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Russia 1

Russia

Russian Federation

Rossiyskaya Federatsiya

Anthem: (Russian)
Gosudarstvenny gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii(transliteration)
State Anthem of the Russian Federation

Capital Moscow
(and largest city) 5545N 3737E

Russian official throughout the country; 27 others co-official


Official language(s)
in various regions

Ethnic groups Russians 79.8%, Tatars 3.8%, Ukrainians 2%, Bashkirs 1.2%,
Chuvash 1.1%, Chechen 0.9%, Armenians 0.8%, other
10.4%

Demonym Russian

Government Federal semi-presidential republic

- President Dmitry Medvedev

- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (Independent, but leader of UR)

- Chairman of the Federation Council Sergey Mironov (FR)

- Chairman of the State Duma Boris Gryzlov (UR)

Legislature Federal Assembly

- Upper House Federation Council

- Lower House State Duma

Formation
Russia 2

- Rurik Dynasty 862

- Kievan Rus' 882

- Vladimir-Suzdal Rus' 1169

- Grand Duchy of Moscow 1283

- Tsardom of Russia 1547

- Russian Empire 1721

- Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic 7 November 1917

- Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 10 December 1922

- Russian Federation 26 December 1991

Area

- Total 17,075,400km (1st)


2

6,592,800sqmi

- Water(%) [1]
13 (including swamps)

Population

- 2010estimate [2]
141,927,297 (9th)

- 2002census [3]
145,166,731

- Density 2
8.3/km (217th)
21.5/sqmi

GDP(PPP) 2009estimate

- Total [4]
$2.109 trillion

- Per capita [4]


$14,919

GDP (nominal) 2009estimate

- Total [4]
$1.229 trillion

- Per capita [4]


$8,693

HDI(2007) [5]
0.817 (high)(71st)

Currency Ruble (RUB)

Time zone (UTC+2 to +11 (exc. +4))

- Summer(DST) (UTC+3 to +12 (exc. +5))

Drives on the right

Internet TLD .ru, .su, .2

Calling code +7

1 The Russian Federation is one of the successors to earlier forms of continuous statehood, starting from the 9th Century AD
when Rurik, a Viking warrior, was chosen as the ruler of Novgorod, a point traditionally taken as the beginning of Russian
statehood.

2 The . top-level domain is available for use in the Russian Federation since May 2010 and only accepts domains which
[6]
use the Cyrillic alphabet (e. g. http://.).

Russia (pronounced /r/( listen); Russian: , tr. Rossiya, pronounced[rsij] ( listen)), also officially
[7] [8]
known as the Russian Federation (Russian: , tr. Rossiyskaya Federatsiya,
Russia 3

pronounced[rsijskj
fdraj] ( listen)), is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential
republic, comprising 83 federal subjects. Russia shares borders with the following countries (from northwest to
southeast): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine,
Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It also has maritime borders with Japan (by
the Sea of Okhotsk) and the United States (by the Bering Strait).
At 17075400square kilometres (6592800sqmi), Russia is by far the largest country in the world, covering more
than a ninth of the Earth's land area. Russia is also the ninth most populous nation in the world with 142 million
people.[1] It extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning 9 time zones and incorporating
a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy
resources,[9] and is considered an energy superpower.[10] [11] [12] It has the world's largest forest reserves and its
lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's fresh water.[13]
The nation's history began with that of the East Slavs, who emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the
3rd and 8th centuries AD.[14] Founded and ruled by a noble Viking warrior class and their descendants, the first East
Slavic state, Kievan Rus', arose in the 9th century and adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in
988,[15] beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next
millennium.[15] Kievan Rus' ultimately disintegrated and the lands were divided into many small feudal states. The
most powerful successor state to Kievan Rus' was Moscow, which served as the main force in the Russian
reunification process and independence struggle against the Golden Horde. Moscow gradually reunified the
surrounding Russian principalities 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, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland in Europe to Alaska in North America.
Russia established worldwide power and influence from the times of the Russian Empire to being the largest and
leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the world's first constitutionally socialist state and a recognized
superpower,[16] that played a decisive role in the allied victory in World War II.[17] [18] [19] The Soviet era saw some
of the greatest technology achievements of the nation, such as the world's first human spaceflight. The Russian
Federation was founded following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, but is recognized as the continuing
legal personality of the Soviet state.[20] Russia has the world's 12th largest economy by nominal GDP or the seventh
largest by purchasing power parity, with the fifth largest nominal military budget. It is one of the five recognized
nuclear weapons states and possesses the world's largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.[21] Russia is a
great power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the G8, G20, the Council
of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian
Economic Community, the OSCE, and is the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Etymology
The countrys original name was (Rus'), a medieval state populated mostly by the Early East Slavs. However,
this proper name became more prominent in the later history and the country typically was called by its inhabitants
" " (ruskaya zemlya) which could be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". The difference
between the two terms would be like the difference between, for example, "Germany" and "German Land" or "Land
of Germans". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by
modern historiography.
An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that
were adjacent to Catholic Europe. The current name of the country, (Rossiya), comes from the Greek version
of Rus', spelled [rosia], which was the denomination of Kievan Rus in the Byzantine Empire.
Russia 4

Geography
Russia is the largest country in the world; its total area is 17075400square kilometres (6592800sqmi). The country
contains 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites,[22] 40 UNESCO Biosphere reserves,[23] 40 National Parks and 101
nature reserves. Russia has a wide natural resource base, including major deposits of timber, petroleum, natural gas,
coal, ores and other mineral resources.

Topography
The two widest separated points in Russia
are about 8000km (4971mi) apart along a
geodesic line. These points are: the
boundary with Poland on a 60km (37mi)
long spit of land separating the Gulf of
Gdask from the Vistula Lagoon; and the
farthest southeast of the Kuril Islands, a few
miles off Hokkaid Island, Japan. The
points which are furthest separated in
longitude are 6600km (4101mi) apart
along a geodesic. These points are: in the
west, the same spit; in the east, the Big
Diomede Island (Ostrov Ratmanova). The Topography of Russia.
Russian Federation spans 9 time zones.
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.[24] The Caspian is the source of what is considered one of the finest caviar in
the world.

Most of Russia consists of vast stretches of plains that are


predominantly steppe to the south and heavily forested to the north,
with tundra along the northern coast. Russia possesses 10% of the
world's arable land.[25] Mountain ranges are found along the southern
borders, such as the Caucasus (containing Mount Elbrus, which at
5642m (18510ft) is the highest point in both Russia and Europe) and
the Altai (containing Mount Belukha, which at the 4506m (14783ft) is
the highest point of Asian Russia); and in the eastern parts, such as the
Verkhoyansk Range or the volcanoes on Kamchatka. The Ural
Central Russian Upland near Zaraysk, Moscow
Mountains, rich in mineral resources, form a north-south range that
Oblast.
divides Europe and Asia. Russia has an extensive coastline of over
37000km (22991mi) along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as
along the Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov, Black and Caspian seas.[26]

The Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and
the Sea of Japan are linked to Russia via the Arctic and Pacific oceans. Russia's major islands and archipelagos
include: Novaya Zemlya, the Franz Josef Land, the Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island,
the Kuril Islands, and Sakhalin. The Diomede Islands (one
Russia 5

controlled by Russia, the other by the United States) are just 3km
(1.9mi) apart, and Kunashir Island is about 20km (12.4mi) from
Hokkaid.
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, the
world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious freshwater lake.[27]
Lake Baikal alone contains over one fifth of the world's fresh surface
Mount Elbrus, the highest point of the Caucasus,
Russia and Europe. water.[28] Other major lakes include Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega,
two of the largest lakes in Europe. Russia is second only to Brazil in
volume of total renewable water resources. Of the country's 100,000
rivers,[29] 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.[26]

The plains of Western Siberia, Vasyugan River,


Tomsk Oblast.

Climate
The climate of the Russian Federation formed under the influence of
several determining factors. The enormous size of the country and the
remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the
humid continental and subarctic climate, which is prevalent in
European and Asian Russia except for the tundra and the extreme
southeast. Mountains in the south obstruct the flow of warm air masses
from the Indian Ocean, while the plain of the west and north makes the
country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences.[30]

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.[30] The Brown bear is a symbol of Russia.

The coldest month is January (February on the shores of the sea), 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. A small part of
Black Sea coast around Sochi has a subtropical climate.[31] The
continental interiors are the driest areas.

Taiga forest in winter, Arkhangelsk Oblast.


Russia 6

Flora and fauna


From north to south the East European Plain, also known as Russian
Plain, is clad sequentially in Arctic tundra, coniferous forest (taiga),
mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland (steppe), and semi-desert
(fringing the Caspian Sea), as the changes in vegetation reflect the
changes in climate. Siberia supports a similar sequence but largely is
taiga. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves,[13] known as "the
lungs of Europe",[32] second only to the Amazon Rainforest in the
amount of carbon dioxide 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 as of 1997[33] and are now protected. The Amur Tiger's natural habitat is
confined to the Russian Far East.

History

A birch forest in Siberia, Novosibirsk Oblast.


Birch is a national tree of Russia.

Early periods
One of the first modern human bones of 35,000 years old were found
in Kostenki on the Don River banks. In prehistoric times, the vast
steppes of Southern Russia were home to tribes of nomadic
pastoralists. In classical antiquity, the Pontic Steppe was known as
Scythia.[34]
Remnants of these steppe civilizations were discovered in such places
as Ipatovo,[34] Sintashta,[35] Arkaim,[36] and Pazyryk,[37] which bear
the earliest known traces of mounted warfare, a key feature in nomadic Kurgan hypothesis: South Russia as the urheimat
of Indo-European peoples.
way of life. In the latter part of the 8th century BCE, Greek traders
brought classical civilization to the trade emporiums in Tanais and
Phanagoria.[38]

Between the third and sixth centuries AD, the Bosporan Kingdom, a Hellenistic polity which succeeded the Greek
colonies,[39] was overwhelmed by successive waves of nomadic invasions,[40] led by warlike tribes, such as the Huns
and Turkic Avars. A Turkic people, the Khazars, ruled the lower Volga basin steppes between the Caspian and Black
Seas until the 8th century.[41]
Russia 7

The ancestors of modern Russians are the Slavic tribes, whose original
home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the
Pinsk Marshes.[42] The Early East Slavs gradually settled Western Russia in
two waves: one moving from Kiev toward present-day Suzdal and Murom
and another from Polotsk toward Novgorod and Rostov.[43] From the 7th
century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in
Western Russia[43] and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native
Finno-Ugric tribes, including the Merya,[44] the Muromians,[45] and the
Meshchera.[46]

An approximate map of the cultures in Kievan Rus'


European Russia at the arrival of the
Varangians. The 9th century saw the establishment of Kievan Rus', a predecessor state
to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Scandinavian Norsemen, called "Vikings"
in Western Europe and "Varangians" in the East,[47] combined piracy and
trade in their roamings over much of Europe. In the mid-9th century, they
ventured along the waterways extending from the eastern Baltic to the
Black and Caspian Seas.[48]

According to the earliest Russian chronicle, a Varangian from Rus' people,


named Rurik, was elected ruler of Novgorod in 862. His successor Oleg the
Prophet moved south and conquered Kiev in 882,[49] which had been
previously dominated by the Khazars;[50] so the state of Kievan Rus'
started. Oleg, Rurik's son Igor and Igor's son Svyatoslav subsequently
subdued all East Slavic tribes to Kievan rule, destroyed the Khazar
Kievan Rus' in the 11th century.
khaganate and launched several military expeditions to Byzantium.

