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Two soldiers demonstratively arrested in Russia: refused to go to war

Posted: November 23, 2022 at 4:11 am

A video showing the arrest procedure of two soldiers who refused to go to war was published on Telegram-channels. The soldiers were demonstratively detained right during the formation.

Source: Russian media outlet Meduza, Russian Telegram-channels

Details: In the video, two soldiers who are standing in formation on the parade ground are called by their last names that are likely Selivanov and Diagteryov (its hard to hear ed.). An investigator comes up to them and informs them that on 16 November a criminal case under Art.332.2.1 (disobeying an order) of the Criminal Code of Russia was opened against them.

A screenshot from the video

Then a convoy with stripes saying "Military Police" on their hands conducts a rough arrest procedure. The soldiers are being searched, handcuffed and put in a police vehicle.

A screenshot from the video

It is not specified in the video when and where it was filmed. But it is clear that the weather in the video is rainy, the soldiers are dressed in warm clothes, and the lawn is green.

It is unclear whether the detainees were mobilised or contract soldiers.

Telegram-channels report that the video was shot in Belgorod Oblast and shows mobilised soldiers.

It is also reported that the soldiers were detained after they refused to go to war in Ukraine. They may be sentenced to three years in prison.

Maksim Grebeniuk, a lawyer, remarks that there was no need to detain soldiers in the territory of a military unit.

He believes that the arrest was "demonstrative" and was conducted with the aim "of intimidating others."

Background:

On 20 September the Russian State Duma introduced the notions of "mobilisation" and "martial law" into the Criminal Code and approved amendments about the responsibility for deserting during mobilisation or martial law.

On 24 September Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, signed the law with amendments to the Criminal Code of Russia about punishment for deserting, looting and giving oneself up into captivity.

According to this law, disobeying a senior officers order given in accordance with the established procedure during the period of martial law or during an armed conflict or combat action, as well as refusing to partake in military or combat action, will be punishable by two to three years in prison (Art.332.2.1 of the Criminal Code of Russia).

On 13 November it was revealed that a Russian citizen was cruelly executed with no investigation or trial. His head was tied to concrete with tape and hit with a sledgehammer. Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner PMC, hinted that his mercenaries did it. Maybe, this video was meant to intimidate the Russian mobilised citizens and prevent them from giving themselves up into captivity.

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China is winning the Russia-Ukraine War amid massive US, Russia war …

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On Wednesday, the Pentagon finally admitted what was clear to serious intelligence analysts from the start: Ukraine has no military path to victory against Russia.

"A Ukrainian military victory defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high," the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told reporters.

After nine months of relentless assault by the Russians, a large swath of Ukraines critical infrastructure is decimated, leaving its residents without electricity, heat and water as temperatures have dropped to freezing levels. But one is hard-pressed to argue that Moscow is about to celebrate some kind of triumph.

Russia has lost some 100,000 personnel to death or injury; scores of military-age men and families have fled their homes to avoid mobilization, creating a major brain-drain; and Moscow is relying on Iran and North Korea for replenishing its diminishing weapons arsenal. And Putins grand plans to topple Kyiv are on hold, at best. So who is popping champagne corks as the brutal Russia-Ukraine war continues with no end in sight?

HAVING SIZED UP BIDEN, PUTIN INVADED UKRAINE; TAIWAN MUST PRAY XI DOESNT MAKE A SIMILAR ASSESSMENT

The winner is undoubtedly China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC in Beijing, capital of China, July 1, 2021. (Ju Peng/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Theres a shrewd Chinese allegory that captures the essence of Chinas thinking on this conflict: "As two tigers are fighting ferociously in the valley, a sage monkey is sitting on top of the mountain, looking down and waiting to see how it will end."

The two tigers are Russia and the United States, both considered by China to be its top adversaries. China is the wise monkey patiently waiting as Moscow and Washington are eroding their respective combat power, fighting a proxy war over control of Ukraine.

According to the Congressional Research Service, from 2014, when Russia first attacked Ukraine, annexing Crimea, through October 14, 2022, the United States has provided more than $20.3 billion in security assistance "to help Ukraine preserve its territorial integrity, secure its borders and improve interoperability with NATO."

This aid came in the form of training, equipment and advisory efforts to "enhance Ukraines defensive capabilities." The funds have been directed for logistics support, supplies and services; salaries and stipends; sustainment; weapons replacement; and intelligence support. But the fact that Washington spent more money in the nine months in Ukraine than it did in five years in Afghanistan for what essentially is an unwinnable war is not the main problem.

The issue is that the Pentagon is rapidly depleting the country's weapons stockpile to dangerous levels, eroding its own combat readiness. An unnamed defense official told the Wall Street Journal the stockpile of 155mm combat rounds in U.S. military storage has become "uncomfortably low," suggesting it wasnt sufficient "to go into combat."

The Biden administration has continued to fund Ukraine against Putin's invasion. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky | Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images | Getty)

Substantial aid was provided under Barack Obama, but the Trump Administration initiated the provision of lethal weapons firearms, ammunition, ordnance, laser, imaging and guidance equipment. The Biden Administration ramped up assistance to Ukraine to include sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars, Mark VI patrol boats, electronic warfare detection and secure communications, satellite imagery and analysis capability, counter-unmanned aerial systems (UAS), air surveillance systems, night vision devices and other equipment.

WHAT IS PUTIN THINKING? WHERE THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR STANDS NINE MONTHS AFTER INVASION

Washington has been sending greater and greater amounts of sophisticated military hardware to Kyiv since Feb. 24, when Putin assaulted Ukraine for the second time. As of Oct. 14, the U.S. sent 20 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and ammunition, with 18 HIMARS on the way.

A partial list also includes 8,500-plus Javelin anti-armor systems and 32,000-plus other anti-armor systems; 1,400-plus Stinger anti-aircraft systems; hundreds of armored Humvee vehicles and 440 mine resistant vehicles; 200 M113 armored personnel carriers; 10,000-plus grenade launchers and small arms; and untold amounts of communications and intelligence equipment.

The exact levels of U.S. weapons depletion as a result of supplying Ukraine is classified. But, by the Pentagons own admission, our military industrial production capacity is strained, with defense contractors unable to ramp up production fast enough to backfill U.S. weapons supplies.

Fighting in Ukraine has shifted to the eastern part of the country. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)

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Russias arsenal is similarly declining. Having launched some 4,000 missiles, Moscow is buying drones from Iran and artillery shells from North Korea. Its military industrial production capacity is hampered by sanctions, since Russia relies on foreign high-tech components like microchips, semiconductors, connectors, transistors and other parts for weapons development.

Chinas grand plan is to become the dominant world power by 2049, replacing the United States both economically and militarily. Xi has recently all but secured a life-long presidency, having won a third term as leader of the Chinese Communist Party. His aggressive rhetoric on the subject ofthe "One China" policy suggests he may choose to establish control overTaiwan by military forcein the near term rather than by gradual integration.

In this April 12, 2018, file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks after reviewing the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy fleet in the South China Sea. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP, File)

During a recent visit to Chinas armed forces operational command center,Xi directed Chinas military to be ready for war.

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"The entire military must concentrate all energy on fighting a war, direct all work towards warfare and speed up to build the ability to win," Xi said.

As the war in Ukraine depletes Moscow and Washingtons weaponry stocks, Xi is surely feeling better about such preparations. The time for the monkey to safely descend into the valley may be coming.

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Ukraine war: Why is Crimea so important to Russia and can Zelenskyy’s troops recapture it? – Sky News

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Ukraine war: Why is Crimea so important to Russia and can Zelenskyy's troops recapture it?  Sky News

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Russia’s battle in Ukraine rages on as the US announces new aid to defend against ‘illegal war’ – ABC Action News Tampa Bay

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Russia's battle in Ukraine rages on as the US announces new aid to defend against 'illegal war'  ABC Action News Tampa Bay

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Russia’s war in Ukraine: Live updates – CNN

Posted: November 21, 2022 at 2:55 am

  1. Russia's war in Ukraine: Live updates  CNN
  2. Ukraine Latest: Biden Says Missile Likely Not Fired From Russia  Bloomberg
  3. NATO and Poland Say Deadly Blast Was Likely Unintentional  The New York Times
  4. Poland missile unlikely to have been fired from Russia, Biden says  The Guardian US
  5. Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 266  Al Jazeera English
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

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NATO says Russia ‘ultimately responsible’ for deaths in Poland that may …

Posted: November 16, 2022 at 11:08 pm

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said a preliminary investigation suggested that the missile that fell in Poland and killed two on Tuesday was likely from Ukraines air defense system, but said Russia was "ultimately responsible" for the deaths.

"This is not Ukraine's fault," he told reporters. "Russia bears reasonability for what happened yesterday because this is a direct result for the ongoing war."

"Ukraine has the right to shoot down those missiles that target Ukrainian cities," he added.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at the NATO headquarters, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022 in Brussels. Ambassadors from the 30 NATO nations gathered in Brussels Wednesday for emergency talks after Poland said that a Russian-made missile fell on its territory, killing two people. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

POLISH PRESIDENT SAYS 'NO PROOF' MISSILE THAT LANDED IN NATO TERRITORY WAS FIRED BY RUSSIA

Concerns mounted Tuesday after one anonymous U.S. official told the Associated Press that a Russian missile landed in NATO territory and prompted leaders from the military alliance to scramble to discover what happened.

President Biden and Western leaders have repeatedly warned Russia against expanding its war effort in Europe have vowed to defend "every inch" of NATO territory sparking concern the missile strike could prompt a massive escalation.

