RussiaCopyright: violin 123rf.com

Russia

Capital: Moscow
Currency: Russian ruble (₽) (RUB)
Language: Russian
Listen to the national anthem

Russia by land, is the biggest country on the planet and as a result can boast many world records. Lake Baikal in Siberia is the largest freshwater lake on the planet and is 5,387 m (17,673 ft) deep. Mount Erebus is the highest mountain in Russia at a height of 5,642 m (18,510 ft). The Volga is the longest river in Russia at 3,690 km (2,292 miles)! In fact Russia is so vast that it is larger than the planet Pluto which is 16.6 million km (just over 1 billion miles)! Sputnik I was the first ever man - made object to enter space on 4th October 1957. On 26th October the batteries died and on 4th January 1958 it burnt up in the upper atmosphere.

In 1908, the Imperial Russian Olympic team arrived 12 days late for the London Olympics because they were not using the same calendar system!

Alaska was once a part of Russia but on 30th 1867, America purchased it from Russia for just $7.2 million which works out to just 2 cents an acre!

The first Tsar (Caesar) of Russia was Ivan IV (Ivan "The Terrible"). During his reign Russia doubled in size even as the boundaries were being constantly raided by Tartars from the Crimea region. At one point in 1571, parts of Moscow were actually burnt to the ground. This steady expansion continued right up until the 17th century, the age of the Cossack. Siberia became a very lucrative region which was rich in ivory and furs.

In 1721 under Peter the Great, Russia claimed to be an Empire and was recognised as a world power. Over the next 200 years or so, Russia steadily grew as a result of military conflict as opposed to expeditionary means.

During the First World War, despite numerous victories, the Russian people were unhappy and called for a revolution and in 1917 the Russian Revolution was in full swing, forcing Nicholas II to abdicate. Both Nicholas and his family were imprisoned and then executed in the basement of their home, Ipatia House. The execution of the Romanov family are very hazy but it is said that it took around 20 minutes to finally kill Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga and Maria due to the fact that the jewellery they had sewn into their dresses deflected the bullets.

On 30th December 1922, the Soviet Union (USSR) was declared and remained right up until 25th December 1991 when the USSR was dissolved. In1992, Russia was officially named, the Russian Federation.

Russia in the 21st century is a Russia with attitude and a desire to perhaps open up to the west under the guiding hand of President Vladimir Putin. Between 7th and 23rd February 2014 Sochi hosted the Sochi StadiumCopyright: Lilyana Vynogradova 123rf.com Winter Olympics and on 12th October 2014, Formula 1 was seen at the Sochi Autodrome. Circuits suitable for Formula 1 had been built before in Russia but were either out dated or did not meet the rigorous requirements of the sport.

On 21st March the world was shocked to see Russian armour and artillery enter Ukraine to 'protect' Russian speaking peoples in Crimea from so-called 'terrorists'. The world saw the annexation of Crimea which Ukraine saw as a declaration of war and called on the world to help. On 17 July 2014, Malaysian Airways flight MH-17 was show down by a Russian made Buk SAM missile, killing all 283 passengers and crew on board.

Since 2011, Russia supported the Syrian regime in the civil war, politically and with military aid but from 30th September 2015, Russia began military action against the so-called rebels. On 24th November 2015, a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 was shot down by the Turkish army and threatened to bring Turkey into the conflict.

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