Alexander Nevsky by Pavel Korin on the


1967 Soviet postage stamp.
Russia 8

In the 10th to 11th centuries Kievan Rus' became one of the largest and
most prosperous states in Europe.[51] The reigns of Vladimir the Great
(9801015) and his son Yaroslav I the Wise (10191054) constitute
the Golden Age of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox
Christianity from Byzantium and the creation of the first East Slavic
written legal code, the Russkaya Pravda.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic


tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, caused a massive
migration of Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of The Baptism of Kievans, a painting by Klavdiy
[52] Lebedev.
the north, particularly to the area known as Zalesye. The age of
feudalism and decentralization had come, marked by constant
in-fighting between members of the princely family that ruled Kievan Rus' collectively. Kiev's dominance waned, to
the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, 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 12371240,[53] that resulted
in the destruction of Kiev[54] and the death of about half the population of Rus'.[55] The invaders, later known as
Tatars, formed the state of the Golden Horde, which pillaged the Russian principalities and ruled the southern and
central expanses of Russia for over three centuries, impeding the country's economic and social development.[56]
Galicia-Volhynia was eventually assimilated by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, while the Mongol-dominated
Vladimir-Suzdal and the independent Novgorod Republic, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, established the
basis for the modern Russian nation.[15] The Novgorod Republic together with Pskov 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 Alexander Nevsky, Novgorodians repelled the invading Swedes in the Battle of the Neva in 1240, as
well as the Germanic crusaders in the Battle of the Ice 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 ("Moscovy" in the Western
chronicles), initially a part of Vladimir-Suzdal. 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.
Like in the rest of Europe, plagues hit Russia somewhere once
every five or six years from 1350 to 1490. However, due to
Sergius of Radonezh blessing Dmitri Donskoi in
Troitse-Sergieva Lavra, before the Battle of Kulikovo. A the lower population density and better hygiene (widespread
painting by Ernest Lissner. practicing of banya),[57] the population loss caused by plagues
wasn't so severe as in the Western Europe, and the pre-Plague
populations seem to have been reached in Russia as early as 1500.[58]

Assisted by the Russian Orthodox Church and Saint Sergius of Radonezh's spiritual revival, under the leadership of
Prince Dmitri Donskoy of Moscow, the united army of Russian
Russia 9

principalities inflicted a milestone defeat on the Mongol-Tatars in the Battle


of Kulikovo (1380). Moscow gradually absorbed the surrounding
principalities, including eventually the strong rivals, such as Tver and
Novgorod, and thus became the main leading force in the process of
Russia's reunification and expansion.
Ivan III (Ivan 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".[59] After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Moscow claimed
succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire. Ivan III married
Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine
XI, and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle his own, and eventually
Russian, coat-of-arms.
The Dormition Cathedral in Moscow
Kremlin. Built in the 15th century by an
Italian architect, it became the site of
coronation of Russian Tsars and Emperors.

Tsardom of Russia
In development of the Third Rome ideas, the Grand Duke Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible)
was officially crowned the first Tsar ("Caesar") of Russia in 1547. The Tsar
promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550), established the first Russian
feudal representative body (Zemsky Sobor) and introduced local self-management into
the rural regions.[60] [61]
During his long reign, Ivan IV nearly doubled the already large Russian territory by
annexing the three Tatar khanates (parts of disintegrated Golden Horde): Kazan and
Astrakhan along the Volga River, and Sibirean Khanate in South Western Siberia. Thus
Portrait of Ivan IV by Viktor by the end of the 16th century Russia was transformed into a multiethnic,
Vasnetsov, 1897 multiconfessional and transcontinental state.
In contrast to these great achievements in the East, Ivan IV's policy in the West brought
quite disastrous results. The Russian state was weakened by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War against the
coalition of Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden for access to the Baltic coast and sea trade.[62] At the same time Tatars of
the Crimean Khanate, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde, continued to invade Southern Russia in a
series of slave raids,[63] and were even able to burn down Moscow in 1571.[64]
The death of Ivan's sons marked the end of the ancient Rurikid Dynasty in 1598, and in combination with the famine
of 16011603[65] led to the civil war, the rule of pretenders and foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles in
the early 1600s.[66] Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth occupied parts of Russia, including Moscow. In 1612 the
Poles were forced to retreat by the Russian volunteer corps, led by two national heroes, merchant Kuzma Minin and
Prince
Russia 10

Dmitry Pozharsky. A new dynasty, the Romanovs, acceded the throne in 1613
by the decision of Zemsky Sobor, and Russia started its gradual recovery from
the crisis.

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky


(18041816) in front of Saint Basil's
Cathedral

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 joined the Zaporozhian
Cossacks in rebellion against Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth during the Khmelnytsky Uprising,
because of the social and religious oppression they
Yermak's Conquest of Siberia by Vasily Surikov.
suffered under Polish rule. In 1654 the Ukrainian
leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, offered to place Ukraine
under the protection of the Russian Tsar, Aleksey I. Aleksey's acceptance of this offer led to a protracted war
between Poland and Russia. Finally, Ukraine was split along the river Dnieper, leaving the western part (or
Right-bank Ukraine) under Polish rule and eastern part (Left-bank Ukraine and Kiev) under Russian. Soon after that,
in 167071 the Don Cossacks led by Stenka Razin initiated a major Cossack and peasant uprising in the Volga
region, but the Tsar's troops were successful in defeating the rebels.

In the east, the rapid Russian exploration and colonisation of the huge territories of Siberia was led mostly by
Cossacks hunting for valuable furs and ivory. Russian explorers pushed eastward primarily along the Siberian river
routes, and by the mid-17th century there were Russian settlements in the Eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula,
along the Amur River, and on the Pacific coast. In 1648 the Bering Strait between Asia and North America was
passed for the first time by the expedition of Fedot Popov and Semyon Dezhnev.
Russia 11

Imperial Russia
Under Peter I (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, forcing it to cede West Karelia and Ingria
(two regions lost by Russia in the Time of Troubles),[67] as well as Estland and
Livland, securing Russia's access to the sea and sea trade.[68] On the Baltic Sea
Peter founded a new capital called Saint Petersburg, later known as Russia's
Window to Europe. Peter's reforms brought considerable Western European
cultural influences to Russia.

The reign of Peter I's daughter Elisabeth in 17411762 saw Russia's


Peter the Great officially
proclaimed the existence of participation in the Seven Years War (17561763), sometimes called the first
the Russian Empire in 1721. actual World War. During this conflict Russia was able to annex Eastern Prussia
A portrait by Hippolyte for a while, and even take Berlin once, however upon Elisabeth's death all these
Delaroche.
conquests were returned to Kingdom of Prussia by pro-Prussian Peter III of
Russia.

Catherine II (Catherine the Great), who ruled from 1762 to 1796, continued the
efforts to establish Russia as one of the Great Powers of Europe. She extended
Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and
incorporated most of the Commonwealth territories into Russia during the
Partitions of Poland, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe.
In the south, after successful Russo-Turkish Wars against the Ottoman Empire,
Cathrine advanced Russia's boundary to the Black Sea, defeating the Crimean
khanate. As a result of victories over the Ottomans, by the early 19th century
Russia also had made significant territorial gains in Transcaucasia. This
continued with Alexander I's (18011825) wresting of Finland from the
Cathrine II the Great ruled Russia weakened kingdom of Sweden in 1809 and of Bessarabia from the Ottomans in
during the Age of Enlightenment. A
1812.
portrait by Dmitry Levitzky.
At the same time, in the second half of the 18th century and in the first half of
the 19th, Russians colonised Alaska and even founded some settlements in California, like Fort Ross. In 18031806
the first Russian circumnavigation was made, followed during the 19th century by the other notable Russian sea
exploration voyages. In 1820 the Russian expedition discovered the Antarctic continent.
Russia 12

In several coalition alliances with various European countries, Russia


fought against Napoleon's France. Napoleon's invasion of Russia at the
height of his power in 1812 failed miserably as the obstinate Russian
resistance in combination with the bitterly cold Russian winter dealt
him a disastrous defeat, in which more than 95% of his invading force
perished.[69] Led by Mikhail Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly, the
Russian army ousted Napoleon from the country and drove through
Europe as a part of the Sixth Coalition, finally entering Paris.

Tsar Alexander I headed Russia's delegation at the Congress of Vienna


that defined the map of post-Napoleonic Europe. The officers of the
Napoleonic Wars brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia with them
and even attempted to curtail the tsar's powers during the abortive
Decembrist revolt of 1825, which was followed by several decades of
political repression.
March of Suvorov through the Alps by Vasily
The prevalence of serfdom and the conservative policies of Nicolas I
Surikov. A scene from Generalissimo
Suvorov's Italian and Swiss expedition. (18251855) impeded the development of Russia in the mid-nineteenth
century, when a zenith period of Russia's power and influence in
Europe was disrupted by defeat in the Crimean War. Nicholas's
successor Alexander II (18551881) enacted significant reforms,
including the abolition of serfdom in 1861; these Great Reforms
spurred industrialization and modernized the Russian army, which had
successfully liberated Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 18771878
Russo-Turkish War.

Between 1850 and 1900, Russia's population doubled, but it remained


chiefly rural.[70] Eleven major famines scourged Russia between 1845
and 1922, one of the worst being the famine of 18912.[71]
Napoleon's withdrawal from Russia, a painting by
Adolph Northen. Many socio-economic conflicts were aggravated during Alexander IIIs
reign (18811894) and under his son, Nicholas II (18941917). Harsh
conditions in factories created mass support for the revolutionary socialist movement. In January 1905, striking
workers peaceably demonstrated for reforms in Saint Petersburg but were fired upon by troops, killing and wounding
hundreds. This event, known as "Bloody Sunday", along with the abject failure of the Tsar's military forces in the
initially popular Russo-Japanese War, ignited the Russian Revolution of 1905.

Although the uprising was put down and Nicholas II retained much of his power, he was forced to concede major
reforms, including granting the freedoms of speech and assembly, the legalization of political parties and the creation
of an elected legislative assembly, the Duma; however, the hopes for basic improvements in the lives of industrial
workers were mainly unfulfilled.
In 1914 Russia entered World War I in response to Austria's
declaration of war on Russia's ally Serbia, and fought across
multiple fronts while isolated from its Triple Entente allies. The
Russian army achieved such successes as the Brusilov Offensive
in 1916, destroying the military of Austria-Hungary almost
completely.
The Russian Empire in 1866 and its spheres of
influence.
Russia 13

However, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was


deepened by the rising costs of war, casualties (Russia suffered the
highest number of both military and civilian deaths of the Entente
Powers), and rumors of corruption and treason, leading to the
outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1917, carried out in two
major acts.

A series of uprisings were organized by workers and peasants


throughout the country, as well as by soldiers in the Russian army,
who were mainly of peasant origin; many of them were led by
democratically elected councils called Soviets. This first Bolshevik by Boris Kustodiev, a visual representation
revolution, or February Revolution, overthrew the Russian of the Russian Revolution.

monarchy, which was replaced by a shaky coalition of political


parties that declared itself the Provisional Government.

The abdication of Nicholas II marked the end of imperial rule in Russia; the last Tsar and his family were imprisoned
and later executed during the Civil War. While initially receiving the support of the Soviets, the Provisional
Government proved unable to resolve many problems which had led to the February Revolution. The second
revolution, the October Revolution, led by Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government
and created the worlds first socialist state.

Soviet Russia
Following the October Revolution, a civil war broke out between the new regime
and the counter-revolutionary White movement, while the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
concluded hostilities with the Central Powers in World War I. Russia lost its
Ukrainian, Polish, Baltic, and Finnish territories by signing the treaty.
The Allied powers launched a military intervention in support of anti-Communist
forces and both the Bolsheviks and White movement carried out campaigns of
deportations and executions against each other, known respectively as the Red
Terror and White Terror. By the end of the Russian Civil War the Russian economy
and infrastructure were heavily damaged. Millions were displaced,[72] and some
eventually fled Russia.[73] During the same period, the famine of 1921 claimed 5
Vladimir Lenin, leader of the million victims.[74]
Bolsheviks and founder of the
The Russian SFSR together with three other Soviet republics formed the Soviet
USSR.
Union on 30 December 1922. Out of the 15 republics that later constituted the
Soviet Union, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the largest republic
in terms of size and making up over half of the total USSR population, dominated the Soviet Union for its entire
69-year history; the USSR was often referred to, though incorrectly, as "Russia" and its people as "Russians".
Following Lenin's death in 1924, Joseph Stalin, an elected General Secretary of the Communist Party, managed to
put down all opposition groups within the party and consolidate much power in his hands. Leon Trotsky, the main
proponent of the world revolution, was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929, and Stalin's idea of socialism in one
country became the primary line. In 1930s a
Russia 14

number of open political trials gained much attention in the USSR and the world.
The continued internal struggle in the Bolshevik party culminated in the Great
Purge, a period of mass repressions in 193738, in which hundreds of thousands
of people were executed, including experienced military leadership.[75]
Since the end of 1920s, the government launched a planned economy, rapid
industrialization of the largely rural country, and collectivization of its
agriculture. Millions of citizens were relocated during the dekulakization
campaign that accompanied the collectivization. Millions of people passed
through the Gulag from 1929 to 1953,[76] with millions more being deported and
exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union.[77] The temporary transitional
disorganisation of the country's agriculture, combined with the harsh state
policies and a drought, led to the famine of 19321933.[78] However, though
with a heavy price, the Soviet Union was transformed from an agrarian economy Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, a giant
to a major industrial powerhouse in a short span of time. sculpture by Vera Mukhina atop the
Soviet pavilion at 1937 World's Fair
in Paris.

In 1933, in Germany, Hitler and his Nazi party came to power, being
outspoken enemies of communism and proponents of external aggression
and German expansion. Very soon the Soviet foreign policy changed
dramatically, completely dropping the idea of seeking the world revolution
(the very mention of it was eradicated from the new 1936 Soviet
Constitution). The USSR entered the League of Nations, and Soviet
diplomacy tried to establish counter-Nazism security pacts with major
European countries, but these attempts mostly failed.

The Appeasement policy of Great Britain and France towards Hitler's


annexions of Ruhr, Austria and finally of Czechoslovakia (following the
Munich agreement of 1938) enlarged the might of Nazi Germany and put a
threat of war to the Soviet Union. Around the same time the German Reich
allied with the Empire of Japan, a rival of the USSR on the Far East and an
open enemy in the SovietJapanese Border Wars in 19381939.

