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Российская Федерация

Rossiyskaya Federatsija
Russian Federation
Flag of russia
Coat of arms of Russia
flag coat of arms
Official language Russian 1
capital city Moscow
State and form of government semi-presidential republic ( federal republic )
Head of state President
Vladimir Putin
Head of government Prime Minister
Mikhail Mishustin
area 17,075,400 km² ( 1st ) , of which
in Europe: 3,952,550 km²,
in Asia: 13,122,850 km²
with Crimea : 17,102,344 km²
population 144,526,636 ( 9th ) (excluding Crimea)
146,877,088 (including Crimea) ; 2018
Population density 8 ( 179. ) inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 0.2% (2012) per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 1,702 billion ( 11. )
  • $ 4.136 billion ( 6. )
  • 11,601 USD ( 65. )
  • 28,184 USD ( 58. )
Human Development Index   0.824 ( 52nd ) (2019)
currency Ruble (RUB)
founding 862: Kievan Rus
1263: Grand Duchy of Moscow
1547: Tsarism Russia
1721: Russian Empire
1917: Russian Republic
1917: Soviet Russia
1917: RSFSR
1922: Soviet Union

1990: Russian Federation ( declaration of sovereignty )

National anthem Anthem of the Russian Federation
National holiday June 12 ( Day of Russia )
Time zone UTC + 2 to UTC + 12
License Plate RUS
ISO 3166 RU , RUS, 643
Internet TLD .ru , .рф and .su
Telephone code +7
1Language of the nationalities in the constituent republics and autonomous counties . Other languages ​​are regional official languages.
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Russia ( Russian Россия [ rɐsʲijə ] pronunciation ? / I , transcription Rossiya ), officially the Russian Federation (or the Russian name corresponding Russländische Federation ; Russian Российская Федерация , pronunciation ? / I , transcription Rossiyskaya Federazija ) is a state in Eastern Europe and in North Asia . With around 17 million square kilometers, Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of area and comprises about a ninth of the earth's land mass. With 144.5 million inhabitants (2019) it ranks 9th among the most populous countries and is also one of the most sparsely populated. Audio file / audio sample Audio file / audio sample

The European part of the national territory is much more densely populated and urbanized than the Asian part, which is more than three times as large: Around 77% of the population (110 million inhabitants) live west of the Urals. The capital Moscow is one of the largest cities and metropolitan areas in the world; Another important center is Saint Petersburg , which was the capital between 1712 and 1918 and formed a bridge for art and culture from Western Europe . The next largest cities in Russia are Novosibirsk in Siberia , Yekaterinburg on the Urals and Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga . Other major city regions are Chelyabinsk , Ufa , Kazan and Samara . In total there are 15 cities with a million inhabitants and almost 70 agglomerations with more than 500,000 inhabitants. The federal structure of Russia consists of eight federal districts and 85 federal subjects .

Today's Russia evolved from the Grand Duchy of Moscow , part of the former principality of East Slavic empire Kievan Rus , to more than 100 ethnic groups counting multi-ethnic state , where ethnic Russians now account for nearly 80 percent of the population. She is the legal successor of the Soviet Union in international organizations and a permanent member of the World Security Council . It is one of the recognized nuclear powers and has the world's largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction . Russia is a major and regional power and is sometimes viewed as a potential superpower . It is also a member of the Council of Europe , APEC , the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the OSCE , the WTO ; it is a leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (with Armenia , Belarus , Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan ).

Russia is an emerging country in the upper middle income range. After recovering from the post-communist transformation crisis of the 1990s, Russia became the sixth largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity , between Germany and Brazil (estimate for 2016). At around 20 to 30%, Russia's raw material reserves are probably the largest in the world, with significant deposits of primary energy sources , especially natural gas .

According to the wording of the constitution, the Russian system of government is usually formally classified by political scientists as a combination of presidential and parliamentary forms. The constitutional reality of the political system, however, corresponds more to the models of defective democracies or post-democracy , especially since the president exercises almost autocratic power. For the political order in Russia the term “ controlled democracy ” is occasionally used by the official side in the affirmative sense.

The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 strained relations between Russia and the West . The Russian government is accused of violating the European peace order.


With an area of ​​17,075 million square kilometers, Russia is by far the largest country in the world. It covers eleven percent of the world's land area, which roughly corresponds to the area of Australia and Europe combined. With the exception of the tropics , all climatic zones are represented.

Russia stretches from west to east for a total length of 9,000 kilometers, from 19 ° east to 169 ° west over two continents. Europe accounts for 23 percent of the land area and Asia for 77 percent. From south to north it extends up to 4,000 kilometers, from 41 to 81 degrees north latitude.

On the territory of Russia there are some of the longest rivers as well as the oldest and deepest inland lake in the world ( Lake Baikal ). If one compares the relief structure and the river systems of Russia with one another, a grid of watersheds running parallel to the width or the steppe belt in the south and the meridional stream routes emerges .

Location and limits

On the right in the picture the fortress Ivangorod (Russia), on the left on the other side of the Narva the Hermannsfeste (Estonia). The eastern border of the European Union also runs here .

Along with the People's Republic of China, Russia has the largest number of neighboring countries with a common land border with 14 . The total length of the national borders is 20,027 kilometers. Russia is also bordered by five seas, with 37,653 km of coastline.

The Russian heartland borders the states of Norway (196 km) and Finland (1340 km), followed by a short stretch of coast to the Baltic Sea . In addition, Russia shares a border with the Baltic countries Estonia (334 km) and Latvia (217 km), followed further south by Belarus (959 km) and Ukraine (1586 km, with the land border with Crimea). The Black Sea separates Russia's European and Asian borders. In the Caucasus bordering Georgia (723 km) and Azerbaijan at (284 km). This is followed by a coastal strip on the Caspian Sea and a long common border with Kazakhstan (6846 km). In East Asia , Russia borders for the first time with the People's Republic of China (about 40 km) and then with Mongolia (3485 km). After that, Russian territory meets Chinese territory for the second time (3605 km). With North Korea (19 km) is the last land connection to another state.

This is followed by the coastlines to the Sea of ​​Japan , the Sea of ​​Okhotsk , the Pacific Ocean and finally to the Bering Sea . Russia is separated from Alaska in the far east by the Bering Strait , which is only about 85 km narrow and 30 to 50 meters deep . The Russian Great Diomedes Island, located in the middle of the Bering Strait, is only four kilometers from the US American Small Diomedes Island . The entire northern part of the country borders the Arctic Ocean . There are various islands belonging to Russia, the northernmost Franz Josef Land . Russia also considers other areas of the Arctic Ocean and the ice sheet to be part of its territory .

In addition to the heartland, Russia also has an exclave , the northern part of the former East Prussia , today 's Kaliningrad Oblast . This area, over which the Soviet Union claimed territorial sovereignty in 1945 , borders on Lithuania (227 km) and the southern part of the former East Prussia, which now belongs to Poland (206 km). It is thus completely surrounded by EU countries .

Russia is divided into eleven time zones (from UTC + 2 to UTC + 12 ). With the abolition of the time change in 2011 to 2014, daylight saving time applied all year round . After persistent criticism from the population, Russia returned to normal time on October 26, 2014.

Large landscapes and relief

Large landscapes and most important rivers of Siberia
Central Russian ridge in the Eastern European Plain, near Sarayisk
Landscape in Belgorod Oblast

Russia encompasses a large number of different natural areas that have diverse potentials, but also very different uses. From a geographical perspective, Russia is divided mainly into the eight major landscapes (roughly in a west-east direction):

rivers and lakes

Cruise ships on the Volga
The Katun in the Altai Mountains

With 120,000 rivers and streams and almost two million lakes, Russia is very water-rich. The forest belt, which takes up two thirds of the area, acts together with the excess precipitation as a huge water reservoir that feeds a whole network of watercourses.

In the European part of Russia, the most important river is the Volga . It is the longest river in Europe and runs exclusively in Russia. Together with its two tributaries, the Kama and Oka, it drains a large part of the Eastern European Plain after 3534 kilometers to the Caspian Sea in the southeast. The Volga is of particular importance as a waterway, as it connects Eastern Europe with Central Asia . The North Russian Ridge forms the watershed between the Volga Basin and the White Sea or Barents Sea in the north. The Dnepr (also called Dnieper ) is of great importance for the Slavic states . The river originates west of Moscow and then flows through Belarus and Ukraine, where it flows into the Black Sea. It is connected to the Polish rivers Bug and Vistula via the Dnepr-Bug Canal and indirectly via the Oginsky Canal system with the Memel , which makes the Dnepr an important waterway.

The longest rivers in Russia are in Siberia and Far Eastern Russia. The Ob rises in the Altai in southern Siberia and flows into the Arctic Ocean . The river Katun, with its headwaters, is over 4,300 kilometers long and forms - together with the Irtysh - one of the longest river systems in Asia with a total length of over 5,400 kilometers. The river system of the Yenisei has an even longer stretch of river , the water of which flows (partially) from Mongolia north through western Siberia to the Arctic Ocean. Its main tributary, the Angara , is the only outflow from Lake Baikal . The Yenisei supplies the Arctic Ocean with around 600 cubic kilometers of water every year. This means that it has the highest flow rate of all Russian rivers. The 4300-kilometer Lena , the longest river that runs exclusively in Russia and whose catchment area is exclusively in Russia, has its source just 5 kilometers from Lake Baikal. It initially flows in a north-easterly direction, turns north after the confluence of the Aldan and flows into an extensive delta in the Laptev Sea , a tributary of the Arctic Ocean. Other important rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean are the Pechora , the Northern Dvina , the Chatanga, as well as the Kolyma and the Indigirka .

Another important river system is the Amur with its tributary Shilka . With its source river Onon , it has a total length of about 4400 kilometers and leads from northeast Mongolia in an easterly direction along the Chinese border to the Pacific coast. The Amur and Anadyr are the largest Russian rivers that flow into the Pacific Ocean .

Many other streams are important as transport routes and sources of energy, or they are used for irrigation in arid regions. The Don occupies a prominent position in this. It lies in the densely populated Eastern European lowlands and drains south into the Sea of ​​Azov . Other important rivers are the Moskva , Selenga , Tobol , Stony Tunguska , Lower Tunguska , Ural, and Ussuri .

There are many natural lakes in Russia, especially in the formerly glaciated northwestern part of the country. The Caspian Sea is 386,400 square kilometers of the world's largest inland lake. The lake level of the salt water lake is about 28 meters below sea level. Since the Caspian Sea has no runoff, water only escapes through evaporation, which leads to the crystallization of salts in the dry climate that prevails here . As the oldest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal has a depth of 1642 meters, making it not only the deepest lake, but also the largest reservoir of liquid freshwater in the world (approx. One fifth of all liquid freshwater reserves). Other important and large lakes are Lake Ladoga (largest inland lake in Europe), Lake Onega and Lake Taimyr .

Mountains and nature reserves

View of the Elbrus , the highest mountain in Russia

Around 40 percent of Russia's area is covered by mountains. The Urals form the dividing line between the European and Asian parts of the country; However, due to its low altitude of almost 2000 meters ( Narodnaja , 1895 m) it is not a real barrier. East of the Urals extends the very flat West Siberian lowland, which extends to the Yenisei River and is criss-crossed by extensive marshland. To the southeast, the West Siberian Lowland is closed off by the Central Siberian Mountains , which stretches to the Lena River and slopes down to the narrow North Siberian Lowland in the north. The Central Siberian mountains include the Sajan Mountains ( Munku Sardyk , 3491 m) and the highest mountain range in Siberia, the Altai ( Belucha , 4506 m), in the Russian-Kazakh-Chinese-Mongolian border area. East of the Lena rises the East Siberian mountains , which branch out into various mountain ranges, such as the Verkhoyansk Mountains ( 2,389 m in Orlugan ) and Tscherski Mountains (Pobeda, 3003 m), and reach heights of up to 3000 m. The Kamchatka Peninsula is characterized by its 160 volcanoes with heights of up to 4688 m, 29 of which are still active.

Other mountains in Russia are: Baikal Mountains , Chibinen , Caucasus , Kolyma Mountains , Putorana Mountains , Stanovoi Mountains , Stanovoi Highlands , Tannu-ola Mountains . The highest mountain in Russia is Elbrus (5642 meters) in the Caucasus. In addition to another 5000m in the Caucasus, the Kazbek with 5047 meters and the Klyuchevskaya Sopka with 4750 meters are well-known peaks.

Russia has a well-developed nature conservation system with a long tradition. In addition to the classic Russian protected area categories such as the strictly protected sapovedniki or the sakasniki, national parks and other international protected area classes have been added since the 1980s. In terms of area, Russia has one of the largest systems of protected areas in the world:

Korjakskaja Sopka on the
Kamchatka Peninsula
  • Sapovedniki (strictly protected areas): Is the most important national protected area category in Russia, which belongs to the highest possible protected area category internationally. They must not be used in any way, or human interference with the natural processes. For this reason, visitors are not allowed to enter the core zone of a sapovednik, although there are limited exemptions for scientists. There are currently 100 of these total reserves in Russia, ranging in area from 2.31 to 4169 km² and totaling 27,000 km².
  • Sakasniki (wildlife sanctuaries): These are areas of up to 6000 km² in which restrictions on economic use apply. They serve as landscape reserves for the protection and regeneration of natural ecosystems, the protection of rare animal and plant species, fossil sites or the protection of hydrologically or geologically important sites. In total there are about 3000 Sakasniki in Russia with a total area of ​​about 78,000 km².
  • National parks in Russia : The protected area category of national parks, which has long been known in other countries, has only existed in Russia since the early 1980s . These have a lower protection status than the Sapowedniki and serve not only to protect natural and cultural treasures, but also for research and education as well as controlled tourism. There are currently 35 national parks in Russia, which range in area from 7 km² to 18,900 km² and together cover 90,000 km² of the national territory.
Primeval forests of Komi

Climate and vegetation zones

All vegetation zones at a glance:
Ice sheets and glaciers
Cold desert
Lichen and moss tundra
Dwarf shrub and meadow tundra Mountain tundra
, alpine
meadows and heather Hardwood forest tundra and boreal floodplains
Coniferous forest tundra
Evergreen boreal coniferous forest
Summer green boreal coniferous forest
Mixed steppe forests
Deciduous and coniferous
forests Grass
steppes and salt marshes
Shrub and dry steppes Cold
winter semi-
Cold winter deserts Sedge swamps and flooding water plants

The annual average temperature for Russia is given as -5.5 ° C. Large parts of the country are characterized by the continental climate with hot summers and very cold winters . The further you travel to the east of the country, the more clearly you feel the formative temperatures in the different seasons, that is, the summer is extremely hot and the temperatures in the winter months are sometimes icy cold. Hardly any other country offers such temperature differences as Russia. The southern half of the Far East has a monsoon climate . With the exception of the Black Sea coast, the average January temperatures are everywhere below freezing point. In Eastern Siberia they drop to -35 to -60 ° C, but are easier to bear due to the mostly very low humidity. The summer temperatures are very different. The average temperatures in the far north are +1 to +2 ° C, whereas in the semi-steppes and steppe areas of the south it is +24 to +25 ° C.

The climate , vegetation and eco-zones in Russia run largely parallel to the latitude , so that a north-south sequence arises:

The hostile cold desert prevails in the Northern Arctic Ocean . This affects, among other things, the northern part of the Taimyr peninsula and other islands located there. There is a pronounced ice climate in which there are hardly any plants. There are few permanent settlements in this zone. Average temperatures rise just above freezing point for only three months and in the coldest months of January and February they reach -30 ° C. Annual rainfall in the form of snow rarely exceeds 250 millimeters.

Starting from the northernmost Eurasian mainland, a treeless landscape belt, characterized by permafrost, is connected, which has a north-south extension between 200 and 800 kilometers and extends approximately to the Arctic Circle , in the Central Siberian mountainous country up to 70 ° north latitude. With the exception of the bay around the White Sea, the coastal landscape in the north is shaped by the tundra . The summers there are too short and too cool for forest to develop. The average temperatures are only four to five months a year above freezing point, with the warmest months in the peripheral areas having an average above 10 ° C. Therefore, the soil only thaws on the surface, so that the abundant rainfall accumulates on the frozen subsoil and the tundra transforms into a sea of ​​swamps and bogs with vegetation of lichens , grasses and dwarf shrubs in summer . Agriculture is not possible, only the indigenous reindeer nomads find their livelihood there. Hence there are few human settlements. Farther south of the cold steppe, spruce trees begin to grow individually and then, together with bog birch and aspens , form forest tundra interspersed with swamps . At its southern border, the forest tundra then flows smoothly into the forest zone.

