Russia facts and figures


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 300-year old Romanov Dynasty. The Communists under Vladimir
LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Josef STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens 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 15 independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the strict social, political, and economic
controls of the Communist period. A determined guerrilla conflict still plagues Russia in Chechnya.


Northern Asia (that part west of the Urals is included with Europe), bordering
the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean


total: 17,075,200 sq km

water: 79,400 sq km

land: 16,995,800 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 19,990 km

border countries: Azerbaijan 284 km, Belarus 959 km, China (southeast) 3,605
km, China (south) 40 km, Estonia 294 km, Finland 1,313 km, Georgia 723 km,
Kazakhstan 6,846 km, North Korea 19 km, Latvia 217 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad
Oblast) 227 km, Mongolia 3,485 km, Norway 196 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast)
206 km, Ukraine 1,576 km


ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European
Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters
vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary
from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast


broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra
in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions

Land use:

arable land: 7.46%

permanent crops: 0.11%

other: 92.43% (1998 est.)


144,526,278 (July 2003 est.)


noun: Russian(s)

adjective: Russian


Russian, other