In August 1939, after another failure of talks with Britain and France, the
The 1939 poster depicting the fast
Soviet government agreed to conclude the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with
movement of the USSR from socialism to
Germany, pledging non-aggression between the two countries and dividing
communism, with Joseph Stalin as a driver
of the Soviet locomotive. their spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. This allowed Hitler to finally
start World War II and to conquer Poland, France and other countries
acting on single front. At the same time the USSR was able to regain some of the former territories of the Russian
Empire in Eastern Europe (see Soviet invasion of Poland and Winter War), and to gain one and a half more years for
building up the Soviet military.

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,[79] opening the largest theater of the Second World War. Although
the German army had considerable success early on, their onslaught was halted in the Battle of Moscow.
Russia 15

Subsequently the Germans were dealt major


defeats first at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter
of 19421943,[80] and then in the Battle of Kursk
in the summer of 1943. Another German failure
was the battle of Leningrad, in which the city was
fully blockaded on land between 194144 by
German and Finnish forces, suffering starvation
and more than a million deaths, but never
surrendering.[81]

Under Stalin's administration and the leadership of


such prominent commanders as Georgy Zhukov
and Konstantin Rokossovsky, Soviet forces drove
through Eastern Europe in 194445 and captured Stalingrad, 1942. The vast majority of the fighting in World War II took
[17]
Berlin in May 1945. After marking this by the place on the Eastern Front. Nazi Germany suffered 80% to 93% of its
[18] [19]
casualties there.
Moscow Victory Parade of 1945, the Soviet Army
ousted Japanese from China's Manchukuo and
North Korea, contributing to the allied victory over Japan.

19411945 period of World War II is known in Russia as Great


Patriotic War. 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,[82]
accounting for about a third of all World War II casualties. The
Soviet economy and infrastructure suffered massive
devastation[83] but the Soviet Union emerged as an acknowledged
superpower.

The Red Army occupied Eastern Europe after the war, including
the eastern half of Germany. Dependent socialist governments
The Moscow Victory Parade of 1945 was the first
major Soviet event recorded on color film. were installed in these satellite states. The USSR maintained
control over these nations by many means, sometimes by military
force, as in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Becoming the world's second nuclear weapons power, the USSR
established the Warsaw Pact alliance and entered into a struggle for global dominance with the United States, which
became known as the Cold War.

The Soviet Union exported its Communist ideology to newly formed independent allies, the People's Republic of
China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, while also helping these countries in industrialization and
development. Subsequently the ideas of Communism gained ground in Cuba and many other countries.
After Stalin's death and a short period of collective leadership, a new leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced the cult of
Stalin's personality and started the process of de-Stalinization. Gulag labor camps were abolished and a great many
of prisoners released;[84] the general easement of repressive policies became known later as Khruschev thaw.
Russia 16

In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, thus
starting the Space Age, and the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first
human to orbit the Earth aboard Vostok 1 manned spacecraft on 12 April 1961.
Tensions with the United States heightened when the two rivals clashed over the
deployment of the U.S. Jupiter missiles in Turkey and Soviet missiles in Cuba.

First human in space, Yuri


Gagarin.

Following the ousting of Khrushchev, another period of collective rule


ensued, until Leonid Brezhnev established himself in the early 1970s
as the pre-eminent figure in Soviet politics. Brezhnev's rule oversaw
economic stagnation, since the reforms, attempted by the Prime
Minister Alexey Kosygin, were stifled. Those reforms (see Kosygin
reform) had been aimed into shifting the emphasis of the Soviet
economy from heavy industry and military production to light industry
and the production of consumer goods. However that would mean
significant decentralization of economy and implementing
capitalist-like elements, and the Communist leadership wouldn't accept
this.

In 1979 the Soviet forces entered Afghanistan at the request of the


existing communist government. The subsequent occupation drained
economic resources and dragged on without achieving meaningful
political results. Ultimately Soviet forces were withdrawn from
Ostankino TV Tower in Moscow, completed in
Afghanistan in 1989 because of international opposition, persistent 1967 on the 50th anniversary of the October
anti-Soviet guerilla warfare (enhanced by the U.S.), and a lack of revolution. 540 metre high, it was the world's
support from Soviet citizens. Tensions rose between the U.S. and tallest free-standing structure at that time.

Soviet Union in the early 1980s, fueled by anti-Soviet rhetoric in the


U.S., the ongoing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the SDI proposal, and the controversial downing in 1983 of
Korean Air Lines Flight 007 by the Soviets west of Sakhalin near Moneron Island.

Prior to 1991, the Soviet economy was the second largest in the world,[85] 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.[86] From 1985 onwards, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the policies of glasnost
(openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize the country and make it more democratic.
However, this unexpectedly led to the rise of nationalist movements and dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In August 1991, an unsuccessful military coup, directed against Gorbachev and aimed at preserving the Soviet
Union, instead led to its collapse. In Russian SFSR, Boris Yeltsin came to power and declared the end of socialist
rule. The USSR splintered into fifteen independent republics and was officially dissolved in December 1991. Boris
Yeltsin was elected the President of Russia in June 1991, in the first direct presidential election in Russian history.
Russia 17

Russian Federation
During and after the disintegration of the USSR, when
wide-ranging reforms including privatisation and market and
trade liberalization were being undertaken,[87] the Russian
economy went through a major crisis. The period was
characterized by deep contraction of output, with GDP declining
by roughly 50% between 1990 and the end of 1995 and industrial
output declining by over 50%.[87] [88]

In October 1991, Yeltsin announced that Russia would proceed


with radical, market-oriented reform along the lines of "shock
therapy", as recommended by the United States and International
Monetary Fund.[89] [90] Price controls were abolished,
privatization was started. Millions plunged into poverty, from
1.5% of the population living in poverty in the late Soviet era, to
39%49% by mid-1993.[91] 5 Russian rubles banknote of 1997, with Millennium of
Russia monument and St. Sophia Cathedral on the
Delays in wage payment became a chronic problem with millions obverse, while Novgorod Kremlin on the reverse.
being paid months, even years late. 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.[92] The privatization process largely shifted control of enterprises from
state agencies to groups of individuals with inside connections in the Government and the mafia. Corruption became
an everyday rule of life. Many of the newly rich mobsters and businesspeople took billions in cash and assets outside
of the country in an enormous capital flight.[93] The depression of state and economy led to the collapse of social
services; the birth rate plummeted while the death rate skyrocketed. The early and mid-1990s saw extreme
lawlessness, rise of criminal gangs and violent crime.[94]

The 1990s were plagued by armed conflicts in


the Northern Caucasus, both ethnic conflicts
between local groups and separatist Islamist
insurrections against federal power. Since the
Chechen separatists had declared independence
in the early 1990s, an intermittent guerrilla war
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 and Beslan
school siege, caused hundreds of deaths and
drew worldwide attention.

High budget deficits and the 1997 Asian


Moscow International Business Center under construction. Financial Crisis caused the financial crisis of
1998[95] and resulted in further GDP decline.[87]
On 31 December 1999 President Yeltsin resigned, handing the post to the recently appointed Prime Minister,
Vladimir Putin, who then won the 2000 presidential election.
Putin suppressed the Chechen insurgency, 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.[26] While many reforms made during the Putin presidency have been generally
Russia 18

criticized by Western nations as un-democratic,[96] Putin's leadership over the return of order, stability, and progress
has won him widespread popularity in Russia.[97] On 2 March 2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected President of
Russia, whilst Putin became Prime Minister.

Government and politics


According to the Constitution, which was adopted by national
referendum on 12 December 1993 following the 1993 Russian
constitutional crisis, Russia is a federation and formally a
semi-presidential republic, wherein the President is the head of state[98]
and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Russian
Federation is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy.
Executive power is exercised by the government.[99]

Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal


Entrance to the Kremlin Senate, part of the Assembly.[100] The government is regulated by a system of checks and
Moscow Kremlin and the working residence of balances defined by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which
the Russian president. serves as the country's supreme legal document and as a social contract
for the people of the Russian Federation. The federal government is
composed of three branches:

Legislative: The bicameral Federal Assembly, made up of the State


Duma and the Federation Council adopts federal law, declares war,
approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has power of
impeachment, by which it can remove the President.
Executive: The president is the commander-in-chief 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.
The White House, the seat of the Russian
Government, Moscow. Judiciary: 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.
According to the Constitution, the justice in the court is based on the equality
of all citizens,[101] judges are independent and subject only to the law,[102]
trials are to be open and the accused is guaranteed a defense.[103] Since 1996,
Russia has instituted a moratorium on the death penalty, although capital
punishment has not been abolished by law.
The president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a
second term but constitutionally barred for a third consecutive term);[104]
election last held in 2008. 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). The national legislature is the Federal Assembly, which consists of
two chambers; the 450-member State Duma[105] and the 176-member The building of the Russian State Duma
on Manege Square in Moscow.
Russia 19

Federation Council. Leading political parties in Russia include United Russia,


the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and Fair
Russia.

Human rights
The rights and liberties of the citizens of the Russian Federation are granted
by Chapter 2 of the Constitution. Russia is a signatory to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and has also ratified a number of other
international human rights instruments.
In 2004, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the first Commissioner for Human Rights of the
Council of Europe, said that "the fledgling Russian democracy is still, of
course, far from perfect, but its existence and its successes cannot be
denied."[106]
However, some leading international democracy and human rights The Bronze Horseman monument in
front of the Constitutional Court of
organizations consider Russia to have not enough democratic attributes and to
Russia in Saint Petersburg.
allow few political rights and civil liberties to its citizens.[107] [108] [109]
US-funded international organization Freedom House ranks Russia as "not
free", citing "carefully engineered elections" and "absence" of debate.[110] Amnesty International accuses Russia of
committing wide ranging human rights abuses, including granting impunity for murderers of human rights activists,
imprisoning political dissidents and operating a system of arbitrary arrest.[107] Human Rights Watch claims Russia
commits grave human rights violations in Chechnya and allows the systematic abuse of migrant workers.[108] Press
freedom in Russia is considered amongst the lowest in the world by press freedom organization Reporters Without
Borders and is ranked 141st in their annual survey, on the basis that the Russian authorities "black list" figures that
are critical of the government, practice "official harassment", and "gag" potential dissidents.[111]

Russian authorities dismiss these claims and especially criticise Freedom House. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
Russia has called the 2006 Freedom in the World Report "prefabricated";[112] the ministry also claims that such
organizations 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". The chairwoman of the Civil
Society Institution and Human Rights Council at the President of Russia Ella Pamfilova also criticized the Freedom
House views on Russia as "ridiculous, absurd and far-fetched"[113] .

Foreign relations
The Russian Federation is recognized in international law as successor
state of the former Soviet Union.[20] Russia continues to implement the
international commitments of the USSR, and has assumed the USSR's
permanent seat on the UN Security Council, membership in other
international organizations, 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.[114] The foreign policy is determined
by the President of Russia and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Leaders of the BRIC nations in 2008: (l-r)
Manmohan Singh of India, Dmitry Medvedev of
Affairs.[115]
Russia, Hu Jintao of China and Luiz Incio Lula
da Silva of Brazil.
Russia 20

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 and the Six-party talks
with North Korea. Russia is a member of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations, the Council of Europe,
OSCE and APEC. Russia usually takes a leading role in regional organizations such as the CIS, EurAsEC, CSTO,
and the SCO. Former President Vladimir Putin had advocated a strategic partnership with close integration in various
dimensions including establishment of four common spaces between Russia and the EU.[116] Since the collapse 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.[117]

Military
Russia assumed control of Soviet assets abroad and most of
the Soviet Union's production facilities and defense
industries.[118] The Russian military is divided into the
Ground Forces, Navy, and Air Force. There are also three
independent arms of service: Strategic Rocket Forces,
Military Space Forces, and the Airborne Troops. In 2006, the
military had 1.037 million personnel on active duty.[119]

Russian Knights and Swifts military aerobatic teams in a


rhombus formation

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the


world. It has the second largest fleet of ballistic missile
submarines and is the only country apart from the U.S. with a
modern strategic bomber force.[21] Russia's tank force is the
largest in the world, its surface navy and air force are among
the strongest.

The country has a large and fully indigenous arms industry,


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 The Admiral Kuznetsov, the Russian Navy's aircraft carrier.

30% of worldwide weapons sales[120] and exporting weapons


to about 80 countries.[121]

It is mandatory for all male citizens aged 1827 to be drafted for a year of service in Armed Forces; the government
plans to increase the proportion of contract servicemen to 70% by 2010.[26] Defense expenditure has quadrupled over
the past six years.[122] According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates, official government
military spending for 2008 was $58 billion, the fifth largest in the world,[123] though various sources, including US
intelligence,[124] and the International Institute for Strategic Studies,[119] have estimated Russias military
expenditures to be considerably higher.[125] Currently, the military is undergoing a major equipment upgrade worth
about $200 billion between 2006 and 2015.[126] Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov[127] supervises the major
reforms aimed to transform a mass mobilization army into a smaller force of contract soldiers.[128]
Russia 21

Subdivisions

Map of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation.