Taiga near Krasnoyarsk

This 1,000 to 2,000 kilometer wide zone runs north along the St. Petersburg – Ufa – IrkutskSakhalin line and forms the boreal zone or taiga . The forest zone runs through the whole of Northern Eurasia. Because of this enormous extent, it is divided into several sub-zones parallel to the width: In the coniferous forest belt (actual taiga) in the north, which is by far the dominant area, in central Siberia further into the sub-taiga as a transition zone to the steppe and in a mixed forest belt, which is only in the European Russia connects to the south. The taiga, for its part, forms three sub-zones connected one behind the other, parallel to the width:

  • To the west of the Urals, the northern taiga consists of low spruce forests with scattered birch trees . The pine predominates only in Karelia .
  • The middle taiga forms dark spruce forests with inclusions of birch, to the south increasingly pines as well as the first harbingers of hardwoods such as the winter linden . The poor soil fertility and species poverty of the vegetation make this landscape unsuitable for agriculture.
  • The southern taiga is characterized by a high proportion of hardwoods in the undergrowth, due to the more productive soils. The taiga of Siberia is characterized by light forests consisting of Siberian larch , spruce and stone pine .

The forest zone is characterized by a continental climate with a strong temperature gradient between hot summers and cold winters. The mean annual temperature decreases significantly from west to east. In Pskov it is still 5.1 ° C, but drops to 2.3 ° C by the Urals and only reaches 0.1 ° C in Tomsk in western Siberia . In Yakutsk, East Siberia , it is then −10 ° C. The low annual means are due to the long and very cold winter in Siberia. In contrast, the average summer temperatures correspond to the Central European mean.

Ivan Schischkin's painting The Rye shows the forest steppe in the central Black Earth region
View of Sochi on the Black Sea in the subtropical hardwood forest zone

In the areas dominated by cool, temperate climates that join the taiga to the south, deciduous, deciduous and mixed forest grows. This zone runs within Europe in the St. Petersburg- Odessa- Ufa triangle, in western Siberia in a strip from Chelyabinsk to Krasnoyarsk and in the Amur region. The mixed forest zone thus runs in a triangle that tapers towards the east from the central Carpathians and from the Baltic coast to the southern Urals. The vegetation consists primarily of spruce , pine and oak , before it changes further south into pure deciduous forest. Guide woods are made up of oak there and beech and hornbeam in western Ukraine . As in mixed forests, pines grow mainly in sandy depressions such as the Pripjet Basin . For climatic reasons, there is no mixed forest east of the Urals. Instead, birch groves in western Siberia lead directly from the taiga into the forest steppe. The mixed forest then occurs again in the Far East. The mixed forest zone offers generally acceptable living conditions for agriculture, the deciduous forest zone good living conditions.

Further south there is a steppe belt that runs along the lower reaches of the Don and Volga , the North Caucasus , the Caspian Depression and the Tuva . The steppe belt is divided into the forest steppe in the north and the actual steppe in the south. The forest dissolves into islands from north to south and eventually disappears almost entirely. This has to do with the decreasing precipitation towards the south-east and increasing evaporation intensity at the same time. Except in river valleys (as riparian forest ) or in depressions with favorable groundwater conditions, the water stored in the loess soil is not sufficient to meet the liquid requirements of deciduous trees. This is why meadow formations form the plant cover in the forest steppe and feather grass formations in the actual steppe . The steppe belt is ideal for growing grain due to the fertile black earth layer.

A hard-leaf forest zone follows on the Black Sea coast between Novorossiysk and Sochi . The average temperature on the Black Sea coast is around 20 degrees Celsius. This subtropical part of Russia is characterized by dense forests.

After Canada, Russia is home to the largest remaining Nordic wilderness regions . According to Global Forest Watch , around 26 percent of the forests are still intact primeval forests . Most of them are in Siberia. In the European part, 9 percent of the forests still have this status.


A young Amur tiger in the snow. The game population today amounts to less than 500 animals.

The polar climate on the north coast of Russia is a habitat for polar bears , seals , walruses and sea ​​birds . Arctic foxes , owls , mountain hares and lemmings live in the tundra that adjoins the south . Large herds of reindeer and wolves migrate to the tundra in summer . These animals are perfectly adapted to the unfriendly circumstances of this zone. In the forests of Russia, biodiversity in wildlife is increasing. In the taiga and boreal coniferous forests of Russia, moose , reindeer, wolves, bears , sables , squirrels , foxes and wolverines live . Wild boar , mink and deer have spread further south . There are also a few Siberian tigers . The steppe zone of Russia is the habitat for hamsters , ground squirrels as well as for the polecat and the steppe fox .


Population density

The population density of Russia by region

The population of Russia is very unevenly distributed. 85 percent of the population (around 123 million people) live in the European part, which comprises only 23 percent of Russian territory. Accordingly, only 15 percent (around 22 million people) live in the far larger Asian part in terms of area, which makes up 77 percent of the total area. The population density varies from 362 inhabitants / km² in the capital and its surroundings ( Moscow area ) and below 1 inhabitant / km² in the northeast and in the Russian Far East . On average it is 8.3 inhabitants / km². Since in many cases a considerable proportion of the population lives in the respective regional capital, the population density in rural areas is seldom higher than 40 to 50 inhabitants / km², even in the relatively densely populated administrative areas of central Russia.

Demographic development

Birth and death rates in Russia
year Live births Deaths difference
1999 1,214,689 2,144,316 - 929,627
2000 1,266,800 2,225,332 - 958,532
2001 1,311,604 2,254,856 - 943.252
2002 1,396,967 2,332,272 - 935,305
2003 1,477,301 2,365,826 - 888,525
2004 1,502,477 2,295,402 - 792,925
2005 1,457,376 2,303,935 - 846,579
2006 1,479,637 2,166,703 - 687,066
2007 1,610,122 2,080,445 - 470,323
2008 1,713,947 2,075,954 - 362,007
2009 1,761,687 2,010,543 - 248,856
2010 1,788,948 2,028,516 - 239,568
2011 1,796,629 1,925,720 - 129.091
2012 1,902,084 1,906,335 - 4,251
2013 1,895,800 1,871,809 + 24,000
2014 1,942,683 1,912,347 + 30,336
2015 1,940,579 1,908,541 + 32,038
2016 1,888,729 1,891,015 - 2,286
2017 1,690,307 1,826,125 -135,800
2018 1,604,344 1,828,910 -224,566
Source: Rosstat
Population development
Development of the birth and death rate in Russia
Population structure 2016: The fall in birth rates from 1990 and the high excess of women are clearly visible.

Russia's population fell from 147.0 million at the census in January 1989 to 142.2 million in 2007. Thereafter, the population decline slowed, so that the population in 2010 was 141.9 million. The population figure was corrected based on the results of the 2010 census. This was 142.9 million for 2011. The fertility rate fell between 1988 and 1999 from two to 1.16 births per woman. At the same time, the death rate among men doubled from 9.4 (1970) to 18.7 per 1000 inhabitants (2005). The average life expectancy of men fell from 63.9 years in 1986 to 57.5 years (1994). By 2004 it rose to 58.9 years; In 2011 it was 64.3 years, in 2014 it was 70.36 years. The higher male death rate leads to an excess of women. In 2010 there were 10.7 million more women than men in Russia. Main cause: Unhealthy lifestyle due to alcohol, smoking as well as traffic accidents, suicide and murder. At 56.7 percent, various heart diseases are the most common cause of death, and cancer is also very common. The numbers of deaths from drug use, tuberculosis and HIV have increased markedly since the end of the Soviet Union. In 2015 there was talk of an annual increase of 10 percent in HIV infections, mainly through drug use. The head of the Federal Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS Vadim Pokrovsky spoke in mid-2015 of fifteen regions in Russia with a generalized epidemic with more than one percent infected population, similar to South Africa. According to information at the beginning of the World AIDS Conference 2018, the number of new infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia was the only region in the world to increase between 2010 and 2016, 80 percent of which affected Russia, where the number of new infections in 2017 was twice as high as in 2005, according to UNAIDS In 2019, the consumer protection authority counted just over a million infected people and around 80 new infections every day, according to Wadim Pokrowski.

The Russian government has launched several national programs to help increase the birth rate. Since 2007, parents have received a one-time state allowance ( maternity capital ) of almost 10,000 euros (2012) from their second newborn child . The birth rate in Russia increased from 1.48 million (2006) to 1.9 million (2012). In 2018, families received discounted mortgages and grants from the very first child; $ 9 billion has been budgeted for 3 years. In February 2019, President Putin declared that he would not accept the falling birth rate and announced further relief for families with children.

The proportion of the urban population remained constant at 73 percent.

Highly educated people in particular tended to emigrate , partly because of the prevailing legal uncertainty . This trend also slowed at times as a result of the government's demographic policy efforts. After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, significantly more highly qualified workers left the country again during the subsequent economic slump. In the spring of 2018, the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences complained of 44,000 emigrants who were missing from Russian research.

Russia is the second most important immigration country in the world. In 2017, 8.1% of the population were migrants. The regions of origin are primarily the poorer, southern former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus , but also Africa and Southeast Asia to an increasing extent . The majority of immigrants, however, are the descendants of Russians who were settled in other republics during the German Empire and the Soviet era and who mostly returned to Russia with their families. After the annexation of Crimea, the influx was dampened by the economic downturn, but also by protectionism and nationalism - in the first half of 2017 immigration no longer compensated for mortality.

Similar to other European countries, Russia's population is expected to continue to decline over the next few decades; the ILO expects a decline to 130 million by 2050. Assuming a net immigration of 300,000 people annually, the decline would be only weak. The situation stabilized somewhat by 2012, the number of inhabitants even increased slightly and was around 143.5 million. For the period from 2015 onwards, a worsening of the demographic situation was expected due to the low birth rate in the 1990s. In the further course of the 2010s, this slight population growth turned back to a negative demographic development. In 2020, according to Rosstat, the decline in the Russian population comprised more than 500,000 people in one year for the first time since 2005. In 2021, the Russian authorities expected a population decline of 1.2 million people by 2024.


"Saint Petersburg is the head, Moscow is the heart, Novgorod is the father, Kiev is the mother of Russia."

- Russian characterization of Russia's centers
Moscow, the capital of Russia and largest city in Europe
The center of Saint Petersburg

As early as 800, the Kievan Rus was characterized by many city-like settlements, which is why the Scandinavian Varangians called the area Gardarike ("Empire of the Cities"). The oldest surviving cities in this area include Novgorod , Smolensk , Pskov , Rostov , Murom and Beloosero , all of which were founded in the first millennium AD. In the 11th and 12th centuries, other cities in central Russia were founded by Slavic settlers. During this time Moscow, Yaroslavl , Tver , Vladimir , Vologda , Kirov , Tula , Kursk , Kostroma , Ryazan and, a little later, Nizhny Novgorod emerged . Due to the size of the country, a large number of large cities were necessary as bases. With the conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan in the middle of the 16th century, Russian colonists founded further cities in the east, southeast and south. Numerous cities were initially founded as border fortresses. In the south these were bases of the Verhaulinie against the Crimean Tatars , like Oryol (1566) and today's Voronezh (1586). Further east, on the Volga, other cities such as Samara (1586), Tsaritsyn (1589) and Saratov (1590) emerged. After its conquest, numerous Cossack forts, so-called Ostrogs, were built in Siberia . Later cities like Tobolsk , Irkutsk , Bratsk , Tomsk and Jakutsk grew out of them. Cities in the Ural and Altai Mountains such as Perm (1723), Yekaterinburg (1723) or Barnaul (1730) emerged in the epoch of Peter the Great in connection with the ores and precious minerals found there. With the decline of the Crimean Tatars and the further advance of Russia into the Caucasus, new fortresses and cities emerged in the 18th century. Stavropol and Vladikavkaz were founded in 1784, Krasnodar in 1793 , Novocherkassk in 1805 , Grozny in 1818 , Petrovsk in 1844 .

Downtown Yekaterinburg
City center and the "Golden Horn" ( Solotoi Rog ), the port of Vladivostok on the Pacific coast

Despite the foundations, large sub-areas retained their rural character. The farmer belonged to a mir (farming community). Cities represented isolated phenomena outside of the agglomerations and only formed a wide-meshed network. Moscow functioned as the capital until 1712 and was then replaced by St. Petersburg, which was newly founded in 1703, at the will of Peter I, in order to officially assume the status of capital again in 1918. In the 19th century, there was even a lot of talk about the two capitals. The industrialization of the late 19th century brought in all parts of the country a significant boost to the subsequent urbanization . It led to the emergence of numerous new cities and the rapid growth of old cities. Many Russian cities emerged as a result of an administrative restructuring of several neighboring village settlements into one urban settlement. The establishment of new cities and city surveys are still a characteristic of Russian urbanization to this day.

More than half of all Russian cities were only founded in the last 90 years, especially in the 1960s. Therefore, among the 160 major Russian cities where half of the Russian population lives, there are many new cities (around a quarter). The major Russian cities are primarily industrial and administrative centers, but they also have other high-level functions. Examples of new large cities are Magnitogorsk , Novokuznetsk and Bratsk, while Samara and Tambov are among the larger ones .

During the times of the Soviet Union , urban development was centrally planned and controlled. The type of socialist city prevailed . This includes, for example, the development of new types of cities, such as the capitals of small national republics (e.g. Cheboksary , Nalchik ) or the cities of science (e.g. Dubna ). The massive urbanization policy pursued in the Soviet era meant that 73 percent of the population now live in urban settlements. From the political and economic upheavals in Russia in the 1990s, the cities emerged as independent and autonomous municipal units. In addition, they were given local and regional steering bodies. With the new national borders, however, specialized production and distribution processes that were organized according to a division of labor also collapsed. Many cities were suddenly cut off from their previous networks. Formerly centrally located cities suddenly became border cities and were geopolitically peripheral. This fundamentally changed the functional structure and the economic development base of Russian cities and led to shifts in the Russian city system, with upward and downward trends. So far, the winners of the transformation have primarily been the metropolises, above all Moscow. Because there was a lack of capital for the extraction and transport of raw materials under extreme conditions, many mining towns in the north got into a crisis of survival.

The ten largest cities in Russia (former names from Soviet times in brackets) :

  1. Moscow - Central Russia (12.23 million inhabitants)
  2. Saint Petersburg (Leningrad) - Northwest Russia (5.28 million inhabitants)
  3. Novosibirsk - Siberia (1.60 million inhabitants)
  4. Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) - Urals (1.46 million inhabitants)
  5. Nizhny Novgorod (Gorky) - Volga (1.26 million inhabitants)
  6. Kazan - Volga (1.23 million inhabitants)
  7. Chelyabinsk - Urals (1.20 million inhabitants)
  8. Omsk - Siberia (1.18 million inhabitants)
  9. Samara (Kuibyshev) - Volga (1.17 million inhabitants)
  10. Rostov-on-Don - Southern Russia (1.13 million inhabitants)

For more cities see the list of cities in Russia .


Russian children in Northern Russia, 1909

Strictly speaking, Rossijskaya Federazija would literally be translated as "Russian Federation" (from Rossiya "Russia") and not "Russian Federation". Russkaya Federazija ("Russian Federation") was deliberately not chosen as the state name in order to include non-Russian nationalities . When speaking of the Russian people or the Russian-speaking culture , one speaks in Russian of russkij (Russian), for the Russian state, on the other hand, the adjective rossijskij ( Russian ) is used. Nevertheless, the adjective “Russian” is mostly used in German in both cases. The use of the word “Russian” is largely restricted to specialist publications. The official translation of the Constitution of Russia also uses this variant.

The Russian Federation still sees itself today as a multi-ethnic state . The largest group are the Russians , who make up the majority of the population with 79.8 percent, but almost 100 other peoples live on the country's territory. Despite the heterogeneity, the Russian population is dominant in all urban and industrial areas nationwide and the titular nations often form the minority in their "own" territories. Only 23 peoples or titular nations have more than 400,000 people. The degree of ethnic identification varies.

Russians in Saint Petersburg

Larger minorities are the Tatars (4.0 percent), the Ukrainians (2.2 percent), the Armenians (1.9 percent), the Chuvashes (1.5 percent), the Bashkirs (1.4 percent) and the Germans (0.8 percent) and others. The smaller minorities include the Meshes and various minorities of the Jewish faith . The non-Russian minorities predominantly speak languages ​​from the group of Turkic languages , Caucasian languages , Uralic languages ( Samoyed languages ), Altaic or Paleo-Siberian languages . Republics with extensive autonomy were established for many non-Russian peoples . While some minorities, such as Armenians , Koreans and Germans , are spread across various regions of Russia, there are also several indigenous peoples in European Russia. The number of nationalities in the Caucasus region, which only came to Russia in the last third of the 18th century, is large.

