Portal:Russia

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The Russia Portal

The Russia Portal

Russia (Russian: Россия, Rossiya), also the Russian Federation (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), is a Eurasian country extending over much of northern Eurasia. It is a semi-presidential republic comprising 83 federal subjects. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It also has maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, and the U.S. state of Alaska by the Bering Strait.

At 17,075,400 square kilometers, Russia is by far the largest country in the world, covering more than an eighth of the Earth’s land area; with 143 million people, it is the eighth largest by population. It extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning 11 time zones and incorporating a great range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's greatest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is considered an energy superpower. It has the world's largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's unfrozen fresh water.

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Major Varangian trade routes
The Caspian expeditions of the Rus were military raids undertaken by the Rus between 864 and 1041 on the Caspian Sea shores. Initially, the Rus appeared in Serkland in the 9th century traveling as merchants along the Volga trade route, selling furs, honey, and slaves. The first small-scale raids took place in the late 9th and early 10th century. The Rus undertook the first large-scale expedition in 913; having arrived on 500 ships, they pillaged Gorgan, in the territory of present day Iran, and the adjacent areas, taking slaves and goods. On their return, the northern raiders were attacked and defeated by Khazar Muslims in the Volga Delta, and those who escaped were killed by the local tribes on the middle Volga. During their next expedition in 943, the Rus captured Barda, the capital of Arran, in the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan. Sviatoslav, prince of Kiev, commanded the next attack, which destroyed the Khazar state in 965. Sviatoslav's campaign established the Rus's hold on the north-south trade routes, helping to alter the demographics of the region. Raids continued through the time period with the last Scandinavian attempt to reestablish the route to the Caspian Sea taking place in 1041 by Ingvar the Far-Travelled.

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St Isaac's Square
Credit: Detroit Publishing Co. (1905 catalogue)

A photochrom of Saint Isaac's Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia from the 1890s, as seen from the dome of Saint Isaac's Cathedral towards Mariinsky Palace. Behind the palace, the capital of the Russian Empire is seen all the way to the Trinity Cathedral. The square is dominated by the equestrian Monument to Nicholas I.

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Nativity Cathedral built by Dmitrievich (ca. 1405)

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NASA soil target on Mars named after Laika
Laika was one of the Russian space dogs and the first living being to enter orbit, as a passenger on Sputnik 2, a Soviet spacecraft. Some classify her as the first animal to enter space, although other animals had entered space during sub-orbital flights on previous missions. Laika was found as a stray wandering the streets of Moscow, a female part-Samoyed terrier weighing approximately 6 kg (13 lb). Laika died on November 4, 1957, a few hours after launch, due to stress and overheating. Her true cause of death was not made public until years after the flight, with officials always stating that she was either euthanized by poisoned food or died when the oxygen supply ran out. Russian officials have since expressed regret for allowing Laika to die; to this date, Laika is the only living passenger ever to have been launched into space without the intention of retrieval.

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Leon Trotsky
Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain — at least in a poor country like Russia — and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.

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