Federal subjects
The Russian Federation comprises 83federal subjects.[129] These subjects have equal representationtwo delegates
eachin the Federation Council.[130] However, they differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy.
46 oblasts (provinces): most common type of federal subjects, with federally appointed governor and locally
elected legislature.
21 republics: nominally autonomous; each has its own constitution, president, and parliament. Republics are
allowed to establish their own official language alongside Russian but are represented by the federal government
in international affairs. Republics are meant to be home to specific ethnic minorities.
9 krais (territories): essentially the same as oblasts. The "territory" designation is historic, originally given to
frontier regions and later also to administrative divisions that comprised autonomous okrugs or autonomous
oblasts.
4 autonomous okrugs (autonomous districts): originally autonomous entities within oblasts and krais created for
ethnic minorities, their status was elevated to that of federal subjects in the 1990s. With the exception of
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, all autonomous okrugs are still administratively subordinated to a krai or an oblast
of which they are a part.
1 autonomous oblast (the Jewish Autonomous Oblast): originally autonomous oblasts were administrative units
subordinated to krais. In 1990, all of them except 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 8 federal districts, each administered by an envoy appointed by the President of
Russia.[131] Unlike the federal subjects, the federal districts are not a subnational level of government, but are a level
Russia 22

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.

Demographics
[132]
Ethnic composition (2002)

Russians 79.8%

Tatars 3.8%

Ukrainians 2.0%

Bashkirs 1.2%

Chuvash 1.1%

Chechen 0.9%

Armenians 0.8%

Other/unspecified 10.4%

Ethnic Russians comprise 79.8% of the 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.[134] Though Russia's population is comparatively large, its
density is low because of the country's enormous size.[135] Population
is densest in European Russia, near the Ural Mountains, and in
southwest Siberia. 73% of the population lives in urban areas while
27% in rural ones.[136] The population of Russia is 141,927,297 as of 1 Population (in millions) 19501991 of Russian
January 2010.[2] SFSR in USSR, 1991 1 January 2010 of
[133]
Russian Federation.
In 2008, the population declined by 121,400 people, or by 0.085% (in
2007 by 212,000, or 0.15% and in 2006 by 532,600 people, or
0.37%). In 2008 migration continued to grow by a pace of 2.7% with 281,615 migrants arriving to the Russian
Federation, of which 95% came from CIS countries, the vast majority being Russians or Russian speakers.[133] [137]
The number of Russian emigrants declined by 16% to 39,508, of which 66% went to other CIS countries. There are
also an estimated 10 million illegal immigrants from the ex-Soviet states in Russia.[138] Roughly 116 million ethnic
Russians live in Russia[139] and about 20 million more live in other former republics of the Soviet Union,[140] mostly
in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.[141] [142]
The population of Russia peaked at 148,689,000 in 1991, just before the breakup of the Soviet Union. It began to
experience a rapid decline starting in the mid-90s.[143] The decline has slowed to near stagnation in recent years due
to reduced death rates, increased birth rates and increased immigration. The number of deaths during 2008 was
363,500 greater than the number of births. This is down from 477,700 in 2007, and 687,100 in 2006.[133] [137]
According to data published by the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, the mortality rate in Russia declined 4%
in 2007, as compared to 2006, reaching some 2 million deaths, while the birth rate grew 8.3% year-on-year to an
estimated 1.6 million live births.[144]
The primary causes of Russia's population decrease are a high death rate and low birth rate. While Russia's birth-rate
is comparable to that of other European countries (12.1 births per 1000 people in 2008[133] compared to the
European Union average of 9.90 per 1000)[145] its population is declining at a greater rate than many due to a
substantially higher death rate (in 2008, Russia's death rate was 14.5 per 1000 people[133] compared to the European
Russia 23

Union average of 10.28 per 1000).[146] However, the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Affairs predicts that by
2011, the death rate will equal the birth rate due to increases in fertility and decline in mortality.[147]

Rank Core City Federal Subject Pop.

1 Moscow Moscow 10,508,971

Moscow 2 Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg 4,600,310


Nizhny
3 Novosibirsk Novosibirsk 1,397,191 Novgorod
4 Yekaterinburg Sverdlovsk 1,332,264
Saint
5 Nizhny Novgorod Nizhny 1,272,527
Petersburg
Novgorod Samara
6 Samara Samara 1,134,716

Novosibirsk 7 Kazan Tatarstan 1,130,170

8 Omsk Omsk 1,129,120 Kazan

9 Chelyabinsk Chelyabinsk 1,093,699


Yekaterinburg
10 Rostov-on-Don Rostov 1,048,991
Omsk
11 Ufa Bashkortostan 1,024,842

12 Perm Perm 985,794

13 Volgograd Volgograd 981,909

14 Krasnoyarsk Krasnoyarsk 947,801

15 Voronezh Voronezh 843,496

16 Saratov Saratov 830,953

17 Tolyatti Samara 720,346

18 Krasnodar Krasnodar 710,686

19 Izhevsk Udmurtia 611,043

20 Yaroslavl Yaroslavl 606,336


[148]
Rosstat (2009)

Language
Russia's 160 ethnic groups speak some 100
languages.[14] According to the 2002 census, 142.6
million people speak Russian, followed by Tatar with
5.3 million and Ukrainian with 1.8 million
speakers.[149] Russian is the only official state
language, but the Constitution gives the individual
republics the right to make their native language
co-official next to Russian.[150]

Despite its wide dispersal, the Russian language is


homogeneous throughout Russia. Russian is the most
geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the Countries where the Russian language is spoken.
most widely spoken Slavic language.[151] Russian
Russia 24

belongs to the Indo-European language family and is one of the living members of the East Slavic languages; the
others being Belarusian and Ukrainian (and possibly Rusyn). Written examples of Old East Slavic (Old Russian) are
attested from the 10th century onwards.[152]
Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. Russian is also applied as a means of
coding and storage of universal knowledge6070% of all world information is published in the English and
Russian languages.[153] The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Religion
Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are Russias traditional religions,
deemed part of Russia's "historical heritage" in a law passed in 1997.[154]
Estimates of believers widely fluctuate among sources, and some reports put the
number of non-believers in Russia at 1648% of the population.[155] Russian
Orthodoxy is the dominant religion in Russia.[156] 95% of the registered
Orthodox parishes belong to the Russian Orthodox Church while there are a
number of smaller Orthodox Churches.[157] However, the vast majority of
Orthodox believers do not attend church on a regular basis. Nonetheless, the
church is widely respected by both believers and nonbelievers, who see it as a
symbol of Russian heritage and culture.[158] Smaller Christian denominations
such as Roman Catholics, Armenian Gregorians, and various Protestants exist.
A symbol of Russia's religious
The ancestors of many of todays Russians adopted Orthodox Christianity in the
renaissance, Cathedral of Christ the
10th century.[158] The 2007 International Religious Freedom Report published by
Saviour, demolished in the Soviet
times and rebuilt from 19902000
the US Department of State said that approximately 100 million citizens consider
themselves Russian Orthodox Christians.[159] According to a poll by the Russian
Public Opinion Research Center, 63% of respondents considered themselves Russian Orthodox, 6% of respondents
considered themselves Muslim and less than 1% considered themselves either Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant or
Jewish. Another 12% said they believe in God, but did not practice any religion, and 16% said they are
non-believers.[160]

It is estimated that Russia is home to some 1520 million Muslims.[161] [162]


However, the Islamic scholar and human rights activist Roman Silantyev has
claimed that there are only 7 to 9 million people who adhere to the Islamic
religion in Russia.[163] Russia also has an estimated 3 million to 4 million
Muslim migrants from the ex-Soviet states.[164] Most Muslims live in the
Volga-Ural region, as well as in the North Caucasus, Moscow,[165] Saint
Petersburg and western Siberia.[166] All Religions Temple in a
multicultural city of Kazan.
Buddhism is traditional for three regions of the Russian Federation: Buryatia,
Tuva, and Kalmykia.[167] Some residents of the Siberian and Far Eastern regions,
Yakutia, Chukotka, etc., practice shamanist, pantheistic, and pagan rites, along with the major religions. Induction
into religion takes place primarily along ethnic lines. Slavs are overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian. Turkic speakers
are predominantly Muslim, although several Turkic groups in Russia are not.[168]
Russia 25

Health
The Russian Constitution guarantees free, universal health care for all citizens.[169] In practice, however, free health
care is partially restricted due to propiska regime.[170] [171] While Russia has more physicians, hospitals, and health
care workers than almost any other country in the world on a per capita basis,[172] [173] since the collapse of the
Soviet Union the health of the Russian population has declined considerably as a result of social, economic, and
lifestyle changes.[174] As of 2007, the average life expectancy in Russia is 61.5 years for males and 73.9 years for
females.[175] The combined average Russian life expectancy of 67.7 years at birth is 10.8 years shorter than the
overall figure in the European Union.[176]
The biggest factor contributing to this relatively low life expectancy for males is a high mortality rate among
working-age males from preventable causes (e.g., alcohol poisoning, stress, smoking, traffic accidents, violent
crimes). Mortality among Russian men rose by 60% since 1991, four to five times higher than in Europe.[177] As a
result of the large difference in life expectancy between men and women and because of the lasting effect of World
War II, where Russia lost more men than any other nation in the world, the gender imbalance remains to this day and
there are 0.859 males to every female.[26]
Heart diseases account for 56.7% of total deaths, with about 30%
involving people still of working age. A study blamed alcohol for more
than half the deaths (52%) among Russians aged 15 to 54 from 1990 to
2001. For the same demographic, this compares to 4% of deaths for the
rest of the world.[178] About 16 million Russians suffer from
cardiovascular diseases, placing Russia second in the world, after
Ukraine, in this respect.[177] Death rates from homicide, suicide, and
cancer are also especially high.[179] 52% of men and 15% of women
smoke, more than 260,000 lives believed to be lost each year as a result
A mobile clinic used to provide health care to
of tobacco use.[180]
people at remote railway stations.
HIV/AIDS, virtually non-existent in the Soviet era, rapidly spread
following the collapse, mainly through the explosive growth of intravenous drug use.[181] According to official
statistics, there are currently more than 364,000 people in Russia registered with HIV, but independent experts place
the number significantly higher.[182] In increasing efforts to combat the disease, the government increased spending
on HIV control measures 20-fold in 2006, and the 2007 budget doubled that of 2006.[183] Since the Soviet collapse,
there has also been a dramatic rise in both cases of and deaths from tuberculosis, with the disease being particularly
widespread amongst prison inmates.[184]

In an effort to stem Russia's demographic crisis, the government is implementing a number of programs designed to
increase the birth rate and attract more migrants to alleviate the problem. The government has doubled monthly child
support payments and offered a one-time payment of 250,000 Rubles (around US$10,000) to women who had a
second child since 2007.[185] In 2007, Russia saw the highest birth rate since the collapse of the USSR.[186] The First
Deputy PM also said about 20 billion rubles (about US$1 billion) will be invested in new prenatal centers in Russia
in 20082009. Immigration is increasingly seen by the United Nations as necessary to sustain the country's
population.[187]
Russia 26

Education
Russia has a free education system guaranteed to all citizens by the
Constitution,[188] and has a literacy rate of 99.4%.[26] Entry to higher
education is highly competitive.[189] As a result of great emphasis on
science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical,
scientific, and space and aviation research is generally of a high
order.[190] [191]

Before 1990 the course of school training in Soviet Union was


10-years, but at the end of 1990 the 11-year course has been officially
Moscow State University.
entered. 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[192] ).
In 2004 state spending for education amounted to 3.6% of GDP, or
13% of consolidated state budget.[193]

The Government allocates funding to pay the tuition fees within an


established quota, or number of students for each state institution. This
is considered crucial because it provides access to higher education to
all skilled students, as opposed to only those who can afford it. In
A school in Moscow. addition, students are paid a small stipend and provided with free
housing. Apart from state higher education institutions, many private
ones have emerged to address the need for a skilled work-force for high-tech and emerging industries and economic
sectors.[194]

Economy
The economic crisis that struck all
post-Soviet countries in the 1990s was
nearly twice as intense as the Great
Depression in the countries of Western
Europe and the United States in the
1930s.[195] [196] Even before the
financial crisis of 1998, Russia's GDP
was half of what it had been in the
early 1990s.[196] Since the turn of the
century, rising oil prices, increased
foreign investment, higher domestic
consumption and greater political
stability have bolstered economic
growth in Russia.[197] Russian economy since the end of the Soviet Union.