The numerically most significant indigenous minorities in Russia
Surname Nationality in: Russ. Federation / federal district / own republic 1 language Language family religion Share of population in own republic Historical reference
Volga Tatars 5.6 million 4 million ( Volga ) 2 million Tatar Turkic language Islam Tatarstan (52.9%) Descendants of the Kipchaks , Volga Bulgarians , Tatars and Mongols
Bashkirs 1.7 million 1.4 million ( Volga ) 1.2 million Bashkir Turkic language Islam Bashkortostan (30%, together with Tartars 54%) closely related to Volga Bulgarians
Tschuwaschen 1.6 million 1.4 million ( Volga ) 890,000 Chuvash Turkic language Russian Orthodox Chuvashia (67.7%) Descendants of the Volga Bulgarians and other groups
Chechens 1.4 million 1.3 million ( south ) 1.0 million Chechen northeast caucasian Islam Chechnya (93%)  
Mordwinen 977,000 788,000 ( Volga ) 410,000 Mordovian Finno-Ugric Russian Orthodox Mordovia (36.2%)
Avars 814,000 785,000 ( south ) 758,000 Avar northeast caucasian Islam Dagestan (29.44%)
Ossetians 515,000 477,000 ( south ) 446,000 Ossetian Iranian Russian Orthodox , Islam North Ossetia-Alania (62.70%) Alans ; about 70,000 in South Ossetia outside Russia
Circassians , 700,000 including
(61,000) 58,000 ( south ) 50,000 Kabardian northwest caucasian Islam Karachay Cherkessia (11%, together with Karachay 50%) The majority expelled to the Ottoman Empire in 1864, today 1.5 million in Turkey
(512,000) 512,000 ( south ) 499,000 Kabardian Islam Kabardino-Balkaria (48 to 55%, together with Balkars 67%)
(128,000) 126,000 ( south ) 108,000 Adygean Islam Adygea (24%)
Mari 604,000 512,000 ( Volga ) 312,000 Mari Finno-Ugric Russian Orthodox Mari El (43%)  
Udmurten 637,000 273,000 ( Volga ) 461,000 Udmurt table Finno-Ugric Russian Orthodox Udmurtia (37%)  
Buryats 445,000 423,000 ( Siberia ) 273,000 Buryat Mongolian Buddhism Buryatia (28%)  
Yakuts 443,000 441,000 ( Siberia ) 432,000 Yakut Turkic language Russian Orthodox Yakutia (46%)  
Komi (Syrian) 309,000 281,000 ( northwest ) 269,000 Komi Finno-Ugric Russian Orthodox Komi Republic (35%)
Komi Permyaks 125,000 107,000 ( Volga ) 80,000 Russian Orthodox Komi-Permyak district
Darginer 510,000 489,000 ( south ) 425,526 Dargin northeast caucasian Islam Dagestan (16.52%)
Crimean Tatars approx. 500,000 Kipchak languages Turkic languages Islam Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol (approx. 11–12%)
Ingush 413,000 392,000 ( south ) 360,000 Ingush northeast caucasian Islam Ingushetia (79%)
Lesgier 412,698 360,000 ( south ) 337,000 Lesgic northeast caucasian Islam Dagestan (13.07%) about 300,000 outside of Russia in Azerbaijan
Kumyks 422,000 399,000 ( south ) 366,000 Kumyk Turkic language Islam Dagestan (14.20%)
Kalmyks 176,000 167,000 ( south ) 156,000 Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhism Kalmykia (53%) closely related to the Oirats ( Mongolia and China )


1The numbers mentioned under “Nationality” stand for the identification, ie how many citizens of Russia and its autonomous divisions committed themselves to the respective nationality in the census of 2002 . In the official statistics, the Mordwinen and Ossetians each have two, and the Komi one splinter group listed separately, but the majority of them live in the same republic.


Russian is the only official language that is valid everywhere , but parallel to this, the respective vernacular is often used as the second official language in the individual autonomous republics. The use of these languages ​​is encouraged in the classroom, in the mass media and in cultural policy. The governments and parliaments of the republics see this as an essential prerequisite for preventing ethnic groups from becoming extinct . However, the command of the indigenous mother tongue is decreasing among the affected ethnic groups.

The Cyrillic alphabet is the only official script, with the exception of Tatarstan , and the policy is that all respective languages ​​are written in Cyrillic. Tatar was the only exception from 2001 onwards, against the resistance of the Russian-speaking population resident in Tatarstan, to be written exclusively in Latin script. However, the Russian Constitutional Court banned this practice in November 2004 on the grounds that a uniform script was necessary for the unity of Russia.


After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the associated disappearance of the atheistic state ideology of Marxism-Leninism , a return to religious values ​​took place. The most widespread religions in Russia are Christianity - especially the Russian Orthodox faith - and Islam (→  Islam in Russia ). Numerous other denominations are also represented, such as Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism , Buddhism and traditional beliefs of some ethnic groups. About a third of the population describes themselves as atheists or non-denominational .

Religious people and atheists 
Other Christs

As for membership of individual religious groups, there are no reliable figures, as members of churches and parishes in Russia are not registered and no church tax is levied. Surveys often differ significantly from one another. In 2012 , the Foundation for Public Opinion (FOM) found only 41 percent Orthodox, compared to 13 percent atheists and only 6.5 percent Muslim. Another 25 percent described themselves as agnostics or stated that they believed in a higher god-like power. The All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research (VCIOM), on the other hand, assumed that 75 percent were Orthodox and only 8 percent were atheists; its figures are also quoted by the Russian Embassy in Germany.

Deviating from the surveys mentioned, the proportion of Orthodox is usually between 51 and 72 percent, that of the other Christians with barely 2 percent, that of Buddhists with just under 1 percent and that of Jews with around 0.35 percent. The Fischer World Almanac and the Religious Freedom Report of the US State Department give 14 percent Muslims.

In 2006, the CIA World Factbook made the following rough estimates for practicing believers , i.e. those who actively practice their faith: 15 to 20 percent Russian Orthodox, 10 to 15 percent Muslim , 2 percent other Christian denominations.

Russian Orthodox Church

In the often splendidly furnished Orthodox churches (here the Transfiguration Cathedral in Tolyatti ) services are usually held daily. The Orthodox liturgy is the counterpart to the Roman Catholic Holy Mass .

The Russian Orthodox belief dates back to the early Middle Ages. The close contacts to this denomination resulted from the trade, which was mainly focused on Constantinople , and the close contacts with Byzantium. Princess Olga of Kiev (893-924) was the first ruler of the Rurikid dynasty to be baptized, but was unable to enforce the Christian faith in the empire. After the siege of Constantinople (860) , more Orthodox missionaries came to the country from 911, allegedly Varangians and Russians who had participated in the attack of 860 have already returned baptized. Under Olga's grandson, Vladimir the Holy , the Christianization of the Rus began in 988/989 , with the Kiev population being converted in mass baptisms. After Vladimir's death in 1015, the previously pagan peoples continued to be Christianized for decades. At this time Byzantium pursued its church policy in deliberate opposition to Rome and conveyed anti-Roman tendencies to the Eastern Slavs when they were converted. As a part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople , the Church of Kiev was initially administered by exarchs , which had no effect on the political independence of the Kiev Grand Dukes. The Orthodox Church and its values ​​form a supporting social pillar of the Russian Empire to this day .

After the destruction of the Kievan Rus in the Mongol storm and under the subsequent Golden Horde, the Kievan metropolitan moved to Vladimir in the 14th century , then to Moscow in 1328. In the 15th century, the Russian Orthodox Church finally broke away from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Constantinople after the latter had agreed to make concessions to the Pope as a result of the political decline of Byzantium . The conception of Moscow as the Third Rome , the only one to maintain the “true Christian faith”, was born. In 1589 its own patriarchate was founded. Peter I repealed this and in 1721 instead put the holiest ruling synod at the head of the church , which was abolished in Soviet Russia in 1918 . The Soviets first restored patriarchy before a Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church was re-established in 1988 .

In Russia before 1917, followers of the Russian Orthodox Church were not allowed to convert to any other denomination, even if it was Christian, and were not allowed to marry “non-Christians”. This church was the only religion allowed to do missionary work; Children from “mixed” marriages with non-Orthodox were considered Orthodox. It was not until the revolution of 1905 that the laws were relaxed. After the communists came to power , it was mainly members of this church who were suppressed because it was considered a symbol of autocracy . Around 40,000 Orthodox clergy were executed between 1918 and 1939. The 77,800 parishes from 1917 were reduced to around 3,100 by 1941.

Today the Russian Orthodox Church is experiencing a revival, especially in rural areas. Many monasteries were founded or rebuilt. The Church currently has about 100 million members, of whom only five to ten percent are regular worshipers. Religious education in schools was reintroduced in 2006. The Russian Orthodox Church sees itself as a representative of the interests of the people without being in opposition to the government. The state itself, however, sees the church as a guarantor for the cohesion of society. The majority of the population trusts the church and sees in it an institution that communicates values ​​and strengthens inner cohesion in society.

A cross procession of the Old Believers congregation in Moscow Oblast

In addition, there have been divisions from the Orthodox faith in the course of history. The oldest splits are the Old Orthodox or Old Believers. Other beliefs that emerged from Orthodoxy are the Molokans . From them, in turn, the Duchoborzen emerged. Both religious communities reject wealth, seek humility and seek a truly biblical fellowship. By some serfs , the Community was Subbotniki founded. These refer primarily to the Old Testament . Many of these sects or groups were arbitrarily persecuted in the tsarist empire .

Other Christian denominations

In addition to the Russian Orthodox orientation, there are other Christian denominations in Russia:

  • The Roman Catholic Church in Russia was unpopular due to Byzantine influences. It was not until 1705 that Peter I allowed the construction of a Roman Catholic church for the first time. The Catholics were subject to very strict government controls. While the Bolsheviks primarily concerned themselves with control of the Orthodox Church after the October Revolution , the Catholics were later watched more closely. By 1930 all structures of the church were dissolved. After 1945 there were only 20 municipalities in the Russian part of the Soviet Union that were forbidden to establish connections with one another. Today there are around 200 Catholic parishes with around 400,000–800,000 members in Russia. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Moscow) has been restored and returned to its intended use. Since 2010 there is again an Apostolic Nuncio in Moscow.
  • The Evangelical Church in Russia used to be widespread almost exclusively among Russian Germans and in their colonies . Only after the revolution of 1905 were other denominations legalized for Russians and Ukrainians. However, the Russian-German Adventists and Baptists also made successful attempts at proselytizing among the local population before the religious laws were relaxed. Protestantism flourished in the 1920s despite the atheism of the government of the Soviet Union (particularly the Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and Pentecostals ). However, the Baptists, Gospel Christians, and Pentecostals were forced into centralized systems in order to better control them. The same happened to the Seventh-day Adventists and the Mennonites in 1963. During the Stalinist era , many evangelical Christians of all currents were executed and persecuted.
  • Like most denominations, it was impossible for the New Apostolic Church (NAK) to do missionary work in Russia before the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the Iron Curtain. Since then, the number of New Apostolic Christians in Russia has been growing steadily. While there were 23,500 at the turn of the millennium, the New Apostolic Church has almost 40,000 believers today. It has also been officially recognized since the early 1990s.
  • As of April 2017, there are approximately 170,000 active Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. In the Soviet Union, especially from the outbreak of World War II up to 1965, many Jehovah's Witnesses were imprisoned and deported to Siberia (see Operation North ). For several years now, the Russian state has brought a total of seven lawsuits against Jehovah's Witnesses. The European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia several times to pay damages for its actions against the religious group. On April 20, 2017, the community was classified as an extremist organization by Russia's Supreme Court and banned. The property of all regional associations was confiscated. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch criticized the court decision.


Spread of Islam in Russia

The Islam in Russia is in the North Caucasus already spread since the 7th century and in today's Russian territory older than the first Russian statehood and the Christianization of the country. In 922 the Volga Bulgarians converted to Islam and passed it on to the Tatars in the 13th century . The indigenous peoples of the Caucasus and the Turkic peoples are mostly Sunni believers. By the end of the 19th century, 11.1 percent of the total population in the Russian Empire was of Muslim origin. In today's Russia, the proportion of Muslims is around 14 percent, about the same as it was in the Soviet Union. From 1990 to 1994 the " Islamic Party of Rebirth " existed in Russia . There is also an “ Islamic Party of the Rebirth of Tajikistan ” as well as numerous other organizations and splits. In addition to Kazan and Moscow, centers of Islam in Russia are now also Ufa and Dagestan . According to research by Novaya Gazeta in 2018, the increasing importance of Islam in the Caucasus goes hand in hand with the loss of confidence in the state.


The history of the Jews in Russia can be traced back to the 4th century when Jews from Armenia and Crimea also settled in Tmutarakan . In the late 8th or early 9th century, much of the Khazars converted to Judaism. After the destruction of the Khazar Empire by Svyatoslav I (969), Judaism was essentially limited to Kiev, the Crimea and the Caucasus. In the Grand Duchy of Moscow Jews were first mentioned in 1471. Until the time of Ivan the Terrible (1533–1584), Jews were tolerated except for a few laws directed against them. From 1721 they were expelled from the Russian Empire until this became impossible due to the incorporation of the eastern parts of Poland (1793 and 1795). From 1791 the Jews had to live within the Pale of Settlement , which was in what is now the Ukraine , Belarus and the Baltic States .

In the 19th century, leading officials like Konstantin Pobedonoszew supported anti-Semitic currents in the population. So there were many pogroms in southern Russia in 1881 after the Jews were wrongly accused of the attack on Alexander II . The May Laws of 1882 expelled the Jews themselves from the rural areas in the Pale of Settlement; quotas were used to limit the number of Jews admitted to higher education to three to ten percent. Between 1880 and 1920, more than two million Jews fled Russia, particularly to America. In 1903 new pogroms broke out, which intensified again in the Russian Revolution and led to between 70,000 and 250,000 victims among the Jewish civilian population. During Stalinism, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast with the capital Birobidzhan was founded in the Russian Far East , where only a few Jews settled. Compared to the decades before, there are only a few Jews left today, as many of them emigrated to Germany or America , but most of them to Israel . Today there are 87 synagogues in Russia , most of them in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, including the Moscow Memorial Synagogue . The Jews in European Russia are mostly Ashkenazim , to the east of them there are also some mountain Jews and Bukharian Jews who are counted among the Mizrahim .


Buddhism in Russia

The Tibetan form of Buddhism is also widespread in Russia , although it was originally limited to the Asian peoples ( Kalmyks , Tuvins ). Like clergymen and followers of practically all other religions, Buddhist monks were persecuted and oppressed in the Soviet Union during communist rule . Since the political change in Russia and the successor states of the Soviet Union, however, the Buddhist communities have again recorded an increase in membership among members of the traditional Buddhist peoples, but also among Russians and other nationalities.


The shamanism is among the indigenous population in Siberia widely used again; especially among the small peoples of the Russian north . Although most of the inhabitants of Siberia are Christians today, they do not see it as a contradiction to practice the rituals of their ancestors.

Society and mentality

“One cannot understand Russia, and neither can one measure it with reason. It has its own face. One can only believe in the country. ”
Well-known bon mot from Fyodor Ivanovich Tjuttschew from 1866 , which describes the national character of the Russian people.

The Soviet Union was a decidedly multiethnic state , and many different mentalities meet in today's Russia . The amalgamation of these peoples and denominations as well as influences from western and eastern influences also created distinctive peculiarities that manifest themselves in the stereotype of the Russian soul . This term still shapes the image of Russia today ; in western countries, the term Russophiles and critics of the western way of life served as a projection of their own civilization, which was perceived as coldly felt . The “Russian soul” is described as a tendency towards extreme opposites, which has resulted from the historical development of Russian folk culture. These extremes are expressed e.g. B. in the pursuit of the absolute extreme, combined with the readiness for a sudden change of direction; In addition, there is a pronounced devotion to fate, a penchant for patience, a tendency to superstition, the ability to suffer or a very strong attachment to home. The already mentioned all-or-nothing mentality knows no compromise or golden mean. The openness of expressions of feeling, both positive and negative, is also known, which is often given more weight than rational considerations, which often irritates foreigners from the West. A strong sense of solidarity and community is also important.

Russian society is traditionally shaped by collectivism , and belonging to a group is very important. This value system is originally based on the way of life of the rural village community, the Mir . Since land was common property for a long time, people in Russia have always defined themselves through the community and pay attention to the consistency of their own behavior and expression of opinion with those of the collective.

