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Introduction

Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg

Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), or 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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Finnish T-26 at the Parola Tank Museum
The T-26 was a light tank used by the Soviet Union from the 1930s until World War II. It was based on the British Vickers 6-Ton tank and widely considered one of the most successful designs of the 1930s. The T-26 made-up the majority of the Red Army's armour force until late 1941, and saw a long history in the armed forces of various different nations around the world. For almost a decade the T-26 proved to be one of the best tanks in production, with a total of around 12,000 units produced. Success and failure in the Spanish Civil War, where it served as the most widely used tank, ultimately played a major role in influencing the Soviet doctrine of tank warfare in the late 1930s. The T-26 participated in German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 as one of the most numerous tanks in service, contributing to the defense of the Soviet Union. Although the T-26's reputation was marred by its abysmal performance during World War II, it was nevertheless the most important tank of the Spanish Civil War and played major roles during the Winter War and the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1939. Between its introduction and its retirement, the T-26 saw a great deal of modernization efforts between 1932 and 1941.

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Ivan the Terrible Showing His Treasury to Jerome Horsey
Credit: Alexander Litovchenko

Alexander Litovchenko's 1875 painting depicting Ivan the Terrible seated in the Kremlin Armoury, his half-witted heir Feodor standing behind, a group of distrustful boyars whispering at a distance, and the Tsar's jester in a skomorokh cap addressing the English diplomat Jerome Horsey. Horsey was a resident of the Muscovy Company in Moscow from 1572 to 1585.

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Maria Nikolaevna

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Siege of Kazan (1552)

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Ryazhenka

Ryazhenka (Ukrainian: ряжaнка, Russian: ряженка, IPA: [ˈrʲaʐɨnkə]) is a traditional fermented milk product in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. It is made from baked milk by lactic acid fermentation. Read more...

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Portrait of Euler by Emanuel Handmann
Leonhard Euler was a Swiss mathematician and physicist. He developed important concepts and proved mathematical theorems in fields as diverse as calculus, number theory and topology. He introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion of a mathematical function. He is also renowned for his work in mechanics, optics and astronomy. Euler is considered to be the preeminent mathematician of the 18th century and one of the greatest of all time. He is also the most prolific according to the Guinness Book of Records; his collected works fill 60–80 quarto volumes. Euler was featured on the sixth series of the Swiss 10-franc banknote and on numerous Swiss, German and Russian stamps. The asteroid 2002 Euler was named in his honor.

In the news

13 October 2019 – Russian–Syrian hospital bombing campaign, Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War
The New York Times claims it can prove Russian aircraft bombed four Syrian hospitals in a matter of hours in May, using a combination of logbooks from planespotters, recorded radio transmissions, and eyewitnesses. (The Independent)
11 October 2019 –
A cargo plane carrying presidential staff crashes in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing all eight passengers and crew onboard. The Russian embassy in Kinshasa says "preliminary information" indicates Russians were on the aircraft. (Reuters)
7 October 2019 –
Two protestors who were arrested in Rostov-on-Don in 2017 while holding signs seeking resignations from the Russian government, and have been in custody since, are sentenced to over six years each in high-security prisons. They were charged with planning violent mass disturbances, and said that they confessed during torture. (The Times)
5 October 2019 – Russia–Venezuela relations
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov visits ally Venezuela, reiterating Russia's support of disputed president Nicolás Maduro and announcing new trade deals with the economically crippled country. (Reuters)
30 September 2019 –
The Swedish Navy formally relocates its headquarters back to the underground Muskö naval base on the island of Muskö after a 25-year absence. The move from Karlskrona naval base to Muskö is based on the calculation that only Muskö could withstand a Russian attack, according to the Swedish Defence Research Agency. (The Guardian)
26 September 2019 –
Around 100 people are evacuated from Breivika port in Tromsø, Norway, after Russian trawler FV Bukhta Naezdnik catches fire and develops a heavy list. The burning ship has a tank of ammonia and 200,000 litres of diesel oil on board. The ship is purposely capsized to reduce the risk of the ammonia tank exploding. (BreakingNews.ie) (The Independent)

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Leonid Brezhnev
We bow our heads in respect for those Soviet women who displayed exceptional courage in the severe time of war. Never before but during the days of the war the grandeur of spirit and the invincible will of our Soviet women, their selfless dedication, loyalty and affection to their Homeland, their boundless persistence in work and their heroism on the front manifested themselves with such strength.

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