The country of Russia has a long and complex history. Its vast northern region is sparsely populated but is rich in fossil fuels and minerals. This area provides abundant raw materials for manufacturing and export. During the second world war, the Ural Mountains served as a barrier between Europe and Asia, preventing the Nazis from annexing it. During recent years, oil and gas exploration has been widespread in the region’s core. These resources are providing huge profits to Russia’s export industry.
Most people in Russia are ethnic Russian, but there are over one hundred ethnic groups in the country. The country’s rich history has produced major cultural contributions, including the first artificial satellite launched into space, as well as the first human being to perform a space walk. Its literary traditions have produced works of classical literature by such authors as Aleksandr Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Leo Tolstoy. Other writers like Boris Pasternak and Vladimir Nabokov are symbolic of independence from the central government. Other worldly achievements include being a member of the United Nations Security Council and the Group of Twenty.
Moscow is the capital of Russia and the country’s center of trade and political power. The Baltic Sea city of St. Petersburg is also an important port for Russians. The state seal of the Russian Federation features a double-headed eagle. This country’s history is interwoven with its modern culture and economic development. The collapse of the Russian empire in World War I led to the creation of the USSR and communist takeover of power.
The West Siberian Plain is the largest continuous lowland in the world, and borders the Kara Sea to the north and the Kazakh Uplands in the south. On the east, the central and eastern Siberian plateaus are separated by the Yenisey River valley. The northern regions are home to the Stanovoy, Yablonov, and Verkhoyansk mountains. The Caucasus Mountain region contains the Kamchatka Peninsula, which straddles the Bering Sea.
The Russian Federation covers a total area of 17,098,242 km2, almost twice the size of the contiguous United States. While Russia’s population density is low, it will reach 147 million by 2022. The capital city, Moscow, is the economic and cultural hub. The second largest city, St. Petersburg, is the cultural capital of Russia. The length of the country from the Kaliningrad Oblast to the Kamchatka Peninsula is approximately seven thousand and fifty kilometers (four thousand and thirty-seven miles).
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has had to deal with ethnic and political unrest in the Caucasus region. Conflicts with Chechnya and other ethnic groups in the Caucasus region have claimed thousands of lives. The region is also home to Armenians and other non-Russian territories who wish to become independent. If the secession proceeds, Russia fears it will fall apart as well. Some ethnic groups have fought for independence while others have refused to do so.