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Introduction

Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg

Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), officially the Russian Federation (Russian: Росси́йская Федера́ция, tr. Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijskəjə fʲɪdʲɪˈratsɨjə]), is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people , including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both with Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states; most of the Rus' lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion and became tributaries of the nomadic Golden Horde in the 13th century. The Grand Duchy of Moscow gradually reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east.

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Fighting on Krakowskie Przedmieście by Juliusz Kossak
The Warsaw Uprising of 1794 (otherwise the "Warsaw Insurrection"); was an armed Polish insurrection by the city's populace early in the Kościuszko Uprising. Supported by the Polish Army, it aimed to throw off Russian control of the Polish capital. It began April 17, 1794, soon after Tadeusz Kościuszko's victory at Racławice. Although the Russian forces were more numerous and better equipped, the Polish regular forces and militia, armed with rifles and sabers from the Warsaw Arsenal, inflicted heavy losses on the surprised enemy garrison. Russian soldiers found themselves under crossfire, shot at from all sides and from buildings, and several units broke early and suffered heavy casualties in their retreat. Kościuszko's envoy, Tomasz Maruszewski, and Ignacy Działyński and others had been laying the groundwork for the uprising since the spring of 1793. They succeeded in winning popular support: a National Militia was formed from several thousand volunteers, led by Jan Kiliński, a master shoemaker and one of Warsaw's notable residents. Apart from the militia, the most famous units to take part in the liberation of Warsaw were formed of Poles who had previously been forcibly conscripted into the Russian service. A witness to the fighting was Jan Piotr Norblin, a French-born Polish painter who created a set of sketches and paintings of the struggle.

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Reindeer sled, Arkhangelsk, Russia
Credit: Detroit Publishing Company

A reindeer sled, Arkhangelsk, Russia. Late nineteenth century photochrom. Arkhangelsk, formerly called Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea in the far north of European Russia.

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Monument to Peter the Great

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Nativity Cathedral built by Dmitrievich (ca. 1405)

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Sviatoslav's meeting with Emperor John by Klavdiy Lebedev
Sviatoslav I of Kiev was the warrior prince (or konung) of Kievan Rus'. The son of Igor of Kiev and Olga, Sviatoslav is famous for his incessant campaigns in the east and south, which precipitated the collapse of two great powers of Eastern Europe — Khazaria and the First Bulgarian Empire; he also subdued the Volga Bulgars, the Alans, and numerous East Slavic tribes, and at times was allied with the Pechenegs and Magyars. His decade-long reign over Rus was marked by rapid expansion into the Volga River valley, the Pontic steppe and the Balkans. By the end of his short life, Sviatoslav carved out for himself the largest state in Europe, eventually moving his capital from Kiev to Pereyaslavets on the Danube in 969. In contrast with his mother's conversion to Christianity, Sviatoslav remained a staunch pagan all of his life. Due to his abrupt death in combat, Sviatoslav's conquests, for the most part, were not consolidated into a functioning empire, while his failure to establish a stable succession led to civil war among his successors.

In the news

25 April 2019 – War in Donbass, Russian military intervention in Ukraine
Russia announces it will fast-track citizenship applications from people living in conflict areas in eastern Ukraine. The European Union calls the move an attack on Ukraine's sovereignty that would undermine any peace agreement. (Reuters)
24 April 2019 – North Korea–Russia relations
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrives by train in Vladivostok, Russia, for his first talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, expected to start Thursday. (BBC)
23 April 2019 – North Korea–Russia relations
Korean Central News Agency confirms North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will soon visit Russia for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Reuters)
19 April 2019 – 2019 Western Libya offensive, Libya–United States relations
Russia and the United States veto a British-sponsored United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire between the Libyan National Army and forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. (The Moscow Times)
19 April 2019 – Special Counsel investigation (2017–2019), Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler issues a subpoena to the Justice Department for, by May 1, the full, unredacted version of the Mueller Report, and for the underlying grand jury evidence and testimony. Attorney General William Barr's offer to allow committee members a chance to view a less-redacted version of the report does not meet the committee's needs and was not accepted. (Politico)
18 April 2019 – Special Counsel investigation (2017–2019), Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections
The redacted version of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is released by U.S. Attorney General William Barr. The investigation did not find any conspiracy between President Donald Trump and the Russian government regarding the accusation that they collaborated to win the 2016 presidential election. The report did not rule out if the Trump administration committed obstruction of justice. The Department of Justice also stated some members of Congress will receive a less-redacted version of the report in the near future. (The New York Times) (USA Today)

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