(Russian: Россия, Rossiya
, Russian pronunciation: [rɐˈsʲijə]
), or the Russian Federation
is a country spanning Eastern Europe
and North Asia
. It is the largest country in the world
, covering over 17 million square kilometres (6.6×106
sq mi), and encompassing more than one-eighth of the Earth
's inhabited land area. Russia extends across eleven time zones
, and has borders with sixteen sovereign nations
. It has a population of 146.2 million; and is the most populous country
in Europe, and the ninth-most populous country
in the world. Moscow
, the capital, is the largest city in Europe
, while Saint Petersburg
is the nation's second-largest city
and cultural centre. Russians
are the largest Slavic
and European nation
; they speak Russian
, the most spoken Slavic language
, and the most spoken native language
The East Slavs
emerged as a recognisable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. The medieval
state of Rus'
arose in the 9th century. In 988, it adopted Orthodox Christianity
from the Byzantine Empire
, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture
for the next millennium. Rus' ultimately disintegrated until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow
in the 15th century. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration
to become the Russian Empire
, the third-largest empire
in history. Following the Russian Revolution
, the Russian SFSR
became the largest and leading constituent
of the Soviet Union
, the world's first constitutionally socialist state
. The Soviet Union played a decisive role
in the Allied
victory in World War II
, and emerged as a superpower
and rival to the United States
during the Cold War
. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements
of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite
and the launching of the first human in space
. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union
in 1991, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation. In the aftermath of the constitutional crisis of 1993
, a new constitution
was adopted, and Russia has since been governed as a federal semi-presidential
republic. Vladimir Putin
has dominated Russia's political system since 2000
, and his government
has been accused of authoritarianism
, numerous human rights abuses
, and corruption
Russia is a great power
, and is considered a potential superpower
It is ranked very high in the Human Development Index
, with a universal healthcare system
, and a free university education
. Russia's economy
is the world's eleventh-largest by nominal GDP
and the sixth-largest by PPP
. It is a recognised nuclear-weapons state
, possessing the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons
, with the world's second-most powerful military
, and the fourth-highest military expenditure
. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the world's largest, and it is one of the leading producers of oil
and natural gas
globally. It is a permanent member
of the United Nations Security Council
, a member of the G20
, the SCO
, the Council of Europe
, the APEC
, the OSCE
, the IIB
and the WTO
, as well as the leading member of the CIS
, the CSTO
, and the EAEU
. Russia is also home to the ninth-greatest number
of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The name Russia
is derived from Rus'
, a medieval state populated primarily by the East Slavs
. However, this proper name became more prominent in later history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants "Русская земля" (Russkaya zemlya
), which can be translated as "Russian land" or "land of Rus." In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus'
by modern historiography. The name Rus'
itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people
, and Swedish
merchants and warriors,
who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centred on Novgorod
that later became Kievan Rus'.
An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia
, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe. The current name of the country, Россия (Rossiya
), comes from the Byzantine Greek
designation of the Rus'
, Ρωσσία Rossía
—spelled Ρωσία (Rosía
) in Modern Greek
The standard way to refer to the citizens of Russia
is "Russians" in English.
There are two words in Russian
which are commonly translated into English as "Russians"—one is "русские" (russkiye
), which most often refers to ethnic Russians
—and the other is "россияне" (rossiyane
), which refers to the citizens of Russia, regardless of ethnicity.
In the 3rd to 4th centuries AD, the Gothic
kingdom of Oium
existed in Southern Russia, which was later overrun by Huns
. Between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD, the Bosporan Kingdom
, which was a Hellenistic polity
that succeeded the Greek colonies,
was also overwhelmed by nomadic invasions led by warlike tribes such as the Huns and Eurasian Avars
, who were of Turkic origin
, ruled the lower Volga
basin steppes between the Caspian and Black Seas until the 10th century.
In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks
and the Pechenegs
, caused a massive migration of the East Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north, particularly to the area known as Zalesye
which led to intermingling with the native Volga Finnic
Ultimately Kievan Rus' disintegrated, with the final blow being the Mongol invasion
that resulted in the destruction of Kiev,
and the death of about half the population of Rus'.
The invaders, later known as Tatars
, formed the state of the Golden Horde
, which pillaged the Russian principalities and ruled the southern and central expanses of Russia for over two centuries.
Galicia-Volhynia was eventually assimilated by the Kingdom of Poland
, while the Novgorod Republic and Mongol-dominated Vladimir-Suzdal, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, established the basis for the modern Russian nation.
