Russia

Introduction Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a 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, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the social, political, and economic controls of the Communist period. In tandem with its prudent management of Russia's windfall energy wealth, which has helped the country rebound from the economic collapse of the 1990s, the Kremlin in recent years has overseen a recentralization of power that has undermined democratic institutions. Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.
History

Early periods

In prehistoric times, the vast steppes of Southern Russia were home to disunited tribes of nomadic pastoralists. In classical antiquity, the Pontic Steppe was known as Scythia. Remnants of these steppe civilizations were discovered in the course of the 20th century in such places as Ipatovo, Sintashta, Arkaim, and Pazyryk. In the latter part of the eighth century BC, Greek traders brought classical civilization to the trade emporiums in Tanais and Phanagoria. Between the third and sixth centuries BC, the Bosporan Kingdom, a Hellenistic polity which succeeded the Greek colonies, was overwhelmed by successive waves of nomadic invasions, led by warlike tribes, such as the Huns and Turkic Avars. A Turkic people, the Khazars, ruled the lower Volga basin steppes between the Caspian and Black Seas until the 8th century.

The ancestors of modern Russians are the Slavic tribes, whose original home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the Pinsk Marshes. Moving into the lands vacated by the migrating Germanic tribes, the Early East Slavs gradually settled Western Russia in two waves: one moving from Kiev toward present-day Suzdal and Murom and another from Polotsk toward Novgorod and Rostov. From the 7th century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in Western Russia and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finno-Ugric tribes, including the Merya, the Muromians, and the Meshchera.

Kievan Rus

Scandinavian Norsemen, called "Vikings" in Western Europe and "Varangians" in the East, combined piracy and trade in their roamings over much of Northern Europe. In the mid-9th century, they ventured along the waterways extending from the eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas. According to the earliest Russian chronicle, a Varangian named Rurik was elected ruler (konung or knyaz) of Novgorod around the year 860; his successors moved south and extended their authority to Kiev, which had been previously dominated by the Khazars.

In the 10th to 11th centuries this state of Kievan Rus' became the largest and most prosperous in Europe.[45] The reigns of Vladimir the Great (980-1015) and his son Yaroslav I the Wise (1019-1054) constitute the Golden Age of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox Christianity and the creation of the first East Slavic written legal code, the Russkaya Pravda.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, caused a massive migration of Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north, particularly to the area known as Zalesye.[46] Like many other parts of Eurasia, these territories were overrun by the Mongols. The invaders, later known as Tatars, formed the state of the Golden Horde, which pillaged the Russian principalities and ruled the southern and central expanses of Russia for over three centuries. Mongol rule retarded the country's economic and social development. However, the Novgorod Republic together with Pskov retained some degree of autonomy during the time of the Mongol yoke and was largely spared the atrocities that affected the rest of the country. Led by Alexander Nevsky, Novgorodians repelled the Germanic crusaders who attempted to colonize the region. Kievan Rus' ultimately disintegrated as a state because of in-fighting between members of the princely family that ruled it collectively. Kiev's dominance waned, to the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, Novgorod in the north-west, and Galicia-Volhynia in the south-west. Conquest by the Golden Horde in the 13th century was the final blow and resulted in the destruction of Kiev in 1240. Galicia-Volhynia was eventually absorbed into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, while the Mongol-dominated Vladimir-Suzdal and the independent Novgorod Republic, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, established the basis for the modern Russian nation.

Grand Duchy of Moscow and Tsardom of Russia

The most powerful successor state to Kievan Rus' was Grand Duchy of Moscow. It would annex rivals such as Tver and Novgorod, and eventually become the basis of the modern Russian state. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Moscow claimed succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire. While still under the domain of the Mongol-Tatars and with their connivance, the Duchy of Moscow (or "Muscovy") began to assert its influence in Western Russia in the early 14th century. Assisted by the Russian Orthodox Church and Saint Sergius of Radonezh's spiritual revival, Russia inflicted a defeat on the Mongol-Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo (1380). Ivan III (Ivan the Great) eventually threw off the control of the invaders, consolidated surrounding areas under Moscow's dominion and was the first to take the title "grand duke of all the Russias".

In 1547, Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) was officially crowned the first Tsar of Russia. During his long reign, Ivan IV annexed the Tatar khanates (Kazan, Astrakhan) along the Volga River and transformed Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state. Ivan IV promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550), established the first Russian feudal representative body (Zemsky Sobor) and introduced local self-management into the rural regions.[50][51] But Ivan IV's rule was also marked by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War against the coalition of Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden for access to the Baltic coast and sea trade.[52] The military losses, epidemics and poor harvests[53] weakened the state, and the Crimean Tatars were able to burn down Moscow.[54] The death of Ivan's sons, combined with the famine of 1601-1603, led to the civil war and foreign intervention of the Time of Troubles in the early 1600s.[56] By the mid-17th century there were Russian settlements in Eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula, along the Amur River, and on the Pacific coast. The Bering Strait between North America and Asia was first sighted by a Russian explorer in 1648.

