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Russian Federation

  • Российская Федерация (Russian)
  • Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
Anthem: 
Государственный гимн Российской Федерации
Gosudarstvenny gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii
("State Anthem of the Russian Federation")
Russia on the globe with Crimea in light green.
Russia on the globe with Crimea in light green.
Capital
and largest city
Moscow
55°45′N 37°37′E / 55.750°N 37.617°E / 55.750; 37.617
Official language
and national language
Russian
Recognised national languages See Languages of Russia
Ethnic groups
(2010)
  • 80.9% Russian
  • 3.9% Tatar
  • 1.4% Ukrainian
  • 1.1% Bashkir
  • 1.0% Chuvash
  • 1.0% Chechen
  • 10.7% Others
Religion
(2017)
Demonym(s) Russian
Government Federal semi-presidential constitutional republic
Vladimir Putin
Mikhail Mishustin
• Speaker of the
Federation Council
Valentina Matviyenko
Legislature Federal Assembly
Federation Council
State Duma
Formation
• Rurikids founded
862
879
• Duchy of Moscow
1283
16 January 1547
2 November 1721
15 March 1917
• Russian Federation
12 December 1991
• Current constitution
12 December 1993
• Last polity admitted
18 March 2014
• Last amendments
4 July 2020
Area
• Total
17,125,191 km2 (6,612,073 sq mi)(including Crimea) (1st)
• Water (%)
13 (including swamps)
Population
• 2021 estimate
  • Decrease 146,748,590
  • (including Crimea)
  • 144,386,830
  • (excluding Crimea)
(9th)
• Density
8.4/km2 (21.8/sq mi) (225th)
GDP (PPP) 2020 estimate
• Total
Decrease $4.021 trillion (6th)
• Per capita
Decrease $27,394 (50th)
GDP (nominal) 2020 estimate
• Total
Decrease $1.464 trillion (11th)
• Per capita
Decrease $9,972 (61st)
Gini (2018)  37.5
medium · 98th
HDI (2019) Increase 0.824
very high · 52nd
Currency Russian ruble (₽) (RUB)
Time zone UTC+2 to +12
Driving side right
Calling code +7
ISO 3166 code RU
Internet TLD
Rs-map
Map of Russia

Russia (Russian: Россия), officially called the Russian Federation (Russian: Российская Федерация) is a country that is in Eastern Europe and in North Asia. It is the largest country in the world by land area. About 146.7 million people live in Russia according to the 2019 census. The capital city of Russia is Moscow, and the official language is Russian.

Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It also has borders over water with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, and the United States by the Bering Strait.

Russia is a very large and diverse country. From 1922 to 1991, it used to be the main part of the Soviet Union. It was a country based on Communism, but today its government is a federal semi-presidential republic. It has elements of democracy. The President is chosen by direct election, but challenging candidates do not have access to the mass media, and so have almost no chance of winning. Its current President is Vladimir Putin. The President rules the country, and the Russian Parliament plays a secondary role.

Russia has 85 regional parliaments, and the presidents of these areas are very rarely ever displaced in an election. As a typical example, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was President of the Republic of Kalmykia in the Russian Federation from 1993 to 2010. Such a long tenure is not unusual in Russia, and suggests that the electoral system is heavily biased to keep incumbents in power.

Size and resources

At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. Russia is also the world's eighth most populous nation with a population of 146.7 million as of 2021. Russia produces a lot of energy made from oil and natural gas.

Extending from eastern Europe across the whole of northern Asia, Russia spans eleven time zones and has a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, and its lakes contain about one-quarter of the world's fresh water.

Governance

President Vladimir Putin.jpg Mikhail Mishustin at a meeting with Vladimir Putin (2019-05-06).jpg
Vladimir Putin
Standard of the President of the Russian Federation.svg President
Mikhail Mishustin
Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation 2.svg Prime Minister

According to the Constitution of Russia, the country is an asymmetric federation and semi-presidential republic, wherein the President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Russian Federation is fundamentally structured as a multi-party representative democracy, with the federal government composed of three branches:

  • Legislative: The bicameral Federal Assembly of Russia, made up of the 450-member State Duma and the 170-member Federation Council, adopts federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse and the power of impeachment of the President.
  • Executive: The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Government of Russia (Cabinet) and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
  • Judiciary: The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the President, interpret laws and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.