For many Russians, the family is an important reference group, especially in the country where people live close together in every respect. Several generations often live there in one apartment or in one house. The traditional family supports each other financially and helps each other with childcare and elderly care. The collective orientation is still evident today in everyday working life. The college is experienced as a community and it is very important to strengthen this group orientation. Favoritism ( Nepotismus ) in the job or contract is a side effect.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union , however, educated sections of the population in the big cities in particular, who can benefit from the newly won freedom to travel, have oriented themselves towards the principles of individualism , which has meanwhile resulted in massive intra-social tension and has become a central theme in contemporary literature and filmmaking is. Educational, ambitious and critical people were increasingly looking for opportunities to live abroad after the striking break with the western world in 2014; In 2015, the Duma even discussed a ban on foreign language teaching because this would encourage emigration.


Development of life expectancy

Article 41 of the Constitution of Russia guarantees all citizens the right to free basic health care. This principle, which has existed since the Soviet era, is partly the reason why Russia has a comparatively high number of doctors and hospitals per head of the population in an international comparison. Nevertheless, the health of the Russian population is poor. The healthcare system was hit particularly hard during the economic decline in Russia in the 1990s. As a result of extremely low salaries for doctors and nurses, medical care for the general public has been massively deteriorated. Every third clinic of the 7,000 hospitals in the country is now in urgent need of renovation. Recently, salaries for medical staff have been gradually increased and government funds have been invested in the establishment of new and modernization of existing clinics. Between 1999 and 2003, total spending on the health sector in Russia as a percentage of GDP averaged 5.70 percent.

In Russia, the health sector is organized on a decentralized basis. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the entire sector at federal level. However, specific medical services (including the provision of hospitals) are incumbent on the federal subjects and municipalities, who cover around two thirds of the total budget expenditure. The Russian health system is financed by a mix of budget and social security funds. The deterioration in relations with the West was followed by restrictions on the approval of medical devices from abroad from 2015.

identification number 2000 (according to Rosstat) 2010 (according to Rosstat) change
Births in thousand 1267 1790 + 41.3%
Deaths in thousands 2225 2031 −8.7%
Natural Population decrease in thou. 959 241 −74.9%
Infant mortality in thousands 19.3 13.4 −30.6%
Life expectancy in years 65.3 69 + 5.7%
Suicides in thousands 56.9 33.3 −41.5%
Alcohol poisoning in thousands 37.2 14.4 −61.3%
Abortions per 100 births 168.8 66.3 −60.8%


After the collapse of the USSR, poverty rose to over 40% of the population by 1999 and then fell noticeably. In 2002 the proportion was 19.6% and by 2011 it had decreased to 12.8% of the population or 18 million Russians. Officially, the subsistence level was 170 euros for a person of working age; for children the value is slightly lower, for pensioners it is 125 euros. The standard of living improved very differently from region to region. While some neighborhoods, especially in Moscow and St. Petersburg, began to shine in new splendor, poverty remained high in regions. In Chechnya and Dagestan, more than half of the people lived in poverty; other poor regions are Ingushetia, Tuva and Kabardino-Balkaria , Mari El , Kalmykia , Buryatia and Altai and Mordovia . In 2011 the average wage was € 576 per month. The large income differences were reduced from 2005 onwards, and the middle income bracket in particular increased considerably in percentage terms. In 2010, pensions were above the subsistence level for the first time in many years and, according to forecasts, should rise to EUR 268 by 2014. In 2012, around half of the population belonged to the low-income class who cannot finance key social needs such as housing or additional training. In fact, in 2014, the average pension was 10,000 rubles, which was the equivalent of 160 euros. Pensions and salaries had to be frozen. Since 2014, funds from the second, funded pillar of old-age provision have been used to cover financial requirements.

Reducing poverty was one of President Putin's five-year goals in spring 2019: Almost 19 million Russians were considered poor, or 12.9% of the population.

The poorer sections of the population suffered from double-digit increases in consumer prices up to 2009, which fell again by 2012. From 2014 to 2019 real income decreased.

The unemployment rate began to fall when the financial crisis was overcome in 2008 . In growth regions such as Moscow, Kaluga and St. Petersburg, unemployment tended towards zero. According to the standards of the International Labor Organization, unemployment was 7.1% in 2005, 7.6% in 2010 and 6.6% in 2011. By 2014 it had dropped to 5.2% and began to rise again. Unemployment benefits were between 60 and 70 euros a month. Unemployment, however, is a problematic indicator of the economic situation due to a peculiarity of Russian labor law: In Russia, layoffs are mostly not permitted; instead, employers are allowed to unilaterally reduce wages. Therefore, Russian employees prefer to stay in their company even if there is a lack of orders and accept high wage losses instead of claiming the rather symbolic unemployment benefit of 20 to 110 euros in 2019.

In the United Nations Human Development Index , Russia was ranked 49th in 2016 with 0.8 (out of 1) and the Gini coefficient was 37.7.

environmental Protection

Bikin National Park in the
Primorye of Russia

At the time of the Soviet Union, the Russian environment was heavily polluted: littered with factory waste, chemically and radioactively contaminated. Even today there are serious environmental problems in Russia - but also a growing environmental awareness among the population. The citizen's right to a healthy environment and to reliable information about its condition is enshrined in Article 42 of the Russian Constitution. However, environmental protection has a comparatively low priority in Russian politics, which is repeatedly criticized by international environmental organizations such as WWF or Greenpeace . In the past, for example, common environmental standards were often insufficiently complied with when developing new oil or natural gas reserves. A well-known example of recent times is the development of the Sakhalin II development areas , which are said to have violated environmental regulations to a greater extent. In addition, there is widespread corruption within state environmental authorities, which enables multiple violations of environmental regulations in the construction of houses or massive illegal logging . A large number of contaminated sites from the Soviet era, including ailing factories that cannot comply with today's environmental standards, have a significant impact on the environment in parts of the country. Some cities with such factories, such as Norilsk or Dzerzhinsk , are classified as ecological emergency areas.

The more the quality of life increases, the more important and urgent environmental issues will be discussed in Russia's public and politics in the future. Since 2004, isolated efforts by the Russian state power to promote environmental and climate protection have become visible. In Russia, for example, the ratification of the Kyoto Agreement was completed on November 5, 2004 with the approval of the President of the State Duma decision. On January 30, 2008, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev spoke out in favor of rapid development of the domestic market for innovative technology in environmental protection. There are now government plans to increase energy efficiency in Russia in order to limit the significant loss of thermal energy for the housing sector.


Kievan Rus at the turn of the millennium
Russia reached its greatest territorial expansion in the 19th century.

Russia's history has seen many ruptures since it began in the 9th century. Russian history, for example, is an in-house development that differs significantly from the development of its neighbors in Europe. The reason for this is a constant interplay of typically Russian features from social events and geographical influences that have accompanied his history over long stretches. The geographic location gave Russia a bridge between Europe and Asia, which, depending on the strengths, favored the aggression of foreign powers (major incursions among others in 1240 , 1242 , 1609 , 1709 , 1812 , 1917 , 1941 ) or its own expansion. The lack of natural borders contributed to this, which, in interplay with the experience of foreign incursions, prompted Russia to expand the borders until natural borders could provide effective protection (cf.  Russian colonization ). This strong Russian need for security, resulting from historical incursions, continues to this day.

The tension between economic necessities and coping with or not coping with by the respective ruling groups is also one of the constants of Russian history. Examples include the failure to cope with the social unrest in the course of the industrial age with its climax in the 1905 revolution , the February and October revolutions in 1917, or the post-communist system transformation of the 1990s.

The ways of thinking adopted from Byzantine orthodoxy led to tensions with modernist tendencies and established the striking tension between persistence and progress . B. in the church split 1666/1667 or the Petrine reforms 1700–1720 clearly showed. Due to the lack of Roman legal tradition , for a long time there was no right of resistance to rulers' attacks, so that the relationship between state authority and the economic and political freedom of the individual remained strained. This was particularly evident in the 19th century, when liberal ideas found more supporters in Russia and expressed themselves in several assassinations against the Russian autocrat (e.g. Decembrist uprising ).

The connection between cooperative and sovereign elements, which was so pronounced until the end of the Soviet Union , was originally founded in the Orthodox Church, where the community of believers played a much greater role than the individual who was responsible to God. Marxists and socialists took up these ideas of the collective in the 19th and 20th centuries and continued them in the Soviet Union. The balance between centralized and decentralized rule has been a constant problem throughout Russia's history. Particularly in transitional periods (e.g. between 1240 and 1480, after 1917 and after 1994), centrifugal currents increased on the edges of the country.

Old Russia, Mongol Storm and Rise of Moscow

Dmitri Donskoy and the emir of the Golden Horde
Mamai , defeated in the Battle of the Snipe Field - Scene of the National Monument Thousand Years of Russia (1862)

The old East Slavic name for the area of ​​the Slavic part of European Russia, Belarus and Ukraine was Rus (see Kievan Rus ), in Greek Rossia . Today's Russian country name Rossija goes back to this form . The earliest history of European Russia (for the history of the Asian part see History of Siberia ) is shaped in the north by the Finno-Ugric peoples and the Baltic , in the south by the Indo-European steppe peoples of the Kurgan people , the Cimmerians , Scythians , Sarmatians and Alans ; later Greeks , Goths , Huns and Avars were added here. In the middle, between the Dnieper and the Bug , came the Slavic peoples, who began to expand to the north and east from the 6th century.

From the 8th century, Scandinavian Vikings sailed the Eastern European rivers and later mixed with the Slavic majority population. These warrior merchants, also known as Varangians or Rus , were instrumental in founding the first East Slav state, the Kievan Rus, with centers in Kiev and Novgorod . In the southern steppe area and on the Volga, on the other hand, empires of the Turkic peoples of the Khazars and Volga-Bulgarians, with whom the Rus traded but also waged wars, had emerged from Asia . Intensive contacts with the Byzantine Empire finally led to the Orthodox Christianization of the Kievan Rus in 988.

The inadequate seniority principle to regulate the succession promoted the fragmentation of the Kievan Rus in the 12th century and made it easier for the divided Russian principalities to subjugate the Mongol invasion . The Mongol invasion of the Rus began in 1223 with the Battle of the Kalka ; the transition phase up to the middle of the 14th century is known as the "dark" age. The Russian national historiography speaks of the "Tatar yoke" of this time. Mongolian rule led to a break in relations with the West for two centuries and promoted the isolation of Orthodox Russia. The Russian principalities were under the control of the Golden Horde , but were able to retain a certain internal autonomy. Meanwhile, the Russian principalities in the north and west had to repel attacks by Swedes, knights and Lithuanians. Of the divided and warring Russian principalities, the small and insignificant principality of Moscow proved to be the most assertive. Dmitri Donskoy , who was able to unite various Russian principalities, defeated the Golden Horde in the battle of the Snipe Field in 1380 .

The Moscow Grand Duke Ivan the Great ended Mongol rule and became the de facto founder of a centralized Russian state by gradually “collecting” the surrounding Russian countries (Russian собирание земель , sobiranije semel ), including the Novgorod Republic . His title "Ruler of all Rus " also expressed the claim to the western part of the Rus ruled by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14th century. This led to protracted wars in the 16th and 17th centuries with Poland and Lithuania (see Russian-Lithuanian Wars ). Under Ivan the Great, Russian legislation was reformed and most of today's Moscow Kremlin was built. His grandson Ivan IV founded tsarism in Russia in 1547 . Under his rule began after taking the Tatar capital Kazan and the conquest of Siberia , the Russian Cossacks first time in the 17th century to the Pacific brought.

Russia opened up under Peter the Great and became a major European power

Tsar Peter I, the great , founder of the renewed Russian Empire

At the turn of the 18th century, Tsar Peter the Great opened the tsarism of Russia, frozen in its old structures, to Western European influences and promoted science and culture. In 1703 he founded the city of Saint Petersburg , which - as the new capital since 1712 - was to become the symbol of Russian progress. With the victory against Sweden in the Great Northern War , which lasted more than 20 years , Russia gained supremacy in the Baltic Sea region after more than 150 years of conflict with Sweden (see Nordic Wars ). Russia took over Sweden's position as a major Nordic power in Europe. To underline the new status in the diplomatic hierarchy of Europe, Tsar Peter had the Russian tsarism renamed " Russian Empire " and officially changed the monarchy title from "Tsar" to "Kaiser" ( Russian Император , Imperator ).

Catherine the Great continued Peter's expansionist policy. The Crimean Khanate (" New Russia ") was conquered under their government . By participating in the three partitions of Poland , the western border of Russia was pushed far towards Central Europe. In 1812 Napoleon's troops invaded Russia and captured Moscow, but were ultimately crushed. This was the prelude to the Wars of Liberation , in which Russian troops and their allies (Prussia, Austria, United Kingdom, etc.) could finally defeat Napoleon and force him to abdicate. Alexander I entered Paris as the “Liberator of Europe”. After the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15, Russia assumed a dominant role on mainland Europe, which lasted until the Crimean War of 1853–1856. Due to the deadlocked social structures such as autocracy and serfdom , the agrarian empire was unable to keep pace with the rapidly developing industrial countries. The lost Crimean War against the Western powers exposed the empire's internal weaknesses and initiated a phase of internal reforms. This accelerated Russia's economic development, but the country was repeatedly destabilized by internal unrest, as the political changes were not far-reaching enough and large parts of the population were excluded. The “ Westerners ” who advocated adopting Western European ways of life and political institutions were always opposed to the nationally romantic “ Russophiles ” or “ Slavophiles ” who demanded their own, specifically Russian path to modernity and the general adoption of Western values ​​entirely or largely refused.

An industrial proletariat emerged in the big cities around the turn of the century, but very quickly a middle class too. This demanded their share in the disposal of the state revenue and the co-responsibility for public affairs. The members of the middle class, however, had no common political consciousness. They did not understand political freedom as a moral goal, but meant freedom of material development and fair taxation. The middle class did not allow itself to be guided by the utopian drafts of the intelligentsia in the long term . An adaptation of the constitutional reality of the state, which would have included the middle class more closely, did not take place. Instead the terror flared up again. The defeat in the Russo-Japanese War ultimately led to the Russian Revolution of 1905 . The Russian Emperor Nicholas II , however, was not ready to initiate fundamental reforms and had a largely functionless parliament, the Duma , which he had been forced to approve, dissolved again only a short time later.

Russian Revolution and Soviet Union

Boris Kustodijew : The Bolshevik (1920)

When the First World War broke out in 1914 , Russia as a member of the Entente caught a patriotic wave - a mood that initially determined all warring parties, including the German Empire and its allies ( Central Powers ). The initial successes, especially against Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire , were soon replaced by trench warfare, until in 1917 the morale of the Russian soldiers gave way and the front collapsed. The dissatisfaction of the population and the bleak supply situation led to demonstrations by workers and peasants in the capital, Petrograd . After a bloody suppression of the demonstrators, they stormed the Winter Palace and Emperor Nicholas II was forced to abdicate.

As a result, a provisional government (with the participation of the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries ) came to power in February 1917 , which acted as a dual government with workers and soldiers Soviets . The radical revolutionary Bolsheviks presented here initially a minority. Since the provisional government did not end the war, to the disappointment of large parts of the population and not necessary domestic reforms took the Bolsheviks won under the returned in April from exile Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to feed and they overturned in October 1917.

After the February Revolution of 1917 , women in Russia gained the right to vote and stand for election . They were admitted to the elections for the soviets as well as for the city of dumas . In May 1917 a law was passed giving Russian citizens over 20 the right to elect the Constituent Assembly . After the October Revolution , active and passive women's suffrage was enshrined in the RSFSR constitution of July 10, 1918.

From the October Revolution following the Civil War between the socialist "Reds" and the counterrevolutionary "whites" were the Bolsheviks emerged victorious. The three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Finland , achieved their independence from Russia by repelling the Red Army or by prolonged civil wars. In the course of the civil war and the subsequent Polish-Russian war , Russia lost parts of Belarus and the Ukraine (" Eastern Poland ") to Poland in 1920 . In 1921 the Russian Federative Socialist Soviet Republic (RSFSR) was proclaimed, which represented the most important part of what would later become the Soviet Union.

On December 30, 1922, the former Soviet Russia was founded and a state-controlled economic policy was proclaimed. The Soviets were declared the owners of land and means of production. Lenin's death on January 21, 1924 led to a bitter succession battle in which Joseph Stalin prevailed against Leon Trotsky . The Stalinism was marked by targeted terror from. Since 1928 the state economy has been subject to five-year plans and the industrialization of the Soviet Union has been driven forward. The forced collectivization in the Soviet Union was accompanied by the campaign of " deculakization ".

