Russia, general name for the independent, federal republic in eastern Europe and western and northern Asia officially called the Russian Federation (Russian, Rossiyskaya Federatsiya); historically the term is used to refer to the Russian Empire (862-1917), which covered a much larger area than that of present-day Russia. From 1922 until December 25, 1991, the Russian Federation formed part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR; or Soviet Union), when it was known formally as the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The term Russian Federation (or RSFSR), however, originally applied to the state proclaimed by the Bolsheviks in November 1917 as the territorial successor to the whole of the Russian Empire. It was only on the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922, following the decision by the Bolsheviks to respect the self-determination of the empire’s many nations, that the Russian Federation became one of the USSR’s 15 constituent republics—albeit the largest and most influential, accounting for more than three quarters of its area and more than half of its population.
The Russian Federation today comprises 86 territorial units: 21 republics, 7 autonomous okrugs (areas), 7 krays (territories), 48 oblasts (regions), 1 autonomous oblast, and 2 federal cities (Moscow and St Petersburg) with oblast status. In geographical extent Russia is the largest country in the world. Spanning two continents—Europe and Asia—it has a total area of 17,075,200 sq km (6,592,770 sq mi), and a total land area of 16,381,390 sq km (6,324,890 sq mi), equivalent to about one ninth of the world’s land area. North to south the country extends for more than 4,000 km (2,400 mi) from the archipelago of Franz Josef Land (in Russian, Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa) in the Arctic Ocean to the Caucasus Mountains.
From west to east the maximum extent is almost 10,000 km (6,200 mi) from the Kaliningrad exclave on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea to Ratmanov (also known as Big Diomede) Island in the Bering Strait that separates eastern Siberian Russia from Alaska. Moscow (in Russian, Moskva) is the capital of Russia. © "Russia" © Emmanuel Buchot and Britannica
Photos of European countries to visit
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