The Russian Federation, established after the breakup of the USSR in the early 1990s, is the largest country in the world (Blinnikov, 2011). Russians have long considered their capital, Moscow, and the adjoining city of St Petersburg, to be the centres of culture and commerce, as well of the arts and educational facilities. Due to the large size of their country, Russians designate areas west of ... [Show full abstract] the Ural Mountains informally as “European Russia.” The Russian territories known as Siberia and the Russian Far East extend east of the Urals to the Pacific Ocean, and cover approximately 10% of the world's land mass (Yudin, 2006). In May 2000, President Putin designated nine federal subjects (provinces and republics) of Siberia as the Siberian Federal District (
). The capital of Irkutsk, located in Irkutsk Province, is situated in the southeastern part of the Siberian Federal District.