The Novgorod Republic escaped Mongol occupation and together with Pskov
retained some degree of autonomy during the time of the Mongol yoke
; they were largely spared the atrocities that affected the rest of the country. Led by Prince Alexander Nevsky
, Novgorodians repelled the invading Swedes in the Battle of the Neva
in 1240, as well as the Germanic crusaders
in the Battle of the Ice
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The most powerful state to eventually arise after the destruction of Kievan Rus' was the Grand Duchy of Moscow
, initially a part of Vladimir-Suzdal
. While still under the domain of the Mongol
and with their connivance, Moscow began to assert its influence in the Central Rus' in the early 14th century, gradually becoming the leading force in the process of the Rus' lands' reunification and expansion of Russia.
Moscow's last rival, the Novgorod Republic
, prospered as the chief fur trade
centre and the easternmost port of the Hanseatic League
Times remained difficult, with frequent Mongol-Tatar raids
suffered from the beginning of the Little Ice Age
. As in the rest of Europe, plague
was a frequent occurrence between 1350 and 1490.
However, because of the lower population density and better hygiene—widespread practicing of banya
, a wet steam bath—the death rate from plague was not as severe as in Western Europe,
and population numbers recovered by 1500.
Tsardom of Russia
However, the Tsardom was weakened by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War
against the coalition of Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden for access to the Baltic coast and sea trade.
At the same time, the Tatars of the Crimean Khanate
, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde, continued to raid Southern Russia.
In an effort to restore the Volga khanates, Crimeans and their Ottoman
allies invaded central Russia
and were even able to burn down parts of Moscow
But in the next year the large invading army was thoroughly defeated by Russians in the Battle of Molodi
, forever eliminating the threat of an Ottoman–Crimean expansion into Russia. The slave raids of Crimeans
, however, did not cease until the late 17th century though the construction of new fortification lines across Southern Russia, such as the Great Abatis Line
, constantly narrowed the area accessible to incursions.
The death of Ivan's sons marked the end of the ancient Rurik Dynasty
in 1598, and in combination with the famine of 1601–03
, led to a civil war, the rule of pretenders, and foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles
in the early 17th century.
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
occupied parts of Russia, including Moscow. In 1612, the Poles were forced to retreat by the Russian volunteer corps, led by two national heroes, merchant Kuzma Minin
and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky
. The Romanov Dynasty
acceded to the throne in 1613 by the decision of Zemsky Sobor, and the country started its gradual recovery from the crisis.
Russia continued its territorial growth through the 17th century, which was the age of Cossacks
. In 1648, the peasants of Ukraine joined the Zaporozhian Cossacks
in rebellion against Poland-Lithuania during the Khmelnytsky Uprising
in reaction to the social and religious oppression they had been suffering under Polish rule. In 1654, the Ukrainian leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky
, offered to place Ukraine under the protection of the Russian Tsar, Aleksey I
. Aleksey's acceptance of this offer led to another Russo-Polish War
. Finally, Ukraine was split along the Dnieper River
, leaving the western part, right-bank Ukraine
, under Polish rule and the eastern part (Left-bank Ukraine
) under Russian rule. Later, in 1670–71, the Don Cossacks
led by Stenka Razin
initiated a major uprising in the Volga Region
, but the Tsar's troops were successful in defeating the rebels.
In the east, the rapid Russian exploration and colonisation of the huge territories of Siberia was led mostly by Cossacks hunting for valuable furs and ivory. Russian explorers
pushed eastward primarily along the Siberian River Routes
, and by the mid-17th century, there were Russian settlements in Eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula
, along the Amur River
, and on the Pacific coast. In 1648, Fedot Popov
and Semyon Dezhnyov
, two Russian explorers, discovered the Bering Strait
; which led to the Russians becoming the first Europeans to sail to North America.
("the Great"), who ruled in 1762–96, presided over the Age of Russian Enlightenment
. She extended Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and incorporated most of its territories into Russia during the Partitions of Poland
, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe. In the south, after the successful Russo-Turkish Wars
against Ottoman Turkey
, Catherine advanced Russia's boundary to the Black Sea, defeating the Crimean Khanate
. As a result of victories over Qajar Iran
through the Russo-Persian Wars
, by the first half of the 19th century, Russia also made significant territorial gains in Transcaucasia
and the North Caucasus
Catherine's successor, her son Paul
, was unstable and focused predominantly on domestic issues
. Following his short reign, Catherine's strategy was continued with Alexander I's
(1801–25) wresting of Finland from the weakened kingdom of Sweden in 1809 and of Bessarabia
from the Ottomans in 1812. At the same time, Russians became the first Europeans to colonise Alaska
and founded settlements in California, such as Fort Ross
In alliances with various other European countries, Russia fought against Napoleon
's France. The French invasion of Russia
at the height of Napoleon's power in 1812 reached Moscow, but eventually failed miserably as the obstinate resistance in combination with the bitterly cold Russian winter
led to a disastrous defeat of invaders, in which more than 95% of the pan-European Grande Armée
Led by Mikhail Kutuzov
and Barclay de Tolly
, the Russian army ousted Napoleon from the country and drove throughout Europe in the war of the Sixth Coalition
, finally entering Paris. Alexander I headed Russia's delegation at the Congress of Vienna
that defined the map of post-Napoleonic Europe.
