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The largest country on Earth, the Russian federation has a knack for keeping up the larger-than-life vibe. The opulent imperial palaces, stark Soviet architecture, and ornate churches are landmarks in the biggest cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the west, the towns in the Golden Ring have preserved churches and kremlins dating back to the the 12th century. The surprisingly subtropical Black Sea coastline is dotted with beach towns, and ski-friendly mountains span the country, from Sochi (2014 Olympics, anyone?) to Western Caucasus.

We have tips for living and working in Russia, from conquering the paperwork to getting your tongue around the language. We have Trans-Siberian tips, foodie field guides, and essays on race issues in Moscow. Don’t worry, we have vodka tips too.

Former Moscow expat Jenna Makowski breaks down the Russian capital's avoidable...
Homophobia is a giant bureaucracy of hate.
As if the Sochi Olympics aren’t already riddled with bomb threats from protestors, now...
I’d worried over the Russian winter beating me into submission.
This trailer for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics scares the crap out of me.
This Russian gas station attendant breaks from the mundane.
I bet he's never heard "take a chill pill" in his life.
Why someone would want to fly on a contraption made of nylon and Neoprene, I have no idea.
It's all fun and games until someone gets buried.
To traverse the terrain, the crew traveled by military troop carrier and helicopter.
How to compare people to cucumbers, and when, exactly, to flick your neck.
Russia is not a comfortable country for the disabled; from my perspective, it can seem...
Begin at the beginning, and put one foot in front of the other.
These guys give new meaning to "taking the band on the road."
The sun comes up as I begin my walk, and starts to burn off the mist.
When in Rome, right? David Francois talks about his banya experience in St. Petersburg.