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Russian Federation

  • Российская Федерация (Russian)
  • Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
Flag of Russia
Coat of arms of Russia
Coat of arms
"Gosudarstvennyy Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii"
"State Anthem of the Russian Federation"
Location of Russia. Territories whose annexation by Russia from Ukraine is mostly unrecognized internationally, shown in light green.[1]
Location of Russia. Territories whose annexation by Russia from Ukraine is mostly unrecognized internationally, shown in light green.[1]
and largest city
Coat of Arms of Moscow.svg Moscow
55°45′N 37°37′E / 55.750°N 37.617°E / 55.750; 37.617
Official language
and national language
Recognised national languagesSee Languages of Russia
Ethnic groups
Predominately Orthodox Christianity. See Religion in Russia
GovernmentFederal dominant-party semi-presidential constitutional republic[2]
• President
Vladimir Putin
Mikhail Mishustin
Valentina Matviyenko
Vyacheslav Volodin
Vyacheslav Lebedev
LegislatureFederal Assembly
Federation Council
State Duma
• Arrival of Rurik[3]
• 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[lower-alpha 1]
26 December 1991[lower-alpha 2]
12 December 1993
• Union State with Belarus formed
2 April 1996
• Total
17,098,246 km2 (6,601,670 sq mi)[4] (without Crimea)[lower-alpha 3] (1st)
• Water (%)
13[6] (including swamps)
• 2021 estimate
• Density
8.86/km2 (22.9/sq mi) (225th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $4.519 trillion[9] (5th)
• Per capita
Increase $30,819[9] (50th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.657 trillion[9] (11th)
• Per capita
Increase $11,305[9] (61st)
Gini (2018)Negative increase 37.5[10]
medium · 103th
HDI (2018)Increase 0.824[11]
very high · 79th
CurrencyRussian ruble () (RUB)
Time zoneUTC+2 to +12
Driving sideright
Calling code+7
ISO 3166 codeRU
Internet TLD

Russia (Russian: Россия), officially called the Russian Federation (Russian: Российская Федерация)[12] is a country in Eastern Europe and North Asia, spanning from the Baltic Sea to the Bering Strait. It is the largest country in the world, with a population of about 146.7 million people. It is the most populous country in Europe, and Moscow is its capital city, which is also the largest city in Europe. Russia's official language is Russian, the most spoken language in Europe, as well as the most widely spoken Slavic language. This is the largest country in the world, followed by Canada, the United States, and China.

Russia shares land borders with 16 countries, in both Europe and Asia: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It has links with 16 seas, and 3 oceans; and is the country with the most land borders in the world.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the largest religion in Russia.

Russia is a very large and diverse country. From 1922 to 1991, it used to be the main part of the Soviet Union. It was a country based on Communism, but today its government is a federal semi-presidential republic. It has elements of democracy. The President is chosen by direct election, but challenging candidates do not have access to the mass media, although they have full access to social media, internet news websites, and international media, and election results match domestic, international, and exit polling. Its current President is Vladimir Putin. The President rules the country, and the Russian Parliament plays a secondary role.

Size and resources[edit]

At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world, covering 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.[13]

Extending 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,[14] and is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world.[15][16] Russia has the world's largest forest reserves,[17][18] and its lakes contain about one-quarter of the world's fresh water.[19]


Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic. It has a president and a parliament.[20] Russia consists of 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 a right to secession 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 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, but rather a system that was closer to Russia's own traditions.[21] 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.[22]


There are four big political parties in Russia. United Russia (Единая Россия) is the biggest party.

Name Ideology Leader MPs[23]
United Russia
Единая Россия
Conservatism, Centrism Dmitry Medvedev 324
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Коммунистическая партия Российской Федерации
Communism, Marxism-Leninism Gennady Zyuganov 57
A Just Russia
Справедливая Россия
Social democracy, Democratic socialism Sergei Mironov 27
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
Либерально-Демократическая Партия России
Nationalism, Authoritarian conservatism. Leonid Slutsky 21
New People
Новые люди
Liberalism[24] Alexey Nechayev 13
Civic Platform

Гражданская платформа

Conservatism, Economic liberalism

Liberal conservatism

Rifat Shaykhutdinov 1
Party of Growth
Партия роста
Liberal conservatism[24] Boris Titov[25] 1


Russian nationalism

National conservatism

Alexey Zhuravlyov 1
Independent 5
Total 450

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, such as 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.


Peter the Great proclaimed the Russian Empire in 1721

The roots of Russia's history began when the East Slavs formed a group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD.[26] 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.[27] This form of Christianity influenced Russian culture greatly.[27] 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'.

