(from the CIA World Factbook
17 million sq km (1.8 times the size of the United States.)
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): $4 trillion (2017 est.)
GDP per capita: $27,800 (2017 est.)
Unemployment: 5.5% (2017 est.)
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 more than 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.
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 United States.
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 United States. US President John F. Kennedy orders a naval blockade of Cuba, and six days later, the Soviets agree to remove the missiles.