Date of establishment: December 25, 1991

Brief history:

10th Century: Early Slavic states emerge, including the Kievan Rus, which becomes a significant power in Eastern Europe. The Kievan Rus is considered the cultural and political predecessor to modern-day Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

1237-1240: The Mongol Empire invades the Kievan Rus, leading to a long period of Mongol domination known as the “Mongol Yoke,” which lasts until the late 15th century.

1480: The Great Stand on the Ugra River marks the end of Mongol domination and the beginning of a unified Russian state under the leadership of Ivan III (Ivan the Great).

1547: Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) becomes the first Russian Tsar, centralizing power and expanding Russian territories.

1613: The Romanov dynasty begins with the election of Michael Romanov as Tsar, leading to a period of stability and further territorial expansion.

17th Century: Russia undergoes significant territorial expansion towards Siberia and the Far East, becoming one of the largest empires in the world.

18th Century: Tsar Peter the Great modernizes and centralizes the Russian state, gains access to the Baltic Sea through the Great Northern War, and initiates Western-oriented reforms. He moves the capital from Moscow to the newly built city of St. Petersburg.

1762-1796: Catherine the Great further expands Russian territories, notably through the partitions of Poland, and continues Peter the Great’s policies of modernization and Westernization.

1812: Napoleon’s invasion of Russia leads to the disastrous retreat of French forces, known as the Great Retreat, after the Russian winter and scorched earth tactics devastate the invading army.

1861: Serfdom is abolished in Russia by Tsar Alexander II, leading to significant social and economic changes.

1905: The Russian Revolution of 1905 results in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the creation of the State Duma, although the autocracy remains largely intact.

1917: The Russian Revolution – the February Revolution leads to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the end of the Romanov dynasty. Later, the October Revolution, led by the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin, seizes power and establishes a communist government.

1918-1922: The Russian Civil War occurs between the Red Army (Bolsheviks) and the White Army (anti-Bolsheviks), resulting in a Bolshevik victory and the consolidation of communist rule.

1922: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is established, with the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic as its largest constituent.

1941-1945: The Soviet Union plays a crucial role in the fight against Nazi Germany during World War II, suffering immense losses but eventually emerging victorious and becoming a superpower.

1991: Dissolution of the Soviet Union following political and economic turmoil, leading to the formation of the independent Russian Federation and the emergence of 15 independent republics from the former USSR.

10th Century: Early Slavic states emerge, including the Kievan Rus, which becomes a significant power in Eastern Europe.


International Abbreviation: RUS


Currency: Russian ruble (RUB)

The Russian ruble has subdivisions called kopeks. One ruble is composed of 100 kopeks. The ruble has been the main currency of Russia historically and continues to be the primary currency today.

Russian ruble banknotes come in several denominations, including 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 rubles. Coin denominations include 1, 2, 5, and 10 rubles, as well as smaller coins of 1, 5, 10, and 50 kopeks.

Internet domain: .ru


Dialing code: +7


Time zone: GMT +2 to +12



Russia is the world’s largest country by land area, spanning Eastern Europe and northern Asia. It covers approximately one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area and spans eleven time zones.

Russia shares borders with numerous countries: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and North Korea. Additionally, through the Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave situated between Poland and Lithuania, Russia borders these two countries as well.

The country is rich in rivers and lakes. The longest river in Europe, the Volga, flows through the central part of the country. Other significant rivers include the Yenisei, Ob, Lena, and Amur, which are among the longest rivers in the world and flow through Siberia. Prominent lakes include Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest freshwater lake in the world, containing about 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater reserve, and the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest enclosed inland body of water by area, which is a saltwater lake.

Russia’s coastline is washed by the waters of three oceans: the Atlantic (via the Baltic Sea), the Arctic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. The Arctic coastline is notable for its harsh climate and ice cover for much of the year, while the Pacific coast includes the Sea of Japan and the Bering Sea.

