Wonders of Russia

Location: Europe
Capital: Moscow
Official languages: Russian
Population: 142 008 838 approximately
The Russian Federation (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya as is pronounced in Russian) is the largest country of the World. This country covers the most part of the Eastern Europe and the north of Asia. It has borders with the Finland and Norway to the northwest, Latvia, Belarus, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine at the west, Azerbaijan and Georgia at the southwest, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and North Korea at the south and the Pacific Ocean at the east, the Baltic Sea at the west, the Artic Ocean at the north and the Caucasus and the Black Sea at the south.

Russia’s territory occupied an area of 17 075 400 square kilometers. Its capital is Moscow, which is also the largest city of the country. The Russian population is 142 008 838 and is composed by many ethnic groups, being Russians the largest group with around 79% of population, Ukranian are 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1 and the rest of groups are 12% . The main religion is the Russian Orthodox with 20%, but Islam. Buddhism, Judaism and other Christian groups has also a great number of worshippers.

The official language is the Russian; but, there a great number of minority languages. An important detail about Russian language is its alphabet; since, Russians use its own alphabet which is known as Cyrillic alphabet. The official monetary unit of Russia is the ruble. Some of the main cities of the country in addition to Moscow are: Saint Petersburg, Samara, Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Volgograd, Irkutsk, amongst other.

The Russia’s economy is one of the largest and most important of the world. Its GDP in 2007 was around 2 088 trillion dollars and the economy’s growth rate was 8.1%. The national economy is based in a great range of activities. Russia has a great an diverse range of industries such as chemicals, extractive industries, machine buildings, defense industries, advanced electronic components, shipbuilding, communications equipment, medical and scientific instruments, that means, almost all industrial activities known by the humanity. Therefore, Russia exported 365 billion dollars in 2007. Besides, Russia owns probably the largest reserve of natural resources of the world, which includes some of the largest deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal and several strategic minerals.

Russia is a country full of tourist attractions. The country has a great number of natural paradises such as the lake Baikal, the Black Sea or the Siberian plains. Besides, cities like Moscow or Saint Petersburg have some of the most impressive architectonic treasures of the world. The Kremlin, the Moscow Cathedral or the Museum of Saint Petersburg are evidences of the wonderful cultural rich of the country.

Russia has been since long time ago one of the main countries of the world, therefore its history is fascinating. It believes that the first Russian dynasty (the Novgorod dynasty) was founded around 862 by the Viking Rurik. The unification of the local tribes that inhabited the region were caused by the Christianity spread during X and XI centuries. In this time the control of the territory was concentrated by the Kiev’s dukes, but this control did not last long time, because in 1240 Kiev was destroyed by Mongols.

Then the current Russian territory was divided in several dukedoms. Nevertheless, step by step, the first dukes of Moscow were gaining power and controlling other Russian cities. By the XV century the duke Ivan III expelled Mongols, but it was Ivan IV more known as Ivan the Terrible who founded the Russian State in the XVI century; since, he defeated all local princes and landowners; therefore, he is considered also the first czar. Nevertheless, Russia was a Medieval reign without importance in the European context until the end of the XVII century, when Peter the Great (perhaps the greatest king of Russia) took the Crown.

Peter modernized the Russian state and extended Russia’s boundaries to the west. Besides, he decided to move the capital to the new Saint Petersburg city. Since the government of Peter Russia became one of the main powers in Europe and the world. The modernization and consolidation of Russia was continued at the end of the XVIII century by Catherine the Great, who annexed to Russia the territories of Ukraine, Crimea and part of Poland.

At the beginning of the XIX century during the reign of Alexander, Russia was invaded by Napoleon, who was defeated by the famous “General Winter”, one of the main allied of Russia along the history. Thanks to this victory over the French army Russia gained new territories in Finland and Bessarabia. Step by step Russia turned the largest country of the world. Nevertheless, Czars were losing its power, because of the corruption and civil restrictions of the regimen. At the beginning of the XX century after the defeat in the war against Japan and the disorganization of the Russian army in the World War I; Russian people rebelled against the Czar Nicholas II, who was forced to abdicate in 1917, later he and the Russian Royal family, were killed by the revolutionaries. Saint Petersburg was renamed as Leningrad and the capital of the country was moved again to Moscow.

This marked the start of the communism age of Russia, which had a great influence in World’s history during all the XX century. In 1917 a new revolution, known as the Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin and Trotsky reached the government. Vladimir Lenin was elected the prime minister. The new government established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. After the Lenin’s death in 1924, Joseph Stalin was declared general secretary of the party. Stalin consolidated his power using many purges and killing many people during the 1930s. Stalin instituted in Russia an inhumane, draconian and destructive type of socialism, which was one of the causes of the failure of this policy. It believes around 20 million Russians were killed during Stalin’s regime.

In 1939 some days before the beginning of the World War II Stalin signed with Hitler a non aggression pact, Stalin took advantage of this pact to incorporate to Russia territories in Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. Nevertheless, in 1941 Hitler attacked Russia; this decision changed the course of the war. German forces invaded Russia, nevertheless Russians resisted aided again by the winter. The Russian defense in Stalingrad is one of the most heroic episodes in the human history. Finally Russia and rest of allied (USA, Great Britain, France) defeated Hitler in 1945.

However, the end of the World War II marked the start of the cold War, with Russia and United States as protagonists. This confrontation not declared maintained the world at edge of a nuclear holocaust during almost 45 years. Stalin died in 1953 and Nkita Kruchev became the new leader of Russia. During his government Russia signed the Warsaw pact as response to the NATO and Russia exploded its first hydrogen bomb. The Cold War was a time of constant danger, but also of great technological progress. In 1957 Russia sent to the outer space the first satellite, “The Sputnik” and some time later put in orbit to the first man, the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Between 1945 and 1985 Russia and United States were in War danger many times, such as in the missiles crisis in Cuba, in the war of Korea, the Russian invasion to Afghanistan, in the War of Vietnam, etc. Fortunately, the war never began. In 1985 Mikhail Gorvachev became the leader of Russia; he started a restructuring of the political and economic regimen of the country, which is known as “perestroika”. The government of Gorvachev marked the end of the communism regimen in Russia and the end of the Cold War as well as the end of the Soviet Union.

In 1992, after Soviet Union’s dissolution Russia started a dramatic economic reform. Since then Russian economy became a liberal economy; but, the economical change caused great social problems in the country. Nevertheless, after a period of political and economical instability, today Russia’s economy is again one of the most powerful of the world and Russia is still one of the first military powers in the Earth. Unfortunately, Russia has still also military disputes with ex Soviet countries like Chechenia and Georgia, which have created too, terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, Russia is mainly an amazing and giant country, full of wonders of diverse kinds and owner of a rich culture.



Wonders in world map
The Lake Baikal

The Lake Baikal

The Lake Baikal is the deepest lake of the world and the largest reservoir of fresh surface water of the planet and host a great variety of endemic species of flora and fauna.