sovereign state in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia
(Redirected from Russian Republic)

Russia (Russian: Россия, romanized: Rossiya, [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation,[b][19] is a country in Eastern Europe and North Asia.

Russian Federation
Российская Федерация  (Russian)
Государственный гимн Российской Федерации
Gosudarstvennyy gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii
"State Anthem of the Russian Federation"
Russia on the globe. Disputed lands are shown in light green.[a]
Russia on the globe. Disputed lands are shown in light green.[a]
and largest city
55°45′21″N 37°37′02″E / 55.75583°N 37.61722°E / 55.75583; 37.61722
and national language
Recognised national languagesSee Languages of Russia
Ethnic groups
(2021, including Russia and Crimea)[4]
  • 24% no religion
  • 5% Islam[5]
  • 2% other (including Buddhism)
  • 4% unanswered
GovernmentFederal semi-presidential republic under an authoritarian dictatorship[8][9][10][11]
• President
Vladimir Putin
Mikhail Mishustin
Valentina Matviyenko
Vyacheslav Volodin
Vyacheslav Lebedev
LegislatureFederal Assembly
Federation Council
State Duma
16 January 1547
2 November 1721
15 March 1917
30 December 1922
12 June 1990
12 December 1991
12 December 1993
8 December 1999
• Total
17,098,246 km2 (6,601,670 sq mi)[12] (within internationally recognised borders) 17,234,028 km2 (6,654,095 sq mi) (including disputed territories) (1st)
• Water (%)
13[13] (including swamps)
• 2022 estimate
• Density
8.4/km2 (21.8/sq mi) (181st)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Neutral increase $4.771 trillion[16]
• Per capita
Neutral increase $33,263[16]
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Neutral increase $2.240 trillion[16]
• Per capita
Neutral increase $15,480[16]
Gini (2020)Positive decrease 36.0[17]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.822[18]
very high · 52nd
CurrencyRuble () (RUB)
Time zoneUTC+2 to +12
Driving sideright
Calling code+7
ISO 3166 codeRU
Internet TLD

It has land from the Baltic Sea to the Bering Strait. It is the largest country in the world, followed by Canada, the United States, and China. Russia's population is about 146.7 million people. It is the most populous country in Europe. Moscow is its capital city. It is also the largest city in Europe by area. Other big cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan. Russia's official language is Russian. Russian is the most spoken language in Europe. It is also the most widely spoken Slavic language. Many regions of Russia have their own official languages alongside Russian.

Russia has land borders with 16 countries, in both Europe and Asia. These countries are Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea.[c] It borders Lithuania and Poland through Kaliningrad Oblast. It also borders the unrecognised countries of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to the south. It is next to 16 seas, and 3 oceans. It is the country with the most land borders in the world. Russia is made up of 89 federal subjects. This includes Crimea, LPR, DPR, Kherson Oblast and Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Sevastopol, which are claimed by both Russia and Ukraine. There are many different types of federal subjects. There are 48 oblasts, 24 republics, 9 krais, 4 autonomous okrugs, 3 federal cities, and 1 autonomous oblast in Russia.

The economy of Russia is one of the largest in the world. It ranks 11th in the world for highest nominal GDP. This is mainly because of the large amount of natural resources found in Russia. However, much of the land is either infertile or covered by permafrost. The ruble is the official currency of Russia.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the largest religion in Russia. Russia has the most followers of Eastern Orthodoxy out of any other country. About 75% of Russians are followers of Eastern Orthodoxy.[20]

Russia is a very large and diverse country. From 1922 to 1991, it was the largest republic of the Soviet Union. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was based on communism. Today the government of Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic. The President is chosen by direct election. Challenging candidates do not have access to the mass media. They do have full access to social media, internet news websites, and international media. Election results match domestic, international, and exit polling. The current President of Russia is Vladimir Putin. The country has turned towards an authoritarian dictatorship under Putin's rule.[8][21][10][11] The President rules the country, and the Russian Parliament plays a secondary role. Russia ranks low in measurements of human rights and freedom of the press. Corruption is also seen as a big issue.[22]



The name Russia comes from a Medieval Latin name for the Kievan Rus'.[23][24] Rus' comes from the name of the Rus' people. They were Norse merchants who settled in northern Russia.[25] Another Medieval Latin name for Rus' was Ruthenia.[26] The current Russian name for Russia (Россия / Rossiya) comes from the Byzantine Greek name for Rus' (Ρωσία / Rosía).[27]





The first humans went to Russia in the Oldowan period of the Lower Paleolithic. Homo erectus migrated to the Taman Peninsula of Southern Russia.[28] Flint tools have been found in Dagestan.[29] Some of them were over 1.5 million years old. Many fossils of ancient humans were found in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains.[30][31] Russia had some of the last living Neanderthals around 45,000 years ago.[32] They were found in Mezmaiskaya Cave in Adygea.

