Russia, a land with 143.6 million people, is the largest country by land mass on the planet. Its geography varies from the gentle fields and villages of European Russia to the mighty peaks of the Ural mountains, the massive grasslands of Central Russia and the forests, tundra and wildernesses of Siberia. It reaches from the Baltic Sea with more than 9,500 km to the shores of the North Pacific Ocean with land borders to Norway, Finland, Baltic countries, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, many central Asian countries like Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Eastern Asian countries like China and North Korea. Travelling by train it takes six-and-a-half days from St Petersburg to Vladiwostok. For many years the Soviet Union, with 15 different regional Soviet republics (1918–1985), existed before the country changed as a result of the Perestroika and Glasnost policies (1985–1990) into the current state and geographical frame and constitution of Russia as a Federal State. After 1990 some changes were made in the Russian educational system. Compulsory education was extended from grade 10 to grade 11. In Russia schooling stars after kindergarden, either at age six or seven, depending on the child’s development. ‘Grade Zero’ starts at the age of six, grade 1 at the age of seven. The state school system has three levels: elementary classes (grade 1–4), middle classes (grade 5–9) and senior classes (grade 10–11). In total there are approximately 60,000 schools. Subjects in elementary schools are taught by a single (class) teacher except for physical education and foreign languages.