Russia is the largest country in the world. It covers over 17 million square kilometres. It borders 14 other countries and crosses eight time-zones. Ex- tending to the frozen wastes lying above the Arctic Circle, it covers vast forests, high mountains and wide plains. Rolling plains known as Steppes start below the forests. Meadows and wooded plains make up the northern Steppes. The Southern Steppes is mainly barren, but their rich oil, coal, gas, and minerals are the best natural resources of the whole country. The Caucasus Mountains and the Shores of the Caspian Sea have formed Russia’s southernmost area. The slopes of the Caucasus contain important deposits of iron and copper.
Russia has long bitter winters and short summers. Snow covers more than half of the country for six months a year. So it makes most of the natural resources of the country difficult to be available.
As of 2012, the population of Russia is 144, 525,278. The language spoken by the people and used officially is Russian, though English has its due importance. The main religions are Russian Orthodox, Islam, and Christianity, though the religious practice is not very dominant in public life.
For centuries, Russia was a vast empire ruled by emperors called Tsars. But a widespread Workers’ Revolution in 1917 eventually ended the reign of the Tsars and brought the Bolsheviks (later called the Russian Communist Party) to power. Russia became a Republic and in 1922 joined with three smaller Republics to form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) — also known as the Soviet Union. The political philosophy of Marx and Angeles and the leadership of Lenin and Stalin turned it to be a communist country and gradually it became a superpower.
By the 1940s, the four original republics were subdivided and there were 16 republics in the Union. Over the next 40 years (1950-1990) individual republics made increasing demands for independence. The USSR eventually broke up in 1991 and Communism collapsed. At present Moscow is the capital of Russia.
The economy of Russia mainly depends on agriculture, animal husbandry and exports. The agricultural products include wheat, grain, sugar beets, sunflower seed, vegetables, fruits, and animal husbandry includes beef and milk. The exports include natural gas, petroleum, chemicals, machinery, including weapons, timber, coal and food. The currency of Russia is Rouble. Now it is one of the most powerful countries of the world, having nuclear power and the power of veto as of the USA in the UN.