The country ended 2007 with its ninth straight year of growth, averaging 7% annually since 1998. In 2007, Russia's
GDP was $2.076 trillion (est. PPP), the 6th largest in the world, with GDP growing 8.1% from the previous year.
Growth was primarily driven by non-traded services and goods for the domestic market, as opposed to oil or mineral
extraction and exports.[26]
Russia 27

The average salary in Russia was $640 per month in early 2008, up from $80 in 2000.[198] Approximately 14% of
Russians lived below the national poverty line in 2007,[199] significantly down from 40% in 1998 at the worst of the
post-Soviet collapse.[91] Unemployment in Russia was at 6% in 2007, down from about 12.4% in 1999.[200] [201]
Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of Russian exports abroad.[26] Since 2003, however,
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 drop to 3.7% by 2011.[202] Russia is also considered well ahead of most other resource-rich
countries in its economic development, with a long tradition of education, science, and industry.[203] The country has
more higher education graduates than any other country in Europe.[204]
A simpler, more streamlined tax code adopted in 2001 reduced the tax
burden on people, and dramatically increased state revenue.[205] Russia
has a flat personal income tax 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.[206] [207]

A Rosneft petrol station. Russia is the world's


leading natural gas exporter and the second
leading oil exporter.

The federal budget has run surpluses since 2001 and ended 2007 with a
surplus of 6% of GDP. Over the past several years, Russia has used oil
revenues from its Stabilization Fund of the Russian Federation to
prepay most of its formerly massive debts,[208] leaving it with one of
the lowest foreign debts among major economies.
Oil export earnings have allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves
from $12 billion in 1999 to $597.3 billion on 1 August 2008, the third
largest reserves in the world.[209] Regional product per capita as of 2007 (darker is
higher).

The economic development of the country though has been uneven geographically with the Moscow region
contributing a disproportionately high amount of the country's GDP.[210] Much of Russia, especially indigenous and
rural communities in Siberia, lags significantly behind. Nevertheless, the middle class has grown from just 8 million
persons in 2000 to 55 million persons in 2006.[211] Over the last five years, fixed capital investments have averaged
real gains greater than 10% per year and personal incomes have achieved real gains more than 12% per year.
Despite the country's strong economic performance since 1999, however, the World Bank lists several challenges
facing the Russian economy including its diversification, encouraging the growth of small and medium enterprises,
building human capital and improving corporate governance.[212] Another problem is modernisation of
infrastructure, ageing and inadequate after years of being neglected;[213] the government has said $1 trillion will be
invested in development of infrastructure by 2020.[214]
Russia 28

Agriculture
The total area of cultivated land in Russia was estimated as
1,237,294km2 in 2005, the fourth largest in the world.[216] Unlike
most other countries, Russia has large reserves of unused arable
land, in part due to the drop in agricultural production during the
economy crisis of 1990s, when the area planted to grains dropped
by 25%. This was accompanied by a severe decline of livestock
inventories.

Rye Fields, by Ivan Shishkin. Russia is the world's top In 19992009, however, Russia's agriculture demonstrated steady
producer of rye, barley, buckwheat, oats and sunflower growth,[217] and the country turned from a grain importer to the
seed, and one of the largest producers and exporters of
third largest grain exporter after EU and U. S. in 2009.[218] The
wheat.
production of meat has grown from 6,813,000 tonnes in 1999 to
9,331,000 tonnes in 2008, and continues to grow.[219]
This restoration of agriculture was supported by successful farm
credit policy of the government, helping both individual farmers
and large privatized corporate farms, that once were Soviet
kolkhozes and still own the significant share of agricultural land.
While large individual farms and corporate farms concentrate
mainly on the production of grain (including for export), as well as
husbandry products, small private household plots produce most of
the country's yield of potatoes, vegetables and fruits.
A reindeer sled in Arkhangelsk. Russia owns
about two-thirds of the world's livestock of
[215]
domesticated reindeer.

Energy
Russia is known as an energy superpower. The country has the world's
largest natural gas reserves, the 8th largest oil reserves, and the second
largest coal reserves. Russia is the world's leading natural gas exporter
and leading natural gas producer, while also the second largest oil
exporter and largest oil producer, though Russia interchanges the latter
status with Saudi Arabia from time to time.

Russia is the 4th largest electricity generator in the world and the 5th
largest renewable energy producer, the latter due to the well-developed
hydroelectricity 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 reactor and to
Russia is a key oil and gas supplier to much of
introduce the first nuclear power plant. Currently, Russia is the 4th
Europe.
largest nuclear energy producer. Rosatom Nuclear Energy State
Russia 29

Corporation manages all the nuclear plants in Russia. Nuclear energy is rapidly developing in Russia, with the 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.[220] Russia remains among the world leaders in nuclear technology and is a
member of ITER international fusion reactor project.

Science and technology


At the start of the 18th century the reforms of Peter the Great (the
founder of Russian Academy of Sciences and Saint Petersburg
State University) and the work of such champions as polymath
Mikhail Lomonosov (the founder of Moscow State University)
gave a great boost for development of science and innovation in
Russia.

In the 19th and 20th centuries the country produced a large


number of great scientists and inventors.
The original headquarters of the Russian Academy of
In mathematics Nikolai Lobachevsky, a Copernicus of Geometry,
Sciences, the Kunstkamera building in St. Petersburg.
founded the non-Euclidean geometry. At least after such
prominent scientist as Chebyshev the Russian mathematical school
became one of the most influential ones in the world and was
represented by numerous figures greatly contributing to different
fields of mathematics, physics and computing sciences.[221]
Chebyshev's students included Aleksandr Lyapunov who founded
the modern stability theory (lately deeply developed by such
scientists as Aleksandr Andronov and Vladimir Arnold), and
Andrey Markov who developed the theory of Markov chains,
playing a central role in information sciences and modern applied
mathematics. Nikolai Zhukovsky was a founding father of the
modern aero- and hydrodynamics. Andrei Kolmogorov, a leading
mathematician of the 20th century, developed the modern theory
of probability and made other major contributions to broadest
range of mathematical branches, including turbulence, topology
and information theory. Israel Gelfand is credited with many
Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian polymath
scientist, inventor, poet and artist, the important discoveries in mathematical physics and applied
founder of Moscow State University. sciences. Sergei Sobolev developed a theory of Sobolev space
which played an extremely important role in formation of modern
mathematical views and introduced a notion of distributions generalyzing ideas of Newton and Leibniz. Yevgraf
Fyodorov was a founder of modern crystallography. Nicolai Vasiliev was a forerunner of paraconsistent and
multi-valued logics. Such mathematicians as Pavel Alexandrov, Lev Pontryagin, Andrey Tychonoff, and many
others made fundamental contributions to different fields of mathematics. Nine Soviet/Russian mathematicians were
awarded with Fields Medal, a most prestigious award in mathematics. Recently Grigori Perelman was offered the
first ever Clay Millennium Prize Problems award for his final proof of the Poincar conjecture in 2002.[222]
Russia 30

In chemistry Dmitry Mendeleev invented the Periodic table, that is the


main framework of the modern chemistry, while Aleksandr Butlerov
was one of the creators of the theory of chemical structure, playing a
central role in organic chemistry. Nikolay Semyonov made major
contributions to explanation of the mechanism of chemical
transformation (1956 Nobel Prize in Chemistry).

A sculpture in honor of Dmitry Mendeleev and


his Periodic table in Slovakia.

The Russian physics school began to develop after Lomonosov.


During the period of origin of electrodynamics Vasily Petrov
discovered the electric arc effect in 1802 and Heinrich Lenz
discovered an important law named in his honor. Nikolay Umov
discovered a fundamental concept of Umov-Poynting vector and
was the first scientist to indicate interrelation between mass and
energy proposing the formula as early as in
1873.[223] Alexander Popov was among the inventors of radio.
Russian/Soviet physics in the 20th century was one of leading
Modern headquarters of the Russian Academy of
ones in the world. Nikolay Bogolyubov suggested a triplet quark Sciences in Moscow.
model, introduced a new quantum degree of freedom (later called
as color charge) for quarks[224] and formulated a microscopic theory of superconductivity.[225] Lev Landau made
fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics. Nikolai Basov and Alexander Prokhorov were
co-inventors of lasers and masers. Igor Tamm, Andrei Sakharov and Lev Artsimovich developed the idea of tokamak
for controlled nuclear fusion and created its first prototype, which finally led to the modern ITER project. Yevgeny
Zavoisky discovered electron paramagnetic resonance playing important role in studying chemical species.

In biology Dmitry Ivanovsky was the first scientist to discover viruses (1892).[226] Ivan Pavlov is widely known for
first describing the phenomenon of classical conditioning. Ilya Mechnikov was a pioneer in investigations of the
immune system (1908, Nobel Prize in Medicine).
In computing sciences the first ternary computer Setun was developed by Nikolay Brusentsov, together with Sergei
Sobolev, in 1958 and Sergei Lebedev developed one of the first universally programmable computers in continental
Europe in 1950, MESM.
Russia 31

Nikolay Benardos introduced the arc welding, further developed by


Nikolay Slavyanov, Konstantin Khrenov and other Russian engineers.
Gleb Kotelnikov invented the knapsack parachute, while Evgeniy
Chertovsky introduced the pressure suit. Pavel Yablochkov and
Alexander Lodygin were pioneers of electric street lighting, and
Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky invented the three-phase electric power
system, widely used today.

Shukhov Tower in Moscow.

Many famous Russian scientists and inventors were migrs, like Igor
Sikorsky, credited with invention of first helicopters, and Vladimir
Zworykin, often called the father of TV, chemist Ilya Prigogine, noted
for his work on dissipative structures and complex systems (1977
Nobel Prize for Chemistry), economists Simon Kuznets (1971 Nobel
Prize) and Wassily Leontief (1973 Nobel Prize), physicist Georgiy
Gamov (an author of the Big Bang theory) and social scientist Pitirim
Sorokin who played an important role in development of sociology in
the USA. Many foreigners worked in Russia for a long time, like
Leonard Euler and Alfred Nobel.

The greatest Russian successes are in the field of space technology and
space exploration. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was the father of theoretical
austronautics.[227] His works had inspired leading Soviet rocket
engineers such as Sergey Korolyov, Valentin Glushko and many others
that contributed to the success of the Soviet space program at early
stages of the Space Race and beyond.

In 1957 the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was


Soyuz TMA-2 is launched from Baikonur,
launched; in 1961 on 12 April the first human trip into space was Kazakhstan carrying one of the first resident
successfully made by Yury Gagarin; and many other Soviet and crews to the International Space Station.
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
Salyut 1. Nowadays Russia is the largest satellite launcher[228] [229] and the only provider of transport for space
tourism services.
Russia 32

Other technologies, where Russia historically leads, include nuclear


technology, aircraft production and arms industry.
The creation of the first nuclear power plant along with the first
nuclear reactors for submarines and surface ships was directed by Igor
Kurchatov. NS Lenin was the world's first nuclear powered surface
ship as well as the first nuclear powered civilian vessel, and NS Arktika
became the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.
AK-47, the most widely used type of assault rifle
in the world. The history of the Russian aircraft eingineering originated from a
pioneer of aviation Alexander Mozhaysky who made his first attempt
to fly by his own design aircraft (monoplane) as early as in 1881. In the 20th century a number of prominent Soviet
aerospace engineers, inspired by the theoretical works of Nikolai Zhukovsky, supervised the creation of many
dozens 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.

Famous Russian airplanes include the first supersonic passenger jet Tupolev Tu-144 by Alexei Tupolev, MiG fighter
aircraft series by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, and Su series by Pavel Sukhoi and his followers. MiG-15 is
the world's most produced jet aircraft in history, while MiG-21 is the most produced supersonic aircraft. During
World War II era Bereznyak-Isayev BI-1 was introduced as the first rocket-powered fighter aircraft, and Ilyushin Il-2
bomber became the most produced military aircraft in history. Polikarpov Po-2 Kukuruznik is the world's most
produced biplane, and Mil Mi-8 is the most produced helicopter.
Famous Russian battle tanks include T-34, the best tank design of
World War II,[230] and further tanks of T-series, including the most
produced tank in history, T-54/55,[231] the first fully gas turbine tank
T-80 and the most modern Russian tank T-90. The AK-47 and AK-74
by Mikhail Kalashnikov constitute the most widely used type of assault
rifle throughout the world so much so that more AK-type rifles have
been manufactured than all other assault rifles combined.[232] [233]
With these and other weapons Russia for a long time has been among
the world's top suppliers of arms, accounting for around 30% of
T-90 Russian tank in the Indian Army service.
worldwide weapons sales[120] and exporting weapons to about 80
countries.[121]

With such technological achievements, however, since the time of


Brezhnev stagnation Russia was lagging significantly behind the West
in a number of technologies, especially those concerning energy
conservation and consumer goods production. The crisis of 1990-s led
to the drastic reduction of the state support for science. Many Russian
scientists and university graduates left Russia for Europe or United
States; this migration is known as a brain drain.

