"Gosudarstvennyy Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii"
"State Anthem of the Russian Federation"
and largest city
and national language
|Recognised national languages||See Languages of Russia|
|Ethnic groups |
|Religion||Mostly Orthodox Christianity. See Religion in Russia|
|Government||Federal dominant-party semi-presidential constitutional republic|
• Kievan Rus' formed
• Tsardom proclaimed
|16 January 1547|
• Empire proclaimed
|22 October 1721|
• Republic proclaimed
|14 September 1917|
|7 November 1917|
|30 December 1922|
|12 June 1990|
|8 December 1991[a]|
|26 December 1991[b]|
|12 December 1993|
|2 April 1996|
|17,098,246 km2 (6,601,670 sq mi) (without Crimea)[c] (1st)|
• Water (%)
|13 (including swamps)|
• 2021 estimate
|8.86/km2 (22.9/sq mi) (225th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2020 estimate|
|$4.519 trillion (5th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
|$1.657 trillion (11th)|
• Per capita
|Gini (2018)|| 37.5|
medium · 103th
|HDI (2018)|| 0.824|
very high · 79th
|Currency||Russian ruble (₽) (RUB)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 to +12|
|ISO 3166 code||RU|
Russia (Russian: Россия), officially the Russian Federation (Russian: Российская Федерация), is a country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. It has land from the Baltic Sea to the Bering Strait. It is the largest country in the world, followed by Canada, the United States, and China. Russia's population is about 146.7 million people. It is the most populous country in Europe. Moscow is its capital city. It is also the largest city in Europe. Other big cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan. Russia's official language is Russian. Russian is the most spoken language in Europe. It is also the most widely spoken Slavic language.
Russia has land borders with 16 countries, in both Europe and Asia. These countries are Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It borders Lithuania and Poland through Kaliningrad Oblast. It is next to 16 seas, and 3 oceans. It is the country with the most land borders in the world.
Russia is a very large and diverse country. From 1922 to 1991, it was the largest republic of the Soviet Union. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was based on communism. Today the government of Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic. The President is chosen by direct election. Challenging candidates do not have access to the mass media. They do have full access to social media, internet news websites, and international media. Election results match domestic, international, and exit polling. The current President of Russia is Vladimir Putin. The President rules the country, and the Russian Parliament plays a secondary role.
History[change | change source]
Kievan Rus'[change | change source]
Russia's history began when the East Slavs formed a group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. The Vikings and their descendants founded the first East Slavic state of Kievan Rus' in the 9th century. They adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in 988. This form of Christianity influenced Russian culture greatly. Kievan Rus' eventually broke up and the lands were divided into many small feudal states. The most powerful successor state to Kievan Rus' was the Grand Duchy of Moscow. This area served as the main force in later Russian unification and the fight against the Golden Horde from Asia. Moscow slowly gained control of the regions around it and took over the cultural and political life of Kievan Rus'.
Tsardom of Russia[change | change source]
Russian Empire[change | change source]
In the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest, annexation and exploration. So Russian Empire, the third-largest empire in history, was formed. It stretched from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth eastward to the Pacific Ocean and Alaska. The empire was ruled by an emperor called the Tsar.
Peter the Great ruled Russia from 1689 until 1725. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to a new city named Saint Petersburg. He made Russian society more modern in many ways. For example, his inspectors shaved off the beards of passers. The government began building ships for the Russian navy.
Russian Republic[change | change source]
1917 was period of revolutions in Russia. The Government was dissolved after October Revolution in 1917. The Bolsheviks (later called "Communists") took over the country. They murdered the Tsar Nicholas II, as well as other people who stood against them. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, created the first Marxist communist state. The Duma declared a Provisional Government. It was better known as Russian Republic. Vladimir Lenin was the head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924. Russian Republic has existed from 1917 to 1918.
USSR[change | change source]
From the 1920s to the 1950s, Joseph Stalin ruled as the absolute dictator of Soviet Russia. He destroyed anything and anyone that was against his rule. For example, he took the property of farmers and shopkeepers. Many millions of people starved and died in famines because of this. Stalin also removed, or "purged", all military members who were not loyal to him. Many people were killed or sent to prison camps, or gulags, for many years. Many prisoners died in gulags.
Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany agreed not to attack each other in 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the agreement and attacked in Operation Barbarossa. The attack was part of World War II. The war lasted in Europe until May 1945, and Russia lost more than 20 million people during that time. In spite of this large loss, Russia was one of the winners of the war and became a world superpower.
From 1922 to 1991, Russia was the largest part of the Soviet Union, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). People sometimes used the name "Russia" for the whole Soviet Union, or sometimes "Soviet Russia". Russia was only one of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics. The republic was in fact named the "Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic" (RSFSR).
History of present Russian Federation[change | change source]
Boris Yeltsin was made the President of Russia in June 1991, in the first direct presidential election in Russian history. Wide-ranging reforms took place, for example privatization and free trade laws. Radical changes (shock therapy) were recommended by the United States and International Monetary Fund. A major economic crisis followed. There was 50% decline in GDP and industrial output between 1990 and 1995.
The privatization largely shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to individuals with inside connections in the government system. Many of the newly rich business people took billions in cash and assets outside of the country. The depression of state and economy led to the collapse of social services. Millions went into poverty, from 1.5% of people being in poverty in the late Soviet era to 39–49% by mid-1993. The 1990s had extreme corruption and lawlessness, and the rise of criminal gangs and violent crime.
The 1990s had many armed conflicts in the North Caucasus. There were both local ethnic battles and separatist Islamist insurrections. Because the Chechen separatists declared independence in the early 1990s, a Chechen War was fought between the rebel groups and the Russian military. Terrorist attacks against civilians caused hundreds of deaths. The most notable of these were the Moscow theater hostage crisis and Beslan school siege.
Russia took responsibility for settling the USSR's external debts, even though its population made up just half of the population of the USSR at the time of its dissolution. High budget deficits caused the 1998 Russian financial crisis and resulted in more GDP decline.
On 31 December 1999, President Yeltsin resigned (quit being the president). The job of president was given to the recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. Putin then won the 2000 presidential election. Putin stopped the Chechen rebellion quickly, but violence still occurs in the Northern Caucasus at times.
High oil prices and initially weak currency followed by increasing domestic demand, consumption and investments has helped the economy grow for nine straight years. This improved the standard of living and increased Russia's influence on the world stage. While many reforms made during the Putin presidency have been criticized by Western nations as un-democratic, Putin's leadership led to stability and progress. This won him widespread popularity in Russia.
On 2 March 2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected President of Russia, whilst Putin became Prime Minister. Putin went back to being the president after the 2012 presidential elections, and Medvedev was made the Prime Minister.
Size and resources[change | change source]
At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world. It covers more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. Russia is also the world's eighth most populous nation with 140 million people as of 2022. Russia produces a lot of energy made from oil and natural gas.
Russia extends from eastern Europe across the whole of northern Asia. Russia spans eleven time zones and has a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, and its lakes contain about one-quarter of the world's fresh water.
Constitution[change | change source]
Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic. It has a president and a parliament. Russia has 85 federal subjects (territorial units). All subjects of the federation shall be equal. All entities are subject to uniform federal law. Subjects of the federation have two representatives in the parliament. Subjects of the Russian Federation do not have the right to secede from it. Important issues are decided by the Federation President. Lesser powers are given to the member republics.
At the end of the twentieth century, Russia experienced many political changes. Some people fought to leave the federation.
Elections are held at all levels. According to Steve White, the present government made it clear that they had no plans of making a "second edition" of the American or British political system. Instead they wanted a system that was closer to Russia's own traditions. Richard Sakwa wrote that the Russian government is considered legitimate by the majority of the Russian people. It seeks to deliver a set of public goods without trying to fit to extra-democratic logic to achieve them. Whether the system is becoming less autocratic (dictatorial) is debatable.