The officers of the Napoleonic Wars
brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia with them and attempted to curtail the tsar's powers during the abortive Decembrist revolt
of 1825. At the end of the conservative reign of Nicolas I
(1825–55), a zenith period of Russia's power and influence in Europe was disrupted by defeat in the Crimean War
. Between 1847 and 1851, about one million people died of Asiatic cholera
February Revolution and Russian Republic
In 1914, Russia entered World War I
in response to Austria-Hungary
's declaration of war on Russia's ally Serbia
, and fought across multiple fronts while isolated from its Triple Entente
allies. In 1916, the Brusilov Offensive
of the Russian Army almost completely destroyed the military of Austria-Hungary. However, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was deepened by the rising costs of war, high casualties
, and rumors of corruption and treason. All this formed the climate for the Russian Revolution
of 1917, carried out in two major acts.
Russian Civil War
An alternative socialist establishment co-existed, the Petrograd Soviet
, wielding power through the democratically elected councils of workers and peasants, called Soviets
. The rule of the new authorities only aggravated the crisis in the country instead of resolving it. Eventually, the October Revolution
, led by Bolshevik
leader Vladimir Lenin
, overthrew the Provisional Government and gave full governing power to the Soviets, leading to the creation of the world's first socialist state
World War II
The Battle of Stalingrad
, the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare, ended in 1943 with a decisive Soviet victory against the German Army
On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany broke their non-aggression treaty; and invaded
the ill-prepared Soviet Union with the largest and most powerful invasion force in human history,
opening the largest theater of World War II
. The Nazi Hunger Plan
foresaw the "extinction of industry as well as a great part of the population".
Nearly 3 million Soviet POWs
in German captivity were murdered in just eight months of 1941–42.
Although the Wehrmacht
had considerable early success, their attack was halted in the Battle of Moscow
. Subsequently, the Germans were dealt major defeats first at the Battle of Stalingrad
in the winter of 1942–43,
and then in the Battle of Kursk
in the summer of 1943. Another German failure was the Siege of Leningrad
, in which the city was fully blockaded on land between 1941 and 1944 by German and Finnish forces, and suffered starvation and more than a million deaths, but never surrendered.
Under Stalin's administration and the leadership of such commanders as Georgy Zhukov
and Konstantin Rokossovsky
, Soviet forces steamrolled through Eastern and Central Europe in 1944–45 and captured Berlin
in May 1945. In August 1945 the Soviet Army ousted the Japanese
from China's Manchukuo
and North Korea
, contributing to the allied victory over Japan.
After World War II, Eastern and Central Europe, including East Germany
and eastern parts of Austria
were occupied by Red Army
according to the Potsdam Conference
. Dependent socialist governments were installed in the Eastern Bloc
satellite states. After becoming the world's second nuclear power
, the Soviet Union established the Warsaw Pact
alliance and entered into a struggle for global dominance, known as the Cold War
, with the rivaling United States and NATO
was the world's first artificial satellite.
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite
, Sputnik 1
, thus starting the Space Age
. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
became the first human to orbit the Earth, aboard the Vostok 1
manned spacecraft on 12 April 1961
. Following the ousting of Khrushchev in 1964, another period of collective rule
ensued, until Leonid Brezhnev
became the leader. The era of the 1970s and the early 1980s was later designated as the Era of Stagnation
, a period when economic growth slowed and social policies became static. The 1965 Kosygin reform
aimed for partial decentralisation
of the Soviet economy
and shifted the emphasis from heavy industry
and weapons to light industry
and consumer goods
but was stifled by the conservative Communist leadership. In 1979, after a Communist-led revolution in Afghanistan, Soviet forces invaded
the country. The occupation drained economic resources and dragged on without achieving meaningful political results. Ultimately, the Soviet Army was withdrawn from Afghanistan in 1989 due to international opposition, persistent anti-Soviet guerrilla warfare, and a lack of support by Soviet citizens.
