Russia (GPS: 60 00 N, 100 00 E) is located in North Asia bordering the Arctic Ocean, extending from Europe (the portion west of the Urals) to the North Pacific Ocean. The country’s area measurements are total: 17,098,242 sq km; land: 16,377,742 sq km, water: 720,500 sq km. This sovereign state is approximately 1.8 times the size of the US. The total irrigated land is 43,000 sq km (2012).
One of Russia’s essential features: The largest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located to major sea lanes of the world. Despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture. Russia’s far east, particularly the Kamchatka Peninsula, lies along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean. Up to 90% of the world’s earthquakes and some 75% of the world’s volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire. Mount Elbrus is Europe’s tallest peak. Lake Baikal, the deepest lake globally, is estimated to hold one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. Kaliningrad Oblast is annexed from Germany following World War II (formerly part of East Prussia). Its capital city – formerly Koenigsberg – is the only Baltic port in Russia that remains ice-free in the winter.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Moscow’s GPS coordinates are 55 45 N 37 36 E. Moscow’s local time is 8 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+3, note; Russia has 11 time zones, the largest number of contiguous time zones of any country in the world; in 2014, two time zones were added, and DST was dropped.
Founded in the 12th century, Muscovy’s Principle emerged from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and gradually conquered and absorbed surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new ROMANOV Dynasty continued this expansion policy across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea, and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in a parliament and other reforms. Devastating defeats and food shortages in World War I led to widespread rioting in the Russian Empire’s major cities and the overthrow in 1917 of the ROMANOV Dynasty.
The communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. Iosif STALIN (1928-53) ‘s brutal rule strengthened communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at the cost of tens of millions of lives. After defeating Germany in World War II as part of an alliance with the US (1939-1945), the USSR expanded its territory and influence in Eastern Europe and emerged as a global power. The USSR was the principal adversary of the US during the Cold War (1947-1991). The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the decades following Stalin’s rule, until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism. Still, his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 led to the dissolution of the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent states.
Following economic and political turmoil during President Boris YELTSIN’s term (1991-99), Russia shifted toward a centralized authoritarian state under President Vladimir PUTIN (2000-2008, 2012-present) in which the regime seeks to legitimize its rule through managed elections, populist appeals, a foreign policy focused on enhancing the country’s geopolitical influence, and commodity-based economic growth. Russia faces a mostly subdued rebel movement in Chechnya and some other surrounding regions, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.
Russia’s names conventional long form: Russian Federation, traditional short form: Russia, local long way: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, local short state: Rossiya, former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, etymology: Russian lands were generally referred to as Muscovy until PETER I officially declared the Russian Empire in 1721; the new name sought to invoke the patrimony of the medieval eastern European Rus state centered on Kyiv in present-day Ukraine; the Rus were a Varangian (eastern Viking) elite that imposed their rule and eventually their name on their Slavic subjects.
Russian lands were generally referred to as Muscovy until PETER I officially declared the Russian Empire in 1721; The new name sought to invoke the patrimony of the medieval eastern European Rus state centered on Kyiv in present-day Ukraine; The Rus were a Varangian (eastern Viking) elite that imposed their rule and eventually their name on their Slavic subjects.
Russia’s terrain is typically broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions. The country’s mean elevation: 600 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: the Caspian Sea -28 m, highest point: Gora El’brus 5,633 m.
The general climate in the country; ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia: subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north: winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia: summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast.
The total number of border countries is 14, Azerbaijan 338 km, Belarus 1,312 km, China (southeast) 4,133 km, China (south) 46 km, Estonia 324 km, Finland 1,309 km, Georgia 894 km, Kazakhstan 7,644 km, North Korea 18 km, Latvia 332 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 261 km, Mongolia 3,452 km, Norway 191 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Ukraine 1,944 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Russia’s coastline is 37,653 km. Its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200-m depth, or the center of exploitation.
