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Geographic position and time zones:
Russia is the largest state, which occupies most of Eastern Europe and north Asia, stretching from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south, neighboring 16 countries and having world's longest land border about 60,000 km (over 37,000 miles). A quarter of world's forests are concentrated in Russia, which is more than in any other country; their wide tracts stretch continuously from the western borders till the Pacific Ocean. Russia's coasts are bathed by the waters of 12 seas; the country has dozens of thousands of rivers and about 2 million lakes, among which are the Caspian Sea, the biggest lake in the world, and Baikal, world's deepest fresh-water lake.

From west to east, Russia stretches for about 9,000 km (almost 6,000 miles), so that the country's territory is divided into 11 time zones. When people get up in the Fat East, others are going to sleep in Moscow and St Petersburg. The most western and eastern time zones in Russia are +2 and +12 hours GMT respectively (from the city of Kaliningrad to Kamchatka and Chukotka peninsulas).
The time in Moscow and St Petersburg is +3 hours GMT. Daylight-saving time in the whole territory of Russia starts on the last Sunday of March (at 2:00 AM) and ends on the last Sunday of October (at 3:00 AM).

Important phone numbers:
Fire Protection: 01
Police: 02
Emergency (First Aid): 03

Russia's international phone code: +007

Making any international calls from Russia:
8 + 10 + country code + city (area) code + local phone number

Making any intercity calls within Russia:
8 + city (area) code + local phone number

Moscow city code: 495

St Petersburg city code: 812

Banking services:
The national currency is rouble (= 100 kopecks).

Foreign currencies (mainly US dollars and euros) can be exchanged in any banks or small exchange points on the streets, as well as in hotels, malls, airports and railway stations.

Official exchange rates are determined by the Central Bank of Russia every business day. Exchange points function almost in all cities, a majority of them stay open 24 hours in Moscow and other large cities.

Foreign credit cards are accepted mainly in large cities and tourist centers.

Official public holidays in Russia are:
December 31st – January 9th - New Year and Christmas holidays
January 7th - Russian Orthodox Christmas
February 23rd - Motherland Defender's Day
March 8th - International Women's Day
May 1st - International Labor Solidarity Day
May 9th - Victory Day
June 12th - Independence Day
November 4th – People’s (or National) Unity Day

If any of these days falls on Saturday or Sunday, the closest business day is officially announced a day off.

In addition, many people celebrate both main Russian Orthodox holidays (such as Epiphany, Easter, Holy Mother's Nativity) and some pagan holidays that Europeans preserved until today (such as Christmas-tide, Maslenitsa, Summer Solstice Day, etc).

The most favorite holiday in Russia is New Year's Day: it combines some features of paganism (Grandpa Frost and his granddaughter Snow Maiden, decorated fir-trees, etc), as well as those of Russian Orthodox Christmas and of today. The Christmas-tide is known with sauntering, clothes shifting and fortune-telling. During the Easter, it is accustomed to exclaim "Christ is risen!", kiss each other thrice, treat each other with Easter cakes specially baked and blessed in church, and exchange painted eggs with each other.


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