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Russia Facts

Russia

Russia is the largest country in the entire world. It is on the continents of Europe and Asia. It contains nine different time zones and shares a border with fourteen countries.

The official name of Russia is the Russian Federation.

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Quick Facts

Capital: Moscow

Population: 144 million

Key Cities: Moscow (Capital), St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Novosibirsk

Official Language: Russian (official), Azerbaijani, Ukrainian, Tatar

Major Religions: Orthodox Christianity, Lutheranism, Catholicism

Geography

Bordering Countries: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, North Korea, and China.

Size: 6,613,100 sq. miles

Lowest point: Caspian Sea -91 ft

Highest point: Mount Elbrus 18,510 ft

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Russia’ land varies from desert to frozen tundra. Much of Russia is made up of a treeless type of plains called steppes. These are large areas of flat grassland.

Siberia occupies a large amount of land in the Northeastern portion of Russia. This huge region extends from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

The Volga River is the longest river in Russia (and all of Europe). It is about 2,300 miles in length. Many cities are located along this river, including Moscow.

The deepest lake in all of Russia is Lake Baikal. It contains about 20% of all the world’s freshwater.

The Ural Mountains are a large mountain range that extends for 1500 miles from the Arctic Ocean to the Caspian Sea.

The Russian Federation consists of eighty-five federal subjects that make up the members of the Federation.

It is no surprise when considering how large Russia is that it is home to many different varieties of animals. This includes Siberian Tigers, Russian Boar, Brown Bear, and Roe Deer.

History

The earliest human settlements in Russia began around 500 AD. The first people to populate what is now modern-day Russia came from Scandinavia.

These settlers intermingled with Slavs from the west. They built a fortress that would later become Kiev.

kiev

Kiev evolved into an empire that ruled most of the European section of Russia for 200 years. It then broke up into Ukraine, Muscovy, and Belarus.

In the 1550s, Ivan the IV became Russia’s first tsar (Russian for Caesar). He became tsar because he drove out the Mongols out of Kiev and unifying the region.

In 1682, Peter the Great became tsar and ruled for 42 years. In his time as tsar, he worked tirelessly to make Russia more modern and European.

The rule of the tsars was ended in 1917 during the Russian Revolution. The government was overthrown by the Bolsheviks, which were a communist group.

Vladimir Lenin created the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) from Russia and 11 other countries.

The U.S.S.R fought on the side of the United States during World War II and was led by Joseph Stalin.

After the war, the relations between the US and U.S.S.R. became strained. These tensions led to the Cold War, which ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union broke up.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia became a federal semi-presidential republic. Boris Yeltsin was elected the first ever President in 1991.

This led to a period of social unrest. President Yeltsin resigned in 1999, and the country was then led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

While Putin’s leadership has been criticized as undemocratic, it has led to stability and progress.

Economy

The Russian economy is one of the largest and most profitable in the entire world. In 2006 it was 1,283,000,000,000.

It is largely based on the country’s vast supply of natural resources that are found throughout its landscape.

This includes large supplies of oil, coal, iron ore, gold, aluminum, and perhaps the most profitable, natural gas.

Culture

Russian main dishes will usually contain pork, beef, lamb, chicken, fish, potatoes and root vegetables. They especially love vegetable stews and soups.

russian-food

The family is very important for Russians. Most families include grandparents, parents, and children living in the same household.

There are about 120 ethnic groups in Russia. They speak more than a hundred different languages, though Russian is the official language.

Most of the people in Russia can trace their ancestry back to the Slaves. Others are descended from Tatars, Mongols, and Ukrainians.

Russian is known for its thinkers, artists, and athletes.

Famous Russians

Leo Tolstoy – Writer

Fyodor Dostoevsky – Writer

Rudolf Nureyev – Ballet Dancer

Alexander Ovechkin – Hockey Player

Maria Sharapova – Tennis Player

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Fun Facts

Russian contains more than 100,000 rivers

This includes the Volga, which is the longest river in Europe. It is 2,190 miles long.

volga-river

The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal. It contains 1/5 of the world’s freshwater.

Russia isn’t very far away from the United States. It is only about 51 miles from Alaska and is only separated by the Bering Strait.