Since the beginning of the 1990s the public health situation in Russia has been characterized by an extremely high mortality and a significant reduction in life expectancy. Cardiovascular diseases remained the major cause of death. Only a few large population studies were conducted in Russia during this period. A total of 1968 men and 1737 women aged 18-75 years participated in a health survey in Arkhangelsk, Russia, over the period 1999-2000. Investigation included assessment of classic cardiovascular risk factors (family history, smoking, blood pressure, and blood lipids) along with general health variables. The paper presents sex specific data on risk factors for coronary heart disease. Though the cardiovascular mortality is high in Russia, the calculated risk for coronary heart disease (the Framingham risk score and the Norwegian risk score) was lower in all age groups of men and women in Arkhangelsk compared with studies from the Western Europe and USA. Our data suggest that high cardiovascular mortality in Russia may be driven not only by the classic risk factors for coronary heart disease.