Useful country information
Land area: 494,208,000 sq mi (16,377,742 sq km)
Total area: 496,223,000 sq mi (17,098,242 sq km)
Capital: Moscow, 12,593,000 (2022)
Moscow: Capital City Profile
Other large cities: Saint Petersburg 5.383 million; Novosibirsk 1.636 million; Yekaterinburg 1.482 million; Nizhniy Novgorod 1.264 million; Samara 1.164 million (2018)
Currency: Russian ruble
National Holiday: Among others, the most celebrated is Victory Day (5/9), celebrating the defeat of the Nazis.
Population: 143.4 million (July 2022 est.)
Life Expectancy: 71 years
Nationality/Demonym: Russian (Rossiyane for the nationality, Russkiye for the ethnicity)
Languages: Russian (official) 85.7%, Tatar 3.2%, Chechen 1%, other 10.1% (2010 est.)
Ethnicity/race: Russian 77.7%, Tatar 3.7%, Ukrainian 1.4%, Bashkir 1.1%, Chuvash 1%, Chechen 1%, other 10.2%, unspecified 3.9% (2010 est.)
Religions: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.)
Note: A majority of Russians are non-practicing or are not members of any religion, largely as a result of suppression of religion in the Soviet Union. Russia officially recognizes Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism as traditional religions
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Russia is bordered by 14 countries, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Norway, Poand, and Ukraine. It also shares maritime borders with Japan, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States.
The defeat of the Russian Empire in World War I led to the seizure of power by communists and the formation of the USSR.
The brutal rule of Josef STALIN (1924-53) strengthened Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at the cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism. However, his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into 15 independent republics.
Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and a market economy to replace the strict social, political, and economic controls of the communist period.
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