Stoltenberg attempted to ease concerns regarding any attempt by Russia to purposely hit NATO nations and said the alliance has constant land, air and sea-based defense systems on alert.

But reporters questioned why the rocket that killed two yesterday was not blocked by one of these defenses.

A policeman talks to a driver on the street near the site where a missile strike killed two men in the eastern Poland village of Przewodow, near the border with war-ravaged Ukraine on Nov. 16, 2022. (WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

BIDEN SAYS MISSILE KILLING 2 PEOPLE IN POLAND WAS 'UNLIKELY' FIRED FROM RUSSIA IN 'MINDS OF THE TRAJECTORY'

"Attacks, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles have special characteristics which we follow and monitor and then we make a judgment whether its an attack or whether its something else," Stoltenberg told reporters. "That missile [didnt] have the characteristics of an attack."

Stoltenberg said that NATO allies offered their "deepest condolences on the tragic loss of life" during a Wednesday meeting, but held firm on their position in backing Kyiv.

"They expressed their strong solidarity with our valued ally Poland and made clear that we will continue to support Ukraine in its right to self-defense," he added. "Russia must stop this senseless war."

Members of the Police searching the fields near the village of Przewodow in the Lublin Voivodeship, seen on Nov. 16, 2022, in Przewodow, Poland. (Artur Widak/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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The NATO chief said defense leaders would address bolstering Ukrainian air defense systems in a meeting with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group Wednesday in an attempt to prevent further accidents of this nature, but also as Russia ramps up its air raids while its troops flag on the ground.

"The best way of preventing anything like this from happening again, is for Russia to stop this war," Stoltenberg concluded.

Caitlin McFall is a Reporter at Fox News Digital covering Politics, U.S. and World news.

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Geography of Russia – Wikipedia

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Geographers traditionally divide the vast territory of Russia into five natural zones: the tundra zone; the Taiga, or forest, zone; the steppe, or plains, zone; the arid zone; and the mountain zone. Most of Russia consists of two plains (the East European Plain and the West Siberian Plain), three lowlands (the North Siberian, the Central Yakutian and the East Siberian), two plateaus (the Central Siberian Plateau and the Lena Plateau), and two systems of mountainous areas (the East Siberian Mountains in far northeastern Siberia and the South Siberian Mountains along the southern border).

The East European Plain encompasses most of European Russia. The West Siberian Plain, which is the world's largest, extends east from the Urals to the Yenisei River. Because the terrain and vegetation are relatively uniform in each of the natural zones, Russia presents an illusion of uniformity. Nevertheless, Russian territory contains all the major vegetation zones of the world except a tropical rain forest.

The Russian Arctic stretches for close to 7,000 kilometres (4,300mi) west to east, from Karelia and the Kola Peninsula to Nenetsia, the Gulf of Ob, the Taymyr Peninsula and the Chukchi Peninsula (Kolyma, Anadyr River, Cape Dezhnev). Russian islands and archipelagos in the Arctic Sea include Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya, and the New Siberian Islands.

About 10 percent of Russia is tundra[17]a treeless, marshy plain. The tundra is Russia's northernmost zone, stretching from the Finnish border in the west to the Bering Strait in the east, then running south along the Pacific coast to the northern Kamchatka Peninsula. The zone is known for its herds of wild reindeer, for so-called white nights (dusk at midnight, dawn shortly thereafter) in summer, and for days of total darkness in winter. The long, harsh winters and lack of sunshine allow only mosses, lichens, and dwarf willows and shrubs to sprout low above the barren permafrost. Although several powerful Siberian rivers traverse this zone as they flow northward to the Arctic Ocean, partial and intermittent thawing hamper drainage of the numerous lakes, ponds, and swamps of the tundra. Frost weathering is the most important physical process here, gradually shaping a landscape that was severely modified by glaciation in the last ice age. Less than one percent of Russia's population lives in this zone. The fishing and port industries of the northwestern Kola Peninsula and the huge oil and gas fields of northwestern Siberia are the largest employers in the tundra. With a population of 180,000, the industrial frontier city of Norilsk is second in population to Murmansk among Russia's settlements above the Arctic Circle. From here you can also see the auroras (northern lights).

Taiga, the most extensive natural area of Russia, stretches from the western borders of Russia to the Pacific. It occupies the territory of the Eastern Europe and West Siberian plains to the north of N and most of the territory east of Yenisei River taiga forests reach the southern borders of Russia in Siberia taiga only accounts for over 60% of Russia. In the northsouth direction the eastern taiga is divided (east of the Yenisei River), with a continental climate, and west, with a milder climate, in general, the climate zone is moist, moderately warm (cool in the north) in the summer and harsh winter, there is a steady snow cover in the winter. In the latitudinal direction, the taiga is divided into three subzones - northern, middle and southern taiga. In the western taiga dense spruce and fir forests on wetlands alternate with pine forests, shrubs, and meadows on the lighter soils. Such vegetation is typical of the eastern taiga, but it plays an important role not fir and larch. Coniferous forest, however, does not form a continuous array and sparse areas of birch, alder, willow (mainly in river valleys), the wetlands - marshes. Within the taiga are widespread fur-bearing animals - sable, marten, ermine, moose, brown bear, Wolverine, wolf, and muskrat.[18]

In the taiga is dominated by podzolic and cryogenic taiga soils, characterized by clearly defined horizontal structure (only in the southern taiga there is sod-podzolic soil). Formed in a leaching regime and in poor humus. Groundwater is normally found in the forest close to the surface, washing calcium from the upper layers, resulting in the top layer of soil of the taiga being discolored and oxidized. Few areas of the taiga, suitable for farming, are located mainly in the European part of Russia. Large areas are occupied by sphagnum marshes (here is dominated by podzolic-boggy soil). To enrich the soil for agricultural purposes lime and other fertilizers should be used.

Russian Taiga has the world's largest reserves of coniferous wood, but from year to year - as a result of intensive logging - they decrease. Development of hunting, farming (mainly in river valleys).

The mixed and deciduous forest belt is triangular, widest along the western border and narrower towards the Ural Mountains. The main trees are Oak and Spruce, but many other growths of vegetation such as ash, aspen, birch, hornbeam, maple, and pine reside there. Separating the taiga from the wooded steppe is a narrow belt of birch and aspen woodland located east of the Urals as far as the Altay Mountains. Much of the forested zone has been cleared for agriculture, especially in European Russia. Wildlife is more scarce as a result of this, but the roe deer, wolf, fox, and squirrel are very common.

The steppe has long been depicted as the typical Russian landscape. It is a broad band of treeless, grassy plains, interrupted by mountain ranges, extending from Hungary across Ukraine, southern Russia, and Kazakhstan before ending in Manchuria. In a country of extremes, the steppe zone provides the most favorable conditions for human settlement and agriculture because of its moderate temperatures and normally adequate levels of sunshine and moisture. Even here, however, agricultural yields are sometimes adversely affected by unpredictable levels of precipitation and occasional catastrophic droughts. The soil is very dry.

Russia's mountain ranges are located principally along its continental dip (the Ural Mountains), along the southwestern border (the Caucasus), along the border with Mongolia (the eastern and western Sayan Mountains and the western extremity of the Altay Mountains), and in eastern Siberia (a complex system of ranges in the northeastern corner of the country and forming the spine of the Kamchatka Peninsula, and lesser mountains extending along the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan). Russia has nine major mountain ranges. In general, the eastern half of the country is much more mountainous than the western half, the interior of which is dominated by low plains. The traditional dividing line between the east and the west is the Yenisei River valley. In delineating the western edge of the Central Siberian Plateau from the West Siberian Plain, the Yenisey runs from near the Mongolian border northward into the Arctic Ocean west of the Taymyr Peninsula.

The Ural Mountains form the natural boundary between Europe and Asia; the range extends about 2,100 kilometres (1,300mi) from the Arctic Ocean to the northern border of Kazakhstan. Several low passes provide major transportation routes through the Urals eastward from Europe. The highest peak, Mount Narodnaya, is 1,894 metres (6,214ft). The Urals also contain valuable deposits of minerals.

To the east of the Urals is the West Siberian Plain, stretching about 1,900 kilometers from west to east and about 2,400 kilometers from north to south. With more than half its territory below 200 meters in elevation, the plain contains some of the world's largest swamps and floodplains. The plain is largely flat and featureless. The only slightly elevated areas are the Siberian Uvaly across the central part and the Ob Plateau in the south.[19] There are steppe areas in the southern part reaching into Kazakhstan, such as the Ishim Steppe with the Kamyshlov Log trench. Most of the plain's population lives in the drier section south of 77 north latitude.

The region directly east of the West Siberian Plain is the Central Siberian Plateau, which extends eastward from the Yenisei River valley to the Lena River valley. The region is divided into several plateaus, with elevations ranging between 320 and 740 meters; the highest elevation is about 1,800 meters, in the northern Putoran Mountains. The plain is bounded on the south by the Primorsky Range and the Baikal Mountains, and on the north by the North Siberian Lowland, an extension of the West Siberian Plain extending into the Taymyr Peninsula on the Arctic Ocean.

