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Russia

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Facts & Figures

President: Vladimir Putin (2012)

Prime Minister: Dmitry Medvedev (2012)

Land area: 6,592,812 sq mi (17,075,400 sq km); total area: 6,592,735 sq mi (17,075,200 sq km)

Population (2011 est.): 138,082,178 (growth rate: –0.48%); birth rate: 10.94/1000; infant mortality rate: 9.88/1000; life expectancy: 66.46; density per sq mi: 21.5

Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Moscow, 11,514,300

Other large cities: St. Petersburg, 6,100,520; Novosibirsk, 1,397,191; Yekaterinburg, 1,332,264; Nizhny Novgorod, 1,272,527; Samara, 1,164,900; Kazan, 1,143,600; Omsk, 1,129,120; Chelyabinsk, 1,093,699; Rostov-on-Don, 1,048,991; Ufa, 1,024,842; Volgograd, 1,021,200

Monetary unit: Russian ruble (RUR)

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Index
  1. Russia Main Page
  2. The Bolshevik Revolution
  3. Emergence of the USSR
  4. The Berlin Blockade and the Cold War
  5. Dissolution of the USSR
  6. Financial Crisis and Political Upheaval
  7. Putin's Rise to Power
  8. Attempts at Chechen Independence Fail
  9. A Shocking Hostage Situation, a Move Towards Climate Change, and Radiation Poison
  10. Crumbling Relations with the United States and Conflict with Georgia
  11. String of Suicide Bombs Sparks Fear of a Crackdown by Putin
  12. Putin Returns to the Presidency and Parliamentary Elections Spark Massive Protests
  13. Russia Blocks U.N. Action in Syria
  14. Unrest Surrounds the 2012 Presidential Election
  15. New Laws Passed against Political Activists, Pussy Riot Arrested
  16. Russia enters the World Trade Organization, Won't Renew Weapons Pact with United States
  17. Anti-Gay Bill Ignites International Protests
  18. American Fugitive Seeks Asylum in Russia
  19. Russia Assists with Chemical Weapons Investigation in Syria
  20. Multiple Bombings Raise Fears for Olympics
  21. Russia Annexes Crimea, Experiences Economic Fallout Due to Sanctions
  22. Putin Signs Gas Accord with China, Begins Eurasian Union as Ukraine Fallout Continues

Geography

The Russian Federation is the largest of the 21 republics that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States. It occupies most of eastern Europe and north Asia, stretching from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south. It is bordered by Norway and Finland in the northwest; Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania in the west; Georgia and Azerbaijan in the southwest; and Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and North Korea along the southern border.

Government

Constitutional federation.

History

Tradition says the Viking Rurik came to Russia in 862 and founded the first Russian dynasty in Novgorod. The various tribes were united by the spread of Christianity in the 10th and 11th centuries; Vladimir “the Saint” was converted in 988. During the 11th century, the grand dukes of Kiev held such centralizing power as existed. In 1240, Kiev was destroyed by the Mongols, and the Russian territory was split into numerous smaller dukedoms. Early dukes of Moscow extended their dominion over other Russian cities through their office of tribute collector for the Mongols and because of Moscow's role as an administrative and trade center.

In the late 15th century, Duke Ivan III acquired Novgorod and Tver and threw off the Mongol yoke. Ivan IV—the Terrible (1533–1584), first Muscovite czar—is considered to have founded the Russian state. He crushed the power of rival princes and boyars (great landowners), but Russia remained largely medieval until the reign of Peter the Great (1689–1725), grandson of the first Romanov czar, Michael (1613–1645). Peter made extensive reforms aimed at westernization and, through his defeat of Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava in 1709, he extended Russia's boundaries to the west. Catherine the Great (1762–1796) continued Peter's westernization program and also expanded Russian territory, acquiring the Crimea, Ukraine, and part of Poland. During the reign of Alexander I (1801–1825), Napoléon's attempt to subdue Russia was defeated (1812–1813), and new territory was gained, including Finland (1809) and Bessarabia (1812). Alexander originated the Holy Alliance, which for a time crushed Europe's rising liberal movement.

Alexander II (1855–1881) pushed Russia's borders to the Pacific and into central Asia. Serfdom was abolished in 1861, but heavy restrictions were imposed on the emancipated class. Revolutionary strikes, following Russia's defeat in the war with Japan, forced Nicholas II (1894–1917) to grant a representative national body (Duma), elected by narrowly limited suffrage. It met for the first time in 1906 but had little influence on Nicholas.

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