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A map of RussiaA map of RussiaSpanning two continents, Europe and Asia, Russia is the largest country by area in the world. The Ural Mountains form a natural border between European Russia to the west and Siberia (Asian Russia) to the east. Most of the country's farmland, population and large cities are found on the plains of European Russia. Siberia is a land of dry grasslands, endless coniferous forests and Arctic tundra. Much of Russia has long, very cold winters and short, warm summers. Southern regions have milder winters.

A map of RussiaA map of Russia


The Kremlin, MoscowThe Kremlin, MoscowFor much of the 20th century, Russia, along with other republics on its western and southern borders under Russian rule—territories of the old Russian Empire—formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), known as the Soviet Union for short. This broke up in 1991, and the republics that made it up became independent. 

Tombs in the mountainous Dagestan RepublicTombs in the mountainous Dagestan Republic

Today, the Russian Federation, usually known as just Russia, is divided into 85 smaller regions, similar to US states. Twenty-two of these are republics, with their own system of government and official language. The largest, Bashkiria (Bashkortostan), in the southern Urals, has a population of over 4 million. A major industrial region, Bashkiria has become a successful centre for oil refining

Russia spans nine time zones. When it is 8 o' clock in the morning in Moscow it is 3 o' clock in the afternoon in the far east.  

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