In the mountain system west of Lake Baikal in south-central Siberia, the highest elevations are 3,300 meters in the Western Sayan, 3,200 meters in the Eastern Sayan, and 4,500 meters at Belukha Mountain in the Altay Mountains. The Eastern Sayan reach nearly to the southern shore of Lake Baikal; at the lake, there is an elevation difference of more than 4,500 meters between the nearest mountain, 2,840 meters high, and the deepest part of the lake, which is 1,700 meters below sea level. The mountain systems east of Lake Baikal are lower, forming a complex of minor ranges and valleys that reaches from the lake to the Pacific coast. The maximum height of the Stanovoy Range, which runs west to east from northern Lake Baikal to the Sea of Okhotsk, is 2,550 meters. To the south of that range is southeastern Siberia, whose mountains reach 800 meters. Across the Strait of Tartary from that region is Sakhalin Island, Russia's largest island, where the highest elevation is about 1,700 meters. The small Moneron Island, the site of the shootdown of Korean Air Lines Flight 007, is found to its west.

Truly alpine terrain appears in the southern mountain ranges. Between the Black and Caspian seas, the Caucasus Mountains rise to impressive heights, forming a boundary between Europe and Asia. One of the peaks, Mount Elbrus, is the highest point in Europe, at 5,642 meters. The geological structure of the Caucasus extends to the northwest as the Crimean and Carpathian Mountains and southeastward into Central Asia as the Tian Shan and Pamirs. The Caucasus Mountains create an imposing natural barrier between Russia and its neighbors to the southwest, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Northeastern Siberia, north of the Stanovoy Range, is an extremely mountainous region. The long Kamchatka Peninsula, which juts southward into the Sea of Okhotsk, includes many volcanic peaks, some of which are still active. The highest is the 4,750-meter Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest point in the Russian Far East. The volcanic chain continues from the southern tip of Kamchatka southward through the Kuril Islands chain and into Japan. Kamchatka also is one of Russia's two centers of seismic activity (the other is the Caucasus). In 1995, a major earthquake largely destroyed the oil-processing town of Neftegorsk. Also located in this region is the very large Beyenchime-Salaatin crater.

Russia, home to over 100,000 rivers,[1] is divided into twenty watershed districts. It has one of the world's largest surface water resources, with its lakes containing approximately one-quarter of the world's liquid fresh water.[20] Russia is second only to Brazil by total renewable water resources.[21]

Forty of Russia's rivers longer than 1,000 kilometers are east of the Ural Mountains, including the three major rivers that drain Siberia as they flow northward to the Arctic Ocean: the Irtysh-Ob system (totaling 5,380 kilometers), the Yenisey (5,075 kilometers), and the Lena (4,294 kilometers), they are among the world's longest rivers.[22] The basins of those river systems cover about eight million square kilometers, discharging nearly 50,000 cubic meters of water per second into the Arctic Ocean. The northward flow of these rivers means that source areas thaw before the areas downstream, creating vast swamps such as the 48,000-square-kilometer Vasyugan Swamp in the center of the West Siberian Plain. The same is true of other river systems, including the Pechora and the Northern Dvina in western Russia, and the Kolyma and the Indigirka in Siberia. Approximately 10 percent of Russian territory is classified as swampland.

Russia's inland bodies of water are chiefly a legacy of extensive glaciation. Ladoga and Onega in northwestern Russia are two of the largest lakes in Europe.[1] However, Lake Baikal is the largest and most prominent among Russia's fresh water bodies, is the world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious fresh water lake, containing over one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.[23] Numerous smaller lakes dot northern Russia and Siberian plains. The largest of these are lakes Belozero, Topozero, Vygozero, and Ilmen in the country's northwest and Lake Chany in southwestern Siberia.

A number of other rivers drain Siberia from eastern mountain ranges into the Pacific Ocean. The Amur River and its main tributary, the Ussuri, form a long stretch of the winding boundary between Russia and China. The Amur system drains most of southeastern Siberia. Three basins drain European Russia. The Dnieper, which flows mainly through Belarus and Ukraine, has its headwaters in the hills west of Moscow. The 1,860-kilometer Don, which is the fifth-longest river in Europe, originates in the Central Russian Upland south of Moscow and then flows into the Sea of Azov at Rostov-on-Don. The Volga, widely seen as Russia's national river due to its historical and cultural importance, is the longest river in Europe,[22] it rises in the Valdai Hills west of Moscow and meandering southeastward for 3,510 kilometers before emptying into the Caspian Sea. Altogether, the Volga system drains about 1.4 million square kilometers. Linked by several canals, western Russia's rivers long have been a vital transportation system; the Volga remains the country's most commercial river, and carries about two-thirds of Russia's inland water traffic.

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Russia retreats from Kherson. Why is the U.S. nudging Ukraine on peace …

Posted: at 11:08 pm

An elderly woman walks in the southern Ukrainian village of Arkhanhelske, outside Kherson, on Nov. 3. The Russians occupied the village until recently. Now Ukrainian forces are moving into villages where the Russians left. The Russians said they completed their withdrawal from Kherson on Friday, marking a major victory for Ukraine. Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

An elderly woman walks in the southern Ukrainian village of Arkhanhelske, outside Kherson, on Nov. 3. The Russians occupied the village until recently. Now Ukrainian forces are moving into villages where the Russians left. The Russians said they completed their withdrawal from Kherson on Friday, marking a major victory for Ukraine.

Russia announced Friday morning that it has withdrawn all its troops from the key southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, marking another big setback for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

This is the latest military success for Ukraine since it launched a major offensive more than two months ago, giving it the clear momentum on the battlefield.

Yet President Biden and his top advisers are now nudging Ukraine to show a greater willingness to consider peace talks with Russia.

"There has to be a mutual recognition that military victory is probably, in the true sense of the word, not achievable through military means, and therefore you need to turn to other means," Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday.

"When there's an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it," Milley told the Economic Club of New York.

The general is among several administration officials to make remarks along these lines in recent days. U.S. officials say they are not forcing Ukraine into talks, or dictating any potential outcome.

At a news conference Wednesday, President Biden reiterated his position that the United States is "not going to tell [Ukraine] what they have to do."

The president also said Russia's withdrawal from Kherson is evidence of "some real problems with the Russian military."

He went on to say that the warring sides may recalibrate their positions over the winter, when the fighting is expected to slow. And, Biden added, "it remains to be seen whether or not there'll be a judgment made as to whether or not Ukraine is prepared to compromise with Russia."

U.S. officials acknowledge that neither Ukraine nor Russia appear ready to hold serious negotiations. But the Americans would like Ukraine to ease its adamant opposition to talks with Russia, believing negotiations will be required at some point.

Russia and Ukraine held a few brief rounds of talks shortly after Russia invaded in February. But the discussions went nowhere, quickly broke down, and there's been no sign they're about to restart.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this week repeated the his conditions before negotiations could take place. He said all Russian forces must leave Ukraine, Russia must pay damages caused by the war, Moscow must punish war criminals, and there must be guarantees that Russia will never invade again.

"We have proposed negotiations numerous times, to which we always received crazy Russian responses, terrorist attacks, shellings or blackmail," the Ukrainian president said.

When Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions in September, Zelenskyy said he would never negotiate with Putin.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Wednesday that Russia was withdrawing its forces from the key southern city of Kherson. The Defense Ministry said Friday that the pullout was complete. Shoigu is shown here attending an Oct. 28 meeting outside Moscow. Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Wednesday that Russia was withdrawing its forces from the key southern city of Kherson. The Defense Ministry said Friday that the pullout was complete. Shoigu is shown here attending an Oct. 28 meeting outside Moscow.

"We will negotiate with the next Russian president," he said.

Zelenskyy made no mention of Putin in his most recent remarks, and some observers interpreted this as a slight shift in Ukraine's position, even if it wasn't stated explicitly.

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Russia is "ready for negotiations, taking into consideration the realities formed at a current moment."

However, she did not offer any compromises that Russia might be willing to make.

Ukrainians say this follows a familiar pattern, with Russia offering to negotiate or take a pause when it is doing poorly and looking for a chance to regroup militarily.

Kherson was one of Russia's few successes in the war. Russian forces faced virtually no resistance in the first days of the war as they captured the city on the Dnipro River.

This was seen as part of a broader Russian effort to take control of Ukraine's entire Black Sea coast, which is used to export the country's agricultural products, the foundation of its economy.

Now the Russians have left Kherson without a fight, though the move was clearly in response to Ukrainian forces that had been steadily advancing toward the city for the past two months.

Analysts say no such move could be made without Putin's approval, though the Russian leader has yet to comment publicly.

This is the third major retreat by Russian troops this year.

A large Russian force approached the capital Kyiv, the country's largest city, in the first days of the war in February, but pulled back a month later at the end of March.

The Russians also neared the second largest city, Kharkiv, in the north, before pulling back in May.

Despite Russia's withdrawal announcement, Ukrainians are still proceeding cautiously, wary of any possible Russian traps.

Zelenskyy said Ukrainian troops have reclaimed more than 40 villages in the southern part of the country as they move toward Kherson. However, neither Zelenskyy nor other top officials have commented on the status of Kherson city itself.

On social media, meanwhile, many Ukrainians were already celebrating.

In several villages, videos showed eldering residents, who had been under Russian occupation for months, greeting the Ukrainian soldiers with hugs, kisses and tears.

One video showed a young woman playing a violin in the street as soldiers drove up to her.

And a photo from Kherson showed a Ukrainian flag raised at the city's main government building. There was no word on who raised it, though plenty of speculation that it was the work of a Ukrainian civilian who had remained in the city during the Russian occupation.