From 1985 onwards, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
, who sought to enact liberal reforms in the Soviet system, introduced the policies of glasnost
(openness) and perestroika
(restructuring) in an attempt to end the period of economic stagnation
and to democratise the government
. This, however, led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements. Prior to 1991, the Soviet economy was the world's second-largest,
but during its final years, it was afflicted by shortages of goods in grocery stores, huge budget deficits, and explosive growth in the money supply leading to inflation.
By 1991, economic and political turmoil began to boil over as the Baltic states
chose to secede from the Soviet Union. On 17 March, a referendum
was held, in which the vast majority of participating citizens voted in favour of changing the Soviet Union into a renewed federation
. In August 1991, a coup d'état attempt
by members of Gorbachev's government, directed against Gorbachev and aimed at preserving the Soviet Union, instead led to the end of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. On 25 December 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved
, and along with Russia, fourteen other post-Soviet states
Post-Soviet Russia (1991–present)
In June 1991, Boris Yeltsin
became the first directly elected president in Russian history when he was elected President of the Russian SFSR, which became the independent Russian Federation in December of that year. The economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union led to a deep and prolonged depression, characterised by a 50% decline in both GDP and industrial output between 1990 and 1995, although some of the recorded declines may have been a result of an upward bias in Soviet-era economic data.
During and after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, wide-ranging reforms including privatisation
and market and trade liberalisation
including radical changes along the lines of "shock therapy
" as recommended by the United States and the International Monetary Fund
The privatisation largely shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to individuals with inside connections in the government. Many of the newly rich moved billions in cash and assets outside of the country in an enormous capital flight
The depression of the economy led to the collapse of social services; the birth rate
plummeted while the death rate
Millions plunged into poverty, from a level of 1.5% in the late Soviet era to 39–49% by mid-1993.
The 1990s saw extreme corruption and lawlessness, the rise of criminal gangs and violent crime.
In late 1993, tensions between Yeltsin and the Russian parliament culminated in a constitutional crisis
which ended after military force. During the crisis, Yeltsin was backed by Western governments, and over 100 people were killed. In December, a referendum
was held and approved, which introduced a new constitution, giving the president enormous powers.
Russia took up the responsibility for settling the Soviet Union's external debts, even though its population made up just half of it at the time of its dissolution.
In 1992, most consumer price controls were eliminated, causing extreme inflation and significantly devaluing the Ruble.
With a devalued ruble, the Russian government struggled to pay back its debts to internal debtors, as well as international institutions like the International Monetary Fund.
Despite significant attempts at economic restructuring, Russia's debt outpaced GDP growth. High budget deficits coupled with increasing capital flight and inability to pay back debts,
caused the 1998 Russian financial crisis,
and resulted in a further GDP decline.
On 31 December 1999, President Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned, handing the post to the recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin
. Yeltsin left office widely unpopular, with an approval rating as low as 2% by some estimates.
Putin then won the 2000 presidential election
and suppressed the Chechen insurgency
. As a result of high oil prices
, a rise in foreign investment, and prudent economic and fiscal policies, the Russian economy
grew for eight straight years; improving the standard of living, and increasing Russia's influence on the world stage.
Putin went on to win a second presidential term
in 2004. Following the global economic crisis of 2008
and a subsequent drop in oil prices, Russia's economy stagnated in 2009. And from 2010 to 2013, Russia enjoyed high economic growth; until falling oil prices
coupled with international sanctions
after the annexation of Crimea
and the Russo-Ukrainian War
led to the economy shrinking in 2015, though it rebounded in 2016, and the recession officially ended.
Many reforms made during the Putin presidency have been criticised as authoritarian,
while Putin's leadership over the return of order, stability, and prosperity has won him widespread admiration in Russia.
On 2 March 2008, Dmitry Medvedev
was elected President of Russia while Putin became Prime Minister. The constitution prohibited Putin from serving a third consecutive presidential term. Putin returned to the presidency following the 2012 presidential elections
, and Medvedev was appointed Prime Minister. This quick succession in leadership change was coined "tandemocracy
" by outside media. Some critics claimed that the leadership change was superficial, and that Putin remained as the decision making force in the Russian government, while other political analysts viewed it as truly tandem.
Alleged fraud in the 2011 parliamentary elections
and Putin's return to the presidency in 2012 sparked mass protests
, which lasted until 2013.
In September 2015, Russia started military intervention
in the Syrian Civil War in support of the Syrian government, consisting of airstrikes against militant groups of the Islamic State
, al-Nusra Front
(al-Qaeda in the Levant), the Army of Conquest
and other rebel groups. During March 2017 and October 2018, the country saw mass protests
, which were primarily concerned with suppressing corruption
in the Russian government and abandoning the planned retirement age hike. Amidst of the protests, during March 2018, Putin was elected for a fourth presidential term
During July to September 2019, protests were held in Moscow
, which was caused by the rejection to allow the independent candidates to participate in the 2019 Moscow City Duma election
. In January 2020, substantial amendments
to the constitution were proposed and took effect in July following a national vote
, allowing Putin to run for two more six-year presidential terms after his current term ends.