The Kurgan hypothesis.

The first known Homo sapiens (Ust'-Ishim man) in Russia lived around 45,000 years ago.[33] They lived in Western Siberia. Fossils of humans from around 40,000 years ago were found at the archaeological sites of Kostyonki–Borshchyovo and Sungir.[34][35] Both of these places are in European Russia. Humans got to Arctic Russia at least 40,000 years ago. Fossils and artifacts were found at Mamontovaya Kurya in the Komi Republic.[36]

The Kurgan hypothesis says that the Volga-Dnieper region of southern Russia and Ukraine is the homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans.[37] The Indo-Europeans moved across many parts of Eurasia and spread the Indo-European languages and Yamnaya ancestry.[38][39] Artifacts from these civilizations were found in Ipatovo,[40] Sintashta,[41] Arkaim,[42] and Pazyryk.[43] The earliest known use of horses in war was found in these places as well.[41] This region is known as the Pontic–Caspian steppe. It was named Scythia in classical antiquity.[44]



In the late 8th century BC, Ancient Greek traders settled Scythia.[45] They made trading posts that turned into cities such as Tanais and Phanagoria. In the 5th century BC, the Bosporan Kingdom was created after Greek colonization of Crimea and the coast of the Sea of Azov.[46][47] It became part of the Kingdom of Pontus in 107 BC until Pontus was conquered by the Roman Empire. The Bosporan Kingdom became a client state of the Roman Empire until the Bosporan Kingdom was conquered by the nomadic Huns and Pannonian Avars.[48] The Khazars ruled the lower Volga basin steppes until the 8th century AD.[49] They were important allies of the Eastern Roman Empire.[50]

Kievan Rus'


Russia's history began when the East Slavs settled Western Russia between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD.[51] The Varangians and their descendants made the first East Slavic state of Kievan Rus' in the 9th century. They adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in 988.[52] This form of Christianity influenced Russian culture greatly.[52] Kievan Rus' eventually broke up and the lands were divided into many small feudal states. The most powerful successor state to Kievan Rus' was the Grand Duchy of Moscow.[53] This area served as the main force in later Russian unification and the fight against the Golden Horde from Asia. Moscow slowly gained control of the regions around it and took over the cultural and political life of Kievan Rus'.[54]

Tsardom of Russia


Tsardom of Russia existed from 1547 to 1721. Ivan the Terrible was the main ruler of the Tsardom of Russia. He created oprichnina and annexed many lands (Astrakhan, Siberia).

Russian Empire

Peter the Great proclaimed the Russian Empire in 1721

In the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest, annexation and exploration. So Russian Empire, the third-largest empire in history, was formed. It stretched from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth eastward to the Pacific Ocean and Alaska. The empire was ruled by an emperor called the Tsar.[55]

Peter the Great ruled Russia from 1689 until 1725.[56] Peter moved the capital from Moscow to a new city named Saint Petersburg. He made Russian society more modern in many ways. For example, his inspectors shaved off the beards of passers-by.[57] The government began building ships for the Russian navy.[56]

The Russo-Japanese War started in 1904 and ended in 1905 with Japan winning the war.[58] The Russian defeat was one of the reasons for later revolutions.

Russian Republic


1917 was a period of revolutions in Russia. The Government was dissolved after October Revolution in 1917. The Bolsheviks (later called "Communists") took over the country. They murdered the Tsar Nicholas II, as well as other people who stood against them.[59] The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, created the first Marxist communist state. The Duma declared a Provisional Government. It was better known as the Russian Republic.[60] Vladimir Lenin was the head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924. The Russian Republic existed from 1917 to 1918.