Waterways: 102,000 km (including 48,000 km with guaranteed depth; the 72,000-km system in European Russia links Baltic Sea, White Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and the Black Sea) (2009). Land use: agricultural land: 13.1%; arable land 7.3%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 5.7%; forest: 49.4%; other: 37.5% (2011 estimate).
The population in Russia 142,122,776 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 74% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: MOSCOW (capital) 12.166 million; Saint Petersburg 4.993 million; Novosibirsk 1.497 million; Yekaterinburg 1.379 million; Nizhniy Novgorod 1.212 million; Samara 1.164 million (2015), while Russia has a population is heavily concentrated in the westernmost fifth of the country extending from the Baltic Sea, south to the Caspian Sea, and eastward parallel to the Kazakh border; elsewhere, sizeable pockets are isolated and generally found in the south.
Their spoken languages are Russian (official language) 85.7%, Tatar 3.2%, Chechen 1%, other 10.1%. Note: data represent native language spoken (2010 estimate). Russia’s main religions are Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 estimate). Note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule; Russia officially recognizes Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism traditional religions. The nation uses a civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts. It is a(n) semi-presidential federation, National holiday(s) Russia Day, 12 June (1990).
Economic overview for the country: Russia has undergone significant changes since the Soviet Union’s collapse, moving from a centrally planned economy towards a more market-based system. However, both economic growth and reform have stalled in recent years, and Russia remains a predominantly statist economy with a high concentration of wealth in officials’ hands. Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industries, with notable exceptions in the energy, transportation, banking, and defense-related sectors. The protection of property rights is still weak, and the state continues to interfere in the private sector’s free operation. Russia is one of the world’s leading producers of oil and natural gas and is also a top exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum.
Russia is heavily dependent on the movement of world commodity prices as reliance on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the volatile swings in global prices. The economy, which had averaged 7% growth during the 1998-2008 period as oil prices rose rapidly, has seen diminishing growth rates since then due to Russia’s commodity-based growth model’s exhaustion. A combination of falling oil prices, international sanctions, and structural limitations pushed Russia into a deep recession in 2015, with GDP falling by close to 2.8%. The downturn continued through 2016, with GDP contracting another 0.2%, but was reversed in 2017 as world demand picked up. Government support for import substitution has increased recently to diversify the economy away from extractive industries.
Natural resources of Russia: broad natural resource base including significant deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, reserves of rare earth elements, timber. Note: formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources.
Main export partners for Russia, Asia are the Netherlands 11.9%, China 8.3%, Germany 7.4%, Italy 6.5%, Turkey 5.6%, Belarus 4.4%, Japan 4.2% (2015) for petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, metals, wood and wood products, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures, while the main import partners for the country are: China 19.2%, Germany 11.2%, US 6.4%, Belarus 4.8%, Italy 4.6% (2015) for machinery, vehicles, pharmaceutical products, plastic, semi-finished metal products, meat, fruits and nuts, optical and medical instruments, iron, steel.
When you visit this country in Asia, consider the natural hazards in Russia: Permafrost over much of Siberia is a significant impediment to development, volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands, volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula, spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russiavolcanism: significant volcanic activity on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands, the peninsula alone is home to some 29 historically active volcanoes, with dozens more in the Kuril Islands, Kliuchevskoi (elevation 4,835 m), which erupted in 2007 and 2010, is Kamchatka’s most active volcano, Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes, which pose a threat to the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, have been deemed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations, other notable historically active volcanoes include Bezymianny, Chikurachki, Ebeko, Gorely, Grozny, Karymsky, Ketoi, Kronotsky, Ksudach, Medvezhia, Mutnovsky, Sarychev Peak, Shiveluch, Tiatia, Tolbachik, and Zheltovsky, while infectious diseases are degree of risk: intermediate food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea vectorborne infection: tickborne encephalitis (2016).
Also, note that Russia faces the following environmental issues: Air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants and transportation in major cities, Industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts, Deforestation, Soil erosion, Soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals, Nuclear waste disposal, Scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination, Groundwater contamination from toxic waste, urban solid waste management, Abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides.