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Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg

Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation (Russian: Росси́йская Федера́ция, tr. Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijskəjə fʲɪdʲɪˈratsɨjə]), is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people , including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both with Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, 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 into a number of smaller states; most of the Rus' lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion and became tributaries of the nomadic Golden Horde in the 13th century. The Grand Duchy of Moscow gradually reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east.

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The film was based on Pavlik Morozov
Bezhin Meadow is a 1937 Soviet Union film, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, which is renowned for having been suppressed and believed destroyed before its completion. It tells the story of a young farm boy whose father attempts to betray the government for political reasons by sabotaging the year's harvest, the son's efforts to stop his own father to protect the Soviet state, and culminates in the boy's murder and a social uprising. The film draws its title from a story by Ivan Turgenev, but is based on the life of Pavlik Morozov, a young Russian boy who became a political martyr following his death in 1932, after he denounced his father to Soviet government authorities and subsequently died at the hands of his family. The boy was immortalized in school programs, poetry, music, and in film. Commissioned by a Communist youth group, the film's production ran from 1935 to 1937, until it was halted by the central Soviet government for alleged artistic, social, and political failures in the film's content. Some, however, blamed the failure of Bezhin Meadow on government interference and policies, extending all the way to Joseph Stalin himself. In the wake of the film's failure, Eisenstein publicly recanted his work as an error. Individuals were arrested during and after the ensuing debacle and, in one case, a government official was executed as an alleged foreign spy.

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Frederick III of Germany
Credit: The Illustrated London News

Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia, later Frederick III, in the August 20, 1870 issue of the The Illustrated London News, during his time as commander of one of the three divisions of the German Army in the Franco-Prussian War. He was noted for his fondness for liberal democracy and pacifism, but died less than a year after he became king, before he could institute any real reforms. His death and replacement by his more militaristic son, without the reforms that might have impeded his son's urges, is often considered one of the factors that led to World War I. This engraving is based on a portrait photograph of him taken in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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Salt Riot in Kolomenskoe, by N. Nekrasov

Selected cuisine

Balsam bottle 0.7l

Balsam "Krasnaya Polyana" (Russian: Бальза́м «Кра́сная Поля́на» Russian pronunciation: [ˈkrasnəjə pɐˈlʲanə]) is a dark brown strong herbal liqueur, 45% abv. It is one of the traditional Eastern European beverages, called balsam.

Krasnaya Polyana Balsam is made with a combination of 24 herbs, 8 fruits, honey and other ingredients collected in the mountains area around the Black Sea. Among its natural ingredients are cherry plum and apple juices as well as morses of dried apricots, kiwi fruits and raisins. Its recipe was developed by the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the Scientific Research Institute of Food Biotechnology. Read more...

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Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia was the eldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last autocratic ruler of the Russian Empire, and of Empress Alexandra of Russia. During her lifetime, Olga's future marriage was a matter of great speculation within Russia. Matches were rumored with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, Crown Prince Carol of Romania, Prince Edward, eldest son of Britain's George V, and with Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia. Olga herself wanted to marry a Russian and remain in her home country. During World War I, Olga nursed wounded soldiers in a military hospital until her own nerves gave out and, thereafter, oversaw administrative duties at the hospital. Olga's murder following the Russian Revolution of 1917 resulted in her canonization as a passion bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church. She was an elder sister of the famous Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, who was widely rumored to have survived the assassination of the Imperial Family. In later years, when dozens of people made claims to be surviving members of the imperial family, a woman named Marga Boodts claimed to be Grand Duchess Olga. Few people took Boodts' claim seriously.

In the news

19 June 2019 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Four people, three Russians and a Ukrainian, will be charged with murder for the crash that killed 298 people on July 17, 2014. The trial is to be held on March 9, 2020 and take place in Badhoevedorp, Netherlands. (CNN)
12 June 2019 – Media freedom in Russia
Russian authorities detain hundreds of protesters, including Novaya Gazeta journalist and protest organizer Ilya Azar and other reporters, at an "unauthorized march" in Moscow demanding punishment for police who detained anti-corruption journalist Ivan Golunov. Golunov's charges were dropped and he was released yesterday at which time Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said some officers who had taken part in his detention were suspended pending an investigation. (BBC) (Reuters)
11 June 2019 – Media freedom in Russia
Following a public outcry, authorities in Russia drop drug charges against a journalist, Ivan Golunov, who has earned a reputation for exposing the corruption of Moscow city officials. (Reuters) (BBC)
8 June 2019 – Media freedom in Russia
Several people, protesting Meduza investigative journalist Ivan Golunov's arrest Thursday on drug charges, are themselves arrested outside Moscow's Nikulinsky Court. Others were arrested yesterday. His lawyer says drugs were planted on him. Golunov was taken to a hospital, police say because he said he was ill. Meduza says he was beaten up during and after his arrest. A doctor's examination found the reporter has "a suspected rib fracture, concussion and hematoma." (BBC) (Moscow Times)
7 June 2019 –
The U.S. cruiser USS Chancellorsville and the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov almost collide in the western Pacific Ocean. Each side blames the other, and their reports disagree as to the location of the incident: Russia claims it happened in the East China Sea, while the U.S. says it was in the nearby Philippine Sea. (BBC)
7 June 2019 – Turkey–United States relations
The United States notifies Turkey that it will cancel Turkey's purchase of F-35 fighter jets if the government goes ahead with purchasing Russia's S-400 missile defense system. (Al Jazeera)



Selected quote

We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that spells death from our own ignorance. All we have left is the internet, where information is still freely available. For the rest, if you want to go on working as a journalist, it's total servility to Putin. Otherwise, it can be death, the bullet, poison, or trial - whatever our special services, Putin's guard dogs, see fit.
Anna Politkovskaya, September 9, 2004

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