From 1924 to 1953, Joseph Stalin ruled as the absolute dictator of Soviet Union.[61] He destroyed anything and anyone that was against his rule. For example, he took the property of farmers and shopkeepers.[62] Many millions of people starved and died in famines because of this.[63] Stalin also removed, or "purged", all military members who were not loyal to him. Many people were killed or sent to prison camps, or gulags, for many years.[64] Many prisoners died in gulags.[64]

Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany agreed not to attack each other in 1939.[65] In June 1941, Germany broke the agreement and attacked in Operation Barbarossa.[66] The attack was part of World War II.[66] The war lasted in Europe until May 1945, and Russia lost more than 20 million people during that time. In spite of this large loss, Russia was one of the winners of the war and became a world superpower.[67]

In 1961, Yuri Gagarin flew into space.[68] He was the first man who was in space.[68] Since this period USSR was considered to be a space power. It was during the space race between USSR and USA.[69]

From 1922 to 1991, Russia was the largest part of the Soviet Union, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). People sometimes used the name "Russia" for the whole Soviet Union, or sometimes "Soviet Russia".[70] Russia was only one of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics.[71] The republic was in fact named the "Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic" (RSFSR).

The Soviet Union fell apart in 1991.[72] Russia took over the place of the USSR in the United Nations (UN).

History of present Russian Federation

Moscow International Business Center under construction

Boris Yeltsin was made the President of Russia in June 1991, in the first direct presidential election in Russian history. Wide-ranging reforms took place, for example privatization and free trade laws.[73] Radical changes (shock therapy) were recommended by the United States and International Monetary Fund.[74] A major economic crisis followed. There was 50% decline in GDP and industrial output between 1990 and 1995.[73][75]

The privatization largely shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to individuals with inside connections in the government system. Many of the newly rich business people took billions in cash and assets outside of the country.[76] The depression of state and economy led to the collapse of social services. Millions went into poverty, from 1.5% of people being in poverty in the late Soviet era to 39–49% by mid-1993.[77] The 1990s had extreme corruption and lawlessness, and the rise of criminal gangs and violent crime.[78]

The 1990s had many armed conflicts in the North Caucasus. There were both local ethnic battles and separatist Islamist insurrections. Because the Chechen separatists declared independence in the early 1990s, a Chechen War was fought between the rebel groups and the Russian military. Terrorist attacks against civilians caused hundreds of deaths. The most notable of these were the Moscow theater hostage crisis and Beslan school siege.

Russia took 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.[79] High budget deficits caused the 1998 Russian financial crisis[80] and resulted in more GDP decline.[73]

On 31 December 1999, President Yeltsin resigned (quit being the president). The job of president was given to the recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. Putin then won the 2000 presidential election. Putin stopped the Chechen rebellion quickly, but violence still occurs in the Northern Caucasus at times.

High oil prices and initially weak currency followed by increasing domestic demand, consumption and investments has helped the economy grow for nine straight years. This improved the standard of living and increased Russia's influence on the world stage. While many reforms made during the Putin presidency have been criticized by Western nations as un-democratic,[81] Putin's leadership led to stability and progress. This won him widespread popularity in Russia.[82]

On 2 March 2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected President of Russia, whilst Putin became Prime Minister. Putin went back to being the president after the 2012 presidential elections, and Medvedev was made the Prime Minister.

On 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation attacked Ukraine, starting the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[83]

On 23 June 2023, the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization, initiated a rebellion against the government of Russia. The revolt arose amidst escalating tensions between the Russian Ministry of Defense and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner.

Size and resources


At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world. It covers more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. Russia is also the world's eighth most populous nation with 140 million people as of 2022. Russia produces a lot of energy made from oil and natural gas.[84]

Russia extends from eastern Europe across the whole of northern Asia. Russia spans eleven time zones and has a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources,[85] and is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world.[86][87] Russia has the world's largest forest reserves,[88][89] and its lakes contain about one-quarter of the world's fresh water.[90]



Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic. It has a president and a parliament.[91] Russia has 85 federal subjects (territorial units). All subjects of the federation shall be equal. All entities are subject to uniform federal law. Subjects of the federation have two representatives in the parliament. Subjects of the Russian Federation do not have the right to secede from it. Important issues are decided by the Federation President. Lesser powers are given to the member republics.

At the end of the twentieth century, Russia experienced many political changes. Some people fought to leave the federation.