In April 2021, Putin signed the constitutional change into law.
Since July 2020, protests have been continuing
in Khabarovsk Krai
and other regions of Siberia, which was caused by the arrest of Sergei Furgal
. In January 2021, widespread protests began
across the country, due to the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny
, and have been ongoing.
- Legislative: The bicameral Federal Assembly of Russia, made up of the 450-member State Duma and the 170-member Federation Council, adopts federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse and the power of impeachment of the President.
- Executive: The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Government of Russia (Cabinet) and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
- Judiciary: The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the President, interpret laws and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.
The president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term, but not for a third consecutive term).
Ministries of the government are composed of the Premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister (whereas the appointment of the latter requires the consent of the State Duma).
According to the constitution
, Russia comprises 85 federal subjects
In 1993, when the new constitution was adopted, there were 89 federal subjects listed, but later some of them were merged. These subjects have equal representation—two delegates each—in the Federation Council
However, they differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy.
- 46 oblasts (provinces): most common type of federal subjects, with locally elected governor and legislature.
- 22 republics: nominally autonomous; each is tasked with drafting its own constitution, direct-elected, head of republic, or a similar post, and parliament. Republics are allowed to establish their own official language alongside Russian but are represented by the federal government in international affairs. Republics are meant to be home to specific ethnic minorities.
- 9 krais (territories): essentially the same as oblasts. The "territory" designation is historic, originally given to frontier regions and later also to the administrative divisions that comprised autonomous okrugs or autonomous oblasts.
- 4 autonomous okrugs (autonomous districts): originally autonomous entities within oblasts and krais created for ethnic minorities, their status was elevated to that of federal subjects in the 1990s. With the exception of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, all autonomous okrugs are still administratively subordinated to a krai or an oblast of which they are a part.
- 1 autonomous oblast (the Jewish Autonomous Oblast): historically, autonomous oblasts were administrative units subordinated to krais. In 1990, all of them except for the Jewish Autonomous Oblast were elevated in status to that of a republic.
- 3 federal cities (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Sevastopol): major cities that function as separate regions.
Federal subjects are grouped into eight federal districts
, each administered by an envoy appointed by the President of Russia.
Unlike the federal subjects, the federal districts are not a subnational level of government but are a level of administration of the federal government.
Putin with G20 counterparts in Osaka
As of 2019, Russia has the fifth-largest diplomatic network in the world; maintaining diplomatic relations with 190 United Nations member states
, two partially-recognized states
, and three United Nations observer states
; with 144 embassies
It is considered a potential superpower
; and is one of five permanent members
of the United Nations Security Council
. Russia is a member of the G20
, the Council of Europe
, the OSCE
, and the APEC
, and takes a leading role in organisations such as the CIS
, the EAEU
, the CSTO
, the SCO
, and BRICS
Russia maintains positive relations with other countries of SCO,
especially with neighbouring Belarus
, which is in the Union State
, a supranational confederation of the latter with Russia. Serbia
has been a historically close ally
of Russia since centuries, as both countries share a strong mutual cultural, ethnic, and religious affinity.
In the 21st century, Sino-Russian relations
have significantly strengthened bilaterally and economically—the Treaty of Friendship
, and the construction of the ESPO oil pipeline
and the Power of Siberia gas pipeline
formed a special relationship between the two. India
is the largest customer of Russian military equipment, and the two countries share a historically strong strategic and diplomatic relationship
Russia boasts the world's second-most powerful military
and is among the five recognisednuclear-weapons states
, with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons
in the world. More than half of the world's 14,000 nuclear weapons are owned by Russia.
The country possesses the second-largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines
and is one of the only three states operating strategic bombers
with the world's most powerful ground force,
the second-most powerful air force,
and the third-most powerful navy fleet.
Russia has the fourth-highest military expenditure
in the world, spending $65.1 billion in 2019.
It has a large and fully indigenous arms industry
, producing most of its own military equipment. In 2019, Russia was the world's third-biggest exporter of arms, behind only the United States and China.
Human rights and corruption
Russia is the largest country in the world
, covering a total area of 17,075,200 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi). It is a transcontinental country
spanning much of the landmass of Eurasia
, stretching vastly over both Europe
. Russia has the fourth-longest coastline
in the world, at 37,653 km (23,396 mi),[f]
and lies between latitudes 41°
and 82° N
, and longitudes 19° E
and 169° W
. It is larger, by size, than three continents
, Europe, and Antarctica
, and is slightly smaller than the dwarf planet
by surface area.
