[Portal] Russia


Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg

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

The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states, until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in the 15th century. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR) became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR/Soviet Union), the world's first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognized as the continuing legal personality and a successor of the USSR.

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Russian soldier wearing modern body armour
The Russian Ground Forces (Russian: Сухопутные войска Российской Федерации, tr.: Suhopútnyje vojská Rossíjskoj Federácii) are the land forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. While the Russian Ground Forces in their present form are only fifteen years old, Russian officials trace their antecedents' history through the Imperial Russian era back to the time of Kievan Rus. Since 1992 the Ground Forces have had to withdraw many thousands of troops from former Soviet garrisons abroad, while being extensively committed to the Chechen wars, and peacekeeping and other operations in the Soviet successor states (what is known in Russia as the "near abroad"). Currently, the Armed Forces as a whole are in the middle of a major equipment upgrade, the State Armaments Programme 2007-2015 which is expected to replace 45% of the military inventory in the army and navy. With this significant influx of funding, then defence minister Sergei Ivanov stated that he wanted to exceed the Soviet military in combat readiness. A British CSRC report in May 2007, while noting the increase in funding, compares the speed of change in the Armed Forces to Royal Navy reforms in the early 19th century and predicts no new rise in combat readiness for years.

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Credit: Boris Kustodiev

Maslenitsa, a 1919 painting depicting the carnival of the same name, which takes place the last week before Great Lent. The painting encompasses a broad range of things associated with Russia, such as snowy winter weather, a troika, an Orthodox church with onion domes. Painted in the aftermath of the October Revolution, the canvas was intended as a farewell to the unspoilt "Holy Russia" of yore.

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Fyodor Mikhaylovich Reshetnikov

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Feodor Romanov

Selected cuisine

Guriev porridge

Guryev porridge (Guriev kasha) is a Russian porridge (kasha) dessert dish prepared from semolina and milk with the addition of nuts (hazelnut, walnuts, almonds), kaimak (creamy foams) and dried fruits. Traditional preparation of the dish involves preparing milk skins and separating the dish's ingredients by layers with the skin between each layer. It is considered a traditional dish of Russian cuisine, but it was invented only at the beginning of the 19th century. Read more...

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El Lissitzky
El Lissitzky was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, teacher, typographer, and architect. He was one of the most important figures of the Russian avant-garde, helping develop suprematism with his friend and mentor, Kazimir Malevich, and designed numerous exhibition displays and propaganda works for the former Soviet Union. Lissitzky's work greatly influenced the Bauhaus, Constructivist, and De Stijl movements and experimented with production techniques and stylistic devices that would go on to dominate 20th century graphic design. His entire career was laced with the belief that the artist could be an agent for change, later summarized with his edict, "das zielbewußte Schaffen" (The task-oriented creation). In 1941 he produced one of his last known works — a Soviet propaganda poster rallying the people to construct more tanks for the fight against Nazi Germany.

In the news

20 February 2020 – Syrian civil war, Northwestern Syria offensive (December 2019–present), Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Turkish-backed rebels launch an offensive in the Idlib Governorate against government forces. A Russian air strike kills two Turkish soldiers and wounds five others, while Turkey says a retaliatory strike killed 50 Syrian troops. Several tanks and armoured personnel carriers are destroyed near the village of Nayrab. (News AU) (Al Jazeera)
Turkey formally requests the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missile systems by its NATO ally United States on the Syria–Turkey border to deter Syrian and Russian air strikes on its troops. (The Telegraph) (Al Masdar News)
19 February 2020 – Syrian civil war, Northwestern Syria offensive (December 2019–present), Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calls a Turkish intervention in Syria's Idlib Governorate "imminent" after talks with Russia fail to reach what he describes as their "desired result". Erdoğan threatens to launch an operation in Idlib by the end of the month. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov calls Turkish involvement in the battle "the worst scenario". The countries support opposing sides in the war. (Al Jazeera)
18 February 2020 – International sanctions during the Venezuelan crisis
The U.S. State Department adds Russian oil company Rosneft Trading S.A. to its financial blacklist for helping facilitate the sale of Venezuelan oil. (ABC News)
18 February 2020 – 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak
Russia says it will temporarily block Chinese citizens beginning on February 20 from entering its territory as authorities look to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. (Radio Free Europe)
18 February 2020 – Russian espionage in the United States
U.S. federal officials charge Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a Mexican citizen, in Miami for allegedly acting on behalf of a Russian agent who recruited him to collect information about the U.S. government and met repeatedly with him in Moscow. (The New York Times) (Politico)



Selected quote

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russia was a slave in Europe but would be a master in Asia.

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