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Monochrome, Voronezh, Russian Federation.

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Voronezh (Russian: Воронеж, IPA: [vɐˈronʲɪʂ]) is a city and the administrative centre of Voronezh Oblast in Central Russia straddling the Voronezh River and located 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) from where it flows into the Don River. The city sits on the Southeastern Railway, which connects western Russia with the Urals and Siberia, the Caucasus and Ukraine, and the M4 highway (Moscow–Voronezh–Rostov-on-Don–Novorossiysk). Its population in 2020 was estimated to be 1,058,261,[12] up from 889,680 recorded in the 2010 Census;[13] it is the thirteenth most populous city in the country. Information about the original urban layout of Voronezh is contained in the "Patrol Book" of 1615. At that time, the city fortress was logged and located on the banks of the Voronezh River. In plan, it was an irregular quadrangle with a perimeter of about 130 fathoms, that is, it was very small: inside it, due to lack of space, there was no housing or siege yards, and even the cathedral church was supposed to be taken out. However, at this small fortress there was a large garrison - 666 households of service people. These courtyards were reliably protected by the second line of fortifications by a standing prison on taras with 25 towers covered with earth; behind the prison was a moat, and beyond the moat there were nadolbs. Voronezh was a typical military settlement, which is clearly evidenced by the decisive predominance of service people in its population (about 70%), mainly "by device". In the city prison there were only settlements of military men: Streletskaya, Kazachya, Belomestnaya atamanskaya, Zatinnaya and Pushkarskaya; The posad population received the territory between the ostrog and the river, where the Monastyrskaya settlements (at the Assumption Monastery) was formed. Subsequently, the Yamnaya Sloboda was added to them, and on the other side of the fort, on the Chizhovka Mountain, the Chizhovskaya Sloboda of archers and Cossacks appeared. As a result, the Voronezh settlements surrounded the fortress in a ring. The location of the parish churches emphasized this ring-like and even distribution of settlements: the Ilyinsky Church of the Streletskaya Sloboda, the Pyatnitskaya Cossack and Pokrovskaya Belomestnaya were brought out to the passage towers of the prison. The Nikolskaya Church of the Streletskaya Sloboda was located near the marketplace (and, accordingly, the front facade of the fortress), and the paired ensemble of the Rozhdestvenskaya and Georgievskaya churches of the Cossack Sloboda marked the main street of the city, going from the Cossack Gate to the fortress tower.[14] History See also: Timeline of Voronezh Foundation and name Center of Voronezh. Voronezh River The first chronicle references to the word "Voronezh" are dated 1177, when the Ryazan prince Yaropolk, having lost the battle, fled "to Voronozh" and there was moving "from town to town" Modern data of archeology and history interpret Voronezh as a geographical region, which included the Voronezh river (tributary of the Don) and a number of settlements. In the lower reaches of the river, a unique Slavic town-planning complex of the 8th – early 11th century was discovered, which covered the territory of the present city of Voronezh and its environs (about 42 km long, about 13 forts and many unfortified villages). By the 12th – 13th centuries, most of the old towns were desolate, but new settlements appeared upstream, closer to Ryazan.[15][16][17][18] For many years, the hypothesis of the Soviet historian Vladimir Zagorovsky dominated: he produced the toponym "Voronezh" from the hypothetical Slavic personal name Voroneg. This man allegedly gave the name of a small town in the Chernigov Principality (now the village of Voronezh in Ukraine[19]). Later, in the 11th or 12th centuries, the settlers were able to "transfer" this name to the Don region, where they named the second city Voronezh, and the river got its name from the city.[20][21] However, now many researchers criticize the hypothesis, since in reality neither the name of Voroneg nor the second city was revealed, and usually the names of Russian cities repeated the names of the rivers, but not vice versa. The linguistic comparative analysis of the name "Voronezh" was carried out by the Khovansky Foundation in 2009. There is an indication of the place names of many countries in Eurasia, which may partly be not only similar in sound, but also united by common Indo-European languages: Varanasi, Varna, Verona, Brno, etc.[22] A comprehensive scientific analysis was conducted in 2015–2016 by the historian Pavel Popov. His conclusion: "Voronezh" is a probable Slavic macrotoponym associated with outstanding signs of nature, has a root voron- (from the proto-Slavic vorn) in the meaning of "black, dark" and the suffix -ezh (-azh, -ozh). It was not “transferred” and in the 8th - 9th centuries it marked a vast territory covered with black forests (oak forests) - from the mouth of the Voronezh river to the Voronozhsky annalistic forests in the middle and upper reaches of the river, and in the west to the Don (many forests were cut down). The historian believes that the main "city" of the early town-planning complex could repeat the name of the region – Voronezh. Now the hillfort is located in the administrative part of the modern city, in the Voronezh upland oak forest. This is one of Europe's largest ancient Slavic hillforts, the area of which – more than 9 hectares – 13 times the area of the main settlement in Kyiv before the baptism of Rus.[18][23] In [2] it is assumed that the word "Voronezh" means bluing - a technique to increase the corrosion resistance of iron products. This explanation fits well with the proximity to the ancient city of Voronezh of a large iron deposit and the city of Stary Oskol. Folk etymology claims the name comes from combining the Russian words for raven (ворон) and hedgehog (еж) into Воронеж. According to this explanation two Slavic tribes named after the animals used this combination to name the river which later in turn provided the name for a settlement. There is not believed to be any scientific support for this explanation. In the 16th century, the Middle Don basin, including the Voronezh river, was gradually conquered by Muscovy from the Nogai Horde (a successor state of the Golden Horde), and the current city of Voronezh was established in 1585 by Feodor I as a fort protecting the Muravsky Trail trade route against the raids of the Nogai and Crimean Tatars. The city was named after the river.[2] 17th to 20th centuries A monument to Peter the Great Voronezh. Ship Museum Goto Predestinatsia This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) In the 17th century, Voronezh gradually evolved into a sizable town. Weronecz is shown on the Worona river in Resania in Joan Blaeu's map of 1645.