Straddling two continents, Europe and Asia, Russia is the largest country in the world at some ten million square kilometers.


The country covers nine time zones and offers breathtaking landscapes: icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, aurora borealis, birch forests, taiga, tundra, mountain ranges and huge rivers. Its capital Moscow is famous for its Red Square, its Bolshoi theatre and its breath-taking metro stations. The cultural capital of the country, St. Petersburg, is famous for being a real open-air museum. Lake Baikal, located in Siberia, is home to the largest freshwater reserve in the world. Most of Russia consists of wide plains and plateaus, in between there are sometimes a few mountain ranges: the Urals, which is the land border between the European and the Asian continent, and in the south the Caucasus, the Altai Mountains, the Sayan Mountains. The Kamchatka peninsula in the northeast is characterized by a large volcanic chain. The south is shaped by a large lake that is not far from Mongolia: Lake Baikal, which has the purest water in the world. Because of its relief, an interesting microclimate has developed here. However, this Siberian plateau is often affected by strong earthquakes due to the tectonic plate shift. Discovering Russia also means being drifted by the floods of the many rivers, from the Lena to the Amur, the Yenisei and the Angara to the Volga. In addition, all friends of relaxation who take a boat trip across Lake Baikal can look forward to the hot springs in the area, such as Archan or Goriatchinsk. Russia also offers many natural resources: there are rich deposits of mineral resources, especially oil and gas. There are also large coal deposits in Russia and many mines are in operation, making this sector one of the most attractive on the job market. With its strict continental climate, Russia is known for its extremely cold temperatures, which often reach -30 ° C in winter and even drop to -60 ° C in some particularly hostile regions. In summer the landscapes change and the temperatures are much warmer. They rise to +40 ° C and the air is very dry. Fires are common around Moscow due to the oppressive heat. Despite the cold that dominates the country, Russia is characterized by different climates, which is why the country is divided into different regions with geographical and climatic features such as taiga, tundra and steppe. Some regions of Russia such as Lake Baikal have a favorable climate for the development of a unique flora and fauna. For example, this lake is inhabited by seals (nerpa). It is the only freshwater seal in the world. The lake is also home to unique fish like the Omul, which is very popular in Russia.


Starting from the earliest settlement of today's Russian territory since the Paleolithic Age, this article deals with the emergence of the Kiev Empire (from 980 to 1240), the Kievan Rus, the first East Slavic empire, which was formed in the 10th century by Adoption of Christianity from Byzantium (988/989) into Christian ecumenism and finally fell victim to the Mongol storm. From the conglomerate of East Slavic principalities, which the collapse of the empire of Kiev left, followed the time of the successor empires (in the west from the middle of the 13th to the middle of the 14th century, in the east until the second half of the 15th century), who came under the rule of the Golden Horde. During this time, Russia became increasingly alienated from the rest of the western culture. With the increasing disintegration of the Golden Horde and the simultaneous internal and external consolidation of the northeastern Rus around the Grand Duchy of Moscow - favored by the spatial structure - began a territorial expansion that has shaped Russian history since then. A phase of internal disruption, the so-called Smuta, at the beginning of the 17th century was followed by several wars against Poland-Lithuania and wars against the Ottoman Empire. Tsar Peter I modernized the Russian Empire, which had been imperial since 1721, with the reforms named after him and introduced it to Western Europe. In the course of the 18th century, the Russian Empire strengthened and expanded its superpower status it had acquired at the beginning of the century. However, the rapid expansion at that time left hardly any state funds for internal development, since the real social product soon stagnated. After the defeat of the Grande Armée under Napoleon in the Russian campaign in 1812, the Russian Empire consolidated its dominance on mainland Europe until the middle of the 19th century. However, due to social structures such as autocracy and the serfdom introduced at the beginning of the 17th century, the agrarian empire was unable to keep up with the rapidly developing industrialized countries until Tsar Alexander II finally pushed for a phase of internal reform after the defeat in the Crimean War , The reforms accelerated Russia's economic development, but the country was continually destabilized by internal turmoil as political changes were insufficient and large parts of the population were excluded. The February and October Revolution of 1917 during World War I put an end to tsarist rule over Russia and subsequently the Soviet Socialist Union, which continued until 1991. After its dissolution, the Russian Federation went through a difficult transformation process, which initially caused major falls in both national GDP and the economic situation of many people. This was followed by an upswing favored by the global economy from 2000 onwards.