Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossija; from the Greek: Ρωσία — Rus'), also officially known as the Russian Federation (Russian: Российская Федерация, tr. Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), is a country in Eurasia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world by surface area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with over 144 million people at the end of March 2016.The European western part of the country is much more populated and urbanised than the eastern; about 77% of the population live in European Russia. Russia's capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world; other major urban centres include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan.

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.

Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, fifteen independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan; the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognized as the continuing legal personality and sole successor state of the Soviet Union. It is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic.

The Russian economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, as well as a member of the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), along with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

After the collapse of the USSR, radical nationalist forces emerged in the country, aiming to direct the country towards building a nation state on the basis of the traditions of the title ethnos. This trend affected primarily the outskirts of Russia, where the formation of national states in the autonomous republics began. These processes very quickly transformed into separatist manifestations: in many republics, illegal evictions of members of non-titular ethnicities began, leading to positions in power being occupied exclusively by people of indigenous nationality, and the subsequent adoption of laws directly contradicting the federal constitution. All this caused interethnic tensions and serious centrifugal tendencies in a number of regions of the country, which called into question the territorial integrity and security of the state. Such a policy, as well as the mistakes of the central authorities in mid-90s led to the separatist speeches in the Chechen Republic and Dagestan, as well as to the tensions in relations between certain subjects of the Federation on the basis of national-territoriality (for example, between North Ossetia and Ingushetia).

In central Russia, radical nationalist forces had also gained prominence under slogans such as “Russia for Russians”, “Enough to feed the Caucasus,” etc. This, in turn, provoked the growth of interethnic tension, anti-Caucasian, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic and other xenophobic sentiments.

The situation was taken under control in the early 2000s, thanks to a number of anti-terrorist operations, as well as development of national and regional policies. A Strategy for National Policy of the Russian Federation Until 2025 was adopted in 2012 and for the first time determined the vector of for the Russian Federation as a multinational state, but with the preservation of the system-forming role of the Russian people, which reflects the political realities in the country, where on average almost 80% of the population self-identify as Russian.

The Strategy defines the Russian nation as “a community of citizens of the Russian Federation of different ethnic, religious, social and other backgrounds, aware of their civil community and political and legal relationship with the Russian state (citizenship).” At the same time, the document emphasises that “due to the unifying role of the Russian people, the multi-century intercultural and interethnic interaction on the historical territory of the Russian state, a unique socio-cultural civilizational community, a multinational Russian nation, whose representatives consider Russia their homeland, form the backbone of the state. The civilizational identity of Russia and the Russian nation as a civil community is based on the preservation of the Russian cultural dominant, which is borne by all the peoples of the Russian Federation, formed not only by ethnic Russians, but also embracing the culture of all the peoples of Russia. “

In practice, Russia is creating a new model of a nation-state, different to both the traditional European model, which is based on the traditions of the title ethnos, and to the supraethnic international model, where the supra-ethnic unifying idea is based (such a model existed in the USSR). On the one hand, the National Policy Strategy speaks of a “multinational Russian nation” (not a “Russian nation” or even a “multi-ethnic Russian nation”, as in many neighbouring states), and on the other, it unequivocally states that the new model is based on the preservation of the “Russian cultural dominant, which is the bearers of all peoples” of the Russian Federation. It is emphasised that this cultural dominant was formed not only by ethnic Russians, but also by all the peoples of Russia, which certainly reflects the objective realities of Russian reality.

In essence, Russia is currently trying to form a model of an international state for those countries where a high level of multiethnicity is intertwined with the presence of a powerful majority ethnic group. This new, unique model requires a certain ideological component that would play the role of those spiritual clutches that President Vladimir Putin often talks about. There is certainly a danger of leaning towards a European model that would be disastrous for such a multinational state as Russia. Most likely, this is why President Putin in 2016 supported the proposal of the Council on Interethnic Relations to adopt the Law on the Russian Nation, which would consolidate the main provisions contained in the National Policy Strategy. Nevertheless, it is obvious that if the Russian experience in shaping this nation-state model is successful, it will become an example for many states not only in the post-Soviet space, but also in the EU countries, where over the past decades, growing multiethnicity has come into apparent contradiction with the assimilation model of integration, which in most of them is the basis of the national state.

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