Politics[change | change source]
|Conservatism, Centrism||Dmitry Medvedev||324|
|Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Коммунистическая партия Российской Федерации
|Communism, Marxism-Leninism||Gennady Zyuganov||57|
|A Just Russia
|Social democracy, Democratic socialism||Sergei Mironov||27|
|Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
Либерально-Демократическая Партия России
|Nationalism, Authoritarian conservatism.||Leonid Slutsky||21|
|Conservatism, Economic liberalism||Rifat Shaykhutdinov||1|
|Party of Growth
|Liberal conservatism||Boris Titov||1|
|Russian nationalism||Alexey Zhuravlyov||1|
The United Russia is the ruling party, which supports the government. The other parties in the Duma (Russian parliament) do not criticize the government strongly, for fear of losing their places in the Duma. Many opposition parties, for the People's Freedom Party and the Other Russia, have been unable to register due to the strict rules. In the 2000s, the government led a war in Chechnya, and in the process, civil liberties and independent media were restricted. Corruption is widespread and human rights, especially in the North Caucasus, are frequently violated. In 2008, Putin's government was in a war with Georgia in a dispute over a region with many ethnic Russians.
Geography[change | change source]
The most western point of Russia is near Kaliningrad, formerly named Königsberg. The most eastern point of Russia is Diomid Island, 35 km from mainland Chukotka (Russia) and 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Alaska (USA). The most southern point is in Caucasus, on the border with Azerbaijan. The most northern point is on the Franz Josef Land archipelago in Arctic Ocean, 900 kilometres (560 mi) from the North Pole.
Cities and towns[change | change source]
Administrative divisions[change | change source]
Russia is divided into many different types of administrative divisions. Some of these are called federal subjects. They are the top-level subdivision of Russia. Other types of Russian subdivisions include federal districts and economic regions.
Demographics[change | change source]
|Ethnic composition (2010)|
Russia has a population of 142 million people. Most people (73.7%) live in cities. The population decreased by 5 million people after the fall of the Soviet Union. The current population growth is close to zero, and the population went down by 0.085% in 2008.
Russia's area is about 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million sq. mi.). It is the largest country in the world. Its population density is about 8.3 people per square kilometre (21.5 per sq. mi.). This is one of the lowest country densities in the world. The population is most dense in the European part of the country, centering around Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Siberia has a very low density.
Religion[change | change source]
Culture[change | change source]
Music and ballet[change | change source]
Some very famous composers that were born in Russia during the 20th century were Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, and Dmitri Shostakovich. Russia has produced some of the greatest pianists: Anton Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz and Vladimir Ashkenazy are among the all-time greats.
Russian composer Tchaikovsky created famous ballets, for example The Nutcracker. The impressario Sergei Diaghilev was responsible for the development of ballet in the early 20th century with the Ballets Russes. Dance companies at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet produced many famous dancers.
Literature[change | change source]
Other famous poets and writers of the 19th century were Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Lermontov, Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol (he was born in what is now Ukraine, but during his lifetime Ukraine was a part of Russia), Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Many people think Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are two of the greatest novelists ever. Three Russians won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the 20th century: Boris Pasternak (1958), Mikhail Sholokhov (1965) and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1980). Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita was also a novel of the highest quality.
Sports[change | change source]
Soccer, ice hockey and basketball are some of the most popular sports in Russia. Boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting, and tennis are also popular sports. Track suits are popular clothing items for many Russians. Some examples of famous Russian sports people are former tennis world number one Maria Sharapova, who has won three Grand Slam titles, and was the world's highest paid female athlete in 2008.
After the 1952 Olympic Games, Soviet and later Russian athletes have been third place in gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were hosted in Moscow, while the 2014 Winter Olympics were hosted in Sochi.
For the 2018 Winter Olympics, which were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a lot of athletes could not compete because the International Olympic Committee found out they had been doping. Those who were not caught doping were able to play in the 2018 Olympics as "Olympic Athletes from Russia". They won two gold medals, and one in ice hockey.
Chess[change | change source]
Food[change | change source]
Russian cuisine is one of the most famous in the world. It was divided: Old Russian cuisine, Old Moscow cuisine, Petersburg cuisine. The main thing of Russian food is variety of products used for cooking.
Typical Russian food includes: bliny, pelmeni, olivier salad, pies (called pirogi) etc. Russians have many soups such as okroshka, shchi, borsch, ukha, rassolnik. Russian traditional drinks are kvass, mors, sbiten, medovukha, vodka, birch sap.
Related pages[change | change source]
- Crime in Russia
- List of rivers of Russia
- Russia at the Olympics
- Russia national football team
- Soviet Union
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