When you think of Russia, you probably think of the post-Soviet turmoil that plagued the country. The post-Soviet transition was filled with political unrest and economic turmoil. Then-President Boris Yeltsin took office and ushered in a series of economic reforms, privatizing state-owned enterprises. These economic reforms ushered in a new class of capitalist entrepreneurs.
The population of Russia declined dramatically from its high of 149 million in 1991 to its low of 143 million in 2005. The rise in death rates was likely caused by a decline in birth rates. The death rate in Russia was high, due to famine and warfare, and due to a deterioration in the social safety net.
Russia is located in the northern half of the world, bordering the Arctic Ocean to the north and the Bering Sea to the east. It also has maritime borders with Turkey, Japan, and Sweden. The country has a diverse range of climates, including temperate and humid climates. Most of Russia has a Type D climate, which is typical of large landmasses without oceans. Because of this, it tends to warm up rapidly in summer and cool quickly in winter. During the summer, this is accompanied by extremely hot weather, and in winter, the weather is often harsh and dry.
Throughout the history of Russia, a number of different ethnic groups have inhabited the country. The largest group is ethnic Russian, which constitutes about 80 percent of the population. The next largest group is the Tatars, who traditionally practice Islam and speak the Tatar language. The country also has more than 150 ethnic groups, including indigenous groups from the Arctic, which herd reindeer for a living. Russia also is home to a large number of immigrants from former Soviet republics. Most of these groups have their own language and cultural traditions.
In recent years, Russia has undergone a major political transformation. While Russia once enjoyed a flawed democracy, under President Vladimir Putin, it has become increasingly authoritarian. The Putin government resembles a mafia, with the power of information and propaganda to manipulate the populace. However, it is not easy to predict the course of events. The post-Soviet future of Russia may depend on the interplay between state power and business interests.
A traveler should take a variety of precautions when visiting Russia. One important precaution is to avoid large public events as these provide an easy target for terrorists. Though the United States has not experienced any major incidents of terrorism, there is a need to be vigilant about your surroundings. When traveling by public transportation, exercise good judgment, and make sure that a trusted individual has a copy of your itinerary.
While Russia’s borders are relatively small, there are some regions that are subject to unrest. The Caucasus region has seen the most conflict within Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. These conflicts have killed thousands of people. In addition, non-Russian territories in the Caucasus are seeking independence, and the Russian government is fearful that secession will further destabilize the country. For this reason, Russia has been actively trying to prevent the breakup of these territories.