In 2000-s, on the wave of a new economic boom, the situation in the


The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is the latest civilian
Russian science and technology has improved, and the government
product of the Russian aircraft industry.
launched a campaign aimed into modernisation and innovation.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev formulated top 5 priorities for the country's technological development: energy
efficiency, IT (including both common products and the products combined with space technology), nuclear energy
and pharmaceuticals.[234] Some progress already has been achieved, with Russia's having nearly completed
GLONASS, the only global satellite navigation system apart from American GPS, and Russia's being the only
country constructing mobile nuclear plants.
Russia 33

Transportation
Railway transport in Russia is mostly under the control of the state-run
Russian Railways monopoly. The company accounts for over 3.6% of
Russias GDP and handles 39% of the total of Russias freight traffic
(including pipelines) and more than 42% of passenger traffic.[235] The
total length of common-used railway tracks exceeeds 85,500km,[235]
second only to the United States. Over 44,000km of tracks are
electrified,[236] which is the largest number in the world, and
additionally there are more than 30,000km of industrial non-common
carrier lines. Railways in Russia, unlike in the most of the world, use
broad gauge of 1520 mm(4 ft1156in), with the exception of 957km
on Sakhalin Island using narrow gauge of 1067 mm(3 ft6in). The
most renown railroad in Russia is Trans-Siberian Railway or Transsib,
spanning a record 7 time zones and serving the longest single
continuous services in the world, Moscow-Vladivostok (9,259km,
5,753mi), MoscowPyongyang (10,267km, 6,380mi)[237] and
KievVladivostok (11,085km, 6,888mi).[238] The marker for kilometre 9288, at the end of the
Trans-Siberian Railway in Vladivostok.
As of 2006 Russia had 933,000km of roads, of which 755,000 were
paved.[239] 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 and BRIC countries.[240] A Russian saying
states that There are two main problems in Russia: fools and roads, however this very lack of roads was of much
help to Russians in the times of Napoleon's and Hitler's invasions.
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, Caspian, Azov and Black seas.
Major sea ports of Russia include Rostov-on-Don on the Azov Sea,
Novorossiysk on the Black Sea, Astrakhan and Makhachkala on the
Yamal, one of Russia's nuclear icebreakers
(Gallery
[241]
).
Caspian Sea, Kaliningrad and St.Petersburg on the Baltic Sea,
Arkhangelsk on the White Sea, Murmansk on the Barents Sea,
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean. In
2008 Russia owned 1448 merchant marine ships. Russia is the only country to have nuclear icebreaker fleet, which is
a great advantage in the economic exploitation of Arctic continental shelf of Russia and the development of sea trade
through the Northern Sea Route between Europe and East Asia.

There are 74,285km of oil pipelines in Russia, 13,658km of pipelines for refined products, 158,767km of natural
gas pipelines[242] By total length of pipelines Russia is second only to the United States. Currently, many new
pipeline projects are being realized, including Nord Stream and South Stream natural gas pipelines to Europe, and
ESPO oil pipeline to Russian Far East and China.
Russia 34

Russia has 1216 airports,[243] the busiest being Sheremetyevo,


Domodedovo, and Vnukovo in Moscow and Pulkovo in Saint
Petersburg. The total length of airlines in Russia exceeds
600,000km.[244] In the remote regions of the Russian North and
Siberia the transportation by air (usually by helicopters) is vital, and in
some months of the year it is the only transport link to the rest of the
country.

Typically, major Russian cities have well-developed and diverse


Exquisite decoration of Moscow Metro, here
systems of public transport, with the most common varieties of shown at Arbatskaya station
exploited vehicles being bus, trolleybus and tram. Seven Russian cities,
namely Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Samara, Yekaterinburg and Kazan, have
undeground metros, while Volgograd features a metrotram. Total length of metros in Russia is 465.4km. 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 for Russian metros and railways.

Culture

Folk culture and cuisine


There are over 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples
in Russia. Ethnic Russians with their Slavic Orthodox culture,
Tatars and Bashkirs with their Turkic Muslim culture, Buddhist
nomadic Buryats and Kalmyks, Shamanistic peoples of the Far
North and Siberia, highlanders of the Northern Caucasus,
Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian North West and Volga Region
all contribute to diverse and rich culture of Russia. The ethnic
Kuban Cossack Choir performing in the national culture is preserved in various museums and ethno-parks,
costumes. reproduced in cuisine, architecture, cinema and arts, and
developed by folk bands, dance ensembles and choirs.

Woodcraft Russian architecture, widely associated with the ethnic culture, is at best represented in wooden churches.
Russian traditional wooden dwelling is izba, while the early type of fortified settlements is known as kremlin.
Handicraft, like Dymkovo toy, khokhloma, gzhel, Zhostovo painting, pisanka and palekh, is also associated with the
folk culture. Ethnic Russian clothes include kaftan, kosovorotka and ushanka for men, sarafan and kokoshnik for
women, with lapti and valenki as common shoes. The Cossacks of Southern Russia have a separate brand of culture
within ethnic Russian, their clothes including burka and papaha, which they share with the peoples of the Northern
Caucasus.
Russian cuisine widely uses fish,
poultry, mushrooms, berries, and
honey. Crops of rye, wheat, barley, and
millet provide the ingredients for a
plethora of breads, pancakes, cereals,
kvass, beer, and vodka. Black bread is Preparation of pelmeni, a common Russian dish of Tatar origin (the word itself is from
Komi and Mansi languages). Khokhloma handicraft is seen on the background.
relatively more popular in Russia if
compared with the rest of the world.
Flavourful soups and stews include shchi, borsch, ukha, solyanka and okroshka.
Russia 35

Smetana (a heavy sour cream) is often added to soups and salads. Pirozhki, blini and syrniki are native types of
pancakes. Cutlets (like Chicken Kiev), pelmeni and shashlyk are popular meat dishes, the last two being of Tatar and
Caucasus origin respectively. Popular salads include Russian salad, vinaigrette and Dressed Herring.
Russians have many traditions, most prominent being the washing in banya, a hot steam bath somewhat similar to
sauna. Old Russian folklore takes its roots in the pagan beliefs of ancient Slavs and now is represented in the Russian
fairy tales. Epic Russian bylinas are another important part of Slavic mythology. The oldest bylinas of Kievan cycle
were actually recorded mostly in the Russian North, especially in Karelia, where most of the Finnish national epic
Kalevala was recorded as well.
Russia's large number of ethnic groups have distinctive traditions
of folk music. Typical ethnic Russian musical instruments are
gusli, balalaika, zhaleika and garmoshka. Folk music had great
influence on the Russian classical composers, and in modern times
it is a source of inspiration for a number of popular folk bands,
most prominent being Melnitsa. Russian folk songs, as well as
patriotic songs of the Soviet era, constitute the bulk of repertoire
of the world-renown Red Army choir and other popular Russian
ensembles.

Many Russian fairy tales and bylinas were adaptated for animation
films, or for feature movies by the prominent directors like
Aleksandr Ptushko (Ilya Muromets, Sadko) and Aleksandr Rou
(Morozko, Vasilisa the Beautiful). Some Russian poets, including
Russian Venus by Boris Kustodiev, shows a girl
Pyotr Yershov and Leonid Filatov, made a number of well-known
with birch twigs in a rural banya.
poetical interpretations of the classical Russian fairy tales, and in
some cases, like that of Alexander Pushkin, also created fully
original fairy tale poems of great popularity.

Architecture
Russian architecture began with the woodcraft buildings of ancient
Slavs. Since Christianization of Kievan Rus' for several ages
Russian architecture was influenced predominantly by the
Byzantine architecture, until the Fall of Constantinople. Apart
from fortifications (kremlins), the main stone buildings of ancient
Bogatyrs by Viktor Vasnetsov. The three epic heroes of
Rus' were Orthodox churches, with their many domes, often gilded
Russian mythology: (l-r) Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya
or brightly painted. Aristotle Fioravanti and other Italian architects Muromets and Alyosha Popovich.
brought Renaissance trends into Russia.

The 16th century saw the development of unique tent-like churches culminating in Saint Basil's Cathedral. By that
time the onion dome design was also fully developed. In the 17th century, the "fiery style" of ornamentation
flourished in Moscow and Yaroslavl, gradually paving the way for the Naryshkin baroque of the 1690s. After Peter
the Great reforms had made Russia much closer to Western culture, the change of the architectural styles in Russia
generally followed that of Western Europe.
Russia 36

The 18th-century taste for rococo architecture led to the splendid


works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli and his followers. During the reign of
Catherine the Great and her grandson Alexander I, the city of Saint
Petersburg was transformed into an outdoor museum of Neoclassical
architecture.
The second half of the 19th century was dominated by the Byzantine
and Russian Revival style (this corresponds to Gothic Revival in
Western Europe). Prevalent styles of the 20th century were the Art
Wooden churches of Kizhi, a UNESCO World
Heritage Site. Nouveau (Fyodor Shekhtel), Constructivism (Aleksey Shchusev and
Konstantin Melnikov), and the Stalin Empire style (Boris Iofan).
After Stalin's death a new Soviet leader, Nikita Khruschev, condemned
the "excesses" of the former architectural styles, and in the late Soviet
era the architecture of the country was dominated by plain
functionalism. 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 architecture. After the end of
the Soviet Union the situation improved. Many churches demolished in
Soviet times were rebuilt, and this process continues along with the
restoration of various historical buildings destroyed in World War II.
As for the original architecture, there is no longer any common style in
modern Russia, though International style has a great influence.

Triumph Palace, Europe's tallest residential


building, is a modern realisation of Stalin Empire
Style skyscrapers' design.

Visual arts
Early Russian painting focused on icon painting and vibrant frescos
inherited by Russians from Byzantium. As Moscow rose to power,
Theophanes the Greek and Andrei Rublev became vital names
associated with the beginning of a distinctly Russian art.
The Russian Academy of Arts was created in 1757, aimed to give
Russian artists an international role and status. Notable portrait painters
from the Academy include Ivan Argunov, Fyodor Rokotov, Dmitry
Levitzky, and Vladimir Borovikovsky. In the early 19th century, when
neoclassicism and romantism flourished, famous academic artists
focused on mythological and Biblical themes, like Karl Briullov and
Alexander Ivanov.

The Trinity icon by Andrei Rublev.


Russia 37

Realism came into dominance in the 19th


century. The realists captured Russian identity in
landscapes of wide rivers, forests, and birch
clearings, as well as vigorous genre scenes and
robust portraits of their contemporaries. Other
artists focused on social criticism, showing the
conditions of the poor and caricaturing authority;
critical realism flourished under the reign of
Rus': The Soul of the People by Mikhail Nesterov, symbolic of Russia's
Alexander II, with some artists making the circle
historical spiritual quest.
of human suffering their main theme. Others
focused on depicting dramatic moments in
Russian history.

The Peredvizhniki (wanderers) group of artists broke with Russian Academy and initiated a school of art liberated
from Academic restrictions. Leading realists include Ivan Shishkin, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Ivan Kramskoi, Vasily
Polenov, Isaac Levitan, Vasily Surikov, Viktor Vasnetsov, and Ilya Repin.
By the turn of the 20th century and on, many Russian artists developed their own vividly unique styles, neither
realist nor avante-garde. These include Boris Kustodiev, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Mikhail Vrubel and Nicholas
Roerich.
The Russian avant-garde is an umbrella term used to define the 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, suprematism, constructivism, rayonism, and futurism.
Notable artists from this era include El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich,
Wassily Kandinsky, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexander Rodchenko, and Marc
Chagall. The Russian avant-garde reached its creative and popular
height in the period between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and 1932,
The Amber Room. German-Russian masterpiece,
at which point the revolutionary ideas of the avant-garde clashed with
looted by Nazi Germany in World War II and
restored in 2003. the newly emerged conservative direction of socialist realism.