[24] Peter the Great built a dockyard in Voronezh where the Azov Flotilla was constructed for the Azov campaigns in 1695 and 1696. This fleet, the first ever built in Russia, included the first Russian ship of the line, Goto Predestinatsia. The Orthodox diocese of Voronezh was instituted in 1682 and its first bishop, Mitrofan of Voronezh, was later proclaimed the town's patron saint. View of Voronezh in the 18th century Owing to the Voronezh Admiralty Wharf, for a short time, Voronezh became the largest city of South Russia and the economic center of a large and fertile region. In 1711, it was made the seat of the Azov Governorate, which eventually morphed into the Voronezh Governorate. In the 19th century, Voronezh was a center of the Central Black Earth Region. Manufacturing industry (mills, tallow-melting, butter-making, soap, leather, and other works) as well as bread, cattle, suet, and the hair trade developed in the town. A railway connected Voronezh with Moscow in 1868 and Rostov-on-Don in 1871. During World War II, Voronezh was the scene of fierce fighting between Russian and combined Axis troops. The Germans used it as a staging area for their attack on Stalingrad, and made it a key crossing point on the Don River. In June 1941, two BM-13 (Fighting machine #13 Katyusha) artillery installations were built at the Voronezh excavator factory. In July, the construction of Katyushas was rationalized so that their manufacture became easier and the time of volley repetition was shortened from five minutes to fifteen seconds. More than 300 BM-13 units manufactured in Voronezh were used in a counterattack near Moscow in December 1941. In October 22, 1941, the advance of the German troops prompted the establishment of a defense committee in the city. On November 7, 1941, there was a troop parade, devoted to the anniversary of the October Revolution. Only three such parades were organized that year: in Moscow, Kuybyshev, and Voronezh. In late June 1942, the city was attacked by German and Hungarian forces. In response, Soviet forces formed the Voronezh Front. By July 6, the German army occupied the western river-bank suburbs before being subjected to a fierce Soviet counter-attack. By July 24 the frontline had stabilised along the Voronezh River as the German forces continued southeast into the Great Bend of the Don. The attack on Voronezh represented the first phase of the German Army's 1942 campaign in the Soviet Union, codenamed Case Blue. Until January 25, 1943, parts of the Second German Army and the Second Hungarian Army occupied west part of Voronezh. During Operation Little Saturn, the Ostrogozhsk–Rossosh Offensive, and the Voronezhsko-Kastornenskoy Offensive, the Voronezh Front exacted heavy casualties on Axis forces. On January 25, 1943, Voronezh was liberated after ten days of combat. During the war the city was almost completely ruined, with 92% of all buildings destroyed. 1950s–2000s By 1950, Voronezh had been rebuilt. Most buildings and historical monuments were repaired. It was also the location of a prestigious Suvorov Military School, a boarding school for young boys who were considered to be prospective military officers, many of whom had been orphaned by war.[25] In 1950–1960, new factories were established: a tire factory, a machine-tool factory, a factory of heavy mechanical pressing, and others. In 1968, Serial production of the Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic plane was established at the Voronezh Aviation factory. In October 1977, the first Soviet domestic wide-body plane, Ilyushin Il-86, was built there. In 1989, TASS published details of an alleged UFO landing in the city's park and purported encounters with extraterrestrial beings reported by a number of children. A Russian scientist that was cited in initial TASS reports later told the Associated Press that he was misquoted, cautioning, "Don't believe all you hear from TASS," and "We never gave them part of what they published",[26] and a TASS correspondent admitted the possibility that some "make-believe" had been added to the TASS story, saying, "I think there is a certain portion of truth, but it is not excluded that there is also fantasizing".[27][28] 2010s From 10 to 17 September 2011, Voronezh celebrated its 425th anniversary. The anniversary of the city was given the status of a federal scale celebration that helped attract large investments from the federal and regional budgets for development.[29] On December 17, 2012, Voronezh became the fifteenth city in Russia with a population of over one million people.[30] Today Voronezh is the economic, industrial, cultural, and scientific center of the Central Black Earth Region. As part of the annual tradition in the Russian city of Voronezh, every winter the main city square is thematically drawn around a classic literature. In 2020, the city was decorated using the motifs from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. In the year of 2021, the architects drew inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Snow Queen as well as the animation classic The Snow Queen from the Soviet Union. The fairy tale replica city will feature the houses of Kai and Gerda, the palace of the snow queen, an ice rink, and illumination.[31][32] Administrative and municipal status The Mayor's office of Voronezh Administrative districts of Voronezh Voronezh is the administrative center of the oblast.[1] Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as Voronezh Urban Okrug—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts.[1] As a municipal division, this administrative unit also has urban okrug status.[7] City divisions The city is divided into six administrative districts: 1. Zheleznodorozhny (183,17 km²) 2. Tsentralny (63,96 km²) 3. Kominternovsky (47,41 km²) 4. Leninsky (18,53 km²) 5. Sovetsky (156,6 km²) 6. Levoberezhny (123,89 km²) Demographics Demographic Evolution 1615 1777 1840 1897 1923 1939 1959 1973 1989 1997 7,000 13,000 43,800 80,599 95,000 326,932 447,164 713,000 886,844 905,000 2010[13] 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016[33] 889,680 979,884 991,269 1,003,638 1,014,610 1,023,570 1,032,895 Note: 1926–1970 and 2016 are population estimates; 1989 is the Soviet Census; 2002 and 2010 are census urban population only. Economy The leading sectors of the urban economy in the 20th century were mechanical engineering, metalworking, the electronics industry and the food industry. In the city are such companies as: Voronezh Aircraft Production Association (where, amongst other types, the Tupolev Tu-144 was built) Tupolev Tu-144 Voronezhselmash (agricultural engineering) Sozvezdie[34] (headquarter, JSC Concern “Sozvezdie”, in 1958 the world's first created mobile telephony and wireless telephone Altai Verofarm (pharmaceutics, owner Abbott Laboratories), Voronezh Mechanical Plant[35] (production of missile and aircraft engines, oil and gas equipment) Mining Machinery Holding - RUDGORMASH[36] (production of drilling, mineral processing and mining equipment) VNiiPM Research Institute of Semiconductor Engineering[37] (equipment for plasma-chemical processes, technical-chemical equipment for liquid operations, water treatment equipment) KBKhA Chemical Automatics Design Bureau with notable products:.[38] Pirelli Voronezh.[39] On the territory of the city district government Maslovka Voronezh region with the support of the Investment Fund of Russia, is implementing a project to create an industrial park, "Maslowski", to accommodate more than 100 new businesses, including the transformer factory of Siemens. On September 7, 2011 in Voronezh there opened a Global network operation center of Nokia Siemens Networks, which was the fifth in the world and the first in Russia. Building In 2014, 926,000 square meters of housing was delivered.[40] Clusters of Voronezh In clusters of tax incentives and different preferences, the full support of the authorities. A cluster of Oil and Gas Equipment, Radio-electronic cluster, Furniture cluster, IT cluster, Cluster aircraft, Cluster Electromechanics, Transport and logistics cluster, Cluster building materials and technologies.[41] Transportation Voronezh railway station Voronezh International Airport Voronezh Bus Station A Trolleybus in Voronezh Air The city is served by the Voronezh International Airport, which is located north of the city and is home to Polet Airlines. Voronezh is also home to the Pridacha Airport, a part of a major aircraft manufacturing facility VASO (Voronezhskoye Aktsionernoye Samoletostroitelnoye Obshchestvo, Voronezh aircraft production association) where the Tupolev Tu-144 (known in the West as the "Concordski"), was built and the only operational unit is still stored. Voronezh also hosts the Voronezh Malshevo air force base in the southwest of the city, which, according to a Natural Resources Defense Council report, houses nuclear bombers.[citation needed] Rail Since 1868, there is a railway connection between Voronezh and Moscow.