Russia

Russia

Overview
Russia or ˈ officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 in northern Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. It is a federal
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 semi-presidential republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

, comprising 83 federal subjects. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares borders
Borders of Russia
Russia has international borders with 14 sovereign states as well as South Ossettia and Abkhazia, which are both recognized as sovereign states by Russia and a small number of other countries...

 with Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 (both via Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia situated on the Baltic coast. It has a population of The oblast forms the westernmost part of the Russian Federation, but it has no land connection to the rest of Russia. Since its creation it has been an exclave of the Russian SFSR and then the...

), Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

. It also has maritime borders with Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 by the Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 by the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

. At 17075400 square kilometre, Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one eighth of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's inhabited land area.
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Timeline

1238   The Mongols burn the Russian city of Vladimir.

1238   The Battle of the Sit River is fought in the northern part of the present-day Yaroslavl Oblast of Russia between the Mongol Hordes of Batu Khan and the Russians under Yuri II of Vladimir-Suzdal during the Mongol invasion of Russia.

1238   The Battle of the Sit River is fought in the northern part of the present-day Yaroslavl Oblast of Russia between the Mongol Hordes of Batu Khan and the Russians under Yuri II of Vladimir-Suzdal during the Mongol invasion of Russia.

1242   During a battle on the ice of Lake Peipus, Russian forces, led by Alexander Nevsky, rebuff an invasion attempt by the Teutonic Knights.

1323   Signature of the Treaty of Nöteborg between Sweden and Novgorod (Russia), that regulates the border between the two countries for the first time.

1326   Treaty of Novgorod delineates borders between Russia and Norway in Finnmark.

1377   Russian troops are defeated in the Battle on Pyana River because of drunkenness.

1480   Great standing on the Ugra river, a standoff between the forces of Akhmat Khan, Khan of the Great Horde, and the Grand Duke Ivan III of Russia, which results in the retreat of the Tataro-Mongols and the eventual disintegration of the Horde.

1547   Ivan IV of Russia aka Ivan the Terrible becomes Tsar of Russia.

1582   Russia cedes Livonia and Estonia to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

 
Encyclopedia
Russia or ˈ officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 in northern Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. It is a federal
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 semi-presidential republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

, comprising 83 federal subjects. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares borders
Borders of Russia
Russia has international borders with 14 sovereign states as well as South Ossettia and Abkhazia, which are both recognized as sovereign states by Russia and a small number of other countries...

 with Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 (both via Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia situated on the Baltic coast. It has a population of The oblast forms the westernmost part of the Russian Federation, but it has no land connection to the rest of Russia. Since its creation it has been an exclave of the Russian SFSR and then the...

), Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

. It also has maritime borders with Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 by the Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 by the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

. At 17075400 square kilometre, Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one eighth of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's inhabited land area. Russia is also the eighth most populous nation with 143 million people. It extends across the whole of northern Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and 40% of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, spanning nine time zones
Time zones by country
This is a list representing time zones by country. Countries are ranked by total number of time zones on their territory. Time zones of a country include that of dependent territories . France has the most time zones with 12. On March 28, 2010, Russia eliminated two time zones, going from 11 to 9,...

 and incorporating a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources. It has the world's largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

.

The nation's history began with that of the East Slavs
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

, who emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 from the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture
Russian culture
Russian culture is associated with the country of Russia and, sometimes, specifically with ethnic Russians. It has a rich history and can boast a long tradition of excellence in every aspect of the arts, especially when it comes to literature and philosophy, classical music and ballet, architecture...

 for the next millennium
Millennium of Russia
The Millennium of Russia is a famous bronze monument in the Novgorod Kremlin. It was erected in 1862 to celebrate the millennium of Rurik's arrival to Novgorod, an event traditionally taken as a starting point of Russian history.A competition to design the monument was held in 1859...

. Kievan Rus' ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states; most of the Rus' lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion and became tributaries of the nomadic Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

. The Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 gradually reunified the surrounding Russian principalities, achieved independence from the Golden Horde, and came to dominate the cultural and political legacy of Kievan Rus'. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland in Europe to Alaska
Russian Alaska
Russian America was the name of Russian colonial possessions in the Americas from 1733 to 1867 that today is the U.S. state of Alaska and settlements farther south in California and Hawaii...

 in North America.

Following the Russian Revolution, Russia became the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, the world's first constitutionally socialist state
Socialist state
A socialist state generally refers to any state constitutionally dedicated to the construction of a socialist society. It is closely related to the political strategy of "state socialism", a set of ideologies and policies that believe a socialist economy can be established through government...

 and a recognized superpower
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

, which played a decisive role in the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 victory in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements
Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records
Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records encompasses the key events in the history of technology in Russia, starting from the Early East Slavs and up to the modern Russian Federation....

 of the 20th century, including the world's first human spaceflight. The Russian Federation was founded following the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 in 1991, but is recognized as the continuing legal personality of the Soviet state.

Modern-day Russia has the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP or the 6th largest by purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

, with the 5th largest nominal military budget. It is one of the five recognized
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction
Russia and weapons of mass destruction
Russia possesses the largest stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in the world. The country declared an arsenal of 39,967 tons of chemical weapons in 1997, of which 48% have been destroyed. The Federation of American Scientists, a renowned organization for assessing nuclear weapon...

. Russia is a great power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

 and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

, a member of the G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

, G20, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region...

, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Eurasian Economic Community
Eurasian Economic Community
The Eurasian Economic Community originated from the Commonwealth of Independent States customs union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan on 29 March 1996...

, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and is the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

.

Etymology



The name Russia is derived from Rus, a medieval state populated mostly by the East Slavs
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

. However, this proper name became more prominent in the later history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля" (russkaya zemlya) which could 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'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 by modern historiography. The name Rus
Rus (name)
Originally, the name Rus referred to the people, the region, and the medieval states of the Rus' Khaganate and Kievan Rus' polities...

 itself comes from Rus people, a group of Varangians (possibly Swedish Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s) who founded the state of Rus (Русь).

An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia
Ruthenia
Ruthenia is the Latin word used onwards from the 13th century, describing lands of the Ancient Rus in European manuscripts. Its geographic and culturo-ethnic name at that time was applied to the parts of Eastern Europe. Essentially, the word is a false Latin rendering of the ancient place name Rus...

, 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 Greek version of Rus', spelled Ρωσία [rosˈia], which was the denomination of Kievan Rus in the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

.

Early periods




One of the first modern human
Cro-Magnon
The Cro-Magnon were the first early modern humans of the European Upper Paleolithic. The earliest known remains of Cro-Magnon-like humans are radiometrically dated to 35,000 years before present....

 bones of the age of 35 000 years was found in Russia, in Kostenki on the Don River
Don River (Russia)
The Don River is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres to the Sea of Azov....

 banks. The only remains of the Denisova hominin
Denisova hominin
Denisova hominins , or Denisovans, are Paleolithic-Era members of the genus Homo that may belong to a previously unknown species. In , scientists announced the discovery of a finger bone fragment of a juvenile female that lived about 41,000 years ago, found in Denisova Cave in Altai Krai, Russia, a...

 that lived about 41,000 years ago were discovered in Denisova Cave
Denisova Cave
Denisova Cave is a cave in the Bashelaksky Range of the Altai mountains, Siberia, Russia. The cave is of paleoarchaeological and paleontological interest. Bone fragments of the Denisova hominin, sometime called the "X-woman" originate from the cave, including artifacts dated to ~40,000 Before...

 (South Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

).

In prehistoric times the vast steppes of Southern Russia were home to tribes of nomadic pastoralists. Remnants of these steppe civilizations were discovered in such places as Ipatovo
Ipatovo kurgan
Ipatovo kurgan refers to kurgan 2 of the Ipatovo Barrow Cemetery 3, a cemetery of kurgan burial mounds, located near Ipatovo, some 120 km north-east of Stavropol, Stavropol Krai, Russia.With a height of 7 metres, it was one of the largest kurgans in the area...

, Sintashta
Sintashta
Sintashta is an archaeological site in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia. It is the remains of a fortified settlement dating to the Bronze Age, c. 2800–1600 BC, and is the type site of the Sintashta culture...

, Arkaim
Arkaim
Arkaim is an archaeological site situated in the Southern Urals steppe, north-to-northwest of Amurskiy, and south-to-southeast of Alexandronvskiy, two villages in the Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, just to the north from the Kazakhstan border....

, and Pazyryk, which bear the earliest known traces of mounted warfare
Horses in warfare
The first use of horses in warfare occurred over 5,000 years ago. The earliest evidence of horses ridden in warfare dates from Eurasia between 4000 and 3000 BC. A Sumerian illustration of warfare from 2500 BC depicts some type of equine pulling wagons...

, a key feature in nomadic way of life.

In classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

, the Pontic Steppe was known as Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

. Since the 8th century BC, Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 traders brought their civilization to the trade emporiums in Tanais
Tanais
Tanais is the ancient name for the River Don in Russia. Strabo regarded it as the boundary between Europe and Asia.In antiquity, Tanais was also the name of a city in the Don river delta that reaches into the northeasternmost part of the Sea of Azov, which the Greeks called Lake Maeotis...

 and Phanagoria. Between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD, the Bosporan Kingdom
Bosporan Kingdom
The Bosporan Kingdom or the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus was an ancient state, located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus...

, a Hellenistic polity which succeeded the Greek colonies, was overwhelmed by nomadic invasions led by warlike tribes, such as the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 and Eurasian Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

. A Turkic people, the Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

, ruled the lower Volga basin steppes between the Caspian
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 and Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

s until the 8th century.

The ancestors of modern Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 are the Slavic tribes, whose original home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the Pinsk Marshes
Pinsk Marshes
The Pinsk Marshes or Pripyat Marshes are a vast territory of wetlands along the Pripyat River and its tributaries from Brest, Belarus to Mogilev and Kiev ....

. The East Slavs
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

 gradually settled Western Russia in two waves: one moving from Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 toward present-day Suzdal
Suzdal
Suzdal is a town in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, situated northeast of Moscow, from the city of Vladimir, on the Kamenka River. Population: -History:...

 and Murom
Murom
Murom is a historic city in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, which sprawls along the left bank of Oka River. Population: -History:In the 9th century CE, the city marked the easternmost settlement of the Eastern Slavs in the land of the Finno-Ugric people called Muromians. The Russian Primary Chronicle...

 and another from Polotsk toward Novgorod and Rostov
Rostov
Rostov is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, one of the oldest in the country and a tourist center of the Golden Ring. It is located on the shores of Lake Nero, northeast of Moscow. Population:...

. From the 7th century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in Western Russia and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finno-Ugric peoples
Finno-Ugric peoples
The Finno-Ugric peoples are any of several peoples of Europe who speak languages of the proposed Finno-Ugric language family, such as the Finns, Estonians, Mordvins, and Hungarians...

, including the Merya, the Muromians, and the Meshchera.

Kievan Rus




The establishment of the first East Slavic states in the 9th century coincided with the arrival of Varangians
Varangians
The Varangians or Varyags , sometimes referred to as Variagians, were people from the Baltic region, most often associated with Vikings, who from the 9th to 11th centuries ventured eastwards and southwards along the rivers of Eastern Europe, through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.According...

, the traders, warriors and settlers from the Baltic Sea region. Primarily they were Vikings of Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n origin, who ventured along the waterways extending from the eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian
Volga trade route
In the Middle Ages, the Volga trade route connected Northern Europe and Northwestern Russia with the Caspian Sea, via the Volga River. The Rus used this route to trade with Muslim countries on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, sometimes penetrating as far as Baghdad...

 Seas. According to the Primary Chronicle
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

, a Varangian from Rus' people, named Rurik
Rurik
Rurik, or Riurik , was a semilegendary 9th-century Varangian who founded the Rurik dynasty which ruled Kievan Rus and later some of its successor states, most notably the Tsardom of Russia, until 1598....

, was elected ruler of Novgorod in 862. In 882 his successor Oleg
Oleg of Novgorod
Oleg of Novgorod was a Varangian prince who ruled all or part of the Rus' people during the early 10th century....

, ventured south and conquered Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, which had been previously paying tribute to the Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

; so the state of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 started. Oleg, Rurik's son Igor and Igor's son Sviatoslav
Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Sviatoslav I Igorevich ; , also spelled Svyatoslav, was a prince of Rus...

 subsequently subdued all local East Slavic
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

 tribes to Kievan rule, destroyed the Khazar khaganate and launched several military expeditions to Byzantium and Persia.

In the 10th to 11th centuries Kievan Rus' became one of the largest and most prosperous states in Europe. The reigns of Vladimir the Great (980–1015) and his son Yaroslav I the Wise
Yaroslav I the Wise
Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise Yaroslav I, Grand Prince of Rus, known as Yaroslav the Wise (Old Norse: Jarizleifr; ; Old East Slavic and Russian: Ярослав Мудрый; Ukrainian: Ярослав Мудрий; c...

 (1019–1054) constitute the Golden Age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

 of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 from Byzantium and the creation of the first East Slavic written legal code
Legal code
A legal code is a body of law written by a governmental body, such as a U.S. state, a Canadian Province or German Bundesland or a municipality...

, the Russkaya Pravda
Russkaya Pravda
Russkaya Pravda was the legal code of Kievan Rus' and the subsequent Rus' principalities during the times of feudal division.In spite of great influence of Byzantine legislation on the contemporary world, and in...

.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks
Kipchaks
Kipchaks were a Turkic tribal confederation...

 and the Pechenegs, caused a massive migration of Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north, particularly to the area known as Zalesye
Zalesye
Zalesye or Opolye is a historical region of Russia, comprising the north and west parts of Vladimir Oblast, the north-east of Moscow Oblast and the south of Yaroslavl Oblast. As a kernel of the medieval state of Vladimir-Suzdal, this area played a vital part in the development of Russian statehood...

.


The age of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 and decentralization had come, marked by constant in-fighting between members of the Rurik Dynasty
Rurik Dynasty
The Rurik dynasty or Rurikids was a dynasty founded by the Varangian prince Rurik, who established himself in Novgorod around the year 862 AD...

 that ruled Kievan Rus' collectively. Kiev's dominance waned, to the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal
Vladimir-Suzdal
The Vladimir-Suzdal Principality or Vladimir-Suzdal Rus’ was one of the major principalities which succeeded Kievan Rus' in the late 12th century and lasted until the late 14th century. For a long time the Principality was a vassal of the Mongolian Golden Horde...

 in the north-east, Novgorod Republic
Novgorod Republic
The Novgorod Republic was a large medieval Russian state which stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains between the 12th and 15th centuries, centred on the city of Novgorod...

 in the north-west and Galicia-Volhynia in the south-west.

Ultimately Kievan Rus' disintegrated, with the final blow being the Mongol invasion of 1237–40, that resulted in the destruction of Kiev and the death of about half the population of Rus'. The invaders, later known as Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

, formed the state of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, which pillaged the Russian principalities and ruled the southern and central expanses of Russia for over three centuries.

Galicia-Volhynia was eventually assimilated by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

, while the Mongol-dominated Vladimir-Suzdal and Novgorod Republic, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, established the basis for the modern Russian nation. The Novgorod together with Pskov
Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

 retained some degree of autonomy during the time of the Mongol yoke and were largely spared the atrocities that affected the rest of the country. Led by Prince Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

, Novgorodians repelled the invading Swedes in the Battle of the Neva
Battle of the Neva
The Battle of the Neva was fought between the Novgorod Republic and Swedish armies on the Neva River, near the settlement of Ust-Izhora, on July 15, 1240...

 in 1240, as well as the Germanic crusaders
Northern Crusades
The Northern Crusades or Baltic Crusades were crusades undertaken by the Christian kings of Denmark and Sweden, the German Livonian and Teutonic military orders, and their allies against the pagan peoples of Northern Europe around the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea...

 in the Battle of the Ice
Battle of the Ice
The Battle of the Ice , also known as the Battle of Lake Peipus , was a battle between the Republic of Novgorod and the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights on April 5, 1242, at Lake Peipus...

 in 1242, breaking their attempts to colonize the Northern Rus'.

Grand Duchy of Moscow




The most powerful successor state to Kievan Rus' was the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 ("Moscovy" in the Western chronicles), initially a part of Vladimir-Suzdal
Vladimir-Suzdal
The Vladimir-Suzdal Principality or Vladimir-Suzdal Rus’ was one of the major principalities which succeeded Kievan Rus' in the late 12th century and lasted until the late 14th century. For a long time the Principality was a vassal of the Mongolian Golden Horde...

. While still under the domain of the Mongol-Tatars and with their connivance, Moscow began to assert its influence in Western Russia in the early 14th century.

Those were hard times, with frequent Mongol-Tatar raids and agriculture suffering from the beginning of the Little Ice Age
Little Ice Age
The Little Ice Age was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period . While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into the scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939...

. Like in the rest of Europe, plagues hit Russia somewhere once every five or six years from 1350 to 1490. However, due to the lower population density and better hygiene (widespread practicing of banya
Banya (sauna)
Banya in Russian can refer to any kind of steam bath, but usually to the Russian type of sauna. In Bulgarian, banya usually refers to a bath and bathing...

, the wet steam bath), the population loss caused by plagues was not so severe as in the Western Europe, and the pre-Plague populations were reached in Russia as early as 1500.

Led by Prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow and helped by the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

, the united army of Russian principalities inflicted a milestone defeat on the Mongol-Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo
Battle of Kulikovo
The Battle of Kulikovo was a battle between Tatar Mamai and Muscovy Dmitriy and portrayed by Russian historiography as a stand-off between Russians and the Golden Horde. However, the political situation at the time was much more complicated and concerned the politics of the Northeastern Rus'...

 in 1380. Moscow gradually absorbed the surrounding principalities, including the formerly strong rivals, such as Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

 and Novgorod. This way Moscow became the main leading force in the process of Russia's reunification and expansion.

Ivan III (the Great) finally threw off the control of the Golden Horde, consolidated the whole of Central and Northern Rus' under Moscow's dominion, and was the first to take the title "Grand Duke of all the Russias". After the fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 in 1453, Moscow claimed succession to the legacy
Third Rome
The term Third Rome describes the idea that some European city, state, or country is the successor to the legacy of the Roman Empire and its successor state, the Byzantine Empire ....

 of the Eastern Roman Empire. Ivan III married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI
Constantine XI
Constantine XI Palaiologos, latinized as Palaeologus , Kōnstantinos XI Dragasēs Palaiologos; February 8, 1404 – May 29, 1453) was the last reigning Byzantine Emperor from 1449 to his death as member of the Palaiologos dynasty...

, and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle
Double-headed eagle
The double-headed eagle is a common symbol in heraldry and vexillology. It is most commonly associated with the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. In Byzantine heraldry, the heads represent the dual sovereignty of the Emperor and/or dominance of the Byzantine Emperors over both East and...

 his own, and eventually Russian, coat-of-arms.

Tsardom of Russia




In development of the Third Rome
Third Rome
The term Third Rome describes the idea that some European city, state, or country is the successor to the legacy of the Roman Empire and its successor state, the Byzantine Empire ....

 ideas, the Grand Duke Ivan IV (the "Awesome" or "the Terrible") was officially crowned the first Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 ("Caesar
Caesar (title)
Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator...

") of Russia in 1547. The Tsar promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550
Sudebnik of 1550
Sudebnik of tsar Ivan IV , a revised code of laws instituted by his grandfather Ivan the Great. This code can be considered as the result of the first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type of 1549....

), established the first Russian feudal representative body (Zemsky Sobor
Zemsky Sobor
The zemsky sobor was the first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The term roughly means assembly of the land. It could be summoned either by tsar, or patriarch, or the Boyar Duma...

) and introduced local self-management into the rural regions.

During his long reign, Ivan IV nearly doubled the already large Russian territory by annexing the three Tatar khanates (parts of disintegrated Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

): Kazan
Khanate of Kazan
The Khanate of Kazan was a medieval Tatar state which occupied the territory of former Volga Bulgaria between 1438 and 1552. Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. The khanate covered contemporary Tatarstan, Mari El,...

 and Astrakhan
Astrakhan Khanate
The Khanate of Astrakhan was a Tatar feudal state that appeared after the collapse of the Golden Horde. The Khanate existed in the 15th and 16th centuries in the area adjacent to the mouth of the Volga river, where the contemporary city of Astrakhan/Hajji Tarkhan is now located...

 along the Volga River, and Sibirean Khanate in South Western Siberia. Thus by the end of the 16th century Russia was transformed into a multiethnic, multiconfessional and transcontinental state.

However, the Tsardom was weakened by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War
Livonian War
The Livonian War was fought for control of Old Livonia in the territory of present-day Estonia and Latvia when the Tsardom of Russia faced a varying coalition of Denmark–Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.During the period 1558–1578,...

 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
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, continued to raid Southern Russia. In effort to restore the Volga khanates, Crimeans and their Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 allies invaded central Russia
Russo-Crimean Wars
The Russo-Crimean Wars were fought between the forces of the Muscovy and the invading Tatars of the Crimean Khanate.-History:...

 and were even able to burn down parts of Moscow
Fire of Moscow (1571)
The Fire of Moscow occurred in May of that year when the forces of the Crimean khan Devlet I Giray raided the city. The khan set the suburbs on May 24 and a sudden wind blew the flames into Moscow and the city went up in a conflagration...

 in 1571. But next year the large invading army was thoroughly defeated by Russians in the Battle of Molodi
Battle of Molodi
The Battle of Molodi was one of the key battles of Ivan the Terrible's reign. It was fought near the village of Molodi, 40 mi south of Moscow, in July-August 1572 between the 120,000-strong horde of Devlet I Giray of Crimea and about 60,000 Russians led by Prince Mikhail Vorotynsky...

, forever eliminating the threat of the Ottoman-Crimean expansion into Russia. The raids of Crimeans, however, didn't 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
Rurik Dynasty
The Rurik dynasty or Rurikids was a dynasty founded by the Varangian prince Rurik, who established himself in Novgorod around the year 862 AD...

 in 1598, and in combination with the famine of 1601–03 led to the civil war, the rule of pretenders and foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles
Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles was a period of Russian history comprising the years of interregnum between the death of the last Russian Tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, Feodor Ivanovich, in 1598, and the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613. In 1601-1603, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third...

 in the early 17th century. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

 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
Dmitry Pozharsky
For the ship of the same name, see Sverdlov class cruiserDmitry Mikhaylovich Pozharsky was a Rurikid prince, who led Russia's struggle for independence against Polish-Lithuanian invasion known as the Time of Troubles...

. The Romanov Dynasty acceded the throne in 1613 by the decision of Zemsky Sobor
Zemsky Sobor
The zemsky sobor was the first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The term roughly means assembly of the land. It could be summoned either by tsar, or patriarch, or the Boyar Duma...

, 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. Cossacks were warriors organized into military communities, resembling pirates and pioneers of the New World. In 1648, the peasants of Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 joined the Zaporozhian Cossacks in rebellion against Poland-Lithuania during the Khmelnytsky Uprising
Khmelnytsky Uprising
The Khmelnytsky Uprising, was a Cossack rebellion in the Ukraine between the years 1648–1657 which turned into a Ukrainian war of liberation from Poland...