Imperial Russia

Under the Romanov dynasty and Peter I (Peter the Great), the Russian Empire became a world power. Ruling from 1682 to 1725, Peter defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War, forcing it to cede West Karelia and Ingria (two regions lost by Russia in the Time of Troubles),[57] Estland, and Livland, securing Russia's access to the sea and sea trade.[58] It was in Ingria that Peter founded a new capital, Saint Petersburg. Peter's reforms brought considerable Western European cultural influences to Russia. Catherine II (Catherine the Great), who ruled from 1762 to 1796, continued the efforts to establish Russia as one of the Great Powers of Europe. In alliance with Prussia and Austria, Russia stood against Napoleon's France and eliminated its rival Poland-Lithuania in a series of partitions, gaining large areas of territory in the west. As a result of its victories in the Russo-Turkish War, by the early 19th century Russia had made significant territorial gains in Transcaucasia. Napoleon's invasion of Russia at the height of his power failed miserably as obstinate Russian resistance combined with the bitterly cold Russian winter dealt him a disastrous defeat, in which more than 95% of his invading force perished.The officers in the Napoleonic Wars brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia with them and even attempted to curtail the tsar's powers during the abortive Decembrist revolt of 1825, which was followed by several decades of political repression.

The prevalence of serfdom and the conservative policies of Nicolas I impeded the development of Russia in the mid-nineteenth century. Nicholas's successor Alexander II (1855–1881) enacted significant reforms, including the abolition of serfdom in 1861; these "Great Reforms" spurred industrialization. However, many socio-economic conflicts were aggravated during Alexander III’s reign and under his son, Nicholas II. Harsh conditions in factories created mass support for the revolutionary socialist movement. In January 1905, striking workers peaceably demonstrated for reforms in Saint Petersburg but were fired upon by troops, killing and wounding hundreds. The abject failure of the Tsar's military forces in the initially-popular Russo-Japanese War, and the event known as "Bloody Sunday", ignited the Russian Revolution of 1905. Although the uprising was swiftly put down by the army and although Nicholas II retained much of his power, he was forced to concede major reforms, including granting the freedoms of speech and assembly, the legalization of political parties and the creation of an elected legislative assembly, the Duma; however, the hopes for basic improvements in the lives of industrial workers were unfulfilled.

Russia entered World War I in aid of its ally Serbia and fought a war across three fronts while isolated from its allies. Russia did not want war but felt that the only alternative was German domination of Europe. Although the army was far from defeated in 1916, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was deepened by the rising costs of war, casualties (Russia suffered the highest number of both military and civilian deaths of the Entente Powers), and tales of corruption and even treason in high places, leading to the outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1917. A series of uprisings were organized by workers and peasants throughout the country, as well as by soldiers in the Russian army, who were mainly of peasant origin. Many of the uprisings were organized and led by democratically-elected councils called Soviets. The February Revolution overthrew the Russian monarchy, which was replaced by a shaky coalition of political parties that declared itself the Provisional Government. The abdication marked the end of imperial rule in Russia, and Nicholas and his family were imprisoned and later executed during the Civil War. While initially receiving the support of the Soviets, the Provisional Government proved unable to resolve many problems which had led to the February Revolution. The second revolution, the October Revolution, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government and created the world’s first Communist state.

Soviet Russia

Following the October Revolution, a civil war broke out between the new regime and the Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and the White movement. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk concluded hostilities with the Central Powers in World War I. Russia lost its Ukrainian, Polish and Baltic territories, and Finland by signing the treaty. The Allied powers launched a military intervention in support of anti-Communist forces and both the Bolsheviks and White movement carried out campaigns of deportations and executions against each other, known respectively as the Red Terror and White Terror. By the end of the Civil War, some 20 million had died and the Russian economy and infrastructure were completely devastated. Following victory in the Civil War, the Russian SFSR together with three other Soviet republics formed the Soviet Union on 30 December 1922. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic dominated the Soviet Union for its entire 69-year history; the USSR was often referred to as "Russia" and its people as "Russians." The largest of the republics, Russia contributed over half the population of the Soviet Union. After Lenin's death in 1924, Joseph Stalin consolidated power and became dictator. Stalin launched a command economy, rapid industrialization of the largely rural country and collectivization of its agriculture and the Soviet Union was transformed from an agrarian economy to a major industrial powerhouse in a short span of time. This transformation came with a heavy price, however; millions of citizens died as a consequence of his harsh policies.

Stalingrad, 1942. The vast majority of the fighting in World War II took place on the Eastern Front.Nazi Germany suffered 80% to 93% of all casualties there

On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union with the largest and most powerful invasion force in human history, opening the largest theater of the Second World War. Although the German army had considerable success early on, they suffered defeats after reaching the outskirts of Moscow and were dealt their first major defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942–1943. Soviet forces drove through Eastern Europe in 1944–45 and captured Berlin in May, 1945. In the conflict, Soviet military and civilian death toll were 10.6 million and 15.9 million respectively, accounting for half of all World War II casualties. The Soviet economy and infrastructure suffered massive devastation but the Soviet Union emerged as an acknowledged superpower. The Red Army occupied Eastern Europe after the war, including the eastern half of Germany; Stalin installed communist governments in these satellite states. Becoming the world's second nuclear weapons power, the USSR established the Warsaw Pact alliance and entered into a struggle for global dominance with the United States, which became known as the Cold War.