[42] Rail services form a part of the South Eastern Railway of the Russian Railways. Destinations served direct from Voronezh include Moscow, Kyiv, Kursk, Novorossiysk, Sochi, and Tambov. The main train station is called Voronezh-1 railway station and is located in the center of the city. Bus There are three Bus Stations in Voronezh that connect the city with a large number of destinations including Moscow, Belgorod, Lipetsk, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Astrakhan and many more. Climate Voronezh experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb) with long, cold winters and short, warm summers.[43] Climate data for Voronezh Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °C (°F) 8.0 (46.4) 11.0 (51.8) 19.4 (66.9) 29.2 (84.6) 35.7 (96.3) 38.9 (102.0) 40.1 (104.2) 40.5 (104.9) 32.1 (89.8) 26.5 (79.7) 18.1 (64.6) 12.4 (54.3) 40.5 (104.9) Average high °C (°F) −3.4 (25.9) −3.0 (26.6) 2.9 (37.2) 13.9 (57.0) 21.1 (70.0) 24.5 (76.1) 26.6 (79.9) 25.6 (78.1) 18.9 (66.0) 10.9 (51.6) 2.3 (36.1) −2.5 (27.5) 11.5 (52.7) Daily mean °C (°F) −6.1 (21.0) −6.5 (20.3) −1.0 (30.2) 8.3 (46.9) 14.8 (58.6) 18.5 (65.3) 20.5 (68.9) 19.2 (66.6) 13.3 (55.9) 6.9 (44.4) −0.4 (31.3) −5.0 (23.0) 6.9 (44.4) Average low °C (°F) −8.8 (16.2) −9.3 (15.3) −4.2 (24.4) 3.6 (38.5) 9.3 (48.7) 13.2 (55.8) 15.2 (59.4) 13.7 (56.7) 8.7 (47.7) 3.6 (38.5) −2.6 (27.3) −7.6 (18.3) 2.9 (37.2) Record low °C (°F) −36.5 (−33.7) −36.2 (−33.2) −32.0 (−25.6) −16.8 (1.8) −3.3 (26.1) −1.6 (29.1) 5.0 (41.0) 0.4 (32.7) −5.2 (22.6) −15.2 (4.6) −25.1 (−13.2) −33.4 (−28.1) −36.5 (−33.7) Average precipitation mm (inches) 41 (1.6) 37 (1.5) 33 (1.3) 38 (1.5) 46 (1.8) 74 (2.9) 62 (2.4) 52 (2.0) 61 (2.4) 50 (2.0) 46 (1.8) 44 (1.7) 584 (23.0) Average rainy days 8 6 8 12 13 15 13 10 13 14 13 9 134 Average snowy days 21 20 14 3 0.2 0 0 0 0.1 3 12 20 93 Average relative humidity (%) 84 82 77 66 61 67 68 67 73 79 85 85 75 Mean monthly sunshine hours 62 86 125 184 268 284 286 254 185 111 45 38 1,928 Source 1:,[44] Source 2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)[45] Education and culture Snow at night in a Voronezh park The city has seven theaters, twelve museums, a number of movie theaters, a philharmonic hall, and a circus. It is also a major center of higher education in central Russia. The main educational facilities include: Voronezh State University Voronezh State Technical University Voronezh State University of Architecture and Construction Voronezh State Pedagogical University Voronezh State Agricultural University Voronezh State University of Engineering Technologies Voronezh State Medical University named after N. N. Burdenko Voronezh State Academy of Arts Voronezh State University of Forestry and Technologies named after G.F. Morozov Voronezh State Institute of Physical Training Voronezh Institute of Russia's Home Affairs Ministry Voronezh Institute of High Technologies Military Educational and Scientific Center of the Air Force «N.E. Zhukovsky and Y.A. Gagarin Air Force Academy» (Voronezh) Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (Voronezh branch) Russian State University of Justice[46] Admiral Makarov State University of Sea and River Fleet (Voronezh branch) International Institute of Computer Technologies Voronezh Institute of Economics and Law and a number of other affiliate and private-funded institutes and universities. There are 2000 schools within the city. Theaters Voronezh Chamber Theatre[47] Koltsov Academic Drama Theater[48] Voronezh State Opera and Ballet Theatre[49] Shut Puppet Theater[50] Festivals Platonov International Arts Festival[51] Sports Club Sport Founded Current League League Rank Stadium Fakel Voronezh Football 1947 Russian Football National League 2nd Tsentralnyi Profsoyuz Stadion Energy Voronezh Football 1989 Women's Premier League 1st Rudgormash Stadium Buran Voronezh Ice Hockey 1977 Higher Hockey League 2nd Yubileyny Sports Palace VC Voronezh Volleyball 2006 Women's Higher Volleyball League A 2nd Kristall Sports Complex Religion Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral in Voronezh Orthodox Christianity is the prevalent religion in Voronezh.[citation needed] There is an orthodox Jewish community in Voronezh, with a synagogue located on Stankevicha Street.[52][53] In 1682, the Voronezh diocese was formed to fight the schismatics. Its first head was Bishop Mitrofan (1623-1703) at the age of 58. Under him, the construction began on the new Annunciation Cathedral to replace the old one. In 1832, Mitrofan was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. In the 1990s, many Orthodox churches were returned to the diocese. Their restoration was continued. In 2009, instead of the lost one, a new Annunciation Cathedral was built with a monument to St. Mitrofan erected next to it. Cemeteries Now there are ten cemeteries in Voronezh. Levoberezhnoye Cemetery Lesnoye Cemetery Jewish Cemetery Nikolskoye Cemetery Pravoberezhnoye Cemetery Budyonnovskoe Cemetery Yugo-Zapadnoye Cemetery Podgorenskоye Cemetery Kominternovskoe Cemetery Ternovoye Cemetery is а historical site closed to the public. Russia (Russian: Россия, Rossiya, Russian pronunciation: [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation,[b] is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world by area, covering over 17 million square kilometres (6.6×106 sq mi), and encompassing more than one-eighth of Earth's inhabited land area. Russia extends across eleven time zones, and has the most borders of any country in the world, with sixteen sovereign nations.[c] It has a population of 146.2 million; and is the most populous country in Europe, and the ninth-most populous country in the world. Moscow, the capital, is the largest city in Europe, while Saint Petersburg is the nation's second-largest city and cultural centre. Russians are the largest Slavic and European nation; they speak Russian, the most spoken Slavic language, and the most spoken native language in Europe. The East Slavs emerged as a recognisable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. The medieval state of Rus' arose in the 9th century. In 988, it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' ultimately disintegrated until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in the 15th century. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third-largest empire in history. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian SFSR became the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the world's first constitutionally socialist state, which had a one-party system throughout most of its existence. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first human in space. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation. In the aftermath of the constitutional crisis of 1993, a new constitution was adopted, and Russia has since been governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Vladimir Putin has dominated Russia's political system since 2000, and his government has been accused of authoritarianism, numerous human rights abuses, and corruption. Russia is a great power, and is considered a potential superpower. It is ranked 52nd in the Human Development Index, with a universal healthcare system, and a free university education. Russia's economy is the world's eleventh-largest by nominal GDP and the sixth-largest by PPP. It is a recognised nuclear-weapons state, possessing the world's largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, with the world's second-most powerful military, and the fourth-highest military expenditure. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the world's largest, and it is one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the G20, the SCO, the Council of Europe, the APEC, the OSCE, the IIB and the WTO, as well as the leading member of the CIS, the CSTO, and the EAEU. Russia is also home to the ninth-greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated primarily by the East Slavs.