Russia is a vast country located at the periphery of Europe and Asia. It is the largest nation in the world by area. The territory is divided into two main regions. In the east, Russia borders the Arctic Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk. In the west, it borders China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Belarus.
There are 142 million people living in Russia. Most of them live in the European part of the country. This is the historical heartland of Russia. Many ethnic groups live there. They include Tatars, Yakuts, and Russians.
Siberia, the region in the eastern portion of Russia, is rich with mineral resources. Some of the biggest cities are situated in this region. During World War II, the Ural Mountains and their surrounding area were a strong barrier to Nazi invasion. These mountains are an ideal place for industrial development.
Transcaucasia is the part of Russia south of the Ural Mountains. It is a religiously and ethnically diverse region. Petroleum is a major resource in this region. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have independent states. Historically, these countries were part of the Russian Empire. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, these countries declared their independence.
After the Cold War ended in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and some people were forced to leave. Others fought for their independence. Since then, Russia has reestablished itself as a significant player in the global economy. While the government is still a Marxist totalitarian state, some elements of democracy have become part of the country.
There are 85 federal subjects of the Russian Federation. Each subject is governed by a president and has one or two representatives in the Russian Parliament. One representative is elected by the subject, and the President of the Federation decides important issues.
Russia is a very diverse country. The country is home to more than 150 different ethnic groups. Each group has their own cultural traditions. Although many of these ethnic groups are Asian in origin, there are also groups that are European in origin. Ethnic Russians represent the largest population in Russia.
Despite its large size, Russia has a slowly declining population. In 2008, the population declined by 0.085%. More than three-quarters of the population lives in the western part of the country.
During the Cold War, the country was occupied by the United States and the Soviet Union. During this period, the government imposed civil liberties restrictions. As a result, a number of ordinary workers had to go without. Life savings were lost, and housing costs skyrocketed. Older people also faced unemployment.
Various ethnic groups practice tribal religions and pagan rites. A minority of the population practices Christianity and Islam. The Orthodox church is the most popular religion in Russia. People who worship other forms of Christianity are only about 2 percent of the population.
The Russian government has been criticized for allowing corruption to flourish. Wealth was once controlled by a political elite. Now, wealth is controlled by the business elite.