Russia

Map of Russia
Map of Russia

Russia is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential democratic republic, comprising 83 federal subjects. Russia shares borders with the following countries: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It also has maritime borders with Japan (by the Sea of Okhotsk) and the United States (by the Bering Strait).

At 17,098,242 sq km, Russia is by far the largest country in the world, covering more than a ninth of the Earth's land area. Russia is also the ninth most populous nation in the world with 140,041,247 people (July 2009 est.). It extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning 9and incorporating a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is considered an energy superpower. It has the world's largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's fresh water.

Russia has undergone significant changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, moving from a globally-isolated, centrally-planned economy to a more market-based and globally-integrated economy. Russian industry is primarily split between globally-competitive commodity producers - Russia in 2009 became the world's largest exporter of both oil and natural gas and is also the third largest exporter of steel and primary aluminum and other less competitive heavy industries that remain dependent on the Russian domestic market.

A revival of Russian agriculture in recent years has led to Russia shifting from being a net grain importer to a net grain exporter.

Russia is major power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the G8, G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Community, and is the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The country contains 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 40 UNESCO Biosphere reserves, 40 National Parks and 101 nature reserves.

Sochi is a Russian resort city, situated in Krasnodar Krai just north of the northern Republic of Georgia border and the southern Russian border fronting the Black Sea. It sprawls along the shores of the Black Sea and against the background of the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. At 145 km (90 mi), Greater Sochi claims to be the longest city in Europe. As of the 2002 Census, it had a population of 328,809, down from 336,514 recorded in the 1989 Census. In 2006, the population was estimated to be 395,012. The city has been selected to be the host of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014.

Novorossiysk is a city in southern Russia, the main Russian port on the Black Sea, in Krasnodar Krai. It is one of the few cities honoured with the Soviet title of the Hero City. Population: 281,400 (2005 est.) 232,079 (2002 Census); 185,938 (1989 Census).

The city sprawls along the shore of the non-freezing Tsemess Bay, which has been recognised since antiquity as one of the superior bays of the Black Sea. The Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port – with the market capitalization of $1,110,000,000 and shares listed at Russian Trading System and London Stock Exchange – serves Russian sea trade with regions of Asia, Middle East, Africa, Mediterranean, and South America. It is the busiest oil port in the Black Sea and the terminus of the pipeline from the Tengiz Field, developed by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium.

Novorossiysk is also an industrial city, dependent on steel, food processing, and the production of metal goods and other manufactures. Extensive limestone quarries supply important cement factories in and around the city. The town is home to the Maritime State Academy and Novorossiysk Polytechnic Institute.