In the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest, annexation and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third-largest empire in history. 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. The government began building ships for the Russian navy.

The Russo-Japanese War started in 1904 and ended in 1905 with Japan winning the war. The Russian defeat was one of the reasons for later revolutions.

In October 1917, the Bolsheviks (later called "Communists"), influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, took over the country and murdered the Tsar and other people who stood against them. Once they took power, the Bolsheviks, under Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, created the first Marxist Communist State.

From the 1920s to the 1950s, Josef Stalin ruled as an absolute dictator of Soviet Russia, and destroyed anything and anyone that was against his rule, including taking the property of farmers and shopkeepers. Many millions of people starved and died in the resulting famines. Stalin also removed, or "purged", all military personnel who were not loyal to him, and many were killed or sent to prison camps, or gulags, for many years. Even in the gulags, many prisoners died.

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).

The Soviet Union fell apart in the early 1990s. Russia took over the place of the USSR in the United Nations (UN).

History of present Russian Federation[edit]

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, including privatization and free trade laws.[28] Radical changes "(shock therapy) were recommended by the United States and International Monetary Fund.[29] A major economic crisis followed. There was 50% decline in GDP and industrial output between 1990 and 1995.[28][30]

The privatization largely shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to individuals with inside connections in the government system. Many of the newly rich businesspeople took billions in cash and assets outside of the country .[31] The depression of state and economy led to the collapse of social services. Millions went into poverty, from 1.5% level of poverty in the late Soviet era to 39–49% by mid-1993.[32] The 1990s saw extreme corruption and lawlessness, the rise of criminal gangs and violent crime.[33]

The 1990s had many armed conflicts in the North Caucasus. There were both local ethnic battles and separatist Islamist insurrections. Since 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.[34] High budget deficits caused the 1998 Russian financial crisis[35] and resulted in further GDP decline.[28]

On 31 December 1999 President Yeltsin resigned, or 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 increasing Russia's influence on the world stage. While many reforms made during the Putin presidency have been criticized by Western nations as un-democratic,[36] Putin's leadership led to stability, and progress. This won him widespread popularity in Russia.[37]

On 2 March 2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected President of Russia, whilst Putin became Prime minister. Putin returned to the presidency following the 2012 presidential elections, and Medvedev was appointed Prime Minister.

On 24 February 2022 the Russian Federation launched an attack on Ukraine, starting the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.


The most western point of Russia is near Kaliningrad, formerly named Königsberg. The most eastern point of Russia is Diomid island, 35 km from 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[edit]

Russia's capital and biggest city is Moscow. The second biggest city is Saint Petersburg, which was the capital of Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Russian Federation regions


Ethnic composition (2010)
Russians 80.90%
Tatars 3.87%
Ukrainians 1.40%
Bashkirs 1.15%
Chuvash 1.05%
Chechen 1.04%
Armenians 0.86%
Other/unspecified 9.73%
Population (in millions) 1950–January 2009.

Russia has a population of 142 million citizens. Most people (73.7%) live in cities. The population decreased by 5 million people since 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.[38] Its population density is about 8.3 people per square kilometer (21.5 per sq. mi.). This is among 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.


Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, demolished during the Soviet period, was reconstructed from 1990 to 2000.

The main religion in Russia is the Russian Orthodox Church. It is one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.


Music and ballet[edit]

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893), composer.

World-renowned composers of the 20th century included 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 such as 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.[39]


Russians have contributed many famous works of literature.[40] Alexander Pushkin is considered a founder of modern Russian literature. He was a poet from the 19th century.[41]

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. Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are considered by many people to be two of the greatest novelists ever.[42][43] 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.


Soccer, ice hockey and basketball are among the most popular sports. Boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting, and tennis are also popular sports. Track suits are popular clothing items for many Russians. Sports people to gain world fame include 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.[44]

Since the 1952 Olympic Games, Soviet and later Russian athletes are in the three in gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were held 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 under the title of "Olympic Athletes from Russia", and they took home two gold medals, including one in ice hockey.[45][46]


Chess is the main intellectual sport in Russia. In the 20th century there were nine Russian World Chess Champions, more than all other nations combined.

