Russia, one of the world’s largest independent states, is located in Eastern Europe and North Asia. It is home to 142 million people and shares borders with China, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Georgia, Mongolia, Turkey, the Baltic Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and the Sea of Okhotsk.
Russian language and culture are influenced by Christianity. Orthodox Christianity was adopted from the Byzantine Empire when Russia was forming as an independent country. The most popular religion is the Eastern Orthodox Church. Almost all of the population speaks Russian as their native language. There are more than 100 ethnic groups living in Russia. Some regions speak different dialects and have regional pronunciation differences.
Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic. There is a president who is chosen by direct election. Although there is a parliament, its role is only secondary. Federal law governs all entities in the country.
Russia’s economy is fueled by natural resources such as oil, gas, and forestry. Other economic drivers include manufacturing, agriculture, and fishing. However, medical care is below Western standards in most localities. Most residents live in cities.
The country is divided into 85 federal subjects, each of which has a representative in the Federation’s parliament. Important issues are decided by the Federation’s President. Currently, the president is Vladimir Putin.
Throughout the country’s history, Russia has undergone political changes. In the 17th century, Peter the Great worked to modernize the country and make it more European. He was overthrown in 1855, and a decade later, the Tsar Nicholas II was removed from power.
During the Soviet period, Russia was ruled by dictator Josef Stalin. Many of his opponents were killed or imprisoned in gulags. Several million people starved. They also lost property, shops, and farms to the Soviets.
The Soviet Union veered from its nonaggression pact with Germany in 1939. This was due to a major economic crisis. Eventually, the USSR veered from collaboration with the West to a defense of the country from German attack in 1941.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the former Soviet republics reunified into 15 independent states. The future of post-Soviet Russia depends on the interplay of state power with business interests.
The regime in Moscow combines some of the features of capitalist economics and democracy. Rather than a broad-based institution, the regime relies on a close-knit professional age cohort. These individuals often have backgrounds in the secret police or government.
Russia has experienced a variety of ethnic, political, and cultural conflicts throughout its history. Attempts to define its national identity have failed. Despite its size, it has never been a nation with a clear identity.
Nonetheless, Russia has produced some of the greatest composers of the twentieth century. These artists include Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, and Alexander Scriabin.
Since the 1990s, Russia has suffered from a flawed democracy. The country’s leaders pretend to rule over an empire, but in reality, the government is a self-interested bureaucratic corporation. Consequently, the president’s legitimacy is largely based on information and propaganda campaigns rather than transpersonal institutions.