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The history, geography, people and society, government and politics, and economy of RUSSIA.

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  1. 1. RUSSIA
  2. 2. RUSSIA: BACKGROUND O The Principality of Muscovy – which emerged in the twelfth century – was the result of more than two centuries of Mongol rule (thirteenth to fifteenth centuries) and steadily conquered and annexed neighboring principalities. O In the early seventeenth century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of enlargement across Siberia to the Pacific. O Under Peter I, who ruled from 1682-1725, hegemony was expanded to the Baltic Sea; the country was renamed the Russian Empire. O Throughout the nineteenth century, more territorial acquirements were made in Europe and Asia. O Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 caused the Revolution of 1905, which led to the development of a parliament and other changes. O Recurring overwhelming losses of the Russian army in World War I led to extensive revolting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the 1917 overthrow of the imperial government. O The Bolsheviks, or Red Army, led by Vladimir Lenin subsequently assumed power and were one of the two biggest rival factions, along with the White Army, in the Russian Civil War that brought about the birth of the Soviet Union – the world’s first communist state – in 1922.
  3. 3. RUSSIA: BACKGROUND – CONT. O Lenin’s death in 1924 was followed by the three-decade reign of Joseph Stalin, who ruled the country with an iron fist; the cruelty of his rule was characterized by mass executions of political dissidents and a famine in Ukraine. O After Germany’s defeat in World War II, the Soviet Union expanded its influence in Eastern Europe with satellite states that fell under communist rule in the mid and late 1940s and rose as a superpower. O During the Cold War (1947-1991), a period of indirect geopolitical tension between the capitalist West and the communist East, the Soviet Union was the main rival power of the United States. O In the decades after Stalin’s death in 1953, the Soviet economy declined until Mikhail Gorbachev, who ruled the Soviet Union for the last six years of its existence, introduced glasnost (“openness”) and perestroika (“restructuring”) in an effort to reform communism, but his plans led to a coup in August 1991, by extremist members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union who opposed his reform program. O Despite the coup’s failure and Gorbachev’s return to government, the Soviet Union’s legitimacy was undermined; it is commonly believed to have had a role in the termination of the CPSU and the collapse of the Soviet Union into fifteen new independent states in December 1991. O Russia, the largest of these states, was recognized (as the Russian Federation) as the Soviet Union’s legal successor state.
  4. 4. RUSSIA: BACKGROUND – CONT. O The presidency of Boris Yeltsin (1991-1999) saw economic and political unrest, including a clash with parliament in 1993, two wars in Chechnya, the increasing influence of oligarchs (notably Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Fridman, Vladimir Gusinsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vladimir Potanin, Alexander Smolensky, Petr Aven, Vladimir Vinogradov, and Vitaly Malkin) who acquired ownership of almost 45,000 public businesses (such as energy, mining, and communications – which were formerly owned by the former communist government) and extraordinary wealth (causing wider inequality), and numerous apartment bombings in Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk in 1999; the latter is commonly believed to have been a ploy by the FSB to bring their former director Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy who had recently been appointed Yeltsin’s PM, to power. O Under Putin’s leadership (2000-2008, 2012-present), Western observers have generally depicted Russia as a consolidated authoritarian state where the government – often considered a mixture of kleptocracy, oligarchy, and cronyism with possible connections to organized crime – intends to legitimize its brutal rule through state ownership of the media, controlled elections, populist appeals, an aggressive foreign policy concentrated on restoring the country’s geopolitical influence (particularly the 2008 invasions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the 2014 annexation of Crimea, and military alliances with Iran and Syria), interfering in foreign elections, and service-based economic growth. O Since Putin’s rise to power, numerous journalists and other dissidents have been killed for investigating government corruption, most recently opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in February 2015, two days before he intended to release a report on Russian military involvement in Ukraine. O While Russia faces a mainly quiet insurgent movement in Chechnya and some other neighboring federal subjects, violence still transpires in much of the North Caucasus.
  5. 5. RUSSIA: GEOGRAPHY O Location: Eastern Europe and North Asia, transcontinental country bordering the Arctic Ocean, extending from Europe (the portion west of the Urals) to the North Pacific Ocean O Geographic coordinates: 60 00 N, 100 00 E O Map references: Europe, Asia O Area: O Total: 17,098,242 sq. km O Land: 16,377,742 sq. km O Water: 720,500 sq. km O Country comparison to the world: 1 O Area – comparative: about 1.8 times the size of the U.S.
