Cardinal József Mindszenty
1956 Hungarian Revolution (My Story)
(My Eyewitness story of our Freedomfight
and Resistance against the Soviet Invasion)
50th Anniversary of our Freedomfight
My Travel Pages
My Russia pages
Russia History & Facts in brief
Christ the Saviour Cathedral
Virgin on the Moat Cathedral
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Peter and Paul Fortress
Saint Petersburg Airport
Saint Petersburg Buses
Saint Petersburg Metros
Saint Petersburg Trams
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Tractor Factory - Museum
Russia (Rossiya), also the
Russian Federation (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya),
is a transcontinental country extending
over much of northern Eurasia.
Russia facts & history in brief
My Russia pages directory
Map of Russia
Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It is a semi-presidential republic
comprising 85 federal subjects.
Russia proper shares land borders with
the following countries (counter-clockwise
from northwest to southeast): Norway,
Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus,
Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,
China, Mongolia and North Korea.
Additionally, the Russian exclave of
Kaliningrad shares borders with
Lithuania and Poland.
It is also close to the U.S. state of Alaska,
Sweden and Japan across relatively small
stretches of water (the Bering Strait,
the Baltic Sea, and La Pérouse
At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi)
and with 142 million people, Russia is by far
the largest country in the world, covering more
than one-eighth of the Earth's land area,
and ninth-largest by population.
It extends across the whole of northern Asia
and 40% of Europe, spanning 11 time zones and
incorporating a great range of
environments and landforms.
Russia possesses the world's largest mineral
and energy resources, and is considered
an energy superpower.
It contains approximately one-quarter of the
world's unfrozen fresh water and has the
world's largest forest reserves.
The nation's history begins with that
of the East Slavs.
Founded and ruled by Vikings and their
descendants, the first East Slavic
state, Kievan Rus', adopted Christianity
from the Byzantine Empire in 988, beginning
the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures
that defined Russian culture for
the next millennium.
Kievan Rus' ultimately disintegrated and the
Russian lands were divided.
The most powerful successor state to Kievan
Rus' was Moscow, which gradually came to dominate
the cultural and political legacy of Kievan Rus'.
By the 18th century, the Grand Duchy of Moscow had
greatly expanded through conquest, annexation
and exploration to become the huge Russian
Empire, stretching from Poland
eastward to the Pacific Ocean.
Russia established worldwide power and influence
from the times of the Russian Empire to being
the preeminent constituent of the Soviet Union,
the world's first and largest Communist state.
t is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons
states and possesses the world's largest
stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Capital: (and largest city) Moscow
Official languages: Russian official
throughout nation; thirty others co-official
in various regions
Government: Semi-presidential republic
Founded: 862, Arrival of Rurik to Novgorod
Area: 17,075,400 km² (6,592,800 sq mi)
Population: - 2007 estimate 142,200,000
Currency: Ruble (RUB)
Time zone: (UTC+2 to +12) - Summer (DST) (UTC+3 to +13)
Internet TLD: .ru (.su reserved)
Calling code: +7
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
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The Russian Federation stretches across much
of the north of the super-continent of Eurasia.
Because of its size, Russia displays
both monotony and diversity.
As with its topography, its climates, vegetation,
and soils span vast distances.
From north to south the East European Plain is
clad sequentially in 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 is taiga.
The country contains 23 World Heritage Sites
and 39 UNESCO Biosphere reserves.
The two widest separated points in Russia are
about 8,000 km (5,000 mi) apart
along a geodesic line.
The Russian Federation spans 11 time zones.
Russia has the world's largest forest
reserves and is known as "the lungs
of Europe," second only to the Amazon
Rainforest in the amount of
carbon dioxide it absorbs.
It provides a huge amount of oxygen for
not just Europe, but the world.
With access to three of the world's oceans
- the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific-Russian
fishing fleets are a major contributor to
the world's fish supply.
The Caspian is the source of what is
considered 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.
Mountain ranges are found along the southern
borders, such as the Caucasus (containing
Mount Elbrus, Russia's and Europe's
highest point at 5,642 m / 18,511 ft)
and the Altai, and in the eastern parts,
such as the Verkhoyansk Range or
the volcanoes on Kamchatka.