In August 1939, the Soviet Union concluded a non-aggression pact with the Nazi state , with a secret amendment also including an amicable division of Eastern Europe . This enabled Hitler to launch the planned war of aggression against Poland in early September 1939 , which was coordinated with a Soviet attack against eastern Poland in mid-September. In the Winter War , the Soviet Union invaded Finland and captured smaller parts of the country. In 1940 Lithuania , Latvia and Estonia were occupied.

Bombed out Leningrad women leave their homes, December 1942

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, which led to the German-Soviet War (known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union ), the country joined the anti-Hitler coalition . During the Leningrad blockade alone, over a million people died of starvation in Leningrad. In total, an estimated 27 million Soviet citizens died in this war , including 14 million civilians . However, it was able to inflict heavy defeats on the German troops in the course of the war and won the final battle for Berlin in May 1945 . After the war, the Soviet Union secured great influence in the neighboring countries of Poland , Czechoslovakia , Hungary , Romania , Bulgaria , Albania and in the GDR . Hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers remained stationed in these countries. The Cold War dominated world politics until 1989.

The last Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev initiated from 1987 with the " Perestroika " a restructuring of the political and economic system in the Soviet Union and promoted with the policy of " Glasnost " the transparency and openness of the government towards the population, whereupon individual Union republics the independence of aspired to the Soviet Union. After the unsuccessful August coup in Moscow in 1991 of conservative communists, the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin and representatives of the Soviet republics decided to dissolve the USSR on December 31, 1991.

Russian Federation since 1992

As the largest former Soviet republic ( Russian SFSR ), the Russian Federation has exercised the rights and obligations of the USSR under international law since 1992 . In the early years, domestic conflict were on the course to be: in the Russian constitutional crisis in 1993 , Yeltsin dissolved by decree of the People's Deputies Congress and the Supreme Soviet of Russia on which his efforts and the results of a to referendum on 25 April 1993 had opposed, economic reforms enforce . Yeltsin ordered a violent storming of the parliament building ( White House ), in which around 100 parliamentarians and other supporters had barricaded themselves. The violent suppression of another uprising against him on October 3rd and 4th resulted in 190 deaths in Moscow. In December, the Russian people approved the new constitution of the Russian Federation ( bicameral system , presidential administration ) by referendum .

Under Yeltsin , parts of the economy in Russia were privatized and reforms attempted. Valuable companies fell into the hands of people who had good relationships with rulers or who paid them bribes and protection money (" oligarchs ").

In 1991/92 there was a ruble crisis . Gross domestic product (GDP) was 12% lower in 1993 than in 1992 and 29% lower than in 1991. Industrial production was 31.3% lower in 1993, consumer goods production 24.8% lower and food production 27.3% lower 1991. In October 1993, 2,400 production plants were temporarily shut down, in February 1994 4,280. B. in the coal fields.

The inflation for years was high and impoverished large sections of the population. In 1998 the country slipped into insolvency (→ Russian crisis ). Particularly in the transition period, due to the strengthening of regional autonomies after the end of the heavily centralized Soviet era, centrifugal currents increased on the edges of the country. Since the mid-1990s, the Russian government has been confronted with independence movements and power struggles in numerous republics, particularly in the First Chechen War in 1994/96 , in which tens of thousands of people died. From early autumn 1999 to early 2000, Russian troops brought most of Chechnya back under their control (see Second Chechen War ).

Development of the crime rate since 1960

The chaotic years under Yeltsin unsettled many people. The birth rate was low; Crime, alcoholism, etc. were common. In the final phase of Yeltsin's rule, Russian foreign policy consisted almost entirely of empty threats and reactions. This concerned z. B. NATO's eastward expansion and the Kosovo war . Some striking events such as the sinking of the Kursk in August 2000, the fire of the Ostankino television tower in Moscow and the end of the Mir in March 2001 gave many Russians the feeling that Russia had relapsed from the role of a superpower to that of an emerging country.

Vladimir Putin during his speech at the Munich Security Conference 2007, in which he criticized the American pursuit of a monopolar world

High raw material prices (oil, gas, steel), a tax reform and a return flow of capital promoted the economic recovery after Vladimir Putin took office . After the Beslan hostage-taking in September 2004, Putin initiated a fundamental restructuring of the state system that concentrated power and control to an even greater extent than before in the hands of the president. "For Putin it was later a matter of securing the sole rule of the Kremlin with the help of a 'power vertical' of the executive at all state levels." B. Margareta Mommsen (2012) is seen as incompatible in every respect with ideas of an independent role for parliament, changing parliamentary majorities and free competition between political parties . Even the highest political officials did not have a clear understanding of the constitution; With this approach, neither a constitutional legitimacy nor a constitutional culture could arise. “Meanwhile, the practiced authoritarianism is justified as a necessary makeshift. Putin, for example, likes to invoke 'rule by hand'. [...] In doing so, he was convinced that the political process must continue to follow personal guidance and ad hoc arrangements instead of the constitution. "

The Crimean Federal District was founded on March 21, 2014 after pro-Russian forces in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol declared their independence from Ukraine in the course of the Crimean crisis and applied for membership to Russia on March 18, 2014. The legitimacy of these steps under international law is controversial outside of Russia, but also in Russia itself. Also on March 18, 2014, Transnistria also applied for membership.


Federal structure

Federal district Area in km² Total population Inhabitants per km²
Far East (6,215,900) 0(6,692,865) 0(1)
Northwest Russia 1,677,900 13,974,466 08th
Siberia (5,114,800) (20,062,938) 0(4)
Southern Russia (with Crimea) 0.442.920 15,689,400 35
North Caucasus 0.170,439 09,108,737 53
Ural 1,788,900 12,373,926 07th
Volga 1,038,000 31,154,744 30th
Central Russia 0.650,700 38,000,651 58
Russia as a whole (with Crimea) 17.101.4800 147.056.1310 08th
In November 2018, the Republic of Buryatia and the Transbaikalia Region moved
from the Siberian Federal District to the Far East Federal District.
This is not yet taken into account in the figures above.

Russian federalism is very asymmetrical, as the federal system is a combination of ethno-federal republics and territorial-federal areas. The division of the country was essentially carried over from the Soviet era, apart from the upgrading of most of the autonomous regions to republics and the division of the former Checheno-Ingushetian ASSR into two republics. According to Article 65 of the Russian Constitution, Russia is divided into 85 federal subjects . These include 22 republics, 9 regions ( Krai ), 46 areas ( oblast ), 3 cities of federal rank (Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sevastopol), 1 autonomous region and 4  autonomous counties . The fact that the subjects of international law Crimea and Sevastopol belong to Russia is not recognized internationally. The republics were defined according to the dominant non-Russian ethnic groups in each case, although their borders do not always coincide with the ethnic groups, while the areas in the other, predominantly Russian-inhabited parts of the country were formed according to purely administrative aspects. Territories in which smaller non-Russian minorities live are assigned the lower status of an autonomous region or autonomous district. In terms of population, area and relative prosperity, the subjects of the federation sometimes differ considerably.

Although all federal subjects are formally equal, only the republics are entitled to enact their own constitution. You can also sign international treaties as long as they comply with the Russian Constitution. There are also special features of the republics in the traditional naming, the number of representatives in regional parliaments and specific legislative powers .

republic city region
area Autonomous County Autonomous Oblast

In contrast to the republics, the oblasts and the Kraje are not states. They only have statutes instead of constitutions. Most republics are headed by a president. The other federal subjects are led by the head of administration, the governor . The legislatures in the republics are both unicameral and bicameral . In the territories the parliamentary representation consists of only one chamber.

Since 2005, the presidents of the republic and governors are no longer elected by the population, but by the regional parliament. The President proposes the candidates.

In 2000, President Putin created seven federation districts by decree , each of which brings together several federation subjects into a larger unit. The aim of this reform was to strengthen the vertical distribution of power and tighten control over the regional rulers. The population figures in the following table refer to the census of October 9, 2002. In 2010, the North Caucasus Federal District was created as the eighth federal district by being separated from the Southern Federal District .

After its (controversial) accession to the Federation on March 21, 2014, Crimea formed its own (ninth) federal district, which was dissolved on July 28, 2016 and joined the Southern Federal District.

In addition to the two hierarchical federal levels mentioned (1st federal district, 2nd federal subject), there is also a third independent administrative level, that of local self-government ( Rajon ). Their administrative heads are directly elected by the population. The regions are administratively superior to the local self-government bodies and are authorized to issue instructions.

Political history

At his inauguration, Dmitry Medvedev laid his hand on the constitution.

With the fall of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, there was an opportunity for democratic and liberal reforms. These were blocked by the Communist-dominated People's Deputies Congress. President Boris Yeltsin therefore resorted to tough and unconstitutional means and dissolved the People's Deputies Congress in autumn 1993 by deploying the military. A constitution was created that largely removed the president from the control of the people and parliament. The current constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted by referendum on December 12, 1993 and came into force on December 25, 1993. It represents a break with the Soviet past. According to the constitution, the focus is on people: human rights and freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of travel are the highest values. In the practice that has been implemented since then, Russia is referred to as a controlled democracy because of the restriction of fundamental rights , or else it is described with the technical term authoritarianism . The gap between rhetoric and action in these spheres is glaring.

The balance sheet of the Yeltsin era was divided: it was possible to introduce democratic and liberal reforms in Russia. But liberalization and privatization were carried out to such an extent that consumer prices soared and a new upper class of oligarchs emerged who wielded active political power . In the population, however, this democratization and liberalization phase was perceived as the dissolution of a secure and predictable state, social and economic order. In addition, the going public with privatization was overshadowed by the international financial crisis from 2007 onwards. While nine joint-stock companies were able to raise new capital on the London International Stock Exchange in 2007, at the height of the crisis in 2009, only one Russian company, RusHydro , managed to go public. Only at the turn of the decade did the political situation gradually stabilize, not least due to the increasing concentration of state power on a strong president, which, however, also came at the expense of pluralism and democratic freedoms.

Political system

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addresses the State Duma (May 8, 2008)

According to the constitution of December 12, 1993, Russia is a “democratic, federal constitutional state with a republican form of government ” and a semi-presidential system of government . The head of state is the President of Russia , who is directly elected by the people for a period of six years. The president does not belong directly to any of the three state powers , but ensures their functioning and cooperation. The main form of influence of the president is the decree, with which he can regulate any matter with direct legal effect. The President determines the main directions of foreign policy and can sign international treaties. He is the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Russia, appoints and dismisses the High Command of the Armed Forces.

  • The legislature is exercised through the Federation Assembly, which consists of two chambers. The Federation Council is the House of Lords and the representative of the subjects of the Federation . All laws passed by the State Duma must be submitted to the Federation Council, which is free to consider them within two weeks or not, which counts as approval. The State Duma is the lower house and consists of 450 members who are elected according to party lists for five years. In order to enter parliament, a party must receive at least 7 percent of the vote in the election. The main task of the State Duma is to pass laws.
  • The executive power rests with the government of the Russian Federation , although some of its ministries are subordinate to the president and not to parliament. This means that the composition of the government does not have to reflect the political balance of power in the State Duma. That is why it is generally not a political government, but a technocratic cabinet, mainly responsible for economic and financial issues and administrative tasks. The cabinet meets in public weekly. The president has the right to preside over a cabinet, but he does not always exercise them. The Prime Minister of Russia , also known as Prime Minister, is proposed by the President and must be confirmed by the Duma. The government is not bound by the parliamentary term of office, but by the term of office of the president, because in the case of a newly elected president, the government resigns its powers. The State Duma can, with a majority of all MPs, express mistrust in the government or negate the government's vote of confidence. The government has budget sovereignty and guarantees a uniform financial, credit and monetary policy. The other policy fields are culture, science, education, health, social security and ecological policy.
  • The judiciary is the highest constitutional protection body, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation , to which state bodies and citizens can turn (see Legal History of Russia ). The constitutional court often decides in favor of the citizen.

The Russian political system is de facto a mixture of unstable democratic institutions and authoritarian practices. Since the turn of the millennium, a clear “de-democratization” of this system and a centralization of political power with the president and his administration can be observed. Under President Putin (2000 to 2008 and again since 2012) the power of the head of state was expanded through the creation of a “vertical power”: The Russian President proposed the governors from 2005 to May 2012 - the regional parliaments could only confirm them. This variant, called "sovereign democracy" by Russia, curtailed the political rights of the regions that had built a political counterweight under President Yeltsin. The governors in turn appointed (since 2002 instead of the regional parliaments) the representatives for the Federation Council and also local representatives such as mayors. After the regions were disempowered, critical observers spoke of a “surrogate federation” instead of a real federation. A change in the law following the protests in the course of the parliamentary elections in December 2011 was followed by the reintroduction of elections for governors in Russia from October 2012. “The result,” says Margareta Mommsen , “ resulted in an authoritarian system with the peculiarity of formally continuing democratic institutions. These merely pretend democratic conditions. It is no coincidence that critical observers speak of a 'simulated democracy'. ”Police and public prosecutor’s investigations end or do not even begin where they affect influential politicians. In the democracy index of the British magazine The Economist, Russia ranks 124th among the 167 countries examined and is classified as an " authoritarian regime " (as of 2020). In 2007 it was still classified as a hybrid system. The classification in the Bertelsmann Foundation's transformation index is somewhat less negative, where Russia was in 70th place (in terms of democracy) out of 129 countries between the Ivory Coast and Guinea in 2017 .

Political decision-making

Political parties

Since the CPSU renounced its constitutional leadership role in 1990, there has been a change from a totalitarian one-party state to a multi-party democracy . Hundreds of political groupings, splinter groups, movements and parties formed, covering a broad political spectrum from monarchists to communists. The Russian parties are rather weak and rarely have a stable identity.

Since the parliamentary elections in Russia in 1995 , the government has supported a new, separate house power. These administrative, top-down “parties of power” (партии власти, ruling party, “presidential electoral association”) are loosely ad hoc alliances based on bureaucrats loyal to the president.

Since the turn of the millennium, a few parties have functioned as social networks that can mobilize specific groups of voters. From 2008 to 2011 there were only seven parties in Russia. In the course of the demonstrations for the parliamentary elections in December 2011 , a new party law was passed, which provides for the admission of new parties with a membership of 500 or more (previously 40,000). After a decision by the ECHR in favor of the government-critical Party of People's Freedom , the number of Russian parties rose to 48 by the end of 2012. Russia's politics are currently dominated by a single party, United Russia . United Russia emerged in 2001 from the parties Unity (Jedinstwo) and Fatherland - All Russia (Otetschestvo - vsja Rossija), some of which were recruited from the defunct Our House Russia party (the party of Putin's predecessor Boris Yeltsin). In addition to this large party, there are other and splinter parties . They include the Communist Party of the Russian Federation , the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and the Social Democratic Party of Just Russia . In addition, outside the Duma there is the Yabloko party , the Patriots of Russia and the Right Cause .

Non-governmental organizations

Until the new President Vladimir Putin took office, the Russian NGOs had been able to develop largely free of state influence. Their influence on the state was probably greater than the other way around. That should change quickly. Putin immediately set about submitting to the government those areas of the Russian political public that had not previously acted autonomously but were controlled by different centers of power. He called this “strengthening the verticals of power” and building a “dictatorship of the law”. Behind this approach is the conviction that the Russian state was on the verge of collapse in the 1990s and that this was caused by the weakness of the central power.

The first attempt to involve the NGOs was the initiative for a large citizens' meeting in 2001 in the Kremlin. Selected topics were discussed at this meeting. However, from the government's point of view, NGOs that were not constructive and did not simply want to subordinate themselves were excluded. This should represent a kind of "truce" between NGOs and the Russian government. However, at the beginning of 2002, despite protests and negotiations, the tax equation of “commercial” and “non-commercial” companies was passed. The "peace" finally broke when Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested. With his foundation “Open Russia” he had started to finance projects of NGOs on a large scale, and was thus the last hope for long-term and sustainable financing of NGOs in Germany. The second break was the “ Rose Revolution ” in Georgia, which was seen as a failure of Russian politics and, in the perception of the Russian government, was the work of NGOs financed by the West. This was also suspected during the change of power in Ukraine. Putin put it this way on May 26, 2004 in his annual address to both chambers of parliament:

“There are thousands of constructive civil society associations in our country. But by no means all orientate themselves towards defending the real interests of the people. For some of these organizations it has become a priority to get funding from influential foreign foundations, for others to serve dubious groups and commercial interests. At the same time, they are not interested in the most pressing problems facing the country or its citizens. "

Ultimately, the relationship between government and NGOs remained ambivalent in Putin's first term, resulting from the fact that market economy systems require a certain degree of freedom. The tactics of the government with the NGOs is an expression of the fact that one would like to prevent this freedom from encroaching on the political and social.

