year anniversary of the meteorite strike that hit the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, will receive the out-of-this-world medals.
10. In 2003, Russian lawyers threatened to sue Warner Bros. Studios because the house-elf character, Dobby, in the "Harry Potter" series looked too similar to President Vladimir Putin.
11. The Metro-2 is the official name of a secret underground subway that snakes deep underneath Moscow’s city streets. The rail system was reportedly built, or at least started, by Stalin, and supposedly has four lines that run 50 to 200 meters below the ground. The trains reach the underground city known as Ramenki, which allegedly can give refuge to 15,000 people for 30 years.
- Society & Culture