, because of the social and religious oppression they suffered under Polish rule. In 1654 the Ukrainian leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Bohdan Zynoviy Mykhailovych Khmelnytsky was a hetman of the Zaporozhian Cossack Hetmanate of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth . He led an uprising against the Commonwealth and its magnates which resulted in the creation of a Cossack state...

, 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 (1654–1667)
Russo-Polish War (1654–1667)
The Russo-Polish War of 1654–1667, also called Thirteen Years' War, First Northern War, War for Ukraine was the last major conflict between Tsardom of Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Between 1655 and 1660, the Second Northern War was also fought in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,...

. Finally, Ukraine was split along the Dnieper River
Dnieper River
The Dnieper River is one of the major rivers of Europe that flows from Russia, through Belarus and Ukraine, to the Black Sea.The total length is and has a drainage basin of .The river is noted for its dams and hydroelectric stations...

, leaving the western part (or Right-bank Ukraine
Right-bank Ukraine
Right-bank Ukraine , a historical name of a part of Ukraine on the right bank of the Dnieper River, corresponding with modern-day oblasts of Volyn, Rivne, Vinnitsa, Zhytomyr, Kirovohrad and Kiev, as well as part of Cherkasy and Ternopil...

) under Polish rule and eastern part (Left-bank Ukraine
Left-bank Ukraine
Left-bank Ukraine is a historic name of the part of Ukraine on the left bank of the Dnieper River, comprising the modern-day oblasts of Chernihiv, Poltava and Sumy as well as the eastern parts of the Kiev and Cherkasy....

 and Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

) under Russian. Later, in 1670–71 the Don Cossacks
Don Cossacks
Don Cossacks were Cossacks who settled along the middle and lower Don.- Etymology and origins :The Don Cossack Host was a frontier military organization from the end of the 16th until the early 20th century....

 led by Stenka Razin
Stenka Razin
Stepan Timofeyevich Razin Тимофеевич Разин, ; 1630 – ) was a Cossack leader who led a major uprising against the nobility and Tsar's bureaucracy in South Russia.-Early life:...

 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 fur
Fur
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

s and ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

. Russian explorers pushed eastward primarily along the Siberian River Routes
Siberian River Routes
Siberian River Routes were the main ways of communication in the Russian Siberia before the 1730s, when roads began to be built. The rivers also were of primary importance in the process of Russian exploration and colonisation of vast Siberian territories...

, and by the mid-17th century there were Russian settlements in Eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula
Chukchi Peninsula
The Chukchi Peninsula, Chukotka Peninsula or Chukotski Peninsula , at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the...

, along the Amur River, and on the Pacific coast. In 1648 the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

 between Asia and North America was passed for the first time by Fedot Popov and Semyon Dezhnyov.

Imperial Russia




Under Peter the Great, Russia was proclaimed an Empire in 1721 and became recognized as a world power. Ruling from 1682 to 1725, Peter defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

, forcing it to cede West Karelia
Karelia
Karelia , the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden...

 and Ingria
Ingria
Ingria is a historical region in the eastern Baltic, now part of Russia, comprising the southern bank of the river Neva, between the Gulf of Finland, the Narva River, Lake Peipus in the west, and Lake Ladoga and the western bank of the Volkhov river in the east...

 (two regions lost by Russia in the Time of Troubles
Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles was a period of Russian history comprising the years of interregnum between the death of the last Russian Tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, Feodor Ivanovich, in 1598, and the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613. In 1601-1603, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third...

), as well as Estland
Governorate of Estonia
The Governorate of Estonia or Estland, also known as the Government of Estonia or Province of Estonia, was a governorate of the Russian Empire in what is now northern Estonia.-Historical overview:...

 and Livland, securing Russia's access to the sea and sea trade. On the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 Peter founded a new capital called Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, later known as Russia's Window to Europe. Peter the Great's reforms brought considerable Western European cultural influences to Russia.

The reign of Peter I's daughter Elisabeth in 1741–62 saw Russia's participation in the Seven Years War (1756–63). During this conflict Russia annexed Eastern Prussia for a while and even took Berlin. However, upon Elisabeth's death, all these conquests were returned to Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 by pro-Prussian Peter III of Russia
Peter III of Russia
Peter III was Emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. He was very pro-Prussian, which made him an unpopular leader. He was supposedly assassinated as a result of a conspiracy led by his wife, who succeeded him to the throne as Catherine II.-Early life and character:Peter was born in Kiel, in...

.

Catherine II (the Great), who ruled in 1762–96, presided over the Age of Russian Enlightenment
Russian Enlightenment
The Russian Age of Enlightenment was a period in the eighteenth century in which the government began to actively encourage the proliferation of arts and sciences. This time gave birth to the first Russian university, library, theatre, public museum, and relatively independent press...

. She extended Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and incorporated most of its territories into Russia during the Partitions of Poland
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe. In the south, after successful Russo-Turkish Wars against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, Catherine advanced Russia's boundary to the Black Sea, defeating the Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

. As a result of victories over the Ottomans, by the early 19th century Russia also made significant territorial gains in Transcaucasia. This continued with Alexander I's
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 (1801–25) wresting of Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 from the weakened kingdom of Sweden in 1809 and of Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 from the Ottomans in 1812. At the same time Russians colonized Alaska and even founded settlements in California, like Fort Ross.

In 1803–06 the first Russian circumnavigation
First Russian circumnavigation
The first Russian circumnavigation of the Earth took place from August 1803 to August 1806. It was sponsored by Count Nikolay Rumyantsev and was headed by Adam Johann von Krusenstern.-Events:...

 was made, later followed by other notable Russian sea exploration voyages. In 1820 a Russian expedition
Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen
Fabian Gottlieb Thaddeus von Bellingshausen was an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy, cartographer and explorer, who ultimately rose to the rank of Admiral...

 discovered the continent of Antarctica.
In alliances with various European countries, Russia fought against Napoleon's France. The French invasion of Russia
French invasion of Russia
The French invasion of Russia of 1812 was a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars. It reduced the French and allied invasion forces to a tiny fraction of their initial strength and triggered a major shift in European politics as it dramatically weakened French hegemony in Europe...

 at the height of Napoleon's power in 1812 failed miserably as the obstinate resistance in combination with the bitterly cold Russian winter
Russian Winter
The Russian Winter is a common explanation for military failures of invaders in Russia. Common nicknames are General Frost, General Winter and General Snow. Another was "General Mud"....

 led to a disastrous defeat of invaders, in which more than 95% of the pan-European Grande Armée perished. Led by Mikhail Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly, the Russian army ousted Napoleon from the country and drove through Europe in the war of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

, finally entering Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. Alexander I headed Russia's delegation at the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 that defined the map of post-Napoleonic Europe.

The officers of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia with them and attempted to curtail the tsar's powers during the abortive Decembrist revolt
Decembrist revolt
The Decembrist revolt or the Decembrist uprising took place in Imperial Russia on 14 December , 1825. Russian army officers led about 3,000 soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I's assumption of the throne after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of succession...

 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
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

. Between 1847 and 1851 a massive wave of Asiatic cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 swept over Russia, claiming about one million lives.

Nicholas's successor Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 (1855–81) enacted significant changes in the country, including the emancipation reform of 1861
Emancipation reform of 1861
The Emancipation Reform of 1861 in Russia was the first and most important of liberal reforms effected during the reign of Alexander II of Russia. The reform, together with a related reform in 1861, amounted to the liquidation of serf dependence previously suffered by peasants of the Russian Empire...

. These Great Reforms spurred industrialization and modernized the Russian army, which had successfully liberated Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 from Ottoman rule in 1877–78 Russo-Turkish War.
The late 19th century saw the rise of various socialist movements in Russia. Alexander II was killed in 1881 by revolutionary terrorists, and the reign of his son
Alexander III
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

 (1881–94) was less liberal but more peaceful. The last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II (1894–1917), was unable, however, to prevent the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905
Russian Revolution of 1905
The 1905 Russian Revolution was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire. Some of it was directed against the government, while some was undirected. It included worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies...

, triggered by the unsuccessful Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 and the demonstration incident known as Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday (1905)
Bloody Sunday was a massacre on in St. Petersburg, Russia, where unarmed, peaceful demonstrators marching to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II were gunned down by the Imperial Guard while approaching the city center and the Winter Palace from several gathering points. The shooting did not...

. The uprising was put down, but the government was forced to concede major reforms, including granting the freedoms of speech and assembly
Freedom of assembly
Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests...

, the legalization of political parties, and the creation of an elected legislative body, the State Duma of the Russian Empire
State Duma of the Russian Empire
The State Duma of the Russian Empire was a legislative assembly in the late Russian Empire, which met in the Taurida Palace in St. Petersburg. It was convened four times between 1906 and the collapse of the Empire in 1917.-History:...

. Migration to Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 increased rapidly in the early 20th century, particularly during the Stolypin agrarian reform
Stolypin reform
The Stolypin agrarian reforms were a series of changes to Imperial Russia's agricultural sector instituted during the tenure of Pyotr Stolypin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers...

. Between 1906 and 1914 more than 4 million settlers arrived here.

In 1914 Russia entered World War I in response to Austria's declaration of war on Russia's ally Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, and fought across multiple fronts while isolated from its Triple Entente
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

 allies. In 1916 the Brusilov Offensive
Brusilov Offensive
The Brusilov Offensive , also known as the June Advance, was the Russian Empire's greatest feat of arms during World War I, and among the most lethal battles in world history. Prof. Graydon A. Tunstall of the University of South Florida called the Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of...

 of the Russian Army almost completely destroyed the military of Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

. However, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was deepened by the rising costs of war, high casualties
World War I casualties
The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I were over 35 million. There were over 15 million deaths and 20 million wounded ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history....

, and rumors of corruption and treason. All this formed the climate for the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, carried out in two major acts.

The February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

 forced Nicholas II to abdicate; he and his family were imprisoned and later executed
Ipatiev House
Ipatiev House was a merchant's house in Yekaterinburg where the former Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, his family and members of his household were executed following the Bolshevik Revolution...

 during the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

. The monarchy was replaced by a shaky coalition of political parties that declared itself the Provisional Government
Russian Provisional Government
The Russian Provisional Government was the short-lived administrative body which sought to govern Russia immediately following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II . On September 14, the State Duma of the Russian Empire was officially dissolved by the newly created Directorate, and the country was...

. An alternative socialist establishment existed alongside, the Petrograd Soviet
Petrograd Soviet
The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies , usually called the Petrograd Soviet , was the soviet in Petrograd , Russia, established in March 1917 after the February Revolution as the representative body of the city's workers.The Petrograd Soviet became important during the Russian...

, wielding power through the democratically elected councils of workers and peasants, called Soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

. The rule of the new authorities only aggravated the crisis in the country, instead of resolving it. Eventually, the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, led by Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 leader Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, overthrew the Provisional Government and created the world’s first socialist state
Socialist state
A socialist state generally refers to any state constitutionally dedicated to the construction of a socialist society. It is closely related to the political strategy of "state socialism", a set of ideologies and policies that believe a socialist economy can be established through government...

.

Soviet Russia




Following the October Revolution, a civil war broke out between the anti-communist White movement
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 and the new regime with its Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. Russia lost its Ukrainian, Polish, Baltic, and Finnish territories by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, mediated by South African Andrik Fuller, at Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Powers, headed by Germany, marking Russia's exit from World War I.While the treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year,...

 that concluded hostilities with the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

 in World War I. The Allied powers
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 launched an unsuccessful military intervention
Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War
The Allied intervention was a multi-national military expedition launched in 1918 during World War I which continued into the Russian Civil War. Its operations included forces from 14 nations and were conducted over a vast territory...

 in support of anti-Communist forces, while both the Bolsheviks and White movement carried out campaigns of deportations and executions against each other, known respectively as the Red Terror
Red Terror
The Red Terror in Soviet Russia was the campaign of mass arrests and executions conducted by the Bolshevik government. In Soviet historiography, the Red Terror is described as having been officially announced on September 2, 1918 by Yakov Sverdlov and ended about October 1918...

 and White Terror
White Terror
White Terror is the violence carried out by reactionary groups as part of a counter-revolution. In particular, during the 20th century, in several countries the term White Terror was applied to acts of violence against real or suspected socialists and communists.-Historical origin: the French...

. By the end of the civil war the Russian economy and infrastructure were heavily damaged. Millions became White émigré
White Emigre
A white émigré was a Russian who emigrated from Russia in the wake of the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War, and who was in opposition to the contemporary Russian political climate....

s, and the Povolzhye famine claimed up to 5 million victims.

The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

 (called Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic at the time) together with three other Soviet republics formed the Soviet Union
Treaty on the Creation of the USSR
The Treaty on the Creation of the USSR is a document that legalized the creation of a union of several Soviet republics in the form of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics...

, or USSR, on 30 December 1922. Out of the 15 republics of the USSR, the Russian SFSR was the largest in terms of size, and making up over half of the total USSR population, dominated the union for its entire 69-year history.

Following Lenin's death in 1924, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, an elected General Secretary of the Communist Party
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

, managed to put down all opposition groups within the party and consolidate much power in his hands. Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, the main proponent of the world revolution
World revolution
World revolution is the Marxist concept of overthrowing capitalism in all countries through the conscious revolutionary action of the organized working class...

, was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929, and Stalin's idea of socialism in one country
Socialism in One Country
Socialism in One Country was a theory put forth by Joseph Stalin in 1924, elaborated by Nikolai Bukharin in 1925 and finally adopted as state policy by Stalin...

 became the primary line. The continued internal struggle in the Bolshevik party culminated in the Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

, a period of mass repressions in 1937–38, in which hundreds of thousands of people were executed, including military leaders convicted in coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 plots.

The government launched a planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

, industrialisation
Industrialisation
Industrialization is the process of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial one...

 of the largely rural country, and collectivization of its agriculture. During this period of rapid economical and social changes, millions of people were sent to penal labor camps
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

, including many political convicts, and millions were deported and exiled
Population transfer in the Soviet Union
Population transfer in the Soviet Union may be classified into the following broad categories: deportations of "anti-Soviet" categories of population, often classified as "enemies of workers," deportations of entire nationalities, labor force transfer, and organized migrations in opposite...

 to remote areas of the Soviet Union. The transitional disorganisation of the country's agriculture, combined with the harsh state policies and a drought, led to the famine of 1932–33. However, though with a heavy price, the Soviet Union was transformed from a largely agrarian economy to a major industrial powerhouse in a short span of time.
The Appeasement policy of Great Britain and France towards Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's annexations of Ruhr
Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

, Austria and finally of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 enlarged the might of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and put a threat of war to the Soviet Union. Around the same time the German Reich allied with the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

, a rival of the USSR in the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 and an open enemy in the Soviet–Japanese Border Wars in 1938–39.

In August 1939, after another failure of attempts to establish a counter-Nazism alliance with Britain and France, the Soviet government agreed to conclude the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 with Germany, pledging non-aggression between the two countries and dividing their spheres of influence in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. While Hitler conquered Poland, France and other countries acting on single front at the start of the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the USSR was able to build up its military and regain some of the former territories of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 during the Soviet invasion of Poland
Soviet invasion of Poland
Soviet invasion of Poland can refer to:* the second phase of the Polish-Soviet War of 1920 when Soviet armies marched on Warsaw, Poland* Soviet invasion of Poland of 1939 when Soviet Union allied with Nazi Germany attacked Second Polish Republic...

 and the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

.

On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany broke the non-aggression treaty and invaded the Soviet Union with the largest and most powerful invasion force in human history, opening the largest theater of the Second World War
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

. Although the German army
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 had considerable success early on, their onslaught was halted in the Battle of Moscow
Battle of Moscow
The Battle of Moscow is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow, capital of...

. Subsequently the Germans were dealt major defeats first at the Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

 in the winter of 1942–43, and then in the Battle of Kursk
Battle of Kursk
The Battle of Kursk took place when German and Soviet forces confronted each other on the Eastern Front during World War II in the vicinity of the city of Kursk, in the Soviet Union in July and August 1943. It remains both the largest series of armored clashes, including the Battle of Prokhorovka,...

 in the summer of 1943. Another German failure was the Siege of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

, in which the city was fully blockaded on land between 1941–44 by German and Finnish forces, suffering starvation and more than a million deaths, but never surrendering. Under Stalin's administration and the leadership of such commanders as Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

 and Konstantin Rokossovsky
Konstantin Rokossovsky
Konstantin Rokossovskiy was a Polish-origin Soviet career officer who was a Marshal of the Soviet Union, as well as Marshal of Poland and Polish Defence Minister, who was famously known for his service in the Eastern Front, where he received high esteem for his outstanding military skill...

, Soviet forces drove through Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 in 1944–45 and captured Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

 in May 1945. In August 1945 the Soviet Army ousted Japanese
Soviet-Japanese War (1945)
The Soviet-Japanese War of 1945 , began on August 9, 1945, with the Soviet invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. The Soviets liberated Manchukuo, Mengjiang , northern Korea, southern Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands...

 from China's Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

 and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, contributing to the allied victory over Japan.
The 1941–45 period of World War II is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War
Great Patriotic War (term)
The term Great Patriotic War , Velíkaya Otéchestvennaya voyná,) is used in Russia and some other states of the former Soviet Union to describe the portion of World War II from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945, against Nazi Germany and its allies in the many fronts of Soviet-German war.-History:The term...

. In this conflict, which included many of the most lethal battle operations in human history, Soviet military and civilian deaths were 10.6 million and 15.9 million respectively, accounting for about a third of all World War II casualties
World War II casualties
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. Over 60 million people were killed, which was over 2.5% of the world population. The tables below give a detailed country-by-country count of human losses.-Total dead:...

. The full demographic loss to the Soviet peoples was even greater. The Soviet economy and infrastructure suffered massive devastation but the Soviet Union emerged as an acknowledged superpower
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

.

The Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 occupied Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 after the war, including East Germany. Dependent socialist governments were installed in the Eastern bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 satellite states. Becoming the world's second nuclear weapons power
Russia and weapons of mass destruction
Russia possesses the largest stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in the world. The country declared an arsenal of 39,967 tons of chemical weapons in 1997, of which 48% have been destroyed. The Federation of American Scientists, a renowned organization for assessing nuclear weapon...

, the USSR established the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 alliance and entered into a struggle for global dominance, known as the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, with the United States and NATO. The Soviet Union exported its Communist ideology to newly formed People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, and later into Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and many other countries. Significant amounts of the Soviet resources were allocated in aid
International relations within the Comecon
The "Council for Mutual Economic Assistance" was an economic organization of communist states, created in 1949, and dissolved in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union...

 to the other socialist states.

After Stalin's death and a short period of collective rule
Collective leadership
Collective leadership or Collectivity of leadership , was considered an ideal form of governance in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics...

, new leader Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 denounced the cult of personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

 of Stalin and launched the policy of de-Stalinization
De-Stalinization
De-Stalinization refers to the process of eliminating the cult of personality, Stalinist political system and the Gulag labour-camp system created by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Stalin was succeeded by a collective leadership after his death in March 1953...

. Penal labor system was reformed and many prisoners were released and rehabilitated (lots of them posthumously). The general easement of repressive policies became known later as the Khrushchev thaw
Khrushchev Thaw
The Khrushchev Thaw refers to the period from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s, when repression and censorship in the Soviet Union were partially reversed and millions of Soviet political prisoners were released from Gulag labor camps, due to Nikita Khrushchev's policies of de-Stalinization and...

. At the same time, tensions with the United States heightened when the two rivals clashed over the deployment of the U.S. Jupiter missiles in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and Soviet missiles in Cuba
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

.


In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

, Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1 ) was the first artificial satellite to be put into Earth's orbit. It was launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957. The unanticipated announcement of Sputnik 1s success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in the United States and ignited the Space...

, thus starting the Space Age
Space Age
The Space Age is a time period encompassing the activities related to the Space Race, space exploration, space technology, and the cultural developments influenced by these events. The Space Age is generally considered to have begun with Sputnik...

. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

 became the first human to orbit the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 aboard Vostok 1
Vostok 1
Vostok 1 was the first spaceflight in the Vostok program and the first human spaceflight in history. The Vostok 3KA spacecraft was launched on April 12, 1961. The flight took Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut from the Soviet Union, into space. The flight marked the first time that a human entered outer...

 manned spacecraft on 12 April 1961
Cosmonautics Day
Cosmonautics Day is a holiday celebrated in Russia and some other former USSR countries on April 12. This holiday celebrates the first manned space flight made on April 12, 1961 by the 27-year old Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin circled the Earth for 1 hour and 48 minutes aboard the Vostok...

.

Following the ousting of voluntarist and erratic Khrushchev in 1964, another period of collective rule ensued, until Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 became the leader. The era of 1970s and the early 1980s was designated later as the Era of Stagnation, a period when the economic growth slowed and social policies became static. The Kosygin reform, aimed into partial decentralization
Decentralization
__FORCETOC__Decentralization or decentralisation is the process of dispersing decision-making governance closer to the people and/or citizens. It includes the dispersal of administration or governance in sectors or areas like engineering, management science, political science, political economy,...

 of the Soviet economy and shifting the emphasis from heavy industry
Heavy industry
Heavy industry does not have a single fixed meaning as compared to light industry. It can mean production of products which are either heavy in weight or in the processes leading to their production. In general, it is a popular term used within the name of many Japanese and Korean firms, meaning...

 and weapons to light industry
Light industry
Light industry is usually less capital intensive than heavy industry, and is more consumer-oriented than business-oriented...

 and consumer goods, was stifled by the conservative Communist leadership.

In 1979 the Soviet forces entered Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 at the request of its communist government. The occupation drained economic resources and dragged on without achieving meaningful political results. Ultimately the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

 was withdrawn from Afghanistan in 1989 because of international opposition, persistent anti-Soviet guerilla warfare (enhanced by the U.S.), and a lack of support from Soviet citizens.

From 1985 onwards, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 introduced the policies of glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 (openness) and perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

 (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize the country and make it more democratic. However, this led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements. Prior to 1991, the Soviet economy was the second largest in the world, but during its last years it was afflicted by shortages of goods in grocery stores, huge budget deficits, and explosive growth in money supply leading to inflation.

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 socialist rule. The USSR was dissolved
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 into 15 post-Soviet states
Post-Soviet states
The post-Soviet states, also commonly known as the Former Soviet Union or former Soviet republics, are the 15 independent states that split off from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its dissolution in December 1991...

 in December 1991.

Russian Federation


Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

 was elected the President of Russia in June 1991, in the first direct presidential election in Russian history. During and after the Soviet disintegration, wide-ranging reforms including privatisation and market and trade liberalization were being undertaken, including the radical changes along the lines of "shock therapy
Shock therapy (economics)
In economics, shock therapy refers to the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large scale privatization of previously public owned assets....

" as recommended by the United States and International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

. All this resulted in a major economy crisis, characterized by 50% decline of both GDP and industrial output between 1990–95.

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 in an enormous capital flight
Capital flight
Capital flight, in economics, occurs when assets and/or money rapidly flow out of a country, due to an economic event and that disturbs investors and causes them to lower their valuation of the assets in that country, or otherwise to lose confidence in its economic...

. The depression of state and economy led to the collapse of social services; the birth rate
Birth rate
Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

 plummeted while the death rate skyrocketed. Millions plunged into poverty, from 1.5% level of poverty in the late Soviet era, to 39–49% by mid-1993. The 1990s saw extreme corruption and lawlessness, rise of criminal gangs and violent crime.

The 1990s were plagued by armed conflicts in the Northern Caucasus, both local ethnic skirmishes and separatist Islamist insurrections. Since the Chechen
Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

 separatists had declared independence in the early 1990s, an intermittent guerrilla war
First Chechen War
The First Chechen War, also known as the War in Chechnya, was a conflict between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, fought from December 1994 to August 1996...

 was fought between the rebel groups and the Russian military. Terrorist attacks against civilians carried out by separatists, most notably the Moscow theater hostage crisis
Moscow theater hostage crisis
The Moscow theater hostage crisis, also known as the 2002 Nord-Ost siege, was the seizure of the crowded Dubrovka Theater on 23 October 2002 by some 40 to 50 armed Chechens who claimed allegiance to the Islamist militant separatist movement in Chechnya. They took 850 hostages and demanded the...

 and Beslan school siege, caused hundreds of deaths and drew worldwide attention.

Russia took up the 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 further GDP decline.

On 31 December 1999 President Yeltsin resigned, handing the post to the recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

, who then won the 2000 presidential election
Russian presidential election, 2000
Russian presidential elections were held on 26 March 2000. Incumbent Prime Minister, and acting President Vladimir Putin, who had succeeded Boris Yeltsin on his resignation December 31, 1999, was seeking a four-year term in his own right and won the elections in the first round. Polling stations...

. Putin suppressed the Chechen insurgency
Second Chechen War
The Second Chechen War, in a later phase better known as the War in the North Caucasus, was launched by the Russian Federation starting 26 August 1999, in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade ....

, although sporadic violence still occurs throughout the Northern Caucasus. High oil prices and initially weak currency followed by increasing domestic demand, consumption and investments has helped the economy grow for nine straight years, improving the standard of living and increasing Russia's influence on the world stage. While many reforms made during the Putin presidency have been generally criticized by Western nations as un-democratic, Putin's leadership over the return of order, stability, and progress has won him widespread popularity in Russia.

On 2 March 2008, Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the third President of the Russian Federation.Born to a family of academics, Medvedev graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987. He defended his dissertation in 1990 and worked as a docent at his alma mater, now renamed to Saint...

 was elected President of Russia, whilst Putin became Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Russia
The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation The use of the term "Prime Minister" is strictly informal and is not allowed for by the Russian Constitution and other laws....

.

Politics


According to the Constitution of Russia
Constitution of Russia
The current Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted by national referendum on 12 December 1993. Russia's constitution came into force on 25 December 1993, at the moment of its official publication...

, the country is a federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 and semi-presidential republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

, wherein the President is the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Russia
The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation The use of the term "Prime Minister" is strictly informal and is not allowed for by the Russian Constitution and other laws....

 is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

. The Russian Federation is fundamentally structured as a multi-party
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

 representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

, with the federal government composed of three branches:
  • Legislative: The bicameral Federal Assembly
    Federal Assembly of Russia
    The Federal Assembly of Russia is the legislature of the Russian Federation, according to the Constitution of Russian Federation, 1993...

    , made up of the 450-member State Duma
    State Duma
    The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

     and the 166-member Federation Council
    Federation Council
    Federation Council may refer to:* Federation Council of Russia, the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia* Federation Council , an organization in the fictional Star Trek universe-See also:...

    , adopts federal law
    Federal law
    Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as states or provinces join together in a federation, surrendering their individual sovereignty and many powers to the central government while...

    , declares war
    Declaration of war
    A declaration of war is a formal act by which one nation goes to war against another. The declaration is a performative speech act by an authorized party of a national government in order to create a state of war between two or more states.The legality of who is competent to declare war varies...

    , approves treaties, has the power of the purse
    Power of the purse
    The power of the purse is the ability of one group to manipulate and control the actions of another group by withholding funding, or putting stipulations on the use of funds. The power of the purse can be used to save their money and positively or negatively The power of the purse is the ability...

     and the power of impeachment
    Impeachment
    Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

     of the President.
  • Executive
    Executive (government)
    Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

    : The President is the commander-in-chief
    Commander-in-Chief
    A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

     of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
  • Judiciary
    Judiciary
    The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

    : The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration 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). Leading political parties in Russia include United Russia
United Russia
United Russia is a centrist political party in Russia and the largest party in the country, currently holding 315 of the 450 seats in the State Duma. The party was founded in December 2001, through a merger of the Unity and Fatherland-All Russia parties...

, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia , Liberal'no-Demokraticheskaya Partiya Rossii is a political party in Russia. Since its founding in 1991, it has been led by the charismatic and controversial figure Vladimir Zhirinovsky...

, and Fair Russia
Fair Russia
A Just Russia, , also translated as Fair Russia, is a social democratic political party in Russia currently holding 38 of the 450 seats in the State Duma. It was formed on October 28, 2006, as a merger of Rodina, the Russian Party of Life and the Russian Pensioners' Party. Later, 6 further minor...

.

Western observers have raised questions as to how much of Russia's political system corresponds to Western liberal democratic ideals. Academics have often complained about the difficulty of classifying Russia's political system. According Steve White, during the Putin presidency Russia made clear that it had no intention of establishing a "second edition" of the American or British political system, but rather a system that was closer to Russia's own traditions and circumstances. Richard Sakwa
Richard Sakwa
Richard Sakwa is an expert in the field of Russian and Eastern European communist and post-communist politics. Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent.-Career:...

 wrote that the Russian government is undoubtedly considered legitimate by the great majority of the Russian people and seeks to deliver a set of public goods without appealing to extra-democratic logic to achieve them, but whether the system was becoming an illiberal or delegative democracy was more contentious.

Foreign relations




The Russian Federation is recognized in international law as successor state of the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Russia continues to implement the international commitments of the USSR, and has assumed the USSR's permanent seat in the UN Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

, membership in other international organisations, the rights and obligations under international treaties, and property and debts. Russia has a multifaceted foreign policy. As of 2009, it maintains diplomatic relations with 191 countries and has 144 embassies. The foreign policy is determined by the President and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is the central government institution charged with leading the foreign affairs of Russia. Its predecessor organisation is the Ministry of External Relations of the USSR...

.

As the successor to a former superpower, Russia's geopolitical status has been often debated, particularly in relation to unipolar and multipolar
Polarity in international relations
Polarity in international relations is any of the various ways in which power is distributed within the international system. It describes the nature of the international system at any given period of time. One generally distinguishes four types of systems: Unipolarity, Bipolarity, Tripolarity, and...

 views on the global political system. While Russia is commonly accepted to be a great power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

, in recent years it has been characterized by a number of world leaders, scholars, commentators and politicians as a currently reinstating or potential superpower.

An important aspect of Russia's relations with the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 is the criticism of Russia's political system and human rights management by the Western governments, the mass media and the leading democracy and human rights watchdogs. In particular, such organisations as the Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 and Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 consider Russia to have not enough democratic attributes and to allow few political rights and civil liberties to its citizens. US-funded international organisation Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

 ranks Russia as "not free", citing "carefully engineered elections" and "absence" of debate. Russian authorities dismiss these claims and especially criticise Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is the central government institution charged with leading the foreign affairs of Russia. Its predecessor organisation is the Ministry of External Relations of the USSR...

 has called the 2006 Freedom in the World Report "prefabricated", stating that the human rights issues have been turned into a political weapon in particular by the U. S. The ministry also claims that such organisations as Freedom House and Human Rights Watch use the same scheme of voluntary extrapolation of "isolated facts that of course can be found in any country" into "dominant tendencies".
As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia plays a major role in maintaining international peace and security. The country participates in the Quartet on the Middle East
Quartet on the Middle East
The Quartet on the Middle East, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or Madrid Quartet or simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet are the United Nations, the...

 and the Six-party talks
Six-party talks
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.There has been a series of meetings with six participating states:* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea ;...

 with North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

. Russia is a member of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, OSCE and APEC. Russia usually takes a leading role in regional organisations such as the CIS
CIS
CIS usually refers to the Commonwealth of Independent States, a modern political entity consisting of eleven former Soviet Union republics.The acronym CIS may also refer to:-Organizations:...

, EurAsEC, CSTO, and the SCO. Former President Vladimir Putin had advocated a strategic partnership with close integration in various dimensions including establishment of EU-Russia Common Spaces. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has developed a friendlier, albeit volatile relationship with NATO. The NATO-Russia Council was established in 2002 to allow the 26 Allies and Russia to work together as equal partners to pursue opportunities for joint collaboration.

Russia maintains strong and positive relations with other BRIC countries. In recent years, the country has sought to strengthen ties especially with the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 by signing the Treaty of Friendship as well as building the Trans-Siberian oil pipeline geared toward growing Chinese energy needs.

Military


The Russian military is divided into the Ground Forces
Russian Ground Forces
The Russian Ground Forces are the land forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and required reforms to professionalize the force...

, Navy, and Air Force
Russian Air Force
The Russian Air Force is the air force of Russian Military. It is currently under the command of Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin. The Russian Navy has its own air arm, the Russian Naval Aviation, which is the former Soviet Aviatsiya Voyenno Morskogo Flota , or AV-MF).The Air Force was formed from...

. There are also three independent arms of service: Strategic Rocket Forces
Strategic Rocket Forces
The Strategic Missile Troops or Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation or RVSN RF , transliteration: Raketnye voyska strategicheskogo naznacheniya Rossiyskoy Federatsii, literally Missile Troops of Strategic Designation of the Russian Federation) are a military branch of the Russian...

, Military Space Forces
Russian Space Forces (VKS)
The Russian Space Forces is the branch of the Russian Military responsible for military space operations. Established on August 10, 1992, following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the creation of the Russian Armed Forces, the organisation shares control of the Baikonur Cosmodrome with the...

, and the Airborne Troops. In 2006, the military had 1.037 million personnel on active duty. It is mandatory for all male citizens aged 18–27 to be drafted
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 for a year of service in Armed Forces.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons
Russia and weapons of mass destruction
Russia possesses the largest stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in the world. The country declared an arsenal of 39,967 tons of chemical weapons in 1997, of which 48% have been destroyed. The Federation of American Scientists, a renowned organization for assessing nuclear weapon...

 in the world. It has the second largest fleet of ballistic missile submarine
Ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

s and is the only country apart from the U.S. with a modern strategic bomber
Strategic bomber
A strategic bomber is a heavy bomber aircraft designed to drop large amounts of ordnance onto a distant target for the purposes of debilitating an enemy's capacity to wage war. Unlike tactical bombers, which are used in the battle zone to attack troops and military equipment, strategic bombers are...

 force. Russia's tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 force is the largest in the world, its surface navy and air force are among the largest ones.

The country has a large and fully indigenous arms industry
Defense industry of Russia
The Defense industry of Russia is a strategically important sector and a large employer. It is also a significant player in the global arms market...

, producing most of its own military equipment with only few types of weapons imported. Russia is the world's top supplier of arms, a spot it has held since 2001, accounting for around 30% of worldwide weapons sales and exporting weapons to about 80 countries.

Official government military spending for 2008 was $58 billion, the fifth largest in the world, though various sources have estimated Russia’s military expenditures to be considerably higher. Currently, a major equipment upgrade worth about $200 billion is on its way between 2006 and 2015.

Political divisions



Federal subjects
The Russian Federation comprises 83 federal subjects. These subjects have equal representation—two delegates each—in the Federation Council
Federation Council
Federation Council may refer to:* Federation Council of Russia, the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia* Federation Council , an organization in the fictional Star Trek universe-See also:...

. However, they differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy.
  • 46 oblasts
    Oblasts of Russia
    The Russian Federation is divided into 83 subjects , of which 46 are oblasts ....

     (provinces): most common type of federal subjects, with federally appointed governor and locally elected legislature.
  • 21 republics
    Republics of Russia
    The Russian Federation is divided into 83 federal subjects , 21 of which are republics. The republics represent areas of non-Russian ethnicity. The indigenous ethnic group of a republic that gives it its name is referred to as the "titular nationality"...

    : nominally autonomous; each has its own constitution, president 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
    Krais of Russia
    The Russian Federation is divided into 83 subjects, of which nine are krais, or krays :#Altai Krai#Kamchatka Krai#Khabarovsk Krai#Krasnodar Krai#Krasnoyarsk Krai#Perm Krai#Primorsky Krai...

     (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 okrugs of Russia
    Autonomous okrug is a type of federal subject of Russia and simultaneously a type of administrative division of some federal subjects. As of 2008, the Russian Federation is divided into 83 federal subjects, of which four are avtonomnyye okruga Autonomous okrug (district, area, region) is a...

     (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
    Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
    Chukotka Autonomous Okrug , or Chukotka , is a federal subject of Russia located in the Russian Far East.Chukotka has a population of 53,824 according to the 2002 Census, and a surface area of . The principal town and the administrative center is Anadyr...

    , all autonomous okrugs are still administratively subordinated to a krai or an oblast of which they are a part.
  • 1 autonomous oblast
    Autonomous oblast
    An autonomous oblast is an autonomous entity within the state which is on the oblast level of the overall administrative subdivision. It may refer to:*Autonomous oblasts of the Soviet Union*Autonomous oblasts of Russia...

     (the Jewish Autonomous Oblast
    Jewish Autonomous Oblast
    The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is a federal subject of Russia situated in the Russian Far East, bordering Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast of Russia and Heilongjiang province of China. Its administrative center is the town of Birobidzhan....

    ): historically, autonomous oblasts were administrative units subordinated to krais. In 1990, all of them except for the Jewish AO were elevated in status to that of a republic.
  • 2 federal cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg): major cities that function as separate regions.


Federal districts
Federal subjects are grouped into eight federal districts
Federal districts of Russia
The federal districts are a level of administration for the convenience of the federal government of the Russian Federation. They are not the constituent units of Russia . Each district includes several federal subjects and each federal district has a presidential envoy...

, 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. Federal districts' envoys serve as liaisons between the federal subjects and the federal government and are primarily responsible for overseeing the compliance of the federal subjects with the federal laws.

Geography




Russia is the largest country in the world; its total area is 17075400 square kilometres (6,592,848.8 sq mi). There are 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia, 40 UNESCO biosphere reserve
Biosphere reserve
The Man and the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO was established in 1971 to promote interdisciplinary approaches to management, research and education in ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.-Development:...

s, 40 national parks and 101 nature reserves. It lies between latitudes 41°
41st parallel north
The 41st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 41 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 82° N
82nd parallel north
The 82nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 82 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane, in the Arctic. It passes through the Arctic Ocean and North America....

, and longitudes 19° E
19th meridian east
The meridian 19° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 169° W
169th meridian west
The meridian 169° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

Russia has a wide natural resource base, including major deposits of timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

, petroleum, natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, coal, ores and other mineral resources.

Topography


The two widest separated points in Russia are about 8000 km (4,971 mi) apart along a geodesic
Geodesic
In mathematics, a geodesic is a generalization of the notion of a "straight line" to "curved spaces". In the presence of a Riemannian metric, geodesics are defined to be the shortest path between points in the space...

 line. These points are: the boundary with Poland on a 60 km (37 mi) long Vistula Spit
Vistula Spit
The Vistula Spit is a spit, or peninsular stretch of land, which separates Vistula Lagoon from Gdańsk Bay in the Baltic Sea. The border between Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave of Russia, bisects it, politically dividing the spit in half between the two countries. The westernmost point...

 separating the Gdańsk Bay
Gdansk Bay
Gdańsk Bay or the Bay of Gdańsk or Danzig Bay is a southeastern bay of the Baltic Sea. It is named after the adjacent port city of Gdańsk in Poland and is sometimes referred to as a gulf.-Geography:...

 from the Vistula Lagoon
Vistula Lagoon
The Vistula Lagoon is a fresh water lagoon on the Baltic Sea separated from Gdańsk Bay by the Vistula Spit. It is sometimes known as the Vistula Bay or Vistula Gulf. The modern German name, Frisches Haff, is derived from an earlier form, Friesisches Haff. Both this term and the earlier Polish...

; and the farthest southeast of the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

. The points which are furthest separated in longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

 are 6600 km (4,101 mi) apart along a geodesic line. These points are: in the west, the same spit; in the east, the Big Diomede Island. The Russian Federation spans 9 time zone
Time zone
A time zone is a region on Earth that has a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes. In order for the same clock time to always correspond to the same portion of the day as the Earth rotates , different places on the Earth need to have different clock times...

s.
Most of Russia consists of vast stretches of plains that are predominantly steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

 to the south and heavily forested to the north, with tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

 along the northern coast. Russia possesses 10% of the world's arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

. Mountain ranges are found along the southern borders, such as the Caucasus
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 (containing Mount Elbrus
Mount Elbrus
Mount Elbrus is an inactive volcano located in the western Caucasus mountain range, in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia, Russia, near the border of Georgia. Mt. Elbrus's peak is the highest in the Caucasus, in Russia...

, which at 5642 m (18,510 ft) is the highest point in both Russia and Europe) and the Altai (containing Mount Belukha, which at the 4506 m (14,783 ft) is the highest point of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 outside of the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

); and in the eastern parts, such as the Verkhoyansk Range
Verkhoyansk Range
thumb|right|The Verkhoyansk Range is the L-shaped area east of the LenaThe Verkhoyansk Range is a mountain range of eastern Siberia, spanning ca. 1000 km , across the Sakha Republic. It forms a vast arc between the Lena and Aldan rivers to the west and the Yana River to the east. It rises to ca....

 or the volcanoes of Kamchatka Peninsula
Kamchatka Peninsula
The Kamchatka Peninsula is a peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of . It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west...

 (containing Klyuchevskaya Sopka
Klyuchevskaya Sopka
Klyuchevskaya Sopka is a stratovolcano which is the highest mountain on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia and the highest active volcano of Eurasia. Its steep, symmetrical cone towers about from the Bering Sea...

, which at the 4750 m (15,584 ft) is the highest active volcano in Eurasia as well as the highest point of Asian Russia). The Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

, rich in mineral resources, form a north-south range that divides Europe and Asia.

Russia has an extensive coastline of over 37000 km (22,991 mi) along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as along the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

, Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

, Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. The Barents Sea
Barents Sea
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

, White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

, Kara Sea
Kara Sea
The Kara Sea is part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia. It is separated from the Barents Sea to the west by the Kara Strait and Novaya Zemlya, and the Laptev Sea to the east by the Severnaya Zemlya....

, Laptev Sea
Laptev Sea
The Laptev Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern coast of Siberia, the Taimyr Peninsula, Severnaya Zemlya and the New Siberian Islands. Its northern boundary passes from the Arctic Cape to a point with co-ordinates of 79°N and 139°E, and ends at the Anisiy...

, East Siberian Sea
East Siberian Sea
The East Siberian Sea is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the Arctic Cape to the north, the coast of Siberia to the south, the New Siberian Islands to the west and Cape Billings, close to Chukotka, and Wrangel Island to the east...

, Chukchi Sea
Chukchi Sea
Chukchi Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is bounded on the west by the De Long Strait, off Wrangel Island, and in the east by Point Barrow, Alaska, beyond which lies the Beaufort Sea. The Bering Strait forms its southernmost limit and connects it to the Bering Sea and the Pacific...

, Bering Sea
Bering Sea
The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

, Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

, and the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan
The Sea of Japan is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, between the Asian mainland, the Japanese archipelago and Sakhalin. It is bordered by Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific...

 are linked to Russia via the Arctic and Pacific. Russia's major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya , also known in Dutch as Nova Zembla and in Norwegian as , is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the northern island...

, the Franz Josef Land
Franz Josef Land
Franz Josef Land, Franz Joseph Land, or Francis Joseph's Land is an archipelago located in the far north of Russia. It is found in the Arctic Ocean north of Novaya Zemlya and east of Svalbard, and is administered by Arkhangelsk Oblast. Franz Josef Land consists of 191 ice-covered islands with a...

, the Severnaya Zemlya
Severnaya Zemlya
Severnaya Zemlya is an archipelago in the Russian high Arctic at around . It is located off mainland Siberia's Taymyr Peninsula across the Vilkitsky Strait...

, the New Siberian Islands
New Siberian Islands
The New Siberian Islands are an archipelago, located to the North of the East Siberian coast between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea north of the Sakha Republic....

, Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian. The International Date Line is displaced eastwards at this latitude to avoid the island as well as the Chukchi Peninsula on the Russian mainland...

, the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

, and Sakhalin
Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

. The Diomede Islands
Diomede Islands
The Diomede Islands , also known in Russia as Gvozdev Islands , consist of two rocky, tuya-like islands:* The U.S. island of Little Diomede or, in its native language, Ignaluk , and* The Russian island of Big Diomede , also known as Imaqliq,...

 (one controlled by Russia, the other by the U.S.) are just 3 km (1.9 mi) apart, and Kunashir Island
Kunashir Island
Kunashir Island , possibly meaning Black Island or Grass Island in Ainu, is the southernmost island of the Kuril Islands, which are controlled by Russia and claimed by Japan ....

 is about 20 km (12.4 mi) from Hokkaidō
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

, Japan.
Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water providing it with one of the world's largest surface water resources. The largest and most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

, the world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious fresh water lake. Baikal alone contains over one fifth of the world's fresh surface water. Other major lakes include Ladoga
Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe, and the 14th largest lake by area in the world.-Geography:...

 and Onega
Lake Onega
Lake Onega is a lake in the north-west European part of Russia, located on the territory of Republic of Karelia, Leningrad Oblast and Vologda Oblast. It belongs to the basin of Baltic Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and is the second largest lake in Europe after Lake Ladoga...

, two of the largest lakes in Europe. Russia is second only to Brazil in volume of the total renewable water resources. Of the country's 100,000 rivers, the Volga is the most famous, not only because it is the longest river in Europe, but also because of its major role in Russian history. The Siberian rivers Ob
Ob River
The Ob River , also Obi, is a major river in western Siberia, Russia and is the world's seventh longest river. It is the westernmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean .The Gulf of Ob is the world's longest estuary.-Names:The Ob is known to the Khanty people as the...

, Yenisey, Lena
Lena River
The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean . It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed...

 and Amur are among the very longest rivers in the world.

Climate


The enormous size of Russia and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental climate
Humid continental climate
A humid continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and cold winters....

, which is prevalent in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme southeast. Mountains in the south obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, while the plain of the west and north makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences.

Most of Northern European Russia and Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 has a subarctic climate
Subarctic climate
The subarctic climate is a climate characterized by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. It is found on large landmasses, away from the moderating effects of an ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N poleward of the humid continental climates...

, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of Northeast Siberia (mostly the Sakha Republic, where the Northern Pole of Cold
Pole of Cold
The Poles of Cold are the places in the Northern and Southern hemispheres where the lowest air temperatures have been recorded.- Northern hemisphere :...

 is located with the record low temperature of −71.2 °C), and more moderate elsewhere. The strip of land along the shore of the Arctic Ocean, as well as the Russian Arctic islands
Russian Arctic islands
The Russian Arctic islands are a number of islands groups and sole islands scattered around the Arctic Ocean.-Geography:The islands are all situated within the Arctic Circle and are scattered through the marginal seas of the Arctic ocean namely the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian...

