Located partly in Eastern Europe and partly in North Asia, Russia is one of the world’s largest countries. It has a wide coastline, including the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, Arctic Ocean, and the Sea of Japan. It has large deposits of natural gas, petroleum, coal, timber, and minerals.
The country is also home to one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes, Lake Baikal. There are more than 1700 species of plants and animals found in the lake. It is the largest of Russia’s freshwater lakes, and its depth makes it one of the deepest freshwater lakes in the world. Its temperature ranges from cool along the Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia. It is considered one of the most important natural resources in Russia.
The earliest history of the country dates back to the ninth century, when Kievan Rus’ emerged along the Dnieper River valley. Kievan Rus’ was a trade hub that controlled trade routes along rivers, especially between Scandinavia and Byzantine Empire. Its political organization was highly centralized, and armed struggles within the princely family led to its dissolution. In the fifteenth century, the grand princes of Moscow gathered Russian lands to increase the country’s population.
In the sixteenth century, Ivan the Great laid the foundation for a national state. He began a reorganization of the government to create an aristocratic, absolutist state. He also abolished the patriarchate and introduced far-reaching reforms. The boyar Duma was replaced by a nine-member senate. Peter the Great also introduced far-reaching reforms, including an Orthodox Church in the administrative structure, and a new government on Western models.
In the nineteenth century, Russia’s economy experienced a serious crisis. Fuel was in short supply, and inflation was mounting. The government was failing to address this crisis, and a large portion of the population became disenchanted with the regime. A major event in nineteenth century Russian history was the emancipation of serfs. The abolition of serfdom ended the monopoly of power held by the landed aristocracy. However, revolutionary tensions remained.
In the twentieth century, Russia suffered reverses against a coalition of great powers of Europe. Germany and the Ottoman Empire both controlled the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, and imposed strict restrictions on Russia’s access to supplies. They also prevented Russia from exporting goods. This prompted many Russians to become discontented with the regime’s leadership.
In 1917, Lenin led a group of Bolshevik revolutionaries who overthrew the provisional government. They also dissolved the national constituent assembly. The Soviet Union emerged as a hegemonic force in Central and Eastern Europe. In 1991, Russia and most former Soviet republics became a Commonwealth of Independent States. However, Russia’s military attack on Ukraine has caused global uncertainty about its energy supply. This has also aggravated the global food crisis.
Russia has a strong military and a rich cultural heritage. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The Russian Federation is also a major supplier of fossil fuels to the EU.