The geography of Russia includes vast plains in the west and north, such as the East European Plain and the West Siberian Plain. The Ural Mountains, running north to south, form a natural divide between European Russia and Asian Russia. The south and east of Russia are more mountainous, with ranges such as the Caucasus Mountains in the south, which include Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, and the Altai Mountains, which stretch into Siberia.


Highest peak: Mount Elbrus at 5 642 meters (18 510 feet) above sea level.

Located in the Caucasus Mountains in the southwest, near the border with Georgia. Mount Elbrus has multiple peaks, with the highest one reaching an elevation of 5 642 meters (18 510 feet). It’s a dormant stratovolcano.



Most of Russia experiences a continental climate, characterized by cold winters and warm to hot summers. Temperature differences between day and night, as well as between seasons, can be significant. In European Russia, including Moscow, average winter temperatures range from -10°C to -5°C (14°F to 23°F), while summer temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F).

An Arctic climate prevails in the northern regions, such as the tundra and the Arctic Ocean coast. Winters are extremely cold, with average temperatures ranging from -40°C to -20°C (-40°F to -4°F), and the short summer is relatively cool, with average temperatures ranging from 0°C to 10°C (32°F to 50°F).

Some areas, particularly parts of Siberia, have a subarctic climate. Winters are extremely cold with prolonged periods of frost, with average temperatures ranging from -50°C to -30°C (-58°F to -22°F). Summers are short and cool, with average temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F).

A steppe climate is found in southern regions, such as the southern parts of the Ural region, the Volga region, and areas near the Caucasus. These areas experience mild and dry winters, with average temperatures ranging from -5°C to 5°C (23°F to 41°F), and warm, dry summers, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F).

In addition to these main climate zones, the western parts of Russia, including areas around Saint Petersburg, experience a more moderate maritime climate, influenced by the Baltic Sea. Winters here are milder, with average temperatures around -5°C to 0°C (23°F to 32°F), and summers are cooler, with average temperatures around 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).


Fauna and flora:

Vast tundra areas in Russia are dominated by low-growing plants, mosses, and lichens. These hardy species thrive in the harsh, cold conditions, creating unique and striking landscapes. The tundra also features rare flowers that bloom during the short summer, adding to the region’s seasonal beauty.

Deep taiga forests, which cover large parts of Russia, consist of coniferous trees like spruce, pine, fir, and larch. These forests create a unique ecosystem that hosts a variety of animal species, including the Siberian tiger, lynx, and various bird species. The undergrowth in these forests often includes shrubs like juniper and berries such as blueberries and cranberries.

The steppes of southern Russia are characterized by vast expanses of grasses and herbaceous plants adapted to the open, often dry landscape. These grasslands support diverse plant species and are crucial for agriculture and livestock grazing.

Russia is home to many iconic animal species. Brown bears are widespread across the country, particularly in forested areas, while polar bears are found in the extreme Arctic regions, surviving in the icy conditions. Wolves and foxes are common in various habitats, from forests to tundra. Moose are abundant in the taiga and mixed forests, while reindeer (also known as caribou in North America) are vital to the ecosystems of the tundra and northern taiga. These species are closely tied to local traditions and culture, with reindeer herding being particularly significant for indigenous communities in northern Russia.

Additionally, Russia’s rivers and lakes, including Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest freshwater lake, are home to unique aquatic species. Lake Baikal alone hosts over 1,700 species of plants and animals, two-thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world, including the Baikal seal (nerpa).



Due to its vast land area, Russia has extensive agricultural lands, making it one of the world’s largest producers of various crops. The fertile black soil region, known as the “chernozem” belt, is particularly productive.

Major crops include wheat, barley, corn, potatoes, sugar beets, and sunflowers. Russia is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of wheat and barley. Additionally, regions like the Krasnodar and Stavropol territories are known for growing a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, including apples, berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and walnuts.

