Form of Government: Federal republic
Area: 17 125 300 sq km
Population: 146 882 100 inhab. (estimate 2018)
Density: 8.58 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 81° - 42° N; long. 19°-180° E - 169° W
Capital: Moscow=Moskva (capital) 12 342 600 inhab. (2018);
Currency: Russian rouble (100 kopeks)
Human development index: 0.816 (rank: 49)
President: Vladimir Putin (ER), elected 4 March 2012, re-elected 18 March 2018
Prime Minister: Dmitrij Medvedev (ER), since 8 May 2012
State Duma: seats (July 2019 update): ER (United Russia, nationalist), 339; KPRF (Communist Party), 43; LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party, populist-nationalist), 39; SR (A Just Russia), 23; others, 6
Internet: www.gks.ru (Federal State Statistics Service)
Member of APEC, CIS, Council of Europe, EAEU, EBRD, OAS observer, OIC observer, OSCE, SCO, UN, WTO
International license plate code RUS
International dialling code 007
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission)
Electricity (Voltage) 220
Driving side rigth
Internet code .ru
GMT Moscow +4; Kaliningrad +3; Samara +4; Ekaterinburg +6; Omsk +7; Krasnojarsk +8; Irkutsk +9; Jakutsk +10; Vladivostok +11; Magadan +12; Kam-atka/Anadyr +12
DST Moscow not applied; Kaliningrad not applied; Samara not applied; Ekaterinburg not applied; Omsk not applied; Krasnojarsk not applied; Irkutsk not applied; Jakutsk not applied; Vladivostok not applied; Magadan not applied; Kam-atka/Anadyr not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Moscow 5.1; Irkutsk 0.6; Kaliningrad 7.4; Murmansk 0.1; Omsk 1.5; Perm’ 2.2; Rostov-na-Donu 10; Saint Petersburg 5; Soči 14.7; Vladivostok 5.1
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Moscow -9/18; Irkutsk -18/18; Kaliningrad -3.5/17.5; Murmansk -11.5/13; Omsk -17.5/20; Perm’ -15/18.5; Rostov-na-Donu -5/23.5; Saint Petersburg -8/18; Soči 6.5/22.5; Vladivostok -11/18.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Moscow 9/1; Irkutsk 8/2; Kaliningrad 9/1; Murmansk 6/0; Omsk 10.5/2; Perm’ 10/0.5; Rostov-na-Donu 9.5/1; Saint Petersburg 9/0.5; Soči 9/3; Vladivostok 5/6
Annual average precipitation (mm) Moscow 695; Irkutsk 468; Kaliningrad 805; Murmansk 483; Omsk 405; Perm’ 615; Rostov-na-Donu 560; Saint Petersburg 645; Soči 1540; Vladivostok 796
Days of rainfall (annual average) Moscow 123; Irkutsk 77; Kaliningrad 130; Murmansk 111; Omsk 79; Perm’ 124; Rostov-na-Donu 86; Saint Petersburg 120; Soči 115; Vladivostok 79
Politics and current affairs
The geopolitical tension between Russia under Vladimir Putin and western countries remains high. On 25 November 2018, Russian forces captured three Ukrainian ships traveling through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov. The operation further worsened rapports with Kiev, which have broken down in the five years since Russia annexed Crimea, where the saturation of Moscow’s influence continues through the establishment of military resources and strong investments. The crisis newly intensified the rapports with the West, which Russia accused of interfering in its neighbouring regions when NATO forces were assigned to Poland and the Baltics. Suspicion over Russian interference in American and European politics (including Italian politics) has grown. On 20 June 2019, the EU extended its sanctions imposed after the crisis began in Ukraine until January 2020, hitting the energy, finance and defence sectors. Other sanctions were promoted following the incident in the Sea of Azov and for the attempted assassination in 2018 of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom. In general, Russia and western countries are divided on many international matters, such as Syria, Venezuela and Libya.
Meanwhile, protests by opposition movements are increasing in Moscow and other cities against the restrictions of freedom on the web and obstacles for free political participation. On 27 July 2019, the police arrested more than 1000 people.
Bordering from south-east to south-west North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, from south-west to north-west the Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Norway.
