Years ago, not many know that Russia was famously known as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a mystery”. Although it’s the largest country in the world, not many know about the nation’s hidden secret and its culture.
The official language of the country is Russian but there are around 27 other languages spoken across the country in different regions.
Sharing borders with over 14 countries including China, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and North Korea. No other country is said to have these many bordering countries.
Because Russia has always been in headlines, it’s not a bad idea to know more about a country which is famous for something more than just Russian Hard Drinks.
#Fact 1: Alaska
The US purchased Alaska from the Russian for only $7.2 million in 1867. Many people still thought that the Americans stole Alaska from the Russia or leased it and never returned it. But the fact is that it was an honest deal among both the countries.
Alaska Purchase by USA in 1867 in $7.2 million
Alaska was bought from Russia so that Americans could expand their trade and settlements. In the early 1800’s, Americans found themselves in competition with the Russian traders. Russia sold Alaska to the United States with a strong belief that US would off-set to defeat Russia’s greatest rival in the Pacific, The Great Britain.
#Fact 2: Beard Tax
Beards may sound like an odd target for taxation, but for a fact it’s true. In the early 16th Century, Peter The Great established a beard tax on the ones who had a beard in Russia. Hairless necks and faces were all the rage in the Western World which made Peter to order everyone in Russia a must to lose their face fuzz.
Smelling of a profit, Peter realized to impose the tax on those who even thought of having a beard. Upon depositing the cash, beard lovers would receive a small copper coin that read “tax paid”. Despite the fee, this taxation still remained static until 1772, 47 years after Peter’s death.
#Fact 3: Drinks in Russia
This may seem like a joke, but Beer in Russia was considered more like a soft drink and not an alcoholic beverage until the year 2013. Anything containing less than 10% alcohol in Russia was deliberated a foodstuff.
The Russian public health advocates and families complained Beer to be sold like a soft drink even from street kiosks and consumed openly in public. This act was taken to reduce Russia’s high rates of alcoholism.
#Fact 4: The Russo-Japan War
Russia and Japan have not yet signed a peace treaty to end World War II, due to the Kuril Islands dispute. The Kuril Islands have been a subject of dispute between the nations for over 60 years.
Natural resources present on the islands are a major reason of the never ending war.
#Fact 5: Unknown Russian towns:
Inherited from the Soviet Unions, these cities are still unknown to the world but are of paramount importance to Russia due to atomic and military industries. They are formerly known as “forbidden cities”, a phenomenon that still exists today.
These cities and towns had strict purposes to serve the interest of large industrial groups and were designated postal codes that kept them in secret for long. Today, at least 25 of them are still mysterious. These towns or cities are more like graveyards of the earth.
#Fact 6: Russia and the US are close:
You can really see the US from Russia, wondering why? Well, Alaska and Russia are divided by the Bering Strait which has two sparsely populated islands; Big Diomede in the Russian territory and Little Diomede which is a part of US. At their closest point, the two islands are only 2 and a half miles away from each other.
When the water freezes on both the islands, an explorer can easily walk from one island to the other.