An enormous land mass stretching from Europe to America, Russia currently competes with the US for terrorizing smaller countries.
It’s as hard to sum up Russia or generalize about it, as it is to cross it. The biggest country in the world. Facing east, facing west. Advanced and modern, yet often backward and poor. Friendly people, with cruel, mean rulers and an army of awful bureaucrats and horrors in uniforms. Little wonder that not many travelers go – tourism is still a fraction of what it could be, constrained by poor infrastructure, a tricky, expensive visa regime, a lack of hotels, and ignorance abroad about what the country really has to offer.
This is a shame, because most people who visit Russia like it, if not for the same reasons they like other places. There is a lot more variety in the sites than you would expect – the south has sandy beaches and hot summers, for example, and there are lots of small quiet towns as well as the massive, fast cities like Moscow and St Petersburg. For the few tourists who see the countryside, it has a charm that is all its own.
Perhaps the best thing about Russia is its people, the not-quite Europeans who do things in a way no-one else quite does, whether good or bad.