After Stalin's death, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin and eased his repressive policies. He began the process of eliminating the Stalinist political system known as de-Stalinization and abolished the Gulag labor camps, releasing millions of prisoners.[67] The Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 and the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to orbit the Earth aboard the first manned spacecraft, Vostok 1. Tensions with the United States heightened when the two rivals clashed over the deployment of the U.S. Jupiter missiles in Turkey and Soviet missiles in Cuba. Following the ousting of Khrushchev, another period of rule by collective leadership ensued until Leonid Brezhnev established himself in the early 1970s as the pre-eminent figure in Soviet politics. Brezhnev's rule oversaw economic stagnation and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which dragged on without success and with continuing casualties inflicted by insurgents. Soviet citizens became increasingly discontented with the war, ultimately leading to the withdrawal of Soviet forces by 1989. From 1985 onwards, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize the country. The USSR economy was the second largest in the world prior to the Soviet collapse.[68] During its last years, the economy was afflicted by shortages of goods in grocery stores, huge budget deficits and explosive growth in money supply leading to inflation.[69] In August 1991, an unsuccessful military coup against Gorbachev aimed at preserving the Soviet Union instead led to its collapse. In Russia, Boris Yeltsin came to power and declared the end of Communist rule. The USSR splintered into fifteen independent republics and was officially dissolved in December 1991. Boris Yeltsin was elected the President of Russia in June 1991, in the first direct presidential election in Russian history.

Russian Federation

During and after the disintegration of the USSR when-wide ranging reforms including privatisation and market and trade liberalization were being undertaken, the Russian economy went through a major crisis. This period was characterized by deep contraction of output, with GDP declining by roughly 50 percent between 1990 and the end of 1995 and industrial output declining by over 50 percent. In October 1991, Yeltsin announced that Russia would proceed with radical, market-oriented reform along the lines of "shock therapy", as recommended by the United States and International Monetary Fund. Price controls were abolished, privatization was started. Millions were plunged into poverty. According to the World Bank, whereas 1.5% of the population was living in poverty in the late Soviet era, by mid-1993 between 39% and 49% of the population was living in poverty. Delays in wage payment became a chronic problem with millions being paid months, even years late. Russia took up the responsibility for settling the USSR's external debts, even though its population made up just half of the population of the USSR at the time of its dissolution. The privatization process largely shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to groups of individuals with inside connections in the Government and the mafia. Violent criminal groups often took over state enterprises, clearing the way through assassinations or extortion. Corruption of government officials became an everyday rule of life. Many of the newly rich mobsters and businesspeople took billions in cash and assets outside of the country in an enormous capital flight. The long and wrenching depression was coupled with social decay. Social services collapsed and the birth rate plummeted while the death rate skyrocketed. The early and mid-1990s was marked by extreme lawlessness. Criminal gangs and organized crime flourished and murders and other violent crime spiraled out of control.

In 1993 a constitutional crisis resulted in the worst civil strife in Moscow since the October Revolution. President Boris Yeltsin illegally dissolved the country's legislature which opposed his moves to consolidate power and push forward with unpopular neo-liberal reforms; in response, legislators barricaded themselves inside the White House, impeached Yeltsin and elected a new President and major protests against Yeltsin's government resulted in hundreds killed. With military support, Yeltsin sent the army to besiege the parliament building and disperse its defenders and used tanks and artillery to eject the legislators.

The 1990s were plagued by armed ethnic conflicts in the North Caucasus. Such conflicts took a form of separatist Islamist insurrections against federal power, or of ethnic/clan conflicts between local groups. Since the Chechen separatists declared independence in the early 1990s, an intermittent guerrilla war (First Chechen War, Second Chechen War) has been fought between disparate Chechen rebel groups and the Russian military. Terrorist attacks against civilians carried out by Chechen separatists, most notably the Moscow theater hostage crisis and Beslan school siege, caused hundreds of deaths and drew worldwide attention. High budget deficits and the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis caused the financial crisis of 1998 and resulted in further GDP decline. On 31 December 1999 Boris Yeltsin resigned from the presidency, handing the post to the recently appointed prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who then won the 2000 election. Putin won popularity for suppressing the Chechen insurgency, although sporadic violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus. High oil prices and initially weak currency followed by increasing domestic demand, consumption and investments has helped the economy grow for nine straight years, alleviating the standard of living and increasing Russia's clout on the world stage. While many reforms made during the Putin administration have been generally criticized by Western nations as un-democratic, Putin's leadership over the return of order, stability and progress has won him widespread popularity in Russia, as well as recognition abroad.

