There are probably a lot of things that come to mind when this amazing country pops into your head, including its huge size, communism, cosmonauts, the cold war, and most stereotypical Hollywood villains. So many different aspects have a part to play, and while some people may still think Russia is a country like any other, they couldn't be more wrong. From the crazy laws to the intense amounts of alcohol they consume each year, Russia is a very different place. Strict rules may have been set because of dictatorship, but that doesn't stop the people from having a good time.
There are so many little facts about this country that make it stand out from the rest, but probably the craziest are those that seem devastating to people who are used to having an established norm in their country. For example, Russia is extremely strict when it comes to being openly homosexual, while the United States is highly tolerant. But Russia has been strict on these types of things for a very long time, making it possible for certain facts to come to the surface. Here are fifteen of the most devastating facts about Russia that you probably were unaware of.
15 Extreme Alcohol Consumption
There is a standard for the consumption of alcohol as well as a level that is considered safe. Every year, each Russian consumes about 4.8 gallons of alcohol. That is double what many experts consider to be dangerous. While this little fact is certainly concerning, it should not come as a surprise to anyone. We all know that vodka is something Russians love very much, and with all of the stories we hear about Russia, vodka is almost always involved. Even Russia's drinking age is lower than that of the United States, making alcohol even more accessible. And if you've never tried it, American vodka is awful, but true Russian vodka tastes like sweet water. If you love to drink, Russia is definitely the place to be. Just be sure to factor in that the rules over there are very strict and it might not be as easy to get away with certain things like you can in the United States.
14 Huge Death Counts
It's estimated that over 500,000 of Russia's deaths are related to alcohol each year. Considering that the United States' alcohol deaths are much lower, it makes Russia look rather bad. Alcohol consumption has already been considered a major trend in Russia, so it makes sense why so many people die from its intake every year. It is no wonder that the death count rises, considering the amount. However, many experts believe that this can be prevented, given the right measurements are taken, but it's hard to take those measurements when the country works a certain way, preventing various ideas and improvements to be made. Regardless, Russians continue to flourish, drink and be happy. All while the world around them has different laws in place. But to each country its own. Not every country is the same, and Russia isn't the only country with such a low drinking age.
13 Gays Are Outlawed
If you are a kid in Russia, you probably don't realize that there are actually gay people in this world. That's because in Russia, it is illegal to tell kids that gay people exist. Whether it comes from a close minded individual, or a higher power that doesn't want to see things change, being openly gay in Russia is not such a good idea. Russians do not tend to take homosexuality very lightly. People have been known to be imprisoned for being gay as well as beaten and other terrible situations. But Russia is very big on keeping up with the norm, and anytime something comes along that threatens that norm, they start to feel hostile towards it. That includes men being with men, as well as women being with other women. But there are plenty of different places around the world that do not accept homosexuality very well, however, Russia seems to be the country in which people first bring to mind when it comes to the opposition of being gay.
12 Japan and Russia Hate Each Other
Peace is a very important thing, especially when it comes to countries. If you are close to one another, you want to make sure that everything is going smoothly, even if it is in the slightest of ways. However, believe it or not, Russia still has not signaled a peace treaty to end World War II due to a dispute with the Kuril Islands. Basically both Russia and Japan wanted sovereignty of the islands and the land ended up being split, in a way. No one could come to an agreement, so as it stands today, they have not committed to a peace treaty. This continues to push forward into the future and how long it will last, but one thing is for sure, Russia and Japan are both countries with very hard heads and neither one of them have been known to budge when it comes to history.
11 Beer Isn't Popular
Until the year 2013, beer was not considered an alcoholic beverage in Russia. This is probably a godsend to those who really love beer and wish they had grown up in Russia. Before the designated year, however, it wasn't always as popular as vodka and other Russian liquors. Many people sought after vodka a lot quicker than they did for beer. However, if you were to visit a place like Germany or Holland, beer is another story, but when it comes to Russia, beer isn't exactly what they're known for. That doesn't mean however, that beer isn't highly enjoyed in Russia, but simply that vodka is mostly the desired beverage. When we look back at the history of the making of vodka, it isn't really known why Russians came to be the lovers of vodka, only simply that they did and now the world knows the country for it.
10 Taxes On Beards
Throughout the years of the past, many people have put taxes on a variety of weird things, but one of the strangest comes from the late 1600s period of Peter the Great's reign in Russia. He decided to tax anyone with a beard, making them pay unnecessary amounts. Personally, I would never have paid such amounts simply for having a beard, however, if I didn't have any other choice, I simply wouldn't have had one. As I'm sure that was the case back in those days, even if you did want to grow a beard, if you were poor, it was probably best not to have a beard, and if you were so poor that you didn't have a choice but to have one, you down on your luck, because taxes, even in Russia are considered a big deal, especially when they weren't paid. Half the men with beards nowadays would have been in for some steep tax paying.
9 A Quarter Of Deaths Due To Vodka
Most of the people in Russia are living and breathing, living past a certain point and not worried at all about the dangers of alcohol and the effects it can have on your entire body. However, according to experts, 25% of Russians die before reaching the ripe age of 55. If you compare that to the United States' percentage which is 1%, that doesn't leave a whole lot of room for discussion. That means that one fourth of Russia's population dies from drinking too much alcohol and it's mostly due to the vodka. So many people in Russia drink vodka, and while this is a very well known fact, it doesn't take away from living to the fullest and drinking as much vodka as possible in your lifetime. That seems to be the goal of quite a few people in the country considering their percentage.