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Blast in Poland shows how easily Russia’s war could tip into wider conflict with NATO – CNN

Posted: at 11:08 pm

  1. Blast in Poland shows how easily Russia's war could tip into wider conflict with NATO  CNN
  2. Russian-made missile kills 2 in Poland, official says; Half of Kyiv loses power after missile strikes  CNBC
  3. US and Russia clash over responsibility for missile strike  The Associated Press - en Espaol
  4. Russia under fire over Ukraine missile attacks, Poland deaths  Al Jazeera English
  5. Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Despite reports Ukrainian defense likely caused fatal explosion, NATO blames Russia  The Washington Post
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

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Russia – Wikipedia

Posted: October 25, 2022 at 9:17 pm

Russia (Russian: , tr. Rossiya, pronounced[rsij]) or the Russian Federation,[c] is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, covering over 17,098,246 square kilometres (6,601,670sqmi), and encompassing one-eighth of Earth's inhabitable landmass. Russia extends across eleven time zones sharing land boundaries with fourteen countries,[15] more than any other country but China.[d] It is the ninth-most populous country in the world and the most populous country in Europe, with a population of 146 million. The country's capital and largest city is Moscow, the largest city entirely within Europe. Saint Petersburg is Russia's cultural centre and second-largest city. Other major urban areas include Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan.

Russian Federation

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2022 estimate

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The East Slavs emerged as a recognisable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries CE. The medieval state of Kievan Rus' arose in the 9th century, and in 988 adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. Rus' ultimately disintegrated, with the Grand Duchy of Moscow growing to become the Tsardom of Russia. By the early 18th century, Russia had vastly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third-largest empire in history. The monarchy was abolished following the Russian Revolution in 1917, and the Russian SFSR became the world's first constitutionally socialist state. Following a civil war, the Russian SFSR established the Soviet Union with three other republics, as its largest and the principal constituent. The country underwent a period of rapid industrialisation at the expense of millions of lives. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and was a 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 human into space.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the newly independent Russian SFSR renamed itself the Russian Federation. In the aftermath of the constitutional crisis of 1993, a new constitution was adopted, and Russia has since been governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Since his election in 2000, Vladimir Putin has dominated Russia's political system and Russia has experienced democratic backsliding, shifting into an authoritarian state. Russia ranks high in international measurements of standard of living, household income and education; having universal healthcare and a free university education. However, Russia also ranks low in measurements of human rights, freedom of the press, economic freedom, and has high levels of perceived corruption.

The Russian economy is the world's ninth-largest by nominal GDP and the sixth-largest by PPP. It has the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, with the fifth-highest military expenditure. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the world's largest, and it is among the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the G20, the SCO, BRICS, the APEC, the OSCE and the WTO, as well as the leading member of the CIS, the CSTO, and the EAEU. Russia is home to 30 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated primarily by the East Slavs.[16] However, the proper name[which?] became more prominent in later history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants "Rus land".[17] This state is denoted as Kievan Rus' after its capital city by modern historiography. The name Rus' itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, a group of Norse merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centred on Novgorod that later became Kievan Rus'.[18]

A Medieval Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia, which was used as one of several designations for East Slavic and Eastern Orthodox regions, and commonly as a designation for the lands of Rus'.[19] The current name of the country, (Rossiya), comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Rossa spelled (Rosa pronounced[rosia]) in Modern Greek.[20] The standard way to refer to the citizens of Russia is "Russians" in English.[21] There are two words in Russian which are commonly translated into English as "Russians" one is "" (russkiye), which most often refers to ethnic Russians and the other is "" (rossiyane), which refers to citizens of Russia, regardless of ethnicity.[22]

The first human settlement on Russia dates back to the Oldowan period in the early Lower Paleolithic. About 2 million years ago, representatives of Homo erectus migrated to the Taman Peninsula in southern Russia.[23] Flint tools, some 1.5 million years old, have been discovered in the North Caucasus.[24] Radiocarbon dated specimens from Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains estimate the oldest Denisovan specimen lived 195122,700 years ago.[25] Fossils of "Denny", an archaic human hybrid that was half Neanderthal and half Denisovan, and lived some 90,000 years ago, was also found within the latter cave.[26] Russia was home to some of the last surviving Neanderthals, from about 45,000 years ago, found in Mezmaiskaya cave.[27]

The first trace of an early modern human in Russia dates back to 45,000 years, in western Siberia.[28] The discovery of high concentration cultural remains of anatomically modern humans, from at least 40,000 years ago, was found at Kostyonki and Borshchyovo,[29] and at Sungir, dating back to 34,600 years agoboth, respectively in western Russia.[30] Humans reached Arctic Russia at least 40,000 years ago, in Mamontovaya Kurya.[31]

The Kurgan hypothesis places the Volga-Dnieper region of southern Russia and Ukraine as the urheimat of the Proto-Indo-Europeans.[33] Early Indo-European migrations from the PonticCaspian steppe spread Yamnaya ancestry and Indo-European languages across large parts of Eurasia.[34][35] Nomadic pastoralism developed in the PonticCaspian steppe beginning in the Chalcolithic.[36] Remnants of these steppe civilizations were discovered in places such as Ipatovo,[36] Sintashta,[37] Arkaim,[38] and Pazyryk,[39] which bear the earliest known traces of horses in warfare.[37] The genetic makeup of speakers of the Uralic language family in northern Europe was shaped by migration from Siberia that began at least 3,500 years ago.[40] In classical antiquity, the Pontic-Caspian Steppe was known as Scythia.[41] In late 8th century BCE, Ancient Greek traders brought classical civilization to the trade emporiums in Tanais and Phanagoria.[42]

In the 3rd to 4th centuries CE, the Gothic kingdom of Oium existed in Southern Russia, which was later overrun by Huns.[43] Between the 3rd and 6th centuries CE, the Bosporan Kingdom, which was a Hellenistic polity that succeeded the Greek colonies,[44] was also overwhelmed by nomadic invasions led by warlike tribes such as the Huns and Eurasian Avars.[45] The Khazars, who were of Turkic origin, ruled the lower Volga basin steppes between the Caspian and Black Seas until the 10th century.[46] After them came the Pechenegs who created a large confederacy, which was subsequently taken over by the Cumans and the Kipchaks.[47]

The ancestors of Russians are among the Slavic tribes that separated from the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who appeared in the northeastern part of Europe ca. 1500years ago.[48] The East Slavs gradually settled western Russia in two waves: one moving from Kiev towards present-day Suzdal and Murom and another from Polotsk towards Novgorod and Rostov. From the 7th century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in western Russia,[49] and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finnic peoples.[43]

The establishment of the first East Slavic states in the 9th century coincided with the arrival of Varangians, the Vikings who ventured along the waterways extending from the eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas.[50] According to the Primary Chronicle, a Varangian from the Rus' people, named Rurik, was elected ruler of Novgorod in 862. In 882, his successor Oleg ventured south and conquered Kiev, which had been previously paying tribute to the Khazars.[43] Rurik's son Igor and Igor's son Sviatoslav subsequently subdued all local East Slavic tribes to Kievan rule, destroyed the Khazar Khaganate,[51] and launched several military expeditions to Byzantium and Persia.[52][53]

In the 10th to 11th centuries, Kievan Rus' became one of the largest and most prosperous states in Europe. The reigns of Vladimir the Great (9801015) and his son Yaroslav the Wise (10191054) constitute the Golden Age of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium, and the creation of the first East Slavic written legal code, the Russkaya Pravda.[43] The age of feudalism and decentralization had come, marked by constant in-fighting between members of the Rurik dynasty that ruled Kievan Rus' collectively. Kiev's dominance waned, to the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, the Novgorod Republic in the north, and Galicia-Volhynia in the south-west.[43] By the 12th century, Kiev lost its pre-eminence and Kievan Rus' had fragmented into different principalities.[54] Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky sacked Kiev in 1169 and made Vladimir his base,[54] leading to political power being shifted to the north-east.[43]

Kievan Rus' finally fell to the Mongol invasion of 12371240, which resulted in the sacking of Kiev and other cities, as well as the death of a major part of the population.[43] 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 two centuries.[55] Only the Novgorod Republic escaped Mongol occupation after it agreed to pay tribute.[43]

Galicia-Volhynia was eventually absorbed by Lithuania and Poland,[43] while the Novgorod Republic and Vladimir-Suzdal, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, established the basis for the modern Russian nation.[43] Led by Prince Alexander Nevsky, Novgorodians repelled the invading Swedes in the Battle of the Neva in 1240,[56] as well as the Germanic crusaders in the Battle of the Ice in 1242.[57]

The destruction of Kievan Rus' saw the eventual rise of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, initially a part of Vladimir-Suzdal.[58]:1120 While still under the domain of the Mongol-Tatars and with their connivance, Moscow began to assert its influence in the region in the early 14th century,[59] gradually becoming the leading force in the "gathering of the Russian lands".[60] When the seat of the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church moved to Moscow in 1325, its influence increased.[61] Moscow's last rival, the Novgorod Republic, prospered as the chief fur trade centre and the easternmost port of the Hanseatic League.[62]

Led by Prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow, the united army of Russian principalities inflicted a milestone defeat on the Mongol-Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.[43] Moscow gradually absorbed its parent duchy and surrounding principalities, including formerly strong rivals such as Tver and Novgorod.[60]

IvanIII ("the Great") finally threw off the control of the Golden Horde and consolidated the whole of northern Rus' under Moscow's dominion, and was the first Russian ruler to take the title "Grand Duke of all Rus'". After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Moscow claimed succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire. IvanIII married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor ConstantineXI, and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle his own, and eventually Russia's, coat-of-arms.[60] Vasili III completed the task of uniting all of Russia by annexing the last few independent Russian states in the early 16th century.[63]