[13] However, the proper name became more prominent in later history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants "Русская земля" (Russkaya zemlya), which can be translated as "Russian land".[14] In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography. The name Rus' itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, a group of Norse merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centred on Novgorod that later became Kievan Rus'.[15] A Medieval Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia, which was used as one of several designations for East Slavic and Eastern Orthodox regions, and commonly as a designation for the lands of Rus'.[16] The current name of the country, Россия (Rossiya), comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία (Rosía pronounced [roˈsia]) in Modern Greek.[17] The standard way to refer to the citizens of Russia is "Russians" in English.[18] There are two words in Russian which are commonly translated into English as "Russians"—one is "русские" (russkiye), which most often refers to ethnic Russians—and the other is "россияне" (rossiyane), which refers to citizens of Russia, regardless of ethnicity.[19] History Main article: History of Russia Early history Further information: Scythia, Ancient Greek colonies, Early Slavs, East Slavs, Huns, Turkic expansion, and Prehistory of Siberia See also: Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Uralic One of the first modern human bones of over 40,000 years old were found in Southern Russia, in the villages of Kostyonki and Borshchyovo situated on the banks of the Don River.[20][21] The Kurgan hypothesis places southern Russia as the urheimat of the Proto-Indo-Europeans.[22] Nomadic pastoralism developed in the Pontic–Caspian steppe beginning in the Chalcolithic.[23] Remnants of these steppe civilizations were discovered in places such as Ipatovo,[23] Sintashta,[24] Arkaim,[25] and Pazyryk,[26] which bear the earliest known traces of horses in warfare.[24] In classical antiquity, the Pontic-Caspian Steppe was known as Scythia.[27] In late 8th century BCE, Ancient Greek traders brought classical civilization to the trade emporiums in Tanais and Phanagoria.[28] In the 3rd to 4th centuries AD, the Gothic kingdom of Oium existed in Southern Russia, which was later overrun by Huns.[13] Between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD, the Bosporan Kingdom, which was a Hellenistic polity that succeeded the Greek colonies,[29] was also overwhelmed by nomadic invasions led by warlike tribes such as the Huns and Eurasian Avars.[30] The Khazars, who were of Turkic origin, ruled the lower Volga basin steppes between the Caspian and Black Seas until the 10th century.[31] The ancestors of modern Russians are the Slavic tribes, whose original home is thought by some scholars to have been the wooded areas of the Pinsk Marshes, one of the largest wetlands in Europe.[32] The East Slavs gradually settled Western Russia in two waves: one moving from Kiev toward present-day Suzdal and Murom and another from Polotsk toward Novgorod and Rostov.[31] From the 7th century onwards, the East Slavs constituted the bulk of the population in western Russia,[31] and slowly but peacefully assimilated the native Finnic peoples, including the Merya,[33] the Muromians,[34] and the Meshchera.[35] Kievan Rus' Main articles: Rus' Khaganate, Kievan Rus', and List of early East Slavic states Kievan Rus' in the 11th century The establishment of the first East Slavic states in the 9th century coincided with the arrival of Varangians, the Vikings who ventured along the waterways extending from the eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas.[36] According to the Primary Chronicle, a Varangian from the Rus' people, named Rurik, was elected ruler of Novgorod in 862.[13] In 882, his successor Oleg ventured south and conquered Kiev,[37] which had been previously paying tribute to the Khazars.[31] Rurik's son Igor and Igor's son Sviatoslav subsequently subdued all local East Slavic tribes to Kievan rule, destroyed the Khazar Khaganate,[38] and launched several military expeditions to Byzantium and Persia.[39][40] In the 10th to 11th centuries, Kievan Rus' became one of the largest and most prosperous states in Europe.[41] The reigns of Vladimir the Great (980–1015) and his son Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054) constitute the Golden Age of Kiev, which saw the acceptance of Orthodox Christianity from Byzantium, and the creation of the first East Slavic written legal code, the Russkaya Pravda.[13] In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchaks and the Pechenegs, caused a massive migration of the East Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north, particularly to the area known as Zalesye.[42] The Baptism of Kievans, by Klavdy Lebedev. The age of feudalism and decentralization had come, marked by constant in-fighting between members of the Rurikid Dynasty that ruled Kievan Rus' collectively. Kiev's dominance waned, to the benefit of Vladimir-Suzdal in the north-east, Novgorod Republic in the north-west and Galicia-Volhynia in the south-west.[13] Ultimately Kievan Rus' disintegrated, with the final blow being the Mongol invasion of 1237–40, that resulted in the destruction of Kiev, and the death of about half the population of Rus'.[43] The invaders, later known as Tatars, formed the state of the Golden Horde, which pillaged the Russian principalities and ruled the southern and central expanses of Russia for over two centuries.[44] Galicia-Volhynia was eventually assimilated by the Kingdom of Poland, while the Novgorod Republic and Mongol-dominated Vladimir-Suzdal, two regions on the periphery of Kiev, established the basis for the modern Russian nation.[13] The Novgorod Republic escaped Mongol occupation and together with Pskov retained some degree of autonomy during the time of the Mongol yoke; they were largely spared the atrocities that affected the rest of the country. Led by Prince Alexander Nevsky, Novgorodians repelled the invading Swedes in the Battle of the Neva in 1240,[45] as well as the Germanic crusaders in the Battle of the Ice in 1242.[46] Grand Duchy of Moscow Main article: Grand Duchy of Moscow Sergius of Radonezh blessing Dmitry Donskoy in Trinity Sergius Lavra, before the Battle of Kulikovo, depicted in a painting by Ernst Lissner The most powerful state to eventually arise after the destruction of Kievan Rus' was the Grand Duchy of Moscow, initially a part of Vladimir-Suzdal.[47] While still under the domain of the Mongol-Tatars and with their connivance, Moscow began to assert its influence in the Central Rus' in the early 14th century, gradually becoming the leading force in the process of the Rus' lands' reunification and expansion of Russia.[48] Moscow's last rival, the Novgorod Republic, prospered as the chief fur trade centre and the easternmost port of the Hanseatic League.[49] Times remained difficult, with frequent Mongol-Tatar raids. Agriculture suffered from the beginning of the Little Ice Age. As in the rest of Europe, plague was a frequent occurrence between 1350 and 1490.[50] However, because of the lower population density and better hygiene—widespread practicing of banya, a wet steam bath—the death rate from plague was not as severe as in Western Europe,[51] and population numbers recovered by 1500.[50] Led by Prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow and helped by the Russian Orthodox Church, the united army of Russian principalities inflicted a milestone defeat on the Mongol-Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.[52] Moscow gradually absorbed the surrounding principalities, including formerly strong rivals such as Tver and Novgorod.[47] Ivan III ("the Great") finally threw off the control of the Golden Horde and consolidated the whole of Central and Northern Rus' under Moscow's dominion, and was the first Russian ruler to take the title title "Grand Duke of all Rus'".