Russia Fast Facts

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrive for talks on the Syria peace process in Zurich on January 20, 2016, in Davos.

(CNN)Here's some background information about Russia. The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world, covering more than one ninth of the earth's land area.

About Russia:
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 17 million sq km (1.8 times the size of the United States.)
Population: 142,423,773 (July 2015 est.)
    Median age: 39.1 years old
    Capital: Moscow
    Ethnic groups: Russian 77.7%, Tatar 3.7%, Ukrainian 1.4%, Bashkir 1.1%, Chuvash 1%, other or unspecified 14.1% (2010 census, most recent available)
    Religion: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.)
    GDP (purchasing power parity): $3.718 trillion (2015 est.)
    GDP per capita: $25,400 (2015 est.)
    Unemployment: 5.4% (2015 est.)
    Other Facts:
    One of the top producers of natural gas and oil in the world.
    The legislative body, the Federal Assembly, is made up of the lower house, the State Duma, and the upper house, the Federation Council.
    Russia spans nine time zones.
    Contains one fourth of the world's fresh water.
    1613 -
    Mikhail Romanov's coronation establishes the Romanov dynasty, which lasts for over 300 years.
    1917 - The Bolshevik Revolution begins. The new government formed eventually becomes the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a communist country.
    July 1918 - Tsar Nicolas II and the royal family are executed by the Bolsheviks, in Yekatrinburg, Russia.
    January 21, 1924 - Vladimir Lenin, founder and first leader of the USSR, dies. He is replaced by dictator Joseph Stalin, who leads until his death in 1953.
    1939-1945 - Helps the Allied Powers defeat Nazi Germany during World War II. Other Allies include the United States, Great Britain, France and China.
    1955 - The Warsaw Pact is organized, creating a military alliance of communist nations in Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania.
    October 4, 1957 - The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite, which starts the "space race" between the Soviets and the U.S.
    April 12, 1961 - Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to go to space.
    October 1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis: During one of the most dangerous confrontations of the "Cold War" between the communist Eastern Bloc countries and the West, the Soviet Union installs nuclear missiles on Cuba capable of reaching most of the U.S. President John F. Kennedy orders a naval blockade of Cuba, and six days later, the Soviets agree to remove the missiles.
    December 1979 - The USSR invades Afghanistan. The last troops leave in 1989.
    March 11, 1985 - Mikhail Gorbachev is elected general secretary of the Communist Party. During his time as leader of the USSR, he advocates political and social reforms called "perestroika" (restructuring) and "glasnost" (openness), and participates in a series of summit meetings with U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
    June 1991 - Boris Yeltsin is elected president of the Russian Republic, the largest of the Soviet republics, in the first democratic presidential election in Russian history.
    August 1991 - Yeltsin helps put down a coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
    December 19, 1991 - President Boris Yeltsin issues a decree ordering the Russian government to seize the Kremlin from the USSR.
    December 21, 1991 - Eleven of the 12 Soviet republics sign an agreement to form the Commonwealth of Independent States.
    December 25, 1991 - Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev resigns. Boris Yeltsin is now the leader of the new Russian state after the official dissolution of the Soviet Union.
    September 21, 1993 - President Yeltsin disbands parliament. Lawmakers vote to impeach Yeltsin and elect Alexander Rutskoi as acting president.
    October 4, 1993 - Troops loyal to President Yeltsin surround and attack the parliament.
    December 11, 1993 - The first parliamentary elections are held under the new constitution with the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia receiving 24% of the vote.
    December 11, 1994 - Invasion of Chechnya.
    July 30, 1995 - Russia calls a truce with Chechen separatists.
    July 3, 1996 - President Yeltsin defeats challenger Gennady Zyuganov in the presidential election by 14%.
    August 9, 1996 - Chechen separatists capture the capital of Grozny.
    May 12, 1997 - Russia signs a peace treaty with Chechen separatists.
    September 23, 1999 - Russia initiates a bombing campaign against Chechen separatists.
    December 31, 1999 - Yeltsin resigns as president, naming Vladimir Putin as interim president.
    March 26, 2000 - Putin is formally elected president of the Russian Federation, winning 53% of the vote over Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov.
    August 12, 2000 - The Russian nuclear submarine Kursk sinks in Barents Sea, killing all 118 onboard.