In development of the Third Rome ideas, the grand duke IvanIV ("the Terrible") was officially crowned the first tsar of Russia in 1547. The tsar promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550), established the first Russian feudal representative body (the Zemsky Sobor), revamped the military, curbed the influence of the clergy, and reorganised local government.[60] During his long reign, Ivan nearly doubled the already large Russian territory by annexing the three Tatar khanates: Kazan and Astrakhan along the Volga,[64] and the Khanate of Sibir in southwestern Siberia. Ultimately, by the end of the 16th century, Russia expanded east of the Ural Mountains.[65] However, the Tsardom was weakened by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War against the coalition of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (later the united PolishLithuanian Commonwealth), the Kingdom of Sweden, and DenmarkNorway for access to the Baltic coast and sea trade.[66] In 1572, an invading army of Crimean Tatars were thoroughly defeated in the crucial Battle of Molodi.[67]

The death of Ivan's sons marked the end of the ancient Rurik dynasty in 1598, and in combination with the disastrous famine of 16011603, led to a civil war, the rule of pretenders, and foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles in the early 17th century.[68] The PolishLithuanian Commonwealth, taking advantage, occupied parts of Russia, extending into the capital Moscow.[69] In 1612, the Poles were forced to retreat by the Russian volunteer corps, led by merchant Kuzma Minin and prince Dmitry Pozharsky.[70] The Romanov dynasty acceded to the throne in 1613 by the decision of the Zemsky Sobor, and the country started its gradual recovery from the crisis.[71]

Russia continued its territorial growth through the 17th century, which was the age of the Cossacks.[72] In 1654, the Ukrainian leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, offered to place Ukraine under the protection of the Russian tsar, Alexis; whose acceptance of this offer led to another Russo-Polish War. Ultimately, Ukraine was split along the Dnieper, leaving the eastern part, (Left-bank Ukraine and Kiev) under Russian rule.[73] In the east, the rapid Russian exploration and colonisation of vast Siberia continued, hunting for valuable furs and ivory. Russian explorers pushed eastward primarily along the Siberian River Routes, and by the mid-17th century, there were Russian settlements in eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula, along the Amur River, and on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.[72] In 1648, Semyon Dezhnyov became the first European to navigate through the Bering Strait.[74]

Under Peter the Great, Russia was proclaimed an empire in 1721, and established itself as one of the European great powers. Ruling from 1682 to 1725, Peter defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War (17001721), securing Russia's access to the sea and sea trade. In 1703, on the Baltic Sea, Peter founded Saint Petersburg as Russia's new capital. Throughout his rule, sweeping reforms were made, which brought significant Western European cultural influences to Russia.[75] The reign of PeterI's daughter Elizabeth in 17411762 saw Russia's participation in the Seven Years' War (17561763). During the conflict, Russian troops overran East Prussia, reaching Berlin.[76] However, upon Elizabeth's death, all these conquests were returned to the Kingdom of Prussia by pro-Prussian PeterIII of Russia.[77]

CatherineII ("the Great"), who ruled in 17621796, presided over the Russian Age of Enlightenment. She extended Russian political control over the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth and annexed most of its territories into Russia, making it the most populous country in Europe.[78] In the south, after the successful Russo-Turkish Wars against the Ottoman Empire, Catherine advanced Russia's boundary to the Black Sea, by dissolving the Crimean Khanate, and annexing Crimea.[79] As a result of victories over Qajar Iran through the Russo-Persian Wars, by the first half of the 19th century, Russia also conquered the Caucasus.[80] Catherine's successor, her son Paul, was unstable and focused predominantly on domestic issues.[81] Following his short reign, Catherine's strategy was continued with AlexanderI's (18011825) wresting of Finland from the weakened Sweden in 1809,[82] and of Bessarabia from the Ottomans in 1812.[83] In North America, the Russians became the first Europeans to reach and colonise Alaska.[84] In 18031806, the first Russian circumnavigation was made.[85] In 1820, a Russian expedition discovered the continent of Antarctica.[86]

During the Napoleonic Wars, Russia joined alliances with various European powers, and fought against France. The French invasion of Russia at the height of Napoleon's power in 1812 reached Moscow, but eventually failed miserably as the obstinate resistance in combination with the bitterly cold Russian winter led to a disastrous defeat of invaders, in which the pan-European Grande Arme faced utter destruction. Led by Mikhail Kutuzov and Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly, the Imperial Russian Army ousted Napoleon and drove throughout Europe in the War of the Sixth Coalition, ultimately entering Paris.[87] AlexanderI controlled Russia's delegation at the Congress of Vienna, which defined the map of post-Napoleonic Europe.[88]

The officers who pursued Napoleon into Western Europe brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia, and attempted to curtail the tsar's powers during the abortive Decembrist revolt of 1825.[89] At the end of the conservative reign of Nicholas I (18251855), a zenith period of Russia's power and influence in Europe, was disrupted by defeat in the Crimean War.[90] Nicholas's successor AlexanderII (18551881) enacted significant changes throughout the country, including the emancipation reform of 1861.[91] These reforms spurred industrialisation, and modernised the Imperial Russian Army, which liberated much of the Balkans from Ottoman rule in the aftermath of the 18771878 Russo-Turkish War.[92] During most of the 19th and early 20th century, Russia and Britain colluded over Afghanistan and its neighboring territories in Central and South Asia; the rivalry between the two major European empires came to be known as the Great Game.[93]

The late 19th century saw the rise of various socialist movements in Russia. AlexanderII was assassinated in 1881 by revolutionary terrorists.[94] The reign of his son AlexanderIII (18811894) was less liberal but more peaceful.[95] Under last Russian emperor, NicholasII (18941917), the Revolution of 1905 was triggered by the failure of the humiliating Russo-Japanese War.[96] The uprising was put down, but the government was forced to concede major reforms (Russian Constitution of 1906), including granting freedoms of speech and assembly, the legalisation of political parties, and the creation of an elected legislative body, the State Duma.[97]

In 1914, Russia entered World WarI in response to Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Russia's ally Serbia,[98] and fought across multiple fronts while isolated from its Triple Entente allies.[99] In 1916, the Brusilov Offensive of the Imperial Russian Army almost completely destroyed the Austro-Hungarian Army.[100] However, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was deepened by the rising costs of war, high casualties, and rumors of corruption and treason. All this formed the climate for the Russian Revolution of 1917, carried out in two major acts.[101] In early 1917, Nicholas II was forced to abdicate; he and his family were imprisoned and later executed in Yekaterinburg during the Russian Civil War.[102] The monarchy was replaced by a shaky coalition of political parties that declared itself the Provisional Government.[103] The Provisional Government proclaimed the Russian Republic in September. On 19 January [O.S. 6 January], 1918, the Russian Constituent Assembly declared Russia a democratic federal republic (thus ratifying the Provisional Government's decision). The next day the Constituent Assembly was dissolved by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.[101]

An alternative socialist establishment co-existed, the Petrograd Soviet, wielding power through the democratically elected councils of workers and peasants, called Soviets. The rule of the new authorities only aggravated the crisis in the country instead of resolving it, and eventually, the October Revolution, led by Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government and gave full governing power to the Soviets, leading to the creation of the world's first socialist state.[101] The Russian Civil War broke out between the anti-communist White movement and the new Soviet regime with its Red Army.[104] In the aftermath of signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that concluded hostilities with the Central Powers of World WarI; Bolshevist Russia surrendered most of its western territories, which hosted 34% of its population, 54% of its industries, 32% of its agricultural land, and roughly 90% of its coal mines.[105]

The Allied powers launched an unsuccessful military intervention in support of anti-communist forces.[106] In the meantime, 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.[107] By the end of the violent civil war, Russia's economy and infrastructure were heavily damaged, and as many as 10 million perished during the war, mostly civilians.[108] Millions became White migrs,[109] and the Russian famine of 19211922 claimed up to fivemillion victims.[110]

On 30 December 1922, Lenin and his aides formed the Soviet Union, by joining the Russian SFSR into a single state with the Byelorussian, Transcaucasian, and Ukrainian republics.[111] Eventually internal border changes and annexations during World War II created a union of 15 republics; the largest in size and population being the Russian SFSR, which dominated the union for its entire history politically, culturally, and economically.[112] Following Lenin's death in 1924, a troika was designated to take charge. Eventually Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party, managed to suppress all opposition factions and consolidate power in his hands to become the country's dictator by the 1930s.[113] Leon Trotsky, the main proponent of world revolution, was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929,[114] and Stalin's idea of Socialism in One Country became the official line.[115] The continued internal struggle in the Bolshevik party culminated in the Great Purge.[116]

Under Stalin's leadership, the government launched a command economy, industrialisation of the largely rural country, and collectivisation of its agriculture. During this period of rapid economic and social change, millions of people were sent to penal labor camps, including many political convicts for their suspected or real opposition to Stalin's rule;[117] and millions were deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union.[118] The transitional disorganisation of the country's agriculture, combined with the harsh state policies and a drought, led to the Soviet famine of 19321933; which killed up to 8.7 million.[119] The Soviet Union, ultimately, made the costly transformation from a largely agrarian economy to a major industrial powerhouse within a short span of time.[120]

The Soviet Union entered World War II on 17 September 1939 with its invasion of Poland,[121] in accordance with a secret protocol within the MolotovRibbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany.[122] The Soviet Union later invaded Finland,[123] and occupied and annexed the Baltic states,[124] as well as parts of Romania.[125]:9195 On 22 June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union,[126] opening the Eastern Front, the largest theater of World WarII.[127]:7

