Here are some facts I learned about Russia:
Area 17,098,242 sq km (10,624,000 sq miles).
Population 142,470,272 (estimate 2014).
Population Density 8.3 per sq km (2014).
Moscow Population 12,063,000 (estimate 2014).
$1 USD = 62 RUB
Russia, the largest country in the world, occupies one-tenth of all the land on Earth. It spans 11 time zones across two continents (Europe and Asia) and has coasts on three oceans (the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic).
Allegedly, you can take a train ride across all of Russia and it will take one full week (7 days) and you will still be in Russia!
The Russian landscape varies from desert to frozen coastline, tall mountains to giant marshes. Much of Russia is made up of rolling, treeless plains called steppes. Siberia, which occupies three-quarters of Russia, is dominated by sprawling pine forests called taigas. Russia has about 100,000 rivers, including some of the longest and most powerful in the world. It also has many lakes, including Europe’s two largest: Ladoga and Onega. Lake Baikal in Siberia contains more water than any other lake on Earth.
Federation. Gained independence from Portugal in 1822.
Head of State: President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (possibly Tsar?)
Head of Government: Premier Dmitriy Anatolyevich Medvedev.
Russian is the official and most widely spoken language. Less common languages include Dolong, German. English is spoken in bigger cities.
15-20 percent Russian Orthodox, 10-15 per cent Muslim, and 2 per cent Christian. Russia has a large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule when religion was outlawed and churches were destroyed.
History of Russia –
Russian history dates back to the early ninth century when “Russia” was only a small collection of towns and cities joined together. Soon, those towns and cities formed together to make the Russian Empire.
In the ninth century, a group of Scandinavian people known as the Varangians crossed over the Baltic Sea and came to Eastern Europe. The leader of the Varangians was a legendary warrior named Rurik. In 882, Rurik’s successor Oleg, gained control of the Slavic City of Kiev marking it as the first establishment of a dynasty. Kiev became the central point for a trade route running between Scandinavia and Constantinople. The empire was then known as the Kievan Rus and flourished for a few hundred years more. In 989, Vladimir I the great-grandson of Oleg ruled a kingdom that ruled all the way out to the Black Sea. Vladimir I, ruling all of this land, decided to have Greek Orthodoxy be the national religion which allied him with Constantinople and the West. It is said that Vladimir did not choose Islam because he couldn’t believe that his people could live without liquor. Vladimir’s successor was Yaroslav the Wise who conquered the most the Kievan Rus empire ever conquered. Many decades after Yaroslav died, the Kievan Rus broke up into regional centers of power controlled by each of his children.
The Kiev Empire struggled through the 13th century, but was eventually crushed by the arrival of the Mongol invaders. From 1237 to 1240, the Mongols destroyed all the major cities in the Kievan Rus. In 1240, the Swedes tried to invade Russia, but they failed in the action. In the 14th century, to show the city of Moscow’s importance, the Mongols moved the Russian Orthodox Church to Moscow and made Moscow the capital, making the first time this now famous city became important.
In 1480, Moscow had gained enough power to overthrow the Mongols. The current ruler: Ivan III or Ivan the Great, began crushing opposing Mongol cities and eventually overthrew the Mongols and kicked them out of Russia. So, he was great because he was the first person to create what is modern day Russia by defeating the Mongols.
Ivan IV, or Ivan the Terrible, was the person who unified Russia as one state. In 1547, when Ivan IV was elected Tsar, he immediately began reorganizing the military so they would be extremely powerful. Ivan wasn’t supposed to be very terrible in the early years of his ruling time, but as he got older, his temper got a lot worse and he was ruthless to anyone that threatened him. In 1581, he struck his own son who was the heir to the Tsar with an iron club, killing him out of rage. Pretty terrible, I think.
The Romanov’s happily maintained the status quo in Russia, but they did very little to keep Russia up to speed with the rest of the world. Peter the Great made changes to that. Peter was the youngest of his father’s sons to his father’s second wife. When Peter’s father died in 1676, his brother became the Tsar, although because of bad health he died early in 1682. Peter became Tsar over his mentally handicapped brother, Ivan. While Peter was in charge, he did a lot to westernize Russia. Peter died in 1725 and is one of the most controversial figures in all of Russian history. The Romanov Dynasty ruled for 304 years until the Russian Revolution ended Tsarism.
In June, 1812, Napoleon began his invasion of Russia. Almost all of Europe was under Napoleon’s control. His invasion of Russia was to force Tsar Alexander I to agree to a treaty Napoleon had imposed four years prior. Napoleon had nearly half a million soldiers which outnumbered the Russia military. The Russian’s stood absolutely no chance in battle, so they used a strategic retreating campaign. By September, without having engaged in a battle, the French had lost two-thirds of it’s army from, desertion, fatigue, hunger and raids by Russian forces. At this point, unless the Russians attacked the French, they would lose Moscow in a matter of weeks. The Tsar insisted that they engaged in combat. On September 7, with Napoleon’s army only 70 miles away from Moscow, and winter closing in, the two armies met at Borodino Field. At the end of the day, 108,000 men lay unmoving on the battlefield although neither side had gained a victory. The Russians evacuated Moscow leaving the French to find a city without people, recourses and food. To make it worse, fires broke out through the city leaving the French shelterless. After taking Moscow, the French had lost most of their army, so they headed back to France before the whole army would be wiped out. While the French army retreated, they had to battle Russian winters, which left them with only 10,000 soldiers returning home to France ending Napoleon’s campaign. Also, after Napoleon’s retreat, Russia emerged as one of the most powerful countries in the world.
After President Lenin’s death in 1924, there was a divisive struggle for the Communist Party. In the later part of the decade, Joseph Stalin emerged as the victor and immediately set the country on a new course. Agricultural lands were all collectivized creating large state run farms. Also, art and literature were placed under super tight control. Religion was banned, churches were closed, destroyed or converted to other uses. By the end of the 1930s, the Soviet Union had become a country in which life was more strictly regulated than ever before. During the beginning of World War II, Russia began on the side of the Germans in hopes to expand their country. Though, early in the war, the Nazi’s started attacking Russia and killing Russian Jews. After that happened, Russia turned to the Allies side to beat the Germans. After defeating the Germans, the US and Russia declared war on Japan and invaded the country. After defeating Japan, the US and Russia began a Nuclear arms race known as the Cold War. During the Cold War, the countries never fired on each other, but had enough Nuclear ammunition to level the other country. Also, the Cold War had what was known as the Space Race where the two countries tried to get into space, orbit the earth and land on the Moon. In 1957, the Soviet Union or USSR launched Sputnik which was the first man-made probe ever to make it to space. Then, on April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin was he first ever human being to make it into space. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong from the United States of America landed on the Moon.
In the next years, the Soviet Union began a decline in power when many of the countries left the USSR and they went bankrupt until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The current President at the time was Boris Yeltsin who had been ruling since the time of Stalin’s death. Yeltsin resigned from his position and handed it over to Vladimir Putin who was an ex-KGB officer. The KGB were the equivalent of the CIA in America. Putin was President until 2008 when the term limits forced him out of office. Before Putin left, he put Dimitry Medvedev into power. Then, he re-secured power in 2012. In the election, the person who was running against him somehow ended up gunned down on a bridge and killed. Most people believe it was Putin’s doing. Also, if anybody speaks out against him, he has killed them. He sounds like a James Bond villain!
Russian history is an interesting and ancient history.
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