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Section 1: Learn About Russia


General Information

Russia, with an area of 6,592,800 square miles (17,075,400 square kilometers),  is the world’s largest country, which covers almost twice the territory of either the United States or Australia. It ranks sixth in the world in population, following China, India, the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil. The great majority of the people are Russians, but there are also about 70 smaller national groups living within its borders. Most of the population is concentrated in a great triangle in the western, or European, part of the country, although over the past three centuries - and particularly during the early and mid-20th century - there was a steady flow of people eastward to the Asiatic section commonly referred to as Siberia.

To the north and east Russia is bounded by the Arctic and Pacific oceans, and by the Baltic Sea at St. Petersburg and at the detached Russian region (oblast) of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania. On the south Russia borders Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, while on the south-west and west it borders Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as Finland and Norway.

Extending nearly halfway around the northern hemisphere and covering much of eastern and north-eastern Europe as well as the whole of northern Asia, Russia has a maximum east-west extent, along the Arctic Circle, of some 7,700 kilometers and a north-south width of 2,011 to 2,976 kilometers. Russia has an enormous variety of landforms and landscapes. Arctic deserts lie in the extreme north, giving way southward to the tundra and then to the forest zones, which cover about half of the country and give it much of its character. South of the forest zone lies the wooded steppe and steppe, beyond which are small sections of semi-desert along the northern shore of the Caspian Sea. Much of the federation lies in latitudes where the winter cold is intense and there are many rivers, lakes, and swamps, which are freeze in winter.

Owing to its vast size and the fact that most of Russian’s territory is far removed from any ocean, the climate throughout the country is extremely continental, with distinct periods of warm and cold weather. The continentally of Russia’s climate increases as one travels east, with average temperature differences between the warmest (July) and coldest (January) periods in Eastern Siberia, for example, varying as much as 65 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit). There is, however, much variation in climate based on latitude and physical geography. Temperatures for Moscow and St. Petersburg range from highs of 32 C in the summer to low - 25 C in winter.
 


Facts and Statistics

Capital city: Moscow

Territory:

 Russia covers and Eastern part of Europe and a Northern part of Asia
 Land Mass:17,075.4 sq. km
 Forested Land:45%
 Cultivated Land:13%
 Pasture:19%
 Waters:4%
 Other Land:19%

Russia is washed by:

The Arctic Ocean seas:
Barents, White, Kara, Laptev,
East Siberian, Chukchi
The Pacific Ocean seas: Bering, Sea of Okhotsk, Sea of Japan
The Atlantic Ocean seas: Baltic, Black, Azov

The largest islands, thos.sq.km:

Novaya Zemlya (Archipelago)

82.6

Sakhalin

76.4

New Siberian Islands

38

Severnaya Zemlya (Archipelago)

37

State Borders:

At North-West - with Norway and Finland
At West - with Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus’
At South-West - with Ukraine
At South - with Georgia, Azerbajan and Kazakhstan
At South-East - with China, Mongolia and Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
At East (sea) - with USA and Japan

The longest rivers (km):

Lena

4,400

Irtysh

4,248

Yenisey

4,102

Ob

3,650

Volga

3,530

Amur

2,824

The largest lakes, thos.sq.km:

Baykal

31.5

Ladoga

18.1

Onega

9.7

The highest mountain:

Elbrus

5,642m


Largest Cities of Russia:

 

Population, ths.
(1999)

Distance from Moscow
Km

Moscow

8,537

 

St. Petersburg

4,239

651

Nizhni Novgorod

1,376

439

Novosybirsk

1,368

3,191

Ekaterinburg

1,278

1,667

Samara

1,175

1,098

Omsk

1,160

2,555

Ufa

1,096

1,519

Chelyabinsk

1,083

1,919

Kazan

1,085

797

Perm

1,028

1,386

Rostov-on-Don

1,025

1,226

Volgograd

1,003

1,073

The largest sea ports of Russia are: Kaliningrad,St Petersburg, Murmansk, Archangelsk, Novorossisk, Vladivostok, Vostochny, Nakhodka.

 

Constitutional and Government Structure

The Russian Federation is a democratic legally-based federal state with a republican form of government (Article 1 of the Russian Constitution).

The executive, legislative and judicial power in the Russian Federation is vested in a President of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Russian Federation, Federal Assembly (the Council of the Federation and the State Duma), courts of the Russian Federation.

The President of the Russian Federation is given executive power and is elected for a term of four years in a  universal vote by secret ballot (Articles 80, 81).

Federal Assembly - the Parliament of the Russian Federation is vested with representative and legislative power and is composed of two Houses - the Council of the Federation and of the State Duma. The Council of the Federation comprises two representatives from each state of the Russian Federation.

The State Duma consists of 450 deputies and is elected every four years (Articles 94, 95).

Current President of the Russian Federation - Vladimir V. Putin

National currency - Russian rouble (1 rouble = 100 kopecks)

Population - over 145.7 million people (estimate 1999)

Languages - Russian (official), with over 100 other languages and dialects

Education - 99% literacy

Religion - Russian Orthodox, Islamic, Judaic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhistic, other


Administrative Structure

The Russian Federation consists of the following administrative divisions: 21 republics, 6 regions (krays), 49 regions (oblasts), 10 autonomous districts (okrugs), one autonomy and the two federal cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg.


Ethnic Diversity

The territory of Russia is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups representing a multiplicity of national histories and cultures and many distinct language groups, including Indo-European Slavic, Turkic, Finno-Ugric and others. The vast majority of the population - over four fifths - consists of ethnic Russians with another four percent consisting of Ukrainians and Belarusian.
 

Russian Weather

     Russian has numerous climate zones across it’s vast geographic region.  Below are listed examples of the weather patterns in a few regions.

Moscow

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Monthly average °C

-10

-9

-4

+4

+12

+16

+18

+16

+10

+4

-2

-8

High to Low Variations °C

-10
-9

-10
-8

-8
+0

+0
+8

+8
+14

+14
+17

+17
+18

+14
+18

+7
+13

+1
+7

-5
+1

-9
-5

 

St.  Petersburg

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Monthly average °C

-8

-8

-4

+3

+9

+14

+17

+16

+11

+5

-1

-5

High to Low Variations °C

-8
-7

-8
-7

-7
-1

-1
+6

+6
+12

+12
+16

+17
+18

+14
+17

+8
+13

+2
+8

-3
+2

-7
-3

Today’s Weather:

 

Temperatures (Low/High) in various cities of Russia and Eastern Europe

 JanuaryJuly
Almaty-10+26
Arkhangelsk-15+18
Bukhara+3+30
Vilnius-7+20
Vladimir-15+20
Ivanovo-15+21
Irkutsk-23+20
Kiev-9+23
Kostroma-12+20
Moscow-15+22
Murmansk-8+11
Novgorod-10+20
Novosibirsk-23+22
Odessa-7+25
Petrozavodsk-12+19
Riga-6+21
Samarkand0+30
St.Petersburg-12+22
Suzdal-15+20
Tallinn-6+19
Tashkent+3+30
Urgench-5+30
Khabarovsk-18+23
Yalta-1+26
Yaroslavl-13+20

 

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