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Portal:Russia

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The Russia Portal
Русский Портал

Russia (Russian: Россия, Rossiya) is a Eurasian country extending over much of northern Eurasia. It is a semi-presidential republic comprising 85 federal subjects. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It also has maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, Iran through the Caspian Sea, and the U.S. state of Alaska by the Bering Strait.

At 17,075,400 square kilometers, Russia is by far the largest country in the world, covering more than an eighth of the Earth’s land area; with 143 million people, it is the eighth largest by population. It extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning 11 time zones and incorporating a great range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's greatest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is considered an energy superpower. It has the world's largest forest reserves and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's unfrozen fresh water.

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Major Varangian trade routes
The Caspian expeditions of the Rus were military raids undertaken by the Rus between 864 and 1041 on the Caspian Sea shores. Initially, the Rus appeared in Serkland in the 9th century traveling as merchants along the Volga trade route, selling furs, honey, and slaves. The first small-scale raids took place in the late 9th and early 10th century. The Rus undertook the first large-scale expedition in 913; having arrived on 500 ships, they pillaged Gorgan, in the territory of present day Iran, and the adjacent areas, taking slaves and goods. On their return, the northern raiders were attacked and defeated by Khazar Muslims in the Volga Delta, and those who escaped were killed by the local tribes on the middle Volga. During their next expedition in 943, the Rus captured Barda, the capital of Arran, in the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan. Sviatoslav, prince of Kiev, commanded the next attack, which destroyed the Khazar state in 965. Sviatoslav's campaign established the Rus's hold on the north-south trade routes, helping to alter the demographics of the region. Raids continued through the time period with the last Scandinavian attempt to reestablish the route to the Caspian Sea taking place in 1041 by Ingvar the Far-Travelled.

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Sami people
Credit: Detroit Publishing Company

A Sami family in Norway around 1900. Also known as Lapps, the Sami are among the largest group of ethnic groups in Europe, inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. This image is a photochrom (a hand-coloured monochrome plate), a common practice at the time.

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Feodor I of Russia

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Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov was a Russian physician, short story writer, and playwright. His brief playwriting career produced four classics of the repertoire, while his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov practised as a doctor throughout his literary career: "Medicine is my lawful wife," he once said, "and literature is my mistress". Chekhov renounced the theatre after the disastrous reception of The Seagull in 1896; but the play was revived to acclaim by Constantin Stanislavski's Moscow Art Theatre, which subsequently also produced Uncle Vanya and premiered Chekhov’s last two plays, The Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. These four works present a special challenge to an acting ensemble, and they also challenge audiences, because in place of conventional action Chekhov offers a "theatre of mood" and a "submerged life in the text". Not everyone appreciated that challenge: Leo Tolstoy reportedly told Chekhov, "You know, I cannot abide Shakespeare, but your plays are even worse". Tolstoy did, however, admire Chekhov's short stories. Chekhov had at first written stories only for the money, but as his artistic ambition grew, he made formal innovations which have influenced the evolution of the modern short story. His originality consists in an early use of the stream of consciousness technique, later exploited by Virginia Woolf and other modernists, combined with a disavowal of the moral finality of traditional story structure.

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Dmitri Shostakovich, January 14, 1930

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