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.
note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule
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.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
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.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
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
(Official news agency), Moscow
(Mass-circulation, youth-oriented), Moscow
(Newspaper of the armed forces), Moscow
(Literary weekly), Moscow
Displaying 1 to 4 of 107 items.
Russia's economy is heavily dependent on its energy industry, and President Vladimir Putin is playing a long, complex game to combat low oil prices.
The plunge in oil prices has had a significant effect on Russia, Iran and Venezuela, and is changing those countries' geopolitical calculus.
While the Catholic Church confronts contemporary issues with a modern face, the Orthodox Church remains stubbornly entrenched in its Byzantine heritage.
Thousands have demonstrated in recent months against the policies and corruption of Vladimir Putin's regime, a resistance unheard of just a few years ago.