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Facts about Russia

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A Matryoshka doll is a Russian nesting doll.

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A contemporary of the Tudors and other "new monarchs" in Western Europe, Ivan proclaimed his absolute sovereignty over all Russian princes and nobles.

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Russia's manufacturing base is dilapidated and must be replaced or modernized if the country is to achieve broad-based economic growth.

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Nearly 40 years were to pass before a comparably ambitious and ruthless ruler appeared on the Russian throne.

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One year earlier, Russia had become involved in the Crimean War, a conflict fought primarily in the Crimean peninsula.

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Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and OSCE.

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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 International Monetary Fund.

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By some estimates, overall Russian defense expenditure is now at the second highest in the world after the US.

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The majority of Russian citizens, and as many as 80 percent of ethnic Russians, self-identify as Russian Orthodox.

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A major feature of the Cold War was the arms race between the member states of the Warsaw Pact and those of NATO.

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Buddhism is traditional for three regions of the Russian Federation: Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia, and those practicing Buddhism number 1.5 to 2 million.

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The Russian Federation (??????????? ??????????, Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), commonly known as Russia (Rossiya), is a transcontinental country extending over much of northern Eurasia (Asia and Europe).

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The name "Russia," together with the Finnish Ruotsi and Estonian Rootsi, are found by some scholars to be related to Roslagen.

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The Russian statehood survived the "Time of Troubles" and the rule of weak or corrupt Tsars due to the strength of the government's central bureaucracy.

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Yeltsin was then free to impose the Russian constitution with strong presidential powers, which was approved by referendum in December 1993.

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United Russia won 37.1 percent of the vote in 2003, CPRF 12.7 percent, LDPR 11.6 percent, Motherland 9.1 percent, and other 29.5 percent.

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Russia is one of the key players in international relations.

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Of its 100,000 rivers, the Volga River is the most famous—not only because it is the longest river in Europe but also because of its major role in Russian history.

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The Mongols held Russia and Volga Bulgaria in sway from their western capital at Sarai, which with a population of 600,000, was one of the largest cities of the medieval world.

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Russia takes a special role in the organizations created on the territory of the former USSR, largely under the leadership of Russia: CIS, EurAsEC, CSTO, SCO.

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Russian icon painting was inherited from the art of the Byzantine churches, and it soon became an offshoot version of the mosaic and fresco traditions.

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Ethnic Russians are mainly Orthodox whereas most people of Turkic extraction are Sunni Muslim.

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Russia is a keen sporting country, successful at a number of sports and continuously finishing in the top rankings at the Olympic Games.

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Daniel Aleksandrovich (1261-1303), the youngest son of Alexander Nevsky, founded the principality of Moscow (known in the western tradition as Muscovy), which eventually expelled the Tatars from Russia.

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At least for the urban aristocracy and provincial gentry, this opened the doors for the creative integration of these new foodstuffs with traditional Russian dishes.

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Tea was introduced to Russia from China in the seventeenth century, becoming the most popular national drink.

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Oil export earnings have allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from $12-billion in 1999 to some $315-billion at yearend 2006, the third largest reserves in the world.

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Later, the nineteenth century saw a revival of traditional Russian architecture.

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The Russian educational system may be arranged into three major groups: basic education, higher education and postgraduate education.

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Russia has also improved its international financial position since the 1998 financial crisis.

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Russia has a revered and recognized tradition of ballet.

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To the Orthodox Church and most princes, the fanatical Northern Crusaders seemed a greater threat to the Russian way of life than the Mongols.

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The roots of the Scientific method may be traced back to the ancient Egyptians.

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Russia has an extensive coastline of over 23,000 miles (37,000 kilometers) along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Baltic, Black and Caspian seas.

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The most successful practitioner of this process was Ivan the Great, (1462–1505), who laid the foundations for a Russian national state.

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Estimates of believers widely fluctuate between sources, and some reports put the number of non-believers in Russia as high as 24-48 percent of the population.

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The disastrous performance of the Russian armed forces in the Russo-Japanese War was a blow to the Russian State and increased the potential for unrest.

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Russian is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages.

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Gorbachev resigned on Christmas Day, and the Russian Federation (formerly the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic took power on December 26.

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Russia has made little progress in building the rule of law, the bedrock of a modern market economy.

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Federal subjects are grouped into seven federal districts, each administered by an envoy appointed by the President of Russia.

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The history of Russia between 1922 and 1991 is essentially the history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Soviet Union.

