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Russia is the world's largest country.

Two Russian girls taking pictures of Russia mountains landscape
Russia covers 17 075 400 square kilometers or 11,46% of the whole Earth territory. The country spreads across Europe and Asia, from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Russia is a vast country spanning 11 time zones from GMT+2 to GMT+12. Russia has longest borders in the world, it is washed by 22 seas and has 12 in-land seas. The population of Russia amounts to 142 million people (2,15% of the earth population).

The Russian Federation is home to more than 190 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. Around 80% of population is ethnically Russian. The remaining percentage is - Tatars - 3.8%, Ukrainians - 3%, Chuvash - 1.8%, Belarusians - 0.8%, Mordovians - 0.7%, Germans and Chechens - by 0.6%, Avars, Armenians, Jews - by 0.4% and others. Tatars and the Bashkirs make up the largest grouping of Muslim nations located almost in the center of Russia. In Siberia live Altai, Khakassia, Yakuts. In the Caucasus live the people of Abkhaz-Adyghe Group: Kabardins, Adygea and Circassians; Nehsko-Daghestanian Group: Chechens, Ingush, Avars, Lezgins; Ossetins are related to the Iranian group. Russia is a home for the Finno-Ugric peoples - these are the Finnish, Karelians, Komis and Saami in the north of European Russia; Mari and Mordovians in the Volga region, the Khanty and Mansi - in Western Siberia. In the Far North there are Nenetses. In East Siberia live Evenks. On the Chukotka Peninsula - Chukchi. Mongolian group is represented by Buryats in Siberia and Kalmyks on the Caspian Sea.

Russia's population density is 8.4 people per square kilometre (22 per square mile), making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The population is most dense in the European part of the country, centering around Moscow and Saint Petersburg. 74% of the population is urban.
Muslim minorities make up a seventh (14%) of Russia's population. The majority of them are ethnic Muslims that do not necessarily follow Islam doctrine but associate themselves with Islamic tradition due to the place of living and cultural stereotypes. Most of ethnic Muslims live in Russia's Volga-Urals: Tatarstan and Bashkortostan republics. Adyghe, Balkars, Chechens, Circassians, Ingush, Kabardin, Karachay and Dagestani peoples make considerable Muslim communities in the North Caucasus. Although Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Southern Federal District and parts of Siberia also have sizable Muslim populations.
Islam is recognized as one of Russia's official religions, along with Orthodox Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. Islam is the second largest religion in Russia and is the predominant religion of 28 ethnic groups in the Russian Federation.
Russia's Muslims are extremely diverse, but they all share an important demographic - birth rates far higher than that of Russia's Christian Orthodox, ethnic Slavs. The Muslim population growth rate since 1989 is between 40 and 50 percent, depending on ethnic groups.
Unlike the Arab countries, Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan, Russia's Muslim women of Tatarstan, North Caucasus and Bashkortostan are not required to cover face. Hijab is traditional part of clothes of some ethnic groups in Russia and is not banned in Russian Federation unlike in some European countries.

Average life expectancy in Russia is 68.98 years (2010): 63.03 years for males and 74.87 years for females

In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, thus starting the Space Age. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth aboard Vostok 1 manned spacecraft on 12 April 1961.

Russian women outnumber Russian men by millions. Russian males number is 66.2 million (46.3%) while there 76.7 million women (53.7%) in Russia.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. It has the second largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines and is the only country apart from the U.S. with a modern strategic bomber force. Russia's tank force is the largest in the world, its surface navy and air force are among the largest ones.

In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. Since then Russian Orthodoxy is the dominant religion in the country; approximately 100 million citizens consider themselves Russian Orthodox Christians.

Moscow Metro was opened in 1935 with one 11-kilometre (6.8 mi) line and 13 stations. As of 2011, the Moscow Metro has 182 stations and its route length is 301.2 kilometres (187.2 mi). The Moscow Metro is the world's second-most-heavily-used rapid transit system, after Tokyo's twin subway.
At the present day 621 higher education and 2595 secondary professional education State institutes function in Russia. The best rated Russian universities are: Moscow State University; St. Petersburg State University; National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow); Petrozavodsk State University; Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; Saint Petersburg State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics; Novosibirsk State University; Bauman Moscow State Technical University; Saratov State University; Tomsk Polytechnic University.
7,2 mln students study at the higher and secondary education institutes in Russia. Annual entrance of students into higher and secondary education institutions amounts at more than 2 mln people according to Russian Ministry of Education. The present-day number of students - 340 on every 10,000 of population.