Livestock farming is a significant part of Russian agriculture, including cattle, pigs, and poultry. Meat, milk, and egg production are vital for domestic consumption. The dairy industry is substantial, with regions like Tatarstan and Bashkortostan being notable for milk production. Poultry farming is also widespread, contributing to both domestic markets and export.

Russia is a significant exporter of agricultural products. It is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat and sunflower oil. Other notable exports include barley, corn, and rapeseed oil. The country has also been increasing its exports of meat and dairy products in recent years.


Natural resource extraction:

Russia is one of the largest producers of natural gas and oil in the world. Major natural gas fields include the Yamal Peninsula and Western Siberia, with the Yamal gas field being one of the largest. Significant oil extraction occurs in Western Siberia, the Urals, and the Caspian Sea area, with the Khanty-Mansiysk region being particularly important for oil production.

Russia also possesses rich uranium deposits, which are used for nuclear energy. Key uranium mining regions include the Trans-Ural region and Eastern Siberia.

The country is rich in various minerals, including iron ore, copper, nickel, and aluminum. Notable mining areas for these minerals include the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly for iron ore, the Norilsk region for nickel and copper, and the Ural Mountains for a variety of minerals.

Precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum group metals are also mined extensively in Russia. Siberia, particularly the Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, holds significant deposits of these metals. The Russian Far East, including the Kolyma region, is known for its gold mining.

Russia has substantial coal reserves, primarily located in the Kuznetsk Basin (Kuzbass) in Western Siberia and the Kansk-Achinsk Basin in Eastern Siberia. These coal deposits are essential for domestic energy production and export.

Additionally, Russia is a major producer of diamonds, with significant extraction occurring in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in Eastern Siberia. This region is home to some of the largest diamond mines in the world.



As previously mentioned, resource extraction including oil, natural gas, minerals, and precious metals is a key industrial sector in Russia. The country is one of the world’s largest producers of these resources, which are essential to its economy and significant for export.

Russia plays a significant role in nuclear and thermal power generation. Nuclear energy is critical for both domestic use and export, with Rosatom being one of the leading companies in the global nuclear energy market.

The automotive industry in Russia includes several companies that manufacture automobiles and trucks, such as AvtoVAZ (known for Lada cars), GAZ, and KamAZ. Despite facing fierce global competition, these companies have a substantial domestic market and are important for the country’s economy.

The aerospace industry, including aircraft, rocket, and space technology production, is vital for Russia. The country is a major player in space exploration and satellite launches, with companies like Sukhoi and MiG producing military and civilian aircraft. The state corporation Roscosmos oversees space missions and collaborations with international space agencies.

Russia is a prominent producer of military equipment and weapons, with a long-standing tradition in this sector. The country exports a wide range of military hardware, including tanks, aircraft, submarines, and small arms, to various countries around the world.

The food industry in Russia encompasses food and beverage production and agricultural product processing. Key products include meat, dairy, baked goods, and beverages, which are crucial for both domestic consumption and export. The industry supports the country’s vast agricultural sector and contributes significantly to the economy.

The construction industry in Russia aligns with economic and urbanization needs. Urban projects, infrastructure development, and housing construction are important aspects, with significant investments in modernizing cities, expanding transportation networks, and building new residential areas.


Services and other economic sectors:

Services, banking, transportation, and trade are also significant contributors to the economy.


Natural and historical attractions:

Russia boasts a rich history and numerous cultural landmarks that attract tourists. Famous sites include Moscow’s Kremlin, a historic fortified complex that houses the President’s residence and several important churches and museums, and the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, which is part of the Hermitage Museum, one of the largest and most prestigious art museums in the world. The iconic churches on Red Square, such as St. Basil’s Cathedral, are also significant attractions. Historic cities like Suzdal and Veliky Novgorod offer well-preserved examples of medieval Russian architecture and heritage.