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In 1380, at Kulikovo on the Don River, the Mongols were defeated, and although this hard-fought victory did not end Tatar rule of Russia, it did bring great fame to the Grand Prince.

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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.

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Ninety seven percent of children receive their compulsory nine-year basic or complete 11-year education in Russian.

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Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the most famous ballets - Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty.

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The recent steps towards modernization of the armed forces has been made possible by Russia's spectacular economic resurgence based on oil and gas revenues as well a strengthening of its own domestic market.

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The foundations of Russian cuisine were laid by the peasant food of the rural population in an often harsh climate, with a combination of plentiful fish, poultry, game, mushrooms, berries, and honey.

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Approximately 12.8 percent of Russians lived below the national poverty line in 2011, significantly down from 40 percent in 1998 at the worst point of the post-Soviet collapse.

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Tent-like roof construction is thought to have originated in the Russian North, as it prevented snow from piling up on wooden buildings during long winters.

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Middle 1990s showed decline for Russian rock due to economical problems, changes in mentality and mass media reorientation.

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Eastern influence remained strong well until the seventeenth century, when Russian rulers made a conscious effort to Westernize their country.

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Where football is played more as a pastime than professionally, Russia's ice hockey team has a long history of traditions and success, and today more than 70 Russians play in the NHL.

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Well-situated in the central river system of Russia and surrounded by protective forests and marshes, Moscow was at first only a vassal of Vladimir, but soon it absorbed its parent state.

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The tension between Soviet Union and Russian SFSR authorities came to be personified in the bitter power struggle between Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.

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Russia has from 10 to 20 million Muslims, constituting the largest religious minority.

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The most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest and most capacious freshwater lake.

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According to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, the number of Jews in Russia is about 1.5 million.

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Russia took 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.

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During the occupation, Russia's Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg, region lost around a quarter of its population.

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Located on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia, Moscow's population constitutes about seven percent of the total population.

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Saint Petersburg, Russia's second major city, is located in the Northwestern Federal District of Russia on the Neva River at the east end of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea.

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Russia's foreign policy is determined by the President and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Russia is the leading nation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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Russian language and culture has dominated, since Russians constitute the vast majority of the population, and because many times through history the cultures of other nationalities were suppressed through russification.

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Russia shares land borders with the following countries (counter-clockwise from northwest to southeast): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea.

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In 1240, Munich was transferred to Otto II Wittelsbach, and in 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.

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Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, which supply lumber, pulp and paper, and raw material for woodworking industries.

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After Stalin died, Soviet Art went into decline as gradually Russian artists became more independent of the state.

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The Russian government took over most of the Soviet Union government institutions on its territory.

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Russian is the only official state language, but the individual republics have often made their native language co-official next to Russian.

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Russia is the principal weapons supplier of China and India, and provides weapons to Iran, Algeria, Venezuela and other countries.

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Lenin returned to Russia from exile in Switzerland with the help of Germany, which hoped that widespread strife would cause Russia to withdraw from the war.

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Napoleon made a major misstep when he declared war on Russia after a dispute with Tsar Alexander I and launched an invasion of Russia in 1812.

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The principality's prestige was further enhanced when it became the center of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Russia ranks at or near the top of many measures of military power including in numbers of tanks, fighter aircraft and naval vessels; it has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

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The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was banned in Russia in 1991-1992, although no rehabilitation has ever taken place, and many of its members became top Russian officials.

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Russia's close proximity to the northern reaches of the ancient Silk Road, the Caucasus, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire has provided an Eastern character to cooking methods.

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Russia's great power status obscured the inefficiency of its government, the isolation of its people, and its economic backwardness.

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Today Russia remains one of the biggest tea consumers and importers in the world.

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The Mongols left their impact on the Russians in such areas as military tactics and transportation.

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Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water, providing it with one of the world's largest surface-water resources.

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Compared with the languages of European Christendom, the Russian language was little influenced by the Greek and Latin of early Christian writings.

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Russia's constitution guarantees free, universal health care for all Russian citizens.

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During the Russian Revolution, a movement was initiated to put all arts to service of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

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Soups have always played an important role in the Russian meal.

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At the same time the Allied powers sent several expeditionary armies to support the anti-Communist forces in an attempt to force Russia to rejoin the world war.

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Saint Petersburg ceased being the capital in 1918 after the Russian Revolution of 1917.

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The Bolsheviks fought against national independence movements in the former Russian Empire.

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The Russian military is divided into the ground forces, navy, and air force.

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Catherine the Great (Russian: Yekaterina II) was a German princess who married the German heir to the Russian crown.