Elections are held at all levels. According to Steve White, the present government made it clear that they had no plans of making a "second edition" of the American or British political system. Instead they wanted a system that was closer to Russia's own traditions.[92] Richard Sakwa wrote that the Russian government is considered legitimate by the majority of the Russian people. It seeks to deliver a set of public goods without trying to fit to extra-democratic logic to achieve them. Whether the system is becoming less autocratic (dictatorial) is debatable.[93]



There are four big political parties in Russia. United Russia (Единая Россия) is the biggest party.[94]

Name Ideology Leader MPs[95]
United Russia
Единая Россия
Conservatism, Centrism Dmitry Medvedev 324
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Коммунистическая партия Российской Федерации
Communism, Marxism-Leninism Gennady Zyuganov 57
A Just Russia
Справедливая Россия
Social democracy, Democratic socialism Sergei Mironov 27
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
Либерально-Демократическая Партия России
Nationalism, Authoritarian conservatism Leonid Slutsky 21
New People
Новые люди
Liberalism[96] Alexey Nechayev 13
Civic Platform

Гражданская платформа

Conservatism, Economic liberalism

Liberal conservatism

Rifat Shaykhutdinov 1
Party of Growth
Партия роста
Liberal conservatism[96] Boris Titov[97] 1


Russian nationalism

National conservatism

Alexey Zhuravlyov 1
Independent 5
Total 450

The United Russia is the ruling party, which supports the government.[94] The other parties in the Duma (Russian parliament) do not criticize the government strongly, for fear of losing their places in the Duma. Many opposition parties, for the People's Freedom Party and the Other Russia, have been unable to register due to the strict rules. In the 2000s, the government led a war in Chechnya, and in the process, civil liberties and independent media were restricted. Corruption is widespread and human rights, especially in the North Caucasus, are frequently violated.[98] In 2008, Putin's government was in a war with Georgia in a dispute over a region with many ethnic Russians.



The most western point of Russia is near Kaliningrad, formerly named Königsberg. The most eastern point of Russia is Diomid Island, 35 km from mainland Chukotka (Russia) and 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Alaska (USA). The most southern point is in Caucasus, on the border with Azerbaijan. The most northern point is on the Franz Josef Land archipelago in Arctic Ocean, 900 kilometres (560 mi) from the North Pole.

Cities and towns


Russia's capital and biggest city is Moscow. The second biggest city is Saint Petersburg, which was the capital of Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Administrative divisions


Russia is divided into many different types of administrative divisions. Some of these are called federal subjects. They are the top-level subdivision of Russia. Other types of Russian subdivisions include federal districts and economic regions.

Federal subjects of the Russian Federation


Ethnic composition (2010)
Russians 80.90%
Tatars 3.87%
Ukrainians 1.40%
Bashkirs 1.15%
Chuvash 1.05%
Chechen 1.04%
Armenians 0.86%
Other/unspecified 9.73%
Population (in millions) 1950–January 2009.

Russia has a population of 142 million people. Most people (73.7%) live in cities. The population decreased by 5 million people after the fall of the Soviet Union. The current population growth is close to zero, and the population went down by 0.085% in 2008.

Russia's area is about 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million sq. mi.). It is the largest country in the world.[99] Its population density is about 8.3 people per square kilometre (21.5 per sq. mi.). This is one of the lowest country densities in the world. The population is most dense in the European part of the country, centering around Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Siberia has a very low density.


Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, demolished during the Soviet period, was reconstructed from 1990 to 2000.

The main religion in Russia is the Russian Orthodox Church. It is one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.[100]



Music and ballet

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893), composer.

Some very famous composers that were born in Russia during the 20th century were Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, and Dmitri Shostakovich. Russia has produced some of the greatest pianists: Anton Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz and Vladimir Ashkenazy are among the all-time greats.

Russian composer Tchaikovsky created famous ballets, for example The Nutcracker. The impressario Sergei Diaghilev was responsible for the development of ballet in the early 20th century with the Ballets Russes. Dance companies at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet produced many famous dancers.[101]


Leo Tolstoy wrote War and Peace.

