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The Russian Federation
(Российская Федерация)

The Russian Federation (or Russia), is a country that stretches over a vast expanse of Europe and Asia. With an area of 17,075,200 square kilometers, it is the largest country in the world by land mass. Russia shares land borders with the following countries (counter-clockwise from NW to SE): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea.

Formerly the dominant republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Russia is now an independent country, and an influential member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, since the Union's dissolution in December 1991. Russia is considered the Soviet Union's successor state in diplomatic matters.

The Russian Federation stretches across much of the north of the super continent of Eurasia. Although it contains a large share of the world's Arctic and sub-Arctic areas, and therefore has less population, economic activity, and physical variety per unit area than most countries, the great area south of these still accommodates a great variety of landscapes and climates. Most of Russia is in zones of a continental and Arctic climate. Russia is the coldest country in the world.

Russia has a coastline of over 37,000 kilometers along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as more or less inland seas such as the Baltic, Black and Caspian seas. Major lakes include Lake Baikal, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega. Russia has 13 cities with over a million inhabitants (from largest to smallest): Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Omsk, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Ufa, Volgograd and Perm.

Despite its comparatively high population, Russia has a low average population density due to its enormous size. The Russian Federation is home to as many as 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples.

The Russian language is the only official state language, but the individual republics have often made their native language co-official next to Russian.

The economic development of the country has been extremely uneven: the Moscow region contributes one-third of the country's GDP while having only a tenth of its population. Russia remains heavily dependent on exports of oil, natural gas, metals, and timber, which account for about 80% of exports. In recent years, however, the economy has also been driven by growing internal consumer demand that has increased by over 12% annually in 2000-2005, showing the strengthening of its own internal market.

Read and answer the following questions:

1. How many people live in Russia?

2. What are the main problems that Russia faces nowadays?

3. What are the main products that Russia exports/imports?

4. Do you know the main political parties?

5. What are Russia’s geopolitical advantages?


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