The two most widely separated points in Russia are about 8,000 km (4,971 mi) apart along a geodesic
Mountain ranges are found along the southern regions
, which shares a part of the Caucasus Mountains
(containing Mount Elbrus
; which at 5,642 m (18,510 ft) is the highest
and most prominent peak
in both Russia and Europe), the Altai Mountains
, and the Verkhoyansk Range
or the volcanoes of Kamchatka Peninsula
in the Russian Far East
. The Ural Mountains
, running north to south through the country's west, are rich in mineral resources, and divide Europe and Asia.
The Baltic Sea
, Black Sea
, Barents Sea
, White Sea
, Kara Sea
, Laptev Sea
, East Siberian Sea
, Chukchi Sea
, Bering Sea
, Sea of Azov
, Sea of Okhotsk
, and the Sea of Japan
are linked to Russia via the Arctic, Pacific, and the Atlantic. Russia's major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya
, the Franz Josef Land
, the Severnaya Zemlya
, the New Siberian Islands
, Wrangel Island
, the Kuril Islands
, and Sakhalin
. The Diomede Islands
are just 3 km (1.9 mi) apart, and Kunashir Island
is about 20 km (12.4 mi) from Hokkaido
The enormous size of Russia and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental climate
, which is prevalent in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme southwest. Mountains in the south obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean
, while the plain of the west and north makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences.
Most of Northwest Russia
and Siberia has a subarctic climate
, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of Northeast Siberia (mostly Sakha
, where the Northern Pole of Cold
is located with the record low temperature of −71.2 °C or −96.2 °F), and more moderate winters elsewhere. Both the strip of land along the shore of the Arctic Ocean and the Russian Arctic islands
have a polar climate
The coastal part of Krasnodar Krai
on the Black Sea, most notably in Sochi
, possesses a humid subtropical climate
with mild and wet winters. In many regions of East Siberia and the Far East, winter is dry compared to summer; other parts of the country experience more even precipitation across seasons. Winter precipitation in most parts of the country usually falls as snow. The region along the Lower Volga and Caspian Sea coast, as well as some areas of southernmost Siberia, possesses a semi-arid climate
Throughout much of the territory, there are only two distinct seasons—winter and summer—as spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low and extremely high temperatures.
The coldest month is January (February on the coastline); the warmest is usually July. Great ranges of temperature are typical. In winter, temperatures get colder both from south to north and from west to east. Summers can be quite hot, even in Siberia.
There are 266 mammal species and 780 bird species in Russia. A total of 415 animal species were included in the RDBRF
in 1997; and are now protected.
There are 40 UNESCObiosphere reserves
41 national parks
and 101 nature reserves
. Russia still has many ecosystems which are still untouched by man—mainly in the northern taiga
areas, and in subarctic tundra of Siberia. Over time Russia has been having improvement and application of environmental legislation
, development and implementation of various federal and regional strategies and programmes, and study, inventory and protection of rare and endangered plants, animals, and other organisms, and including them in the RDBRF.
Russia has an upper-middle income mixed
and transition economy
with enormous natural resources, particularly oil
and natural gas
. It has the world's eleventh-largest economy
by nominal GDP and the sixth-largest
. According to the IMF
, Russia's GDP per capita by PPP is $29,485 as of 2021.
The average nominal salary in Russia was ₽51,083 per month in 2020,
and approximately 12.9% of Russians lived below the national poverty line
Unemployment in Russia was 4.5% in 2019,
and officially more than 70% of the Russian population is categorised as middle class;
though this is disputed.
By the end of December 2019, Russian foreign trade turnover reached $666.6 billion. Russia's exports totalled over $422.8 billion, while its imported goods were worth over $243.8 billion.
As of December 2020, foreign reserves in Russia are worth $444 billion.
Railway transport in Russia is mostly under the control of the state-run Russian Railways
. The total length of common-used railway tracks exceeds 85,500 km (53,127 mi),
second only to the United States. The most renowned railway in Russia is the Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest railway-line in the world. As of 2016, Russia had 1,452.2 km of roads
and its road density is the lowest among the BRICS
Much of Russia's inland waterways, which total 102,000 km (63,380 mi)
, are made up of natural rivers or lakes. Among Russia's 1,216 airports,
the busiest are Sheremetyevo
, and Vnukovo
in Moscow, and Pulkovo
in Saint Petersburg.
Russia is a major oil
supplier to the rest of Europe.