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Russian intervention in the Commonwealth marked, with the Silent Sejm, the beginning of a 200-year domination of that region by the Russian Empire.

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Alternative social doctrines were elaborated by such Russian radicals as Alexander Herzen and Peter Kropotkin.

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Other sports widely played in Russia include weightlifting, gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, volleyball, basketball and skiing.

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The Soviet regime compelled the use of the Russian language, forcibly relocated whole populations, installed ethnic Russian political elites in non-Russian regions, and drained regional resources.

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The Russian government lifted price control on January 2, 1992.

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The same period saw the birth of Russian rock with the band Pojuschie Gitary who created a style called VIA and later released the first Russian rock opera, Orpheus and Eurydice.

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Free higher education is the main reason why more than 20 percent of Russians age 30–59 hold six-year degrees (this number is twice as high as that of the United States).

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Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism are Russia’s traditional religions.

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Catherine contributed to the resurgence of the Russian nobility that began after the death of Peter the Great.

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Chess is a favorite pastime, and a sport that has been dominated by Russians in the post-war (1945-) era.

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By the sixteenth century, the rulers of Moscow considered the entire Russian territory their collective property.

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Still in deep depression by the mid-1990s, Russia's economy was hit further by a financial crash in 1998, after which Yeltsin was at the end of his political career.

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Moscow's leadership in Russia was now firmly based and by the middle of the fourteenth century its territory had greatly expanded through purchase, war, and marriage.

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Russia remained isolated from sea trade, its internal trade communications and many manufactures were dependent on the seasonal changes.

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The Russian statehood survived the "Time of Troubles" and the rule of weak or corrupt Tsars due to the strength of the government's central bureaucracy.

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Icon paintings in Russia attempted to help people with their prayers without idolizing the figure in the painting.

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Deteriorating conditions in the countryside drove millions of desperate peasants to the rapidly growing cities, fueling industrialization, and vastly increasing Russia's urban population in the space of just a few years.

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During the early twentieth century, Russian dancers Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky rose to fame, and Ballets Russes' travels abroad profoundly influenced the development of dance worldwide for decades to come.

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Halych-Volhynia would eventually be absorbed into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, while the Mongol-dominated Vladimir-Suzdal and independent Novgorod Republic, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, would establish the basis for the modern Russian nation.

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Due to the status of the Soviet Union as a superpower, Russian had great political importance in the twentieth century.

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Kievan Rus' is important for its introduction of a Slavic variant of the Eastern Orthodox religion, dramatically deepening a synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next thousand years.

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Russia ended 2006 with its eighth straight year of growth, averaging 6.7 percent annually since the financial crisis of 1998.

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From its modest beginnings in the fourteenth century principality of Moscow, Russia had become the largest state in the world by Peter's time.

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According to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 63 percent of respondents consider themselves Russian Orthodox.

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The culture of Russia is a hybrid that developed from native Slavic culture with borrowings from foreign cultures.

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Nonetheless, the church is widely respected by both believers and non-believers, who see it as a symbol of Russian heritage and culture.

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During Catherine's reign, the Russian Gothic Revival style was developed by Vasily Bazhenov and Matvei Kazakov in Moscow.

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The war ended in 1721 when an exhausted Sweden sued for peace with Russia.

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The Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) was popular among Russians, who supported the independence of their fellow Orthodox Slavs, the Serbs and the Bulgarians.

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The first Russian ruler to officially crown himself "Tsar" was Ivan IV.

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The ancestors of the Russians were the Slavic tribes, whose original home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the Pripet Marshes.

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In 1859, there were 23 million serfs (total population of Russia 67.1 million) living under conditions frequently worse than those of the peasants of Western Europe on sixteenth century manors.

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About 70 percent of the former Soviet Union's defense industries are located in the Russian Federation.

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The question of Russia's direction had been gaining steam ever since Peter the Great's program of Westernization.

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Nearly all groups besides Russians live compactly in their respective regions.

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By the time of her death in 1796, Catherine's expansionist policy had turned Russia into a major European power.

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The ancestors of today’s Russians adopted Orthodox Christianity in the tenth century.

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Formerly the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), a republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Russia became the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

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The Russian Federation emerged as a great power in the early twenty-first century, also considered to be an energy superpower.

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The vast steppes of Southern Russia were home to disunited tribes, such as Proto-Indo-Europeans and Scythians.

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The Mensheviks believed that Russian socialism would grow gradually and peacefully and that the tsar’s regime should be succeeded by a democratic republic in which the socialists would cooperate with the liberal bourgeois parties.