With regard to NGOs, the second term of office was primarily characterized by the NGO Act, which gave the Russian government extensive control and sanctioning instruments. The Rosregistracija now monitors the activities of the NGOs. Complaining against this in a highly corrupt society like the Russian one, in which complaint and appeal bodies, especially against state action, such as courts, function only to a very limited extent, and is associated with a high level of administrative effort. The registration authorities are increasingly relying on provisions of labor law, tax law, occupational health and safety or fire protection in order to at least partially conceal state action against the NGOs.

On May 23, 2015, President Putin signed a law that allows Russian authorities to blacklist international NGOs without warning. Anyone who comes into contact with such “undesirable organizations” threatens high penalties. The law restricts the work of the media and civil society. One of the cases in which this law was applied was the revocation of the mandate of Yabloko politician Lev Schlosberg, who reported in 2014 about the funeral of Russian soldiers who were believed to have died in Ukraine.

Political culture

Human rights

Demonstration in Moscow on January 13, 2013

The restrictions on freedom of the press since 2001 have been criticized by international civil rights organizations and the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany . The state's influence in the area of ​​television is complete, all TV stations broadcasting nationwide are either directly state-owned or under state control. The situation is similar in the radio sector. Officially, there is no government censorship - the ownership structure means that censorship is in people's minds. Three of six votes at the meeting of the Human Rights Council by the President in October 2017 had to by their propaganda state media and fueled hatred complained in society. The killing rate in Russia fluctuated sharply between 1990 and 2017 between 30.5 kills (in 1995) and 9.2 kills (in 2017) per 100,000 inhabitants. The state does not protect the citizens, complained in 2017 the Novaya Gazeta and the refugee Julija Latynina . Also, domestic violence in Russia a social problem. 40 percent of all violent crimes in Russia are committed within the own four walls, within the family. This violence is particularly directed against women . According to the Interior Ministry, 12,000 to 14,000 women die every year in Russia.

There are repeated attacks on members of the opposition or arson attacks on their property. Lists with address details of members of the opposition circulated repeatedly on the Internet. Police and public prosecutor's investigations end or do not even begin where they affect influential politicians. Since 2015, anyone who takes an improvised protest poster on the street faces up to five years in prison. In Russia in 2013 were estimated 600,000 people in "severe prison camp", including not only the opinion of the human rights organization Memorial and political prisoners . Around 140,000 prisoners were in custody in the spring of 2019 on the basis of Section 228.2 on drugs, the possibilities of which had been known for some time and which became internationally known through the scandal surrounding the journalist Ivan Golunov . In August 2020, according to the Federal Prison Service (FSIN), the number of convicts, suspects and accused in Russian penal and pre-trial detention centers fell to less than 500,000 for the first time. According to the FSIN, this is due to the use of alternative, non-detention sentences and the general liberalization of the prison system.

In December 2015, Putin signed a law allowing the Russian Constitutional Court to override judgments of international courts, which could primarily concern judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), at the request of the government . An “intangible censorship” was also described for the cultural sector.

Homosexuality in Russia is largely taboo. The legal regulations include a ban on "homosexual propaganda", which critics see as a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights , freedom of assembly and freedom of expression .

The freedoms of religious minorities are severely restricted under the pretext of combating extremism. In 2016, members of unregistered religious groups were banned from talking to others about their religious beliefs. In March 2017, the Russian Ministry of Justice requested a ban on the Jehovah's Witnesses religious group and all of its activities, which was implemented in April 2017.

The human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated significantly since the occupation by Russia. According to a UNHCHR report , arbitrary arrests and torture occur again and again, and extrajudicial executions have also been documented. For years , the human rights situation has been most explosive in the Caucasus, particularly in Chechnya. The review of civil rights , e.g. B. for violations of the European Convention on Human Rights , takes place before the Supreme Court of Russia .


Protest against corruption in Nizhny Novgorod , 2017

In the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International , Russia was ranked 135 out of 180 countries worldwide with 29 out of a possible 100 points in the 2017 ranking and in last place of all European countries. In 2016, President Putin personally ordered a "control break" for control authorities. The alleged security checks had hardly ever been used for security purposes, but for the greater extent of enrichment. A break in the chain of corruption is hardly possible because clean officials cannot give up any money and are therefore forced out of office or positions are not even accessible to honest officials because of transfer fees, writes Jens Siegert. The proximity to state power enables money and privileges: Jelena Tschischowa describes not only the everyday corruption, but also how the scope increases with the proximity to power in the Kremlin, and names what they have in common: “In an authoritarian country,“ friend ”is one Keyword. "

Financial policy


Ruble and copek coins

The Russian currency is the Russian ruble ( Рубль ; abbreviation RUB) to 100 kopecks ( Копейка ). One euro is currently equivalent to 83.78 rubles. After strong inflation in the 1990s, a currency reform was carried out in 1998, in which 1,000 old rubles (RUR) were replaced by one new ruble (RUB) each. From then until 2008, the ruble was essentially stable against the US dollar and the euro; inflation in 2006 was 8.2 percent. So far, the exchange rate policy of the Russian central bank has mainly contributed to this. In order to prevent a rapid appreciation of the ruble and a deterioration in the price competitiveness of Russian producers, it intervened in the foreign exchange market . It bought up the foreign exchange against rubles , which flows into Russia with the high current account surpluses . The amount of ruble money in circulation rose sharply. The inflation potential grew. In the course of the international economic crisis , the ruble lost around 20 percent of its value against the euro in the second half of 2008. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the ruble has lost more than half of its value against the euro, US dollar and renminbi .

In addition to the ruble, US dollars and euros are also used in everyday life. Until January 2007, prices were also often given in units of account , each corresponding to one US dollar. Since the use of third currency is not allowed in Russia, payments were made in rubles. However, this practice has been banned since January 2007. Because of frequent bank insolvencies and financial crises, many Russians have started to invest their savings as cash in euro and dollar bills or in real estate.

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures of the equivalent of 236.6 billion dollars, which was offset by income of the equivalent of 186.5 billion dollars. This left the country with a budget deficit of 3.9 percent of GDP. The conclusion of the Duma and presidential elections from mid-2012 will give rise to new, extensive modernization expenses in favor of infrastructure, economy and national defense. A further increase in social spending has also been announced. As a result, spending will tend to continue to rise, which is not a problem due to the low debt ratio. The national debt was 17.0 percent of GDP in 2016.

In 2006 the share of government expenditure in GDP was as follows:

Foreign policy

Diplomatic ties between the states of the world and Russia
  • Russia
  • States with diplomatic representation of Russia
  • States without a diplomatic representation of Russia
  • Foreign policy situation

    Dmitri Medvedev and Barack Obama in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 2011
    Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rohani and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Sochi, November 2017

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia is trying to consolidate its influence in the world, but especially in its immediate neighborhood. Here Russia is pursuing the idea of ​​a multipolar world order in which great powers represent their national interests on their own responsibility. Russia is embroiled in a number of regional conflicts, many of which are of a bellicose nature and have only been partially or not yet resolved - including the Chechen wars (1994 to 2009), the wars over Abkhazia and South Ossetia ( Georgian war ), the conflict in Transnistria and most recently the war in Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea .

    In its foreign policy concept, Russia sees itself as a great power that independently pursues national interests. The claim to great power derives primarily from Russia's imperial heritage and, secondly, from its significant arsenal of nuclear weapons . Russia also generates its influence through the military armed forces (currently around 1,000,000 soldiers, military bases in various former Soviet republics and in Syria ( Tartus naval base )), arms exports, full membership with veto rights in the UN Security Council and its position as an important supplier of energy. In addition, however, there are enormous difficulties in meeting one's own standards. This is due in particular to the economic weakness. In addition, in contrast to the Soviet Union, it no longer has an attractive system of rule and culture. The ability to convert military power into political influence is limited to Russia's immediate vicinity. Russia lacks reliable allies, as the non-recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by the rest of the CIS states shows.

    The political leadership in Moscow is pushing for the prerogative of the UN Security Council. An example of this is the demand that NATO should only act with the consent of the UN Security Council. The Russian leadership itself insists on the right to act unilaterally, as evidenced by its behavior in the Georgian war. In order to get closer to its goal, Russia is looking for counterpoles to the USA . Asia in particular is becoming increasingly important. The BRICS are viewed as strategic partners in the foreign policy concept. While Russia and India traditionally maintain good relations and have further expanded them, the Russian-Chinese relationship has steadily improved thanks to the resolution of old tensions. Apart from the common goal of counteracting the global dominance of the West, economic and armaments projects as well as Russian raw material deliveries are in the foreground of the cooperation.

    In 2013, Russia granted the US whistleblower Edward Snowden a residence permit.


    Group photo from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit , 2018

    Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council , all UN sub-organizations, the OSCE and the Council of Europe and also a member of the EBRD as well as the IMF and the World Bank . At the G8 summit in May 1998 , Russia was formally accepted into what was then the Group of Seven ( G7 ); this became the G8 . In March 2014, these seven excluded Russia from the G8 because of the war in Ukraine .

    Two security organizations gained particular weight under Putin - the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

    • The organization of the Collective Security Treaty aims at closer cooperation on security and defense issues, as well as common defense in the event of an attack (Article 4 of the Treaty). Originally a security policy institution of the CIS, the CSTO was upgraded in 2002 to an independent security policy organization with a focus on Central Asia. Member states besides Russia are: Armenia , Belarus , Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan . On the initiative of Russia in 2009, a rapid reaction force was created within the framework of the CSTO, which can be deployed in crisis situations.
    • The main goal of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization , to which China also belongs, is to strengthen mutual trust and good neighborly relations between the member states . In addition to balancing the security interests of Russia and China in Central Asia, it should also serve to enforce common security interests in the region. The original goal of Russia and China was to keep the USA out of the region through security cooperation.
    Relationship to the "Near Abroad"
    Meeting of the CIS heads of state in
    Bishkek in 2008

    The dissolution of the Soviet Union put Russia first of all the task of the relationship with the often from Russia's point of view as " near abroad designated" (ближнее зарубежье) successor republics to redesign. The economic relations inherited from the Soviet era between the individual republics required a new legal form of cooperation and integration. At the same time, there were numerous objects of strategic interest to Russia that were now outside the Russian Federation. These included the Baikonur spaceport , strategic military facilities in Azerbaijan and Belarus and the naval base of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol .

    The successor organization to the Soviet Union was the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which initially 12 of the 15 former Soviet republics joined. This rather loose confederation of states has largely lost its importance to this day. Russia has merged with Belarus in the Russian-Belarusian Union , which Boris Yeltsin agreed on with Aljaksandr Lukashenka (Belarusian president since 1994). According to political scientists, however, their development was strongly related to Lukashenka's personal ambitions to become Yeltsin's successor in a future union state. When, after Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin became President of Russia in 1999, relations with Belarus cooled down, and Putin suggested joining the Russian Federation. Further integration was very slow until 2011, and many projects such as the common currency were not implemented. Rather, the relationships were overshadowed by energy conflicts. In 2011 Belarus joined the common customs union with Russia and Kazakhstan, which had been in planning since 2000 within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community . The other goals of this community include a common economic area and the creation of a political union that is open to other states in the post-Soviet area.

    Relations with Ukraine
    Putin and the Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov , April 11, 2011

    Russia has an ambivalent relationship with Ukraine . Despite close historical and cultural ties and ongoing mutual dependency, especially on energy issues, historical differences of opinion (cf. Holodomor ) and Ukraine's declared western course have weighed heavily on the relationship. Western-oriented Ukraine governments in particular were repeatedly put under pressure by Russia, for example after the 2004 presidential election in Ukraine when the Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute broke out. After Russia-friendly politician Viktor Yanukovych and the Euromaidan were voted out of office, at which the demonstrators spoke out in favor of a western orientation for Ukraine, Russia annexed Crimea and started a war in Ukraine since 2014 , with so-called separatists fighting for the autonomy of Donbass . These were supported by Russia personally and militarily. The possibility of a military attack by Russia had already been openly discussed in the Ukrainian media in 2009.

    In this conflict, flight MH17 was shot down .

    Relationship with the European Union

    In response to the annexation of Crimea in 2014 , the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia . This mainly concerns certain equipment for the Russian oil and gas industry, and access to the financial market is made more difficult for various Russian financial institutions. The resolution of these sanctions is limited to six months (last time until January 2019) and requires the unanimity of the Council of the European Union .

    German-Russian relations
    Testimony to German-Russian relations: the reconstructed Amber Room . In 1716 the original was given away by the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I to the Russian Tsar Peter the Great and disappeared in 1945.
    “Isn't the history of the genesis of German and Russian humanity the same, namely, a story of suffering?
    What affinity in the relationship between the two national souls to Europe, to the West, to civilization, to politics, to democracy! ”

    By Thomas Mann : Considerations eines Unpolitischen (1917).
    Medvedev and Merkel at the Petersburg Dialogue 2008

    Germans were the first “Western” Europeans with whom Russia came into closer contact. Since the middle of the 13th century, the Peterhof in Novgorod existed as a trading post of the Hanseatic League . There were military conflicts with the Brothers of the Sword in Livonia since the 12th century . The cultural relations between Germans and Russians were particularly close under Peter the Great. Russian Germans made a great contribution to the development of Russian culture, for example Empress Catherine II, Admiral Adam Johann von Krusenstern , the military engineer Count Eduard Iwanowitsch Totleben , the musician Svyatoslaw Teofilowitsch Richter and many others. Germany's historical contribution is therefore recognized and valued in Russia to this day. Politically, too, Germany and Russia looked back on long alliance traditions up to the end of the 19th century. The Kingdom of Prussia in particular leaned closely to the Russian Empire from the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763 until the German Empire was founded in 1871, as it had been saved from almost total annihilation by Russia twice in its history - in 1762 when Tsar Peters changed sides III. in the Seven Years' War and in 1807 through the intercession of Tsar Alexander I with Napoleon in the Peace of Tilsit . During the Wars of Liberation , Russians and Germans fought together against French rule. Russian soldiers were instrumental in the liberation of Germany. The "Alliance of the Three Black Eagles" - Russia, Austria and Prussia - that had already existed in the first half of the 18th century continued as the Holy Alliance after the Congress of Vienna . The serious armed conflicts in the 20th century still have repercussions today. The legal basis of the relations between the reunified Germany and the Russian Federation are the Treaty on the Final Regulations with regard to Germany of September 12, 1990, the Treaty on Good Neighborhood, Partnership and Cooperation of November 9, 1990 and the Joint Declaration by the President of Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic and the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany on November 21, 1991. In the context of peaceful German reunification, the German side was on the one hand grateful for the problem-free handling of the consequences, on the other hand Germany felt itself to be a driving force and motor for a stronger integration of Russia into Europe Structures and promoted loans and investments in Russia. From Gerhard Schröder's chancellorship and the economic upswing in Russia under Vladimir Putin, German-Russian relations intensified, particularly in the economic sphere, but also in political dialogue. From 1998 bilateral government consultations took place annually at the highest level with the participation of both governments.

    There have now been more than 6000 companies in Russia with German participation, including more than 1350 Russian-German joint ventures .

    A close cultural and educational exchange developed between Germany and Russia. In 2003 a government agreement was concluded to promote mutual learning of the partner language. Around 12,000 young Russian citizens studied at German universities. In April 2005 a joint declaration for a strategic partnership in the field of education, research and innovation was signed. From 2006 there were coordination offices in Hamburg and Moscow for bilateral school and youth exchanges. The Goethe-Institut is present in many places in Russia, in Moscow, St. Petersburg and, since spring 2009, in Novosibirsk. Numerous other German cultural mediators are also represented in Russia.

    In 2014, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made it clear that a modernization partnership proposed in 2008 had been rejected by the Russian side due to the requirements formulated.

    Although the trend was increasing, in 2011 only a third of Germans trusted Russia as a partner country despite strong economic ties and significant exchanges between civil societies . This can be traced back to the role of the media, which have a decisive influence on the perception of Russia (cf. Russia reporting in Germany ). Until Vladimir Putin took office, the image of a “poor” and “unpredictable” Russia prevailed in the German media. Due to the economic stabilization after the turn of the millennium and high incomes from the oil reserves, this picture gradually disappeared. In its place came the fear of Putin's energy empire and dependence on him. The reporting of the political situation in Russia was sometimes perceived as insufficiently differentiated due to the stagnation of the media and their downsizing; President Medvedev was seen by some as "liberal", others as the president of a country that was about to be overthrown.