The northern coastline lies on the Arctic Ocean, eastern coastline on the Bering Sea, the Okhotsk Sea and the Japan Sea (Pacific Ocean). To the south-west lies the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea; to the north-west the Baltic Sea. There are vast geographical differences within Russia. From west to east lie the East European Plain, the West Siberian Plain, the Central Siberian Plateau and the Russian Far East. The East European Plain covers a large part of European Russia, with a series of higher areas towards the middle (the Valdai Hills, the Central Russian Upland, the Don Upland and the Volga Plateau), ending with the Urals Mountains in the east. The main river is the River Volga, which flows into the Caspian Sea, as does the River Ural, the upper stretch of which flows through Russia. The other main rivers flow into the Sea of Azov, including the River Don and its tributary the River Donets.
To the north-west between Fennoscandia and Karelia there are two great lakes, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega. Between the Urals and the west there are the Kazakh Uplands and the River Yenisey to the south, meanwhile further the east the great West Siberian Plain begins, with the course of the River Ob, with its tributary the River Irtysh, which follows the Central Siberian Plateau. Beyond the River Lena lies the north-eastern Asian arc, which mainly consists of mountain ranges. In the southern part lie the Caucasus Mountains, the Altay, Sayan, Yablonovy, Stanovoy, Sikhote-Alin and Dzhugdzhur mountains. The largest of the many lakes is Lake Baikal. The climate is broadly speaking continental, with hot summers and rather long, cold winters.
After the “October Revolution” in 1917, Russia in its current form was the main republic within the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which was created on 30 December 1922 and included the lands which were formerly part of the Tsarist empire. The political reforms of the second half of the 1980s (perestrojka), started by Mikhail Gorbachev, led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union (25 December 1991). In 1990, under Boris Yeltsin, Russia declared its independent sovereignty from the USSR, and on the 31 March 1992, the country, adopted a federal system, made up of various states.
The Constitution, which was approved by referendum on 12 December 1993, gives wide-ranging powers to the Federal President who is elected for a six year term by direct suffrage and for not more than two consecutive terms. The President appoints the Prime Minister, is responsible for foreign policy, heads the national security and intelligence services, and has the power to dissolve parliament and hold new elections. The highest legislative power is the Federal Assembly, which consists of the Duma (450 members elected for four years) and the Federation Council (166 members elected by the highest offices of the individual administrative units). Two institutional reforms (in 2000 and 2004) have re-defined the power of the regional governors, who were appointed directly by the central authorities until the new reform of 2012.
As President from 2000 onwards, Vladimir Putin led the central government to regain control over the powerful economic-financial bodies which had sprung up after the privatization of the large formerly state-run industries. Unable to stand for re-election in 2008, Putin proposed Dmitry Medvedev as presidential candidate, assuming the office of Prime Minister himself and keeping firm control over the regime. At the 2012 presidential elections, Putin ran for and kept his office, then being re-elected in 2018.
The authoritarian management of power takes place through the authorities’ tight control over the opposition and the media: the independent press is marginalized and its representatives are often subjected to threats and violence.
Chechnya, a republic with an Islamic majority, proclaimed its independence in 1991, but it was not recognized by the government in Moscow. There were then two bitter wars in the 1990s, with military campaigns, air raids and terrorist atrocities which caused thousands of civilian casualties. The region continues to be unstable today.
In 2014, Russia intervened in the Ukrainian crisis in support of the Russian-speaking minority and to defend Russian interests in Crimea. On 25 June 2019 the country was, however, readmitted to the Council of Europe. Since 2015, Russia has provided military support to Syrian president al-Asad, favouring his near complete victory over the rebels.
Russian presence abroad is increasing, including in Africa (Central African Republic). Armed forces are tackling a modernization program aimed at supporting the policy of great power promoted by Putin. In 2015, 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles were added to the Russian nuclear arsenal. On 2 February 2019, Russia announced the suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty following the USA’s own withdrawal. The controversial delivery of the S-400 missile system to Turkey, a NATO member, began in July 2019.