[47] After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Moscow claimed succession to the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire.[47] Ivan III married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI, and made the Byzantine double-headed eagle his own, and eventually Russia's, coat-of-arms.[53] Tsardom of Russia Main article: Tsardom of Russia See also: Moscow, third Rome Tsar Ivan the Terrible, 19th-century evocation by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897 In development of the Third Rome ideas, the Grand Duke Ivan IV (the "Terrible") was officially crowned first Tsar of Russia in 1547. The Tsar promulgated a new code of laws (Sudebnik of 1550), established the first Russian feudal representative body (Zemsky Sobor), curbed the influence of the clergy, and introduced local self-management in rural regions.[54] During his long reign, Ivan the Terrible nearly doubled the already large Russian territory by annexing the three Tatar khanates (parts of the disintegrated Golden Horde): Kazan and Astrakhan along the Volga, and the Siberian Khanate in southwestern Siberia.[54] Thus, by the end of the 16th century, Russia expanded east of the Ural Mountains, thus east of Europe, and into Asia, being transformed into a transcontinental state.[55] However, the Tsardom was weakened by the long and unsuccessful Livonian War against the coalition of Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway for access to the Baltic coast and sea trade.[56] At the same time, the Tatars of the Crimean Khanate, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde, continued to raid southern Russia.[57] In an effort to restore the Volga khanates, Crimeans and their Ottoman allies invaded central Russia and were even able to burn down parts of Moscow in 1571.[54] But in the next year the large invading army was thoroughly defeated by the Russians in the Battle of Molodi, forever eliminating the threat of an Ottoman–Crimean expansion into Russia.[58] The slave raids of Crimeans, however, did not cease until the late 17th century though the construction of new fortification lines across Southern Russia, such as the Great Abatis Line, constantly narrowed the area accessible to incursions.[59] Kuzma Minin appeals to the people of Nizhny Novgorod to raise a volunteer army against the Polish invaders The death of Ivan's sons marked the end of the ancient Rurik Dynasty in 1598, and in combination with the famine of 1601–03, led to a civil war, the rule of pretenders, and foreign intervention during the Time of Troubles in the early 17th century.[56] The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth occupied parts of Russia, extending into even Moscow.[47] In 1612, the Poles were forced to retreat by the Russian volunteer corps, led by two national heroes, merchant Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky.[60] The Romanov Dynasty acceded to the throne in 1613 by the decision of Zemsky Sobor, and the country started its gradual recovery from the crisis.[61] Russia continued its territorial growth through the 17th century, which was the age of Cossacks.[47] In 1648, the peasants of Ukraine joined the Zaporozhian Cossacks in rebellion against Poland-Lithuania during the Khmelnytsky Uprising in reaction to the social and religious oppression they had been suffering under Polish rule.[62] In 1654, the Ukrainian leader, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, offered to place Ukraine under the protection of the Russian Tsar, Aleksey I. Aleksey's acceptance of this offer led to another Russo-Polish War. Ultimately, Ukraine was split along the Dnieper River, leaving the western part, right-bank Ukraine, under Polish rule and the eastern part (Left-bank Ukraine and Kiev) under Russian rule.[47] Later, in 1670–71, the Don Cossacks led by Stenka Razin initiated a major uprising in the Volga Region, but the Tsar's troops were successful in defeating the rebels.[63] In the east, the rapid Russian exploration and colonisation of the huge territories of Siberia was led mostly by Cossacks hunting for valuable furs and ivory.[47] Russian explorers pushed eastward primarily along the Siberian River Routes, and by the mid-17th century, there were Russian settlements in Eastern Siberia, on the Chukchi Peninsula, along the Amur River, and on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.[55] In 1648, Fedot Popov and Semyon Dezhnyov, two Russian explorers, discovered the Bering Strait, and became the first Europeans to sail to North America.[64] Imperial Russia Main article: Russian Empire Peter the Great, Tsar of All Russia in 1682–1721 and the first Emperor of All Russia in 1721–1725 Under Peter the Great, Russia was proclaimed an Empire in 1721, and became one of the European great powers. Ruling from 1682 to 1725, Peter defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War (1700−1721), forcing it to cede West Karelia and Ingria (two regions lost by Russia in the Time of Troubles), as well as the Governorate of Estonia and Livonia, securing Russia's access to the sea and sea trade. In 1703, on the Baltic Sea, Peter founded Saint Petersburg as Russia's new capital. Throughout his rule, sweeping reforms were made, which brought significant Western European cultural influences to Russia.[65] The reign of Peter I's daughter Elizabeth in 1741–62 saw Russia's participation in the Seven Years' War (1756–63). During this conflict, Russia annexed East Prussia and even reached the gates of Berlin. However, upon Elizabeth's death, all these conquests were returned to the Kingdom of Prussia by pro-Prussian Peter III of Russia.[65] Catherine II ("the Great"), who ruled in 1762–96, presided over the Age of Russian Enlightenment. She extended Russian political control over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and incorporated most of its territories into Russia during the Partitions of Poland, pushing the Russian frontier westward into Central Europe, and thus making Russia the most populous country in Europe. In the south, after the successful Russo-Turkish Wars against the Ottoman Empire, Catherine advanced Russia's boundary to the Black Sea, defeating the Crimean Khanate. As a result of victories over Qajar Iran through the Russo-Persian Wars, by the first half of the 19th century, Russia also made significant territorial gains in Transcaucasia and the North Caucasus.[65] Catherine's successor, her son Paul, was unstable and focused predominantly on domestic issues. Following his short reign, Catherine's strategy was continued with Alexander I's (1801–25) wresting of Finland from the weakened Sweden in 1809, and of Bessarabia from the Ottomans in 1812. While in North America, the Russians became the first Europeans to reach and colonise Alaska.[66] Russian expansion and territorial evolution between the 14th and 20th centuries.[67] In 1803–1806, the first Russian circumnavigation was made, later followed by other notable Russian sea exploration voyages.[68] In 1820, a Russian expedition discovered the continent of Antarctica.[69] During the Napoleonic Wars, Russia joined alliances with various other European empires, and fought against France. The French invasion of Russia at the height of Napoleon's power in 1812 reached Moscow, but eventually failed miserably as the obstinate resistance in combination with the bitterly cold Russian winter led to a disastrous defeat of invaders, in which more than 95% of the pan-European Grande Armée perished. Led by Mikhail Kutuzov and Barclay de Tolly, the Imperial Russian Army ousted Napoleon from the country and drove throughout Europe in the war of the Sixth Coalition, finally entering Paris. Alexander I controlled Russia's delegation at the Congress of Vienna, which defined the map of post-Napoleonic Europe.