In the Soviet era many artists combined innovation with socialist


realism including Ernst Neizvestny, Ilya Kabakov, Mikhail Shemyakin, Erik Bulatov, and Vera Mukhina. They
employed techniques as varied as primitivism, hyperrealism, grotesque, and abstraction. Soviet artists produced
works that were furiously patriotic and anti-fascist in the 1940s. After the Great Patriotic War Soviet sculptors made
multiple monuments to the war dead, marked by a great restrained solemnity.
In the 20th century many Russian artists made their careers in Western Europe, forced to emigrate by the Revolution.
Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Naum Gabo and others spread their work, ideas, and the impact of Russian art
globally.
Russia 38

Classical music and ballet


Music in 19th century Russia was defined by the tension between classical
composer Mikhail Glinka along with his followers, who embraced Russian
national identity and added religious and folk elements to their compositions,
and the Russian Musical Society led by composers Anton and Nikolay
Rubinstein, which was musically conservative. The later Romantic tradition of
Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era, whose music
has come to be known and loved for its distinctly Russian character as well as
its rich harmonies and stirring melodies, was brought into the 20th century by
Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of the last great champions of the Romantic style of
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
European classical music.[245]
(18401893), composer, the
author of the world's most World-renowned composers of the 20th century included Scriabin, Stravinsky,
famous works of ballet:
Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Sviridov. During most of the
Swan Lake, The Nutcracker,
and Sleeping Beauty. Soviet Era, music was highly scrutinized and kept within a conservative,
accessible idiom in conformity with the policy of socialist realism.
Soviet and Russian conservatories have turned out generations of
world-renowned soloists. Among the best known are violinists David Oistrakh
and Gidon Kremer; cellist Mstislav Rostropovich; pianists Vladimir Horowitz,
Sviatoslav Richter, and Emil Gilels; and vocalists Fyodor Shalyapin, Galina
Vishnevskaya, Anna Netrebko and Dmitry Hvorostovsky.[246]
During the early 20th century, Russian ballet dancers Anna Pavlova and Vaslav
Nijinsky rose to fame, and impresario Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes'
travels abroad profoundly influenced the development of dance worldwide.[247]
Soviet ballet preserved the perfected 19th century traditions,[248] and the Soviet
Union's choreography schools produced one internationally famous star after
another, including Maya Plisetskaya, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mikhail
Baryshnikov. The Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and the Mariinsky in Saint
A scene from The Nutcracker ballet. Petersburg remain famous throughout the world.[249]
Russia 39

Literature and philosophy


Russian literature is considered to be among the most influential and developed in the
world, contributing many of the world's most famous literary works.[251] Russia's
literary history dates back to the 10th century; in the 18th century its development was
boosted by the works of Mikhail Lomonosov and Denis Fonvizin, and by the early 19th
century a modern native tradition had emerged, producing some of the greatest writers
of all time. This period and the Golden Age of Russian Poetry began with Alexander
Pushkin, considered to be the founder of modern Russian literature and often described
as the "Russian Shakespeare".[252]
Alexander Pushkin It continued in the 19th century with the poetry of Mikhail Lermontov and Nikolay
(17991837), the greatest
Nekrasov, dramas of Aleksandr Ostrovsky and Anton Chekhov, and the prose of
Russian poet and founder of
modern Russian literature.
Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mikhail
The author of Ruslan and Saltykov-Shchedrin, Ivan Goncharov, Aleksey Pisemsky and Nikolai Leskov. Tolstoy
Ludmila and Eugene and Dostoevsky in particular were titanic figures to the point that many literary critics
Onegin.
have described one or the other as the greatest novelist ever.[253] [254]

By the 1880s Russian literature had begun to change. The age of the great novelists was
over and short fiction and poetry became the dominant genres of Russian literature for
the next several decades which became known as the Silver Age of Russian Poetry.
Previously dominated by realism, Russian literature came under strong influence of
Symbolism in the years between 1893 and 1914. Leading writers of this age include
Valery Bryusov, Andrei Bely, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Aleksandr Blok, Nikolay Gumilev,
Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Fyodor Sologub, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Marina
Tsvetaeva, Leonid Andreyev, Ivan Bunin, and Maxim Gorky.

Some Russian writers, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, are known also as philosophers,
Fyodor Dostoyevsky while many more authors are known primarily for their philosophical works. Russian
(18211881), writer, one of
philosophy blossomed since the 19th century, when it was defined initially by the
the greatest psychologists in
[250] opposition of Westernizers, advocating Russia's following the Western political and
world literature. The
author of Crime and economical models, and Slavophiles, insisting on developing Russia as unique
Punishment and The civilization.
Brothers Karamazov.
The latter group includes Nikolai Danilevsky and Konstantin Leontiev, the early
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; cosmos and religion were other primary subjects. Notable philosopheres of
the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Vladimir Solovyev, Sergei Bulgakov,
Pavel Florensky and Vladimir Vernadsky. In the 20th century Russian philosophy
became dominated by Marxism.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing civil war, Russian cultural
life was left in chaos. Some prominent writers and philosophers, like Ivan Bunin,
Vladimir Nabokov, Lev Shestov, Isaiah Berlin, Alexandre Kojve left the country,
Anton Chekhov while a new generation of talented writers joined together in different organizations
(18601904) is famous for with the aim of creating a new and distinctive working-class culture appropriate for the
his plays and short stories.
new state, the Soviet Union.
The author of The Seagull
and The Cherry Orchard.
Russia 40

Throughout the 1920s writers enjoyed broad tolerance. In the 1930s censorship over
literature was tightened in line with Joseph Stalin's policy of socialist realism. After his
death 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
included Yevgeny Zamiatin, Isaac Babel, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Ilf and Petrov, Yury
Olesha, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, Mikhail Sholokhov, Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and Andrey Voznesensky.

Leo Tolstoy (18281910),


novelist and philosopher.
The author of War and
Peace and Anna Karenina.

Cinema, animation and media


While in the industrialized nations of the West, motion pictures had first
been accepted as a form of cheap recreation and leisure for the working
class, Russian filmmaking came to prominence following the 1917
revolution when it explored editing as the primary mode of cinematic
expression.[255] Russian and later Soviet cinema was a hotbed of
invention in the period immediately following the 1917, resulting in
world-renowned films such as Battleship Potemkin.[256] Soviet-era
filmmakers, most notably Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky,
would become some of the world's most innovative and influential
The world's oldest film school, the Russian
State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. directors.

Eisenstein was a student of filmmaker and theorist Lev Kuleshov, who


developed the groundbreaking Soviet montage theory of film editing at the world's first film school, the All-Union
Institute of Cinematography. Dziga Vertov, whose kino-glaz (film-eye) theorythat the camera, like the human
eye, is best used to explore real lifehad a huge impact on the development of documentary film making and
cinema realism. In 1932, Stalin made socialist realism the state policy; this somewhat limited creativity, however
many Soviet films in this style were artistically successful, like Chapaev, The Cranes Are Flying, and Ballad of a
Soldier.[256]

1960s and 1970s saw a greater variety of artistic styles in the Soviet cinema. Eldar Ryazanov's and Leonid Gaidai's
comedies of that time were immensely popular, with many of the catch phrases still in use today. In 19611968
Sergey Bondarchuk directed an Oscar-winning film adaptation of Tolstoy's epic War and Peace, which was the most
expensive film ever made.[257] In 1969, Vladimir Motyl's White Sun of the Desert was released, a very popular film
in a genre known as 'osterns'; the film is traditionally watched by cosmonauts before any trip into space.[258]
Russia 41

Russia also has a long and rich tradition of animation, which


started already in the late Russian Empire times. Most of Russia's
cartoon production for cinema and television was created during
Soviet times, when Soyuzmultfilm studio was the largest
animation producer. Soviet animators developed a great and
unmatched variety of pioneering techniques and aesthetic styles,
with prominent directors including Ivan Ivanov-Vano, Fyodor
Khitruk and Aleksandr Tatarskiy. Soviet cartoons are still a source
The famous Odessa Steps scene from the The
for many popular catch phrases, while such cartoon heroes as Battleship Potemkin, 1925.
Russian-style Winnie-the-Pooh, cute little Cheburashka, Wolf and
Hare from Nu, Pogodi! being 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 economy's rapid development, and production levels are already higher than in Britain and Germany.[259]
Russia's total box-office revenue in 2007 was $565 million, up 37% from the previous year[260] (by comparison, in
1996 revenues stood at $6 million).[259] Russian cinema continues to receive international recognition. Russian Ark
(2002) was the first feature film ever to be shot in a single take. The traditions of Soviet animation were developed in
the past decade by such directors as Aleksandr Petrov and studios like Melnitsa.

Russia was among the first countries to introduce radio and television. Due to the enormous size of the country
Russia leads in the number of TV broadcast stations and repeaters. There were few channels in the Soviet time, but
in the past two decades many new state-run and private-owned radio stations and TV channels appeared. In 2005 a
state-run English language Russia Today TV started broadcasting, and its Arabic version Rusiya Al-Yaum was
launched in 2007.

Modern culture
Since the late Soviet times Russia has experienced another wave of
Western cultural influence, which led to the development of many
previously unknown phenomena in the Russian culture. Russia easily
has adopted a number of cultural techniques, while providing its own
content.
The most vivid example, perhaps, is the Russian rock music, which
takes its roots both in the Western rock and roll and heavy metal, and
in traditions of the Russian bards of Soviet era, like Vladimir Vysotsky
and Bulat Okudzhava. Saint-Petersburg (former Leningrad),
Yekaterinburg and Omsk became the main centers of development of
the rock music. Popular Russian rock groups include Mashina
Heavy metal band Aria is one of the leading
Vremeni, DDT, Aquarium, Alisa, Kino, Nautilus Pompilius, Aria,
Russian rock performers.
Grazhdanskaya Oborona, Splean and Korol i Shut.

At the same time Russian pop music developed from what was known in the Soviet times as estrada into full-fledged
industry, with some performers gaining international recognition, like t.A.T.u. in the West or Vitas in China. Lubeh
is a very popular and unique group, harmoniously combining the elements of Western rock and roll, traditional
Russian folk music and military bard music, featuring a number of rock attributes but often performing on the pop
scenes.
Russia 42

In the past decades many new sporting activities came into Russia, including cheerleading, auto racing,
snowboarding and skateboarding. Many subcultures became popular among Russian youth, like rappers, Goths,
Emo, Anime fans and Live action role-playing gamers. Russian Internet, or Runet, has seen a rapid development in
the last years and the rise of a variety of Internet subcultures.

Sports
Russians have been successful at a number of sports and consistently
finish in the top rankings at the Olympic Games and in other
international competitions. 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 .

During the Soviet era, the national Olympic team placed first in the
total number of medals won at 14 of its 18 appearances; with these
performances, the USSR was the dominant Olympic power of its era.
Since the 1952 Olympic Games, 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, shooters, chess players, 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. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian
athletes have continued to dominate international competitions. The
1980 Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow while the 2014
Winter Olympics will be hosted by Sochi.

As the Soviet Union, Russia was traditionally very strong in basketball,


winning various Olympic tournaments, World Championships and
Bear cub Misha, the mascot,
Eurobasket. As of 2009 they have various players in the NBA, notably at the closing ceremony of
Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, and are considered as a 1980 Summer Olympics.
worldwide basketball force. In 2007, Russia defeated world champions
Spain to win Eurobasket 2007. Russian basketball clubs such as PBC
CSKA Moscow (2006 and 2008 Euroleague Champions) have also had
great success in European competitions such as the Euroleague and the
ULEB Cup.

Maria Sharapova, the world's highest paid female


[261]
athlete.
Russia 43

Although ice hockey was only introduced during the Soviet era, the
national team soon dominated the sport internationally, winning gold at
almost all the Olympics and World Championships they contested.
Russian players Valery Kharlamov, Sergey Makarov, Vyacheslav
Fetisov and Vladislav Tretiak hold 4 of 6 positions in the IIHF Team of
the Century.[262] As with some other sports, the Russian ice hockey
programme suffered after the breakup of the Soviet Union with Russia
enduring a 15 year gold medal drought. At that time many prominent
Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev with Russia Russian players made their career in the NHL.
men's national ice hockey team.
In recent years Russia has reemerged as a hockey superpower, winning
back to back gold medals in the 2008 and 2009 World Championships, and overtaking team Canada as the top
ranked ice hockey team in the world.[263] The KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) was founded in 2008 as a
successor to the Russian Superleague. It is seen as a rival to the NHL and is ranked the top hockey league in Europe
as of 2009.[264] Bandy, known in Russian as "hockey with a ball", is another traditionally popular ice sport, with
national league games averaging around 3500 spectators.[265] The Soviet Union won all the Bandy World
Championships from 1957 to 1979.