, have a polar climate
Polar climate
Regions with a polar climate are characterized by a lack of warm summers . Regions with polar climate cover over 20% of the Earth. The sun shines 24 hours in the summer, and barely ever shines at all in the winter...

.

The coastal part of Krasnodar Krai
Krasnodar Krai
-External links:* **...

 on the Black Sea, most notably in Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

, possesses a humid subtropical climate
Humid subtropical climate
A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

 with mild and wet winters. Winter is dry compared to summer in many regions of East Siberia and the Far East, while other parts of the country experience more even precipitation across seasons. Winter precipitation in most parts of the country usually falls as snow
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

. 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; spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low temperatures and extremely high. The coldest month is January (February on the coastline), the warmest usually is 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. The continental interiors are the driest areas.

Biodiversity




From north to south the East European Plain
East European Plain
The East European Plain is a plain comprising a series of river basins in Eastern Europe. Together with the Northern European Plain it constitutes the European Plain. It is the largest mountain-free part of the European landscape.The plain spans approximately and averages about in elevation...

, also known as Russian Plain, is clad sequentially in Arctic tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

, coniferous forest (taiga
Taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

), mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland (steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

), and semi-desert (fringing the Caspian Sea), as the changes in vegetation reflect the changes in climate. Siberia supports a similar sequence but is largely taiga. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, known as "the lungs of Europe", second only to the Amazon Rainforest
Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...

 in the amount of carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 it absorbs.

There are 266 mammal species and 780 bird species in Russia. A total of 415 animal species have been included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation
Red Data Book of the Russian Federation
Red Data Book of the Russian Federation , also known as Red Book or Russian Red Data Book is a state document established for documenting rare and endangered species of animals, plants and fungi, as well as some local subspecies that exist within the territory of the Russian Federation and its...

 as of 1997 and are now protected.

Economy



Russia has a market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

 with enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas. It has the 10th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 6th largest by purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 (PPP). Since the turn of the 21st century, higher domestic consumption and greater political stability have bolstered economic growth in Russia. The country ended 2008 with its ninth straight year of growth, averaging 7% annually between 2000 and 2008. Real GDP per capita, PPP (current international $) was 19,840 in 2010. Growth was primarily driven by non-traded services and goods for the domestic market, as opposed to oil or mineral extraction and exports. The average nominal salary in Russia was $640 per month in early 2008, up from $80 in 2000. In the end of 2010 the average nominal monthly wages reached 21,192 RUR (or $750 USD), while tax on the income of individuals is payable at the rate of 13% on most incomes. Approximately 13.7% of Russians lived below the national poverty line in 2010, significantly down from 40% in 1998 at the worst point of the post-Soviet collapse. Unemployment in Russia was at 6% in 2007, down from about 12.4% in 1999. The middle class has grown from just 8 million persons in 2000 to 55 million persons in 2006.
Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of Russian exports abroad. Since 2003, the exports of natural resources started decreasing in economic importance as the internal market strengthened considerably. Despite higher energy prices, oil and gas only contribute to 5.7% of Russia's GDP and the government predicts this will be 3.7% by 2011. Oil export earnings allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from $12 billion in 1999 to $597.3 billion on 1 August 2008, the third largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. The macroeconomic policy under Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin
Alexei Kudrin
Alexei Leonidovich Kudrin was the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia from 18 May 2000 to 26 September 2011. After graduating with degrees in finance and economics, Kudrin worked in the administration of Saint Petersburg's liberal Mayor Anatoly Sobchak. In 1996 he started...

 was prudent and sound, with excess income being stored in the Stabilization Fund of Russia. In 2006, Russia repaid most of its formerly massive debts, leaving it with one of the lowest foreign debts among major economies. The Stabilization Fund helped Russia to come out out of the global financial crisis in a much better state than many experts had expected.

A simpler, more streamlined tax code adopted in 2001 reduced the tax burden on people and dramatically increased state revenue. Russia has a flat tax
Flat tax
A flat tax is a tax system with a constant marginal tax rate. Typically the term flat tax is applied in the context of an individual or corporate income that will be taxed at one marginal rate...

 rate of 13 percent. This ranks it as the country with the second most attractive personal tax system for single managers in the world after the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

. According to Bloomberg
Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg L.P. is an American privately held financial software, media, and data company. Bloomberg makes up one third of the $16 billion global financial data market with estimated revenue of $6.9 billion. Bloomberg L.P...

, Russia is considered well ahead of most other resource-rich countries in its economic development, with a long tradition of education, science, and industry. The country has more higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 graduates than Eurasia.

The economic development of the country has been uneven geographically with the Moscow region contributing a very large share of the country's GDP. Another problem is modernisation of infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

, ageing and inadequate after years of being neglected in 1990s; the government has said $1 trillion will be invested in development of infrastructure by 2020.

Agriculture




The total area of cultivated land in Russia was estimated as 1,237,294 km2 in 2005, the fourth largest in the world. In 1999–2009, Russia's agriculture demonstrated steady growth, and the country turned from a grain importer to the third largest grain exporter after EU and USA. The production of meat has grown from 6,813,000 tonnes in 1999 to 9,331,000 tonnes in 2008, and continues to grow.

This restoration of agriculture was supported by credit policy of the government, helping both individual farmers and large privatized corporate farms, that once were Soviet kolkhoz
Kolkhoz
A kolkhoz , plural kolkhozy, was a form of collective farming in the Soviet Union that existed along with state farms . The word is a contraction of коллекти́вное хозя́йство, or "collective farm", while sovkhoz is a contraction of советское хозяйство...

es and still own the significant share of agricultural land. While large farms concentrate mainly on the production of grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 and husbandry products, small private household plot
Household plot
Household plot is a legally defined farm type in all former socialist countries in CIS and CEE. This is a small plot of land attached to a rural residence. The household plot is primarily cultivated for subsistence and its traditional purpose since the Soviet times has been to provide the family...

s produce most of the country's yield of potatoes, vegetables and fruits.

With access to three of the world's oceans—the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific—Russian fishing fleets are a major contributor to the world's fish supply. The total capture of fish was at 3,191,068 tons in 2005. Both exports and imports of fish and sea products grew significantly in the recent years, reaching correspondingly $2,415 and $2,036 millions in 2008.

Energy




In recent years, Russia has frequently been described in the media as an energy superpower
Energy superpower
The term energy superpower does not have a clear definition. It has come to be used to refer to a nation that supplies large amounts of energy resources to a significant number of other states, and which therefore has the potential to influence world markets to gain a political or economic...

. The country has the world's largest natural gas reserves, the 8th largest oil reserves
Oil reserves
The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is...

, and the second largest coal reserves. Russia is the world's leading natural gas exporter and leading natural gas producer, while also the largest oil exporter and largest oil producer, though Russia used to interchange the latter status with Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 until 2008. On 1 January 2011, Russia said it had begun scheduled oil shipments to China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, with the plan to increase the rate up to 300,000 barrels per day in 2011.

Russia is the 3rd largest electricity producer in the world and the 5th largest renewable energy producer, the latter due to the well-developed hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 production in the country. Large cascades of hydropower plants are built in European Russia along big rivers like Volga. The Asian part of Russia also features a number of major hydropower stations, however the gigantic hydroelectric potential of Siberia and the Russian Far East largely remains unexploited.

Russia was the first country to develop civilian nuclear power and to construct the world's first nuclear power plant. Currently the country is the 4th largest nuclear energy producer, with all nuclear power in Russia
Nuclear power in Russia
In 2010 total electricity generated in nuclear power plants in Russia was 170.1 TWh, 16% of all power generation. The installed capacity of Russian nuclear reactors stood at 21,244 MW....

 being managed by Rosatom State Corporation. The sector is rapidly developing, with an aim of increasing the total share of nuclear energy from current 16.9% to 23% by 2020. The Russian government plans to allocate 127 billion rubles ($5.42 billion) to a federal program dedicated to the next generation of nuclear energy technology. About 1 trillion rubles ($42.7 billion) is to be allocated from the federal budget to nuclear power and industry development before 2015.

Transport




Railway transport in Russia
History of rail transport in Russia
In Russia, the largest country in the world, its geography of N.-S. rivers and E.-W. commerce made it very suited to develop railroads as its basic mode of transportation...

 is mostly under the control of the state-run Russian Railways
Russian Railways
The Russian Railways , is the government owned national rail carrier of the Russian Federation, headquartered in Moscow. The Russian Railways operate over of common carrier routes as well as a few hundred kilometers of industrial routes, making it the second largest network in the world exceeded...

 monopoly. The company accounts for over 3.6% of Russia’s GDP and handles 39% of the total freight traffic (including pipelines) and more than 42% of passenger traffic. The total length of common-used railway tracks exceeeds 85,500 km, second only to the U.S. Over 44,000 km of tracks are electrified
Railway electrification system
A railway electrification system supplies electrical energy to railway locomotives and multiple units as well as trams so that they can operate without having an on-board prime mover. There are several different electrification systems in use throughout the world...

, which is the largest number in the world, and additionally there are more than 30,000 km of industrial non-common carrier lines. Railways in Russia, unlike in the most of the world, use broad gauge
Broad gauge
Broad-gauge railways use a track gauge greater than the standard gauge of .- List :For list see: List of broad gauges, by gauge and country- History :...

 of , with the exception of 957 km on Sakhalin Island using narrow gauge of . The most renown railway in Russia is Trans-Siberian
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway in the world...

 (Transsib), spanning a record 7 time zones and serving the longest single continuous services in the world, Moscow-Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 (9,259 km, 5,753 mi), Moscow–Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

 (10,267 km, 6,380 mi) and Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

–Vladivostok (11,085 km, 6,888 mi).

As of 2006 Russia had 933,000 km of roads, of which 755,000 were paved. Some of these make up the Russian federal motorway system. With a large land area the road density is the lowest of all the G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 and BRIC
BRIC
In economics, BRIC is a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development...

 countries.

102,000 km of inland waterways in Russia mostly go by natural rivers or lakes. In the European part of the country the network of channels connects the basins of major rivers. Russia's capital, Moscow, is sometimes called "the port of the five seas", due to its waterway connections to the Baltic, White
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

, Caspian, Azov and Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

s.

Major sea ports of Russia include Rostov-on-Don
Rostov-on-Don
-History:The mouth of the Don River has been of great commercial and cultural importance since the ancient times. It was the site of the Greek colony Tanais, of the Genoese fort Tana, and of the Turkish fortress Azak...

 on the Azov Sea, Novorossiysk
Novorossiysk
Novorossiysk is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia. It is the country's main port on the Black Sea and the leading Russian port for importing grain. It is one of the few cities honored with the title of the Hero City. Population: -History:...

 on the Black Sea, Astrakhan
Astrakhan
Astrakhan is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the left bank of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of below the sea level. Population:...

 and Makhachkala
Makhachkala
-Twin towns/sister cities:Makhachkala is twinned with: Sfax, Tunisia Siping, China Spokane, United States Vladikavkaz, Russia Yalova, Turkey Ndola, Zambia-See also:*...

 on the Caspian, Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad is a seaport and the administrative center of Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea...

 and St Petersburg on the Baltic, Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk , formerly known as Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea in the north of European Russia. The city spreads for over along the banks of the river...

 on the White Sea, Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

 on the Barents Sea, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the main city and the administrative, industrial, scientific, and cultural center of Kamchatka Krai, Russia. Population: .-History:It was founded by Danish navigator Vitus Bering, in the service of the Russian Navy...

 and Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 on the Pacific Ocean. In 2008 the country owned 1448 merchant marine ships. The world's only fleet of nuclear icebreakers advances the economic exploitation of the Arctic continental shelf of Russia
Continental shelf of Russia
The continental shelf of Russia is a continental shelf adjacent to Russia. Geologically, the extent of the shelf is defined as the entirety of the continental shelves adjacent to Russia's coast...

 and the development of sea trade through the Northern Sea Route
Northern Sea Route
The Northern Sea Route is a shipping lane officially defined by Russian legislation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean specifically running along the Russian Arctic coast from Murmansk on the Barents Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait and Far East. The entire route lies in Arctic...

 between Europe and East Asia.


By total length of pipelines Russia is second only to the U.S. Currently many new pipeline projects are being realized, including Nord Stream and South Stream
South Stream
South Stream is a proposed gas pipeline to transport Russian natural gas to the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further to Greece, Italy and Austria. The project is seen as rival to the planned Nabucco pipeline...

 natural gas pipelines to Europe, and the Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline (ESPO) to the Russian Far East and China.

Russia has 1216 airports, the busiest being Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, and Vnukovo in Moscow, and Pulkovo
Pulkovo Airport
Pulkovo Airport is an international airport serving Saint Petersburg, Russia. It consists of two terminals, Pulkovo-1 and Pulkovo-2 , which are located about and south of the city centre, respectively. The airport serves as a hub for Rossiya Airlines , and as focus city for Nordavia...

 in St Petersburg. The total length of runways in Russia exceeds 600,000 km.

Typically, major Russian cities have well-developed and diverse systems of public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

, with the most common varieties of exploited vehicles being bus, trolleybus
Trolleybus
A trolleybus is an electric bus that draws its electricity from overhead wires using spring-loaded trolley poles. Two wires and poles are required to complete the electrical circuit...

 and tram
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

. Seven Russian cities, namely Moscow
Moscow Metro
The Moscow Metro is a rapid transit system serving Moscow and the neighbouring town of Krasnogorsk. Opened in 1935 with one line and 13 stations, it was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union. As of 2011, the Moscow Metro has 182 stations and its route length is . The system is...

, Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg Metro
The Saint Petersburg Metro is the underground railway system in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It has been open since November 15, 1955.Formerly known as the V.I...

, Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod Metro
The Nizhny Novgorod Metro , formerly known as Gorky Metro is a rapid-transit system that serves the city of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Opened in 1985, it consists of 13 stations and is 15.3 kilometres long.-History:...

, Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk Metro
-History:Novosibirsk is the third largest city of Russia, with a population of 1.4 million people. It was founded as a junction city between the main transfer arteries in Siberia, the Trans-Siberian railway and the Ob River. Thus, it was not a surprise that the city grew very quickly...

, Samara
Samara Metro
Samara Metro , formerly known as the Kuybyshev Metro , is a rapid transit system which serves the city of Samara, Russia. Opened in 1987, it consists of one line with 9 stations and 11.4 km of bi-directional long track.-History:...

, Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg Metro
The Yekaterinburg Metro is a rapid transit system that serves the city of Yekaterinburg, Russia.-History:Yekaterinburg, formerly called Sverdlovsk, was always known as the informal capital of the Urals, a natural divide between Europe and Asia, between Siberia and the European Russia. The city...

 and Kazan
Kazan Metro
Kazan Metro is a rapid-transit system that serves the city of Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. Opened on August 27, 2005, it is the newest system in Russia, and the first one to open after the breakup of the Soviet Union.-Planning:...

, have undeground metros, while Volgograd
Volgograd
Volgograd , formerly called Tsaritsyn and Stalingrad is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is long, north to south, situated on the western bank of the Volga River...

 features a metrotram. Total length of metros in Russia is 465.4 km. Moscow Metro and Saint Petersburg Metro are the oldest in Russia, opened in 1935 and 1955 respectively. These two are among the fastest and busiest metro systems in the world, and are famous for rich decorations and unique designs of their stations, which is a common tradition on Russian metros and railways.

Science and technology



Science and technology in Russia blossomed since the Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, when Peter the Great founded the Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Academy of Sciences
The Russian Academy of Sciences consists of the national academy of Russia and a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation as well as auxiliary scientific and social units like libraries, publishers and hospitals....

 and Saint Petersburg State University
Saint Petersburg State University
Saint Petersburg State University is a Russian federal state-owned higher education institution based in Saint Petersburg and one of the oldest and largest universities in Russia....

, and polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

 Mikhail Lomonosov
Mikhail Lomonosov
Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov was a Russian polymath, scientist and writer, who made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries was the atmosphere of Venus. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art,...

 established the Moscow State University
Moscow State University
Lomonosov Moscow State University , previously known as Lomonosov University or MSU , is the largest university in Russia. Founded in 1755, it also claims to be one of the oldest university in Russia and to have the tallest educational building in the world. Its current rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy...

, paving the way for a strong native tradition in learning and innovation. In the 19th and 20th centuries the country produced a large number of notable scientists and inventors.


The Russian physics school began with Lomonosov who proposed the law of conservation of matter preceding the energy conservation law. Russian discoveries and inventions in physics include the electric arc
Electric arc
An electric arc is an electrical breakdown of a gas which produces an ongoing plasma discharge, resulting from a current flowing through normally nonconductive media such as air. A synonym is arc discharge. An arc discharge is characterized by a lower voltage than a glow discharge, and relies on...

, electrodynamical Lenz's law
Lenz's law
Lenz's law is a common way of understanding how electromagnetic circuits must always obey Newton's third law and The Law of Conservation of Energy...

, space groups of crystal
Crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

s, photoelectric cell, Cherenkov radiation
Cherenkov radiation
Cherenkov radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium...

, electron paramagnetic resonance
Electron paramagnetic resonance
Electron paramagnetic resonance or electron spin resonance spectroscopyis a technique for studying chemical species that have one or more unpaired electrons, such as organic and inorganic free radicals or inorganic complexes possessing a transition metal ion...

, heterotransistors and 3D holography. Laser
Laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...

s and maser
Maser
A maser is a device that produces coherent electromagnetic waves through amplification by stimulated emission. Historically, “maser” derives from the original, upper-case acronym MASER, which stands for "Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation"...

s were co-invented by Nikolai Basov and Alexander Prokhorov, while the idea of tokamak
Tokamak
A tokamak is a device using a magnetic field to confine a plasma in the shape of a torus . Achieving a stable plasma equilibrium requires magnetic field lines that move around the torus in a helical shape...

 for controlled nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy...

 was introduced by Igor Tamm
Igor Tamm
Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm was a Soviet physicist and Nobel laureate who received most prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov and Ilya Frank, for the discovery of Cherenkov radiation, made in 1934.-Biography:Tamm was born in Vladivostok, Russian Empire , in a...

, Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Sakharov
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist. He earned renown as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the...

 and Lev Artsimovich
Lev Artsimovich
Lev Andreevich Artsimovich was a Soviet physicist, academician of the Soviet Academy of Sciences , member of the Presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences , and Hero of Socialist Labor .- Academic research :Artsimovich worked on the...

, leading eventually the modern international ITER
ITER
ITER is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering project, which is currently building the world's largest and most advanced experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor at Cadarache in the south of France...

 project, where Russia is a party.

Since the time of Nikolay Lobachevsky (a Copernicus of Geometry
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

 who pioneered the non-Euclidean geometry
Non-Euclidean geometry
Non-Euclidean geometry is the term used to refer to two specific geometries which are, loosely speaking, obtained by negating the Euclidean parallel postulate, namely hyperbolic and elliptic geometry. This is one term which, for historical reasons, has a meaning in mathematics which is much...

) and a prominent tutor Pafnuty Chebyshev
Pafnuty Chebyshev
Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev was a Russian mathematician. His name can be alternatively transliterated as Chebychev, Chebysheff, Chebyshov, Tschebyshev, Tchebycheff, or Tschebyscheff .-Early years:One of nine children, Chebyshev was born in the village of Okatovo in the district of Borovsk,...

, the Russian mathematical school became one of the most influential in the world. Chebyshev's students included Aleksandr Lyapunov
Aleksandr Lyapunov
Aleksandr Mikhailovich Lyapunov was a Russian mathematician, mechanician and physicist. His surname is sometimes romanized as Ljapunov, Liapunov or Ljapunow....

, who founded the modern stability theory
Stability theory
In mathematics, stability theory addresses the stability of solutions of differential equations and of trajectories of dynamical systems under small perturbations of initial conditions...

, and Andrey Markov
Andrey Markov
Andrey Andreyevich Markov was a Russian mathematician. He is best known for his work on theory of stochastic processes...

 who invented the Markov chain
Markov chain
A Markov chain, named after Andrey Markov, is a mathematical system that undergoes transitions from one state to another, between a finite or countable number of possible states. It is a random process characterized as memoryless: the next state depends only on the current state and not on the...

s. In the 20th century Soviet mathematicians, such as Andrey Kolmogorov
Andrey Kolmogorov
Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov was a Soviet mathematician, preeminent in the 20th century, who advanced various scientific fields, among them probability theory, topology, intuitionistic logic, turbulence, classical mechanics and computational complexity.-Early life:Kolmogorov was born at Tambov...

, Israel Gelfand
Israel Gelfand
Israel Moiseevich Gelfand, also written Israïl Moyseyovich Gel'fand, or Izrail M. Gelfand was a Soviet mathematician who made major contributions to many branches of mathematics, including group theory, representation theory and functional analysis...

 and Sergey Sobolev, made major contributions to various areas of mathematics. Nine Soviet/Russian mathematicians were awarded with Fields Medal
Fields Medal
The Fields Medal, officially known as International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians not over 40 years of age at each International Congress of the International Mathematical Union , a meeting that takes place every four...

, a most prestigious award in mathematics. Recently Grigori Perelman
Grigori Perelman
Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician who has made landmark contributions to Riemannian geometry and geometric topology.In 1992, Perelman proved the soul conjecture. In 2002, he proved Thurston's geometrization conjecture...

 was offered the first ever Clay Millennium Prize Problems
Millennium Prize Problems
The Millennium Prize Problems are seven problems in mathematics that were stated by the Clay Mathematics Institute in 2000. As of September 2011, six of the problems remain unsolved. A correct solution to any of the problems results in a US$1,000,000 prize being awarded by the institute...

 Award for his final proof of the Poincaré conjecture
Poincaré conjecture
In mathematics, the Poincaré conjecture is a theorem about the characterization of the three-dimensional sphere , which is the hypersphere that bounds the unit ball in four-dimensional space...

 in 2002.

Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev invented the Periodic table
Periodic table
The periodic table of the chemical elements is a tabular display of the 118 known chemical elements organized by selected properties of their atomic structures. Elements are presented by increasing atomic number, the number of protons in an atom's atomic nucleus...

, the main framework of modern chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

. Aleksandr Butlerov
Aleksandr Butlerov
Aleksandr Mikhailovich Butlerov was a Russian chemist, one of the principal creators of the theory of chemical structure , the first to incorporate double bonds into structural formulas, the discoverer of hexamine , and the discoverer of the formose reaction.The...

 was one of the creators of the theory of chemical structure
Chemical structure
A chemical structure includes molecular geometry, electronic structure and crystal structure of molecules. Molecular geometry refers to the spatial arrangement of atoms in a molecule and the chemical bonds that hold the atoms together. Molecular geometry can range from the very simple, such as...

, playing a central role in organic chemistry
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...