    October 23-26, 2002 - Chechen separatists seize a Moscow theater and take 850 people hostage. Russian special forces pumps fentanyl into the theater and then storm the building, killing 50 terrorists and 129 hostages.
    March 2003 - Russia opposes the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
    December 7, 2003 - Putin's party, United Russia, wins majority in the State Duma.
    March 14, 2004 - Putin is re-elected for second term as president with 71% of the vote.
    July 14, 2007 - The International Olympic Committee selects Sochi, Russia, as the host for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
    December 2, 2007 - United Russia wins the majority in the parliamentary election with 64.1% of the vote.
    December 10, 2007 - Putin names Dmitry Medvedev his successor as president.
    March 2, 2008 - Medvedev wins the presidential election with 70.28% of the vote.
    May 7, 2008 - Medvedev is inaugurated as president; Putin is named prime minister.
    August 8, 2008 - Russia invades Georgia after clashes in South Ossetia.
    October 6, 2008 - The Russian stock market plunges 19.1%.
    October 13, 2008 - Medvedev signs into law a $37 billion aid package for banks to shore up the Russian economy, affected by the world economic downturn.
    November 21, 2008 - The State Duma increases the presidential term to six years by a vote of 392-57.
    June-August 2010 - Russia experiences the worst heat wave on its record, causing 15,000 deaths and destroying 25% of the grain crop.
    December 2, 2010 - FIFA selects Russia to host the 2018 World Cup soccer games.
    December 4, 2011 - Parliamentary elections take place. United Russia, Vladimir Putin's ruling party, suffers big losses in the election, but retains its parliamentary majority. The official election results are 238 seats for United Russia, 92 seats for the Communists, 64 seats for Fair Russia and 56 seats for the Liberal Democrats.
    December 10, 2011 - Tens of thousands of Russians gather in Moscow to protest what they believe were parliamentary elections rigged in favor of United Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party.
    March 4, 2012 - Russia's presidential elections are held amid complaints of fraud. Former President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, faces off against Gennady Zyuganov, Mikhail Prokhorov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Sergei Mironov.
    March 5, 2012 - Vladimir Putin wins the election.
    May 7, 2012 - Putin is sworn in under tight security amid protests of fraud. His new prime minister is former President Dmitry Medvedev.
    December 28, 2012 - Putin signs an anti-U.S. adoption bill.
    August 2013 - Russia's anti-gay stance stirs controversy surrounding both the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the 2018 World Cup.
    October 21, 2013 - A suicide bomb destroys a bus in Volgograd, killing six and injuring 33. The bomber is believed to be a woman.
    December 29, 2013 - A female suicide bomber detonates a device in Volgograd. Eighteen people die and 34 are injured in the blast inside a train station.
    December 30, 2013 - Less than 24 hours after a suicide bomb explodes in a Volgograd train station another one disrupts rush hour traffic in the same city. Sixteen people are killed and more than 30 are injured when a blast rips through a bus near a busy market.
    March 1, 2014 - The upper house of the Russian parliament votes to send troops into Crimea in Ukraine.
    March 15, 2014 - Russia wields its veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council against a U.S. draft resolution declaring the upcoming Crimea referendum invalid. Thirteen of the 15 Security Council members back the resolution, while China abstains.
    March 16, 2014 - In the Crimean referendum, 96.7% vote in favor of leaving Ukraine and being annexed by Russia.
    March 17, 2014 - United States and European Union officials announce sanctions on more than two dozen Russian officials and their allies in Crimea. In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a decree that recognizes the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Crimea.
    March 18, 2014 - President Vladimir Putin signs an annexation pact with the Prime Minister of Crimea and the mayor of the city of Sevastopol. In an address before a joint session of Russia's Parliament, Putin calls Crimea "an inalienable part of Russia."
    July 29, 2014 - The U.S. and the European Union enact major sanctions against significant areas of the Russian economy including financial institutions and oil and arms manufacturers.
    July-December 2014 - A combination of rapidly falling oil prices, economic sanctions and a decline in the value of the ruble leads to a Russian financial crisis.
    November 13, 2015 - Russia is provisionally suspended as a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in response to doping allegations.
    July 24, 2016 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announces it will not issue a blanket ban on the Russian Olympic team and will instead leave the decision of eligibility up to individual sports federations.