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Russia, also known as the Russian Federation, is a federal state in northeastern Eurasia with the largest geographical area on earth. But with about 143 million inhabitants, Russia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Because of the enormous area that corresponds to more than one-ninth of the earth’s surface, there are over 12 different time zones and several climate zones such as arctic, subarctic, temperate and subtropical. Finland, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine border the Russian State in the east and Azerbaijan, North Korea, Georgia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia border it in the south. The Arctic Ocean encircles Russia in the north and the Pacific Ocean in the east. Farther away the Ural Mountains divide the country, splitting it into European and Asian Russia.

With its more than two million lakes and over 120,000 rivers and streams, Russia is one of the most water-rich countries. The 4,400 km-long Lena River is one of the largest rivers in the world. The 3,534 km-long Volga River is located in the European part of Russia and is the longest river in Europe. Moreover, at 386,400 square kilometers, the Caspian Sea is one of the largest lakes in the world.

Mountains cover approximately 40 percent of the entire surface of Russia. The highest mountain in Russia, the 5,642-meter Elbrus, is located in the Caucasus Mountains. Due to the enormous size of the country and the different geographical characteristics, Russia has a very diverse flora and fauna system. Because of the natural abundance of raw materials and the vast exports of oil and gas, Russia is the fifth largest economy in the world and one of the G8 member states.

By far the largest and most important city in Russia is the capital city of Moscow, with around 11.5 million inhabitants. In this city you can find world-famous sights such as the Kremlin and Red Square. In addition, more than 300 churches are located in the urban area of Moscow.

Other very popular travel destinations in Russia include St. Petersburg, which is also called the City of the Tsars, the Kaliningrad region, the Trans-Siberian Railroad and the Black Sea.

The 22nd Olympic Winter Games took place this year in Sochi, a city on the Black Sea in Russia. Thus, Russia takes it place alongside Italy, France, Austria and others in the longstanding tradition of holding the Olympic Winter Games.