. Russian biologists include Dmitry Ivanovsky who discovered virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es, Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. Although he made significant contributions to psychology, he was not in fact a psychologist himself but was a mathematician and actually had strong distaste for the field....

 who was the first to experiment with the classical conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

, and Ilya Mechnikov who was a pioneer researcher of the immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

 and probiotics.

Many Russian scientists and inventors were émigrés, like Igor Sikorsky
Igor Sikorsky
Igor Sikorsky , born Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky was a Russian American pioneer of aviation in both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft...

, who built the first airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s and modern-type helicopters; Vladimir Zworykin
Vladimir Zworykin
Vladimir Kozmich Zworykin was a Russian-American inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology. Zworykin invented a television transmitting and receiving system employing cathode ray tubes...

, often called the father of TV; chemist Ilya Prigogine
Ilya Prigogine
Ilya, Viscount Prigogine was a Russian-born naturalized Belgian physical chemist and Nobel Laureate noted for his work on dissipative structures, complex systems, and irreversibility.-Biography :...

, noted for his work on dissipative structures and complex systems
Complex systems
Complex systems present problems in mathematical modelling.The equations from which complex system models are developed generally derive from statistical physics, information theory and non-linear dynamics, and represent organized but unpredictable behaviors of systems of nature that are considered...

; Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

-winning economists Simon Kuznets
Simon Kuznets
Simon Smith Kuznets was a Russian American economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who won the 1971 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences "for his empirically founded interpretation of economic growth which has led to new and deepened insight into the economic and...

 and Wassily Leontief
Wassily Leontief
Wassily Wassilyovich Leontief , was a Russian-American economist notable for his research on how changes in one economic sector may have an effect on other sectors. Leontief won the Nobel Committee's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1973, and three of his doctoral students have also...

; physicist Georgiy Gamov (an author of the Big Bang
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

 theory) and social scientist Pitirim Sorokin
Pitirim Sorokin
Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin was a Russian-American sociologist born in Komi . Academic and political activist in Russia, he emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1923. He founded the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. He was a vocal opponent of Talcott Parsons' theories...

. Many foreigners worked in Russia for a long time, like Leonard Euler and Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. He is the inventor of dynamite. Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron and steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon and other armaments...

.


Russian inventions include the arc welding
Arc welding
Arc welding is a type of welding that uses a welding power supply to create an electric arc between an electrode and the base material to melt the metals at the welding point. They can use either direct or alternating current, and consumable or non-consumable electrodes...

 by Nikolay Benardos
Nikolay Benardos
Nikolay Nikolayevich Benardos was a Ukrainian inventor who in 1881 introduced carbon arc welding, which was the first practical arc welding method.- References :* * at weldworld.ru...

, further developed by Nikolay Slavyanov
Nikolay Slavyanov
Nikolay Gavrilovich Slavyanov was a Russian inventor who in 1888 introduced arc welding with consumable metal electrodes, or shielded metal arc welding, the second historical arc welding method after carbon arc welding invented earlier by Nikolay Benardos.- References :* * at weldworld.ru...

, Konstantin Khrenov
Konstantin Khrenov
Konstantin Konstantinovich Khrenov was a Soviet engineer and inventor who in 1932 introduced underwater welding and cutting of metals. For this method, extensively used by the Soviet Navy during World War II, Khrenov was awarded the State Stalin Prize in 1946....

 and other Russian engineers. Gleb Kotelnikov
Gleb Kotelnikov
Gleb Yevgeniyevich Kotelnikov , was the Russian-Soviet inventor of the knapsack parachute , and braking parachute....

 invented the knapsack parachute, while Evgeniy Chertovsky introduced the pressure suit
Pressure suit
A pressure suit is a protective suit worn by high-altitude pilots who may fly at altitudes where the air pressure is too low for an unprotected person to survive, even breathing pure oxygen at positive pressure. Such suits may be either full-pressure or partial-pressure...

. Alexander Lodygin
Alexander Lodygin
Alexander Nikolayevich Lodygin was a Russian electrical engineer and inventor, one of inventors of the Incandescent light bulb....

 and Pavel Yablochkov
Pavel Yablochkov
Pavel Nikolayevich Yablochkov was a Russian electrical engineer, the inventor of the Yablochkov candle and businessman.-Biography:...

 were pioneers of electric lighting, and Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky introduced the first three-phase electric power
Three-phase electric power
Three-phase electric power is a common method of alternating-current electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. It is a type of polyphase system and is the most common method used by grids worldwide to transfer power. It is also used to power large motors and other heavy loads...

 systems, widely used today. Sergei Lebedev
Sergei Vasiljevich Lebedev
Sergei Vasiljevich Lebedev was a Russian/Soviet chemist and the inventor of the polybutadiene synthetic rubber, the first commercially viable and mass-produced type of synthetic rubber.- Biography :...

 invented the first commercially viable and mass-produced type of synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber is is any type of artificial elastomer, invariably a polymer. An elastomer is a material with the mechanical property that it can undergo much more elastic deformation under stress than most materials and still return to its previous size without permanent deformation...

. The first ternary computer
Ternary computer
A ternary computer is a computer that uses ternary logic instead of the more common binary logic in its calculations.-History:...

, Setun
Setun
Setun was a balanced ternary computer developed in 1958 at Moscow State University. The device was built under the lead of Sergei Sobolev and Nikolay Brusentsov. It was the only modern ternary computer, using three-valued ternary logic instead of two-valued binary logic prevalent in computers...

, was developed by Nikolay Brusentsov
Nikolay Brusentsov
Nikolay Brusentsov, born February 7, 1925 in Kamenskoe is a Russian computer scientist, most famous for having built a ternary computer, Setun, together with Sergei Sobolev in 1958.-References:...

,

Russian achievements in the field of space technology
Space technology
Space technology is technology that is related to entering, and retrieving objects or life forms from space."Every day" technologies such as weather forecasting, remote sensing, GPS systems, satellite television, and some long distance communications systems critically rely on space infrastructure...

 and space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

 are traced back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky was an Imperial Russian and Soviet rocket scientist and pioneer of the astronautic theory. Along with his followers the German Hermann Oberth and the American Robert H. Goddard, he is considered to be one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics...

, the father of theoretical austronautics. His works had inspired leading Soviet rocket engineers, such as Sergey Korolyov
Sergey Korolyov
Sergei Pavlovich Korolev ; died 14 January 1966 in Moscow, Russia) was the lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer in the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 1960s...

, Valentin Glushko
Valentin Glushko
Valentin Petrovich Glushko or Valentyn Petrovych Hlushko was a Soviet engineer, and the principal Soviet designer of rocket engines during the Soviet/American Space Race.-Biography:...

 and many others who contributed to the success of the Soviet space program
Soviet space program
The Soviet space program is the rocketry and space exploration programs conducted by the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from the 1930s until its dissolution in 1991...

 on early stages of the Space Race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

 and beyond. In 1957 the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

, Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1 ) was the first artificial satellite to be put into Earth's orbit. It was launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957. The unanticipated announcement of Sputnik 1s success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in the United States and ignited the Space...

, was launched; in 1961 the first human trip into space was successfully made by Yury Gagarin; and many other Soviet and Russian space exploration records ensued, including the first spacewalk performed by Alexey Leonov, the first space exploration rover Lunokhod-1 and the first space station
Space station
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by its lack of major propulsion or landing...

 Salyut 1
Salyut 1
Salyut 1 was the first space station of any kind, launched by the USSR on April 19, 1971. It was launched unmanned using a Proton-K rocket. Its first crew came later in Soyuz 10, but was unable to dock completely; its second crew launched in Soyuz 11 and remained on board for 23 days...

. Nowadays Russia is the largest satellite launcher and the only provider of transport for space tourism
Space tourism
Space Tourism is space travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. A number of startup companies have sprung up in recent years, hoping to create a space tourism industry...

 services.

In the 20th century a number of prominent Soviet aerospace engineers, inspired by the fundamental works of Nikolai Zhukovsky, Sergei Chaplygin and others, designed many hundreds of models of military and civilian aircraft and founded a number of KBs (Construction Bureaus) that now constitute the bulk of Russian United Aircraft Corporation
United Aircraft Corporation
United Aircraft Corporation may refer to one of the following:* United Aircraft Corporation, formerly United Aircraft and Transport Corporation; now known as United Technologies Corporation....

. Famous Russian aircrafts include the civilian Tu
Tupolev
Tupolev is a Russian aerospace and defence company, headquartered in Basmanny District, Central Administrative Okrug, Moscow. Known officially as Public Stock Company Tupolev, it is the successor of the Tupolev OKB or Tupolev Design Bureau headed by the Soviet aerospace engineer A.N. Tupolev...

-series, Su
Sukhoi
Sukhoi Company is a major Russian aircraft manufacturer, headquartered in Begovoy District, Northern Administrative Okrug, Moscow, famous for its fighters...

 and MiG fighter aircraft
Mig
-Industry:*MiG, now Mikoyan, a Russian aircraft corporation, formerly the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau*Metal inert gas welding or MIG welding, a type of welding using an electric arc and a shielding gas-Business and finance:...

s, Ka
Kamov
Kamov is a Russian rotor-winged aircraft manufacturing company that was founded by Nikolai Il'yich Kamov, who started building his first rotor-winged aircraft in 1929, together with N. K. Skrzhinskii...

 and Mi
Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
Mil Helicopters is the short name of the Soviet Russian helicopter producer Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant , named after the constructor Mikhail Mil. Mil participates in the Euromil joint venture with Eurocopter....

-series helicopters; many Russian aircraft models are on the list of most produced aircraft in history.

Famous Russian battle tanks include T-34
T-34
The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II...

, the best tank design of World War II, and further tanks of T-series, including the most produced tank in history, T-54/55. The AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 and AK-74
AK-74
The AK-74 is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM...

 by Mikhail Kalashnikov
Mikhail Kalashnikov
Lieutenant General Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov is a Russian small arms designer, most famous for designing the AK-47 assault rifle, the AKM and the AK-74.-Early life:...

 constitute the most widely used type of assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

 throughout the world—so much so that more AK-type rifles have been manufactured than all other assault rifles combined.

With all these achievements, however, since the late Soviet era Russia was lagging behind the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 in a number of technologies, mostly those related to energy conservation
Energy conservation
Energy conservation refers to efforts made to reduce energy consumption. Energy conservation can be achieved through increased efficient energy use, in conjunction with decreased energy consumption and/or reduced consumption from conventional energy sources...

 and consumer goods production. The crisis of 1990-s led to the drastic reduction of the state support for science and a brain drain
Brain drain
Human capital flight, more commonly referred to as "brain drain", is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals...

 migration from Russia.

In the 2000s, on the wave of a new economic boom, the situation in the Russian science and technology has improved, and the government launched a campaign
Medvedev modernisation programme
The Medvedev modernisation programme is an initiative launched by President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev in 2009, which aims at modernising Russia's economy and society, decreasing the country's dependency on oil and gas revenues and creating a diversified economy based on high technology and innovation...

 aimed into modernisation and innovation
Innovation
Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society...

. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev formulated top 5 priorities for the country's technological development: efficient energy use
Efficient energy use
Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal of efforts to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature...

, IT (including both common products and the products combined with space technology
Space technology
Space technology is technology that is related to entering, and retrieving objects or life forms from space."Every day" technologies such as weather forecasting, remote sensing, GPS systems, satellite television, and some long distance communications systems critically rely on space infrastructure...

), nuclear energy
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 and pharmaceuticals. Currently Russia is completing the GLONASS
GLONASS
GLONASS , acronym for Globalnaya navigatsionnaya sputnikovaya sistema or Global Navigation Satellite System, is a radio-based satellite navigation system operated for the Russian government by the Russian Space Forces...

 satellite navigation system, as well as developing its own fifth-generation jet fighter
Sukhoi PAK FA
The Sukhoi PAK FA is a twin-engine jet fighter being developed by Sukhoi OKB for the Russian Air Force. The Sukhoi T-50 is the prototype for PAK FA. The PAK FA is one of only a handful of stealth jet programs globally...

 and constructing the first serial mobile nuclear plant.

Demographics



Ethnic Russians comprise 79.8% of the country's population; however the Russian Federation is also home to several sizeable minorities. In total, 160 different other ethnic groups and indigenous peoples live within its borders. Though Russia's population is comparatively large, its density is low because of the country's enormous size. Population is densest in European Russia
European Russia
European Russia refers to the western areas of Russia that lie within Europe, comprising roughly 3,960,000 square kilometres , larger in area than India, and spanning across 40% of Europe. Its eastern border is defined by the Ural Mountains and in the south it is defined by the border with...

, near the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

, and in southwest Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. 73% of the population lives in urban areas while 27% in rural ones. The preliminary results of the 2010 Census show a total population of 142,905,208.

Russian population peaked at 148,689,000 in 1991, just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

. It began to experience a rapid decline starting in the mid-90s. The decline has slowed to near stagnation in recent years due to reduced death rates, increased birth rates and increased immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

.

In 2009 Russia recorded annual population growth for the first time in 15 years, with total growth of 10,500. 279,906 migrants arrived to the Russian Federation the same year, of which 93% came from CIS
CIS
CIS usually refers to the Commonwealth of Independent States, a modern political entity consisting of eleven former Soviet Union republics.The acronym CIS may also refer to:-Organizations:...

 countries. The number of Russian emigrants steadily declined from 359,000 in 2000 to 32,000 in 2009. There are also an estimated 10 million illegal immigrants from the ex-Soviet states in Russia. Roughly 116 million ethnic Russians live in Russia and about 20 million more live in other former republics of the Soviet Union, mostly in Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

.

Russia's birth-rate is higher than that of most European countries (12.6 births per 1000 people in 2010 compared to the European Union average of 9.90 per 1000), while the death rate is substantially higher (in 2010, Russia's death rate was 14.3 per 1000 people compared to the EU average of 10.28 per 1000). However, the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Affairs predicts that by 2011 the death rate will equal the birth rate due to increase in fertility and decline in mortality. The government is implementing a number of programs designed to increase the birth rate and attract more migrants. Monthly government child assistance payments were doubled to US$55, and a one-time payment of US$9,200 was offered to women who had a second child since 2007. In 2009 Russia saw the highest birth rate since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Largest cities


Language




Russia's 160 ethnic groups speak some 100 languages. According to the 2002 census, 142.6 million people speak Russian, followed by Tatar
Tatar language
The Tatar language , or more specifically Kazan Tatar, is a Turkic language spoken by the Tatars of historical Kazan Khanate, including modern Tatarstan and Bashkiria...

 with 5.3 million and Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 with 1.8 million speakers. Russian is the only official state language, but the Constitution gives the individual republics
Republics of Russia
The Russian Federation is divided into 83 federal subjects , 21 of which are republics. The republics represent areas of non-Russian ethnicity. The indigenous ethnic group of a republic that gives it its name is referred to as the "titular nationality"...

 the right to make their native language co-official next to Russian.

Despite its wide dispersal, the Russian language is homogeneous throughout Russia. Russian is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken Slavic language. It belongs to the Indo-European language family and is one of the living members of the East Slavic languages
East Slavic languages
The East Slavic languages constitute one of three regional subgroups of Slavic languages, currently spoken in Eastern Europe. It is the group with the largest numbers of speakers, far out-numbering the Western and Southern Slavic groups. Current East Slavic languages are Belarusian, Russian,...

; the others being Belarusian
Belarusian language
The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

 and Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 (and possibly Rusyn
Rusyn language
Rusyn , also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a distinct language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code; others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian...

). Written examples of Old East Slavic (Old Russian) are attested from the 10th century onwards.

The Russian Language Center says a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. It is also applied as a means of coding and storage of universal knowledge—60–70% of all world information is published in the English and Russian languages. Russian is one of the six official languages of the UN.

Religion


Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 are Russia’s traditional religions, legally a part of Russia's "historical heritage". Estimates of believers widely fluctuate among sources, and some reports put the number of non-believers in Russia at 16–48% of the population.

Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 is the most popular religious festival in Russia, celebrated by more than 90% of all Russian citizens, including large number of non-religious. More than three-fourth of the Russians celebrate Easter by making traditional Easter cakes, coloured eggs and paskha.

Traced back to the Christianization of Kievan Rus' in the 10th century, Russian Orthodoxy
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 is the dominant religion in the country; approximately 100 million citizens consider themselves Russian Orthodox Christians. 95% of the registered Orthodox parishes belong to the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 while there are a number of smaller Orthodox Churches
Religion in Russia
There are number of religions with adherents in Russia. The preamble to the 1997 law regulating religious organizations names Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism as important in Russian history...

. However, the vast majority of Orthodox believers do not attend church on a regular basis. Smaller Christian denominations such as Catholics, Armenian Gregorians, and various Protestants exist.

Estimates of the number of Muslims in Russia range from 7–9 million by the local sources to 15–20 million by Western and Islamic sources. Also there are 3 to 4 million temporary Muslim migrants from the post-Soviet states
Post-Soviet states
The post-Soviet states, also commonly known as the Former Soviet Union or former Soviet republics, are the 15 independent states that split off from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its dissolution in December 1991...

. Most Muslims live in the Volga-Ural region, as well as in the Caucasus, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Western Siberia.

Buddhism is traditional for three regions of the Russian Federation: Buryatia, Tuva
Tuva
The Tyva Republic , or Tuva , is a federal subject of Russia . It lies in the geographical center of Asia, in southern Siberia. The republic borders with the Altai Republic, the Republic of Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, and the Republic of Buryatia in Russia and with Mongolia to the...

, and Kalmykia
Kalmykia
The Republic of Kalmykia is a federal subject of Russia . Population: It is the only Buddhist region in Europe. It has also become well-known as an international chess mecca because its former President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is the head of the International Chess Federation .-Geography:*Area:...

. Some residents of the Siberian and Far Eastern regions, such as Yakutia and Chukotka
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug , or Chukotka , is a federal subject of Russia located in the Russian Far East.Chukotka has a population of 53,824 according to the 2002 Census, and a surface area of . The principal town and the administrative center is Anadyr...

, practice shamanist, pantheistic, and pagan rites, along with the major religions. Induction into religion takes place primarily along ethnic lines. Slavs
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 are overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian, Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 speakers are predominantly Muslim, and Mongolic peoples are Buddhists.

Health


The Russian Constitution guarantees free, universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

 for all citizens. In practice, however, free health care is partially restricted due to mandatory registration
Propiska
Propiska was both a residence permit and migration recording tool in the Russian Empire before 1917 and from 1930s in the Soviet Union. It was documented in local police registers and certified with a stamp in internal passports....

. While Russia has more physicians, hospitals, and health care workers than almost any other country in the world on a per capita
Per capita
Per capita is a Latin prepositional phrase: per and capita . The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person...

 basis, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the health of the Russian population has declined considerably as a result of social, economic, and lifestyle changes; the trend has been reversed only in the recent years, with average life expectancy having increased 2.4 years for males and 1.4 years for females between 2006–09.

As of 2009, the average life expectancy in Russia was 62.77 years for males and 74.67 years for females. The biggest factor contributing to the relatively low male life expectancy for males is a high mortality rate among working-age males from preventable causes (e.g., alcohol poisoning, smoking, traffic accidents, violent crime). As a result of the large gender difference in life expectancy and because of the lasting effect of high casualties in World War II, the gender imbalance remains to this day and there are 0.859 males to every female.

Education


Russia has a free education
Free education
Free education refers to education that is funded through taxation, or charitable organizations rather than tuition fees. Although primary school and other comprehensive or compulsory education is free in many countries, for example, all education is mostly free including...

 system guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution, however an entry to subsidized post-secondary
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 education is highly competitive. As a result of great emphasis on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and aerospace research is generally of a high order.

Since 1990 the 11-year school training has been introduced. Education in state-owned secondary schools is free; first tertiary (university level) education is free with reservations: a substantial share of students is enrolled for full pay (many state institutions started to open commercial positions in the last years).

In 2004 state spending for education amounted to 3.6% of GDP, or 13% of consolidated state budget. The Government allocates funding to pay the tuition fees within an established quota or number of students for each state institution. In the higher education institutions, students are paid a small stipend
Stipend
A stipend is a form of salary, such as for an internship or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from a wage or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work performed, instead it represents a payment that enables somebody to be exempt partly or wholly from waged or salaried...

 and provided with free housing.

The oldest and largest Russian universities are Moscow State University
Moscow State University
Lomonosov Moscow State University , previously known as Lomonosov University or MSU , is the largest university in Russia. Founded in 1755, it also claims to be one of the oldest university in Russia and to have the tallest educational building in the world. Its current rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy...

 and Saint Petersburg State University
Saint Petersburg State University
Saint Petersburg State University is a Russian federal state-owned higher education institution based in Saint Petersburg and one of the oldest and largest universities in Russia....

. In 2000s, in order to create higher education and research institutions of comparable scale in the Russian regions, the government launched the program of establishing the federal universities, mostly by merging the existing large regional universities and research institutes and providing them with a special funding. These new institutions include Southern Federal University
Southern Federal University
Southern Federal University , abbreviated as SFedU and formely known as Rostov State University , is a public university in Rostov Oblast, Russia with campuses in Rostov-on-Don and Taganrog.-History:...

, Siberian Federal University
Siberian Federal University
Siberian Federal University is a modern multidisciplinary university located in the eastern part of Russia, Krasnoyarsk, that combines fundamental and applied research and teaching...

, Kazan Volga Federal University, North-Eastern Federal University and Far Eastern Federal University.

Folk culture and cuisine




There are over 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in Russia. Ethnic Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 with their Slavic Orthodox traditions, Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 and Bashkirs
Bashkirs
The Bashkirs are a Turkic people indigenous to Bashkortostan extending on both parts of the Ural mountains, on the place where Europe meets Asia. Groups of Bashkirs also live in the republic of Tatarstan, Perm Krai, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, Samara and Saratov Oblasts of...

 with their Turkic Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 culture, Buddhist nomadic Buryats
Buryats
The Buryats or Buriyads , numbering approximately 436,000, are the largest ethnic minority group in Siberia and are mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic, a federal subject of Russia...

 and Kalmyks, Shamanistic peoples of the Extreme North and Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, highlanders of the Northern Caucasus, Finno-Ugric peoples
Finno-Ugric peoples
The Finno-Ugric peoples are any of several peoples of Europe who speak languages of the proposed Finno-Ugric language family, such as the Finns, Estonians, Mordvins, and Hungarians...

 of the Russian North West and Volga Region
Volga Region
Volga Region is a historical region of Russia that encompasses the territories adjacent to the flow of Volga River. According to the flow of the river, it is usually classified into the Middle Volga Region and Lower Volga Region...

 all contribute to the cultural diversity of the country.

Handicraft
Handicraft
Handicraft, more precisely expressed as artisanic handicraft, sometimes also called artisanry, is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. It is a traditional main sector of craft. Usually the term is applied to traditional means...

, like Dymkovo toy, khokhloma
Khokhloma
Khokhloma or Khokhloma painting is the name of a Russian wood painting handicraft style, known for its vivid flower patterns, red and gold colors over a black background, and the distinctive effect it has when applied to cheap and light wooden tableware or furniture, making it look heavier,...

, gzhel
Gzhel
Gzhel is a Russian style of ceramics.Gzhel may also refer to:*Gzhel, Moscow Oblast, where the ceramics are produced*Gzhel, Smolensk Oblast, a village in Smolensk Oblast, Russia...

 and palekh miniature
Palekh miniature
Palekh miniature is a Russian folk handicraft of miniature painting, which is done with tempera paints on varnished articles made of papier-mâché ....

 represent an important aspect of Russian folk culture. Ethnic Russian clothes include kaftan
Kaftan
A kaftan is a man's coat usually reaching to the ankles with long sleeves, and which buttons down the front. It can be made of wool, cashmere, silk, or cotton. It is often worn with a sash....

, kosovorotka
Kosovorotka
A kosovorotka is a Russian, skewed-collared shirt. The word is derived from koso - askew, and vorot collar.-Description:A kosovorotka is a traditional Russian shirt, long sleeved and reaching down to the mid-thigh...

 and ushanka
Ushanka
An ushanka , also known as a trooper, is a Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, or tied at the chin to protect the ears, jaw and lower chin from the cold. The thick dense fur also offers some protection against blunt impacts to the head...

 for men, sarafan
Sarafan
A Sarafan is a traditional Russian long, shapeless jumper dress worn as Russian folk costume by women and girls.Chronicles first mention it under the year 1376, and since that time it was worn well until the 20th century. It is now worn as folk costume for performing Russian folk songs and folk...

 and kokoshnik
Kokoshnik
The kokoshnik is a traditional Russian head-dress worn by women and girls to accompany the sarafan. It is patterned to match the style of the sarafan and can be pointed or round. It is tied at the back of the head with long thick ribbons in a large bow. The forehead is sometimes decorated with...

 for women, with lapti and valenki
Valenki
Valenki are traditional Russian winter footwear, essentially felt boots: the name valenok literally means "made by felting". Valenki are made of wool felt. They are not water-resistant, and are often worn with galoshes to keep water out and protect the soles from wear and tear...

 as common shoes. The clothes of Cossack
Cossack
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins and who played an important role in the...

s from Southern Russia include burka and papaha, which they share with the peoples of the Northern Caucasus.

Russian cuisine
Russian cuisine
Russian cuisine is diverse, as Russia is the largest country in the world. Russian cuisine derives its varied character from the vast and multi-cultural expanse of Russia. Its foundations were laid by the peasant food of the rural population in an often harsh climate, with a combination of...

 widely uses fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, poultry
Poultry
Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae , especially the order Galliformes and the family Anatidae , commonly known as "waterfowl"...

, mushrooms, berries, and honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

. Crops of rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

, wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, and millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

 provide the ingredients for various bread
Bread
Bread is a staple food prepared by cooking a dough of flour and water and often additional ingredients. Doughs are usually baked, but in some cuisines breads are steamed , fried , or baked on an unoiled frying pan . It may be leavened or unleavened...

s, pancake
Pancake
A pancake is a thin, flat, round cake prepared from a batter, and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Most pancakes are quick breads; some use a yeast-raised or fermented batter. Most pancakes are cooked one side on a griddle and flipped partway through to cook the other side...

s and cereal
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

s, as well as for kvass
Kvass
Kvass, kvas, quass or gira, gėra is a fermented beverage made from black...

, beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 and vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 drinks. Black bread
Black Bread
Black Bread is a 2010 Catalan-language Catalan drama film written and directed by Agustí Villaronga. The screenplay is based on the homonymous novel by Emili Teixidor, with elements of two other works by him, Retrat d'un assassí d'ocells and Sic transit Gloria Swanson.The film won nine Goya...

 is rather popular in Russia, compared to the rest of the world. Flavourful soups and stews include shchi
Shchi
Shchi is a Russian soup with cabbage as the primary ingredient. Its primary distinction is its sour taste, which usually originates from cabbage. When sauerkraut is used instead, the soup is called sour shchi, and soups based on sorrel, spinach, nettle, and similar plants are called green shchi...

, borsch, ukha
Ukha
Ukha is a clear Russian soup, made from various types of fish such as sturgeon, salmon, or cod. It usually contains root vegetables, parsley root, leek, potato, bay leaf, dill, tarragon, and green parsley, and is spiced with black pepper, saffron, nutmeg, and fennel seed...

, solyanka
Solyanka
Solyanka is a thick, spicy and sour soup in Russian and Ukrainian cuisine.There are three basic types of solyanka, with the main ingredient being either meat, fish, or mushrooms. All of them contain pickled cucumbers with brine, and often cabbage, salted mushrooms, smetana , and dill...

 and okroshka
Okroshka
Okróshka is a cold soup of Russian origin that is also found in Ukraine. The name probably originates from "kroshit'" , which means to crumble into small pieces....

. Smetana (a heavy sour cream
Sour cream
Sour cream is a dairy product rich in fats obtained by fermenting a regular cream by certain kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The bacterial culture, which is introduced either deliberately or naturally, sours and thickens the cream. Its name stems from the production of lactic acid by bacterial...

) is often added to soups and salads. Pirozhki
Pirozhki
Pirozhki , sometimes transliterated as piroshki , is a generic word for individual-sized baked or fried buns stuffed with a variety of fillings. The stress in pirozhki is properly placed on the last syllable: . Pirozhok is the diminutive form of the Russian cognate pirog , which refers to a...

, blini and syrniki
Syrniki
In Russian, Belarusian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Ukrainian cuisines, syrniki are fried quark pancakes, garnished with sour cream, jam, honey, or apple sauce. The cheese mixture may contain raisins for extra flavor...

 are native types of pancakes. Chicken Kiev
Chicken Kiev
Chicken Kiev is a popular dish of boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around cold garlic butter with herbs, then breaded and either fried or baked.-Etymology:...

, pelmeni
Pelmeni
Pelmeni are dumplings consisting of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough that originated in Siberia and is a dish of Russian cuisine. Pelmeni are common in Russia and have similar names in other languages: , pyal’meni; pilmän; , pel’meni; ; .- Ingredients :The dough is made from flour and...

 and shashlyk are popular meat dishes, the last two being of Tatar and Caucasus origin respectively. Other meat dishes include stuffed cabbage rolls (golubtsy) usually filled with meat. Salads include Russian salad
Russian salad
Salade Olivier is a salad composed of diced potatoes, vegetables and meats bound in mayonnaise. The salad is usually called Russian salad in Western European and Latin American countries, and Salad Olivieh in Iranian cooking.-History:...

, vinaigrette
Vinaigrette
The word vinaigrette or vinegarette can refer to:*Vinaigrette, the salad dressing or sauce...

 and Dressed Herring
Dressed Herring
Dressed herring or herring under fur coat or just fur coat is layered salad composed of diced salted herring covered with layers of grated boiled vegetables , chopped onions and mayonnaise...

.

Russia's large number of ethnic groups have distinctive traditions of folk music. Typical ethnic Russian musical instruments are gusli, balalaika
Balalaika
The balalaika is a stringed musical instrument popular in Russia, with a characteristic triangular body and three strings.The balalaika family of instruments includes instruments of various sizes, from the highest-pitched to the lowest, the prima balalaika, secunda balalaika, alto balalaika, bass...

, zhaleika
Zhaleika
The zhaleika is a Russian single-reed hornpipe. It is the most popular Russian folk wind instrument.-External links:*...

 and garmoshka. Folk music had great influence on Russian classical composers, and in modern times it is a source of inspiration for a number of popular folk bands, including Melnitsa
Melnitsa
Melnitsa - is a Russian folk rock band. It was founded in 1999 by Natalia "Hellawes" O'Shea and Alexey "Chus" Sapkov around the remnants of a local folk band 'Till Eulenspiegel'.-Style:...

. Russian folk songs, as well as patriotic Soviet songs, constitute the bulk of repertoire of the world-renown Red Army choir
Red Army Choir
The A.V. Alexandrov Russian army twice red-bannered academic song and dance ensemble , in short, the Alexandrov ensemble is a performing ensemble that serves as the official army choir of the Russian armed forces...

 and other popular ensembles.

Russians have many traditions, including the washing in banya
Banya (sauna)
Banya in Russian can refer to any kind of steam bath, but usually to the Russian type of sauna. In Bulgarian, banya usually refers to a bath and bathing...

, a hot steam bath somewhat similar to sauna
Sauna
A sauna is a small room or house designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions, or an establishment with one or more of these and auxiliary facilities....

. Old Russian folklore takes its roots in the pagan Slavic religion. Many Russian fairy tales and epic bylina
Bylina
Bylina or Bylyna is a traditional Russian oral epic narrative poem. Byliny singers loosely utilize historical fact greatly embellished with fantasy or hyperbole to create their songs...

s were adaptated for animation films, or for feature movies by the prominent directors like Aleksandr Ptushko
Aleksandr Ptushko
Aleksandr Lukich Ptushko is a Soviet animation and fantasy film director, and Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR. Ptushko is frequently referred to as "the Soviet Walt Disney," due to his prominent early role in animation in the Soviet Union, though a more accurate comparison would be to Willis...

 (Ilya Muromets
Ilya Muromets (film)
Ilya Muromets , known in the US as The Sword and the Dragon and in the UK as The Epic Hero and the Beast , is a Russian fantasy film directed by the noted fantasy director Aleksandr Ptushko, made at Mosfilm and released in 1956. It is based on the byliny tales of the bogatyr Ilya Muromets...

, Sadko
Sadko (film)
Sadko is a 1952 Russian fantasy film directed by Aleksandr Ptushko. The film is based on an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, which was based on a Russian bylina with the same name, and scored with Rimsky-Korsakov's music from the opera....

) and Aleksandr Rou
Aleksandr Rou
Alexander Arturovich Rou was a Soviet film director, People's Artist of RSFSR . He worked primarily in fairy-tale genre....

 (Morozko, Vasilisa the Beautiful). Russian poets, including Pyotr Yershov
Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov
Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov was a Russian poet and author of the famous fairy-tale poem The Humpbacked Horse .-Biography:...

 and Leonid Filatov
Leonid Filatov
Leonid Alekseyevich Filatov was a Soviet and Russian actor, director, poet, pamphleteer, who shot to fame while a member of troupe at Taganka Theatre under director Yury Lyubimov...

, made a number of well-known poetical interpretations of the classical fairy tales, and in some cases, like that of Alexander Pushkin, also created fully original fairy tale poems of great popularity.

Architecture




Since Christianization of Kievan Rus' for several ages Russian architecture was influenced predominantly by the Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to...

. Apart from fortifications (kremlin
Kremlin
A kremlin , same root as in kremen is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there...

s), the main stone buildings of ancient Rus' were Orthodox churches with their many dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

s, often gilded or brightly painted.

Aristotle Fioravanti and other Italian architects brought Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 trends into Russia since the late 15th century, while the 16th century saw the development of unique tent-like churches culminating in Saint Basil's Cathedral
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat , popularly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral , is a Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the...

. By that time the onion dome
Onion dome
An onion dome is a dome whose shape resembles the onion, after which they are named. Such domes are often larger in diameter than the drum upon which they are set, and their height usually exceeds their width...

 design was also fully developed. In the 17th century, the "fiery style" of ornamentation flourished in Moscow and Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

, gradually paving the way for the Naryshkin baroque
Naryshkin Baroque
Naryshkin Baroque, also called Moscow Baroque, or Muscovite Baroque, is the name given to a particular style of Baroque architecture and decoration which was fashionable in Moscow from the turn of the 17th into the early 18th centuries.-Style:...

 of the 1690s. After the reforms of Peter the Great the change of architectural styles in Russia generally followed that in the Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

.

The 18th-century taste for rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 architecture led to the ornate works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli
Bartolomeo Rastrelli
Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli was an Italian architect naturalized Russian. He developed an easily recognizable style of Late Baroque, both sumptuous and majestic...

 and his followers. The reigns of Catherine the Great and her grandson Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 saw the flourishing of Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

, most notably in the capital city of Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

. The second half of the 19th century was dominated by the Neo-Byzantine
Neo-Byzantine architecture in the Russian Empire
Neo-Byzantine architecture in the Russian Empire emerged in the 1850s and became an officially endorsed preferred architectural style for church construction during the reign of Alexander II of Russia , replacing the Russo-Byzantine style of Konstantin Thon...

 and Russian Revival
Russian Revival
The Russian Revival style is the generic term for a number of different movements within Russian architecture that arose in second quarter of the 19th century and was an eclectic melding of pre-Peterine Russian architecture and elements of Byzantine architecture.The Russian Revival style arose...

 styles. Prevalent styles of the 20th century were the Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

, Constructivism
Constructivist architecture
Constructivist architecture was a form of modern architecture that flourished in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s. It combined advanced technology and engineering with an avowedly Communist social purpose. Although it was divided into several competing factions, the movement produced...

, and the Stalin Empire style.

In 1955 a new Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

, condemned the "excesses" of the former academic architecture, and the late Soviet era was dominated by plain functionalism in architecture. This helped somewhat to resolve the housing problem, but created a large quantity of buildings of low architectural quality, much in contrast with the previous bright styles. The situation improved in the recent two decades. Many temples demolished in Soviet times were rebuilt, and this process continues along with the restoration of various historical buildings destroyed in World War II. A total of 23,000 Orthodox churches have been rebuilt between 1991–2010, which effectively quadrapled the number of operating churches in Russia.

Visual arts




Early Russian painting is represented in icons
Russian icons
The use and making of icons entered Kievan Rus' following its conversion to Orthodox Christianity in 988 AD. As a general rule, these icons strictly followed models and formulas hallowed by Byzantine art, led from the capital in Constantinople...

 and vibrant fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

s, the two genres inherited from Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

. As Moscow rose to power, Theophanes the Greek
Theophanes the Greek
Theophanes the Greek was a Byzantine Greek artist and one of the greatest icon painters, or iconographers, of Muscovite Russia, and was noted as the teacher and mentor of the great Andrei Rublev.-Life and work:Theophanes was born in the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople...

, Dionisius
Dionisius
Dionisius was acknowledged as a head of the Moscow school of icon painters at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. His style of painting is sometimes termed "the Muscovite mannerism"....

 and Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev is considered to be the greatest medieval Russian painter of Orthodox icons and frescoes.-Biography:...

 became vital names associated with a distinctly Russian art.

The Russian Academy of Arts was created in 1757 and gave Russian artists an international role and status. Ivan Argunov
Ivan Argunov
Ivan Petrovich Argunov was a Russian painter, one of the founders of the Russian school of portrait painting.He was a serf belonging to Count Sheremetev and had grown in the family of his uncle, Semyon Mikhaylovich Argunov, who was a steward of princess Cherkassky and later a major-domo for count...

, Dmitry Levitzky
Dmitry Levitzky
Dmitry Levitzky was a Russian-Ukrainian portrait painter.-Biography:...

, Vladimir Borovikovsky
Vladimir Borovikovsky
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky was a Russian painter who dominated Russian portraiture at the turn of the 19th century.-Biography:Vladimir Borovikovsky was born Vоlоdymyr Borovyk in Myrhorod on July 24, 1757. His father, Luka Borovyk was a Ukrainian Cossack and an amateur icon painter...

 and other 18th century academicians mostly focused on portrait painting
Portrait painting
Portrait painting is a genre in painting, where the intent is to depict the visual appearance of the subject. Beside human beings, animals, pets and even inanimate objects can be chosen as the subject for a portrait...

. In the early 19th century, when neoclassicism
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 and romantism flourished, mythological and Biblical themes inspired many prominent painings, notably by Karl Briullov
Karl Briullov
Karl Pavlovich Bryullov , also transliterated Briullov or Briuloff and referred to by his friends as "The Great Karl", was a Russian painter...

 and Alexander Ivanov
Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov
Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov , 1806 – July 15 , 1858) was a Russian painter who adhered to the waning tradition of Neoclassicism but found little sympathy with his contemporaries....

.

In the mid-19th century the Peredvizhniki
Peredvizhniki
Peredvizhniki , often called The Wanderers or The Itinerants in English, were a group of Russian realist artists who in protest at academic restrictions formed an artists' cooperative; it evolved into the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions in 1870.- History :In 1863 a group of fourteen students...

 (Wanderers) group of artists broke with the Academy and initiated a school of art liberated from academic restrictions. These were mostly realist
Realism (visual arts)
Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see. The term is used in different senses in art history; it may mean the same as illusionism, the representation of subjects with visual mimesis or verisimilitude, or may mean an emphasis on the actuality of...

 painters who captured Russian identity in landscapes of wide rivers, forests, and birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 clearings, as well as vigorous genre scenes and robust portraits of their contemporaries. Some artists focused on depicting dramatic moments in Russian history, while others turned to social criticism
Social criticism
The term social criticism locates the reasons for malicious conditions of the society in flawed social structures. People adhering to a social critics aim at practical solutions by specific measures, often consensual reform but sometimes also by powerful revolution.- European roots :Religious...

, showing the conditions of the poor and caricaturing authority; critical realism
Critical realism
In the philosophy of perception, critical realism is the theory that some of our sense-data can and do accurately represent external objects, properties, and events, while other of our sense-data do not accurately represent any external objects, properties, and events...

 flourished under the reign of Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

. Leading realists include Ivan Shishkin
Ivan Shishkin
Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin was a Russian landscape painter closely associated with the Peredvizhniki movement.Shishkin was born in Yelabuga of Vyatka Governorate , and graduated from the Kazan gymnasium...

, Arkhip Kuindzhi
Arkhip Kuindzhi
Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi was a Russian landscape painter.Arkhip Kuindzhi was born in January 1841 in Mariupol , but he spent his youth in the city of Taganrog. He grew up in a poor family, and his father was a Greek shoemaker Ivan Khristoforovich Kuindzhi...

, Ivan Kramskoi
Ivan Kramskoi
Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi was a Russian painter and art critic. He was an intellectual leader of the Russian democratic art movement in 1860-1880.-Life:...

, Vasily Polenov
Vasily Polenov
Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov was a Russian landscape painter associated with the Peredvizhniki movement of realist artists.-Biography:...

, Isaac Levitan
Isaac Levitan
Isaac Ilyich Levitan was a classical Russian landscape painter who advanced the genre of the "mood landscape".-Youth:...

, Vasily Surikov
Vasily Surikov
Vasily Ivanovich Surikov was the foremost Russian painter of large-scale historical subjects...

, Viktor Vasnetsov
Viktor Vasnetsov
Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov , 1848 — Moscow, July 23, 1926) was a Russian artist who specialized in mythological and historical subjects. He was described as co-founder of folklorist/romantic modernism in the Russian painting and a key figure of the revivalist movement in Russian art.- Childhood ...

, Ilya Repin and Boris Kustodiev
Boris Kustodiev
Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev was a Russian painter and stage designer.-Early life:Boris Kustodiev was born in Astrakhan into the family of a professor of philosophy, history of literature, and logic at the local theological seminary. His father died young, and all financial and material burdens...

.

The turn of the 20th century saw the rise of symbolist painting, represented by Mikhail Vrubel
Mikhail Vrubel
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel is usually regarded amongst the Russian painters of the Symbolist movement. In reality, he deliberately stood aloof from contemporary art trends, so that the origin of his unusual manner should be sought in Late Byzantine and Early Renaissance painting.-Early...

, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin
Kuzma Sergeevich Petrov-Vodkin, was an important Russian and Soviet painter and writer.-Early years:...

 and Nicholas Roerich
Nicholas Roerich
Nicholas Roerich, also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh , was a Russian mystic, painter, philosopher, scientist, writer, traveler, and public figure. A prolific artist, he created thousands of paintings and about 30 literary works...

.

The Russian avant-garde
Russian avant-garde
The Russian avant-garde is an umbrella term used to define the large, influential wave of modern art that flourished in Russia approximately 1890 to 1930 - although some place its beginning as early as 1850 and its end as late as 1960...

 was a large, influential wave of modernist art that flourished in Russia from approximately 1890 to 1930. The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that occurred at the time; namely neo-primitivism
Neo-primitivism
Neo-primitivism was a Russian art movement which took its name from the book Neo-primitivizm , by Aleksandr Shevchenko. In the book Shevchenko proposes a new style of modern painting which fuses elements of Cézanne, Cubism and Futurism with traditional Russian 'folk art' conventions and motifs,...

, suprematism
Suprematism
Suprematism was an art movement focused on fundamental geometric forms which formed in Russia in 1915-1916. It was not until later that suprematism received conventional museum preparations...

, constructivism
Constructivism (art)
Constructivism was an artistic and architectural philosophy that originated in Russia beginning in 1919, which was a rejection of the idea of autonomous art. The movement was in favour of art as a practice for social purposes. Constructivism had a great effect on modern art movements of the 20th...

, rayonism
Rayonism
Rayonism is a style of abstract art that developed in Russia in 1911.Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova developed rayonism after hearing a series of lectures about Futurism by Marinetti in Moscow. The Futurists took speed, technology and modernity as their inspiration, depicting the dynamic...

, and Russian Futurism
Russian Futurism
Russian Futurism is the term used to denote a group of Russian poets and artists who adopted the principles of Filippo Marinetti's "Manifesto of Futurism"...

. Notable artists from this era include El Lissitzky
El Lissitzky
, better known as El Lissitzky , was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, typographer, polemicist and architect. He was an important figure of the Russian avant garde, helping develop suprematism with his mentor, Kazimir Malevich, and designing numerous exhibition displays and propaganda works...

, Kazimir Malevich
Kazimir Malevich
Kazimir Severinovich Malevich was a Russian painter and art theoretician, born of ethnic Polish parents. He was a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the Avant-garde Suprematist movement.-Early life:...

, Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Kandinsky
Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely-abstract works. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa. He enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics...

, and Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century."According to art historian Michael J...

. Since 1930s the revolutionary ideas of the avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 clashed with the newly emerged conservative direction of socialist realism
Socialist realism
Socialist realism is a style of realistic art which was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other communist countries. Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style having its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism...

.

Soviet art produced works that were furiously patriotic and anti-fascist during and after the Great Patriotic War. Multiple war memorials, marked by a great restrained solemnity, were built throughout the country. Soviet artists often combined innovation with socialist realism, notably the sculptors Vera Mukhina
Vera Mukhina
Vera Ignatyevna Mukhina was a prominent Soviet sculptor.- Life :Mukhina was born in Riga into a wealthy merchant family, and lived at Turgeneva st. 23/25, where a memorial plaque has now been placed. She later moved to Moscow, where she studied at several private art schools, including those of...

, Yevgeny Vuchetich
Yevgeny Vuchetich
Yevgeny Viktorovich Vuchetich was a prominent Soviet sculptor and artist. He is known for his heroic monuments, often of allegoric style.He was born in Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire...

 and Ernst Neizvestny
Ernst Neizvestny
Ernst Iosifovich Neizvestny is a Russian sculptor. He currently lives and works in New York City. His last name in Russian literally means "unknown"....

.

Music and dance


Music in 19th century Russia was defined by the tension between classical composer Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Glinka
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka , was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music...

 along with his followers
The Five
The Five, also known as The Mighty Handful or The Mighty Coterie , refers to a circle of composers who met in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in the years 1856–1870: Mily Balakirev , César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Borodin...

