Russia is today one of the most popular countries in Central Asia, a region which has witnessed a dramatic expansion in its economy, political power, societal stability and population. Russia, or rather the Russian Federation, is an extremely large transcontinental state spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, making it the second largest country in the whole world, by both land and area. It also covers more than one-eleventh of the Earth’s total land mass, making it the largest nation in a single geographical area.
At the turn of the century, when the mighty Soviet Union was formed, its sphere of influence was limited to a handful of countries around its close neighbours. Today, despite the size of the country and its political clout, russia is an powerful member of the international community, ruling over a realm of satellites, possessions and postulates which collectively form the Russian Federation. However, while this makes russia the most populous country in Central Asia, it also happens to be the thinnest. The following brief guide to country lists provides a glimpse into the dynamics of life in russia.
Russia consists of five principal ethnic groups – including the Chechens, Ingushians, Central Asians and the Russian speakers of the Chechny and Kalashtar cultures. Each group perceives itself as the rightful heir to its historic land, which in turn perceives itself as the rightful owner of the entire world. The diversity of ethnic identity, cultural practices and traditions make each group unique, with each group tending to view the other as backwards and inferior. This leads to profound cultural and social conflicts that have been a feature of the life of Russia and parts of the world since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Russia, for all intents and purposes, is a country with an enormous amount of land spread out between the European and Asian continental plates. Although Russia is by far the largest nation in the world, it is dwarfed by the other countries listed above. All told, Russia takes up more space on the map than all of the other states of the world put together, making it the single, most unbalanced destination on the world stage
When it comes to population, Russia ranks second to Norway in terms of total population, coming in after Japan. Because of its size and weight, however, Russia is also the world’s largest country by surface area, while ranking only slightly behind the United States. Much of the land mass of the country is comprised of solid land, meaning that the majority of its people live north of the Ural Mountains or in what is known as the Uralic Basin. With an area the size of Switzerland, Russia has plenty of territory to cover in terms of its location on the world map.
Like much of Europe, Russia also shares its borders with Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Baltic Republic, the CIS countries ( Mongolia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Norway and Kemer) and the Turkmenistan. The former German colonies of what are now Poland and Germany in the Baltic Sea provide Russia with a significant source of food and raw materials, while the former British possessions in northern asia make up a significant portion of the territory that Russia shares with its neighbors. In fact, the once-vacant Urkraine is now one of four ex-soviet states that are re-unified and seek to join the Russian Federation. While much of eastern Europe and Scandinavia ( Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland ) shares land borders with the former Soviet Union, most of western Europe, including Germany, Denmark, Spain and Italy does not.
The largest city in Russia is Moscow, which is also the capital of the soviet union, meaning that half of the people in this country and half of the people in the russian Federation live in the soviet union. The capital city of Moscow also houses the State University of Moscow, the main research university in Russia. The Winter Olympics are hosted there every four years. The economy of Russia is highly developed with major international investments, including large contracts with international businesses, being made in order to develop its economy further.
However, it is not just the large cities that form the heart of Russia, but also the smaller towns that form the very core of the Russian economy. Most russian couples travel to have their honeymoon in order to avoid the huge crowds that are present in most tourist destinations such as the beaches of California and Florida or in Paris or London. The world’s largest Siberian city of Barnaul is visited by thousands of tourists each year, who come to watch the sable deer and other huge herds of reindeer in action. The reindeer are very well fed by feeding stations placed just below the tundra where they spend their days basking in the sun. The Winter Olympics and the World Cup also take place in Barnaul, which has earned a reputation for being Russia’s “Hollywood”.