Russians have made many famous works of literature.[102] Alexander Pushkin is considered a founder of modern Russian literature. He was a poet from the 19th century.[103]

Other famous poets and writers of the 19th century were Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Lermontov, Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol (he was born in what is now Ukraine, but during his lifetime Ukraine was a part of Russia), Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Many people think Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are two of the greatest novelists ever.[104][105] Three Russians won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the 20th century: Boris Pasternak (1958), Mikhail Sholokhov (1965) and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1980).[106] Mikhail Bulgakov was one of the most popular writers of the 20th century.[107]



Soccer, ice hockey and basketball are some of the most popular sports in Russia. Boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting, and tennis are also popular sports. Track suits are popular clothing items for many Russians. Some examples of famous Russian sports people are former tennis world number one Maria Sharapova, who has won three Grand Slam titles, and was the world's highest paid female athlete in 2008.[108]

After the 1952 Olympic Games, Soviet and later Russian athletes have been third place in gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were hosted in Moscow, while the 2014 Winter Olympics were hosted in Sochi.[109][110]

For the 2018 Winter Olympics, which were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a lot of athletes could not compete because the International Olympic Committee found out they had been doping. Those who were not caught doping were able to play in the 2018 Olympics as "Olympic Athletes from Russia". They won two gold medals, and one in ice hockey.[111][112]

In 6 appearances, Russian athletes have won a total of 425 medals at the summer Olympics and 121 at the winter Olympics. However, more than 30% of these medals were taken from Russia and its teams.

Chess is the main intellectual sport in Russia.[113] In the 20th century, there were nine Russian World Chess Champions, more than all other nations combined.[114][115]

Typical Russian food

Russian cuisine is one of the most famous in the world. It was divided: Old Russian cuisine, Old Moscow cuisine, Petersburg cuisine. The main thing of Russian food is variety of products used for cooking.[116]

Typical Russian food includes: bliny, pelmeni, olivier salad, pies (called pirogi) etc. Russians have many soups such as okroshka, shchi, borsch, ukha, rassolnik. Russian traditional drinks are kvass, mors, sbiten, medovukha, vodka, birch sap.



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  1. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014. However, it is still internationally seen as a part of Ukraine.[1] The Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts were also annexed (but only partly controlled) in 2022. They are internationally seen as a part of Ukraine. The southernmost Kuril Islands are claimed by both Japan and Russia after the Soviet occupation of the islands at the end of World War II.[2]
  2. Russian: Российская Федерация, tr. Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijskəjə fʲɪdʲɪˈratsɨjə]
  3. Also has maritime borders with the United States and Japan.

Further reading

  • Bartlett, Roger P. A history of Russia (2005) online
  • Breslauer, George W. and Colton, Timothy J. 2017. Russia Beyond Putin (Daedalus) online Archived 2022-01-21 at the Wayback Machine
  • Brown, Archie, ed. The Cambridge encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union (1982) online
  • Dutkiewicz, P.; Richard, S.; Vladimir, K. (2016). The Social History of Post-Communist Russia. Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-32846-9. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  • Florinsky, Michael T. ed. McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union (1961).
  • Frye, Timothy. Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia (2021) excerpt Archived 2022-03-31 at the Wayback Machine
  • Greene, by Samuel A. and Graeme B. Robertson. Putin v. the People: the Perilous Politics of a Divided Russia (Yale UP, 2019) excerpt
  • Hosking, Geoffrey A. Russia and the Russians: a history (2011) online
  • Kort, Michael. A Brief History of Russia (2008) online
  • Kropotkin, Peter Alexeivitch; Bealby, John Thomas; Phillips, Walter Alison (1911). "Russia" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 869–912.
  • Lowe, Norman. Mastering Twentieth Century Russian History (2002) excerpt Archived 2013-07-01 at the Wayback Machine
  • Millar, James R. ed. Encyclopedia of Russian History (4 vol 2003). online
  • Riasanovsky, Nicholas V., and Mark D. Steinberg. A History of Russia (9th ed. 2018) 9th edition 1993 online
  • Rosefielde, Steven. Putin's Russia: Economy, Defence and Foreign Policy (2020) excerpt Archived 2021-05-27 at the Wayback Machine
  • Service, Robert. A History of Modern Russia: From Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century (Harvard UP, 3rd ed., 2009) excerpt Archived 2022-03-29 at the Wayback Machine
  • Smorodinskaya, Tatiana, and Karen Evans-Romaine, eds. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Russian Culture (2014) excerpt Archived 2022-03-30 at the Wayback Machine; 800 pp covering art, literature, music, film, media, crime, politics, business, and economics.
  • Walker, Shauin. The Long Hangover: Putin's New Russia and the Ghosts Of the Past (2018, Oxford UP) excerpt Archived 2022-04-08 at the Wayback Machine

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66°N 94°E / 66°N 94°E / 66; 94