[66] Monument to Mikhail Kutuzov in front of the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. The Kazan Cathedral and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow were built to commemorate Napoleon's defeat. The officers who pursued Napoleon into Western Europe brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia with them and attempted to curtail the tsar's powers during the abortive Decembrist revolt of 1825. At the end of the conservative reign of Nicolas I (1825–55), a zenith period of Russia's power and influence in Europe, was disrupted by defeat in the Crimean War.[66] Between 1847 and 1851, around one million people died across the country due to cholera.[70] Nicholas's successor Alexander II (1855–81) enacted significant changes throughout the country, including the emancipation reform of 1861. These reforms spurred industrialisation, and modernised the Imperial Russian Army, which liberated much of the Balkans from Ottoman rule in the aftermath of the 1877–78 Russo-Turkish War. During most of the 19th and early 20th century, Russia and Britain vied to fill the power vacuums that had been left by the declining Ottoman Empire, Qajar Iran, and the Qing dynasty. This rivalry between the two major European empires came to be known as "The Great Game".[71] The late 19th century saw the rise of various socialist movements in Russia. Alexander II was killed in 1881 by revolutionary terrorists, and the reign of his son Alexander III (1881–94) was less liberal but more peaceful. The last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II (1894–1917), was unable to prevent the events of the Russian Revolution of 1905, triggered by the unsuccessful Russo-Japanese War and the demonstration incident known as Bloody Sunday. The uprising was put down, but the government was forced to concede major reforms (Russian Constitution of 1906), including granting the freedoms of speech and assembly, the legalisation of political parties, and the creation of an elected legislative body, the State Duma.[71] February Revolution and Russian Republic Main articles: February Revolution, Russian Provisional Government, and Russian Republic See also: 1917 Russian Constituent Assembly election and Russian Democratic Federative Republic Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and his family were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. In 1914, Russia entered World War I in response to Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Russia's ally Serbia,[72] and fought across multiple fronts while isolated from its Triple Entente allies.[73] In 1916, the Brusilov Offensive of the Imperial Russian Army almost completely destroyed the Austro-Hungarian Army.[74] However, the already-existing public distrust of the regime was deepened by the rising costs of war, high casualties, and rumors of corruption and treason. All this formed the climate for the Russian Revolution of 1917, carried out in two major acts.[75] The February Revolution forced Nicholas II to abdicate; he and his family were imprisoned and later executed in Yekaterinburg during the Russian Civil War.[61] The monarchy was replaced by a shaky coalition of political parties that declared itself the Provisional Government.[76] On 1 September (14), 1917, upon a decree of the Provisional Government, the Russian Republic was proclaimed.[77] On 6 January (19), 1918, the Russian Constituent Assembly declared Russia a democratic federal republic (thus ratifying the Provisional Government's decision).[75] The next day the Constituent Assembly was dissolved by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee.[75] Russian Civil War Main articles: October Revolution, Russian Civil War, and White movement See also: Soviet Russia Constitution of 1918 White émigré propaganda poster, circa 1932. An alternative socialist establishment co-existed, the Petrograd Soviet, wielding power through the democratically elected councils of workers and peasants, called Soviets. The rule of the new authorities only aggravated the crisis in the country instead of resolving it, and eventually, the October Revolution, led by Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government and gave full governing power to the Soviets, leading to the creation of the world's first socialist state.[75] Following the October Revolution, the Russian Civil War broke out between the anti-Communist White movement and the new Soviet regime with its Red Army. Bolshevist Russia lost its Ukrainian, Polish, Baltic, and Finnish territories by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that concluded hostilities with the Central Powers of World War I.[75] The Allied powers launched an unsuccessful military intervention in support of anti-Communist forces.[78] In the meantime, both the Bolsheviks and White movement carried out campaigns of deportations and executions against each other, known respectively as the Red Terror and White Terror.[79] By the end of the civil war, Russia's economy and infrastructure were heavily damaged. There were an estimated 7–12 million casualties during the war, mostly civilians.[80] Millions became White émigrés,[81] and the Russian famine of 1921–22 claimed up to five million victims.[82] Soviet Union Main articles: Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union, and History of the Soviet Union See also: Treaty on the Creation of the USSR Vladimir Lenin and other Bolveshik leaders inspecting Vsevobuch troops on the Red Square, 1919. On 30 December 1922, Lenin and his aides formed the Soviet Union, by merging the Russian SFSR with the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and the Transcaucasian SFSR. Eventually the union grew larger to compass 15 republics, out of which, the largest in size and population was the Russian SFSR, which dominated the union for its entire history politically, culturally, and economically.[83] Following Lenin's death in 1924, a troika was designated to take charge. Eventually Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party, managed to suppress all opposition factions and consolidate power in his hands to become the country's dictator by the 1930s. Leon Trotsky, the main proponent of world revolution, was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929, and Stalin's idea of Socialism in One Country became the official line.[84] The continued internal struggle in the Bolshevik party culminated in the Great Purge, a period of mass repressions in 1937–38, during which hundreds of thousands of people were executed, including original party members and military leaders forced to confess to nonexistent plots.[85] Under Stalin's leadership, the government launched a command economy, industrialisation of the largely rural country, and collectivisation of its agriculture. During this period of rapid economic and social change, millions of people were sent to penal labor camps, including many political convicts for their suspected or real opposition to Stalin's rule; millions were deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union. The transitional disorganisation of the country's agriculture, combined with the harsh state policies and a drought, led to the Soviet famine of 1932–1933, The Soviet Union made the costly transformation from a largely agrarian economy to a major industrial powerhouse in a short span of time.[86] World War II The Battle of Stalingrad, the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare, ended in 1943 with a decisive Soviet victory against the German Army. World War II casualties in Europe by theatre and by year. The Soviet effort was essential in defeating the Axis powers.[87] On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact; and invaded the ill-prepared Soviet Union with the largest and most powerful invasion force in human history,[88] opening the largest theater of World War II.[89] The German Hunger Plan foresaw the starvation and extinction of a great part of the Soviet population,[90] and Generalplan Ost called for the elimination of over 70 million Russians for Lebensraum.[91] Nearly 3 million Soviet POWs in German captivity were murdered in just eight months of 1941–42.