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Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg

Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation, is a European country located in Eastern Europe with a vast expanse of territory that stretches across Northern Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), it is by far the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, spanning eleven time zones, and bordering 16 sovereign nations. The territory of Russia extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south. With 146.7 million inhabitants living in the country's 85 federal subjects as of 2020, Russia is the most populous nation in Europe and the ninth-most populous nation in the world. Russia's capital and largest city is Moscow; other major urban areas include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan and Chelyabinsk.

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, until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in the 15th century. 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. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR) became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR/Soviet Union), the world's first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognized as the continuing legal personality and a successor of the USSR.

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Fighting on Krakowskie Przedmieście by Juliusz Kossak
The Warsaw Uprising of 1794 (otherwise the "Warsaw Insurrection"); was an armed Polish insurrection by the city's populace early in the Kościuszko Uprising. Supported by the Polish Army, it aimed to throw off Russian control of the Polish capital. It began April 17, 1794, soon after Tadeusz Kościuszko's victory at Racławice. Although the Russian forces were more numerous and better equipped, the Polish regular forces and militia, armed with rifles and sabers from the Warsaw Arsenal, inflicted heavy losses on the surprised enemy garrison. Russian soldiers found themselves under crossfire, shot at from all sides and from buildings, and several units broke early and suffered heavy casualties in their retreat. Kościuszko's envoy, Tomasz Maruszewski, and Ignacy Działyński and others had been laying the groundwork for the uprising since the spring of 1793. They succeeded in winning popular support: a National Militia was formed from several thousand volunteers, led by Jan Kiliński, a master shoemaker and one of Warsaw's notable residents. Apart from the militia, the most famous units to take part in the liberation of Warsaw were formed of Poles who had previously been forcibly conscripted into the Russian service. A witness to the fighting was Jan Piotr Norblin, a French-born Polish painter who created a set of sketches and paintings of the struggle.

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Sami people
Credit: Detroit Publishing Company

A Sami family in Norway around 1900. Also known as Lapps, the Sami are among the largest group of ethnic groups in Europe, inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. This image is a photochrom (a hand-coloured monochrome plate), a common practice at the time.

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Yakov Kreizer

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Feodor Romanov

Selected cuisine

Prepared stroganina on a table

Stroganina (Russian строганина, literally "shavings") is a dish of the indigenous people of northern Arctic Siberia consisting of raw, thin, long-sliced frozen fish. Around Lake Baikal, the dish is referred to as raskolotka. Traditional stroganina is made with freshwater whitefish salmonids found in the Siberian Arctic waters such as nelma, muksun, chir, and omul. Rarely, it is made with sturgeon. This dish is popular with native Siberians, and is present in Yakutian cuisine, Eskimo cuisine, Komi cuisine and Yamal cuisine. It is often paired with vodka. Read more...

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Aleksandr Vasilevsky
Aleksandr Vasilevsky was a Soviet military commander, promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1943. He was the Soviet Chief of the General Staff and Deputy defence minister during World War II, as well as defence minister from 1949 to 1953. As the Chief of the General Staff, Vasilevsky was responsible for the planning and coordination of almost all decisive Soviet offensives, from the Stalingrad counteroffensive to the assault on East Prussia and Königsberg. In July 1945, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Soviet forces in the Far East, executing Soviet invasion of Manchuria and subsequently accepting Japan's surrender. After the war, he became the Soviet Defence Minister, a position he held until Stalin's death in 1953. With Nikita Khrushchev's rise, Vasilevsky started to lose power and was eventually pensioned off. After his death, he was buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis in recognition of his past service and contributions to his nation.

In the news

19 February 2020 – Syrian civil war, Northwestern Syria offensive (December 2019–present), Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calls a Turkish intervention in Syria's Idlib Governorate "imminent" after talks with Russia fail to reach what he describes as their "desired result". Erdoğan threatens to launch an operation in Idlib by the end of the month. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov calls Turkish involvement in the battle "the worst scenario". The countries support opposing sides in the war. (Al Jazeera)
18 February 2020 – International sanctions during the Venezuelan crisis
The U.S. State Department adds Russian oil company Rosneft Trading S.A. to its financial blacklist for helping facilitate the sale of Venezuelan oil. (ABC News)
18 February 2020 – 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak
Russia says it will temporarily block Chinese citizens beginning on February 20 from entering its territory as authorities look to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. (Radio Free Europe)
18 February 2020 – Russian espionage in the United States
U.S. Federal officials charge Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a Mexican citizen, in Miami for allegedly acting on behalf of a Russian agent who recruited him to collect information about the U.S. government and met repeatedly with him in Moscow. (The New York Times) (Polotico)
18 February 2020 – Yukos shareholders v. Russia
A Dutch appeal court reinstates order for Russia to pay $50 billion over Yukos. (NBC)
18 February 2020 –
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a presidential order sacking senior adviser Vladislav Surkov. Surkov was in charge of the Kremlin's policy on the Ukrainian crisis and its relations with the separatist "people's republics" in the Donbass. (Voice of America)



Selected quote

Garry Kasparov
I think Russian people are learning that democracy is not an alien thing; it's not a western invention. It's probably the most affordable mechanism to solve problems inside the country, inside the society because Putin proved to all of us that democracy has a world of alternatives, security forces and police and power abuse and that's why I think eventually the people of Russia will embrace democracy as the least costly institution to help them to solve their daily problems.
Garry Kasparov, 2005

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