Russia is the largest country in the world and is home to several dozen different ethnic groups. Its history is filled with invasions, monarchies and authoritarian regimes, and its current politicians often stand in conflict with Western values. The country is bordered by two oceans and two continents and covers a large portion of Eastern Europe, as well as the Ural Mountains. Its population is 140 million and its median age is 39.6 years.
The collapse of the USSR shifted the wealth and power from the political elite to the business elite. This made living conditions for ordinary people more difficult. Many companies were taken over by new owners, resulting in a reduction of their workforce. The value of the ruble fell dramatically, and many elderly citizens watched as their life savings dwindled away. Meanwhile, Western goods became more affordable to Russians.
In the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire ruled much of this region. In the twentieth century, the Soviet Union ruled most of the country. Its population was diverse, with people speaking different languages, worshiping different gods, and wearing different skin colors. Although Britain and other European countries had a much tougher time ruling empires in remote regions, Russia was able to rule such a large territory with a diverse population.
The most striking geographical features in Russia are the mountain ranges. The Ural Mountains are made up of broken parallel ridges, and Mount Narodnaya stands at 6,217 feet (1,895 metres). The peaks range from three to five thousand feet, and the Kolyma Lowland, which fronts the Arctic Ocean, is also a popular destination.
East of Lake Baikal, a series of high mountain ranges fan out, which divides Siberia into southeastern and eastern parts. The Stanovoy Range, which rises to more than seven thousand feet, separates the Amur River and Lena River drainage systems. The Dzhugdzhur Range, meanwhile, rises to six thousand feet, and extends into the Chukchi Peninsula.
The majority of the Russian population lives in the western core, which is located around the capital city of Moscow. The eastern portion of the country is sparsely populated, with most urban areas being developed for manufacturing. The Russian Frontier region includes few industrial cities, while the Caucasus Mountain region has several ethnic groups who seek independence.
In addition to its federal states, Russia also has autonomous regions, or krais. These regions are designed to accommodate certain ethnic groups. Some have their own constitutions and official languages. Some are allied to the Soviet Union, while others are independent. Nevertheless, these regions have less autonomy than their U.S. counterparts.
Russia has a history of conflict. The Soviet Union’s foreign policy resembles that of the czar, but the two countries are very different. Although the Soviet Union is landlocked and ice-locked, Russia is still subject to invasions from the west and east. A two-front war would drain the country’s transportation and production capabilities.