Russia is the largest country in the world and is located in Eastern Europe and northern part of Asia
According to the data provided by the Federal State Statistics Service, the population of Russia as of July 1, 2012 was 143.1 million people. In terms of the population, the Russian Federation occupies the 8th place in the world. Two percent of the world's population live in Russia.
The majority of the population is concentrated in the European part of the country. Seventy four percent of the population lives in urban areas, 26.3% - in rural areas.
Russia is a multiethnic state. Over 160 nationalities live on its territory, the largest (80.9% of the population) being Russians. Russian is the official State language.
Orthodox Christianity is the predominant religion. Islamic, Catholic, Buddhist and other confessions are less widespread.
Russia is a democratic federal state with a republican form of government. The legislative body of the Russian Federation is the bicameral Federal Assembly (the Council of Federation and the State Duma). The Council of Federation consists of representatives of each federal entity. The deputies of the State Duma are elected for a term of 5 years from party lists by proportion of the votes that each party receives nationwide.
The Head of State is the President of the Russian Federation, who is also the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The President is elected by citizens of Russia by direct secret ballot for a term of 6 years. Vladimir V.Putin was elected President on March 4, 2012.
The executive power is exercised by the Government of the Russian Federation. The Chairman of the Government is appointed by the President with the consent of the State Duma. The Russian Federation consists of 83 federal entities (republics, territories and regions), including the cities of Moscow and St.Petersburg. Moscow is the capital of Russia.
Territory and climate
The total area of Russia is 6,592,848 sq. miles (17,075,400 sq. km). Over 45% of the country's area is covered by forests, 4% - by water, 13% - by arable land, 19% - deer grazing land, 19% - other.
A large part of the European territory of the country is occupied by the East European plain; in the south it is limited by the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains and has the Khibin Mountains to the Northwest. To the East of the Ural mountains lies the West Siberian plain surrounded by the mountains of South Siberia (Altay, Sayanas, Baikal mountains, etc.). Between the Yenisey and Lena rivers lies the Midsiberian plateau, between the Lena and the Pacific coast spread the mountains ridges and plateaus of North-East Asia.
Russia has about 2.5 million rivers and 2 million fresh and salt water lakes. The largest rivers are Volga, North Dvina, Don, Pechora, Ob, Yrtysh, Yenisey, Angara, Lena, Amur; the largest lakes are the Caspian (Sea), Baikal, Ladoga, Onega. Russia has 35 national parks and 84 natural reserves.
The climate changes from marine on the extreme Northwest to harsh continental on Siberia and monsoon in the Far East. Average temperatures in January are from 32 F to -58 F (0 C to – 50 C), in July – from 33,8 F to 77 F (+1 C to +25 C); precipitation is from 5.9" to 78.8" (150 to 2000 mm) per year. Russia has the following climatic zones: arctic desert, tundra, forest tundra, forest, forest steppe, steppe, semi desert.