Geography Location: Northern Asia (the area west of the Urals is considered part of Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean
Geographic coordinates: 60 00 N, 100 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 17,075,200 sq km
land: 16,995,800 sq km
water: 79,400 sq km
Area - comparative: approximately 1.8 times the size of the US
Land boundaries: total: 20,241.5 km
border countries: Azerbaijan 284 km, Belarus 959 km, China (southeast) 3,605 km, China (south) 40 km, Estonia 290 km, Finland 1,313 km, Georgia 723 km, Kazakhstan 6,846 km, North Korea 17.5 km, Latvia 292 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 227 km, Mongolia 3,441 km, Norway 196 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 432 km, Ukraine 1,576 km
Coastline: 37,653 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast
Terrain: broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Gora El'brus 5,633 m
Natural resources: wide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, timber
note: formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources
Land use: arable land: 7.17%
permanent crops: 0.11%
other: 92.72% (2005)
Irrigated land: 46,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 4,498 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 76.68 cu km/yr (19%/63%/18%)
per capita: 535 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: permafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula; spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia
Environment - current issues: air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulfur 94
Geography - note: largest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture; Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak
Politics

According to the Constitution, which was adopted by national referendum on 12 December 1993 following the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis, Russia is a federation and formally a semi-presidential republic, wherein the President is the head of state[85] and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Russian Federation is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy. Executive power is exercised by the government.[86] Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly.[87] The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which serves as the country's supreme legal document and as a social contract for the people of the Russian Federation.

The White House, the seat of the Russian Government

The federal government is composed of three branches:
Legislative: The bicameral Federal Assembly, made up of the State Duma and the Federation Council adopts federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has power of impeachment, by which it can remove the President.
Executive: The president is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
Judiciary: The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president, interpret laws and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.

According to the Constitution, constitutional justice in the court is based on the equality of all citizens, judges are independent and subject only to the law, trials are to be open and the accused is guaranteed a defense. Since 1996, Russia has instituted a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia, although capital punishment has not been abolished by law.

The president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term but constitutionally barred for a third consecutive term); election last held 2 March 2008. Ministries of the government are composed of the premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Prime Minister (whereas the appointment of the latter requires the consent of the State Duma). The national legislature is the Federal Assembly, which consists of two chambers; the 450-member State Duma and the 176-member Federation Council. Leading political parties in Russia include United Russia, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and Fair Russia.

