Russia will offer international visitors the most dynamic possible experience of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. Spectators, athletes and officials will enjoy a rich and varied experience amid the unique geography and diverse cultures of the host cities.
Russia is vast. Russia is endless. Russia is timeless and eternal. Yet Russia can still surprise. Bounded by 12 seas of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans, the country’s 17.1 million km² include one-eighth of the earth’s inhabited surface area.
Russia is a country of incomparable beauty, variety and extremes, encompassing the snow-capped peaks of the Ural and Caucasus mountains, the seemingly infinite Siberian forests, the broad rivers stretching across the continent and the deserts and grasslands of its central steppe. Russia is the land of Lake Baikal - the deepest and purest on earth - and of the Volga, the longest river in Europe.
No other country extends across nine of the earth’s twenty-four standard time zones; as Russians in Vladivostok sit down to enjoy their evening family meals, their countrymen in Kaliningrad are rising to greet the sun’s morning rays.
Russia’s people are as astoundingly diverse as their country. Across this immense land live 143 million people representing more than 140 nationalities and ethnic groups who speak over 100 languages and embody a wide range of beliefs, customs and historical legacies. Around 80 per cent of Russia’s population resides in the European area of the country. In terms of population, Russia is the ninth largest nation in the world.
Russia’s contribution to the world’s culture, arts and sciences is immense. Russia is home to more than 20 Nobel Prize winners, including the 20th century poets Boris Pasternak and Joseph Brodsky, scientist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov and the first President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev.
Russia enjoys a strong tradition in music, literature and arts. Key figures include: composers Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rakhmaninov and Dmitry Shostakovich; writers Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Anton Chekhov. The Bolshoi in Moscow and Mariinsky theatre in St Petersburg are recognised opera and ballet brands.
The dark, rich soil of Russia yields as many gifts as does the genius of its people. It is a nation richly blessed with energy and mineral resources as well as countless natural and historical wonders. The country contains 23 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 40 UNESCO Biosphere reserves, 40 national parks and 101 nature reserves. Its natural resource base includes major supplies of timber, petroleum, natural gas, coal, ores and other mineral resources.
Russians are both dedicated to and fascinated by sports. The country has succeeded in a wide variety of sports, consistently performing among the best nations at international competitions.
Football, however, is the most popular sport in modern Russia. Football is universally loved and enthusiastically played year-round by the Russian people.
The quality of Russian football is on the rise, as is the performance of the Russian national and club teams. Clubs such as CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg (2005 and 2008 UEFA Cup winners respectively), Lokomotiv Moscow, Spartak Moscow and Rubin Kazan — with their remarkable achievements in the UEFA Champions League — rose to prominence through their success at continental level, while Russia’s national team reached the semi-finals at UEFA EURO 2008.