Test Your Knowledge of Russian Culture and Traditions

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What are some recognizable symbols of Russia?

What flower do Russians often associate with their Motherland?

What is a national tree of Russia?

What animal is often associated with Russia?

Is the Russian bear considered a special symbol by Russians themselves?

What is the Matryoshka doll?

What is the significance of the towers of Moscow Kremlin and Saint Basil's Cathedral?

What is Cheburashka?

What is the significance of birch as a national tree of Russia?


Culture of Peoples and Nationalities of Russia

  • Russian culture has been formed by the nation's history, geography, traditions, and Eastern and Western influence.

  • Russian language is the most widely spoken Slavic language, with 142.6 million speakers, followed by Tatar with 5.3 million and Ukrainian with 1.8 million speakers.

  • Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian, and it is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

  • Russian folklore has its roots in the pagan beliefs of ancient Slavs, and epic Russian bylinas are an important part of Slavic mythology.

  • Fairy tales and bylinas were adapted for Russian animations or feature movies by famous directors like Aleksandr Ptushko and Aleksandr Rou.

  • The Soviet Union's golden age of folklore was in the 1920s, with two primary trends of folklore study: the formalist and Finnish schools.

  • Stalin and the Soviet regime repressed folklore, believing it supported the old tsarist system and a capitalist economy, and censored fairy tales and children's literature.

  • Maksim Gorky gave a speech to the Union of Soviet Writers arguing that folklore could be consciously used to promote Communist values.

  • In the second half of the 19th century, Russian literature flourished with writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Gorky.

  • Socialist realism became the predominant trend in Russia in the 1930s, with leading figures such as Maxim Gorky and Mikhail Bulgakov.

  • Russian philosophy blossomed in the 19th century, marked by a deep connection to literature and interest in creativity, society, politics, nationalism, cosmos, and religion.

  • Russian humour ranges from lewd jokes to political satire, with Russian jokes being the most popular form of Russian humour.

  • Chastushka, a type of traditional Russian poetry, is usually humorous and has a single quatrain in trochaic tetrameter with an "abab" or "abcb" rhyme scheme.Overview of Russian Arts and Culture

  • Chastushkas (short, satirical rhymes) are a form of Russian folk poetry often put to music with balalaika or accordion accompaniment.

  • Russian visual arts have similarities with those of other Eastern Slavic countries like Ukraine and Belarus.

  • Russian architecture has a long history, beginning with early woodcraft buildings of ancient Slavs and influenced by the Byzantine Empire after the Christianization of Kievan Rus. The onion dome design is a distinctive feature of Russian architecture, and after Peter the Great's reforms, it became influenced by Western European styles.

  • Russian handicrafts include Matryoshka dolls, khokhloma, Dymkovo toys, gzhel, Zhostovo painting, Filimonov toys, pisanka, Pavlovo Posad shawl, Rushnyk, and Palekh.

  • Russian icons are typically paintings on wood, often small, and have a rich history and elaborate religious symbolism associated with them. The most comprehensive collection of Icon art is found at the Tretyakov Gallery.

  • Lubok is a Russian popular print characterized by simple graphics and narratives derived from literature, religious stories, and popular tales.

  • Classical painting in Russia has notable portrait painters like Ivan Argunov, Fyodor Rokotov, Dmitry Levitzky, and Vladimir Borovikovsky.

  • Realism came into dominance in the 19th century, with the Peredvizhniki group of artists breaking away from the Russian Academy and initiating a school of art liberated from academic restrictions. Leading realists include Ivan Shishkin, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Ivan Kramskoi, Vasily Polenov, Isaac Levitan, Vasily Surikov, Viktor Vasnetsov, and Ilya Repin.

  • The Russian avant-garde is an umbrella term used to define the large, influential wave of modernist art that flourished in Russia from approximately 1890 to 1930. Notable artists from this era include El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexander Rodchenko, Pavel Filonov, and Marc Chagall.

  • Soviet art saw a movement to put all arts to service of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Soviet artists produced works that were furiously patriotic and anti-fascist in the 1940s. After the Great Patriotic War Soviet sculptors made multiple monuments to the war dead.

  • Russians have distinctive traditions of folk music, with typical ethnic Russian musical instruments including gusli, balalaika, zhaleika, balalaika contrabass, bayan accordion, Gypsy guitar, and garmoshka. Russian folk songs, as well as patriotic songs of the Soviet era, constitute the bulk of repertoire of the world-renowned Red Army choir and other popular Russian ensembles.

  • Russian folk dance can generally be broken up into two main types of dances: Khorovod, a circular game type dance where the participants hold hands, sing, and the action generally happens in the middle of circle, and Plyaska, a circular dance for men and women that increases in diversity and tempo.Overview of Russian Culture and Achievements

  • Russian culture dates back to 907, with male dancers dressed as bears and dances with dancers dressed as bears being a recurring theme.