People Population: 140,702,096 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.6% (male 10,577,858/female 10,033,254)
15-64 years: 71.2% (male 48,187,807/female 52,045,102)
65 years and over: 14.1% (male 6,162,400/female 13,695,673) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 38.3 years
male: 35.1 years
female: 41.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.474% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 11.03 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 16.06 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.45 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 10.81 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.34 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 65.94 years
male: 59.19 years
female: 73.1 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.4 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 860,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 9,000 (2001 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne disease: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever and tickborne encephalitis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality: noun: Russian(s)
adjective: Russian
Ethnic groups: Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, other or unspecified 12.1% (2002 census)
Religions: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.)
note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule
Languages: Russian, many minority languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.4%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.2% (2002 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 3.8% of GDP (2005)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Russian Federation
conventional short form: Russia
local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
local short form: Rossiya
former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Government type: federation
Capital: name: Moscow
geographic coordinates: 55 45 N, 37 35 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: Russia is divided into 11 time zones
Administrative divisions: 46 oblasts (oblastey, singular - oblast), 21 republics (respublik, singular - respublika), 4 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnykh okrugov, singular - avtonomnyy okrug), 9 krays (krayev, singular - kray), 2 federal cities (goroda, singular - gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast')
oblasts: Amur (Blagoveshchensk), Arkhangel'sk, Astrakhan', Belgorod, Bryansk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Magadan, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Orel, Penza, Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan', Sakhalin (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Samara, Saratov, Smolensk, Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), Tambov, Tomsk, Tula, Tver', Tyumen', Ul'yanovsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Yaroslavl'
republics: Adygeya (Maykop), Altay (Gorno-Altaysk), Bashkortostan (Ufa), Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude), Chechnya (Groznyy), Chuvashiya (Cheboksary), Dagestan (Makhachkala), Ingushetiya (Magas), Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik), Kalmykiya (Elista), Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk), Kareliya (Petrozavodsk), Khakasiya (Abakan), Komi (Syktyvkar), Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola), Mordoviya (Saransk), North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk), Tatarstan (Kazan'), Tyva (Kyzyl), Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)
autonomous okrugs: Chukotka (Anadyr'), Khanty-Mansi (Khanty-Mansiysk), Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar), Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard)
krays: Altay (Barnaul), Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm', Primorsk (Vladivostok), Stavropol', Zabaykal'skiy (Chita)
federal cities: Moscow (Moskva), Saint Petersburg (Sankt-Peterburg)
autonomous oblast: Yevrey [Jewish] (Birobidzhan)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Independence: 24 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday: Russia Day, 12 June (1990)
Constitution: adopted 12 December 1993
Legal system: based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Dmitriy Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV (since 7 May 2008)
head of government: Premier Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (since 8 May 2008); First Deputy Premiers Igor Ivanovich SHUVALOV and Viktor Alekseyevich ZUBKOV (since 12 May 2008); Deputy Premiers Sergey Borisovich IVANOV (since 12 May 2008), Aleksey Leonidovich KUDRIN (since 24 September 2007), Igor Ivanovich SECHIN (since 12 May 2008), Sergey Semenovich SOBYANIN (since 12 May 2008), and Aleksandr Dmitriyevich ZHUKOV (since 9 March 2004)
cabinet: Ministries of the Government or "Government" composed of the premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the president
note: there is also a Presidential Administration (PA) that provides staff and policy support to the president, drafts presidential decrees, and coordinates policy among government agencies; a Security Council also reports directly to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 2 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2012); note - no vice president; if the president dies in office, cannot exercise his powers because of ill health, is impeached, or resigns, the premier serves as acting president until a new presidential election is held, which must be within three months; premier appointed by the president with the approval of the Duma
election results: Dmitriy MEDVEDEV elected president; percent of vote - Dmitry MEDVEDEV 70.2%, Gennady ZYUGANOV 17.7%, Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKY 9.4%
Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of the Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (168 seats; as of July 2000, members appointed by the top executive and legislative officials in each of the 84 federal administrative units - oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg; to serve four-year terms) and the State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats; as of 2007, all members elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 7% of the vote; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: State Duma - last held 2 December 2007 (next to be held in December 2011)
election results: State Duma - United Russia 64.3%, CPRF 11.5%, LDPR 8.1%, JR 7.7%, other 8.4%; total seats by party - United Russia 315, CPRF 57, LDPR 40, JR 38
Judicial branch: Constitutional Court; Supreme Court; Supreme Arbitration Court; judges for all courts are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president
Political parties and leaders: Agrarian Party [Vladimir PLOTNIKOV]; A Just Russia or JR [Sergey MIRONOV] (formed from the merger of three small political parties: Rodina (Motherland), Pensioners Party, and Party of Life); Civic Force [Mikhail BARSHCHEVSKIY]; Communist Party of the Russian Federation or CPRF [Gennadiy Andreyevich ZYUGANOV]; Democratic Party [Andrey BOGDANOV]; Green Party [Anatoliy PANFILOV]; Liberal Democratic Party of Russia or LDPR [Vladimir Volfovich ZHIRINOVSKIY]; Party of Russia's Rebirth [Gennadiy SELEZNEV]; Patriots of Russia [Gennadiy SEMIGIN]; Peace and Unity Party [Sazhi UMALATOVA]; People's Union [Sergey BABURIN]; Social Justice Party [Arkadiy GAYDAMAK]; Union of Right Forces or SPS [Nikita BELYKH]; United Russia or UR [Boris Vyacheslavovich GRYZLOV]; Yabloko Party [Grigoriy Alekseyevich YAVLINSKIY]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Levada Center (conducts polls); Memorial (human rights group; Movement Against Illegal Migration; Pamjat (preservation of historical monuments and recording of history); Russian Orthrodox Church; Russian-Chechen Friendship Society
other: ecology groups; human rights groups; nationalist pragmatists (no foreign influence over Central Eurasia); neo-Eurasianists (against Western influence for the area); religious groups; westernizers (lean towards the West)
International organization participation: APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BSEC, CBSS, CE, CERN (observer), CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAPC, EBRD, G-8, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Sergey Ivanovich KISLYAK
chancery: 2650 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 298-5700, 5701, 5704, 5708
FAX: [1] (202) 298-5735
consulate(s) general: Houston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador William J. BURNS
embassy: Bolshoy Deviatinskiy Pereulok No. 8, 121099 Moscow
mailing address: PSC-77, APO AE 09721
telephone: [7] (495) 728-5000
FAX: [7] (495) 728-5090
consulate(s) general: Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red
Culture

Russia's large number of ethnic groups have distinctive traditions of folk music. Music in 19th century Russia was defined by the tension between classical composer Mikhail Glinka and his followers, who embraced Russian national identity and added religious and folk elements to their compositions, and the Russian Musical Society led by composers Anton and Nikolay Rubinstein, which was musically conservative. The later Romantic tradition of Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era whose music has come to be known and loved for its distinctly Russian character as well as its rich harmonies and stirring melodies, was brought into the 20th century by Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of the last great champions of the Romantic style of European classical music.

World-renowned composers of the 20th century included Scriabin, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. During most of the Soviet Era, music was highly scrutinized and kept within a conservative, accessible idiom in conformity with the Stalinist policy of socialist realism. Russian conservatories have turned out generations of world-renowned soloists. Among the best known are violinists David Oistrakh and Gidon Kremer, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, pianists Vladimir Horowitz, Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels, and vocalist Galina Vishnevskaya.

The Bolshoi Theatre. Currently, it is undergoing a four-year, $730 million restoration

Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the world's most famous works of ballet—Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty. During the early 20th century, Russian dancers Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky rose to fame, and impresario Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes' travels abroad profoundly influenced the development of dance worldwide. Soviet ballet preserved the perfected 19th century traditions,[185] and the Soviet Union's choreography schools produced one internationally famous star after another, including Maya Plisetskaya, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and the Kirov in Saint Petersburg remain famous throughout the world.

Literature

Russian literature is considered to be among the most influential and developed in the world, contributing much of the world's most famous literary works. Russia's literary history dates back to the 10th century and by the early 19th century a native tradition had emerged, producing some of the greatest writers of all time. This period and the Golden Age of Russian Poetry began with Alexander Pushkin, considered to be the founder of modern Russian literature and often described as the "Russian Shakespeare". Amongst Russia's most renowned poets and writers of the 19th century are Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Lermontov, Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Ivan Goncharov, Mikhail Saltykov, Aleksey Pisemsky, and Nikolai Leskov made lasting contributions to Russian prose. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in particular were titanic figures to the point that many literary critics have described one or the other as the greatest novelist ever.

