One: Why Russia ?
Russia is an interesting and challenging country for students of almost any academic discipline (Linguistics, History and Cultural Studies to International Relations and Security). There are many reasons why Russia is important:
1. Size: Russia is the largest country on the planet and 9th most populous with 146 million inhabitants.
2. Diplomatic power: Russia is a key player in the settlement of regional conflicts. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council Russia maintains the right of veto.
3. Energy superpower: Russia, rich in almost all natural resources and containing deposits of nearly every element in the Periodic Table, possesses roughly one quarter of the world's known petroleum reserves and is currently responsible for over a fifth of global exports.
4. Business: Russia manifests the 12th-largest market in the world with the 3rd-largest foreign currency reserve.
5. Education and science: One of the foremost systems of education and science in the world, Russia has won more Nobel Prizes than all of Asia and is the Motherland of of the first world Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
6. Language: The Russian language is the 6th most practiced in the world with 259.8 million speakers.
7. Literature: Russia has produced many world famous writers such as Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Bunin, and Maxim Gorky, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, Mikhail Sholokhov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
8. Art: Russian has enriched world art from the icons of Andrey Rublev to the 20th-century Avantgardists such as Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, and Marc Chagall.
9. Music: Many great Russian artists have adorned the world of music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, violinist David Oistrakh, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, pianists Vladimir Horowitz and Sviatoslav Richter, vocalists Galina Vishnevskaya, Anna Netrebko and Dmitry Hvorostovsky. In addition, if you study in Moscow you will have access literally to thousands of concerts, shows and musical performances which occur on a daily basis.
10. Ballet: From the Imperial Ballet to Dyagilev's "Russian Seasons," and to the choreography schools of the Soviet Union, Russian ballet is known and respected over the entire world. 20th-century ballet stars include Anna Pavlovna Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Maya Plisetskaya, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov. The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and The Mariinsky in Saint Petersburg remain famous throughout the world.