Eventually, some 5 million Red Army troops were captured by the Nazis;[128]:272 the latter deliberately starved to death or otherwise killed 3.3million Soviet POWs, and a vast number of civilians, as the "Hunger Plan" sought to fulfill Generalplan Ost.[129]:175186 Although the Wehrmacht had considerable early success, their attack was halted in the Battle of Moscow.[130] Subsequently, the Germans were dealt major defeats first at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 19421943,[131] and then in the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943.[132] Another German failure was the Siege of Leningrad, in which the city was fully blockaded on land between 1941 and 1944 by German and Finnish forces, and suffered starvation and more than a million deaths, but never surrendered.[133] Soviet forces steamrolled through Eastern and Central Europe in 19441945 and captured Berlin in May 1945.[134] In August 1945, the Red Army invaded Manchuria and ousted the Japanese from Northeast Asia, contributing to the Allied victory over Japan.[135]

The 19411945 period of World WarII is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War.[136] The Soviet Union, along with the United States, the United Kingdom and China were considered the Big Four of Allied powers in World War II, and later became the Four Policemen, which was the foundation of the United Nations Security Council.[137]:27 During the war, Soviet civilian and military death were about 2627 million,[138] accounting for about half of all World WarII casualties.[139]:295 The Soviet economy and infrastructure suffered massive devastation, which caused the Soviet famine of 19461947.[140] However, at the expense of a large sacrifice, the Soviet Union emerged as a global superpower.[141]

After World War II, parts of Eastern and Central Europe, including East Germany and eastern parts of Austria were occupied by Red Army according to the Potsdam Conference.[142] Dependent communist governments were installed in the Eastern Bloc satellite states.[143] After becoming the world's second nuclear power,[144] the Soviet Union established the Warsaw Pact alliance,[145] and entered into a struggle for global dominance, known as the Cold War, with the rivaling United States and NATO.[146] After Stalin's death in 1953 and a short period of collective rule, the new leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin and launched the policy of de-Stalinization, releasing many political prisoners from the Gulag labor camps.[147] The general easement of repressive policies became known later as the Khrushchev Thaw.[148] At the same time, Cold War tensions reached its peak when the two rivals clashed over the deployment of the United States Jupiter missiles in Turkey and Soviet missiles in Cuba.[149]

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik1, thus starting the Space Age.[150] Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth, aboard the Vostok1 manned spacecraft on 12 April 1961.[151] Following the ousting of Khrushchev in 1964, another period of collective rule ensued, until Leonid Brezhnev became the leader. The era of the 1970s and the early 1980s was later designated as the Era of Stagnation. The 1965 Kosygin reform aimed for partial decentralisation of the Soviet economy.[152] In 1979, after a communist-led revolution in Afghanistan, Soviet forces invaded the country, ultimately starting the SovietAfghan War.[153] In May 1988, the Soviets started to withdraw from Afghanistan, due to international opposition, persistent anti-Soviet guerrilla warfare, and a lack of support by Soviet citizens.[154]

From 1985 onwards, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who sought to enact liberal reforms in the Soviet system, introduced the policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to end the period of economic stagnation and to democratise the government.[155] This, however, led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements across the country.[156] Prior to 1991, the Soviet economy was the world's second-largest, but during its final years, it went into a crisis.[157]

By 1991, economic and political turmoil began to boil over as the Baltic states chose to secede from the Soviet Union.[158] On 17 March, a referendum was held, in which the vast majority of participating citizens voted in favour of changing the Soviet Union into a renewed federation.[159] In June 1991, Boris Yeltsin became the first directly elected president in Russian history when he was elected president of the Russian SFSR.[160] In August 1991, a coup d'tat attempt by members of Gorbachev's government, directed against Gorbachev and aimed at preserving the Soviet Union, instead led to the end of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[161] On 25 December 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, along with contemporary Russia, fourteen other post-Soviet states emerged.[162]

The economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union led Russia into a deep and prolonged depression. During and after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, wide-ranging reforms including privatisation and market and trade liberalisation were undertaken, including radical changes along the lines of "shock therapy".[163] The privatisation largely shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to individuals with inside connections in the government, which led to the rise of the infamous Russian oligarchs.[164] Many of the newly rich moved billions in cash and assets outside of the country in an enormous capital flight.[165] The depression of the economy led to the collapse of social servicesthe birth rate plummeted while the death rate skyrocketed,[166][167] and millions plunged into poverty;[168] while extreme corruption,[169] as well as criminal gangs and organised crime rose significantly.[170]

In late 1993, tensions between Yeltsin and the Russian parliament culminated in a constitutional crisis which ended violently through military force. During the crisis, Yeltsin was backed by Western governments, and over 100 people were killed.[171] In December, a referendum was held and approved, which introduced a new constitution, giving the president enormous powers.[172] The 1990s were plagued by armed conflicts in the North Caucasus, both local ethnic skirmishes and separatist Islamist insurrections.[173] From the time Chechen separatists declared independence in the early 1990s, an intermittent guerrilla war was fought between the rebel groups and Russian forces.[174] Terrorist attacks against civilians were carried out by Chechen separatists, claiming the lives of thousands of Russian civilians.[e][175]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia assumed responsibility for settling the latter's external debts.[176] In 1992, most consumer price controls were eliminated, causing extreme inflation and significantly devaluing the ruble.[177] High budget deficits coupled with increasing capital flight and inability to pay back debts, caused the 1998 Russian financial crisis, which resulted in a further GDP decline.[178]

In 1999, president Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned, handing the post to the recently appointed prime minister and his chosen successor, Vladimir Putin.[179] Putin then won the 2000 presidential election,[180] and defeated the Chechen insurgency in the Second Chechen War.[181] Putin won a second presidential term in 2004.[182] High oil prices and a rise in foreign investment saw the Russian economy and living standards improve significantly.[183] Putin's rule increased stability, while transforming Russia into an authoritarian state.[184] In 2008, Putin took the post of prime minister, while Dmitry Medvedev was elected president for one term, to hold onto power despite legal term limits;[185] this period has been described as a "tandemocracy."[186]

Following a diplomatic crisis with neighboring Georgia, the Russo-Georgian War took place during 112 August 2008, resulting in Russia imposing two unrecognised states in the occupied territories of Georgia. It was the first European war of the 21st century.[187] In 2014, following a revolution in Ukraine, Russia invaded and annexed the neighboring country's Crimean peninsula,[188] and contributed to the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine with direct intervention by Russian troops.[189] Russia steeply escalated the war by launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.[190] The invasion marked the largest conventional war in Europe since World WarII,[191] and was met with widespread international condemnation,[192] as well as expanded sanctions against Russia.[193] As a result, Russia was expelled from the Council of Europe in March,[194] and was suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council in April.[195] In September 2022, Putin proclaimed the annexation of 15% of Ukraine's landmass in its Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions, the largest seizure attempted in Europe since World WarII.[196]

Russia's vast landmass stretches over the easternmost part of Europe and the northernmost part of Asia.[197] It spans the northernmost edge of Eurasia; and has the world's fourth-longest coastline, of over 37,653km (23,396mi).[f][199] Russia lies between latitudes 41 and 82 N, and longitudes 19 E and 169 W, extending some 9,000km (5,600mi) east to west, and 2,500 to 4,000km (1,600 to 2,500mi) north to south.[200] Russia, by landmass, is larger than three continents,[g] and has the same surface area as Pluto.[201]

Russia has nine major mountain ranges, and they are found along the southernmost regions, which share a significant portion of the Caucasus Mountains (containing Mount Elbrus, which at 5,642m (18,510ft) is the highest peak in Russia and Europe);[6] the Altai and Sayan Mountains in Siberia; and in the East Siberian Mountains and the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East (containing Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which at 4,750m (15,584ft) is the highest active volcano in Eurasia).[202][203] The Ural Mountains, running north to south through the country's west, are rich in mineral resources, and form the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia.[204] The lowest point in Russia and Europe, is situated at the head of the Caspian Sea, where the Caspian Depression reaches some 29 metres (95.1ft) below sea level.[205]

Russia, as one of the world's only three countries bordering three oceans,[197] has links with a great number of seas.[h][206] Its major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land, Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island, the Kuril Islands, and Sakhalin.[207][208] The Diomede Islands, administered by Russia and the United States, are just 3.8km (2.4mi) apart;[209] and Kunashir Island of the Kuril Islands is merely 20km (12.4mi) from Hokkaido, Japan.[2]

Russia, home of over 100,000 rivers,[197] has one of the world's largest surface water resources, with its lakes containing approximately one-quarter of the world's liquid fresh water.[203] Lake Baikal, the largest and most prominent among Russia's fresh water bodies, is the world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious fresh water lake, containing over one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.[210] Ladoga and Onega in northwestern Russia are two of the largest lakes in Europe.[197] Russia is second only to Brazil by total renewable water resources.[211] The Volga in western Russia, widely regarded as Russia's national river, is the longest river in Europe; and forms the Volga Delta, the largest river delta in the continent.[212] The Siberian rivers of Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Amur are among the world's longest rivers.[213]