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A committed Slavophile, Alexander III believed that Russia could be saved from chaos only by shutting itself off from the subversive influences of Western Europe.

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Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although sporadic violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.

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The first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917, The February Revolution took place March 8–12 , 1917.

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Russia's economy has also recovered somewhat since 1999, thanks to the rapid rise of the world price of oil and gas, one of Russia's largest exports.

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The Russian Federation is home to as many as 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples, although the majority (81 percent) are ethnic Russians.

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Official government military spending for 2007 was $32.4-billion, though various sources, including the US Department of Defense, have estimated Russia’s military expenditures to be considerably higher than the reported amount.

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The emancipation of the serfs in 1861 was the single most important event in nineteenth century Russian history.

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After the disintegration of the USSR, the Russian economy went through a crisis.

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The Slavophiles were opponents of bureaucracy, preferred the collectivism of the medieval Russian village community, to the individualism of the West.

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A small part of Black Sea coast around Sochi is considered in Russia to have subtropical climate.

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From the onset the Kievan princes followed the Byzantine example and kept the Church dependent on them, even for its revenues, so that the Russian Church and state were always closely linked.

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The crisis climaxed on October 3, when Yeltsin chose a radical solution to settle his dispute with parliament: he called up tanks to shell the Russian White House, blasting out his opponents.

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After the dissolution of the USSR, in 1991, Russia assumed control of Soviet assets abroad, and received the lion's share of the Soviet Union's production facilities and military forces.

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Control of the Baltic Sea by the German fleet, and of the Black Sea by combined German and Ottoman forces prevented Russia from importing supplies and exporting goods.

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Russia has a rich literary history, beginning with the poet Alexander Pushkin, considered the greatest Russian poet and often described as the "Russian Shakespeare."

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At the opening of hostilities in August of 1914, the Russians took the offensive against both Germany and Austria-Hungary in support of France.

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From the seventh century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in Western Russia and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finno-Ugric tribes, such as the Merya, the Muromians, and the Meshchera.

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In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht formally confirmed Austrian sovereignty over most of Spain’s Italian possessions including Lombardy and Milan.

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Under Mongol occupation, Russia also developed its postal road network, census, fiscal system, and military organization.

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Russia is the world's top supplier of weapons, a spot it has held since 2001, accounting for around 30 percent of worldwide weapons sales.

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In 2006, Russia's GDP grew 6.6 percent, while inflation was below 10 percent for the first time in the past 10 years.

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The cohesion of the Russian Federation was also threatened when the republic of Chechnya attempted to break away, leading to two bloody conflicts.

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Russia is a large and culturally diverse country with dozens of ethnic groups; each with their own forms of folk music.

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The two largest cities in Russia are Moscow (10,342,151 inhabitants in 2002) and Saint Petersburg (4,661,219).

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At the end of March 2006, there were 155 banks in Luxembourg, with 23,000 employees.

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Catherine successfully waged war against the decaying Ottoman Empire and advanced Russia's southern boundary to the Black Sea.

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On May 17, 2007, an Act of Canonical Communion was signed between the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

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Unemployment in Russia was at 5.4 percent in 2014, down from about 12.4 percent in 1999.

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The politics of the Russian Federation take place in a framework of a federal presidential republic.

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Gradually, the Russian ruler emerged as a powerful, autocratic ruler, a tsar.

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The largest country in the world by land area, Russia has the world's ninth-largest population.

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Russia has major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, timber and many strategic minerals.

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By the end of 1943, the Red Army had broken through the German siege of Leningrad and liberated much of Ukraine, much of Western Russia and moved into Belarus.

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The Russian Federation stretches across much of the north of the supercontinent of Eurasia.

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The invaders reached Moscow and installed, first, the impostor False Dmitriy I and, later, a Polish prince Wladyslaw IV Vasa on the Russian throne.

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Russian intervention in the Commonwealth marked, with the Silent Sejm, the beginning of a 200-year domination of that region by the Russian Empire.

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In celebration of his conquests, Peter assumed the title of emperor as well as tsar, and Muscovite Russia officially became the Russian Empire in 1721.

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By the mid-1990s, Africans, mainly from Cape Verde, were the most populous immigrant group in Lisbon.

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A third and more radical group founded the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party or RDSLP in 1898; this party was the primary exponent of Marxism in Russia.

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Peter reorganized his government on the latest Western models, molding Russia into an absolutist state.

