Russia is the world’s largest country. It stretches across Europe and Asia and covers almost one-eighth of the world’s land area. It takes a week to cross Russia by train, and there are eleven time zones from east to west.

Russia’s European neighbours to the northwest are Finland and Norway, and its Asian neighbours are North Korea, China, Mongolia and Kazakstan to the south. Azerbaijan and Georgia border the southwest. To the west are Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Estonia. Kaliningrad, which is geographically separated from the rest of Russia, is on the Baltic Sea with Lithuania to the north and east and Poland to the south.

European Russia is a large plain, crossed by rivers such as the Volga and the Don. The Ural Mountains run from north to south and separate European and Asian Russia. Most Russians live in the European part of the country.

To the east of the Urals lies the region known as Siberia. Western Siberia near the Urals is low and swampy, rising to rolling hills farther east and to mountains and volcanoes near the Pacific coast. Along the southern border of Russia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, are the Caucasus Mountains. Siberia is crossed by four great rivers: the Ob (the fourth largest river in the world), the Irtysh, the Yenisei and the Lena. All run north to the Arctic Ocean. Lake Baikal in Siberia is the world’s deepest lake; it contains 20% of all the fresh water in the world.

Northern Russia is like northern Canada, an arctic region of tundra and permafrost. South of the tundra are coniferous forests. The plains in European Russia and the western part of Siberia are known as the steppes. These grasslands are used for agriculture..

Winters vary from cool along the Black Sea coast to extremely cold in Siberia. The far north is snow-covered most of the year. Summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along the Arctic coast. In eastern Russia, the hottest months are July and August. The days are long and sunny, and people spend a lot of their time outdoors.

   Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name: Russian Federation (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) or Russia (Rossiya)
Capital: Moscow
Type of Government: Multiparty republic
Population: 149 million
Area: 17 million sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups: Russian, Tatar, Ukrainian, Chuvash, Bashkir, Byelorussian, Moldavian
Language: Russian
Religions: Russian Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Buddhism
Unit of Currency: Ruble
National Flag: Three equal horizontal bands of white, blue and red
Federation established: August 24, 2021