The size of Russia and the remoteness of many of its areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental climate throughout most of the country, except for the tundra and the extreme southwest. Mountain ranges in the south and east obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian and Pacific oceans, while the European Plain spanning its west and north opens it to influence from the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.[214] Most of northwest Russia and Siberia have a subarctic climate, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of northeast Siberia (mostly Sakha, where the Northern Pole of Cold is located with the record low temperature of 71.2C or 96.2F),[207] and more moderate winters elsewhere. Russia's vast coastline along the Arctic Ocean and the Russian Arctic islands have a polar climate.[214]

The coastal part of Krasnodar Krai on the Black Sea, most notably Sochi, and some coastal and interior strips of the North Caucasus possess a humid subtropical climate with mild and wet winters.[214] In many regions of East Siberia and the Russian Far East, winter is dry compared to summer; while other parts of the country experience more even precipitation across seasons. Winter precipitation in most parts of the country usually falls as snow. The westernmost parts of Kaliningrad Oblast and some parts in the south of Krasnodar Krai and the North Caucasus have an oceanic climate.[214] The region along the Lower Volga and Caspian Sea coast, as well as some southernmost slivers of Siberia, possess a semi-arid climate.[215]

Throughout much of the territory, there are only two distinct seasons, winter and summer; as spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low and extremely high temperatures.[214] The coldest month is January (February on the coastline); the warmest is usually July. Great ranges of temperature are typical. In winter, temperatures get colder both from south to north and from west to east. Summers can be quite hot, even in Siberia.[216] Climate change in Russia is causing more frequent wildfires,[217] and thawing the country's large expanse of permafrost.[218]

Russia, owing to its gigantic size, has diverse ecosystems, including polar deserts, tundra, forest tundra, taiga, mixed and broadleaf forest, forest steppe, steppe, semi-desert, and subtropics.[219] About half of Russia's territory is forested,[6] and it has the world's largest forest reserves,[220] which sequester some of the world's highest amounts of carbon dioxide.[221]

Russian biodiversity includes 12,500 species of vascular plants, 2,200 species of bryophytes, about 3,000 species of lichens, 7,0009,000 species of algae, and 20,00025,000 species of fungi. Russian fauna is composed of 320 species of mammals, over 732 species of birds, 75 species of reptiles, about 30 species of amphibians, 343 species of freshwater fish (high endemism), approximately 1,500 species of saltwater fishes, 9 species of cyclostomata, and approximately 100150,000 invertebrates (high endemism).[219][222] Approximately 1,100 rare and endangered plant and animal species are included in the Russian Red Data Book.[219]

Russia's entirely natural ecosystems are conserved in nearly 15,000 specially protected natural territories of various statuses, occupying more than 10% of the country's total area.[219] They include 45 biosphere reserves,[223] 64 national parks, and 101 nature reserves.[224] Russia still has many ecosystems which are still untouched by man; mainly in the northern taiga areas, and the subarctic tundra of Siberia.[citation needed] Russia had a Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 9.02 in 2019, ranking 10th out of 172 countries; and the first ranked major nation globally.[225]

Russia, by constitution, is an asymmetric federal republic,[226] with a semi-presidential system, wherein the president is the head of state,[227] and the prime minister is the head of government.[6] It is structured as a multi-party representative democracy, with the federal government composed of three branches:[228]

The president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term and may be elected no more than twice.[232][i] 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). United Russia is the dominant political party in Russia, and has been described as "big tent" and the "party of power".[234][235] Under the administrations of Vladimir Putin, Russia has experienced democratic backsliding,[236] and has become an authoritarian state[7] under a dictatorship,[237][238][239] with Putin's policies being referred to as Putinism.[240]

According to the constitution, the Russian Federation is composed of 89 federal subjects.[j] In 1993, when the new constitution was adopted, there were 89 federal subjects listed, but some were later merged. The federal subjects have equal representationtwo delegates eachin the Federation Council, the upper house of the Federal Assembly.[241] They do, however, differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy.[242] The federal districts of Russia were established by Putin in 2000 to facilitate central government control of the federal subjects.[243] Originally seven, currently there are eight federal districts, each headed by an envoy appointed by the president.[244]

1autonomous oblast

Russia had the world's fifth-largest diplomatic network in 2019. It maintains diplomatic relations with 190 United Nations member states, four partially-recognised states, and three United Nations observer states; along with 144 embassies.[251] Russia is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It has historically been a great power,[252] and a former superpower as the leading constituent of the former Soviet Union.[141] Russia is a member of the G20, the OSCE, and the APEC. Russia also takes a leading role in organisations such as the CIS,[253] the EAEU,[254] the CSTO,[255] the SCO,[256] and BRICS.[257]

Russia maintains close relations with neighbouring Belarus, which is a part of the Union State, a supranational confederation of the two states.[258] Serbia has been a historically close ally of Russia, as both countries share a strong mutual cultural, ethnic, and religious affinity.[259] India is the largest customer of Russian military equipment, and the two countries share a strong strategic and diplomatic relationship since the Soviet era.[260] Russia wields enormous influence across the geopolitically important South Caucasus and Central Asia; and the two regions have been described as Russia's "backyard".[261][262]

In the 21st century, relations between Russia and China have significantly strengthened bilaterally and economically; due to shared political interests.[263] Turkey and Russia share a complex strategic, energy, and defense relationship.[264] Russia maintains cordial relations with Iran, as it is a strategic and economic ally.[265] Russia has also increasingly pushed to expand its influence across the Arctic,[266] Asia-Pacific,[267] Africa,[268] the Middle East,[269] and Latin America.[270] In contrast, Russia's relations with neighboring Ukraine and the Western worldespecially the United States, the European Union, and NATOhave collapsed; following the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2014 and the consequent escalation in 2022.[271][272]

The Russian Armed Forces are divided into the Ground Forces, the Navy, and the Aerospace Forcesand there are also two independent arms of service: the Strategic Missile Troops and the Airborne Troops.[6] As of 2021[update], the military have around a million active-duty personnel, which is the world's fifth-largest, and about 220 million reserve personnel.[274][275] It is mandatory for all male citizens aged 1827 to be drafted for a year of service in the Armed Forces.[6]

Russia is among the five recognised nuclear-weapons states, with the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons; over half of the world's nuclear weapons are owned by Russia.[276] Russia possesses the second-largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines,[277] and is one of the only three countries operating strategic bombers.[278] Russia maintains the world's fourth-highest military expenditure, spending $61.7 billion in 2020.[279] In 2021 it was the world's second-largest arms exporter, and had a large and entirely indigenous defence industry, producing most of its own military equipment.[280]

Human rights in Russia have been increasingly criticised by leading democracy and human rights groups. In particular, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say that Russia is not democratic and allows few political rights and civil liberties to its citizens.[282][283]

Since 2004, Freedom House has ranked Russia as "not free" in its Freedom in the World survey.[284] Since 2011, the Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked Russia as an "authoritarian regime" in its Democracy Index, ranking it 124th out of 167 countries for 2021.[285] In regards to media freedom, Russia was ranked 155th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index for 2022.[286] The Russian government has been widely criticised by political dissidents and human rights activists for unfair elections,[287] crackdowns on opposition political parties and protests,[288][289] persecution of non-governmental organisations and enforced suppression and killings of independent journalists,[290][291][292] and censorship of mass media and internet.[293]

Russia's autocratic[294] political system has been variously described as a kleptocracy,[295] an oligarchy,[296] and a plutocracy.[297] It was the lowest rated European country in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2021, ranking 136th out of 180 countries.[298] Russia has a long history of corruption, which is seen as a significant problem.[299] It impacts various sectors, including the economy,[300] business,[301] public administration,[302] law enforcement,[303] healthcare,[304][305] education,[306] and the military.[307]

Russia has a mixed economy,[309] with enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas.[310] It has the world's ninth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the sixth-largest by PPP. The large service sector accounts for 62% of total GDP, followed by the industrial sector (32%), while the agricultural sector is the smallest, making up only 5% of total GDP.[6] Russia has a low official unemployment rate of 4.1%.[311] Its foreign exchange reserves are the world's fifth-largest, worth $540 billion.[312] It has a labour force of roughly 70 million, which is the world's sixth-largest.[313]

Russia is the world's thirteenth-largest exporter and the 21st-largest importer.[314][315] It relies heavily on revenues from oil and gas-related taxes and export tariffs, which accounted for 45% of Russia's federal budget revenues in January 2022,[316] and up to 60% of its exports in 2019.[317] In 2019, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry estimated the value of natural resources to be 60% of the country's GDP.[318] Russia has one of the lowest levels of external debt among major economies,[319] although its inequality of household income and wealth is one of the highest among developed countries.[320] High regional disparity is also an issue.[321][322]

After over a decade of post-Soviet rapid economic growth, backed by high oil-prices and a surge in foreign exchange reserves and investment,[183] Russia's economy was damaged following the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, due to the first wave of Western sanctions being imposed.[323] In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the country has faced revamped sanctions and corporate boycotts,[324] becoming the most sanctioned country in the world,[325] in a move described as an "all-out economic and financial war" to isolate the Russian economy from the Western financial system.[193] Due to the impact, the Russian government has stopped publishing a raft of economic data since April 2022.[326] Economists suggest the sanctions will have a long-term effect over the Russian economy.[327]

Railway transport in Russia is mostly under the control of the state-run Russian Railways. The total length of common-used railway tracks is the world's third-longest, and exceeds 87,000km (54,100mi).[329] As of 2016[update], Russia has the world's fifth-largest road network, with 1.5 millionkm of roads,[330] while its road density is among the world's lowest.[331] Russia's inland waterways are the world's longest, and total 102,000km (63,380mi).[332] Among Russia's 1,218 airports,[333] the busiest is Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. Russia's largest port is the Port of Novorossiysk in Krasnodar Krai along the Black Sea.[334]