[92] Although the Wehrmacht had considerable early success, their attack was halted in the Battle of Moscow.[93] Subsequently, the Germans were dealt major defeats first at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942–43,[94] and then in the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943.[95] Another German failure was the Siege of Leningrad, in which the city was fully blockaded on land between 1941 and 1944 by German and Finnish forces, and suffered starvation and more than a million deaths, but never surrendered.[94] Under Stalin's administration and the leadership of such commanders as Georgy Zhukov and Konstantin Rokossovsky, Soviet forces steamrolled through Eastern and Central Europe in 1944–45 and captured Berlin in May 1945.[96] In August 1945, the Soviet Army ousted the Japanese from China's Manchukuo and North Korea, contributing to the Allied victory over Japan.[97] The 1941–45 period of World War II is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War.[98] The Soviet Union together with the United States, the United Kingdom and China were considered as the Big Four of Allied powers in World War II,[99] and later became the Four Policemen which was the foundation of the United Nations Security Council.[100] During this war, which included many of the most lethal battle operations in human history, Soviet civilian and military death were about 26-27 million, accounting for about a third of all World War II casualties.[101] The full demographic loss of Soviet citizens was even greater.[102] The Soviet economy and infrastructure suffered massive devastation, which caused the Soviet famine of 1946–47.[103] Nonetheless, the Soviet Union emerged as a global superpower in the aftermath.[104] Cold War After World War II, Eastern and Central Europe, including East Germany and eastern parts of Austria were occupied by Red Army according to the Potsdam Conference.[105] Dependent communist governments were installed in the Eastern Bloc satellite states.[106] After becoming the world's second nuclear power,[107] the Soviet Union established the Warsaw Pact alliance,[108] and entered into a struggle for global dominance, known as the Cold War, with the rivaling United States and NATO.[109] After Stalin's death in 1953 and a short period of collective rule, the new leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin's many crimes and atrocities and launched the policy of de-Stalinization, releasing many political prisoners from the Gulag labor camps.[110] The general easement of repressive policies became known later as the Khrushchev Thaw.[111] At the same time, Cold War tensions reached its peak when the two rivals clashed over the deployment of the United States Jupiter missiles in Turkey and Soviet missiles in Cuba.[112] Sputnik 1 was the world's first artificial satellite. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, thus starting the Space Age.[113] Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth, aboard the Vostok 1 manned spacecraft on 12 April 1961.[114] Following the ousting of Khrushchev in 1964, another period of collective rule ensued, until Leonid Brezhnev became the leader. The era of the 1970s and the early 1980s was later designated as the Era of Stagnation, a period when economic growth slowed and social policies became static. The 1965 Kosygin reform aimed for partial decentralisation of the Soviet economy and shifted the emphasis from heavy industry and weapons to light industry and consumer goods but was stifled by the conservative Communist leadership.[115] In 1979, after a Communist-led revolution in Afghanistan, Soviet forces invaded the country, ultimately starting the Soviet–Afghan War.[116] The occupation drained economic resources and dragged on without achieving meaningful political results.[117] Finally, the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 due to international opposition, persistent anti-Soviet guerrilla warfare, and a lack of support by Soviet citizens.[118] Mikhail Gorbachev in one-to-one discussions with Ronald Reagan in the Reykjavík Summit, 1986.[119] From 1985 onwards, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who sought to enact liberal reforms in the Soviet system, introduced the policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to end the period of economic stagnation and to democratise the government.[120] This, however, led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements across the country.[121] Prior to 1991, the Soviet economy was the world's second-largest,[122] but during its final years, it was afflicted by shortages of goods in grocery stores, huge budget deficits, and explosive growth in the money supply leading to inflation.[123] By 1991, economic and political turmoil began to boil over as the Baltic states chose to secede from the Soviet Union.[124] On 17 March, a referendum was held, in which the vast majority of participating citizens voted in favour of changing the Soviet Union into a renewed federation.[125] In June 1991, Boris Yeltsin became the first directly elected president in Russian history when he was elected President of the Russian SFSR.[126] In August 1991, a coup d'état attempt by members of Gorbachev's government, directed against Gorbachev and aimed at preserving the Soviet Union, instead led to the end of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[127] On 25 December 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, along with contemporary Russia, fourteen other post-Soviet states emerged.[128] Post-Soviet Russia (1991–present) Main articles: History of Russia (1991–present), Russia and the United Nations, and 1993 Constitution of Russia See also: Commonwealth of Independent States, War of Laws, and 1993 Russian constitutional crisis Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office as president on his first inauguration, with Boris Yeltsin looking over, 2000. The economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union led Russia into a deep and prolonged depression.[129] During and after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, wide-ranging reforms including privatisation and market and trade liberalisation were undertaken,[130] including radical changes along the lines of "shock therapy" as recommended by the United States and the International Monetary Fund.[131] The privatisation largely shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to individuals with inside connections in the government, which led to the rise of the infamous Russian oligarchs.[132] Many of the newly rich moved billions in cash and assets outside of the country in an enormous capital flight.[133] The depression of the economy led to the collapse of social services; the birth rate plummeted while the death rate skyrocketed, and millions plunged into poverty.[134] The 1990s also saw extreme corruption and lawlessness, as well as the rise of criminal gangs and violent crime.[135] In late 1993, tensions between Yeltsin and the Russian parliament culminated in a constitutional crisis which ended after military force. During the crisis, Yeltsin was backed by Western governments, and over 100 people were killed. In December, a referendum was held and approved, which introduced a new constitution, giving the president enormous powers.[136] Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama after signing the New START nuclear reduction treaty, 2010.[137] The 1990s were plagued by armed conflicts in the North Caucasus, both local ethnic skirmishes and separatist Islamist insurrections.[138] From the time Chechen separatists declared independence in the early 1990s, an intermittent guerrilla war was fought between the rebel groups and Russian forces.[139] Terrorist attacks against civilians were carried out by separatists, claiming thousands of lives.