  6. 6. RUSSIA: GEOGRAPHY – CONT. O Land boundaries: O Total: 22,408 km O Border countries: Azerbaijan 338 km, Belarus 1,312 km, China (southeast) 4,133 km, China (south) 46 km, Estonia 324 km, Finland 1,309 km, Georgia 894 km, Kazakhstan 7,644 km, North Korea 18 km, Latvia 332 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 261 km, Mongolia 3,452 km, Norway 191 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Ukraine 1,944 km O Coastline: 37,653 km O Maritime claims: O Territorial sea: twelve nautical miles O Contiguous zone: twenty-four nautical miles O Exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles O Continental shelf: 200-meter depth or to the depth of utilization O Climate: varies from grasslands in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra environment in the polar north; winters diverge from cool along Black Sea coast to glacial in Siberia; summers diverge from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast O Terrain: broad plain with low hills west of Urals; massive coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
  7. 7. RUSSIA: GEOGRAPHY – CONT. O Elevation: O Mean elevation: 600 m O Elevation extremes: lowest point is Caspian Sea (-28 m); highest point is Mount Elbrus (5,642 m; also the highest point in Europe) O Natural resources: wide natural resource base including considerable abundances of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, reserves of rare earth elements, timber (note: difficult barriers of climate, terrain, and distance deter use of natural resources) O Land use: O Agricultural land: 13.1% (arable land 7.3%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 5.7%) O Forest: 49.4% O Other: 37.5% (2011 est.) O Irrigated land: 43,000 sq. km (2012) O Population – distribution: population is significantly concentrated in the westernmost fifth of the country (roughly 77% of the population lives in European Russia, while just 23% lives in Asian Russia) extending from the Baltic Sea, south to the Caspian Sea, and eastward parallel to the Kazakh border; elsewhere, substantial pockets are remote and mostly present in the south
  8. 8. CASPIAN SEA coast
  10. 10. RUSSIA: GEOGRAPHY – CONT. O Natural hazards: permafrost over much of Siberia is a major obstacle to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula; spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires in much of Siberia and parts of European Russia O Volcanism: momentous volcanic activity on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands; the peninsula alone is home to about twenty-nine historically active volcanoes, with dozens more in the Kuril Islands; Kliuchevskoi (4,835 m), which erupted in 2007 and 2010, is Kamchatka's most active volcano; Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes, which present a danger to the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, have been believed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and immediacy to human populations; other prominent historically active volcanoes include Bezymianny, Chikurachki, Ebeko, Gorely, Grozny, Karymsky, Ketoi, Kronotsky, Ksudach, Medvezhia, Mutnovsky, Sarychev Peak, Shiveluch, Tiatia, Tolbachik, and Zheltovsky O Environment – current issues: air contamination from heavy industry, discharges of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from inadequate application of agricultural chemicals; dispersed areas of sometimes extreme radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; uninhibited supplies of outmoded insecticides
  11. 11. RUSSIA: GEOGRAPHY – CONT. O Party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling O Signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulfur 94 O Geography – note: biggest country in the world with respect to area but also unfavorably located relative to major sea lanes of the world; in spite of its size, much of the country is deficient of proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for farming; Mount Elbrus is Europe's tallest peak; Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, is projected to hold one fifth of the world's fresh water
  12. 12. RUSSIA: PEOPLE AND SOCIETY O Population: 142,257,519 (July 2017 est.) – country comparison to the world: 9 O Nationality: O Noun: Russian(s) O Adjective: Russian O Ethnic groups: Russian 77.7%, Tatar 3.7%, Ukrainian 1.4%, Bashkir 1.1%, Chuvash 1%, Chechen 1%, other 10.2%, unspecified 3.9% O Note: almost 200 national and/or ethnic groups are represented in Russia's 2010 census (2010 est.) O Languages: Russian (official) 85.7%, Tatar 3.2%, Chechen 1%, other 10.1% O Note: figures denote native language spoken (2010 est.) O Religions: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.) O Note: estimations are of practicing worshipers only; Russia has significant populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a remnant of more than seventy years of communism; Russia formally recognizes Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism as traditional religions
  19. 19. RUSSIA: PEOPLE AND SOCIETY – CONT. O Age structure: O 0-14 years: 17.12% (male 12,509,563/female 11,843,254) O 15-24 years: 9.46% (male 6,881,880/female 6,572,191) O 25-54 years: 44.71% (male 31,220,990/female 32,375,489) O 55-64 years: 14.44% (male 8,849,707/female 11,693,131) O 65 years and over: 14.28% (male 6,352,557/female 13,958,757) (2017 est.)
