The Russian Federation occupies most of Eastern Europe and North Asia, stretching from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources, the largest reserves in the world, have made it one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas.
The Russian Federation is a semi-presidential, federal republic containing 83 different territories known as"federal subjects". Russia shares its borders with numerous countries that include Norway, China, Poland, Finland, and North Korea. It is the largest country in the world and covers one-eighth of Earth's habitable areas, spanning nine separate time zones and extending over the entire region of northern Asia.
Currently, the Russian Federation's economy is one of the most prosperous in the world, ranking as the seventh-largest developed country in purchasing power. This is attributed to its extensive energy and mineral resources that have made it one of the biggest manufacturers of natural gas and oil. The Russian Federation is a member of the G8, the United Nations Security Council, the Council of Europe, and the World Trade Organization.
Essential Facts about Russia
- Russia has a President who is considered the"head of state" and a Prime Minister, who is referred to as the"head of government".
- The federal government consists of three branches: the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary.
- An estimated 165 different indigenous peoples and ethnic groups live in Russia. Eighty percent of Russia's population are ethnic Russians.
- Russian is the language spoken by the majority of citizens, followed by Tatar and Ukrainian. Russian is an official language of the United Nations, along with Arabic, Chinese, French, English, and Spanish languages.
- The primary currency in Russia is the ruble.
Russia spans a large geographic area containing many remote areas such as the vast tundras of Siberia. Northern Russia, which includes Siberia, has a subarctic climate with frigid winters and heavy snow. Moscow and many other parts of Russia not contained in the northern areas have humid continental climates with warm to hot summers and cold, lengthy winters. Typical June, July and August temperatures hover around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) but can go as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) during heat waves. In winter, expect temperatures to remain well below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit/0 Celsius) and often stay below zero for extended periods.
Religions in Russia
Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam are the most common religions in Russia. All are considered to be legally part of the country's historical heritage. The most popular religious holiday celebrated by nearly all Russian citizens is Easter, which they recognize by making kulich (Easter bread) and paskha, a dish containing cheese and shaped like a pyramid.