, who embraced Russian national identity and added religious and folk elements to their compositions, and the Russian Musical Society
Russian Musical Society
The Russian Musical Society was an organisation founded in 1859 by the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna and her protégé, pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein, with the intent of raising the standard of music in the country and disseminating musical education.Rubinstein and the Grand Duchess's...

 led by composers Anton
Anton Rubinstein
Anton Grigorevich Rubinstein was a Russian-Jewish pianist, composer and conductor. As a pianist he was regarded as a rival of Franz Liszt, and he ranks amongst the great keyboard virtuosos...

 and Nikolay Rubinsteins, which was musically conservative. The later tradition of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

, one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

, was continued into the 20th century by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music...

. World-renown composers of the 20th century included also Alexander Scriabin
Alexander Scriabin
Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist who initially developed a lyrical and idiosyncratic tonal language inspired by the music of Frédéric Chopin. Quite independent of the innovations of Arnold Schoenberg, Scriabin developed an increasingly atonal musical system,...

, Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

, Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century...

, Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

 and Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke ; November 24, 1934 – August 3, 1998) was a Russian and Soviet composer. Schnittke's early music shows the strong influence of Dmitri Shostakovich. He developed a polystylistic technique in works such as the epic First Symphony and First Concerto Grosso...

.

Russian conservatories have turned out generations of famous soloists. Among the best known are violinists David Oistrakh
David Oistrakh
David Fyodorovich Oistrakh , , David Fiodorović Ojstrakh, ; – October 24, 1974, was a Soviet violinist....

 and Gidon Kremer
Gidon Kremer
Gidon Kremer is a Latvian violinist and conductor. In 1980 he left the USSR and settled in Germany.-Biography:Kremer was born in Riga to parents of German-Jewish and Latvian-Swedish origins. He began playing the violin at the age of four, receiving instruction from his father and his grandfather,...

; cellist Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of...

; pianists Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz    was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Life and early...

, Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was a Soviet pianist well known for the depth of his interpretations, virtuoso technique, and vast repertoire. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Childhood:...

, and Emil Gilels
Emil Gilels
Emil Grigoryevich Gilels was a Soviet pianist, widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.His last name is sometimes transliterated Hilels.-Biography:...

; and vocalists Fyodor Shalyapin, Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Vishnevskaya
Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya is a Russian soprano opera singer and recitalist who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966.-Biography:...

, Anna Netrebko
Anna Netrebko
Anna Yuryevna Netrebko is an Russian operatic soprano. She now holds dual Russian and Austrian citizenship and currently resides in Vienna. She has been nicknamed "La Bellissima" by fans.-Biography:...

 and Dmitry Hvorostovsky.

During the early 20th century, Russian ballet dancers Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky
Vaslav Nijinsky was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent, cited as the greatest male dancer of the 20th century. He grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations...

 rose to fame, and impresario Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Diaghilev
Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev , usually referred to outside of Russia as Serge, was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise.-Early life and career:...

 and his Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
The Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company from Russia which performed between 1909 and 1929 in many countries. Directed by Sergei Diaghilev, it is regarded as the greatest ballet company of the 20th century. Many of its dancers originated from the Imperial Ballet of Saint Petersburg...

' travels abroad profoundly influenced the development of dance worldwide. Soviet ballet preserved the perfected 19th century traditions, and the Soviet Union's choreography schools produced many internationally famous stars, including Maya Plisetskaya
Maya Plisetskaya
Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya , born is a Russian ballet dancer, frequently cited as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Maya danced during the Soviet era at the same time as the great Galina Ulanova, and took over from her as prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi in 1960...

, Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev was a Russian dancer, considered one of the most celebrated ballet dancers of the 20th century. Nureyev's artistic skills explored expressive areas of the dance, providing a new role to the male ballet dancer who once served only as support to the women.In 1961 he...

, and Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov is a Soviet and American dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974...

. The Bolshoi Ballet
Bolshoi Ballet
The Bolshoi Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company, based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Founded in 1776, the Bolshoi is among the world's oldest ballet companies, however it only achieved worldwide acclaim by the early 20th century, when Moscow became the...

 in Moscow and the Mariinsky Ballet
Mariinsky Ballet
The Mariinsky Ballet is a classical ballet company based at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Founded in the 18th century and originally known as the Imperial Russian Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet is one of the world's leading ballet companies...

 in St Petersburg remain famous throughout the world.

Modern Russian rock
Russian rock
Russian rock refers to rock music made in Russia or in the Russian language. Rock and roll became known in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and quickly broke free from its western roots. According to many music critics, its "golden age" years were the 1980s , when the Soviet underground rock bands...

 music takes its roots both in the Western rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 and heavy metal
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

, and in traditions of the Russian bards of the Soviet era, like Vladimir Vysotsky
Vladimir Vysotsky
Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky was a Soviet singer, songwriter, poet, and actor whose career had an immense and enduring effect on Russian culture. He became widely known for his unique singing style and for his lyrics, which featured social and political commentary in often humorous street...

 and Bulat Okudzhava
Bulat Okudzhava
Bulat Shalvovich Okudzhava was a Soviet and Russian poet, writer, musician, novelist, and singer-songwriter. He was one of the founders of the Russian genre called "author song"...

. Popular Russian rock groups include Mashina Vremeni
Mashina Vremeni
Mashina Vremeni is a Russian rock band founded in 1969. Mashina Vremeni was a pioneer in Soviet rock music, and remains one of the oldest still active rock bands in Russia...

, DDT
DDT (band)
DDT is a popular Russian rock band founded by its lead singer, Yuri Shevchuk , in Ufa in 1980...

, Aquarium
Aquarium (group)
Aquarium or Akvarium is a Russian rock group, formed in Leningrad in 1972 by Boris Grebenshchikov, then a student of Applied Mathematics at Leningrad State University, and Anatoly Gunitsky, then a playwright and absurdist poet.-History:...

, Alisa
Alisa
Alisa is a Russian hard rock band, who are credited as one of the most influential bands in the Russian rock movement.-Biography:Alisa was formed in November 1983 by bassist Svyatoslav Zadery. The band's name originated from Zadery nickname...

, Kino
Kino (band)
Kino was a Soviet rock band headed by Viktor Tsoi. It was one of the most famous Soviet rock groups of the 1980s.-History:The band was formed in the summer of 1981 in Leningrad, USSR Kino was a Soviet rock band headed by Viktor Tsoi. It was one of the most famous Soviet rock groups of the...

, Kipelov
Kipelov
Kipelov is a Russian heavy metal band formed and led by former Aria vocalist Valery Kipelov.-Origins:In 2002, dissension in the heavy metal band Aria led to Aria members Valery Kipelov , Sergey Terentyev and Alexander Maniakin leaving that band and joining with former Aria member Sergey Mavrin...

, Nautilus Pompilius
Nautilus Pompilius (band)
Nautilus Pompilius , sometimes nicknamed Nau , was a prominent Soviet/Russian rock band formed by the lead singer Vyacheslav Butusov and bassist Dmitry Umetsky while the two studied in Sverdlovsk Institute of Architecture . The band, with its various incarnations, was active between the years 1983...

, Aria
Aria (band)
Aria is a Russian heavy metal band that was formed in 1985 in Moscow. Although it was not the first Soviet band to play Heavy music, Aria was the first to break through to mainstream media and commercial success. According to several public polls, Aria ranks among top 10 most popular Russian rock...

, Grazhdanskaya Oborona
Grazhdanskaya Oborona
Grazhdanskaya Oborona is one of the earliest and most famous Russian punk bands and now maintains a huge army of fans, admirers, and followers. It inspired hundreds of subsequent Soviet and then Russian bands. The name of the band means "Civil Defence" in Russian...

, Splean
Splean
Splean is a popular Russian rock band. They were formed and released their first album in 1994. Since then, they have remained one of the most popular rock bands in Russia and the former Soviet Union. The band's name is derived from "spleen" , and the "ea" spelling in English is a pun on the...

 and Korol i Shut
Korol i Shut
Korol' i Shut is a Russian horror punk band from Saint Petersburg who takes its inspiration and costumes from tales and fables.-History:...

. Russian pop
Russian pop
Russian pop music is Russian-language pop music produced either in Russia or other countries. This is the successor to popular "variety" Soviet music with its pop idols such as Alla Pugachova or Valery Leontiev....

 music developed from what was known in the Soviet times as estrada into full-fledged industry, with some performers gaining wide international recognition, like t.A.T.u.
T.A.T.u.
t.A.T.u. was a duo formed in Moscow, Russia in 1999 by Ivan Shapovalov. The group consisted of Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova.Their debut single "Ya Soshla S Uma" was released in December 2000. The single had a huge success in Russia and Eastern Europe...

 and Vitas
Vitas
Vitaliy "Vitalik" Vladasovich Grachyov , better known by his stage name Vitas , is a Russian singer-songwriter.Known for his high falsetto voice, he has been given the nickname "Prince of the Dolphin Voice" in China...

.

Literature and philosophy




In the 18th century, during the era of Russian Enlightenment
Russian Enlightenment
The Russian Age of Enlightenment was a period in the eighteenth century in which the government began to actively encourage the proliferation of arts and sciences. This time gave birth to the first Russian university, library, theatre, public museum, and relatively independent press...

, the development of Russian literature
Russian literature
Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union...

 was boosted by the works of Mikhail Lomonosov
Mikhail Lomonosov
Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov was a Russian polymath, scientist and writer, who made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries was the atmosphere of Venus. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art,...

 and Denis Fonvizin
Denis Fonvizin
Denis Ivanovich Fonvizin was a playwright of the Russian Enlightenment, whose plays are still staged today. His main works are two satirical comedies which mock contemporary Russian gentry.-Life:...

, and by the early 19th century a modern native tradition had emerged, producing some of the greatest writers of all time. This period, known also as the Golden Age of Russian Poetry
Golden Age of Russian Poetry
Golden Age of Russian Poetry is the name traditionally applied by Russian philologists to the first half of the 19th century. It is also called the Age of Pushkin, after its most significant poet...

, began with Alexander Pushkin, who is considered the founder of modern Russian literary language and often described as the "Russian Shakespeare". It continued into the 19th century with the poetry of Mikhail Lermontov
Mikhail Lermontov
Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov , a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", became the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death in 1837. Lermontov is considered the supreme poet of Russian literature alongside Pushkin and the greatest...

 and Nikolay Nekrasov, dramas of Alexander Ostrovsky and Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

, and the prose of Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist and novelist.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism...

 and Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportsman's Sketches, is a milestone of Russian Realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century...

. Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

 and Fyodor Dostoyevsky in particular were titanic figures to the point that many literary critics have described one or the other as the greatest novelist of all time.

By the 1880s the age of the great novelists was over, while short fiction and poetry became the dominant genres. The next several decades became known as the Silver Age of Russian Poetry
Silver Age of Russian Poetry
Silver Age is a term traditionally applied by Russian philologists to the first two decades of the 20th century. It was an exceptionally creative period in the history of Russian poetry, on par with the Golden Age a century earlier...

, when the previously dominant literary realism
Literary realism
Literary realism most often refers to the trend, beginning with certain works of nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors in various countries, towards depictions of contemporary life and society "as they were." In the spirit of...

 was replaced by symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

. Leading authors of this era include poets Valery Bryusov
Valery Bryusov
Valery Yakovlevich Bryusov was a Russian poet, prose writer, dramatist, translator, critic and historian. He was one of the principal members of the Russian Symbolist movement.-Biography:...

, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Alexander Blok
Alexander Blok
Alexander Alexandrovich Blok was a Russian lyrical poet.-Life and career:Blok was born in Saint Petersburg, into a sophisticated and intellectual family. Some of his relatives were literary men, his father being a law professor in Warsaw, and his maternal grandfather the rector of Saint Petersburg...

, Nikolay Gumilev and Anna Akhmatova
Anna Akhmatova
Anna Andreyevna Gorenko , better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova , was a Russian and Soviet modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon.Harrington p11...

, and novelists Leonid Andreyev
Leonid Andreyev
Leonid Nikolaievich Andreyev was a Russian playwright, novelist and short-story writer. He is one of the most talented and prolific representatives of the Silver Age period in Russian history...

, Ivan Bunin, and Maxim Gorky
Maxim Gorky
Alexei Maximovich Peshkov , primarily known as Maxim Gorky , was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.-Early years:...

.

Russian philosophy
Russian philosophy
Russian philosophy includes a variety of philosophical movements. Authors who developed them are listed below sorted by movement.While most authors listed below are primarily philosophers, also included here are some Russian fiction writers, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, who are also known as...

 blossomed since the 19th century, when it was defined initially by the opposition of Westernizers, advocating the Western political and economical models, and Slavophiles, insisting on developing Russia as unique civilization. The latter group includes Nikolai Danilevsky and Konstantin Leontiev
Konstantin Leontiev
Konstantin Nikolayevich Leontyev was a conservative, monarchist reactionary Russian philosopher who advocated closer cultural ties between Russia and the East in order to oppose the catastrophic egalitarian, utilitarian and revolutionary influences from the West...

, the founders of eurasianism. In its further development Russian philosophy was always marked by deep connection to literature and interest in creativity, society, politics and nationalism; Russian cosmism
Russian cosmism
Russian cosmism was a philosophical and cultural movement that emerged in Russia in the early 20th century. It entailed a broad theory of natural philosophy combining elements of religion and ethics with a history and philosophy of the origin, evolution and future existence of the cosmos and...

 and religious philosophy were other major areas. Notable philosophers of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries include Vladimir Solovyev
Vladimir Solovyov (philosopher)
Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov was a Russian philosopher, poet, pamphleteer, literary critic, who played a significant role in the development of Russian philosophy and poetry at the end of the 19th century...

, Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Bulgakov
Fr. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher and economist. Until 1922 he worked in Russia; afterwards in Paris.-Early life:...

, and Vladimir Vernadsky
Vladimir Vernadsky
Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky was a Russian/Ukrainian and Soviet mineralogist and geochemist who is considered one of the founders of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and of radiogeology. His ideas of noosphere were an important contribution to Russian cosmism. He also worked in Ukraine where he...

.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

 many prominent writers and philosophers left the country, including Ivan Bunin, Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a multilingual Russian novelist and short story writer. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist...

 and Nikolay Berdyayev, while a new generation of talented authors joined together in an effort to create a distinctive working-class culture appropriate for the new Soviet state. In the 1930s censorship over literature was tightened in line with the policy of socialist realism
Socialist realism
Socialist realism is a style of realistic art which was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other communist countries. Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style having its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism...

. Since late 1950s the restrictions on literature were eased, and by the 1970s and 1980s, writers were increasingly ignoring the official guidelines. The leading authors of the Soviet era include novelists Yevgeny Zamyatin
Yevgeny Zamyatin
Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin was a Russian author of science fiction and political satire. Despite having been a prominent Old Bolshevik, Zamyatin was deeply disturbed by the policies pursued by the CPSU following the October Revolution...

, Ilf and Petrov
Ilf and Petrov
Ilya Ilf Ilya Ilf Ilya Ilf (Ilya Arnoldovich Faynzilberg and Evgeny or Yevgeni Petrov (Yevgeniy Petrovich Kataev or Katayev were two Soviet prose authors of the 1920s and 1930s...

, Mikhail Bulgakov
Mikhail Bulgakov
Mikhaíl Afanásyevich Bulgákov was a Soviet Russian writer and playwright active in the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his novel The Master and Margarita, which The Times of London has called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century.-Biography:Mikhail Bulgakov was born on...

 and Mikhail Sholokhov, and poets Vladimir Mayakovsky
Vladimir Mayakovsky
Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky was a Russian and Soviet poet and playwright, among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism.- Early life :...

, Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko is a Soviet and Russian poet. He is also a novelist, essayist, dramatist, screenwriter, actor, editor, and a director of several films.-Early life:...

, and Andrey Voznesensky
Andrey Voznesensky
Andrei Andreyevich Voznesensky was a Soviet and Russian poet and writer who had been referred to by Robert Lowell as "one of the greatest living poets in any language." He was one of the "Children of the '60s," a new wave of iconic Russian intellectuals led by the Khrushchev Thaw.Voznesensky was...

.

Cinema, animation and media


Russian and later Soviet cinema was a hotbed of invention in the period immediately following the 1917, resulting in world-renown films such as The Battleship Potemkin
The Battleship Potemkin
The Battleship Potemkin , sometimes rendered as The Battleship Potyomkin, is a 1925 silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and produced by Mosfilm...

 by Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein , né Eizenshtein, was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage"...

. Eisenstein was a student of filmmaker and theorist Lev Kuleshov
Lev Kuleshov
Lev Vladimirovich Kuleshov was a Soviet filmmaker and film theorist who taught at and helped establish the world's first film school .-Career:...

, who developed the Soviet montage theory
Soviet montage theory
Soviet montage theory is an approach to understanding and creating cinema that relies heavily upon editing...

 of film editing at the world's first film school, the All-Union Institute of Cinematography. Dziga Vertov
Dziga Vertov
David Abelevich Kaufman , better known by his pseudonym Dziga Vertov , was a Soviet pioneer documentary film, newsreel director and cinema theorist...

, whose kino-glaz (“film-eye”) theory—that the camera, like the human eye, is best used to explore real life—had a huge impact on the development of documentary film making and cinema realism. The subsequent state policy of socialist realism
Socialist realism
Socialist realism is a style of realistic art which was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other communist countries. Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style having its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism...

 somewhat limited creativity, however many Soviet films in this style were artistically successful, like Chapaev
Chapaev (film)
Chapaev is a 1934 Soviet film. It was directed by the Vasilyev brothers on Lenfilm. It is a story about Vasily Ivanovich Chapaev , a legendary Red Army commander who became a hero of the Russian Civil War...

, The Cranes Are Flying
The Cranes are Flying
The Cranes Are Flying is a Soviet film about World War II. It depicts the cruelty of war and the damage suffered to the Soviet psyche as a result of World War II . It was directed at Mosfilm by the Georgian-born Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov in 1957 and stars Aleksey Batalov and Tatiana...

, and Ballad of a Soldier
Ballad of a Soldier
Ballad of a Soldier , is a 1959 Soviet film directed by Grigori Chukhrai and starring Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko. While set during World War II, Ballad of a Soldier is not primarily a war film...

.

1960s and 1970s saw a greater variety of artistic styles in the Soviet cinema. Eldar Ryazanov
Eldar Ryazanov
Eldar Aleksandrovich Ryazanov is a Soviet/Russian film director whose comedies, satirizing the daily life of the country, are very famous throughout the former Soviet Union....

's and Leonid Gaidai
Leonid Gaidai
Leonid Iovich Gaidai was one of the most popular Soviet comedy directors, enjoying immense popularity and broad public recognition in the former USSR & modern Russia...

's comedies of that time were immensely popular, with many of the catch phrases still in use today. In 1961–68 Sergey Bondarchuk directed an Oscar-winning film adaptation
War and Peace (1968 film)
War and Peace is a Soviet-produced film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace. Sergei Bondarchuk directed the film, co-wrote the screenplay and also acted in the lead role of Pierre. It was produced over a seven year period and released in four parts between 1965 and...

 of Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

's epic War and Peace
War and Peace
War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1869. The work is epic in scale and is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature...

, which was the most expensive film ever made. In 1969, Vladimir Motyl
Vladimir Motyl
Vladimir Yakovlevich Motyl was a Soviet and Russian film director and scenarist.Vladimir Motyl was born in Lepiel, Belarus. His father was a Polish émigré, who was arrested in 1930 and sent to Solovki and died there the following year. Many of his other relatives suffered similar treatment...

's White Sun of the Desert
White Sun of the Desert
White Sun of the Desert , a classic 'Eastern' or Ostern film of the Soviet Union.The film is one of the most popular Russian films of all time. Its blend of action, comedy, music and drama has made it wildly successful and it has since achieved the status of a cult film in Soviet and Russian...

 was released, a very popular film in a genre of ostern
Ostern
The Ostern or Red Western was the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries' take on the Western.It generally took two forms:...

; the film is traditionally watched by cosmonauts before any trip into space.


Russian animation dates back to the late Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 times. During Soviet era, Soyuzmultfilm
Soyuzmultfilm
Soyuzmultfilm is a Russian animation studio based in Moscow. Over the years it has gained international attention and respect, garnering numerous awards both at home and abroad. Noted for a great variety of style, it is regarded as the most influential animation studio of the former Soviet Union...

 studio was the largest animation producer. Soviet animators developed a great variety of pioneering techniques and aesthetic styles, with prominent directors including Ivan Ivanov-Vano
Ivan Ivanov-Vano
Ivan Pyetrovich Ivanov-Vano was a Soviet animator and Russian animation director, sometimes called the "Patriarch of Soviet animation"....

, Fyodor Khitruk
Fyodor Khitruk
Fyodor Savelyevich Khitruk is one of the most influential animators and animation directors in Russian animation.-Biography:Khitruk was born in Tver, Russian Empire and came to Moscow to study graphic design at the OGIS College for Applied Arts. He graduated in 1936 and started to work with...

 and Aleksandr Tatarsky. Many Soviet cartoon heroes, such as the Russian-style Winnie-the-Pooh
Winnie-the-Pooh
Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh , and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner...

, cute little Cheburashka
Cheburashka
Cheburashka , also known as Topple in earlier English translations, is a character in children's literature, from a 1966 story by the Russian writer Eduard Uspensky. In Estonian the character is called Potsataja...

, Wolf and Hare from Nu, Pogodi!
Nu, pogodi!
Nu, pogodi! is a Soviet/Russian animated series produced by Soyuzmultfilm. The series was created in 1969 and became a popular cartoon of the Soviet Union. Additional episodes have been produced in Russia since 2006...

 are iconic images in Russia and many surrounding countries.

The late 1980s and 1990s were a period of crisis in Russian cinema and animation. Although Russian filmmakers became free to express themselves, state subsidies were drastically reduced, resulting in fewer films produced. The early years of the 21st century have brought increased viewership and subsequent prosperity to the industry on the back of the economic revival. Production levels are already higher than in Britain and Germany. Russia's total box-office revenue in 2007 was $565 million, up 37% from the previous year In 2002 the Russian Ark
Russian Ark
Russian Ark is a 2002 Russian historical drama film directed by Alexander Sokurov. It was filmed entirely in the Winter Palace of the Russian State Hermitage Museum using a single 96-minute Steadicam sequence shot...

 became the first feature film ever to be shot in a single take. The traditions of Soviet animation were developed recently by such directors as Aleksandr Petrov and studios like Melnitsa Animation.

Russia was among the first countries to introduce radio
Radio Day
Radio Day , Communications Workers' Day or Radio and Television Day is a commemoration of the development of radio in Russia...

 and television. While there were few channels in the Soviet time, in the past two decades many new state and private-owned radio stations and TV channels appeared. In 2005 a state-run English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 Russia Today TV
Russia Today TV
RT, previously known as Russia Today, is a global multilingual television news network based in the Russian Federation run by the state-owned state-run RIA Novosti....

 started broadcasting, and its Arabic version Rusiya Al-Yaum
Rusiya Al-Yaum
Rusiya Al-Yaum a Russian TV news channel broadcasting in Arabic and headquartered in Moscow, Russia...

 was launched in 2007.

