About Russia


Russia, the world’s largest country, obviously defies a “brief description,” as it covers 11 time zones, all climate zones except tropical, with land that stretches almost halfway around the planet.

In fact, by jet from Moscow, it takes about 8 hours to reach Vladivostok on its Pacific Ocean coast. If you were to take that trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, count on your journey taking four days minimum.

Russia has over 1,000 major cities, with 16 having a metro population of more than one million. The most populated cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg.

Moscow, the capital, with over 12 million (metro) residents, is the country’s major economic and political center – the seat of the President, the government and the State Duma.

The Russian landmass west of the Ural Mountains (shown above in a slightly darker shade of green) is referred to as European Russia by most educational atlases and geography experts. It is not a separate country, but rather called that because of its political, cultural and geographical blendings with Europe.

Historically, the land called Russia was occupied by Mongols, and the likes, for centuries. In the early 17th century, the 300 year control of the Romanov family began, and it was Czar Peter I that really began the transformation of the Russian Empire. After the reign of Queen Catherine II, it emerged as an influential and powerful European force.

This flexible and durable giant somehow survived decades of political uprisings; a bloody civil war, one led by Vladimir Lenin; its participation in World Wars I and II; the tragic oppression of Joseph Stalin, Communism and a long succession of ideological, often brutal, leaders.

In 1991, the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) dissolved, and when that union ended, Russia itself and its former republics all became separate countries.

Today, this super-sized country is led by President Dmitry Medvedev, as he attempts to manage this massive slice of real estate, as well as maintain positive relationships with both Asian, European and Western powers – and what a job he has!

Facts and Figures


  • Name Russia

    (long form) Russian Federation

  • Population 143,420,300

  • Population & Density (all countries) 

  • Capital City Moscow (10.9 million)

  • Currency Russian Ruble (RUR)

  • Currency Converter here

  • Languages Russian, numerous minority dialects

  • National Day June 12

  • Religions Russian Orthodox, Muslim, other

Geographic Coordinates

           Latitude/Longitude (Capital City)

              55� 45′ N, 37� 42′ E

Relative Location Positioned in northern Asia, Russia is in both the northern and eastern
hemispheres. The country is dissected by the Arctic Circle, and also separated into two recognized landmasses by the Ural Mountains; its land west of those mountains is referred to as European Russia, and includes the capital city of Moscow.

The country is bordered by the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, a dozen seas, and 14 countries, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, (Kaliningrad Oblast) and the Ukraine.

Land Statistics


  •  Coastline 23,396 miles (37,653 km)
  •  Land Areas
  • (land) 6,562,112 sq miles (16,995,800 sq km)
  • (water) 30,657 sq miles (79,400 sq km)
  • (TOTAL) 6,592,769 sq miles (17,075,200 sq km)

Landforms:  The broad European Plain, or Volga River Plain extends from the Ural Mountains to its western borders with Europe.

In the far southwest the Caucasus Mountains slice across the land. The country’s highest point, Mt. Elbrus, is located there.

The central and southern areas include large fertile areas, marsh, steppes (plains without trees) and massive coniferous forests.

Siberia is a combination of frozen tundra, with rolling hills rising to plateaus, and numerous rugged mountain ranges. The northeast, south-central and southeast areas are covered by a wide variety of mountain ranges. A few on the Kamchatka Peninsula contain active volcanoes.

Russia has more than 100,000 rivers with a length of 7 miles, or greater. Significant rivers include the Volga, Dnieper and Dvina (west), the Lena, Ob, and Yenisey (central) and the Amur in the far east. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, at 5,310 ft. (1,620m).

Russia is approximately 5,592 miles, (9000km) west to east.

Highest Point Mt. Elbrus – 18,481 ft. (5,633 m)

Lowest Point Caspian Sea – (-92 ft.) (-28 m)

Land Divisions 48 oblasts, 21 republics, 9 autonomous okrugs, 2 federal, 9 autonomous okrugs, 2 federal cities and 1 autonomous oblast