Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), it 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, spanning eleven time zones, and bordering 18 sovereign nations. About 146.79 million people live in the country's 85 federal subjects (including Crimea and Sevastapol) as of 2019, making Russia the ninth most populous nation in the world.
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, until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in the 15th century. 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. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR) became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR/Soviet Union), the world's first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognized as the continuing legal personality and a successor of the USSR.The political system of Russia is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic since 1993. Vladimir Putin has dominated Russia's political system since 2000, serving as either president or prime minister. His government is often characterized as authoritarian, where Russia has experienced democratic backsliding under his leadership. It is ranked 138 out of 180 countries in the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index and 24 of 29 in the 2018 Nations in Transit Report by Freedom House, while being ranked 144th in the 2018 Democracy Index.Russia's economy ranks as the eleventh largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2019. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas
globally. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the International Investment Bank (IIB) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), along with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
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