  20. 20. RUSSIA: GOVERNMENT O Official name: Russian Federation (Российская Федерация, Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) O Former names: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic O Etymology: Russian lands were usually referred to as Muscovy until Peter I formally declared the Russian Empire in 1721; the new name sought to appeal the legacy of the medieval Eastern European Rus state focused on Kyiv in modern-day Ukraine; the Rus were a Varangian (eastern Viking) elite that enforced their rule and ultimately their name on their Slavic subordinates O Government type: Semi-presidential federation O Capital: Moscow O Geographic coordinates: 55 45 N, 37 36 E O Time difference: UTC+3 (eight hours ahead of Washington, D.C., during Standard Time) O Note: Russia spans eleven different time zones, the biggest number of adjoining time zones of any country in the world; in 2014, two time zones were added, and Daylight Savings Time ceased observance
  23. 23. RUSSIA: GOVERNMENT – CONT. O Administrative divisions: forty-six provinces (oblastey, singular - oblast), twenty- one republics (respublik, singular - respublika), four autonomous okrugs (avtonomnykh okrugov, singular - avtonomnyy okrug), nine krays (krayev, singular - kray), two federal cities (goroda, singular - gorod), and one autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast') O Oblasts: Amur (Blagoveshchensk), Arkhangel'sk, Astrakhan', Belgorod, Bryansk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Magadan, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Orel, Penza, Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan', Sakhalin (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Samara, Saratov, Smolensk, Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), Tambov, Tomsk, Tula, Tver', Tyumen', Ul'yanovsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Yaroslavl‘ O Republics: Adygeya (Maykop), Altay (Gorno-Altaysk), Bashkortostan (Ufa), Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude), Chechnya (Groznyy), Chuvashiya (Cheboksary), Dagestan (Makhachkala), Ingushetiya (Magas), Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik), Kalmykiya (Elista), Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk), Kareliya (Petrozavodsk), Khakasiya (Abakan), Komi (Syktyvkar), Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola), Mordoviya (Saransk), North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk), Tatarstan (Kazan'), Tyva (Kyzyl), Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)
  25. 25. RUSSIA: GOVERNMENT – CONT. O Autonomous okrugs: Chukotka (Anadyr'), Khanty-Mansi-Yugra (Khanty- Mansiysk), Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar), Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard) O Krays: Altay (Barnaul), Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm', Primorskiy [Maritime] (Vladivostok), Stavropol', Zabaykal'sk [Transbaikal] (Chita) O Federal cities: Moscow (Moskva), Saint Petersburg (Sankt-Peterburg) O Autonomous oblast: Yevreyskaya (Jewish) (Birobidzhan) O Note 1: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exclusions have the administrative center name after in parentheses) O Note 2: the United States does not recognize Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the municipality of Sevastopol, nor their respective redesignations as the Republic of Crimea and the Federal City of Sevastopol O Independence: 24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable prior dates: 1157 (Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal created); 16 January 1547 (Tsardom of Muscovy established); 22 October 1721 (Russian Empire proclaimed); 30 December 1922 (Soviet Union established) O National holiday: Russia Day, 12 June (1990)
  26. 26. RUSSIA: GOVERNMENT – CONT. O Constitution: O History: several previous (during Russian Empire and Soviet era); most recent outlined 12 July 1993, approved by referendum 12 December 1993, effective 25 December 1993 O Amendments: proposed by the President of the Russian Federation, by either house of the Federal Assembly, by the government of the Russian Federation, or by legislative (representative) bodies of the Federation's fundamental entities; proposals to modify the government’s constitutional system, human and civil rights and freedoms, and measures for revising or drafting a new constitution require formation of a Constitutional Assembly; passage of such amendments requires two-thirds majority vote of its total membership; passage in a referendum requires participation of an absolute majority of eligible voters and an outright majority of legitimate votes; endorsement of recommended amendments to the government framework, authorities, and procedures requires consent by the legislative bodies of at least two-thirds of the Russian Federation's constituent entities; revised 2008, 2014 (2017)
