Russia - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview

Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.

Last published date: 2021-01-15

Capital:  Moscow

Population:  141,722,205 (July 2020 est.)

GDP:  $4.016 trillion (2017 est., Purchasing Power Parity)

Currency:  Russian rubles (RUB)

Language:  Russian (official)

UNESCO Student Mobility Number:
Russia has 57,632 students studying abroad according to UNESCO.

CIA World Factbook:
26.78% of the Russian population is under 24 years of age.


Russia is the 6th largest economy in the world.  Russia’s GDP at purchasing power parity is US $4.016 trillion.  The country has a population of over 140 million people with growing purchasing power that demand well-known global brands and quality service.  Russia is mostly an urban country.  Between 15-25% of the country’s population belongs to the middle class and 74 % of Russians live in urban areas.  Besides Moscow and St. Petersburg, there are fifteen other Russian cities with populations over one million.

Education in Russia is provided predominantly by the state and is regulated by the Ministry of Education and Science.  Regional authorities regulate education within their jurisdictions within the prevailing framework of federal laws.  In 2004, state spending for education amounted to 3.6% of GDP, or 13% of the consolidated state budget.  In 2018, the spending on education amounted to $20 billion.  Private institutions account for 1% of preschool enrollment, 0.5% of elementary school enrollment, and 17% of university-level students.  Education in state-owned secondary schools is free and first tertiary (university level) education is free, with exceptions.  However, a substantial number of students are enrolled for full tuition fees.  There are equal numbers of male and female students in all stages of education, except tertiary education, where women make up 57% of the student body.  The literacy rate in Russia, according to a 2018 estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency, is 99.7%.  According to a 2018 OECD estimate, 53% of Russia’s adults (25 to 64 year-olds) have attained a tertiary (college) education.

Russian students are increasingly choosing to pursue university degrees abroad. Based on the latest Institute of International Education Open Doors Report, 5,293 Russian students studied in the U.S in 2019-2020.  Over the last five-year period, there was a 10% increase in the number of Russian students studying in the U.S.


Russian students are traditionally interested in pursuing their undergraduate and graduate studies in the U.S.  In view of the Russian ruble devaluation, many students favor less expensive community colleges and/or one- or two-year undergraduate programs.  Most Russian students choose to major in business/management, life sciences, social sciences, fine/applied arts, math/computer science, and engineering. Summer English language programs are gaining popularity among Russian high school and undergraduate students.

There is also a growing interest in elite U.S. boarding schools for children (starting at age 8) from wealthy Russian families, especially from the 15 major cities throughout Russia.


Russian students are attracted to the quality of U.S. graduate and undergraduate programs and the extracurricular opportunities student life on campus has to offer.  In recent years, Russian students that chose to pursue their studies in the U.S. came not only from Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also from many other regions of Russia.



Diana Ryan, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service – Moscow, Russia
Phone:  +7 495 7285398