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currency: Russian ruble (RUB)
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Russia profile
largest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture; Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak; Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, is estimated to hold one fifth of the world's fresh water
Russia history
Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize Communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state in which the leadership seeks to legitimize its rule through managed national elections, populist appeals by President PUTIN, and continued economic growth. Russia has severely disabled a Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.
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Conventional long form: Russian Federation
Conventional short form: Russia
Local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
Local short form: Rossiya
former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
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Russia's capital city is Moscow
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Russia Constitution:

adopted 12 December 1993
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Russia population growth rate: -0.02%
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Russia highest point: Gora El'brus 5,633 m (highest point in Europe)
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Russia lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
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About 7% of Russia's land is arable.
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Volga River is the Longest River in Russia
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Russia birth rate is 12 births/1,000 population
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Russia infant mortality rate is 7 deaths/1,000 live births
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Russia fertility rate is 1.61 children born/woman
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Russia climate:

ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast
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Top 10 cities of Russia with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Moscow: 11,514,300
2. Saint Petersburg: 5,227,567
3. Novosibirsk: 1,473,737
4. Yekaterinburg: 1,350,136
5. Nizhny Novgorod: 1,250,252
6. Samara, Russia: 1,164,900
7. Kazan: 1,143,600
8. Omsk: 1,153,971
9. Chelyabinsk: 1,130,273
10. Rostov-on-Don: 1,098,991
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Russia ethnic groups:

Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, other or unspecified 12.1%
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Russia Exports:

petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, metals, wood and wood products, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures
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Russia Imports:

machinery, vehicles, pharmaceutical products, plastic, semi-finished metal products, meat, fruits and nuts, optical and medical instruments, iron, steel
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bicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of an upper house, the Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (166 seats; members appointed by the top executive and legislative officials in each of the 83 federal administrative units - oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg; members to serve four-year terms) and a lower house, the State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats; as of 2007, all members elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 7% of the vote; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Administrative Divisions:
46 provinces (oblastey, singular - oblast):
1. Amur (Blagoveshchensk)
2. Arkhangel'sk
3. Astrakhan'
4. Belgorod
5. Bryansk
6. Chelyabinsk
7. Irkutsk
8. Ivanovo
9. Kaliningrad
10. Kaluga
11. Kemerovo
12. Kirov
13. Kostroma
14. Kurgan
15. Kursk
16. Leningrad
17. Lipetsk
18. Magadan
19. Moscow
20. Murmansk
21. Nizhniy Novgorod
22. Novgorod
23. Novosibirsk
24. Omsk
25. Orenburg
26. Orel
27. Penza
28. Pskov
29. Rostov
30. Ryazan'
31. Sakhalin (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk)
32. Samara
33. Saratov
34. Smolensk
35. Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg)
36. Tambov
37. Tomsk
38. Tula
39. Tver'
40. Tyumen'
41. Ul'yanovsk
42. Vladimir
43. Volgograd
44. Vologda
45. Voronezh
46. Yaroslavl'

21 republics (respublik, singular - respublika):
1. Adygeya (Maykop)
2. Altay (Gorno-Altaysk)
3. Bashkortostan (Ufa)
4. Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude)
5. Chechnya (Groznyy)
6. Chuvashiya (Cheboksary)
7. Dagestan (Makhachkala)
8. Ingushetiya (Magas)
9. Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik)
10. Kalmykiya (Elista)
11. Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk)
12. Kareliya (Petrozavodsk)
13. Khakasiya (Abakan)
14. Komi (Syktyvkar)
15. Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola)
16. Mordoviya (Saransk)
17. North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz)
18. Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk)
19. Tatarstan (Kazan')
20. Tyva (Kyzyl)
21. Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)

4 autonomous okrugs
(avtonomnykh okrugov, singular - avtonomnyy okrug):

1. Chukotka (Anadyr')
2. Khanty-Mansi (Khanty-Mansiysk)
3. Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar)
4. Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard)

9 krays (krayev, singular - kray):
1. Altay (Barnaul)
2. Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy)
3. Khabarovsk
4. Krasnodar
5. Krasnoyarsk
6. Perm'
7. Primorskiy [Maritime] (Vladivostok)
8. Stavropol'
9. Zabaykal'sk (Chita)

2 federal cities (goroda, singular - gorod):
1. Moscow [Moskva]
2. Saint Petersburg [Sankt-Peterburg]

1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast'):
1. Yevrey [Jewish] (Birobidzhan)
Political parties and leaders:
A Just Russia - Sergey MIRONOV

Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) - Gennadiy ZYUGANOV

Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) - Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY

Right Cause - Andrey DUNAYEV

Rodina - Aleksey ZHURAVLEV

United Russia - Dmitriy MEDVEDEV

Yabloko Party - Sergey MITROKHIN