The president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term, but not for a third consecutive term). 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). Leading political parties in Russia include United Russia, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and A Just Russia. In 2019, Russia was ranked as 134th of 167 countries in the Democracy Index, compiled by The Economist Intelligence Unit, while the World Justice Project, as of 2014, ranked Russia 80th of 99 countries surveyed in terms of rule of law.

Geography

Russia is the largest country in the world; its total area is 17,075,200 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi). This makes it larger than the continents of Oceania, Europe and Antarctica. It lies between latitudes 41° and 82° N, and longitudes 19° E and 169° W.

Russia's territorial expansion was achieved largely in the late 16th century under the Cossack Yermak Timofeyevich during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, at a time when competing city-states in the western regions of Russia had banded together to form one country. Yermak mustered an army and pushed eastward where he conquered nearly all the lands once belonging to the Mongols, defeating their ruler, Khan Kuchum.

Russia has a wide natural resource base, including major deposits of timber, petroleum, natural gas, coal, ores and other mineral resources.

Cities in Russia with more than one million people are, in order:

The most western point of Russia is near Kaliningrad, formerly named Königsberg. The most eastern point of Russia is Diomid island, 35 km from Chukotka (Russia) and 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Alaska (USA). The most southern point is in Caucasus, on the border with Azerbaijan. The most northern point is on Franz Josef Land archipelago in Arctic Ocean, 900 kilometres (560 mi) from the North Pole.

Russian Regions-EN
Russian Federation regions

Topography

The two most widely separated points in Russia are about 8,000 km (4,971 mi) apart along a geodesic line. These points are: a 60 km (37 mi) long Vistula Spit the boundary with Poland separating the Gdańsk Bay from the Vistula Lagoon and the most southeastern point of the Kuril Islands. The points which are farthest separated in longitude are 6,600 km (4,101 mi) apart along a geodesic line. These points are: in the west, the same spit on the boundary with Poland, and in the east, the Big Diomede Island. The Russian Federation spans 11 time zones.

Эльбрус с перевала Гумбаши
Mount Elbrus, a dormant volcano, is the highest point of the Caucasus and Russia and the tenth most prominent peak in the world
Volga River P8132394 2200
Volga River at Nizhny Novgorod. The Volga is the longest river in Europe
Koryaksky volcano Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky oct-2005
Koryaksky volcano towering over Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka Peninsula

Most of Russia consists of vast stretches of plains that are predominantly steppe to the south and heavily forested to the north, with tundra along the northern coast. Russia possesses 10% of the world's arable land. Mountain ranges are found along the southern borders, such as the Caucasus (containing Mount Elbrus, which at 5,642 m (18,510 ft) is the highest point in both Russia and Europe) and the Altai (containing Mount Belukha, which at the 4,506 m (14,783 ft) is the highest point of Siberia outside of the Russian Far East); and in the eastern parts, such as the Verkhoyansk Range or the volcanoes of Kamchatka Peninsula (containing Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which at the 4,750 m (15,584 ft) is the highest active volcano in Eurasia as well as the highest point of Asian Russia). The Ural Mountains, rich in mineral resources, form a north-south range that divides Europe and Asia.

Russia has an extensive coastline of over 37,000 km (22,991 mi) along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as along the Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov, Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan are linked to Russia via the Arctic and Pacific. Russia's major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya, the Franz Josef Land, the Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island, the Kuril Islands, and Sakhalin. The Diomede Islands (one controlled by Russia, the other by the United States) are just 3 km (1.9 mi) apart, and Kunashir Island is about 20 km (12.4 mi) from Hokkaido, Japan.

Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water, providing it with one of the world's largest surface water resources. Its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's liquid fresh water. The largest and most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious fresh water lake. Baikal alone contains over one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water. Other major lakes include Ladoga and Onega, two of the largest lakes in Europe. Russia is second only to Brazil in volume of the total renewable water resources. Of the country's 100,000 rivers, the Volga is the most famous, not only because it is the longest river in Europe, but also because of its major role in Russian history. The Siberian rivers Ob, Yenisey, Lena and Amur are among the longest rivers in the world.

Climate

The enormous size of Russia and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental climate, which is prevalent in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme southwest. Mountains in the south obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean, while the plain of the west and north makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences.

Most of Northern European Russia and Siberia has a subarctic climate, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of Northeast Siberia (mostly the Sakha Republic, where the Northern Pole of Cold is located with the record low temperature of −71.2 °C or −96.2 °F), and more moderate winters elsewhere. Both the strip of land along the shore of the Arctic Ocean and the Russian Arctic islands have a polar climate.

