The Russian Federation, founded in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is a huge country with an extraordinary diversity of people and landscapes. It is also one of the world’s most powerful countries, but that doesn’t mean that the country is without problems.
In fact, Russia’s history is a tale of a wealthy and powerful few ruling over a large mass of their poor and powerless compatriots. The nation’s extreme climate adds to the challenge of living in Russia, but it also makes it a rich source of food and natural resources. Russia has abundant reserves of oil, gas, and precious metals.
The climate is a big factor that has shaped the development of the country. Most of Russia is located in the far north or south and borders Arctic Ocean, so the country is subject to frigid air masses from the polar region that swoop over the continent during winter. Other regions of the country have a continental (type D) climate, which combines hot summers with cold, snowy winters.
These climate conditions make Russia an excellent place for agriculture, which has long been a vital component of the economy. But it has never been a powerful industrial nation, in part because the ruling class feared that the growth of factories would reduce their wealth and power. The freeing of the serfs in 1861 helped to change that, but it was a slow process and by 1914 Russia was still primarily an agricultural country.
In order to develop industrially and catch up with the advanced capitalist countries, Russia needed a much bigger pool of money to invest in factories and modern equipment. But the landowners who ran the nation could not raise that money easily, so they opted to pay for machinery and manufactured goods from abroad, which came at a high price in terms of foreign debt.
Because of this debt, there is a great deal of financial stress in the country today. In addition, Russia has not been able to live up to its international commitments, especially in the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms. This has created a growing sense of frustration with the country among many of its neighbors and former comrades.
Learning Russian can be a daunting task, but there are lots of resources available to help you get started, including free online courses and apps like Duolingo. The app breaks down the language into easy-to-understand lessons that you can complete on your phone or computer. It’s a great way to incorporate Russian practice into your daily routine—it can be done during commuting, on lunch break or whenever you have five minutes to spare! Plus, it’s super fun—and if you have a good time with it, you’re more likely to keep at it and get better results. So don’t hesitate, download a free Russian learning program and start learning! The more you immerse yourself in the culture, the faster and easier it will be to learn.