By the 1880s Russian literature had begun to change. The age of the great novelists was over and short fiction and poetry became the dominant genres of Russian literature for the next several decades which became known as the Silver Age of Russian Poetry. Previously dominated by realism, symbolism dominated Russian literature in the years between 1893 and 1914. Leading writers of this age include Valery Bryusov, Andrei Bely, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Aleksandr Blok, Nikolay Gumilev,Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Fyodor Sologub, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva, Leonid Andreyev, Ivan Bunin and Maxim Gorky.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing civil war, Russian cultural life in was left in chaos. Some established writers left Russia while a new generation of talented writers who had at least some sympathy for the ideals of the revolution was emerging. The most ardent of these joined together in writers organizations with the aim of creating a new and distinctive proletarian (working-class) culture appropriate to the new state. Throughout the 1920s writers enjoyed broad tolerance. In the 1930s censorship over literature was tightened in line with Joseph Stalin's policy of socialist realism. After his death several thaws took place and restrictions on literature were eased. By the 1970s and 1980s, writers were increasingly ignoring the guidelines of socialist realism. The leading writers of the Soviet era included Yevgeny Zamiatin, Isaac Babel, Ilf and Petrov, Yury Olesha, Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Mikhail Sholokhov, Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Andrey Voznesensky.

Motion pictures

While in the industrialized nations of the West, motion pictures had first been accepted as a form of cheap recreation and leisure for the working class, Russian filmmaking came to prominence following the 1917 revolution when it explored editing as the primary mode of cinematic expression.[191] Russian and later Soviet cinema was a hotbed of invention in the period immediately following the 1917 revolution, resulting in world-renowned films such as Battleship Potemkin.[192] Soviet-era filmmakers, most notably Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky, would become some of the world's most innovative and influential directors.

Eisenstein also was a student of filmmaker and theorist Lev Kuleshov, who formulated the groundbreaking editing process called montage at the world's first film school, the All-Union Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. Dziga Vertov, whose kino-glaz (“film-eye”) theory—that the camera, like the human eye, is best used to explore real life—had a huge impact on the development of documentary film making and cinema realism. In 1932, Stalin made socialist realism the state policy; this stifled creativity but many Soviet films in this style were artistically successful, including Chapaev, The Cranes Are Flying and Ballad of a Soldier.[192] Leonid Gaidai's comedies of the 1960s and 1970s were immensely popular, with many of the catch phrases still in use today. In 1969, Vladimir Motyl's White Sun of the Desert was released, starting a genre known as 'osterns'. The film is watched by cosmonauts before any trip into space.

The 1980s and 1990s were a period of crisis in Russian cinema. Although Russian filmmakers became free to express themselves, state subsidies were drastically reduced, resulting in fewer films produced. The early years of the 21st century have brought increased viewership and subsequent prosperity to the industry on the back of the economy's rapid development, and production levels are already higher than in Britain and Germany.[194] Russia's total box-office revenue in 2007 was $565 million, up 37% from the previous year (by comparison, in 1996 revenues stood at $6 million). Russian cinema continues to receive international recognition. Russian Ark (2002) was the first feature film ever to be shot in a single take.