Russia’s natural landscapes are incredibly diverse, ranging from the vast Siberian taiga and tundra to the towering Caucasus Mountains and the unique ecosystem of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and oldest freshwater lake. Lake Baikal is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and diverse wildlife, including the endemic Baikal seal. People often embark on treks, fishing trips, or explore natural reserves like the Altai Mountains and Kamchatka Peninsula, which are known for their stunning scenery and biodiversity.

Russia has a vibrant cultural scene that includes theater, literature, and music. Visitors can enjoy performances at renowned theaters such as the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, both of which are famous for ballet and opera.

A journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the most famous adventures in Russia, offering a unique opportunity to explore the vast territory and experience local culture. This iconic railway stretches from Moscow to Vladivostok, covering diverse landscapes and connecting various regions.

Moscow and St. Petersburg are major cities that offer a blend of historical and modern attractions, including cutting-edge architecture, vibrant fashion scenes, nightlife, and shopping. These cities are cultural hubs with numerous museums, galleries, and cultural events.

Russia’s winter landscapes attract winter sports enthusiasts. Destinations like Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, offer world-class ski slopes and snow sports facilities. Additionally, regions like the Khibiny Mountains in the Kola Peninsula and the Altai Mountains are popular for skiing and snowboarding.



Form of government: Federal semi-presidential republic

The president of Russia is the central figure of the executive branch, holding significant powers. Elected through direct elections for a six-year term, the president has the authority to appoint the prime minister, declare a state of emergency, sign laws, and issue decrees. The president also plays a crucial role in shaping foreign policy, ensuring national security, and maintaining overall stability. The current political structure grants the president substantial influence over the legislative and judicial branches.

The legislative body, known as the Federal Assembly, consists of two chambers: the State Duma and the Federation Council. The State Duma, the lower chamber, is composed of 450 deputies elected for five-year terms. It has the power to enact and approve laws, and it can also initiate legislation. The Federation Council, the upper chamber, represents Russia’s various federal subjects, including regions, republics, territories, and cities with federal status. It consists of 170 members, with two representatives from each federal subject. The Federation Council oversees constitutional compliance, approves changes to national borders, and ratifies presidential appointments of high-ranking judges and officials.

The government, headed by the prime minister, is responsible for implementing laws, managing state property, and conducting domestic and economic policy. The president appoints the prime minister, who must then be approved by the State Duma. The prime minister, in turn, proposes the composition of the government, which the president must approve. This close connection between the president and the government ensures effective policy implementation and coordination.

The judiciary in Russia is formally separate from the executive and legislative branches and is tasked with ensuring the rule of law. The Constitutional Court is the highest body for constitutional review, while the Supreme Court is the highest judicial body for civil, criminal, and administrative cases. The judiciary also includes regional courts, arbitration courts, and other judicial bodies that play a crucial role in protecting citizens’ rights and upholding legal standards. However, the judiciary’s independence has been a subject of concern and debate, with critics pointing to instances of political influence and lack of transparency in judicial proceedings.


Capital city: Moscow

Moscow’s Kremlin is the historical core of the city and has been the residence of Russian rulers for centuries. It includes impressive cathedrals, palaces, and fortifications. The Kremlin complex houses the official residence of the President of Russia and includes important sites such as the Grand Kremlin Palace, the Armory Chamber, and the Cathedral of the Annunciation. The Kremlin also serves as the administrative center of the Russian government.

Red Square, adjacent to the Kremlin, is surrounded by significant buildings, such as the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed (commonly known as St. Basil’s Cathedral), Lenin’s Mausoleum, and the State Historical Museum. Red Square has been a crucial center for many historical events, including military parades, demonstrations, and public ceremonies.

One of the most famous theaters in the world, the Bolshoi Theatre, is the center of Russian opera and ballet. Its building is an architectural icon, known for its grand facade and opulent interior, hosting magnificent performances by the Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera companies.

