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.