Russia is the largest country of the earth with enormous tracts of land, its natural and cultural heritage waiting to be discovered. The history of the Russian Federation is long and brutal. It is apparent on every corner of the country”s awesome cities, such as Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as in its lesser-known towns such as Novgorod, Kazan and Tomsk. But it also dwells in huge and remote expanses such as Siberia, filled with ancient forests and the world’s largest lake. Everything exists here on an inhuman scale.

The largest country on earth, and doubtless one of the most fascinating and challenging, Russia is an experience as much as it is a destination. It is also far more likely to be an adventure rather than a holiday, although things are getting easier every year for travellers. Perhaps more than almost any other country, researching some Russian history and cultural norms, and knowing a smattering of the language, will enormously enhance any visit.