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Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Covering an area of 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), it is the largest country in the world by area, spanning more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, stretching eleven time zones, and bordering 16 sovereign nations. The territory of Russia extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south. With 146.7 million inhabitants living in the country's 85 federal subjects, Russia is the most populous nation in Europe and the ninth-most populous nation in the world. Russia's capital and largest city is Moscow; other major urban areas include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Chelyabinsk and Samara.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognisable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. 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 became a major European power, and the third-largest empire in history, stretching from Norway on the west to Canada on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian SFSR became the largest and leading constituent of the 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 recognised 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 recognised as the continuing legal personality and a successor of the USSR.

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Slava (Russian: Слава "Glory") was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the Imperial Russian Navy, the last of the five Borodino-class battleships. Completed too late to participate in the Battle of Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War, she survived while all of her sister ships were either sunk during the battle or surrendered to the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Serving in the Baltic Sea during World War I, Slava was the largest ship of the Russian Gulf of Riga Squadron that fought the German High Seas Fleet in the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915. She repeatedly bombarded German positions and troops for the rest of 1915 and during 1916. During the Battle of Moon Sound in 1917, Slava was badly damaged by the German dreadnought SMS König, significantly increasing her draft. The shallow channel made it impossible to escape and she was scuttled in the Moon Sound Strait between the island of Muhu (Moon) and the mainland. The Estonians scrapped her during the 1930s. Read more...

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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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St. Michael's Castle

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Yaroslav the Wise

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Udmurt cuisine consists of the cuisine of Udmurtia and the Udmurt people, and is characterized by the rich use of local foods. Old traditions include foods made from grains and flour, especially milled rye, barley, wheat, and buckwheat. Meat, vegetables and black bread are staple foods in Udmurt cuisine. Additional foods include pelmeni, pancakes, pastries and small tarts. Milk is a scarce commodity, and that which exists is often made into ayran, a type of sour milk.

The Udmurt people have historically been involved in cattle breeding, agricultural production and hunting. Beekeeping is a common practice among the Udmurts and other groups in the area, and pig farming also exists. Potatoes, vegetables and flax are produced in significant quantities in Udmurtia. For total agricultural production in Russia, Udmurtia was ranked as 33rd. Read more...

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Shostakovich, c. 1950
Shostakovich's signature

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (Russian: Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович, tr. Dmitriy Dmitrievich Shostakovich, pronounced [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ˈdmʲitrʲɪjɪvʲɪtɕ ʂəstɐˈkovʲɪtɕ]; (25 September [O.S. 12 September] 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Russian composer and pianist. He is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century, with a unique harmonic language and a historic importance due to his years of work under Stalin.

Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947) and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (from 1962 until his death). Read more...

In the news

3 August 2020 –
Two anonymous sources confirm to Reuters that the classified United KingdomUnited States trade documents leaked ahead of the UK parliamentary election last year was caused by Russians hacking the email account of former UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. (Reuters)
1 August 2020 – 2020 Khabarovsk Krai protests
Protests in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, Russia continue for the fourth consecutive weekend. Protesters demand the release of regional governor Sergei Furgal, who was arrested on charges of murder, which he denies. Thousands of people reportedly join the protest. (Reuters)
31 July 2020 –
A minibus accident in Crimea (a disputed territory of Ukraine and Russia) leaves at least nine people dead and another nine wounded. (Reuters)
30 July 2020 –
Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, a 29-year-old student, is sentenced for nine years in a Russian penal colony for assaulting two police officers while drunk last year in Moscow. Reed's father told reporters after the verdict he is planning to appeal directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Al Jazeera)
29 July 2020 – Belarus–Russia relations
Belarusian security forces arrest 32 members of the private military company Wagner Group at a sanitarium near Minsk in an overnight raid. All those detained are Russian nationals, according to authorities. President Alexander Lukashenko convenes an emergency meeting with his security council, and instructs the Chairman of the State Security Committee to ask Russia for an official explanation. (The Guardian)
27 July 2020 – War in Donbass
Ukraine's military says pro-Russian separatists have violated a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine just hours after it was declared, after opening fire on Ukrainian positions with anti-tank grenade launchers and small arms. Ukrainian forces did not return fire. (Reuters)



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Garry Kasparov
I think Russian people are learning that democracy is not an alien thing; it's not a western invention. It's probably the most affordable mechanism to solve problems inside the country, inside the society because Putin proved to all of us that democracy has a world of alternatives, security forces and police and power abuse and that's why I think eventually the people of Russia will embrace democracy as the least costly institution to help them to solve their daily problems.
Garry Kasparov, 2005

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