Russia (also Russian Federation or Rossiiskaia Federatsii) is a transcontinental country spanning much of northern Eurasia and holding the world’s ninth-largest population. It is the largest country by area, and one of the most geographically diverse. Formerly the Soviet Union, the country regained its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR.
Despite its forbidding climate, Russia is rich in food and natural resources. It is also a great producer of oil and natural gas. Historically, the fortitude of its people has kept foreign invaders at bay. Yet, its extreme cold and unforgiving terrain often made it difficult for the many to enjoy the benefits of such wealth.
The great nobles who formed the aristocracy of early Russia shared Slavic ethnic origins with their peasant relatives but also absorbed significant amounts of Byzantine culture. This mixture of eastern and western influences shaped the Russian character.
By the thirteenth century, a few wealthy nobles controlled nearly half of all Russia. It was not until the seventeenth century that the czars established themselves as a national ruling class. The rise of Peter the Great (1672-1725) consolidated autocracy and played a vital role in bringing Russia into the European state system. By the time of his death, it was a powerful empire stretching from the Baltic to the Pacific and three times as large as continental Europe.
Russia can be divided into two main regions on the basis of geologic structure and relief. In the western section, which covers about two-fifths of its total area, lowland plains predominate, bounded by the central uplands and morainic ridges. In the eastern part of the country, permafrost is widespread, except in western Siberia.
There are a variety of ways to learn Russian, including in-person classes, online courses, and apps. Online resources such as Italki have over 900 Russian teachers who are available to teach you. Many teachers offer a discounted trial lesson.
Another non-traditional way to practice Russian is through podcasts. Listening to a podcast while doing chores or exercising can be an effective way to pick up vocabulary and improve pronunciation. Some of the best podcasts to start with are RussianPod101, Slow Russian, and Russian With Max.
In addition to practicing your Russian through listening and reading, you can also immerse yourself in the language by watching movies and TV shows. By committing to learning the subtitles, you will be exposed to Russian pronunciation and vocabulary that you would not have otherwise encountered. You will also be able to pick up on colloquial phrases that are likely to be lost in translation.
There are a lot of reasons to learn Russian, from its beautiful landscapes and cultural heritage to the famous faces that call it home. Keeping in mind what motivates you to learn the language can help speed up your journey and make it a success. Reminding yourself of how learning Russian will benefit your life can keep you focused and help you stay motivated through even the toughest days.