During the Soviet period, Russia was also a competitive footballing nation. Despite having fantastic players, the
USSR never really managed to assert itself as one of the major forces of international football, although its teams
won various championships (such as Euro 1960) and reached numerous finals (such as Euro 1988). Along with ice
hockey and basketball, football is one of the most popular sports in modern Russia. In recent years, Russian football,
which downgraded in 1990-s, has experienced a revival. Russian clubs (such as CSKA Moscow, Zenit St Petersburg,
Lokomotiv Moscow, and Spartak Moscow) are becoming increasingly successful on the European stage (CSKA and
Zenit winning the UEFA Cup in 2005 and 2008 respectively). The Russian national football team reached the
semi-finals of Euro 2008, losing only to eventual champions Spain.
Soviet Union dominated the sport of gymnastics for many years, with such athletes as Larisa Latynina, who currently
holds a record of most Olympic medals won per person and most gold Olympic medals won by a woman. Today,
Russia is leading in rhythmic gymnastics with such stars as Alina Kabayeva, Irina Tschaschina and Yevgeniya
Kanayeva. Russian synchronized swimming is the best in the world, with almost all gold medals having been swept
by Russians at Olympics and World Championships for more than a decade.
Figure skating is another popular sport in Russia; in the 1960s, the Soviet Union rose to become a dominant power in
figure skating, especially in pair skating and ice dancing, and at every Winter Olympics from 1964 until 2006, a
Soviet or Russian pair has won gold, often considered the longest winning streak in modern sports history. Since the
end of the Soviet era, tennis has grown in popularity and Russia has produced a number of famous tennis players.
Chess is also a widely popular pastime; from 1927, Soviet and Russian chess grandmasters have held the world
championship almost continuously.
Russia 44

National holidays and symbols


There are seven public holidays in Russia. The New Year is the
first in calendar and in popularity. Russian New Year traditions
resemble those of the Western Christmas, with New Year Trees
and gifts, and Ded Moroz (Father Frost) playing the same role as
Santa. Rozhdestvo (Orthodox Christmas) falls on 7 January,
because Russian Orthodox Church still follows the Julian (old
style) calendar and all Orthodox holidays are 13 days after
Catholic ones. Another two major Christian holidays are Paskha
(Easter) and Troitsa (Trinity), but there is no need to recognize
them as public holidays since they are always celebrated on
Sunday. Kurban Bayram and Uraza Bayram are widely celebrated
by Russian Muslims.
Ded Moroz (Russian Santa) at his residence
in Veliky Ustyug.
Further Russian public holidays include Defender of the
Fatherland Day (23 February), which honors Russian men,
especially those serving in the army; International Women's Day
(8 March), which combines the traditions of Mother's Day and
Valentine's Day; International Workers' Day (1 May), now
renamed Spring and Labor Day; Victory Day (9 May); Russia Day
(12 June); and Unity Day (4 November), commemorating the
popular uprising which expelled the Polish-Lithuanian occupation
force from Moscow in 1612. The latter is a replacement for the old
Soviet holiday celebrating October Revolution of 1917 (again, it
was falling on November because of the difference of calendars).
2005 Victory Day (9 May) parade on Moscow's Red
Fireworks and outdoor concerts are common features of all
Square.
Russian public holidays.

Victory Day is the second popular holiday in Russia, it commemorates the victory over Nazi Germany in World War
II and is widely celebrated throughout the country. A huge military parade, hosted by the President of the Russian
Federation, is annually organized in Moscow on Red Square. Similar parades are organized in all major Russian
cities and the cities with the status Hero city or City of Military Glory.
Other popular holidays, which are not public, include Old New Year (New Year according to Julian Calendar on 14
January), Tatiana Day (day of Russian students on 25 January), Maslenitsa (an old pagan holiday a week before the
Great Lent), Cosmonautics Day (a day of Yury Gagarin's first ever human trip into space on 12 April), Ivan Kupala
Day (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, which focuses, however, on the family love and fidelity). On different days in
June there are major celebrations of the end of the school year, when graduates from schools and universities
traditionally swim in the city fountains; the local varieties of these public events include Scarlet Sails tradition in
Saint Petersburg.
Russia 45

State symbols of Russia include the Byzantine


double-headed eagle, combined with St. George of
Moscow in the Russian coat of arms; these symbols date
from the Grand Duchy of Moscow time. Russian flag
appeared in the late Tsardom of Russia period and
became widely used since Russian Empire times. Russian
anthem shares its music with the Soviet Anthem, though
not the lyrics (many Russians of older generations just
don't know the new lyrics and sing the old ones).

Russian football fans with a gigantic Go Russia! The Russian imperial motto God is with us and the Soviet
banner, featuring Russian Bear on the background of motto Proletarians of all countries, unite! are now
Russian flag.
obsolete and no new motto has been officially introduced
to replace them. The hammer and sickle and the full
Soviet coat of arms are still widely seen in Russian cities
as a part of old architectural decorations. The Soviet Red
Stars are also encountered, often on military equipment
and war memorials. The Red Banner continues to be
honored, especially the Banner of Victory of 1945.

Matryoshka doll is a recognizable symbol of Russia,


while the towers of Moscow Kremlin and Saint Basil's
Cathedral in Moscow are main Russia's architectural
symbols. Cheburashka is a mascot of Russian national
Olympic team. Mary, Saint Nicholas, Saint Andrew,
Scarlet Sails celebration on the Neva river in Saint Petersburg. Saint George, Saint Alexander Nevsky, Saint Sergius of
Radonezh and Saint Seraphim of Sarov are Russia's
patron saints.

Chamomile is a flower that Russians often associate with their Motherland, while birch is a national tree. Russian
bear is an animal symbol and national personification of Russia, though this image has Western origin and Russians
themselves have accepted it fairly recently. The native Russian national personification is Mother Russia, 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.
Rich cultural heritage and great natural variety place Russia
among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The
country contains 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, while many
more are on UNESCO's tentative lists.[266] 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.

Grand Cascade in Peterhof, nicknamed Russian Most popular tourist destinations in Russia are Moscow and Saint
Versaille, a popular tourist destination in Saint Petersburg, the current and the former capitals of the country and
Petersburg.
Russia 46

great cultural centers, recognized as World Cities. Moscow and Saint Petersburg
feature such world-renown museums as Tretyakov Gallery and Hermitage,
famous theaters like Bolshoi and Mariinsky, ornate churches like Saint Basil's
Cathedral, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Saint Isaac's Cathedral and Church
of the Savior on Blood, impressive fortifications like Moscow Kremlin and
Peter and Paul Fortress, beautiful squares like Red Square and Palace Square,
and busy streets like Tverskaya and Nevsky Prospect.

Rich palaces and parks of extreme beauty are found in the former imperial
residences in suburbs of Moscow (Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno) and Saint
Petersburg (Peterhof, Strelna, Oranienbaum, Gatchina, Pavlovsk, Tsarskoye
Selo). Moscow contains a great variety of impressive Soviet era buildings along
with modern scyscrapers, while Saint Petersburg, nicknamed Venice of the
Seaside arbour in Sochi, a subtropical
North, boasts of its classical architecture, many rivers, channels and bridges. Russian resort city and the capital of
2014 Winter Olympics.

Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, shows


a unique 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 Russian cities compete for this
status, like Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg
and Nizhny Novgorod, all being major Kazan Kremlin, as well as Kazan in the whole, attracts by a rare combination of Christian
cultural centers with rich history and Orthodox and Muslim styles
prominent architecture.

Veliky Novgorod, Pskov and the cities of Golden Ring (Vladimir, Yaroslavl, Kostroma and others) have at best
preserved the architecture and the spirit of ancient and medieval Rus', and also are among the main tourist
destinations. Many old fortifications (typically Kremlins), monasteries and churches are scattered throughout Russia,
forming its unique cultural landscape both in big cities and in remote areas.
Typical Russian souvenirs include matryoshka doll and other
handicraft, samovars for water heating, ushanka and papaha warm
hats, fur clothes and other stuff. Russian vodka and caviar are
among the food that attracts foreigners, along with honey, blini,
pelmeni, borsch and other products and dishes. Diverse regions
and ethnic cultures of Russia offer many more different food and
souvenirs, and show a great variety of traditions, like Russian
banya, Tatar Sabantuy, or Siberian shamanist rituals.

Mount Belukha, the highest point of Altai and Siberia,


a popular alpinist site.
Russia 47

The warm subtropical Black Sea coast of Russia is the site for a
number of popular sea resorts, like Sochi, known for its beaches and
wonderful nature. The mountains of the Northern Caucasus contain
popular ski resorts, including Dombay.
The most famous natural tourist destination in Russia is lake Baikal,
named the Blue Eye of Siberia. This unique lake, oldest and deepest in
the world, has crystal-clean waters and is surrounded by taiga-covered
mountains. Other popular natural destinations include Kamchatka with
its volcanoes and geysers, Karelia with its many lakes and granite
Matryoshka doll taken apart
rocks, Altai with its snowy mountains and Tyva with its wild steppes.

See also
Intermediate Region
List of Russia-related topics
List of statistically superlative countries
Timeline of Russian history
Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records

External links
Government
gov.ru [267]Official governmental portal (Russian)
Duma [268]Official site of the parliamentary lower house (Russian)
Federation Council [269]Official site of the parliamentary upper house
Kremlin [270]Official presidential site
Chief of State and Cabinet Members [271]
Central Bank of Russia [272]
Federal Migration Service [273] (Russian)
Russian Federal Customs Service [274]
Energy Statistics for Russia [275] from the Energy Information Administration
Russian News Agency Ria Novosti [276]
General information
Russia [277] entry at The World Factbook
Russia [278] at UCB Libraries GovPubs
Russia [279] at the Open Directory Project
Wikimedia Atlas of Russia
Russia travel guide from Wikitravel
Other
ITAR-TASS News Agency [280]
Interfax.com [281]News agency based in Moscow
Way to Russia. An Introduction to Russia and Russian People [282]
RussGUS [283]Bibliographic database of German publications on Russia (about 175,000 positions)
Russia Beyond the Headlines [284] International news project about Russia.
Russia 48

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[2] "Federal State Statistics Service of Russia" (http:/ / www. gks. ru/ free_doc/ 2010/ popul10-Pr. xls). . Retrieved 2010-04-27.
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[5] Human Development Report 2009 (http:/ / hdr. undp. org/ en/ media/ HDR_2009_EN_Complete. pdf). The United Nations. Retrieved 5
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[6] "Cyrillic Domain Names Become Operational On The Internet" (http:/ / www. rferl. org/ content/
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[7] "The Constitution of the Russian Federation" (http:/ / www. constitution. ru/ en/ 10003000-02. htm). (Article 1). . Retrieved 2009-06-25.
[8] "The CIA World Fact Book, "Russia"" (https:/ / www. cia. gov/ library/ publications/ the-world-factbook/ geos/ rs. html). . Retrieved
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[9] Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007. ""Russia"" (http:/ / encarta. msn. com/ encyclopedia_761569000_4/ Russia. html). "Russia". .
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Article Sources and Contributors 57

Article Sources and Contributors


Russia Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=368872739 Contributors: 'Ndrangheta, *drew, -- April, .:Ajvol:., .mdk., 12 Noon, 1297, 172, 1brettsnyder, 212.192.249.xxx, 24630,
31ff3y, 32167, 334a, 6 million jews, 66 red hat 66, 747fzx, A bit iffy, A-giau, A.h. king, A1916, A3r0, AOEU, ARC Gritt, ARUenergy, ASDFGH, AZ'sReincarnation, Aaker, Aaron Einstein,
Aaron danielg, AaronPaige, Aaroncrick, Abbadonnergal, Abbeyroad55343, Abce2, Abdominator, Abune, Academic Challenger, Accurizer, Acer, Acerperi, Acers12, Aciel, Acio83, Acs4b, Adam
Carr, Adam78, Adambiswanger1, Adashiel, Adeist, Adieujuste, AdjustShift, AdrianTM, Aec is away, Aecis, Aesopos, Aeusoes1, Afinogenoff, Ageekgal, Agent452, Agomulka, Ahh im going
bald, Ahoerstemeier, Ahuskay, Aillema, Airplaneman, Aivazovsky, Ajmint, Ajraddatz, Akanemoto, Akbg, Akhristov, Akshaysrinivasan, Al3xil, Alaexis, Alam82, Alangstone, Alasdairking,
Albanaco, Aleenf1, Aleksei, Alethiophile, Alex '05, Alex Bakharev, Alex earlier account, Alex756, AlexNebraska, AlexPU, Alexander Domanda, Alexander Gerashchenko, AlexanderKaras,
Alexandru Busa, AlexiusHoratius, Alexnevzorov, Ali, Aliyevramin, Allan Letinov, AllenHansen, Alloy, Allysia, Alnrr, Alphachimp, Altau, Altenmann, Alton, Alynna Kasmira, Amberrock,
Ameliorate!, Amenzix, Amire80, Amrad, Amylyn, Anddrex, AndonicO, Andonio, Andre Engels, Andres, Andrew0921, AndrewHowse, Andrewlp1991, Andrijko Z., Andris, AndriyK,
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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors


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Strotsev, Drieskamp, Enbk, Fred J, Gleb Borisov, Herbythyme, Homo lupus, Kiensvay, Klemen Kocjancic, Kwj2772, Mattes, Maximaximax, Miyokan, Nightstallion, Ondej vek, Pianist,
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User:Zscout370
File:Russian Federation (orthographic projection).svg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Russian_Federation_(orthographic_projection).svg License: Creative Commons
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File:Speaker Icon.svg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Speaker_Icon.svg License: Public Domain Contributors: Blast, G.Hagedorn, Mobius, 2 anonymous edits
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File:Central highlands.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Central_highlands.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Original uploader was Ilya1166 at en.wikipedia
File:Mount Elbrus May 2008.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Mount_Elbrus_May_2008.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: User:JukoFF
File:Vasyugan.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Vasyugan.jpg License: GNU Free Documentation License Contributors: Vadim tLS Andrianov / tLS

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File:Amur Tiger Panthera tigris altaica Cub Walking 1500px.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Amur_Tiger_Panthera_tigris_altaica_Cub_Walking_1500px.jpg
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File:NevskyKorinStamp.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:NevskyKorinStamp.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Creator of the stamp uncredited; painting by
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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 59

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File:Banknote 5 rubles (1997) front.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Banknote_5_rubles_(1997)_front.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: User:Vizu
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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 60

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