The Ural Mountains form a north-south
range that divides Europe and Asia,
rich in mineral resources.
Russia possesses 8.9% of the
world's arable land.
Russia has an extensive coastline of over
37,000 kilometres (23,000 mi) along the
Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the
Baltic, Black and Caspian seas.
The Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea,
Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Bering Sea,
Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of
Japan are linked to Russia.
Major islands and archipelagos include
Novaya Zemlya, the Franz Josef Land,
the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island,
the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin.
The Diomede Islands (one controlled by
Russia, the other by the United States)
are just three kilometres (1.9 mi) apart,
and Kunashir Island is about twenty
kilometres (12 mi) from Hokkaido.
Russia has thousands of rivers and
inland bodies of water, providing it
with one of the world's largest
surface water resources.
The most prominent of Russia's bodies of
fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's
deepest, purest and most
capacious freshwater lake.
Lake Baikal alone contains over one fifth
of the world's fresh surface water.
Of its 100,000 rivers, The Volga is the
most famous-not only because it is the
longest river in Europe but also because
of its major role in Russian history.
Major lakes include Lake Baikal,
Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega.
Russia has a wide natural resource base
including major deposits of petroleum,
natural gas, coal, timber and mineral
resources unmatched by
any other country.
The climate of the Russian Federation
formed under the influence of several
The enormous size of the country and
the remoteness of many areas from the
sea result in the dominance of the
continental climate, which is prevalent
in European and Asian Russia except
for the tundra and the
Throughout much of the territory there
are only two distinct seasons - winter
and summer; spring and autumn are usually
brief periods of change between extremely
low temperatures and extremely high.
The coldest month is January, 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 and humid,
even in Siberia.
A small part of Black Sea coast around Sochi
is considered in Russia to
have subtropical climate.
The continental interiors
are the driest areas.
The vast steppes of Southern Russia were
home to disunited tribes, such as
Proto-Indo-Europeans and Scythians.
Remnants of these steppe civilizations
were discovered in the course of the
20th century in such places as Ipatovo,
Sintashta, Arkaim, and Pazyryk.
In the latter part of the eighth century BC,
Greek merchants brought classical
civilization to the trade emporiums
in Tanais and Phanagoria.
Between the third and sixth centuries AD,
the Bosporan Kingdom, a Hellenistic polity
which succeeded the Greek colonies,
was overwhelmed by successive waves of
nomadic invasions, 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 through
to the 8th century.
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 Pripet Marshes.
Moving into the lands vacated by the migrating
Germanic tribes, 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.
From the 7th century onwards, the East Slavs
constituted the bulk of the population in
Western Russia and slowly but peacefully
assimilated the native Finno-Ugric tribes,
including the Merya, the Muromians,
and the Meshchera.
Scandinavian Norsemen, called "Vikings" in
Western Europe and "Varangians" in the East,
combined piracy and trade in their roamings
over much of Northern Europe.
In the mid-9th century, they ventured along
the waterways extending from the eastern
Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas.
According to the earliest Russian chronicle,
a Varangian named Rurik was elected ruler
(konung or knyaz) of Novgorod around the
year 860; his successors moved south and
extended their authority to Kiev, which
had been previously dominated
by the Khazars.
In the tenth to eleventh centuries this state
of Kievan Rus became the largest and
most prosperous in Europe.
In the eleventh and twelfth 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 north,
particularly to the area known as Zalesye.
Like many other parts of Eurasia, these
territories were overrun by the Mongols.
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.
Mongol rule retarded the country's economic
and social development.
However, the Novgorod Republic together
with Pskov retained some degree of autonomy
during the time of the Mongol yoke and
was largely spared the atrocities that
affected the rest of the country.
Led by Alexander Nevsky, Novgorodians
repelled the Germanic crusaders who
attempted to colonize the region.
Kievan Rus' ultimately disintegrated as
a state because of in-fighting between
members of the princely family that ruled
Kiev's dominance waned, to the benefit of
Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, Novgorod
in the north, and Halych-Volhynia
in the south-west.
Conquest by the Golden Horde in the 13th
century was the final blow and resulted
in the destruction of Kiev in 1240.
Halych-Volhynia was eventually absorbed
into 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.
Russian cities in population ranking