The legal system is based on continental European law. Since 5 May 1998, with the ratification of the European Convention of Human Rights, Russian citizens have had access to the European Court in Strasbourg.
|Moscow=Moskva||12 342 600||inhab.||2018|
|Saint Petersburg||5 351 900||inhab.||2018|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2018)|
The 2010 census confirmed the decrease in population in absolute terms (2 300 000 fewer people than in 2002).
Strong gas and petrol production, as well as enormous investments in the energy sector, guaranteed that growth exceeded expectations in 2018 (2.3%). Domestic consumption has weakened, however, and this has led experts to predict a slowdown in growth to around 2.5% in 2019-20. After many years, the government could increase public spending.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||138.78||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||194 953||M US$||2018|
|Active population||76 190 110||units||2018|
|Active population, Females||48.6||%||2018|
|Unemployment rate, Females||47.6||%||2018|
|Expenses||14 304 861||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||19 318 700||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||10 312.5||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||468 645.2||M US$||2018|
Despite the vast farming areas, the country imports agricultural products. Huge state investments are made in the farming sector.
The main crop is wheat, followed by barley, potatoes, rye, oats, sunflower seeds and sugar beet.
Forestry provides the basis for some of the most significant industries: sawmills (Archangel is the main centre of this), furniture production, wood pulp, cellulose, newspaper, paper.
Animal husbandry is sizeable yet insufficient for domestic needs. Reindeer and animals bred for their fur are found in Siberia.
Fishing plays an important role in meeting the demand for food and supplies the food conservation industry. The Arctic Coast is particularly heavily fished (herring and cod); in the Lower Volga, sturgeon (which caviar comes from) is widely fished.
The main fishing ports are on the Pacific, on the White Sea, on the Barents Sea and on the Caspian Sea.
|barley||20 598.807||1000 t||2017|
|cereals, total||131 143.688||1000 t||2017|
|potatoes||29 589.976||1000 t||2017|
|roots and tubers, total||29 589.976||1000 t||2017|
|cabbages||3 530.487||1000 t||2017|
|carrots and turnips||1 805.787||1000 t||2017|
|beans, dry||6.171||1000 t||2017|
|broad beans, dry||7.419||1000 t||2017|
|castor oil seed||0||1000 t||2015|
|rapeseed||1 508.973||1000 t||2017|
|mustard seed||98.319||1000 t||2017|
|sugar beet||51 933.913||1000 t||2017|
|flax fibre and tow||38.795||1000 t||2017|
|hemp tow waste||1.533||1000 t||2017|
|apples||1 639.421||1000 t||2017|
|citrus fruits||0.084||1000 t||2017|
|barley||7 847.738||1000 ha||2017|
|maize||2 702.425||1000 ha||2017|
|potatoes||1 889.208||1000 ha||2017|
|carrots and turnips||66.309||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, dry||3.535||1000 ha||2017|
|broad beans, dry||3.817||1000 ha||2017|
|castor oil seed||0||1000 ha||2015|
|mustard seed||136.424||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar beet||1 174.719||1000 ha||2017|
|flax fibre and tow||42.217||1000 ha||2017|
|hemp tow waste||4.089||1000 ha||2017|
|citrus fruits||0.026||1000 ha||2017|
|timber||212 399 199||m³||2017|
|cattle||18 752.531||1000 heads||2017|
|cattle and buffaloes||18 758.193||1000 heads||2017|
|pigs||22 027.698||1000 heads||2017|
|sheep||22 744.376||1000 heads||2017|
|goats||2 099.357||1000 heads||2017|
|asses and mules||9.29||1000 heads||2017|
|birds||547 080||1000 heads||2017|
|crustaceans and molluscs||227 612||t||2017|
|freshwater fishes||294 061||t||2017|
There are many different mineral resources in Russia. The main coal deposits in the European part of Russia are found in the Pechora basin, on the eastern edge of the Donbass, in the Moscow area (lignite at Borodino), and in the Urals; in Siberia, coal deposits are exploited in the Kuznetsk Basin, in Kansk-Achinsk, Yakutia, Kamchatka and the island of Sakhalin.
The largest oilfields are those in the Western Siberia and in the Ob River basin. Other deposits can be found in the Northern Caucasus, in the Volga basin, in the Urals and on Sakhalin island; the potential of the Arctic fields is growing. In 2018, Russia entered into an agreement with OPEC to cut production and keep the price of crude oil stable.
