To begin with I'd like to say that the Russian Federation is the largest country in the world. It occupies about one seventh of the earth's surface. It covers the eastern part of Europe and the northern part of Asia. Its total area is about 17 million square kilometers. The country is washed by 12 seas of 3 oceans: the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic. In the south Russia borders with China, Mongolia, Korea, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the west it borders with Norway, Finland, the Baltic States, Byelorussia, the Ukraine. It also has a seaboard with USA.
We have steppes in the south, plains and forests in the midland, tundra and taiga in the north, highlands and deserts in the east. There are over 2 million rivers in Russia. The country is rich in beautiful lakes. The world's deepest lake, Baikal, is situated in Russia. They say, that the water in the lake is so clear, that if you look down you can even count stones on the bottom. Russia has one sixth of world's forests. They are concentrated in the European north of the country, in Siberia and in the Far East.
On the vast territory of the country there are various types of climate, from arctic in the north to subtropical in the south. In the middle of the country the climate is temperate and continental. In Russia, therefore, you can observe different seasons of the same time in autumn and spring months. For example, in Murmansk and Archangelsk April is still a winter month, while in Moscow in April spring has already begun.
Another point I want to deal with is the Russian language. Russian is the first language of more than 220 million of people throughout the world, and it is the official language of Russian Federation. It is also spoken to some extent by the 130 million of people in former republics of the USSR. Russian, in fact, is among the 4 most widely spoken languages in the world.
To my mind, Russians have many peculiarities. They are believed to be industrious, tough, suspicious, brave and progressive. They are very hospitable, fond of being with other people and enjoying social life. They have a great sense of patriotism. They are generous, emotional, kind-hearted and loyal to their families. From my point of view Russians are patriarchal, dogmatic in following conventional values. They are mostly faithful and tradition-loving.
It may be interesting to say some words about Russian food. The wide range of Russian food is really worth exploring. There are many tasty dishes to try, such as Beef Stroganoff, stuffed cabbage leaves, soups, such as borshch, lovely salads, blini, pelmeni, kissel and many others. When Russians invite guests for a meal the table is usually groaning with food.
In the latter half of our century international tourism has become truly massive. But in the times of the Cold War not much tourists visited USSR. And now thousands of people from all over the world visit Russia. The country's history is long and eventful. There are more than 150 000 historical and architectural landmarks and monuments. There are many places of interest in Russia. And foreigners come to explore its historic buildings, to see its museums and galleries, its streets and parks. But the greatest reason to my mind is the great will to find out something about life of Russian people. How do Russian people live? How do they work and spend their free time? People visiting Russia want to see that for themselves. That's why Russia encourages international tourism.