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Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg

Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), officially the Russian Federation (Russian: Росси́йская Федера́ция, tr. Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijskəjə fʲɪdʲɪˈratsɨjə]), is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people , including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both with Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states; most of the Rus' lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion and became tributaries of the nomadic Golden Horde in the 13th century. The Grand Duchy of Moscow gradually reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east.

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The film was based on Pavlik Morozov
Bezhin Meadow is a 1937 Soviet Union film, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, which is renowned for having been suppressed and believed destroyed before its completion. It tells the story of a young farm boy whose father attempts to betray the government for political reasons by sabotaging the year's harvest, the son's efforts to stop his own father to protect the Soviet state, and culminates in the boy's murder and a social uprising. The film draws its title from a story by Ivan Turgenev, but is based on the life of Pavlik Morozov, a young Russian boy who became a political martyr following his death in 1932, after he denounced his father to Soviet government authorities and subsequently died at the hands of his family. The boy was immortalized in school programs, poetry, music, and in film. Commissioned by a Communist youth group, the film's production ran from 1935 to 1937, until it was halted by the central Soviet government for alleged artistic, social, and political failures in the film's content. Some, however, blamed the failure of Bezhin Meadow on government interference and policies, extending all the way to Joseph Stalin himself. In the wake of the film's failure, Eisenstein publicly recanted his work as an error. Individuals were arrested during and after the ensuing debacle and, in one case, a government official was executed as an alleged foreign spy.

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Reindeer sled, Arkhangelsk, Russia
Credit: Detroit Publishing Company

A reindeer sled, Arkhangelsk, Russia. Late nineteenth century photochrom. Arkhangelsk, formerly called Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea in the far north of European Russia.

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Alliances formed as a result of the Diplomatic Revolution

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Sviatoslav's meeting with Emperor John by Klavdiy Lebedev
Sviatoslav I of Kiev was the warrior prince (or konung) of Kievan Rus'. The son of Igor of Kiev and Olga, Sviatoslav is famous for his incessant campaigns in the east and south, which precipitated the collapse of two great powers of Eastern Europe — Khazaria and the First Bulgarian Empire; he also subdued the Volga Bulgars, the Alans, and numerous East Slavic tribes, and at times was allied with the Pechenegs and Magyars. His decade-long reign over Rus was marked by rapid expansion into the Volga River valley, the Pontic steppe and the Balkans. By the end of his short life, Sviatoslav carved out for himself the largest state in Europe, eventually moving his capital from Kiev to Pereyaslavets on the Danube in 969. In contrast with his mother's conversion to Christianity, Sviatoslav remained a staunch pagan all of his life. Due to his abrupt death in combat, Sviatoslav's conquests, for the most part, were not consolidated into a functioning empire, while his failure to establish a stable succession led to civil war among his successors.

In the news

14 May 2019 – Russia–United States relations
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Russian President Vladimir Putin and warns Russia to not interfere in the 2020 United States presidential election. (NPR) (Miami Herald)
14 May 2019 – Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announces that Russian hackers accessed voter databases in two Florida counties prior to the 2016 presidential election. No data or vote tallies were affected. (NPR)
13 May 2019 – Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections
Trump's U.S. Attorney General William Barr appoints Republican U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham to investigate the origins of the Crossfire Hurricane and Special Counsel investigations, and any criminality that may have occurred. (CBS News) (CNN)
10 May 2019 – Special Counsel investigation (2017–2019), Crossfire Hurricane (FBI investigation)
Republicans Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley request documents related to Christopher Steele, author of the Trump–Russia dossier, in a letter to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the FBI Director Christopher Wray. (CBS News)
9 May 2019 – Montenegrin coup plot
Russian officials are sentenced for a 2016 coup attempt in Montenegro. (The Guardian)
8 May 2019 – Nuclear program of Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sends letters to the P5+1 leaders of the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Germany, France and the European Union announcing the country's partial withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement. Furthermore, Iran announces that it will stop exporting uranium and heavy water from its nuclear program. (Miami Herald) (CBS News)

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Sergei Prokofiev
In my view, the composer, just as the poet, the sculptor or the painter, is in duty bound to serve Man, the people. He must beautify human life and defend it. He must be a citizen first and foremost, so that his art might consciously extol human life and lead man to a radiant future. Such is the immutable code of art as I see it.

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