Agriculture and fishery
Science and technology
proposed the law of conservation of matter preceding the energy conservation law
Since the time of Nikolay Lobachevsky
" who pioneered the non-Euclidean geometry
) and a prominent tutor Pafnuty Chebyshev
, the Russian mathematical school
became one of the most influential in the world. Dmitry Mendeleev
invented the Periodic table
, the main framework of modern chemistry
Nine Soviet/Russian mathematicians were awarded with the Fields Medal
. Grigori Perelman
was offered the first ever Clay Millennium Prize Problems
Award for his final proof of the Poincaré conjecture
Russian discoveries and inventions include the transformer
, electric filament lamp
, the aircraft
, the safety parachute
, radio receiver
, electrical microscope
, colour photos
caterpillar tracks, periodic table
, track assembly, electrically powered railway wagons
, videotape recorder
, solar cell
, petrol cracking
, synthetic rubber
and grain harvester
In 1957, the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite
, Sputnik 1
, was launched; in 1961 the first human trip into space was successfully made by Yuri Gagarin
. Many other Soviet and Russian space exploration records
ensued, including the first spacewalk
performed by Alexei Leonov
, Luna 9
was the first spacecraft to land on the Moon
, Zond 5
brought the first Earthlings (two tortoises and other life forms) to circumnavigate the Moon, Venera 7
was the first to land on another planet (Venus
), Mars 3
then the first to land on Mars
, the first space exploration rover Lunokhod 1
, and the first space station Salyut 1
. Russia is the largest satellite launcher.
According to the World Tourism Organization
, Russia was the sixteenth-most visited country in the world, and the tenth-most visited country in Europe, in 2018, with over 24.6 million visits.
Russia was ranked 39th in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019.
According to Federal Agency for Tourism
, the number of inbound trips of foreign citizens to Russia amounted to 24.4 million in 2019.
Russia's international tourism receipts in 2018 amounted to $11.6 billion.
In 2020, tourism accounted for about 4% of country's GDP.
Major tourist routes in Russia include a journey around the Golden Ring of Russia
, a theme route
of ancient Russian cities, cruises on large rivers like the Volga, and journeys on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway.
Russia's most visited and popular landmarks include Red Square
, the Peterhof Palace
, the Kazan Kremlin
, the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius
and Lake Baikal.
Russia is a multinational state
, home to over 193 ethnic groups nationwide. In the 2010 Census, roughly 81% of the population were ethnic Russians
and rest of the 19% of the population were peoples of diverse origins,
while roughly 85% of Russia's population was of European descent
of which the vast majority were Slavs
, with a substantial minority of Finno-Ugric
, and other peoples. There are 22 republics
in Russia, designated to have their own ethnicities, cultures, and languages. In 13 of them, ethnic Russians consist a minority
. According to the United Nations, Russia's immigrant population
is the third-largest in the world, numbering over 11.6 million;
most of which are from post-Soviet states
, mainly Ukrainians
Minority languages across Russia
Russia has the highest college-level or higher graduates in terms of percentage of population in the world, at 54%.
It has a free education
system, which is guaranteed for all citizens by the constitution.
Since 1990, the 11-year school education has been introduced. Education in state-owned secondary schools is free. University-level education is free, with exceptions. A substantial share of students are enrolled for full pay (many state institutions started to open commercial positions in the last years).
The constitution of Russia guarantees free, universal health care
for all Russian citizens,
through a compulsory state health insurance program.
The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation
oversees the Russian public healthcare system, and the sector employs more than two million people.
Federal regions also have their own departments of health that oversee local administration.
Russia has the highest number of physicians, hospitals, and health care workers in the world on a per capita basis.
According the World Bank
, Russia spent 5.32% of its GDP on healthcare in 2018.
It has one of the world's most female-biased sex ratios
, with 0.859 males to every female.
In 2019, the overall life expectancy in Russia
at birth is 73.2 years (68.2 years for males and 78.0 years for females),
and it had a very low infant mortality rate
(5 per 1,000 live births
is a major health issue in Russia. In 2016, 61.1% of Russian adults were overweight or obese, while 23.1% were obese.
In 2017, roughly 16% of Russia's deaths were attributed to obesity, while per 100,000 Russians, 123 died due to being obese.