    The cooling of Russian-German relations began as early as autumn 2012 when the Bundestag passed a resolution criticizing Russia's domestic policy. The Putin government has been pursuing a “national patriotic and anti-Western policy” since May 2012.

    In February 2014 Russia criticized the German role in the Euromaidan in Ukraine. In the course of the Ukraine and Crimean crises, it became clear that Russian secret services are increasingly trying to gain public opinion abroad by means of targeted infiltration of social networks such as Facebook and the comment areas of western, including German online media (e.g. Deutsche Welle and Süddeutsche Zeitung ) Manipulate in favor of Russia. As Süddeutsche reports, hundreds of paid manipulators are used for this purpose .

    Immediately after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 , economic sanctions were imposed on Russia in the European Union. As a result, German-Russian trade collapsed by around a third within months. The sanctions were tightened again in the summer of 2017.

    In February 2020 the German foreign minister threw Heiko Maas of the Russian government in the face of Russian military action in the context of the Syrian civil war before, the international humanitarian law broken and war crimes in the Idlib governorate of having committed.

    Role in the Syrian civil war

    Bashar al-Assad with his wife Asma in Moscow

    The Syrian conflict is one of the few international conflicts in which the Russian government plays a central role. Its refusal to accept any attempts to exert international pressure on the Assad government within the framework of the UN Security Council resulted in the Russian government being harshly criticized by Western and regional actors and damaging Russia's reputation in the Arab world. From the outset, Russia took the clear stance that the fighting between the government and the opposition could only be resolved within Syria. Firstly, this can be achieved through open-ended negotiations between the two sides, and secondly, it should be done without external interference, be it through the delivery of weapons to the rebels or through military intervention. Accordingly, Russia not only blocked draft resolutions in the UN Security Council that provided for sanctions (October 2011, July 2012), but also those that only condemned the use of force by the Syrian government, without the opponents of the regime being condemned as well and calling for non-violence (February 2012).

    The Russian leadership is pretending to be neutral. Several times, President Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov and Prime Minister Medvedev emphasized that their country - unlike the Western states or the Gulf monarchies - is not taking sides unilaterally.

    However, the Russian government supports the Assad government in a number of ways. First, the legitimation strategy of the Syrian leadership is supported on the international stage. By portraying the opposition primarily as a group of “fanatics”, Islamists or terrorists, the blame for the outbreak of violence is implicitly assigned to them. Second, Russia continues to supply weapons to the Syrian government, including air defense systems (Buk-M2 [NATO code: SA-17 Grizzly ] and Panzir-S1 [NATO code: SA-22 Greyhound ]) and helicopters. Russia points out that the exports are permitted under international law. After all, due to Russian and Chinese refusal, the UN Security Council has so far not been able to impose an arms embargo. As a reliable exporter - so the Russian justification - the Russian government is therefore obliged to fulfill existing contracts. "New deliveries" have been suspended, said Vyacheslav Dzirkaln from the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation in July 2012. Thirdly, the Russian government is also helping the Assad government by printing banknotes for the Syrian government.

    The motives of Russia's Syria policy go beyond material interests. They concern fundamental questions of the international order and regional balance of power, but also specific security risks for Russia itself. - "R2P") has to be dealt with. It is about contradicting views on the shaping of the international order and Russia's claim to have a say in it. The Russian government does not reject the "R2P" in principle, but wants it to be bound by narrow limits, without the goal of a "regime change" from outside. Behind this is a traditional interpretation of state sovereignty. This also has a domestic political justification. After all, a weakening of the non-interference requirement for the authoritarian leadership in Moscow represents a dangerous scenario, also for reasons of maintaining power.

    After the poison gas attacks in Ghouta and the US government's threat of a military strike, Russia managed to mediate between the US and Syrian governments. On September 14, 2013 it was agreed that the Syrian government would first have to disclose the entire poison gas arsenal within a week and grant the UN inspectors unrestricted access to the storage sites. The UN inspectors are due to start work in mid-November. The chemical weapons are to be destroyed outside of Syria. On September 16, Russia again spoke out against a UN resolution threatening the Syrian government in the event of non-fulfillment of the agreement.

    On the other hand, Russia is hardly providing any humanitarian aid in the conflict; in 2015, the government has so far provided an amount of 300,000 US dollars for the UN aid program to support the around 4 million Syrians who fled the war to neighboring countries which covers 0.02% of the total estimated cost of the relief effort. It is estimated that there are between 8,000 and 12,000 Syrian refugees in Russia itself, many of them illegally. In 2015 not a single Syrian was officially recognized as a refugee in Russia, and 482 asylum seekers were tolerated.

    According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, around 19,000 people (including around 8,300 civilians) had died as a result of the Russian military operation by the end of September 2019 . In the Idlib governorate in particular, the offensives of the Russian and Syrian armed forces have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee. The offensive also caused immense damage to the local infrastructure. According to a report by Amnesty International , at least 18 attacks on hospitals and schools in Syria by the Russian and Syrian armed forces were carried out between May 2019 and February 2020. As a result, five clinics had to close. In July 2020, the Russian government blocked the continuation of a large part of the UN aid deliveries of medical goods and food to Syria with a veto in the UN Security Council , so that the UN aid program for Syria was only continued to a limited extent.

    Defense policy

    Military doctrine

    With the signature of President Putin on December 31, 2015, Ukas 683 and with it a new military doctrine came into force, which for the first time named the USA and its allies, NATO and the EU as a threat to Russia and its neighbors. In March 2018, President Putin devoted a third of his speech to the nation on presenting supposedly invincible nuclear weapons.


    The lead ship of the Stereguschtschi class , 2009
    Ka-52 "Alligator" of the Russian Air Force WWS

    The Russian state has the status of a nuclear power , which was achieved in 1949 as the Soviet Union, and has the world's largest arsenal of nuclear warheads with 6,500 units, ahead of the United States with 6,185 (as of 2019).

    In Russia there is general conscription for men aged 18 to a maximum of 27 years of age. In 2007 it was reduced from 24 to 18 months, and in 2008 to 12 months. Since the conscript soldiers were formerly also deployed in crisis areas such as Chechnya and it is not uncommon for young recruits to be mistreated by superiors in the context of Dedovshchina , there is repeated criticism of conscription in the population, especially by the mothers of conscripts.

    The strength of the armed forces in 2001 was 1,183,000 men, including 321,000 land forces, 171,500 navies, 184,600 air forces and 149,600 nuclear forces. 40,000 serve as peacekeepers in the CIS states and 316,900 are listed as "other military personnel".

    In 2018, Russia spent $ 61.4 billion on its military. In an international comparison it is behind the United States with 649 billion dollars, the People's Republic of China with 250 billion dollars, Saudi Arabia with 67.6 billion dollars, India with 66.5 billion dollars and France with 63.8 billion dollars Billion dollars in 6th place, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany . Russia’s armaments expenditure, which had risen massively since 2000, doubled between 2004 and 2014 and is expected to amount to around a fifth of total government expenditure from 2014 onwards. For 2016, a share of almost 25 percent of government spending was even expected, assuming a later decline. Fundamental reform attempts are being made to adapt the Russian army to the requirements of modern warfare and the country's financial capabilities. Elements of this military reform were: priority of conventional armaments over strategic nuclear armaments, personnel reduction of the army to 835,000 soldiers, gradual transition to the professional army, simplification of the command structure and an increase in the defense budget, half of it for the maintenance of the armed forces and half for research, development and support the arms industry as well as the procurement of new weapons is to be spent. The plan was to provide a total of around 400 billion euros for the modernization of the army and the repair of weapons and military technology by 2020 [obsolete] . In 2015, new missiles for the nuclear forces were announced. The number of "stationed" nuclear warheads rose from 1400 in 2013 to 1796 in 2016. Paradoxically, the number of stationed warheads is greater than when the New START Agreement came into force in 2011 (but it is likely to fall again) due to newly floated submarines. .

    Special forces

    There are a number of special units ( SpezNas ) in Russia , which are subordinate to the Ministry of Interior ( MWD ). In 2007 the armed forces of the MWD comprised a total of 170,000 men. Your commander-in-chief, an army general, is also the deputy minister of the interior. In 2007 the Inner Troops were divided into five divisions ( ODON ), ten brigades ( OBRON ) and a number of independent units. They are equipped with armored personnel carriers and their own artillery. The MWD is also subordinate to the Polizija (полиция), the regular police force, which until March 2011 was called the militia . These are e.g. B. responsible for the supervision of the state roads. There are also around 20,000 men in the special police unit OMON (ОМОН), who are responsible for emergencies, large-scale situations and the protection of the nuclear arsenal. The Russian domestic secret service, FSB, is also subordinate to the MWD . Under President Putin, the independent security services created by Yeltsin - the border troops of Russia - were subordinated to the Federal Security Service FSB, which comprise around 160,000 men.

    Economy and Infrastructure

    Economic structure and economic history


    Russian GDP / capita by region (2006):
  • > 400,000 rubles
  • 150,000 to 400,000 rubles
  • 100,000 to 150,000 rubles
  • 50,000 to 100,000 rubles
  • <50,000 rubles
  • Russia is a developed industrial and agricultural country . The country is also a founding member of the Eurasian Economic Union, which has existed since January 1, 2015 . The leading industries are engineering and iron and non-ferrous metal processing . The chemical and petrochemical industries as well as the wood , light and food industries are also well developed .

    The Russian gross domestic product was around EUR 1,192 billion in 2015. The gross domestic product per capita was 8,137 euros in the same year. The service sector contributes 62.6 percent to the gross domestic product. The secondary industrial sector accounts for around 32.7 percent and the agricultural sector (construction and agriculture) 4.7 percent. The World Bank estimated that around a quarter of total economic output is provided by raw material production.

    According to a study by Bank Credit Suisse , the average wealth owned per adult in Russia is $ 16,773 . However, the  median is only 3,919 US dollars (world average: 3,582 US dollars), which indicates high wealth inequality. More than 70% of the Russian population has less than $ 10,000 in assets. Russia was ranked 19th in terms of total personal wealth, one place ahead of Indonesia and one behind Sweden . Russia was the country with the fifth highest number of billionaires in 2017 (96 total). Some of the so-called oligarchs in the country have become symbols of corrupt structures and inequality.

    The total number of employees is 73.5 million (2006). In 2005, 30 percent of the workforce worked in industry. 10 percent of all employed persons were employed in agriculture, 22 percent in the service sector and another 22 percent in the public sector. In 2013, the Russian Vice Prime Minister Olga Golodez said that only 48 million (instead of 86 million) able-bodied workers were visible to the government, depending on the estimate, the shadow economy accounts for half of economic output. Small and medium-sized enterprises contributed a fifth, while the state-owned corporations contributed 70 percent. Also because of the minimal pensions, pensioners who continued to work belonged to the army of self-employed low-income earners, who hardly ever declared their income: Tax morale was low in view of the well-known corrupt debauchery of the politicians.

    After years of boom, the Russian economy was in recession around 2015/16. After the Russian gross domestic product had grown by 0.6% in 2014, the Russian economy contracted by 3.7% in 2015. A 0.2% decline in economic output was officially reported for 2016. The main reasons cited for the recession were mostly the very low oil price, the collapse of the ruble and the western sanctions in the wake of the Ukraine crisis . However, the Russian economy is also said to have fundamental structural problems. Furthermore, Russia had to contend with increased inflation rates of up to 15 percent in 2015. Inflation fell back to three percent in 2018. In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Russia ranks 38th out of 137 countries (as of 2017/18). In 2017, the country ranks 114th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

    After the transformation crisis

    The recent development of GDP per capita in Russia (purchasing power parity)

    The overall economic development of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union was initially marked by a drastic collapse in production. The loss of well-established trade relations within the Soviet Union contributed to this. The transition from a planned economy to a market economy was difficult and only succeeded in some areas. Overall, the gross domestic product fell by a good 40 percent. Shortly after the beginning of the Asian crisis , the Russian crisis began in autumn 1997 . On August 17, 1998, Russia declared bankruptcy and had to give up the dollar peg of the ruble. The " minimum state policy " under Yeltsin meant that the federal government was unable to collect taxes and ensure legal certainty. This changed under the presidency of Vladimir Putin from 2000. In order to regain political control in the state, he strengthened the state apparatus at the expense of the influence of the oligarchs .

    Putin ran a state-run corporatist economy in Russia until 2008 . In 2007 he introduced six institutions by law to bundle state activities in strategically important areas, under the sole leadership of the President. These include nuclear technology at Rosatom , the VEB Bank for Foreign Trade , the Reform Fund for Real Estate , Rusnano or the Rostec armaments conglomerate , plus Olimpstroi , the state company for buildings for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, which was dissolved in 2014. VEB was part of the USSR's foreign trade bank emerged. Prime Minister Medvedev, among others, criticized the use of state property or state funds to establish the state conglomerates created by law, which led to hidden privatization. An audit of the corporations by Medvedev in 2009 found abuse and inefficiency. In his speech to the nation in November 2009, President Medvedev called the organizational form of corporations "without prospects". A few days later, Prime Minister Putin replied that state corporations were simply a necessity and stressed that there was unanimous agreement in the government.

    In the first four years of Putin's presidency, this was followed by the introduction of a flat rate for income tax (see Tax Law (Russia) ), the full convertibility of the ruble and a three-year budget (up to the financial problems in 2015). In order to benefit from the revenues of the energy sector, private companies were pushed back from this area. The state also expanded its influence outside of the energy sector. The government encouraged the formation of large state corporations to dominate strategic industries. For example, private companies for mechanical and automotive engineering were taken over by state-owned companies and supported by subsidies so that they could be modernized.

    Industry in Volgograd Oblast

    Large production capacities from the time of the USSR were underutilized, so that the Russian government oriented itself towards fully utilizing these capacities again through a demand-oriented economic policy using an expansionary, growth-oriented monetary policy. This brought with it a double-digit inflation rate. The goal set by President Putin of doubling the gross domestic product within ten years should be achieved through a state spending program. To this end, salaries in the public service as well as pensions , other social benefits and housing construction expenses were increased. The social program was made possible by the oil boom, which, in addition to high additional income for the state, made it possible to reduce foreign debt, which in 2000 amounted to 166 billion dollars. Part of the oil revenues flowed into the stabilization fund set up in 2004 , which was intended to cushion falling government revenues and weaken possible inflation. This stabilization fund was split up in 2008 into a reserve fund and a prosperity fund (to secure pensions). In 2011, the prosperity fund amounted to 68.4 billion euros and the reserve fund to 19.9 billion euros.

    The Russian economy recovered quickly from the slump in output in the wake of the financial crisis of 1998 , as the sharp devaluation of the ruble that occurred in 1998 boosted the Russian economy and made foreign goods more expensive, making products from Russia more competitive there. In terms of foreign trade, however, the dependence of the Russian economy on the energy sector increased further. Despite the sharp increase in investments, too little was invested in Russia in an international comparison. Investors criticized the lack of legal security, widespread corruption , excessive bureaucracy and the poor performance of the Russian banking system.

    In the international economic crisis

    The new Russia: Moscow City , construction phase May 2010

    In the course of the international economic crisis , the Russian economy has shown clearly negative developments since mid-2008, which was largely due to its great dependence on the raw materials sector. Government revenues fell due to the drastic drop in the price of oil and natural gas. The global financial crisis hit Russia hard in 2009. Thanks to its anti-crisis policy, Russia was able to prevent major bank failures, so that the Russian financial system is once again considered stable. The compulsory deposits at the central bank were increased, banks received state aid. The Russian Central Bank used nearly $ 300 billion in reserves to prop up the ruble, which came under devaluation pressure as a result of the foreign capital withdrawal. In 2010 and 2011 an economic recovery began in Russia.

    This crisis made it clear that the fixation on the wealth of raw materials is leading the country into a dead end and that the dependence on world market prices for crude oil, natural gas or metals is too high. An intensive discussion about special economic zones had already started in Russia at the beginning of the 21st century . A corresponding law on special economic zones in the Russian Federation was passed under Vladimir Putin in 2005. By the end of 2009, 15 of these zones had been designed and approved, including two special industrial economic zones ( Yelabuga , Lipetsk ), four technology-oriented special economic zones (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Dubna , Tomsk ) and seven zones for tourism and recreation. Interest rates were lowered to allow investment in production. In 2011, the inflation rate reached its lowest level in 20 years. The government tried to keep price-driving factors such as the rise in the price of fuel and electricity under control by means of quarterly agreements with providers.

