Background: Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of 10s of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize Communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state whose legitimacy is buttressed, in part, by carefully managed national elections, former President PUTIN's genuine popularity, and the prudent management of Russia's windfall energy wealth. Russia has severely disabled a Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.
Location: Northern Asia (the area west of the Urals is considered part of Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean
Area land: 16,377,742 sq km
Area water: 720,500 sq km
Coastline: 37,653 km
Country name conventional long form: Russian Federation
Country name conventional short form: Russia
Country name former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Population: 138,739,892 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.2% (male 10,818,203/female 10,256,611); 15-64 years: 71.8% (male 47,480,851/female 52,113,279); 65 years and over: 13% (male 5,456,639/female 12,614,309) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: -0.47% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 11.05 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 16.04 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.44 male(s)/female; total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 10.08 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 11.58 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 8.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66.29 years; male: 59.8 years; female: 73.17 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.42 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 980,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA;
Nationality: noun: Russian(s); adjective: Russian;
Ethnic groups: Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, other or unspecified 12.1% (2002 census);
Religions: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.);
Languages: Russian (official), many minority languages;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 99.4%; male: 99.7%; female: 99.2% (2002 census);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.229 trillion (2010 est.); $2.147 trillion (2009 est.); $2.331 trillion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.477 trillion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (2010 est.); -7.9% (2009); 5.2% (2008);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $15,900 (2010 est.); $15,300 (2009 est.); $16,600 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 4.2%; industry: 33.8%; services: 62% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 13.1% (2009);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.9%; highest 10%: 30.4% (September 2007);
Labor force: 75.55 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 10%; industry: 31.9%; services: 58.1% (2008);
Unemployment rate: 7.6% (2010 est.); 8.4% (2009);
Budget: revenues: $262 billion; expenditures: $341.1 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: complete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; defense industries including radar, missile production, and advanced electronic components, shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, handicrafts;
Industrial production growth rate: 8.3% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 925.9 billion kWh (2009);
Electricity - consumption: 857.6 billion kWh (2009);
Electricity - exports: 17.7 billion kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - imports: 3.066 billion kWh (2009);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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(Mass-circulation weekly), Moscow
(Electronic newspaper-English), Moscow
(Official news agency), Moscow
(Mass-circulation, youth-oriented), Moscow
(Newspaper of the armed forces), Moscow
Displaying 37 to 40 of 107 items.
Comment and analysis from the international press on the opening of the G-8 summit in the U.S.
'Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sudden dismissal of Mikhail Kasyanov was a move as unexpected as it was brilliant,' Maksim Glikin writes in Moscow's centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Prominent Russian political figures tell Moscow's biggest daily what they think President Vladimir Putin's surprise decision to fire his entire government portends.
Reaction from Athens, Istanbul, Beijing, Budapest, Sydney, Berlin, Oslo, and Sofia