The coastal part of Krasnodar Krai on the Black Sea, most notably in Sochi, possesses a humid subtropical climate with mild and wet winters. In many regions of East Siberia and the Far East, winter is dry compared to summer; other parts of the country experience more even precipitation across seasons. Winter precipitation in most parts of the country usually falls as snow. The region along the Lower Volga and Caspian Sea coast, as well as some areas of southernmost Siberia, possesses a semi-arid climate.

Саблинский хребет
Taiga forest, Yugyd Va National Park in the Komi Republic

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. 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. The continental interiors are the driest areas.

Biodiversity

Medved mzoo
The brown bear is a popular symbol of Russia, particularly in the West.

From north to south the East European Plain, also known as Russian Plain, is clad sequentially in Arctic tundra, coniferous forest (taiga), mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland (steppe), and semi-desert (fringing the Caspian Sea), as the changes in vegetation reflect the changes in climate. Siberia supports a similar sequence but is largely taiga. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, known as "the lungs of Europe", second only to the Amazon Rainforest in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs.

There are 266 mammal species and 780 bird species in Russia. A total of 415 animal species have been included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation as of 1997 and are now protected. There are 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia, 40 UNESCO biosphere reserves, 41 national parks and 101 nature reserves. Russia still has many ecosystems which are still untouched by man— mainly in the northern areas taiga and in subarctic tundra of Siberia. Over time Russia has been having improvement and application of environmental legislation, development and implementation of various federal and regional strategies and programmes,and study, inventory and protection of rare and endangered plants, animals, and other organisms, and including them in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation.

Demographics

Russia is one of the most sparsely populated and urbanised countries in the world; it had a population of 142.8 million according to the 2010 census, which rose to 146.7 million as of 2021. It is the most populous country in Europe, and the ninth-most populous country in the world; with a population density of 9 inhabitants per square kilometre (23 per square mile).

Russia is a multinational state, home to over 193 ethnic groups. In the 2010 Census, roughly 81% of the population were ethnic Russians, while rest of the 19% of the population were minorities; while around 84.93% of the Russia's population was of European descent, of which the vast majority were Slavs, with minorities of Germanic, Baltic-Finns and other peoples. There are 22 republics in Russia, designated to have their own ethnicities, cultures, and languages. In 13 of them, ethnic Russians consist a minority. According to the United Nations, Russia's immigrant population is the third-largest in the world, numbering over 11.6 million; most of which are from post-Soviet states, mainly Ukrainians. Template:Largest cities of Russia

Culture and Religion

Music and ballet

Peter Tschaikowski
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893), composer.

World-renowned composers of the 20th century included Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, and Dmitri Shostakovich. Russia has produced some of the greatest pianists: Anton Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz and Vladimir Ashkenazy are among the all-time greats.

Russian composer Tchaikovsky created famous ballets such as The Nutcracker. The impressario Sergei Diaghilev was responsible for the development of ballet in the early 20th century with the Ballets Russes. Dance companies at the Mariinsky Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet produced many famous dancers.

Literature

Russians have contributed many famous works of literature. Alexander Pushkin is considered a founder of modern Russian literature. He was a poet from the 19th century.

Other famous poets and writers of the 19th century were Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Lermontov, Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol (he was born in what is now Ukraine, but during his lifetime Ukraine was a part of Russia), Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are considered by many people to be two of the greatest novelists ever. Three Russians won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the 20th century: Boris Pasternak (1958), Mikhail Sholokhov (1965) and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1980). Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita was also a novel of the highest quality.

Sports

Soccer, ice hockey and basketball are among the most popular sports. Boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting, and tennis are also popular sports. Track suits are popular clothing items for many Russians. Sports people to gain world fame include former tennis world number one Maria Sharapova, who has won three Grand Slam titles, and was the world's highest paid female athlete in 2008.

Since the 1952 Olympic Games, Soviet and later Russian athletes are in the three in gold medals collected at the Summer Olympics. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow while the 2014 Winter Olympics will be hosted by Sochi.

Chess

Chess is the main intellectual sport in Russia. In the 20th century there were nine Russian World Chess Champions, more than all other nations combined.

Religion

Moscow - Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, demolished during the Soviet period, was reconstructed from 1990–2000.

The main religion in Russia is the Russian Orthodox Church. It is one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

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