Economy Economy - overview: Russia ended 2007 with its ninth straight year of growth, averaging 7% annually since the financial crisis of 1998. Although high oil prices and a relatively cheap ruble initially drove this growth, since 2003 consumer demand and, more recently, investment have played a significant role. Over the last six years, fixed capital investments have averaged real gains greater than 10% per year and personal incomes have achieved real gains more than 12% per year. During this time, poverty has declined steadily and the middle class has continued to expand. Russia has also improved its international financial position since the 1998 financial crisis. The federal budget has run surpluses since 2001 and ended 2007 with a surplus of about 3% of GDP. Over the past several years, Russia has used its stabilization fund based on oil taxes to prepay all Soviet-era sovereign debt to Paris Club creditors and the IMF. Foreign debt is approximately one-third of GDP. The state component of foreign debt has declined, but commercial debt to foreigners has risen strongly. Oil export earnings have allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from $12 billion in 1999 to some $470 billion at yearend 2007, the third largest reserves in the world. During President PUTIN's first administration, a number of important reforms were implemented in the areas of tax, banking, labor, and land codes. These achievements have raised business and investor confidence in Russia's economic prospects, with foreign direct investment rising from $14.6 billion in 2005 to approximately $45 billion in 2007. In 2007, Russia's GDP grew 8.1%, led by non-tradable services and goods for the domestic market, as opposed to oil or mineral extraction and exports. Rising inflation returned in the second half of 2007, driven largely by unsterilized capital inflows and by rising food costs, and approached 12% by year-end. In 2006, Russia signed a bilateral market access agreement with the US as a prelude to possible WTO entry, and its companies are involved in global merger and acquisition activity in the oil and gas, metals, and telecom sectors. Despite Russia's recent success, serious problems persist. Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of exports and 30% of government revenues, leaving the country vulnerable to swings in world commodity prices. Russia's manufacturing base is dilapidated and must be replaced or modernized if the country is to achieve broad-based economic growth. The banking system, while increasing consumer lending and growing at a high rate, is still small relative to the banking sectors of Russia's emerging market peers. Political uncertainties associated with this year's power transition, corruption, and lack of trust in institutions continue to dampen domestic and foreign investor sentiment. PUTIN has granted more influence to forces within his government that desire to reassert state control over the economy. Russia has made little progress in building the rule of law, the bedrock of a modern market economy. The government has promised additional legislative amendments to make its intellectual property protection WTO-consistent, but enforcement remains problematic.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.097 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.29 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 8.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $14,800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 4.7%
industry: 39.1%
services: 56.2% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 75.1 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 10.8%
industry: 28.8%
services: 60.5% (November 2007 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6.2% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 15.8% (November 2007)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 30.4% (September 2007)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 41.3 (September 2007)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9% annual average
note: 12% at year-end (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 21% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $299 billion
expenditures: $262 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 5.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: grain, sugar beets, sunflower seed, vegetables, fruits; beef, milk
Industries: complete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; defense industries including radar, missile production, and advanced electronic components, shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: 7.4% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 1 trillion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 66.3%
hydro: 17.2%
nuclear: 16.4%
other: 0.1% (2003)
Electricity - consumption: 985.2 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports: 18 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - imports: 2.9 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production: 9.87 million bbl/day (2007)
Oil - consumption: 2.916 million bbl/day (2006)
Oil - exports: 5.08 million bbl/day (2007)
Oil - imports: 100,000 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves: 60 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 656.2 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 610 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 182 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 37.5 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 47.57 trillion cu m (1 January 2006)
Current account balance: $78.31 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $355.5 billion (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, wood and wood products, metals, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures
Exports - partners: Germany 9.5%, Netherlands 7.5%, Turkey 6%, Italy 5.6%, China 5.1%, Ukraine 5%, US 4.8%, Belarus 4.6%, Switzerland 4% (2007)
Imports: $223.4 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar, semifinished metal products
Imports - partners: Germany 16.2%, China 12.7%, Italy 5.5%, Ukraine 5.1%, Japan 4.8% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient: $982.7 million in FY06 from US, including $847 million in non-proliferation subsidies
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $476.4 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $356.5 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $271.6 billion (2006)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $209.6 billion (2006)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $1.322 trillion (2006)
Currency (code): Russian ruble (RUB)
Currency code: RUR
Exchange rates: Russian rubles per US dollar - 25.659 (2007), 27.19 (2006), 28.284 (2005), 28.814 (2004), 30.692 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 43.9 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 170 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: the telephone system is experiencing significant changes; there are more than 1,000 companies licensed to offer communication services; access to digital lines has improved, particularly in urban centers; Internet and e-mail services are improving; Russia has made progress toward building the telecommunications infrastructure necessary for a market economy; the estimated number of mobile subscribers jumped from fewer than 1 million in 1998 to 150 million in 2006; a large demand for main line service remains unsatisfied, but fixed-line operators continue to grow their services
domestic: cross-country digital trunk lines run from Saint Petersburg to Khabarovsk, and from Moscow to Novorossiysk; the telephone systems in 60 regional capitals have modern digital infrastructures; cellular services, both analog and digital, are available in many areas; in rural areas, the telephone services are still outdated, inadequate, and low density
international: country code - 7; Russia is connected internationally by undersea fiber optic cables; digital switches in several cities provide more than 50,000 lines for international calls; satellite earth stations provide access to Intelsat, Intersputnik, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Orbita systems
Radio broadcast stations: AM 323, FM 1,500 est., shortwave 62 (2004)
Radios: 61.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 7,306 (1998)