[d] Russia took up the responsibility for settling the Soviet Union's external debts, even though its population made up just half of it at the time of its dissolution. In 1992, most consumer price controls were eliminated, causing extreme inflation and significantly devaluing the ruble. With a devalued ruble, the Russian government struggled to pay back its debts to internal debtors, as well as to international institutions. Despite significant attempts at economic restructuring, Russia's debt outpaced GDP growth. High budget deficits coupled with increasing capital flight and inability to pay back debts, caused the 1998 Russian financial crisis, and resulted in a further GDP decline.[144] Putin era Main article: Russia under Vladimir Putin On 31 December 1999, President Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned, handing the post to the recently appointed prime minister and his chosen successor, Vladimir Putin.[145] Yeltsin left office widely unpopular, with an approval rating as low as 2% by some estimates.[146] Putin then won the 2000 presidential election,[147] and suppressed the Chechen insurgency.[148] As a result of high oil prices, a rise in foreign investment, and prudent economic and fiscal policies, the Russian economy grew significantly; dramatically improving Russia's standard of living, and increasing its influence in global politics.[149] Putin went on to win a second presidential term in 2004.[150] Vladimir Putin (third, left), Sergey Aksyonov (first, left), Vladimir Konstantinov (second, left) and Aleksei Chalyi (right) sign the Treaty on Accession of the Republic of Crimea to Russia in 2014 On 2 March 2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected president while Putin became prime minister, as the constitution barred Putin from serving a third consecutive presidential term.[151] Putin returned to the presidency following the 2012 presidential elections,[152] and Medvedev was appointed prime minister.[153] This four year joint leadership by the two was coined "tandemocracy" by foreign media.[154] In 2014, after President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine fled as a result of a revolution, Putin requested and received authorisation from the Russian parliament to deploy Russian troops to Ukraine, leading to the takeover of Crimea.[155] Following a Crimean referendum in which separation was favoured by a large majority of voters,[156] the Russian leadership announced the accession of Crimea into Russia, though this and the referendum that preceded it were not accepted internationally.[157] The annexation of Crimea led to sanctions by Western countries, after which the Russian government responded with counter-sanctions against a number of countries.[158] In September 2015, Russia started military intervention in the Syrian Civil War in support of the Syrian government, consisting of airstrikes against militant groups of the Islamic State, al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in the Levant), the Army of Conquest and other rebel groups.[159] In March 2018, Putin was elected for a fourth presidential term overall.[160] In January 2020, substantial amendments to the constitution were proposed,[161] and the entire Russian government resigned,[162] leading to Mikhail Mishustin becoming the new prime minister.[163] It took effect in July following a national vote, allowing Putin to run for two more six-year presidential terms after his current term ends.[164] In April 2021, Putin signed the constitutional changes into law.[165] Geography Main article: Geography of Russia Topographic map of Russia Russia is a transcontinental country stretching vastly over both Europe and Asia.[166] Russia's border neighbors are Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It spans the northernmost corner of Eurasia, and has the world's fourth-longest coastline, at 37,653 km (23,396 mi).[e][168] Russia lies between latitudes 41° and 82° N, and longitudes 19° E and 169° W, and is larger than three continents: Oceania, Europe, and Antarctica,[169] while having the same surface area as Pluto.[170] Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia's westernmost part along the Baltic Sea, is about 9,000 km (5,592 mi) apart from its easternmost part, Big Diomede Island in the Bering Strait.[171] Russia has nine major mountain ranges, and they are found along the southern regions, which share a significant portion of the Caucasus Mountains (containing Mount Elbrus, which at 5,642 m (18,510 ft) is the highest peak in Russia and Europe);[5] the Altai and Sayan Mountains in Siberia; and in the East Siberian Mountains and the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East (containing Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which at 4,750 m (15,584 ft) is the highest active volcano in Eurasia).[172][173] The Ural Mountains, running north to south through the country's west, are rich in mineral resources, and form the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia.[174] Russia borders three,[166] oceans, when including its links with over thirteen marginal seas.[f][171] Russia's major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land, Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island, the Kuril Islands, and Sakhalin.[175][176] The Diomede Islands are just 3.8 km (2.4 mi) apart,[177] and Kunashir Island is just 20 km (12.4 mi) from Hokkaido, Japan. Russia, home to over 100,000 rivers,[166] has one of the world's largest surface water resources, with its lakes containing approximately one-quarter of the world's liquid fresh water.[173] Lake Baikal, the largest and most prominent among Russia's fresh water bodies, is the world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious fresh water lake, containing over one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.[178] Ladoga and Onega in northwestern Russia are two of the largest lakes in Europe.[166] Russia is second only to Brazil by total renewable water resources.[179] The Volga, widely seen as Russia's national river due to its historical importance, is the longest river in Europe.[180] The Siberian rivers of Ob, Yenisey, Lena and Amur are among the world's longest rivers.[180] Climate Main article: Climate of Russia Köppen climate classification of Russia.[181] The sheer size of Russia and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental climate, which is prevalent in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme southwest. Mountains in the south and east obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian and Pacific oceans, while the plain of the west and north makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences. Most of Northwest Russia and Siberia has a subarctic climate, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of Northeast Siberia (mostly Sakha, where the Northern Pole of Cold is located with the record low temperature of −71.2 °C or −96.2 °F),[175] and more moderate winters elsewhere. Russia's vast stretch of land along the Arctic Ocean and the Russian Arctic islands have a polar climate.[182] The coastal part of Krasnodar Krai on the Black Sea, most notably Sochi, and some coastal and interior strips of the North Caucasus possess a humid subtropical climate with mild and wet winters. In many regions of East Siberia and the Russian Far East, winter is dry compared to summer; while other parts of the country experience more even precipitation across seasons. Winter precipitation in most parts of the country usually falls as snow. The westernmost parts of Kaliningrad Oblast on the Vistula Spit, and some parts in the south of Krasnodar Krai and the North Caucasus have an oceanic climate. The region along the Lower Volga and Caspian Sea coast, as well as some southernmost silvers of Siberia, possess a semi-arid climate.[181] Throughout much of the territory, there are only two distinct seasons—winter and summer—as spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low and extremely high temperatures.[182] The coldest

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