17 Mind-Blowing Facts About The Country That's Owned The Headlines So Far In 2014

Russia has been all over the headlines recently.

Earlier this year, it was for the Sochi Winter Olympics. More recently, it’s because president Vladimir Putin has been flexing his muscles again, this time in Crimea.

As the world’s eighth largest economy Russia can’t be ignored.

The sheer scale of its pipelines, for instance, its stockpile of highly enriched uranium, or its population decline are mind-boggling.

We put together some key facts about Russia.

Russia has the same surface area as Pluto.

Russia has a surface area of 17 million km2, compared with 16.6 million km2 for Pluto.

Source: UniverseToday

Russia's pipelines could loop around Earth more than six times.

Russia's pipelines, including condensate, gas, liquid petroleum gas, oil water, and refined products, are 259,913 kilometers long. The Earth, meanwhile, is 40,075 kilometers in circumference.

Source: The World Fact Book

Russia accounts for half the global stockpile of highly enriched uranium (HEU).

A device used for measuring radiation levels is seen in front of a container with spent highly-enriched uranium at a nuclear research facility in Kiev

Russia has 695 tonnes of highly enriched uranium (HEU), the most of any country in the world. The U.S. has the world's second largest stockpile at 604 tonnes.

Source: International Panel on Fissile Materials

Russia's population has fallen by 6.6 million since 1993. That's the equivalent of Massachusetts.

Russia's population was 141.9 million in 2010 and is projected to fall 10.7% to 126.6 million by 2050.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

The Adler -- Krasnaya Polyana road would have cost less to build if it was paved entirely with foie gras.

Foie gras with mustard.

It cost Russia $US8.6 billion to pave the Adler -- Krasnaya Polyana road that was about 30 miles long. Krasnaya Polyana was host to many of the events at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

'The same road paved entirely with foie gras, for example, would be 8.6 inches thick, from airport to halfpipe,' reports Ben Collins. This is based on the price of foie gras in Carrefour: $88 per kilogram.

Source: Esquire

Russia's natural gas reserves are equivalent to about 13.2 billion Olympic size swimming pools.

At 1,163 trillion cubic feet, Russia has the world's second largest natural gas reserves. An Olympic-size swimming pool reportedly has a volume of 88,000 cubic feet.

Source: British Petroleum

Russia has nine contiguous time zones, more than any other country.

Russia used to have 11 time zones but cut it down to nine in 2010. 'The less fractional division of the country will enable us to resolve a number of transport and communications issues, will increase its manageability and strengthen the position of Russia as an important chain in the world's global infrastructure,' President Dmitry Medvedev said at the time.

Source: The Economist

Russia has 87 billion barrels of proven oil reserves; enough to last it another 75 years.

Russia consumed about 3.2 million barrels of oil per day in 2012. At that pace it would take another 75 years to exhaust it reserves.

Source: British Petroleum

Nine million commuters are said to ride the Moscow Metro every day. That's more than London and New York combined.

The Park Pobedy (Victory Park) station is probably the deepest of Moscow's subway system, going 85 meters underground. And Vykhino is the busiest station in the Moscow Metro.

Source: Reuters

Russia's homicide rate is twice as bad as America's.

Russia has a homicide rate of 9.7 per 100,000, compared with 4.7 per 100,000 in the U.S. Russia's total count of 13,826 is however lower than 14,612 in the U.S.

Source: UNODC

Russians drink nearly twice as many shots a week as Americans.

Russians drink 6.3 shots of liquor a week on average, compared with 3.3 in the U.S. But South Korea tops the list with 13.7 shots of liquor per week.

Source: Euromonitor

Standing on the shore of Russia's Lake Karachay would give you 600 roentgen of radiation, enough to kill a human.

The lake is located in one of Russia's largest nuclear facilities, which was kept a secret until 1990. 'The Techa river, which provided water to nearby villages, was so contaminated that up to 65 per cent of locals fell ill with radiation sickness -- which the doctors termed 'special disease,' because as long as the facility was secret, they weren't allowed to mention radiation in their diagnoses,' writes Jess Zimmerman at the Grist.

Source: Grist

Russia's 20 richest people have a combined net worth of over $US227 billion, which is larger than Pakistan's GDP.

Russia's richest man, Alisher Usmanov.

Pakistan has a nominal GDP of $US215 billion.

Source: Bloomberg

On average, Russians drink six times as much tea per person per year as Americans.

Russians drink 3.051 pounds of tea per person per year, compared with 0.503 pounds in the U.S.

Source: Euromonitor

Russia's Lake Baikal holds one-fifth of the world's fresh water.

Lake Baikal is only half as big as Lake Michigan, but it is the deepest lake at 5,387 feet.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Fifty-six journalists have been killed in Russia since 1992, and 64% of those were murdered.

Protesters hold a portrait of Russian political journalist Oleg Kashin who was beaten into a coma by two men.

Russia is the fifth-deadliest place to be a journalist.

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. for $US7.2 million in 1868.

The U.S. paid less than 2 cents an acre for almost 600,000 square miles.

Source: National Archives

Now look at some stuff that's pretty unique to China ...

Students stretch during a training session at a gymnastic course at Shenyang Sports School in Shenyang, Liaoning province, May 9, 2012.

36 Crazy Things That Only Happen In China »

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