Russian Federation counts 11 cities with the population of more then 1 mln people. They include Moscow (10,5 mln), St-Petersburg (4,6 mln), Novosibirsk (1,4 mln), Ekaterinburg (1,3 mln), Nizhniy Novgorod (1,3 mln), Samara (1,1 mln), Omsk (1,1 mln), Kazan (1,1 mln), Chelyabinks (1,1 mln), Rostov-on-Don (1,0 mln), Ufa (1,0 mln)

There are more than one hundred airlines in Russia at the moment. The leading airlines handle 90% of domestic and international operations. The major Russian airlines are Aeroflot, the biggest in Russia and one of the oldest airlines in the world, Transaero, Russia's second-largest airline, Sibir airline, Russia's largest domestic carrier.

There are currently 70 international airports in Russia. Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport, Vnukovo International Airport in St-Petersburg, Ekaterinburg's Koltsovo International Airport, Novosibirsk Tolmachevo International Airport, Krasnodar International Airport, Adler/Sochi International Airport, Kurumoch International Airport and Ufa International Airport and the biggest hubs for the passenger operations in Russia.

Modern-day Russia has the world's 9th largest economy by nominal GDP or the 6th largest by purchasing power parity, with the 5th largest nominal military budget.

There are seven public holidays in Russia,except those always celebrated on Sunday. They are New Year (31 Dec-1 Jan ), Orthodox Christmas (7 January), International Women's Day (8 March), International Labour Day (1 May), Victory Day (9 May); Russia Day (12 June); and Unity Day (4 November).

A language of harsh accents, alien alphabet and a reputation as being hard to learn... Russian language is all that and even more but it's certainly not the only language spoken in Russia. About 100 others are used across the country. But you don't need to know all of them: Russian is official throughout the nation, although there are about 30 co-official languages in different regions.

Russian is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. Russian has 144 million native speakers in the world and 250 million speakers in total. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 160 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the 4th by total number of speakers.

Russian is the official language of Russia, although it shares the official status at regional level with other languages in the numerous ethnic autonomies within Russia, such as Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and Yakutia. It is also an official language of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the de facto official language of the unrecognized country of Transnistria and partially recognized countries of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

There are 2321 museums in Russia, most are located in Moscow and St-Petersburg. The top popular are the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the State Hermitage, the State Russian Museum, the State Historical Museum and the State Tretyakov Gallery according to the official list of Russian museums

A Russian lady wearing in The Winter Palace of Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg
The State Hermitage is one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. The collection occupies more than 350 halls in 5 different buildings including the Winter Palace, the former residence of the Russian tsars. The buildings of the Museum alone are by themselves valuable architectural monuments. The museum collection has over 3 million exhibits from prehistoric to modern times. Especially important are the collections of prehistoric exhibits, Egyptian art, Roman and Greek art, Scythian gold and Western European paintings and sculptures.

According to UNESCO, St. Petersburg ranks among the ten cities of the world most attractive for tourists. Its magnificent architecture and the abundance of rivers and canals are the reason the city is often called "The Northern Venice". If taking suburbs into account, there are 64 rivers, 48 canals, 170 km of embankments, about 100 islands and 800 bridges. There are 221 museums, 2000 libraries, more than 80 theatres, 100 concert organizations, 45 galleries and exhibit halls, 62 cinema halls, 80 recreation centres, etc in St. Petersburg. More than 100 contests and festivals in various spheres of culture (including more than 50 international ones) are organized in St.Petersburg annually. St Petersburg plays host to as many as 100 cultural and art festivals every year, including 50 international ones.

Based on Forbes 2011, Moscow had 79 billionaires, displacing New York as the city with the greatest number of billionaires.

Mount Elbrus is an inactive volcano located in the western Caucasus mountain range, Russia, near the border of Georgia. Mt. Elbrus's peak is the highest in the Caucasus, in Russia. While there are differing authorities on how the Caucasus are distributed between Europe and Asia, many sources agree that Elbrus is also the highest mountain in all of Europe.

Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres. Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world's unfrozen surface fresh water.

Klyuchevskaya Sopka is a stratovolcano which is the highest mountain on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia and the highest active volcano of Eurasia.

According to web site as of November 2011, prices in Moscow's hotels were the highest in Europe. Prices in Moscow rose 8.35 percent in autumn to reach 7,684 rubles for a room per night. Oslo came second at the equivalent of 7,145 rubles a night.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative index - compiled jointly with the Economist Intelligence Unit - ranked Russia 24th out of the 32 countries that possess more than 1 kilogram of weapons-grade radioactive material. The report is the first of its kind to assess nuclear risks on a country-by-country basis and analyzes 176 countries in total, including a separate category of 144 states possessing less than 1 kilogram of nuclear materials. The data was published in January 2012.

Russia, one of the world's two energy superpowers, is rich in natural energy resources. It has the largest known natural gas reserves of any state on earth, along with the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves.

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