The emancipation of serfs was one of the greatest events of nineteenth-century Russia. It ended the power of the landed aristocracy, brought free labor to the cities, and grew the middle class. But, there was a price to pay. The newly freed peasants had to pay a special tax for life. And landlords paid generously for land.
The economy of Russia is one of the largest in the world, fueled by the country’s plentiful natural resources. Oil and natural gas are the top industries, but the country also depends heavily on agriculture, forestry, fishing, and manufacturing. While these industries make up the bulk of the economy, Russia is also one of the world’s biggest exporters of military weapons.
Russia’s territory covers 17 million square miles, or approximately 11% of Earth’s landmass. The country is the largest country in the world in land area, and it’s almost twice as big as the contiguous United States. Almost 60% of Russia’s landmass is covered in permafrost.
The Russian judicial system has three branches: the Supreme Court, the Court of Arbitration, and Municipal Courts. In addition to these branches, the Russian Federation also has a Constitutional Court that oversees the Constitutional Court in administrative entities. Municipal courts hear the majority of civil cases and 90 percent of criminal cases. Judges in these courts are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president.
During the period following the tsar’s death, the Russian government promoted atheism and materialism. This government was strongly opposed to organized religion and the Russian Orthodox Church. It sought to break the Russian Orthodox Church’s power, which was a pillar of the old tsarist regime and a barrier to social change. Consequently, members of the Communist Party were not permitted to attend any religious services. Furthermore, the Church was severed from the education system, and religion was not taught in schools.
Amid the tensions between the EU and Russia, Moscow is also trying to maintain a strategic foothold in the Black Sea region. This is important because it is a critical trade corridor for Russia and Central Asia. The Russian port of Novorossiysk is highly dependent on oil and grain from Central Asia, giving Moscow considerable leverage in the region. To protect its key trade routes, Russia is building new infrastructure and developing alternative routes around the Ukrainian border.
While the Russian empire remained a strong force in the medieval era, it was never a nation without a struggle for supremacy. During the fifteenth century, Russia’s grand princes continued to collect lands in order to increase their population and wealth. The state also acquired a significant Muslim Tatar population, making Russia a multi-ethnic state. In addition to this, the Stroganov family established a foothold in the Urals and began to recruit Russian Cossacks to colonize Siberia.
While Russia is a relatively small country, its terrain is varied. Several mountain ranges border the country’s southern borders. These include Mount Elbrus and the Altai Range, as well as the Kamchatka volcanoes. In the centre of the country, the Ural Mountains form the primary divide between Europe and Asia. Its coastline is bordered by the Caspian Sea.