Art and architecture
Early Russian painting is represented in icons
and vibrant frescos
. As Moscow rose to power, Theophanes the Greek
and Andrei Rublev
became vital names in Russian art. The Russian Academy of Arts
was created in 1757. In the 18th century, academicians Ivan Argunov
, Dmitry Levitzky
, Vladimir Borovikovsky
became influential. The early 19th century saw many prominent paintings by Karl Briullov
and Alexander Ivanov
. In the mid-19th century, the group of mostly realists Peredvizhniki
broke with the Academy. Leading Russian realists include Ivan Shishkin
, Arkhip Kuindzhi
, Ivan Kramskoi
, Vasily Polenov
, Isaac Levitan
, Vasily Surikov
, Viktor Vasnetsov
, Ilya Repin
, and Boris Kustodiev
. The turn of the 20th century saw the rise of symbolism
; represented by Mikhail Vrubel
, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin
, and Nicholas Roerich
. The Russian avant-garde
flourished from approximately 1890 to 1930; notable artists from this era were El Lissitzky
, Kazimir Malevich
, Wassily Kandinsky
, and Marc Chagall
. Some influential Soviet sculptures were Vera Mukhina
, Yevgeny Vuchetich
and Ernst Neizvestny
Russian conservatories have turned out generations of famous soloists. Among the best known are violinists Jascha Heifetz
, David Oistrakh
, Leonid Kogan
, Gidon Kremer
, and Maxim Vengerov
; cellists Mstislav Rostropovich
, Natalia Gutman
; pianists Vladimir Horowitz
, Sviatoslav Richter
, Emil Gilels
, Vladimir Sofronitsky
and Evgeny Kissin
; and vocalists Fyodor Shalyapin
, Mark Reizen
, Elena Obraztsova
, Tamara Sinyavskaya
, Nina Dorliak
, Galina Vishnevskaya
, Anna Netrebko
and Dmitry Hvorostovsky
Literature and philosophy
is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time.
is considered to be among the most influential and developed in the world. It can be traced back to the Middle Ages
, when epics and chronicles in Old East Slavic
were composed. In the 18th century, by the Age of Enlightenment
, the works of Mikhail Lomonosov
and Denis Fonvizin
boosted Russian literature. The early 19th century began with Vasily Zhukovsky
and Alexander Pushkin
; who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet.
It continued with the poetry of Mikhail Lermontov
and Nikolay Nekrasov
, dramas of Alexander Ostrovsky
and Anton Chekhov
, and the prose of Nikolai Gogol
, Ivan Turgenev
, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin
, Ivan Goncharov
, Aleksey Pisemsky
and Nikolai Leskov
. Leo Tolstoy
and Fyodor Dostoevsky
have been described by as the greatest novelists of all time.
The next several decades had leading authors such as Konstantin Balmont
, Valery Bryusov
, Vyacheslav Ivanov
, Alexander Blok
, Nikolay Gumilyov
, Dmitry Merezhkovsky
, Anna Akhmatova
, and Boris Pasternak
; and novelists Leonid Andreyev
, Ivan Bunin
, and Maxim Gorky
Following the 1917 revolution, and the ensuing civil war, many prominent writers and philosophers left the country; while a new generation of authors joined together in an effort to create a distinctive working-class culture
appropriate for the new Soviet state. Leading authors of the Soviet era include novelists Yevgeny Zamiatin
, Isaac Babel
, Vladimir Mayakovsky
, Ilf and Petrov
, Yury Olesha
, Mikhail Bulgakov
, Mikhail Sholokhov
, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
, Yevgeny Yevtushenko
, and Andrei Voznesensky
, a bread-based drink and a key ingredient in many soups.
widely uses fish, caviar, poultry, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Crops of rye
, wheat, barley
, and millet
provide the ingredients for various breads, pancakes
and cereals, as well as for kvass
, beer and vodka drinks. Black bread
is very popular in Russia. Flavourful soups and stews include shchi
(a heavy sour cream
) is often added to soups and salads. Pirozhki
are native types of pancakes. Chicken Kiev
are popular meat dishes, the last two being of Tatar and Caucasian origin respectively. Other meat dishes include stuffed cabbage rolls (golubtsy)
usually filled with meat.
Salads include Olivier salad
and dressed herring
is very popular in Russia. The Soviet national ice hockey team
dominated the sport internationally throughout its existence, winning gold at seven of the nine Olympics
and 19 of the 30 World Championships
they contested between 1954 and 1991. The Russia men's national ice hockey team
won the 1993
, and the 2014 IIHF World Championships
is another traditionally popular ice sport in the country. The Soviet Union won all the Bandy World Championships
for men between 1957 and 1979,
and some thereafter too. The Russia national bandy team
has won the Bandy World Championship
, and has been the reigning world champion since 2013
. The Russian national basketball team
won the EuroBasket 2007
; and the Russian basketball club PBC CSKA Moscow
won the Euroleague
. Formula One
is also becoming increasingly popular in Russia.
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Rosefielde, Steven. Putin's Russia: Economy, Defence and Foreign Policy
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