  • Until the 18th century, music in Russia consisted mainly of church music and folk songs and dances, but in the 19th century, classical composer Mikhail Glinka and the Russian Musical Society led by composers Anton and Nikolay Rubinstein created a tension in classical music.

  • Russian ballet was originally created to entertain the imperial court, and the first ballet company was the Imperial School of Ballet in St. Petersburg in the 1740s. The Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and the Mariinsky in Saint Petersburg remain famous throughout the world.

  • The first known opera made in Russia was A Life for the Tsar by Mikhail Glinka in 1836, and Russian opera was originally a combination of Russian folk music and Italian opera.

  • During the Soviet times, popular music also produced a number of renowned figures, such as Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava, and jazz flourished despite sanctions from Soviet authorities.

  • Russia has a long and rich tradition of animation, with Soyuzmultfilm studio being the largest animation producer during Soviet times. Russian animators developed a great and unmatched variety of pioneering techniques and aesthetic styles.

  • Russia's research and development budget is the world's ninth-highest, and in 2019, Russia was ranked tenth worldwide in the number of scientific publications. Russia ranked 45th in the Global Innovation Index in 2021.

  • Roscosmos is Russia's national space agency, and the country's achievements in the field of space technology and space exploration can be traced back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of theoretical astronautics.

  • The Russian culture as a whole has local traditions and characteristics developed over a long period of time through strong ethno-cultural interactions within the various groups and communities, like Slavs, Tatars, and Finno-Ugrics.

  • Traditional Russian clothes include kaftan, a cloth which Old Russia had in common with similar robes in the Ottoman Empire, Scandinavia, and Persia.

  • Russia has almost 37 thousand media outlets, over 35 thousand newspapers, 12 thousand magazines, and television is the most popular media in Russia.

  • The Russian Internet culture has been established since the early 1990s, and online communities formed, including the most popular one growing out of the Russian-speaking users of the California-based blogging platform LiveJournal.

  • Famous Russian scientists and inventors include Mikhail Lomonosov, Nikolay Lobachevsky, Pafnuty Chebyshev, Dmitry Mendeleev, Sofya Kovalevskaya, Alexander Popov, Nikolai Basov, Alexander Prokhorov, Zhores Alferov, Oleg Losev, Vladimir Vernadsky, √Člie Metchnikoff, Ivan Pavlov, Lev Landau, Nikolai Vavilov, Igor Sikorsky, Vladimir Zworykin, Theodosius Dobzhansky, and George Gamow.Overview of Russian Culture, Cuisine, Traditions, and Sports


  • Traditional Russian clothing includes sarafan, burka, papaha, kokoshnik, lapti, and valenki.
  • Russian cuisine is influenced by climate, culture, and religion, with popular dishes including shchi, borsch, beef stroganoff, and salads like Olivier salad.
  • Russia has eight public, patriotic, and religious official holidays, including New Year's Day, Russian Orthodox Christmas, and Victory Day.
  • Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism are Russia's traditional religions, with Russian Orthodoxy being the dominant religion.
  • The culture of the Russian Cossacks originated from nomadic steppe people and merged with Eastern Slavic people groups into large communities.
  • The forest plays an important role in Russia's culture and history, influencing the style of Russian architecture and being a subject of many Russian folk songs.
  • Strolling, mushroom hunting, and berry picking are common activities in Russian society.


  • Russia has been historically successful in the Olympic Games and is the leading nation in rhythmic gymnastics.
  • Figure skating, tennis, and chess are also popular sports in Russia.
  • Ice hockey is a national sport, with the Russian national team dominating the sport internationally during the Soviet era.
  • Bandy, known as "hockey with a ball," is another traditionally popular ice sport in Russia.
  • Football is the most popular sport in Russia, with the national team reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2008.
  • Russia has an extensive history of martial arts, including Sambo and Systema.


  • State symbols of Russia include the Byzantine double-headed eagle, the Russian flag, and the Russian national anthem.
  • The Matryoshka doll, the towers of Moscow Kremlin and Saint Basil's Cathedral, and Cheburashka are recognizable symbols of Russia.
  • Chamomile is a flower Russians often associate with their Motherland, while birch is a national tree.
  • The Russian bear is often associated with Russia, but it is not considered a special symbol by Russians themselves.


How much do you know about the culture, achievements, cuisine, traditions, and sports of Russia? Test your knowledge with this quiz and discover interesting facts about Russian music, art, literature, folklore, and more. From the onion domes of Russian architecture to the famous ballet companies and the rich history of martial arts, explore the diverse culture of this vast country. Learn about traditional Russian clothing and cuisine, as well as popular sports like ice hockey, football, and chess. Challenge yourself and see how

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