Natural gas (of which Gazprom is a global player) is extracted in the Northern Caucasus, in the Komi Republic, in the Volga basin, in the Urals and especially in the Western Siberia. Russia is one of the leading exporters of fossil fuels to Europe, thanks to a long network of pipelines, including the Druzhba pipeline which transports crude oil to Central and Eastern Europe. In april 2019, the flow of this crucial pipeline was temporarily interrupted due to a contamination of the crude oil. The gas pipeline network, also well developed, includes the Yamal-Europe (towards Germany), Blue Stream and TurkStream (towards Turkey passing under the Black Sea and avoiding third countries) pipelines. In 2011-12 work ended on the Nord Stream, a Russian-German gas pipeline which passes for a long stretch under the Baltic Sea, avoiding Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states. In 2018, thanks also to the political support of Germany, work started to build a second pipeline with the objective of doubling the capacity of Nord Stream.
Iron ore is mined in the Urals, in the Moscow region and in Central Siberia. Other minerals mined in the country include manganese, nickel, chromite, uranium, tin, platinum, gold, copper, bauxite, apatite, asbestos, potash, diamonds, mercury and magnesite. Many of these resources are exploited in the Urals and in the vast northern and Siberian territories.
The main thermo-electric plants are those at Surgut, Ryazan, Stavropol, Novocherkassk and Nevinnomyssk. Important hydro-electric plants are located at Samara and Volgograd on the Volga, at Bratsk, Boguchany and Ust-Ilimsk on the Angara, at Krasnoyarsk and at Sayan, on the Yenisey. There are 36 nuclear reactors in operation, mostly outdated; a renewal policy has been launched to replace the old ones. Operational nuclear power plants are: Balakovo, Beloyarsk, Bilibino, Kalinin, Kola, Kursk, Leningrad, Novovoronezh, Rostov and Smolensk. The first floating nuclear power plant was inaugurated in the Arctic. The country is one of the most active in the construction of nuclear plants abroad.
Iron and steel works, many of which are also obsolete, are concentrated in three areas: the central area of European Russia, in the Urals and in Siberia. Metal-working plants are widespread (aluminium, copper, lead and zinc, magnesium and nickel).
The main oil refineries, many operated by the giants Rosneft and Lukoil, are found at Achinsk, Angarsk, Khabarovsk, Yaroslavl, Kirishi, Komsomolsk, Kstovo, Kuybyshev, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Novokuybyshevsk, Omsk, Orsk, Perm, Ryazan, Salavat, Syzran, Tuapse, Ufa, Ukhta and Volgograd. A liquefied natural gas terminal is active on the island of Sakhalin, with others planned in the Baltic Sea area and on the northern coasts.
The chemical industry is found at Novomoskovsk, Kirovsk, Krasnouralsk and Solikamsk. Noteworthy productions are artificial fibres, plastics, rubber, tyres and pharmaceuticals. The mechanics industry produces in particular tractors, agricultural machinery, cars and railway equipment.
The aeronautical industry has its headquarters at Moscow, Rybinsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Volgograd and Voronezh; the main shipbuilding centres are at Saint Petersburg, Archangel and Murmansk. Arms production, currently undergoing renewal, is found especially around Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Saratov.
The space industry is based at the Baikonur/Bayqongyr Cosmodrome (in Kazakhstan); other missile bases are at Plesetsk and Kapustin Yar (near Volgograd). Moscow and Saint Petersburg are also important for the electronics and precision engineering industries. The digital industry sector is growing. The textiles industry is widespread throughout the country. Other important industries include cement, tobacco and food processing.