Televisions: 60.5 million (1997)
Internet country code: .ru; note - Russia also has responsibility for a legacy domain ".su" that was allocated to the Soviet Union and is being phased out
Internet hosts: 2.844 million (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 300 (June 2000)
Internet users: 30 million (2007)
Transportation Airports: 1,260 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 601
over 3,047 m: 51
2,438 to 3,047 m: 197
1,524 to 2,437 m: 129
914 to 1,523 m: 102
under 914 m: 122 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 659
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 13
1,524 to 2,437 m: 69
914 to 1,523 m: 89
under 914 m: 484 (2007)
Heliports: 47 (2007)
Pipelines: condensate 122 km; gas 158,699 km; oil 72,347 km; refined products 13,658 km (2007)
Railways: total: 87,157 km
broad gauge: 86,200 km 1.520-m gauge (40,300 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 957 km 1.067-m gauge (on Sakhalin Island)
note: an additional 30,000 km of non-common carrier lines serve industries (2006)
Roadways: total: 854,000 km
paved: 722,000 km (includes 29,000 km of expressways)
unpaved: 132,000 km
note: includes public, local, and departmental roads (2006)
Waterways: 102,000 km (including 33,000 km with guaranteed depth)
note: 72,000 km system in European Russia links Baltic Sea, White Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and Black Sea (2006)
Merchant marine: total: 1,085 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,625,858 GRT/5,721,729 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 26, cargo 677, carrier 2, chemical tanker 27, combination ore/oil 34, container 10, passenger 14, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 213, refrigerated cargo 58, roll on/roll off 11, specialized tanker 7
foreign-owned: 100 (Belgium 4, Cyprus 1, Germany 1, Greece 1, Italy 3, Latvia 2, South Korea 1, Switzerland 4, Turkey 72, Ukraine 10, US 1)
registered in other countries: 482 (Antigua and Barbuda 5, Bahamas 4, Belize 28, Bulgaria 1, Cambodia 94, Comoros 13, Cyprus 47, Dominica 3, Georgia 13, Hong Kong 1, Liberia 92, Malaysia 2, Malta 53, Marshall Islands 7, Mongolia 16, Panama 15, Sierra Leone 11, Slovakia 1, St Kitts and Nevis 21, St Vincent and the Grenadines 22, Tuvalu 2, Vanuatu 2, unknown 29) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Azov, Kaliningrad, Kavkaz, Nakhodka, Novorossiysk, Primorsk, Saint Petersburg, Vostochnyy
Military Military branches: Ground Forces (SV), Navy (VMF), Air Forces (Voyenno-Vozdushniye Sily, VVS); Airborne Troops (VDV), Strategic Rocket Troops (Raketnyye Voyska Strategicheskogo Naznacheniya, RVSN), and Space Troops (KV) are independent "combat arms," not subordinate to any of the three branches; Russian Ground Forces include the following combat arms: motorized-rifle troops, tank troops, missile and artillery troops, air defense of ground troops (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; service obligation - 1 year; reserve obligation to age 50; foreign citizens and dual-nationality Russians are precluded from contract military service; as of July 2008, a draft military strategy called for the draft to continue up to the year 2030 (2008)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 36,219,908
females age 16-49: 37,019,853 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 21,488,878
females age 16-49: 28,760,976 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 821,103
female: 781,570 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 3.9% of GDP (2005)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: China and Russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the Amur and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River in accordance with the 2004 Agreement, ending their centuries-long border disputes; the sovereignty dispute over the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group, known in Japan as the "Northern Territories" and in Russia as the "Southern Kurils," occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia, and claimed by Japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities; Russia and Georgia agree on delimiting all but small, strategic segments of the land boundary and the maritime boundary; OSCE observers monitor volatile areas such as the Pankisi Gorge in the Akhmeti region and the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed equidistance boundaries in the Caspian seabed but the littoral states have no consensus on dividing the water column; Russia and Norway dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia's fishing rights beyond Svalbard's territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone; various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia (Kareliya) and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union following the Second World War but the Finnish Government asserts no territorial demands; in May 2005, Russia recalled its signatures to the 1996 border agreements with Estonia (1996) and Latvia (1997), when the two Baltic states announced issuance of unilateral declarations referencing Soviet occupation and ensuing territorial losses; Russia demands better treatment of ethnic Russians in Estonia and Latvia; Estonian citizen groups continue to press for realignment of the boundary based on the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty that would bring the now divided ethnic Setu people and parts of the Narva region within Estonia; Lithuania and Russia committed to demarcating their boundary in 2006 in accordance with the land and maritime treaty ratified by Russia in May 2003 and by Lithuania in 1999; Lithuania operates a simplified transit regime for Russian nationals traveling from the Kaliningrad coastal exclave into Russia, while still conforming, as an EU member state with an EU external border, where strict Schengen border rules apply; preparations for the demarcation delimitation of land boundary with Ukraine have commenced; the dispute over the boundary between Russia and Ukraine through the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov remains unresolved despite a December 2003 framework agreement and on-going expert-level discussions; Kazakhstan and Russia boundary delimitation was ratified on November 2005 and field demarcation should commence in 2007; Russian Duma has not yet ratified 1990 Bering Sea Maritime Boundary Agreement with the US
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDPs: 18,000-160,000 (displacement from Chechnya and North Ossetia) (2007)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for various purposes; it remains a significant source of women trafficked to over 50 countries for commercial sexual exploitation; Russia is also a transit and destination country for men and women trafficked from Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and North Korea to Central and Western Europe and the Middle East for purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; internal trafficking remains a problem in Russia with women trafficked from rural areas to urban centers for commercial sexual exploitation, and men trafficked internally and from Central Asia for forced labor in the construction and agricultural industries; debt bondage is common among trafficking victims, and child sex tourism remains a concern
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Russia is on the Tier 2 Watch List for a fifth consecutive year for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking over the previous year, particularly in providing assistance to victims of trafficking; comprehensive trafficking victim assistance legislation, which would address key deficiencies, has been pending before the Duma since 2003 and was neither passed nor enacted in 2007 (2008)
Illicit drugs: limited cultivation of illicit cannabis and opium poppy and producer of methamphetamine, mostly for domestic consumption; government has active illicit crop eradication program; used as transshipment point for Asian opiates, cannabis, and Latin American cocaine bound for growing domestic markets, to a lesser extent Western and Central Europe, and occasionally to the US; major source of heroin precursor chemicals; corruption and organized crime are key concerns; major consumer of opiates