  27. 27. RUSSIA: GOVERNMENT – CONT. O Legal system: civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts O International law organization participation: has not offered an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt O Citizenship: O citizenship by birth: no O citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Russia O dual citizenship recognized: yes O residency requirement for naturalization: three to five years O Suffrage: eighteen years of age; universal O International organization participation: APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BRICS, BSEC, CBSS, CD, CE, CERN (observer), CICA, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAEU, EAPC, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
  28. 28. RUSSIA: GOVERNMENT – CONT. O Russian ambassador to the U.S.: Anatoly Antonov O U.S. Ambassador to Russia: Jon Huntsman, Jr. O Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red O Note: the colors may have been based on those of the Dutch flag; in spite of numerous common analyses, there is no formal meaning given to the colors of the Russian flag; this flag inspired several other Slavic countries (notably Croatia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia) to assume horizontal tricolors of the same colors but in different arrangements; red, blue, and white thus became the Pan-Slavic colors O National symbol(s): bear, double-headed eagle; national colors: white, blue, red O National anthem: “State Anthem of the Russian Federation” (Госуда́рственный гимн Росси́йской Федера́ции, Gosudárstvennyy gimn Rossíyskoy Federátsii) O Lyrics/music: Sergey Mikhalkov, Alexander Alexandrov O Note: in 2000, Russia adopted the melody of the Soviet-era anthem (composed in 1939); the lyrics, also adopted in 2000, were written by the same person who wrote the Soviet lyrics in 1943 (link:
  29. 29. RUSSIA: ECONOMY O Russia has experienced major changes since the fall of the Soviet Union, moving from a centrally planned economy to a more market-based system. O However, both economic growth and reform have slowed in recent years, and Russia remains a primarily statist economy with a high absorption of wealth in the hands of government officials. O Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industry, with remarkable exceptions in the energy, transportation, banking, and defense-related sectors. O The defense of property rights remains frail, and the state still intervenes in the free management of the private sector. O Russia is one of the world's primary manufacturers of oil and natural gas, and is also a chief exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum. O Russia's dependence on service exports makes it susceptible to boom and bust cycles that follow the instable swings in inclusive prices. O The economy, which had averaged 7% growth throughout the 1998-2008 period as oil prices soared quickly, has seen shrinking growth rates since then due to the collapse of Russia’s service-based growth model.
  30. 30. RUSSIA: ECONOMY – CONT. O A fusion of dipping oil prices, international sanctions, and structural restrictions impelled Russia into a serious economic downturn in 2015, with the GDP decreasing by nearly 4%. O The downturn lasted through 2016, with GDP diminishing by 0.6%. O Government support for importation exchange has surged in recent years in an attempt to enlarge the economy away from extractive industries. O Russia depends heavily on the measure of world commodity prices; the Central Bank of Russia assesses that if oil prices stay under $40 per cask in 2017, the ensuing blow would cause GDP to plummet by as much as 5%. O GDP (purchasing power parity): O $3.862 trillion (2016 est.) O $3.822 trillion (2015 est.) O $3.891 trillion (2014 est.) O Note: data are in 2016 dollars O Country comparison to the world: 7
  31. 31. RUSSIA: FREEDOM HOUSE RANKING O Freedom Status: Not Free O Aggregate Score: 20/100 (0=Least Free, 100=Most Free) O Freedom Rating: 6.5/7 O Political Rights: 7/7 O Civil Liberties: 6/7 (1=Most Free, 7=Least Free) O Russia’s political rights rating dropped from 6 to 7 due to the heavily flawed 2016 legislative elections, which further barred opposition forces from the political process. O In Russia’s authoritarian government, power is concentrated in the hands of President Vladimir Putin. O With loyalist security forces, a submissive judiciary, and a legislature controlled by his United Russia party, Putin is able to influence elections and hinder official opposition. O The government also exercises strong control over the media sphere, and has been able to preserve domestic support despite (but also because of) a current financial decline and strong international condemnation of Russia’s influence. O The country’s widespread corruption is one noteworthy danger to state power, as it eases unstable links among government officials and among organized crime groups.
  32. 32. REFERENCES O O O pt O O O O by-senator-john-mccain-on-the-murder-of-russian-opposition-leader- boris-nemstov O O O
  33. 33. THE END