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Lesson 1

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Translate the words and phrases and try to pronounce them correctly.

transcontinental adj. crossing the continents

area n. geographical region of indefinite boundary

mineral and energy resources natural resources in the form of minerals: natural resources producing energy (gas, oil etc.)

border n. a line determining the limits of an area

population n. the people who inhabit a territory or state

vary v. become different

steppes n. huge plain without trees

plains n. flat open land

forests n. land that is covered with trees

tundra n. vast plain without trees in the arctic regions

taiga n. thick forests in the northern regions

mild adj. soft

heat n. high temperature

unbearable adj. impossible to bear, to stand

moderate adj. not extreme

continental adj. typical to Europe


Read the following text aloud:


Russia is a transcontinental country lying both in Asia and Europe. With an area of over 17000000 kmІ, Russia is the largest country in the world. It has rich mineral and energy resources. Russia has the world's ninth-largest population. Russia shares land borders with 17 countries. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia is the Soviet Union's successor state in diplomatic matters.

Natural conditions of Russia vary greatly. There are steppes in the south, plains and forests in the midlands, tundra and taiga in the north. Because of its size, Russia's climate is also varied. In the south-west the weather is usually mild and wet. Northern Asia is one of the coldest places on earth. In the south the heat is unbearable, and the climate is subtropical. But in the middle of the country the climate is moderate and continental.

Russian is the official language of the country. Russian is also the language of such great writers as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekov, Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn.

Moscow is Russia's capital and largest city (population 8.3 million). Moscow is also important as an economic and business center. Its cultural tradition is rich, and there are many museums devoted to art, literature, music, dance, history, and science, as well as hundreds of churches and cathedrals.



I. Find in the text English equivalents for the following Russian phrases.

полезные ископаемые и энергетические ресурсы, девятый по величине, граничить, развал Советского Союза, государство-преемник, быть посвященным чему-то, собор.

II. Correct the statements if you find them wrong. Use such phrases as: I agree with you. You are right.or I'm afraid I don't agree with you. That's not true/right.

  1. Russia is situated in Eurasia.
  2. Russia is the largest country in Asia
  3. The area of Russia is about 20 million square kilometers.
  4. Russia has the world's largest population.
  5. The climate of Russia is not varied.

III. Answer the following questions using the text.

  1. Where is Russia situated?
  2. Russia is rich in mineral and energy resources, isn't it?
  3. Is Russia the Soviet Union's successor state?
  4. Does Russia share borders with 17 or 7 countries?
  5. What is the Russian nature like?
  6. Why is Russia's climate so varied?
  7. What is the official language of the country?
  8. What is Moscow?
  9. How big is the population of Moscow?
  10. Is Moscow only an economic and business center?

IV. Divide the text into parts and entitle them. From the information presented add necessary sentences to the entitled parts.

  1. Russia is a parliamentary republic. The Head of the state is the President. The legislative powers are exercised by the Duma.
  2. The country is washed by 12 seas of 3 oceans: the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic. There are over two million rivers in Russia. Europe's biggest river, the Volga, flows into the Caspian Sea. The world's deepest lake is Lake Baikal.
  3. The capital of Russia is Moscow It is one of the oldest Russian cities.

V. How much do you know about Russia? Do the Knowledge Quiz about Russia, its history, geography, culture and politics.

Russia Knowledge Quiz

1. What is the building where the Russian President lives called?  
Isakovskiy Sobor Kreml (Kremlin) Beliy Dom St. Basil's Cathedral  
2. Who was the last Tsar of Russia?

Nicholas II

Alexander III

Alexander II

Peter the Great

3. Which Tsar rescued Russia from the Mongols?

Ivan I

Ivan the Terrible

Ivan III (The Great)

Vasili III (Father of Ivan the Terrible)

4. Ivan the Terrible wasn't always terrible. What positive thing did he bring to Russia after his visit to Europe?

The printing press.

New ideas for industrialization.

New military strategies.


5. Boris Gudonov was one of the few rulers of Russia who wasn't of Russian origin. Of what origin was he?





6. In 1887 something tragic thing happened in Vladimir Lenin's life. His brother was charged with Tsaricide (an attempt to assassinate the Tsar.) What was the full name of Lenin's brother?

Answer: (Two Words)

7. Situated on the Lena River in the far east of Siberia and the second coldest city in the world, many dissidents were exiled here during the communist era?





8. Known as Sverdlovsk during most of the 20th century, this city was the infamous site of the execution of Czar Nicholas and his family in 1918?



Nizhni Novgorod

St. Petersburg

9. Named from a Sami word meaning 'the edge of the earth' this is the largest city inside the arctic circle and Russia's only major ice-free port in the west?



St. Petersburg


10. Known as 'Stalingrad' during much of the communist era, this city was destroyed during World War II and represented the farthest point of the German advance?


St. Petersburg


Nizhni Novgorod

11. Situated on Russia's Pacific coast, this city has been a major port and naval base and was occupied by Japanese troops after the Russian Revolution until 1922?





12. Founded originally on the Volga River by Mongol invaders and nowadays capital of the Tatarstan Republic, this city was a source of trouble for a succession of Russian administrations until finally subdued in 1774?


Nizhni Novgorod



13. Known as 'Gorky' during the communist era and long a centre of trade and commerce, this city is located at the confluence of the Volga and Oka Rivers and is one of the largest cities in Russia?


Nizhni Novgorod



14. Name the highly revered 19th century writer who is praised in the phrase, "________ is our everything."

Nikolai Gogol

Alexander Pushkin

Leo Tolstoy

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

15. Which of the following is not considered one of Nikolai Gogol's Petersburg Tales?

Nevsky Prospect

The Nose


The Overcoat

16. Which of the following biblical characters does not appear in "Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov?





17. Name the Russian-born author of "The Gift" and "Pale Fire," who spent much of his life writing in America and Switzerland.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Ivan Bunin

Vladimir Nabokov

Joseph Brodsky

18. How many Russian/Soviet writers were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature during the 20th century?
19. What countries border on Russia? In the south? In the west? In the east?

Answer: (17 countries)

20 What is the population of Russia?

221 ml

164 ml

142 ml

156 ml



Speaking Practice

Using the information learnt, discuss with your partner: a) the territory of Russia; b) the climate of Russia; c) the capital of Russia and its cities: d) the political situation of Russia, e) the history of Russia, f) the contribution to the world's literature, using newly learnt words.

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SELF- STUDY MATERIALS FOR UNIT I | General Questions | Special questions | Tag questions | Revision test | The Present Simple Tense | Negative forms | General questions | Special questions | Revision test |

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