8 Driving A Dirty Car Is Illegal
If you're not a person who normally drives with your car as clean as a whistle, it's probably a good idea to stay off the road in Russia. Driving around with a dirty car in the country is totally illegal. This makes for some very interesting conversation, as the idea itself seems a little ridiculous to many, however, Russian officials take their laws very seriously. Be sure to be diligent about keeping your car clean while in the country or you may find yourself with a hefty ticket. Russia isn't the only country which will fine you if you are driving around with a grungy looking vehicle. Other countries around the world have been known to fine people for having dirty cars. Whether the reasoning is for safety or simply for looks, it's certainly not a law that one would think about while driving through an unfamiliar country all alone.
7 There Are Secret Cities
We all have secrets, that's a given. But when a country is hiding entire cities and locations away from the public and the world, you know something is going down, even if we don't know what. Russia is actually known for its many secrets. There are many rumors that there are at least fifteen cities in Russia, their names and locations completely unknown, except by those on the inside. This is a rumor that has been circulating for many years and many people in and out of the country claim it is a standard fact. And with Russia being so large of a country, it's not a wonder that certain cities and places become lost to the rest of the world, especially if these places are somehow underground or not exactly visible to the naked eye. Regardless, these places are a secret, and we will probably never know where these places are, much less what they hold within their walls.
6 The Sun Revolves Around The Earth?
The world is full of amazing knowledge, with facts that are bound to make other questions surface. However, Russia isn't a place where the truth is often found, considering the misconceptions which are scattered throughout the country. One of these being that the sun revolves around the Earth. In fact, at least one third of Russians still believe this to be true! Why these Russians still think such a thing is unknown (especially after their renown space program) but after a poll was conducted online, this little fact was found out. There were other questions asked and the results were quite astounding. It goes to show you that this part of the world isn't exactly as informed as we might think. A few other concerns arise when we are talking about Russia, but knowledge isn't one of them. The country has proved countless times that they have the knowledge necessary to move forward in this world, so why is it that so many people still believe these insane ideas?
5 The Rich Beat Traffic With Ambulances
If you're stuck in traffic, your only option is usually to sit and wait. You cannot move forward or back, meaning you are simply stuck in place. However, for the super wealthy in Russia, breaking the law seems to have its perks. Many wealthy Russians have been known to hire fake ambulances in order to beat the Moscow traffic. But to use an emergency vehicle in such a manner isn't a very safe option. However, it doesn't stop Russia's elite from taking advantage of this opportunity. Almost everyone knows what to do whenever an ambulance comes racing down through traffic, and most of the time, people move out of the way or find a way for the ambulance to make it through. This is certainly not something that would fly over very well in the United States or somewhere like Canada, but that doesn't change the fact that it does happen.
4 Teachers Paid With Vodka
All over the world, teachers are respected individuals who commit themselves to teaching the world about the many things they have learned. They give us knowledge about important things in life and offer to us a great opportunity to become a proper student. With this respect comes the expectation of money for these teaching, and in most places the only thing that is given to a teacher is money. However, in Russia, if times become too rough, it is possible to pay your teachers with vodka. It's hard to really know how many teachers actually like this form of payment, considering money is needed in a lot of cases in order to survive, but nonetheless, teachers can be paid with vodka. This does make sense, considering that Russians very much love their vodka and they often think nothing less by receiving the clear, alcoholic gift. What strange compensation will they think of next? It will probably just stay with the vodka for now, since that is what they are known for.
3 Excuses Are Banned
Countries all over the world have strange ways and it's a hard thing to imagine, but yes, it has been done. The Russian mayor of Megion, West Siberia, decided to ban excuses. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how one would ban excuses, but apparently in Megion, it has been done. But can you imagine a world without excuses? Some people would probably consider this a good thing, however, the mayor was probably very tired of the way some of his employees, as well as others, were acting and decided to enact the law. There are many different countries with strange laws and even in the Unites States there are some very strange laws in various states across the country, but banning excuses seems like a very far stretch. We all come up with them, so I can't imagine that it's easy living with a law like that. Nonetheless, it is something that exists.
2 Enormous Nuke Arsenal
By now the world knows that Russia is an extremely powerful country. We have had many advances thanks to their knowledge. Even in their own country they have improved immensely, proving that they have what it takes to take care of themselves. But what many people probably do not know is that Russia possesses over 8,400 nuclear weapons. That's over 10 times more than any other country in the world. Nuclear war is something that every country tries their best to avoid. It definitely isn't something that should ever be taken lightly, especially considering the number of nuclear weapons in Russia. But Russia has always been great at defending itself against attacks. In the future, where nuclear disaster is a worry, President Putin isn't messing around. He's going to make sure Russia is armed no matter what.
1 Volcano Famine
Active volcanoes can be a very destructive power. They force people out of their homes, fill the air with dense ash, and even take the lives of hundreds, sometimes thousands at a time. Normally, volcanoes do these things to the people in the general area. However, when a volcano named Huaynaputina erupted in Peru in 1600, it affected weather patterns that caused widespread famine, even killing around 2 million people in Russia. Russia certainly is the last place that one would think would be affected by a volcano, but sadly, the events did play out, killing so many.