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Russia or Russian Federation (Russian Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), independent republic in eastern Europe and northern Asia, the world’s largest country by area. Russia was once the largest and the most prominent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, or Soviet Union). In 1991 the USSR broke apart and Russia became an independent country.
In general, Russia’s climate is similar to that of Canada. Much of the land lies north of the 50th parallel of latitude and far from the moderating influences of oceans. Like Canada, although colder and with greater temperature extremes in many places, most of Russia has a harsh continental climate. Although climate, and to some degree soils, limit the country’s agricultural wealth, mineral wealth is considerable: Russia’s mineral resources are unmatched by any other country.
Russia’s borders measure more than 20,100 km (12,500 miles). On the north Russia is bounded by extensions of the Arctic Ocean: the Barents, Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi seas. On the east the country is bounded by the Pacific Ocean and several of its extensions: the Bering Strait (which separates Russia from Alaska), the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan (East Sea). In the extreme southeast Russia abuts the northeastern tip of North Korea. On the south it is bounded by China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Black Sea. On the southwest it is bounded by Ukraine, and on the west by Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, the Gulf of Finland, and Finland. In the extreme northwest, Russia is bounded by Norway. Lithuania and Poland border Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea.
Administratively, Russia includes 21 republics; 6 territories known as krays; 10 national areas called okrugs; 49 regions, or oblasts; 1 autonomous oblast; and 2 cities with federal status.