Related pages[edit]


  1. Taylor, Adam (22 March 2014). "Crimea has joined the ranks of the world's 'gray areas.' Here are the others on that list". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  2. s:Constitution of Russia
  3. Указ Президента РФ "О праздновании 1150-летия зарождения российской государственности" [Presidential Decree "On celebrating the 1150th anniversary of Russian statehood"]. (in Russian). Комитет культуры Новгородской области (Novgorod Region Culture Committee). 3 March 2011. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  4. "World Statistics Pocketbook 2016 edition" (PDF). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Statistics Division. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  5. "Information about availability and distribution of land in the Russian Federation as of 1 January 2017 (by federal subjects of Russia)" Сведения о наличии и распределении земель в Российской Федерации на 1 January 2017 (в разрезе субъектов Российской Федерации). Rosreestr. Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  6. "The Russian federation: general characteristics". Federal State Statistics Service. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2008.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Предварительная оценка численности постоянного населения на 1 января 2020 года и в среднем за 2019 год [Preliminary estimated population as of 1 January 2020 and on the average for 2019]. Russian Federal State Statistics Service (in русский). Archived from the original (XLS) on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  8. "Росстат: Численность населения России снижается два года подряд" (in русский). Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  10. "GINI index (World Bank estimate) – Russian Federation". World Bank. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  11. "Human Development Report 2019". United Nations Development Programme. 10 December 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  12. "The names Russian Federation and Russia shall be equal". "The Constitution of the Russian Federation". (Article 1). Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  13. "Beware Russia, energy superpower". Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  14. "Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO: Panorama of Russia". Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  15. Supply of oil: IEA archive
  16. "CIA World Factbook". Archived from the original on 2012-01-29. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  17. FAO. 2010. Global Forest Resources Assesment 2010. Main Report. FAO Forestry Working Paper 163, Rome, Italy
  18. FAO. 2010. Global Forest Resources Assesment 2010. Main Report. FAO Forestry Working Paper 163, Rome, Italy (in Russian)
  19. Library of Congress. "Topography and drainage". Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  20. "The Constitution of the Russian Federation". (Article 80, §1). Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  21. White, Stephen (2010). "Classifying Russia's Politics". In White, Stephen (ed.). Developments in Russian Politics 7. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-22449-0.
  22. Sakwa, Richard (2010). "Politics in Russia". In White, Stephen (ed.). Developments in Russian Politics 7. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-22449-0.
  23. Russia. The World Factbook.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Parties and Elections in Europe
  25. Political opposition in Russia in 2018: Composition, challenges and prospects. ORF
  26. "Russia". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Glenn E. Curtis, ed. (1998). "Russia: A Country Study: Kievan Rus' and Mongol Periods". Washington, DC: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 "Russian Federation" (PDF). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved 24 February 2008.
  29. Sciolino, E. (21 December 1993). "U.S. is abandoning 'shock therapy' for the Russians". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2008.
  30. "Russia: Economic Conditions in Mid-1996". Library of Congress. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  31. "Russia: Clawing Its Way Back to Life (int'l edition)". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  32. Branko Milanovic (1998). Income, Inequality, and Poverty During the Transformation from Planned to Market Economy. The World Bank. pp. 186–189.
  33. Jason Bush (19 October 2006). "What's Behind Russia's Crime Wave?". BusinessWeek Journal.
  34. "Russia pays off USSR's entire debt, sets to become crediting country". 22 August 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  35. Aslund A. "Russia's Capitalist Revolution" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
  36. Treisman, D. "Is Russia's Experiment with Democracy Over?". UCLA International Institute. Retrieved 31 December 2007.
  37. Stone, N (4 December 2007). "No wonder they like Putin". The Times. UK. Retrieved 31 December 2007.
  38. Largest Countries in the World Infoplease - Accessed 7 September 2011
  39. "A Tale of Two Operas". Petersburg City. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  40. Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007. "Russian Literature". Archived from the original on 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
  41. Kelly, Catriona (23 August 2001). Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback). Oxford Paperbacks. ISBN 0192801449.
  42. "Russian literature; Leo Tolstoy". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
  43. Otto Friedrich. "Freaking-Out with Fyodor". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-11-03. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  44. Tom Van Riper and Kurt Badenhausen. "Top-Earning Female Athletes". Forbes. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  45. "Russian doping: IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics". BBC Sport. 2017-12-05. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  46. Sullivan, Emily (2018-02-25). "After Going Shot For Shot, Olympic Athletes From Russia Win Men's Hockey Gold". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2018-03-07.


  1. The Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR ratified the accords on 12 December, denouncing the 1922 treaty.
  2. On 25 December, Russian SFSR was renamed the Russian Federation and the following day the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union ratified the accords, effectively dissolving the Soviet Union.
  3. When including the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, the total area of Russia rises to 17,125,191 km2 (6,612,073 sq mi)[5]
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