|coal||328 210.1||1000 t||2017|
|coal, total||441 282.4||1000 t||2018|
|bauxite||5 500||1000 t||2018|
|diamonds||23 000||1000 ct||2018|
|diamonds, industrial - ct||19 000||1000 ct||2018|
|- thermal||661 947.06||M kWh||2016|
|- nuclear||184 054||M kWh||2016|
|- thermal||166 000||1000 kW||2016|
|- hydro||49 800||1000 kW||2016|
|total net generation||1 031 318.06||M kWh||2016|
|total installed capacity||244 867||1000 kW||2016|
|alumina||2 800||1000 t||2018|
|aluminium||3 700||1000 t||2018|
|bikes||1 129 000||no.||2016|
|cars||1 563 572||no.||2018|
|watches and clocks||2 129 000||no.||2016|
|air conditioners||102 000||no.||2016|
|bitumen||7 633||1000 t||2016|
|petrol||60 100.3||1000 t||2014|
|ammonia||14 000||1000 t||2018|
|artificial tow||20.77||1000 t||2016|
|carpets||22 608||1000 m²||2016|
|cotton fabrics||704||M m²||2017|
|footwear||104 000 000||pairs||2017|
|beer of barley||8 900||1000 t||2013|
|fish, frozen||4 028.7||1000 t||2016|
|cigarettes||335 365||M units||2016|
|cigars and cigarettes||335 365||M units||2016|
|chemical pulp||6 267||1000 t||2017|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||8 547||1000 t||2017|
|cement||55 000||1000 t||2018|
|sheet glass||107 900||1000 m²||2017|
|chemicals production||23 508.8||M US$||2016|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||24 426.9||M US$||2016|
The export of hydrocarbons is an essential part of the country’s trading balance.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) crude oil 93 306, petroleum products 58 544, iron and steel 22 203, coal and its products 15 725, machinery 8 541, timber 7 902, fertilizers 7 217, aluminium 6 673, chemicals 6 609, wheat 5 791, natural gas 4 721, refined copper 4 709, diamonds 4 700, electric and electronic equipment 4 322, fish and crustaceans 3 482, vehicles and parts thereof 3 435, platinum 3 279, synthetic rubber and tyres 3 138, metal ores 3 070, gold and jewels 3 069, plastics 2 814
Finance & banking.
The Federal Russian Bank acts as a central bank.
There are stock exchanges in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok and Novosibirsk. Tensions with the West have slowed down the growth in financial activities.
|fuels||52.017||% of goods exports||2018|
|manufactures||20.604||% of goods exports||2018|
|China||56 020||M US$||2018|
|Netherlands||43 450||M US$||2018|
|China||52 218||M US$||2018|
|Germany||25 511||M US$||2018|
Tourism. Tourism is mostly confined to the cities (Moscow, Saint Petersburg) and currently does not have the facilities to cope with the increasing in tourist numbers.
|Expenditures||35 585||M US$||2017|
|Number of arrivals||24 390 000||units||2017|
The main transport network connecting European Russia, Siberia and the Far East is Trans-Siberian railway (9300 km between Moscow and Vladivostok), which accounts for a 20% of all rail traffic. A high-speed network links Saint Petersburg to Moscow since 2009, extended in 2010 as far as Nizhny Novgorod. Saint Petersburg is connected to Helsinki by a medium-speed line. The network of canals is also important for the movement of goods around the country, using the River Volga and the “five seas” which links the Baltic, the White Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
The road network is underdeveloped, however, a plan has been launched to build 900 000 km of roads by 2025. In 2018, a new bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula was completed. Air transport is the main means of transport in Siberia and for long distance travel.
Media and telecommunication.
The telecommunications sector is developing rapidly, although some of the necessary infrastructures are lacking.
|Civil aviation, km flown||694 400 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||89 373.6||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||214.409||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||133.3||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education, culture & research.
Education is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 17 years, including three years of primary school and two periods spent at secondary school (lasting five and two years respectively).
Social security and health.
The social welfare fund (financed by businesses and by workers) provides cover for sickness and maternity pay, whereas old-age pensions and disabilities are covered by the pensions fund; the federal fund for workers covers unemployment benefit. On 3 October 2018, an unpopular reform was approved, which gradually raises the retirement age. Basic healthcare is provided for all citizens.
|Expected years of schooling||15.5||years||2016|
|Teachers, primary level||300 639||units||2016|
|Teachers, secondary level||1 045 810||units||2012|
|Social protection spending||32.7||% of total expenses||2016|
|Hospital beds||8||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Physicians||4.7||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|HIV||1.2||% of adults||2017|
|Museums, visitors||117 400 000||units||2017|
|Research and development spending||1.1||% of GDP||2017|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||98.25||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2017|