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It took many years for Russia to grow and develop as a country. This development essentially started when the Principality of Muscovy began to conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the 17th century, the Romanov Dynasty continued this expansion. Eventually, under the rule of Peter the 1st, the conquered land mass was extended to the Baltic Sea and the whole territory was renamed the Russian Empire. More territories were conquered during the 19th century and then later, in 1917, the imperial household was overthrown. Communism took a hold of the country, many lives were lost and the economy slowly fell into a decline. In December 1991, the USSR was splintered into fifteen independent republics and it has since struggled to build a good democratic political system. The country is starting to regain economic momentum and many of the scars left by communism are slowly disappearing.
Russia is an incredibly large country and it expands over much of Eurasia. Much of Northern Asia and some of Western Europe are part of this country and it is bordered by the Arctic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean. It shares its' borders with many countries. The geographical coordinates for Russia are 60 00 N, 100 00 E. Moscow is the capital city.
The geographical area that makes up Russia spans 17 075 200 square kilometers. Of this, 16 995 800 square kilometers is land and 79 400 square kilometers is water. It also has 37 653 km of coastline. Russia is the biggest country in the world.
The climate in Russia is rather varied due to the different geographical regions in the area. Generally speaking, the winters vary from cool to frigid while the summers range from humid to cool. The further north one gets the cooler the climate will be. Siberia is a sub arctic regions and the polar north of Siberia is tundra.
You will get a very varied terrain in Russia. There are the coniferous forest of the taiga and wooded areas, the cold bleak tundra's in Northern Siberia, the broad plains and low hills west of the Urals, and the uplands and mountains which lie along the Southern border regions. The lowest point is the Caspian Sea which lies at an elevation of -28 meters and the highest is Mount Elbrus (also the highest mountain in Europe) which towers up to 5 633 meters.
Russia has an incredible wealth of natural resources – many of which it is well known for. Oil, natural gas, coal, minerals and timber are hugely exported. However, because of the vastness of the landscape, much of the lands natural resources are yet to be discovered. Russia is also very famous for its Diamonds.
Russia has a population of roughly 143 420 309 (July 2005) people. Of these, 79.8% are Russian, 3.8% are Tatar, 2% are Ukrainian, 1.2% are Bashkir, 1.1% are Chuvash. A further 12.1% do not fit into any of these ethnic groups (2002 census). The majority of people are Russian Orthodox, while there is a minority of Muslim adherents in the country. Other religions are practiced.
The main language in the country is Russian but there are a lot of other minority languages which are spoken in different regions. The vast majority (males: 99.7%, females: 99.5% (2003) of Russian citizens are literate.
The official Russian currency is the Russian ruble. The currency code for the ruble is RUR. The ruble has a comparatively low value against other currencies.
Facilities for Telephones, cellular phones, radio and television stations have been firmly established in the country for some time now. The internet is also readily available and is used by a large portion of the countries inhabitants.
The main forms of transportation in Russia are railways, highways and waterways. Railways are the most expansive of the three. Most major cities have either international or national airports. Heliports are also available. Pipelines and harbors are used for the transportation of raw materials and refined products.