Introduction

Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg

Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), or 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 146.79 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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The film was based on Pavlik Morozov
Bezhin Meadow is a 1937 Soviet Union film, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, which is renowned for having been suppressed and believed destroyed before its completion. It tells the story of a young farm boy whose father attempts to betray the government for political reasons by sabotaging the year's harvest, the son's efforts to stop his own father to protect the Soviet state, and culminates in the boy's murder and a social uprising. The film draws its title from a story by Ivan Turgenev, but is based on the life of Pavlik Morozov, a young Russian boy who became a political martyr following his death in 1932, after he denounced his father to Soviet government authorities and subsequently died at the hands of his family. The boy was immortalized in school programs, poetry, music, and in film. Commissioned by a Communist youth group, the film's production ran from 1935 to 1937, until it was halted by the central Soviet government for alleged artistic, social, and political failures in the film's content. Some, however, blamed the failure of Bezhin Meadow on government interference and policies, extending all the way to Joseph Stalin himself. In the wake of the film's failure, Eisenstein publicly recanted his work as an error. Individuals were arrested during and after the ensuing debacle and, in one case, a government official was executed as an alleged foreign spy.

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Chechen man praying
Credit: Mikhail Evstafiev

A Chechen man prays during the First Battle of Grozny, January 1995. The flame in the background is coming from a gas pipeline which was hit by shrapnel.

This battle was the Russian army's invasion and subsequent conquest of the Chechen capital, Grozny, during the early months of the First Chechen War. The attack lasted from December 1994 to March 1995, resulted in the military occupation of the city by the Russian Army and rallied most of the Chechen nation around the separatist government of Dzhokhar Dudayev.

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Yaroslav the Wise

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Prepared stroganina on a table

Stroganina (Russian строганина, literally "shavings") is a dish of the indigenous people of northern Arctic Siberia consisting of raw, thin, long-sliced frozen fish. Around Lake Baikal, the dish is referred to as raskolotka. Traditional stroganina is made with freshwater whitefish salmonids found in the Siberian Arctic waters such as nelma, muksun, chir, and omul. Rarely, it is made with sturgeon. This dish is popular with native Siberians, and is present in Yakutian cuisine, Eskimo cuisine, Komi cuisine and Yamal cuisine. It is often paired with vodka. Read more...

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Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian composer of the Soviet period. He is best known for his satirical opera The Nose, (based on the story by Gogol) and his cycles of symphonies and string quartets, 15 of each. Since his death in 1975, reports about his true personal opinions about life in the USSR have been controversial. While he outwardly conformed with the state and was a public face for state-crafted propaganda, it is now widely known that he deeply disliked the Soviet regime —a view confirmed by his family, by private letters to Isaak Glikman, and the satirical cantata "Anti-formalist Rayok", which ridiculed the "anti-formalism" campaign in Soviet arts and was known only to his closest friends until after his death.

In the news

20 August 2019 – List of unmanned aerial vehicles
The Russian Ministry of Defence announces that the six-tonne satellite-controlled reconnaissance drone Altius-U has performed its maiden flight. (TASS)
15 August 2019 – Ural Airlines Flight 178
A Ural Airlines Airbus 321 crash lands in a field near Zhukovsky International Airport in Moscow Region, Russia. The event is dubbed the "Miracle over Ramensk", as only 23 passengers had minor injuries, similar to US Airways Flight 1549. Preliminary reports say the aircraft struck a flock of seagulls. (CNN)
13 August 2019 –
According to Interfax, the governor of Arkhangelsk Oblast dismisses as "complete nonsense" the advice by authorities in Severodvinsk to residents of Nyonoksa to evacuate on August 14. This follows the accidental explosion on Thursday of what is speculated to be a nuclear-powered missile. Russian nuclear agency Rosatom says the failed test involved a "nuclear isotope power source" for a liquid-propelled rocket engine. (The Independent) (CBS News)
10 August 2019 –
Five people are confirmed dead and three injured following an accidental rocket explosion on a naval test range in Russia on Thursday. (BBC)
10 August 2019 – 2019 Moscow City Duma election
As many as 50,000 people gathered at ongoing protests in Moscow against the Russian authorities preventing several opposition candidates from running in the election, which turned into a protest against the government in general. It is the biggest such event since the 2011 protests. (ABC News)
6 August 2019 – War in Donbass
Four Ukrainian Ground Forces soldiers are killed in an attack by pro-Russian separatists, near the village of Pavlopil in the war-torn eastern Donetsk Oblast. (RFE/RL)

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Yakov Smirnoff
In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.

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