Russia – the largest country on earth in terms of surface area – emerged from a decade of post-Soviet economic and political turmoil to reassert itself as a world power.
Russia also officially known as the Russian Federation is a sovereign state in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with over 146.6 million people at the end of March 2016. Extending across the entirety of northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and land forms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia,Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both with Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait.
Incomes from vast natural resources, above all oil and gas, have helped Russia overcome the economic collapse of 1998. The state-run gas monopoly Gazprom is the world’s largest producer and exporter, and supplies a large share of Europe’s needs.
Economic strength has allowed Vladimir Putin – Russia’s dominant political figure since 2000 – to enhance state control over political institutions and the media – a process supplemented more recently by an emphasis on fierce nationalism and hostility to the West.
- Capital: Moscow
- Language:Russian (official)
- Currency: Russian Ruble (RUR)
The Republic of Kazakhstan is a multinational state, inhabited by more than 120 nationalities. The main religion is Islam, but the Kazakhs manifest tolerance towards other religions of the peoples living in their territory, such as Christianity, Judaism, etc. The country has built many mosques and churches in recent years.
Russia has the most college-level or higher graduates in terms of percentage of population in the world, at 54%. Russia has a free education system, which is guaranteed for all citizens by the Constitution, however entry to subsidized higher education is highly competitive. As a result of great emphasis on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and aerospace research is generally of a high order.
Since 1990, the 11-year school education has been introduced. Education in state-owned secondary schools is free. University level education is free, with exceptions. A substantial share of students is enrolled for full pay (many state institutions started to open commercial positions in the last years).
In 2004, state spending for education amounted to 3.6% of the GDP, or 13% of the consolidated state budget. The Government allocates funding to pay the tuition fees within an established quota or number of students for each state institution. In higher education institutions, students are paid a small stipend and provided with free housing if they are from out of town.
Tourism in Russia has seen rapid growth since the late Soviet period, first domestic tourism and then international tourism, fueled by the rich cultural heritage and great natural variety of the country. Major tourist routes in Russia include a journey around the Golden Ring of ancient cities, cruises on the big rivers like the Volga, and long journeys on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway. In 2013, Russia was visited by 28.4 million tourists; it is the ninth most visited country in the world and the seventh most visited in Europe.
The Motherland Calls in Volgogradis the tallest statue of a woman in the world (not including pedestals)
The warm subtropical Black Sea coast of Russia is the site for a number of popular sea resorts, like Sochi, the follow-up host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The mountains of the Northern Caucasus contain popular ski resorts such as Dombay. The most famous natural destination in Russia is Lake Baikal, the Blue Eye of Siberia. This unique lake, the oldest and deepest in the world, has crystal-clear waters and is surrounded by taiga-covered mountains. Other popular natural destinations include Kamchatka with its volcanoes and geysers, Karelia with its lakes and granite rocks, the snowy Altai Mountains, and the wild steppes of Tyva.