Sports




Combining the total medals of Soviet Union and Russia, the country is second among all nations by number of gold medals both at the Summer Olympics and at the Winter Olympics. Soviet and later Russian athletes have always been in the top three for the number of gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics. Soviet gymnasts, track-and-field athletes, weight lifters, wrestlers, boxers, fencers
Fencing
Fencing, which is also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons.Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games...

, shooters
Shooting
Shooting is the act or process of firing rifles, shotguns or other projectile weapons such as bows or crossbows. Even the firing of artillery, rockets and missiles can be called shooting. A person who specializes in shooting is a marksman...

, cross country skiers, biathletes, speed skaters and figure skaters were consistently among the best in the world, along with Soviet basketball, handball, volleyball and ice hockey players. The 1980 Summer Olympics
1980 Summer Olympics
The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Moscow in the Soviet Union. In addition, the yachting events were held in Tallinn, and some of the preliminary matches and the quarter-finals of the football tournament...

 were held in Moscow while the 2014 Winter Olympics
2014 Winter Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially the XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to be celebrated from 7 to 23 February 2014, in Sochi, Russia with some events held in the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana. Both the Olympic and...

 will be hosted in Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

.

Although ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 was only introduced during the Soviet era, the national team managed to win gold at almost all the Olympics
Ice hockey at the Olympic Games
Ice hockey tournaments have been staged at the Olympic Games since 1920. The men's tournament was introduced at the 1920 Summer Olympics and was transferred permanently to the Winter Olympic Games programme in 1924. The women's tournament was first held at the 1998 Winter Olympics...

 and World Championships they contested. Russian players Valery Kharlamov
Valery Kharlamov
Valeri Borisovich Kharlamov was a star ice hockey player from the Soviet Union and was considered one of the greatest players in the world. He was voted one of six players to the International Ice Hockey Federation's Centennial All-Star Team in a poll conducted by a group of 56 experts from 16...

, Sergey Makarov, Vyacheslav Fetisov and Vladislav Tretiak
Vladislav Tretiak
Vladislav Aleksandrovich Tretiak, MSM is a former goaltender for the Soviet Union's national ice hockey team. Considered to be one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the sport, he was voted one of six players to the International Ice Hockey Federation's Centennial All-Star Team in a...

 hold four of six positions in the IIHF Team of the Century. Recently Russia won the 2008 and 2009 IIHF World Championship
2009 IIHF World Championship
The 2009 IIHF World Championship took place in Switzerland from 24 April to 10 May. The games were played in the PostFinance Arena in Bern and Schluefweg in Kloten....

s, overtaking Canada as the world's top ranked ice hockey team. The Kontinental Hockey League
Kontinental Hockey League
The Kontinental Hockey League is an international professional ice hockey league in Eurasia founded in 2008. As of 2009, it is ranked as the strongest hockey league in Europe....

 (KHL) was founded in 2008 as a successor to the Russian Superleague
Russian Superleague
The Russian Superleague , commonly abbreviated as RSL, was the highest division of the main professional ice hockey league in Russia. It was considered the second best league in the world, after the National Hockey League of North America...

. It is seen as a rival to the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 (NHL) and is ranked the top hockey league in Europe as of 2009. Bandy
Bandy
Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.The rules of the game have many similarities to those of association football: the game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a football field. Each team has 11 players,...

, also known as Russian hockey, is another traditionally popular ice sport. The Soviet Union won all the Bandy World Championships
Bandy World Championships
The Bandy World Championships are a competition between bandy-playing nations. The tournament is administrated by the Federation of International Bandy....

 between 1957–79.


Along with ice hockey and basketball, association football is one of the most popular sports in modern Russia. The Soviet national team became the first ever European Champions by winning Euro 1960. In recent years, Russian football, which downgraded in 1990s, has experienced a revival. Russian clubs CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg won the UEFA Cup
UEFA Cup
The UEFA Europa League is an annual association football cup competition organised by UEFA since 1971 for eligible European football clubs. It is the second most prestigious European club football contest after the UEFA Champions League...

 in 2005 and 2008 respectively. The Russian national football team reached the semi-finals of Euro 2008, losing only to the eventual champions Spain. Russia will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup
2018 FIFA World Cup
The bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups was the process by which the locations for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups were selected. The process began officially in March 2009; eleven bids from thirteen countries were received, including one which was withdrawn and one that was...

, with 14 host cities located in the European part of the country and on the Urals.

Larisa Latynina, who currently holds a record for most Olympic medals won per person and most gold Olympic medals won by a woman, established the USSR as the dominant force in gymnastics for many years to come. Today, Russia is leading in rhythmic gymnastics
Rhythmic gymnastics
Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport in which individuals or teams of competitors manipulate one or two pieces of apparatus: rope, clubs, hoop, ball, ribbon and Free . An individual athlete only manipulates 1 apparatus at a time...

 with Alina Kabayeva, Irina Tschaschina and Yevgeniya Kanayeva. Russian synchronized swimming
Synchronized swimming
Synchronized swImming is a hybrid form of swimming, dance and gymnastics, consisting of swimmers performing a synchronized routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by music....

 is the best in the world, with almost all gold medals at Olympics and World Championships having been swept by Russians in recent decades. Figure skating
Figure skating
Figure skating is an Olympic sport in which individuals, pairs, or groups perform spins, jumps, footwork and other intricate and challenging moves on ice skates. Figure skaters compete at various levels from beginner up to the Olympic level , and at local, national, and international competitions...

 is another popular sport in Russia, especially pair skating
Pair skating
Pair skating is a figure skating discipline. International Skating Union regulations describe pair teams as consisting of "one lady and one man." The sport is distinguished from ice dancing and single skating by elements unique to pair skating, including overhead lifts, twist lifts, death spirals,...

 and ice dancing
Ice dancing
Ice dancing is a form of figure skating which draws from the world of ballroom dancing. It was first competed at the World Figure Skating Championships in 1952, but did not become a Winter Olympic Games medal sport until 1976....

. At every Winter Olympics from 1964 until 2006 a Soviet or Russian pair has won gold. Since the end of the Soviet era, tennis has grown in popularity and Russia has produced a number of famous players, including Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova ,. is a Russian professional tennis player and a former world no. 1. A US resident since 1994, Sharapova has won 24 WTA singles titles, including three Grand Slam singles titles at the 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open and 2008 Australian Open...

, the world's highest paid female athlete. In martial arts, Russia produced the sport Sambo
Sambo (martial art)
Sambo is a Russian martial art and combat sport. The word "SAMBO" is an acronym for SAMooborona Bez Oruzhiya, which literally translates as "self-defense without weapons". Sambo is relatively modern since its development began in the early 1920s by the Soviet Red Army to improve their hand to hand...

 and many renown fighters, like Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor Vladimirovich Emelianenko) is a Russian heavyweight mixed martial artist. He has won numerous tournaments and accolades in multiple sports, most notably the Pride 2004 Grand Prix and the World Combat Sambo championship on four occasions, as well as medaling in the Russian national Judo...

. Chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 is a widely popular pastime in Russia; from 1927, Russian grandmasters have held the world chess championship
World Chess Championship
The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the board game chess. Men and women of any age are eligible to contest this title....

 almost continuously.

Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

 is also becoming increasingly poplular in Russia. Renault's Vitaly Petrov
Vitaly Petrov
Vitaly Alexandrovich Petrov is a Russian Formula One racing driver, currently driving for the Lotus Renault GP team. He is known as "Vyborg Rocket" in Russia. He is, to date, the only Russian to have competed in the Formula One World Championship....

 is the only Russian Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

 driver to date. There have only ever been two Russian Grands Prix (in 1913 and 1914), but it is set to return for 2014
Russian Grand Prix
The Russian Grand Prix was a Grand Prix motor race briefly held in the 1910s in St. Petersburg. It is expected that on 100th anniversary of the last Russian Grand Prix, a new race, a round of the Formula One World Championship, due to join the calendar in 2014...

, in a six year deal.

National holidays and symbols




There are seven public holidays in Russia
Public holidays in Russia
The following is the list of official public holidays recognized by the Government of Russia. On these days, government offices, embassies and some shops, are closed. If the date of observance falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday will be a day off in lieu of the holiday.-New Year...

, except those always celebrated on Sunday. Russian New Year traditions resemble those of the Western Christmas, with New Year Tree
New Year tree
New Year trees are decorations similar to Christmas trees that are displayed in various cultures, but should not be confused with a North American practice of not removing a tree until New Years; such a tree is still considered a Christmas tree....

s and gifts, and Ded Moroz
Ded Moroz
Ded Moroz is a fictional character who in some Slavic cultures plays a role similar to that of Santa Claus. The literal translation of the name would be Grandfather Frost, although the name is often translated as Father Frost....

 (Father Frost) playing the same role as Santa Claus
Santa Claus
Santa Claus is a folklore figure in various cultures who distributes gifts to children, normally on Christmas Eve. Each name is a variation of Saint Nicholas, but refers to Santa Claus...

. Orthodox Christmas falls on 7 January, because Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 still follows the Julian calendar
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

 and all Orthodox holidays are 13 days after Catholic ones. Another two major Christian holidays are Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 and Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity...

. Kurban Bayram and Uraza Bayram are celebrated by Russian Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s.

Further Russian public holidays include Defender of the Fatherland Day
Defender of the Fatherland Day
Defender of the Fatherland Day is a holiday observed in Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Belarus and several other former republics of the Soviet Union. It is celebrated on February 23.-History:...

 (23 February), which honors Russian men, especially those serving in the army; International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day , originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and...

 (8 March), which combines the traditions of Mother's Day
Mother's Day
Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and celebrating motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, yet most commonly in March, April, or May...

 and Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496...

; Spring and Labor Day (1 May); Victory Day (9 May); Russia Day
Russia Day
Russia Day is the national holiday of the Russian Federation, celebrated on June 12. It has been celebrated every year since 1992. The First Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Federation adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on...

 (12 June); and Unity Day
Unity Day (Russia)
Unity Day, Day of People’s Unity or National Unity Day was celebrated in the Russian Empire until 1917 and in Russia from 2005. Held on November 4 , it commemorates the popular uprising which expelled the Polish-Lithuanian occupation force from Moscow in November 1612, and more generally the end...

 (4 November), commemorating the popular uprising which expelled the Polish occupation force from Moscow in 1612.

Victory Day is the second most popular holiday in Russia; it commemorates the victory over Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 in the Great Patriotic War. A huge military parade, hosted by the President of Russia, is annually organised in Moscow on Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...

. Similar parades took place in all major Russian cities and cities with the status Hero city
Hero City
Hero City is a Soviet honorary title awarded for outstanding heroism during the German-Soviet War of 1941 to 1945. It was awarded to twelve cities of the Soviet Union. In addition the Brest Fortress was awarded an equivalent title of Hero-Fortress...

 or City of Military Glory.

Popular non-public holidays include Old New Year
Old New Year
The Old New Year Нова година) or the Orthodox New Year is an informal traditional Slavic Orthodox holiday, celebrated as the start of the New Year by the Julian calendar...

 (New Year according to Julian Calendar on 14 January), Tatiana Day
Tatiana Day
Tatiana Day is a Russian religious holiday observed on January 25 according to the Gregorian calendar, January 12 according to the Julian. It is named after Saint Tatiana, a Christian martyr in 3rd century Rome during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus....

 (students holiday on 25 January), Maslenitsa
Maslenitsa
Maslenitsa . Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday. The Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date. In 2008, for example, Maslenitsa was celebrated from March 2 to March...

 (an old pagan spring holidaya week before the Great Lent
Great Lent
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha . In many ways Great Lent is similar to Lent in Western Christianity...

), Cosmonautics Day
Cosmonautics Day
Cosmonautics Day is a holiday celebrated in Russia and some other former USSR countries on April 12. This holiday celebrates the first manned space flight made on April 12, 1961 by the 27-year old Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin circled the Earth for 1 hour and 48 minutes aboard the Vostok...

 (in tribute to Yury Gagarin's first ever human trip into space on 12 April), Ivan Kupala Day
Ivan Kupala Day
Kupala Day is celebrated in Poland, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine currently on the night of 6/7 July in the Gregorian or New Style calendar, which is 23/24 June in the Julian or Old Style calendar still used by many Orthodox Churches. Calendar-wise, it is opposite to the winter solstice holiday...

 (another pagan Slavic holiday on 7 July) and Peter and Fevronia Day (taking place on 8 July and being the Russian analogue of Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496...

, which focuses, however, on the family love and fidelity).


State symbols of Russia include the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 double-headed eagle
Double-headed eagle
The double-headed eagle is a common symbol in heraldry and vexillology. It is most commonly associated with the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. In Byzantine heraldry, the heads represent the dual sovereignty of the Emperor and/or dominance of the Byzantine Emperors over both East and...

, combined with St. George of Moscow in the Russian coat of arms. The Russian flag dates from the late Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 period and has been widely used since the time of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. The Russian anthem shares its music with the Soviet Anthem, though not the lyrics. The imperial motto
Motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 God is with us and the Soviet motto Proletarians of all countries, unite! are now obsolete and no new motto has replaced them. The hammer and sickle
Hammer and sickle
The hammer and sickle is a part of communist symbolism and its usage indicates an association with Communism, a Communist party, or a Communist state. It features a hammer and a sickle overlapping each other. The two tools are symbols of the industrial proletariat and the peasantry; placing them...

 and the full Soviet coat of arms are still widely seen in Russian cities as a part of old architectural decorations. The Soviet Red Star
Red star
A red star, five-pointed and filled, is an important ideological and religious symbol which has been used for various purposes, such as: state emblems, flags, monuments, ornaments, and logos.- Symbol of communism :...

s are also encountered, often on military equipment and war memorials. The Red Banner
Red Banner
Red Banner was a symbol of the USSR associated with the Soviet state flag.Military units, institutions and organizations awarded with the Order of the Red Banner are referred to with the honorific title "of the Red Banner" Red Banner was a symbol of the USSR associated with the Soviet state...

 continues to be honored, especially the Banner of Victory of 1945.

The Matryoshka doll
Matryoshka doll
A matryoshka doll is a Russian nesting doll which is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo...

 is a recognizable symbol of Russia, while the towers of Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

 and Saint Basil's Cathedral
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat , popularly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral , is a Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the...

 in Moscow are main Russia's architectural icons. Cheburashka
Cheburashka
Cheburashka , also known as Topple in earlier English translations, is a character in children's literature, from a 1966 story by the Russian writer Eduard Uspensky. In Estonian the character is called Potsataja...

 is a mascot of Russian national Olympic team. St. Mary, St. Nicholas, St. Andrew, St. George, St. Alexander Nevsky, St. Sergius of Radonezh and St. Seraphim of Sarov are Russia's patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

s. Chamomile
Chamomile
Chamomile or camomile is a common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. These plants are best known for their ability to be made into an infusion which is commonly used to help with sleep and is often served with either honey or lemon. Because chamomile can cause uterine...

 is the national flower, while birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 the national tree. The Russian bear
Russian Bear
The Russian Bear is a national personification for Russia, used in cartoons, articles and dramatic plays at least since the 17th century, and relating alike to Tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union and the present-day Russian Federation....

 is an animal symbol and a national personification
National personification
A national personification is an anthropomorphization of a nation or its people; it can appear in both editorial cartoons and propaganda.Some early personifications in the Western world tended to be national manifestations of the majestic wisdom and war goddess Minerva/Athena, and often took the...

 of Russia, though this image has a Western origin and Russians themselves have accepted it only fairly recently. The native Russian national personification is Mother Russia
Mother Russia
Mother Russia is a national personification of Russia, appearing in patriotic posters, statues etc. In the Soviet period, the term Mother Motherland was preferred, as representing the multi-ethnic Soviet Union; still, there is a clear similarity between the pre-1917 Mother Russia and the Soviet...

, sometimes called Mother Motherland.

Tourism


Tourism in Russia has seen rapid growth since the late Soviet times, first inner tourism and then international tourism as well, fueled by rich cultural heritage and great natural variety of the country. Major tourist routes in Russia include a travel around the Golden Ring of ancient cities, cruises on the big rivers like Volga, and long journeys on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway in the world...

.

Most visited destinations in Russia are Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the current and the former capitals of the country. Recognized as World Cities, they feature such world-renown museums as Tretyakov Gallery
Tretyakov Gallery
The State Tretyakov Gallery is an art gallery in Moscow, Russia, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world.The gallery's history starts in 1856 when the Moscow merchant Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov acquired works by Russian artists of his day with the aim of creating a collection,...

 and Hermitage
Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

, famous theaters like Bolshoi and Mariinsky, ornate churches like Saint Basil's Cathedral
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat , popularly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral , is a Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the...

, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor in Saint Petersburg, Russia is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city...

 and Church of the Savior on Blood
Church of the Savior on Blood
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood Khram Spasa na Krovi is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg, Russia. It is also variously called the Church on Spilt Blood and the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ , its official name....

, impressive fortifications like Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

 and Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia, founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and built to Domenico Trezzini's designs from 1706-1740.-History:...

, beautiful squares and streets like Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...

, Palace Square
Palace Square
Palace Square , connecting Nevsky Prospekt with Palace Bridge leading to Vasilievsky Island, is the central city square of St Petersburg and of the former Russian Empire...

, Tverskaya Street
Tverskaya Street
Tverskaya Street , known as Gorky Street between 1935 and 1990, is the main and probably best-known radial street of Moscow, Russia. The street runs from the central Manege Square north-west in the direction of Saint Petersburg and terminated at the Garden Ring, giving its name to Tverskoy District...

 and Nevsky Prospect. Rich palaces and parks are found in the former imperial residences in suburbs of Moscow (Kolomenskoye
Kolomenskoye
Kolomenskoye is a former royal estate situated several kilometers to the south-east of the city-centre of Moscow, Russia, on the ancient road leading to the town of Kolomna...

, Tsaritsyno) and St Petersburg (Peterhof
Peterhof Palace
The Peterhof Palace in Russian, so German is transliterated as "Петергoф" Petergof into Russian) for "Peter's Court") is actually a series of palaces and gardens located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great. These Palaces and gardens are sometimes referred as the...

, Strelna
Strelna
Strelna is a municipal settlement in Petrodvortsovy District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia, situated about halfway between St. Petersburg proper and Petergof and overlooking the shore of the Gulf of Finland...

, Oranienbaum
Oranienbaum, Russia
Oranienbaum is a Russian royal residence, located on the Gulf of Finland west of St. Petersburg. The Palace ensemble and the city centre are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.-History:...

, Gatchina
Gatchina Palace
The Great Gatchina Palace was built in 1766–1781 in Gatchina town by Antonio Rinaldi for Count Grigori Grigoryevich Orlov who was a favourite of Ekaterina II. The Gatchina Palace is located on the hill above Lake Serebryannoe. It combines themes of a medieval castle and a country residence....

, Pavlovsk
Pavlovsk Palace
Pavlovsk Palace is an 18th-century Russian Imperial residence built by Paul I of Russia near Saint Petersburg. After his death, it became the home of his widow, Maria Feodorovna...

 and Tsarskoye Selo
Tsarskoye Selo
Tsarskoye Selo is the town containing a former Russian residence of the imperial family and visiting nobility, located south from the center of St. Petersburg. It is now part of the town of Pushkin and of the World Heritage Site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.-History:In...

). Moscow displays the Soviet architecture at its best, along with modern skyscrapers
Moscow International Business Center
Moscow International Business Center , also referred to as Moscow-City is a commercial district of central Moscow, Russia...

, while St Petersburg, nicknamed Venice of the North, boasts of its classical architecture, many rivers, channels and bridges.


Kazan
Kazan
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

, the capital of Tatarstan
Tatarstan
The Republic of Tatarstan is a federal subject of Russia located in the Volga Federal District. Its capital is the city of Kazan, which is one of Russia's largest and most prosperous cities. The republic borders with Kirov, Ulyanovsk, Samara, and Orenburg Oblasts, and with the Mari El, Udmurt,...

, shows a mix of Christian Russian and Muslim Tatar cultures. The city has registered a brand The Third Capital of Russia, though a number of other major cities compete for this status, including Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk is the third-largest city in Russia, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and the largest city of Siberia, with a population of 1,473,737 . It is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast as well as of the Siberian Federal District...

, Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg is a major city in the central part of Russia, the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Oblast. Situated on the eastern side of the Ural mountain range, it is the main industrial and cultural center of the Urals Federal District with a population of 1,350,136 , making it Russia's...

 and Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

.

Typical Russian souvenirs include matryoshka doll
Matryoshka doll
A matryoshka doll is a Russian nesting doll which is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo...

 and other handicraft
Handicraft
Handicraft, more precisely expressed as artisanic handicraft, sometimes also called artisanry, is a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. It is a traditional main sector of craft. Usually the term is applied to traditional means...

, samovar
Samovar
A samovar is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, as well as in other Central, South-Eastern, Eastern European countries,Kashmir and in the Middle-East...

s for water heating, ushanka
Ushanka
An ushanka , also known as a trooper, is a Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, or tied at the chin to protect the ears, jaw and lower chin from the cold. The thick dense fur also offers some protection against blunt impacts to the head...

 and papaha warm hats, and fur clothes. Russian vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 and caviar
Caviar
Caviar, sometimes called black caviar, is a luxury delicacy, consisting of processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe. The roe can be "fresh" or pasteurized, the latter having much less culinary and economic value....

 are among the food that attracts foreigners.

The warm subtropical Black Sea coast of Russia is the site for a number of popular sea resorts, like Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

, the follow-up host of the 2014 Winter Olympics
2014 Winter Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially the XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to be celebrated from 7 to 23 February 2014, in Sochi, Russia with some events held in the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana. Both the Olympic and...

. The mountains of the Northern Caucasus contain popular ski resorts, including Dombay. The most famous natural destination in Russia is Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

, the Blue Eye of Siberia. This unique lake, oldest and deepest in the world, has crystal-clean waters and is surrounded by taiga
Taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

-covered mountains. Other popular natural destinations include Kamchatka with its volcanoes and geysers, Karelia
Karelia
Karelia , the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden...

 with its lakes and granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 rocks, the snowy Altai Mountains, and the wild steppes of Tyva.

See also


  • Index of Soviet Union-related articles
  • International rankings of Russia
    International rankings of Russia
    The following are international rankings of Russia.-Agriculture:*Largest barley producer, output of 15.7 million metric *Largest buckwheat producer, output of 1 004 850 *Largest oats producer, output of 5.1 million metric tons...

  • Timeline of Russian history
    Timeline of Russian history
    This is a timeline of Russian history. To read about the background to these events, see History of Russia. See also the list of leaders of Russia.This timeline is incomplete; some important events may be missing...

  • Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records
    Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records
    Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records encompasses the key events in the history of technology in Russia, starting from the Early East Slavs and up to the modern Russian Federation....



Further reading

  • Kanet Roger E., ed. Russian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan; 2011) 295 pages; essays by experts

External links


Government
General information
  • Russia at UCB Libraries GovPubs

Other