Russia has been widely described as an energy superpower.[335] It has the world's largest proven gas reserves,[336] the second-largest coal reserves,[337] the eighth-largest oil reserves,[338] and the largest oil shale reserves in Europe.[339] Russia is also the world's leading natural gas exporter,[340] the second-largest natural gas producer,[341] and the second-largest oil producer and exporter.[342][343] Russia's oil and gas production has led to deep economic relationships with the European Union, China, and former Soviet and Eastern Bloc states.[344][345] For example, over the last decade, Russia's share of supplies to total European Union (including the United Kingdom) gas demand increased from 25% in 2009 to 32% in the weeks before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.[345]

Russia is committed to the Paris Agreement, after joining the pact formally in 2019.[346] Greenhouse gas emissions by Russia are the world's fourth-largest.[347] Russia is the world's fourth-largest electricity producer,[348] and the ninth-largest renewable energy producer in 2019.[349] It was also the world's first country to develop civilian nuclear power, and to construct the world's first nuclear power plant.[350] Russia was also the world's fourth-largest nuclear energy producer in 2019,[351] and was the fifth-largest hydroelectric producer in 2021.[352]

Russia's agriculture sector contributes about 5% of the country's total GDP, although the sector employs about one-eighth of the total labour force.[353] It has the world's third-largest cultivated area, at 1,265,267 square kilometres (488,522sqmi). However, due to the harshness of its environment, about 13.1% of its land is agricultural,[6] and only 7.4% of its land is arable.[354] The country's agricultural land is considered part of the "breadbasket" of Europe.[355] More than one-third of the sown area is devoted to fodder crops, and the remaining farmland is devoted to industrial crops, vegetables, and fruits.[353] The main product of Russian farming has always been grain, which occupies considerably more than half of the cropland.[353] Russia is the world's largest exporter of wheat,[356][357] the largest producer of barley and buckwheat, among the largest exporters of maize and sunflower oil, and the leading producer of fertilizer.[358]

Various analysts of climate change adaptation foresee large opportunities for Russian agriculture during the rest of the 21st century as arability increases in Siberia, which would lead to both internal and external migration to the region.[359] Owing to its large coastline along three oceans and twelve marginal seas, Russia maintains the world's sixth-largest fishing industry; capturing nearly 5 million tons of fish in 2018.[360] It is home to the world's finest caviar, the beluga; and produces about one-third of all canned fish, and some one-fourth of the world's total fresh and frozen fish.[353]

Russia spent about 1% of its GDP on research and development in 2019, with the world's tenth-highest budget.[361] It also ranked tenth worldwide in the number of scientific publications in 2020, with roughly 1.3 million papers.[362] Since 1904, Nobel Prize were awarded to 26 Soviets and Russians in physics, chemistry, medicine, economy, literature and peace.[363] Russia ranked 45th in the Global Innovation Index in 2021.[364]

Mikhail Lomonosov proposed the conservation of mass in chemical reactions, discovered the atmosphere of Venus, and founded modern geology.[365] Since the times of Nikolay Lobachevsky, who pioneered the non-Euclidean geometry, and Pafnuty Chebyshev, a prominent tutor; Russian mathematicians became among the world's most influential.[366] Dmitry Mendeleev invented the Periodic table, the main framework of modern chemistry.[367] Sofya Kovalevskaya was a pioneer among women in mathematics in the 19th century.[368] Nine Soviet and Russian mathematicians have been awarded with the Fields Medal. Grigori Perelman was offered the first ever Clay Millennium Prize Problems Award for his final proof of the Poincar conjecture in 2002, as well as the Fields Medal in 2006.[369]

Alexander Popov was among the inventors of radio,[370] while Nikolai Basov and Alexander Prokhorov were co-inventors of laser and maser.[371] Zhores Alferov contributed significantly to the creation of modern heterostructure physics and electronics.[372] Oleg Losev made crucial contributions in the field of semiconductor junctions, and discovered light-emitting diodes.[373] Vladimir Vernadsky is considered one of the founders of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and radiogeology.[374] lie Metchnikoff is known for his groundbreaking research in immunology.[375] Ivan Pavlov is known chiefly for his work in classical conditioning.[376] Lev Landau made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics.[377]

Nikolai Vavilov was best known for having identified the centres of origin of cultivated plants.[378] Trofim Lysenko was known mainly for Lysenkoism.[379] Many famous Russian scientists and inventors were migrs. Igor Sikorsky was an aviation pioneer.[380] Vladimir Zworykin was the inventor of the iconoscope and kinescope television systems.[381] Theodosius Dobzhansky was the central figure in the field of evolutionary biology for his work in shaping the modern synthesis.[382] George Gamow was one of the foremost advocates of the Big Bang theory.[383] Many foreign scientists lived and worked in Russia for a long period, such as Leonard Euler and Alfred Nobel.[384][385]

Roscosmos is Russia's national space agency. The country's achievements in the field of space technology and space exploration can be traced back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of theoretical astronautics, whose works had inspired leading Soviet rocket engineers, such as Sergey Korolyov, Valentin Glushko, and many others who contributed to the success of the Soviet space program in the early stages of the Space Race and beyond.[387]:67,333

In 1957, the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik1, was launched. In 1961, the first human trip into space was successfully made by Yuri Gagarin. Many other Soviet and Russian space exploration records ensued. In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first and youngest woman in space, having flown a solo mission on Vostok 6.[388] In 1965, Alexei Leonov became the first human to conduct a spacewalk, exiting the space capsule during Voskhod 2.[389]

In 1957, Laika, a Soviet space dog, became the first animal to orbit the Earth, aboard Sputnik 2.[390] In 1966, Luna9 became the first spacecraft to achieve a survivable landing on a celestial body, the Moon.[391] In 1968, Zond 5 brought the first Earthlings (two tortoises and other life forms) to circumnavigate the Moon.[392] In 1970, Venera7 became the first spacecraft to land on another planet, Venus.[393] In 1971, Mars3 became the first spacecraft to land on Mars.[394]:3460 During the same period, Lunokhod 1 became the first space exploration rover,[395] while Salyut1 became the world's first space station.[396] Russia had 172 active satellites in space in April 2022, the world's third-highest.[397]

According to the World Tourism Organization, Russia was the sixteenth-most visited country in the world, and the tenth-most visited country in Europe, in 2018, with over 24.6 million visits.[398] According to Federal Agency for Tourism, the number of inbound trips of foreign citizens to Russia amounted to 24.4 million in 2019.[399] Russia's international tourism receipts in 2018 amounted to $11.6 billion.[398] In 2019, travel and tourism accounted for about 4.8% of country's total GDP.[400]

Major tourist routes in Russia include a journey around the Golden Ring of Russia, a theme route of ancient Russian cities, cruises on large rivers such as the Volga, hikes on mountain ranges such as the Caucasus Mountains,[401] and journeys on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway.[402] Russia's most visited and popular landmarks include Red Square, the Peterhof Palace, the Kazan Kremlin, the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius and Lake Baikal.[403]

Moscow, the nation's cosmopolitan capital and historic core, is a bustling megacity. It retains its classical and Soviet-era architecture; while boasting high art, world class ballet, and modern skyscrapers.[404] Saint Petersburg, the Imperial capital, is famous for its classical architecture, cathedrals, museums and theatres, white nights, criss-crossing rivers and numerous canals.[405] Russia is famed worldwide for its rich museums, such as the State Russian, the State Hermitage, and the Tretyakov Gallery; and for theatres such as the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky. The Moscow Kremlin and the Saint Basil's Cathedral are among the cultural landmarks of Russia.[406]

Ethnic groups in Russia with a population of over 1 million according to the 2010 census.

Percentage of ethnic Russians by region according to the 2010 census.

Russia is one of the world's most sparsely populated and urbanised countries,[6] with the vast majority of its population concentrated within its western part.[407] It had a population of 142.8 million according to the 2010 census,[408] which rose to roughly 145.5 million as of 2022.[11] Russia is the most populous country in Europe, and the world's ninth most populous country, with a population density of 9 inhabitants per square kilometre (23 per square mile).[409]

Since the 1990s, Russia's death rate has exceeded its birth rate, which some analysts have called a demographic crisis.[410] In 2019, the total fertility rate across Russia was estimated to be 1.5 children born per woman,[411] which is below the replacement rate of 2.1, and is one of the world's lowest fertility rates.[412] Subsequently, the nation has one of the world's oldest populations, with a median age of 40.3 years.[6] In 2009, it recorded annual population growth for the first time in fifteen years; and since the 2010s, Russia has seen increased population growth due to declining death rates, increased birth rates and increased immigration.[413] However, since 2020, due to excessive deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's population has undergone its largest peacetime decline in history.[414] Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the demographic crisis in the country has deepened,[415] as the country has faced a renewed brain drain and human capital flight caused by Western mass-sanctions and boycotts.[416]

Russia is a multinational state with many subnational entities associated with different minorities.[417] There are over 193 ethnic groups nationwide. In the 2010 census, roughly 81% of the population were ethnic Russians, and the remaining 19% of the population were ethnic minorities;[418] while over four-fifths of Russia's population was of European descentof which the vast majority were Slavs,[419] with a substantial minority of Finnic and Germanic peoples.[420][421] According to the United Nations, Russia's immigrant population is the world's third-largest, numbering over 11.6 million;[422] most of which are from post-Soviet states, mainly Ukrainians.[423]

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