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The Industrial Revolution, which began to exert a significant influence in Russia, was meanwhile creating forces that would finally overthrow the tsar.

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Nikon personally designed his new residence at the New Jerusalem Monastery which was dominated by a rotunda-like cathedral, the first of its type in Russia.

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By then they had conquered most Russian principalities.

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The winner of the 1948 World Chess Championship, Russian Mikhail Botvinnik, started an era of Soviet dominance in the chess world.

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Nevertheless, he had laid the foundations of a modern state in Russia.

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The legal system is based on civil law system, there is judicial review of legislative acts, and the Russian Federation has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.

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Significant Russian writers of the Soviet period were Boris Pasternak, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Mayakovski, Mikhail Sholokhov, and the poets Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Andrei Voznesensky.

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Russia has a largely continental climate because of its sheer size and compact configuration.

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From the seventh century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in Western Russia and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finno-Ugric tribes, such as the Merya, the Muromians, and the Meshchera.

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Ethnic relations are stressed with tension resulting from centuries of Russian and Soviet domination and were activated by the collapse of the Soviet state.

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The percentage of Russians who attend church services on a weekly basis was estimated by the Interior Ministry to be less than 2 percent.

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Alexander obtained Mongol protection and assistance in fighting invaders from the west who, hoping to profit from the Russian collapse since the Mongol invasions, tried to grab territory and convert the Russians to Roman Catholicism.

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Russian film-making came to prominence during the 1920s, when editing was explored as the primary mode of cinematic expression, resulting in world-renowned films such as The Battleship Potemkin.

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During this period Russia expanded its empire into Central Asia, which was rich in raw materials, conquering the khanates of Kokand, Bokhara and Khiva, as well as the Trans-Caspian region.

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The climates of both European and Asian Russia are continental except for the tundra and the extreme southeast.

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Founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 as a "window to Europe" it was capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1712-1728, 1732-1918).

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The following month, he secured legislation giving Russian laws priority over Soviet laws and withholding two-thirds of the budget.

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At every Winter Olympics from 1964 until the present day, a Soviet or Russian pair has won gold, often considered the longest winning streak in modern sports history.

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Russia's free, widespread and in-depth educational system, inherited with almost no changes from the Soviet Union, produces 100 percent literacy.

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The Nihilists questioned all old values and shocked the Russian establishment.

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Peter the Great (1672–1725) consolidated autocracy in Russia and played a major role in bringing his country into the European state system.

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The Russian masses were so aroused over the massacre that a general strike was declared demanding a democratic republic.

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A Matryoshka doll is a Russian nesting doll.

The countries established diplomatic relations on 25 May 1992. Croatia has an embassy in Moscow and an honorary consulate in Kaliningrad. Russia has an embassy in Zagreb. While geographically not close, Croatia and Russia are both Slavic countries and thus share cultural heritage.

Bulgaria has an embassy in Moscow and three consulates general (in Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg). Russia has an embassy in Sofia and two consulates general (in Ruse and Varna). Both countries are Slavic nations, and are bound together by a common Orthodox culture.

On Kodiak Island, Grigory Shelikhov, a Russian fur trader, founds Three Saints Bay, the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska. The European discovery of Alaska came in 1741, when a Russian expedition led by Danish navigator Vitus Bering sighted the Alaskan mainland.

The traditional beginning of Russian history is 862 A.D. Kievan Rus', the first united East Slavic state, was founded in 882. The state adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in 988, beginning with the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Slavic culture for the next millennium.

Russia is the largest country in the world. Its area is 17 098.242 thousand square km. The state is located in eastern Europe and northern Asia. From north to south the country stretches for over 4,000 km; from west to east – for almost 10,000 km.

Among its 100,000 rivers, Russia contains some of the world's longest. Four of the country's five longest rivers—the Ob-Irtysh, Amur, Lena, and Yenisey—are in Siberia. All but the Amur flow northward into the Arctic Ocean. The longest European river is the Volga, which flows southward into the Caspian Sea.

The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (called Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic at the time), together with the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republics, formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union, on December 30, 1922.

Russia is the world's biggest country by land area, while the United States is either the third or the fourth largest (China's claims to territories disputed by other countries, especially India, will determine which of the two countries is bigger than the other), with 17,098,242 sqm and 9,826,675 sqm, respectively.Apr 6, 2014

No Africa is far bigger than Russia and nearly twice the size. ... The total area of "Russia" (the Russian Federation in 2007 which is partly in Continent of Europe and partly in Continent of Asia) is 16,885,500 square kilometres.

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