The Moscow Metro is renowned for its beautiful stations, often referred to as underground palaces. Each station features unique designs and artistic elements, such as mosaics, sculptures, and chandeliers. Notable stations include Komsomolskaya, Mayakovskaya, and Ploshchad Revolyutsii, which are celebrated for their architectural and artistic significance.

In addition to these landmarks, Moscow is home to many other cultural and historical sites, including the Tretyakov Gallery, which houses an extensive collection of Russian art, and Gorky Park, a large recreational area that hosts various cultural events and activities. The city is also a major center for education and research, with prestigious institutions like Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The city has a population of about 12 712 000


Area: 17 098 246 square kilometers (6 601 670 square miles)


Population: 146 000 000 (2022)

The largest ethnic group in Russia is the Russians, who constitute the majority of the population. Additionally, Russia is home to numerous other ethnic groups, including Tatars, Ukrainians, Bashkirs, Chechens, Armenians, Chuvashes, Avars, Mordvins, Kazakhs, and many others. These groups contribute to the country’s rich cultural diversity.

The official language in Russia is Russian, which is also the main means of communication and the language of government, education, and media. However, many ethnic groups in Russia also speak their own languages, and there are over 100 minority languages recognized within the country.

The Russian Orthodox Church is the predominant religious denomination in Russia, and it plays a significant role in the cultural and spiritual life of the country. Other major religions practiced in Russia include Islam, particularly among ethnic groups such as Tatars and Bashkirs, and in regions like the North Caucasus and Tatarstan. Judaism, Buddhism, and various Protestant and Catholic denominations are also present, reflecting the diverse religious landscape of the country.


UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 30


  1. The Historic Centre of St. Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (1990) – Baroque and neoclassical buildings in a rare combination of architectural and urban unity – a city founded from scratch in 1703 by Peter the Great.
  2. Kizhi Pogost (1990) – A religious complex with wooden churches from the 18th century and a bell tower from the 1860s on an island in the northern part of Lake Onega.
  3. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square (1990) – The core of the city and an iconic square, including the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed (St. Basil’s Cathedral).
  4. The Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands (1992) – On six islands in the White Sea, there are traces of prehistoric settlement and monastic buildings from the 15th to the 19th century.
  5. The Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings (1992) – The first capital of Russia, a center of Orthodox Christianity and Russian architecture.
  6. The White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal (1992) – Two famous historical centers of Russian art. Religious and secular monuments are concentrated here.
  7. The Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad (1993) – The center of Russian Orthodoxy, gradually built from 1345, around which the town of Sergiev Posad grew. The burial place of Boris Godunov and the Trubetskoy princes, with the interiors of some churches decorated with frescoes and icons by Andrei Rublev.
  8. The Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye (1994) – Built in 1532, its design (first use of a tented roof made of stone) had a significant influence on Russian architecture.
  9. The Virgin Komi Forests (1995) – An area of virgin forests in the northern European part of Russia.
  10. Lake Baikal (1996) – The oldest and deepest lake in the world, home to a number of endemic fauna species.
  11. The Volcanoes of Kamchatka (1996) – Many types of volcanoes and a large number of other volcanic phenomena on the Kamchatka Peninsula on the Pacific Ocean.
  12. The Golden Mountains of Altai (1998) – One of the few European mountain regions where human impact has not been significant.
  13. The Western Caucasus (1999) – Areas of untouched mountain forests unique in Europe.
  14. The Curonian Spit (2000) – A 98 km (61 miles) long and sometimes only 400 m (1312 feet) wide sandy spit inhabited since prehistoric times. Approximately half of the area belongs to Lithuania.
  15. The Ferapontov Monastery (2000) – A complex of Russian Orthodox monasteries from the 15th to the 17th century, located in the Vologda Region.
  16. The Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin (2000) – Includes a group of historical buildings from the 16th to the 19th century and remains of earlier structures from the 10th to the 16th century.
  17. Central Sikhote-Alin (2001) – A mountain range in the Russian Far East, on the shores of the Sea of Japan, covered with one of the most unusual temperate forests in the world. In this area, where taiga meets subtropics, southern and northern animal species coexist.
  18. The Citadel, Ancient City, and Fortress Buildings of Derbent (2003) – A city in Dagestan, part of the northern line of the Persian Empire during the Sasanian rule. The stone fortifications were built in the 5th century and consist of two parallel walls that formed a barrier from the sea to the mountain top.
  19. Uvs Nuur Basin (2003) – The northernmost enclosed basin in Central Asia. The shallow and very saline lake is important for bird migration. This site is shared with Mongolia.
  20. The Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent (2004) – The convent was built in the 16th to 17th centuries in the Moscow Baroque style. Many prominent Russian figures are buried in the adjacent cemetery.
  21. The Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve (2004) – Wrangel Island was not glaciated during the last Ice Age, resulting in rich biodiversity.
  22. The Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl (2005) – A trading center since the 11th century. The Spassky Monastery from the 16th century and extensive construction in the 17th century are the result of Catherine the Great’s urban planning.
  23. The Struve Geodetic Arc (2005) – A chain of triangulation points stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, built between 1816 and 1855. Spanning 2,820 km (1,752 miles), it passes through Sweden, Finland, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
  24. The Putorana Plateau (2010) – Vast area of volcanic mountains located around 100 km (62 miles) beyond the Arctic Circle. Taiga and tundra vegetation, thousands of lakes, and numerous rivers and waterfalls (the highest density in the world) make it an exceptional area not only on a Russian scale but globally.
  25. Lena Pillars Nature Park (2012) – Vertical limestone and dolomite pillars up to 300 m (984 feet) high, stretching several kilometers along the bank of the Siberian River Lena (in the middle of its course), in the Sakha Republic.
  26. The Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex (2014) – The medieval center of Volga Bulgaria.
  27. Landscapes of Dauria (2017) – Meadows, forests, and water bodies that provide a habitat for many animals, especially birds. This site is shared with Mongolia.
  28. The Assumption Cathedral and Monastery of the town-island of Sviyazhsk (2017) – A religious complex on a river island with a history dating back to the 16th century.
  29. Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture (2019) – 10 churches from the 12th to 17th century, located in the center of Pskov on the banks of the Velikaya River, representing the unique style of Pskov builders.
  30. Petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea (2021) – The most extensive collection of rock paintings and engravings documenting the Neolithic culture in Fennoscandia.


National parks: 37


  1. Alania National Park
  2. Alkhanay National Park
  3. Anadyr National Park
  4. Anyuysky National Park
  5. Bashkiria National Park
  6. Beringia National Park
  7. Bikin National Park
  8. Bolshaya Kokshaga National Park
  9. Buzuluksky Bor National Park
  10. Chikoy National Park
  11. Curonian Spit National Park (Kurshskaya Kosa)
  12. Elbrus National Park
  13. Gauja National Park
  14. Kenozersky National Park
  15. Kislovodsk National Park
  16. Klyuchevskoy National Park
  17. Komsomolsky National Park
  18. Krasnoyarsk Pillars National Park
  19. Losiny Ostrov National Park
  20. Mariy Chodra National Park
  21. Meshchyora National Park
  22. Nizhnyaya Kama National Park
  23. Onezhskoe Pomorye National Park
  24. Paanajärvi National Park
  25. Pleshcheyevo Lake National Park
  26. Pribaykalsky National Park
  27. Prielbrusye National Park
  28. Samarskaya Luka National Park
  29. Sebezhsky National Park
  30. Smolensk Lakeland National Park
  31. Sochinsky National Park
  32. Tunkinsky National Park
  33. Udegeyskaya Legenda National Park
  34. Valdaysky National Park
  35. Vodlozersky National Park
  36. Yugyd Va National Park
  37. Zabaykalsky National Park