    While in 1999 the country was still ranked 22nd among the largest economies, in 2012 it was ranked ninth in the world in terms of nominal GDP. Whereas the value of the Russian GDP in relation to the German GDP was 21.7 percent in 2004, in 2011 it was already 51.7 percent. Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) took place in 2012 after 18 years of negotiations, which reduced import tariffs and increased pressure on the domestic economy to modernize. In 2015, Russia's economic output was again behind Italy's in 10th or 11th place. Until 2018, the government had never dared to raise the retirement age that Stalin had set in 1932 - pensions for women aged 55 and over and men 60 years, however, are so low that many earn money in the shadow economy. At the same time, there was a shortage of workers in the labor market.

    After the annexation of Crimea in 2014

    As a result of the sanctions imposed by the West due to the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Russian-fed war in Ukraine since 2014 , economic development has stagnated in connection with a collapse in the oil price. The structural problems of the Russian economy, which for years had been geared towards the export of raw materials, were accentuated. In August 2015, the NZZ wrote in a comparison with the ruble crisis of 1997: “Today the situation is less threatening, but the chances of improvement are less”; the weak ruble could not be used to modernize and diversify the economy because of the financial restrictions. Russian household income in 2015 fell by an average of 8.5 percent, while food prices rose by 25 percent. Annual inflation in 2015 was 12.9 percent. A capital amnesty should bring money back to Russia from December 2014. While the President's spokesman Peskow spoke of an absolutely one-time offer valid for one year at the time of the introduction, the amnesty was extended in December 2015 to June 2016 and renewed at the beginning of 2018 following new American sanctions.

    All government spending had to be cut, only armaments were not affected. The Russian Prime Minister Medvedev had repeatedly stated that the country would have to live “indefinitely” with Western sanctions. Economic development remained paralyzed because the techniques of maintaining power of the Putin regime prevented not only political but also economic reforms. The share of the state economy increased, the shadow economy flourished, real incomes fell several times between 2014 and 2018. A tax rate of 0 percent for 2017/2018 should have encouraged self-employed people to register their work; of the presumably around nine million such working people, just 936 had registered. According to a new legislative proposal from 2018, these low-income earners should be deprived of their entire income when their activity is exposed, i.e. a harsher punishment than high-income earners would have to fear. For the majority of the Russians surveyed, opening a business in February 2019 was not desirable because it was not possible to do business without cheating. Foreign direct investment, which amounted to 69 billion dollars in 2013, had fallen to well below 5 billion by 2018 , according to Le Monde .

    In July 2018, the decision was made to increase VAT by two percent, which means it was 20 percent as of January 1, 2019.


    Wheat harvest in Rostov Oblast
    Tin with 113 g of Russian caviar

    The timber industry is mainly represented in the northwest of the European part, in the central Ural Mountains, in southern Siberia and in the south of Far Eastern Russia. Russia has about a fifth of the world's forest and about a third of the world's coniferous forest; Most of Russia's timber production consists of softwood , mainly pine , fir and larch . The most important hardwood for trade is birch.

    Agriculture is still an important branch of the Russian economy. Once the breadbasket of Europe, Russian agriculture suffered a drastic collapse in agricultural production in the 1990s - but by the 1980s Russia was the world's most important wheat importer. The production value of Russian agriculture in 2009 was again the equivalent of 38 billion euros. In 2016, President Putin underscored its will to be an agricultural export nation. Of the record harvest of 75 million tons of wheat in 2016, almost 7 million tons (similar to 2015) could be exported. The state agricultural transport authority Rusagrotrans is responsible for the transport . The value of exported agricultural goods was $ 17 billion in 2016. The conditions for agriculture are particularly good in the European part of Russia and in southern Russia, the Russian black earth region is the largest in the world. The agricultural area is 219 million hectares , 13 percent of the land area of ​​Russia. Of this, 122 million hectares are arable land, which corresponds to nine percent of the world's arable land. More than 80 percent of the cultivated areas are on the Volga, in the North Caucasus, on the Urals and in Western Siberia within the so-called agricultural triangle . The agriculture accounts for 36 percent of the agricultural gross production of Russia, animal breeding over 60 percent. The main agricultural products in Russia are cereals , sugar beets , sunflowers , potatoes and flax . The Inland Fisheries provides the sturgeon the coveted Russian caviar . In the transformation phase between 1990 and 1997, the pig and poultry populations fell by almost half. Russia has since imported some of its food. Before, but especially since its counter-sanctions against the West after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, it was the goal of the Russian government to increase self-sufficiency and reduce dependence on imports. The cattle population is 12.1 million animals, 7 million pigs and 4.6 million sheep and goats North Caucasus and the central black earth region. Sheep breeding focuses on the regions of Eastern Siberia, Northern Caucasus and the Volga region.

    Raw materials economy

    Map with the major Russian oil and gas reserves

    The natural wealth of Russia is an important basis for the country's economy. Russia is home to 16 percent of all mineral natural resources in the world, of which 32 percent of all natural gas reserves (first place in the world), 12 percent of all oil reserves , which are located in particular in Western Siberia, on the Sakhalin Island , in the North Caucasus , the Komi Republic and the oil regions in the Volga-Ural region ( Caspian Depression ). With the strong increase in oil exports and rising oil prices from 2002 to 2011, the importance of the production of oil and gas in Russia in particular grew and played an important role for the economy outside of Russia as well. Russian companies such as Gazprom , Rosneft or Lukoil are involved in the oil and gas production, which mainly takes place in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

    Udachnaya diamond mine (aerial view)

    With its gold reserves, Russia ranks third in the world. The diamond deposits in Yakutia in northeast Siberia are world-famous . Since 1996 diamonds have been mined here in one of the world's largest kimberlite deposits, in Mirny .

    Russia's share of the world's iron and tin reserves is over 27 percent, nickel 36 percent, copper 11 percent, cobalt 20 percent, lead 12 percent, zinc 16 percent and platinum group metals 40 percent. 50 percent of the world's known coal reserves are found in Russia. According to the mineral deposits, coal and iron ore extraction play a very important role in the Russian economy. Larger ore deposits are found mainly in the old folded mountains ( Chibinen on the Kola Peninsula , Urals, Altai, Sajan Mountains and other Siberian mountain ranges). Deposits of hard coal can be found in some sub-basins of these mountains, especially in the Urals (including the coal deposits of Vorkuta ) and in the Donets Basin on the border with Ukraine. Coal mining suffered from a lack of investment and has lost importance compared to the Soviet era.

    Energy industry

    Many of the EU member states are quite dependent on Russian gas and oil supplies

    In 2003 , thermal power plants operated with oil, natural gas or coal generated around 63 percent of the total electricity production of around 851 billion kilowatt hours. In hydropower plants accounted for 21 percent, nuclear power plants 16 percent. The Russian government plans to double the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation to around a third by 2020 in order to be able to export even more oil and natural gas. The power grid and most of the large power plants are still under state control. In order to profit from the revenues of the energy sector, the Russian policy was aimed at strengthening the state control over the energy industry again and pushing private companies out of this area. This was achieved through the break-up of the Yukos oil company and the takeover of the Sibneft oil company by the semi-state gas company Gazprom . Surgutneftegas , where President Vladimir Putin controls 37 percent of the shares, is one of the largest gas and oil exploration groups today . All Russian nuclear power plants are owned by the state-owned company Rosatom and operated by the state-owned company Rosenergoatom . Until 2008, the Unified Energy System had the largest share in electricity production, over 50% of which was owned by the Russian state and has since been divided into smaller companies.


    Production of selected products
    Product Type 2005 2011
    Iron ores 82.5 million t 100 million tons
    money 299 million tons 335 million tons
    Pig iron 66.2 million t 48.1 million t
    oil 470 million tons 511 million tons
    natural gas 641 million m³ 670 million m³
    cement 48.7 million t 53.7 million t (2008)
    Car 1.068 million pcs. 1.738 million pcs.
    truck 0.204 million pcs. 0.249 million pcs.
    Power generation 953 TWh 1052 TWh

    In addition to the old industrial areas of Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod , Saint Petersburg, Saratov , Rostov and Volgograd , other industrial locations have emerged, primarily in the Asian part of the country, since the Second World War. The heavy industry is concentrated in the Urals to Yekaterinburg . Russia plays a leading role in the global production of steel and aluminum. In recent years, world-famous steel groups with high financial strength have formed in Russia. These are, for example, Evraz , Severstal , Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works and Novolipetsk Steel , which are among the 30 largest steel groups in the world. Major centers of heavy industry are Magnitogorsk , Chelyabinsk , Nizhny Tagil , Novokuznetsk , Cherepovets and Lipetsk .

    Numerous machine and vehicle industries produce at the old main industrial locations of Moscow, the Volga region, the northwest and the Urals, but equipment and plant engineering is also located here. Several branches of the manufacturing industry such as mechanical engineering , the auto industry and the defense industry including the aviation industry fell into deep crisis after the end of the Soviet Union. Production fell sharply. In the 2000s, however, the manufacturing industry also picked up again. Especially in markets in the CIS, it was possible to regain market shares and find new markets in Asia , because some Russian products were able to distinguish themselves as simpler and cheaper than competitor products from the West. The domestic production of machines and equipment reached a volume of around 63 billion euros in 2006. In order to accelerate the necessary modernization in mechanical engineering, the state controls the further development of mechanical engineering from above. This included the establishment of the Rostechnologii state holding company , into which state shares in almost 500 companies (armaments companies, airlines, truck and wagon manufacturers and machine builders) were brought in.

    Aircraft construction was one of the most important and technically most advanced branches of Russian industry. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the production chains between the former Union republics were interrupted. This had a profound negative impact on Russian aircraft construction. The most important developers and manufacturers of aircraft in Russia were brought together in 2006 in the OAK . In 2010, the OAK delivered 75 aircraft for sales of four billion US dollars. The best-known Russian car manufacturers are AwtoWAS , KAMAZ , Ischmasch and the GAZ Group . Very often you can still see the car brands Shiguli , Moskvich , Lada Niva and Oka made in Russia, as well as the trucks KAMAZ, Ural and others. The Russian automakers are now cooperating with foreign corporations. Volkswagen Group Rus is currently working with GAZ , Ford with Sollers , Renault-Nissan and AwtoWAZ, and General Motors (GM) with Avtotor . As a result, new assembly plants were and are currently being built in Kaluga , Nizhny Novgorod, Togliatti , St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. Russia's arms industry is coordinated by the state arms exporter Rosoboronexport . Rosoboronexport coordinates the work of the various armaments companies and merges them into a group through investments.

    The chemical industry of Russia is one of the main branches of the Russian economy, its share in the volume of goods production reaches six percent. The chemical complex of Russia includes 15 large industrial groups specializing in the output of a diverse production. The leading companies in this field are the highly profitable petroleum processing companies and chemical fertilizer producers . In addition, the production of man-made fibers , plastics and car tires are strongly developed in Russia . The economy of Russia is also characterized by the manufacture of building materials, light industry (mainly textile industry ) and the food industry.



    retail trade

    The leading local retail chains include by far the X5-Retail Group (which includes the Pjatjorotschka and Perekrjostok chains ), Magnit , and the international chains are the Metro Group and Auchan . State institutions such as Sberbank , WTB , Rosselchosbank and Wneschekonombank dominate the banking market . Sberbank alone, the former working-class savings bank of the Soviet Union, holds around half of all savings deposits. Only Sberbank has a nationwide network of branches. The share of state-controlled banks in the overall market is around 50 percent on average. The largest Russian private banks ( Gazprombank , Alfa Group , MDM Bank , Rosbank ) are part of industrial holdings and mainly perform tasks within the holding company.

    Foreign trade

    In terms of delivery structure, Russia's most important trading partner is Germany, which primarily supplies finished industrial products such as machines, systems and cutting-edge technology to Russia. Russia, on the other hand, is Germany's largest supplier of crude oil and covers around a third of Germany's natural gas requirements. German-Russian trade rose by 8.4% to EUR 61.9 billion in 2018. German imports from Russia increased by 14.7% year-on-year and amounted to around 36 billion euros. Exports to Russia also rose by 0.6% to 25.9 billion euros. The People's Republic of China replaced Germany as its most important foreign trade partner in 2010; the Netherlands, Ukraine, Italy, Belarus and Turkey are also important for Russia. Russia is already the world's second largest exporter of crude oil and the world's largest exporter of natural gas. The export of energy sources and electricity accounts for 62.8 percent of total exports (metals, metal products: 9.9 percent, chemicals: 4.1 percent). Despite its important position as a supplier of raw materials, Russia's share in the global trade in goods is comparatively small. It is two percent, almost a third of Germany's share.

    Russia's exchange of goods with other countries declined in 2019. On a US dollar basis, retail sales fell by 3.1 percent compared to the previous year and amounted to around 595 billion euros. Imports of goods and services rose by 2.2 percent, while exports fell by 6 percent. For the first time in ten years, exports slowed GDP growth.


    Tourist highlights of Russia
    Peter's summer residence, Peterhof Palace , the Russian Versailles : Great cascade, the Gulf of Finland in the background
    During the night in St. Petersburg between 2 and 5 a.m., the Neva bridges are opened, after which there is no longer any connection between numerous parts of the city. In the White Nights from the end of June to mid-July, the passage of the ship convoys is a spectacle that thousands of people watch despite the sleep time.
    The spit of Nizhny Novgorod, known as the merger of the Oka and Volga . On the spit is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Mass . On the other bank of the Oka is a Church of the Nativity .
    The island of Kizhi is an island in Lake Onega in Russia. Its ensemble of churches made of wood, called the Kizhi Open Air Museum, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. It currently comprises around 80 buildings of Karelian timber architecture.
    The Solovetsky Monastery is one of the most important centers of Orthodox Christianity in northern Russia. In its long history, the monastery, located on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea , has seen numerous sieges and eras.
    Express train of the Transsib somewhere between Omsk and Novosibirsk .
    Fireworks during the Graduation Festival Scarlet Sails on June 20th. It is considered the main event and highlight of the White Nights . With the support of the state, the city and television, the festival has developed into a major event on the scale of the Love Parade.
    The Altai region enables an active holiday in almost untouched nature. Possible are among others. Multi-day walking and horse tours, fishing, hunting, rafting, paragliding, etc. In 2008, more than 1 million people from over 60 countries visited the Altai region.
    The "Golden" Ring ("Golden" because of the golden domes) of old Russian cities northeast of Moscow is one of the most famous travel destinations in Russia. Hardly a longer study trip to Russia can do without at least one trip to the Golden Ring. The ring gives visitors an insight into the history of the creation of Russia, which was significantly shaped from here.
    Since the UNESCO added the Baikal region to the world cultural heritage in 1996, the interest of tourists in Lake Baikal has increased. Lake Baikal, also known as "The Pearl of Siberia", is just as interesting for adventure vacationers as it is for divers, mountain hikers, cyclists or those looking for relaxation. The Great Baikal Trail organization is trying to promote ecotourism by building a hiking trail around Lake Baikal. The picture shows the Frolikha Adventure Coastline Track .
    The Stavropol region in the North Caucasus has partially muster due to its wealth of mineral and thermal springs several russia widely known resorts with many, from the 19th-century spa buildings.
    The Black Sea coast in Sochi

    The country has beautiful natural landscapes , including a UNESCO World Heritage Site , as well as sights of high cultural value. In 2010, 2.4 million foreign tourists visited Russia, while 13.1 million Russians traveled abroad for recreation. Inland tourism brought it to 29.1 million travelers. Although the flow of tourists from Asia and South America is increasing, guests from Europe - with Germany at the top - make up the majority of visitors to Russia. The number of holiday and business travelers entering the country had risen continuously; In 2002 there were around 360,000 Germans who visited the country, in 2008 558,000 German visitors came. However, only 66,000 of these were vacation trips by Germans and the rest were business trips as well as family and friendship visits. In 2017, 580,000 Germans visited the Russian Federation. Individual tourists were often deterred by visa procurement and language barriers, while the country is more popular with tour groups.

    Tourists have long been deterred by an unattractive brand image , according to which “Russia is an uncomfortable country” and “not ready to accept tourists. That people were there rude and that everywhere around the danger lurking, "said Alexander Radkov, head of the State Tourism Agency Rostourismus , in 2012. In spite of increased activity by the Federal Tourism Agency has so far lacks an effective PR - and marketing strategy that the bad image of the Country in the west, causes among others through media reporting, which mainly contains news about attacks, corruption and lack of freedom.

    The tourism in Russia focuses on the two main cities, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Saint Petersburg is known as the Venice of the North and has a rich cultural offer and a historic city center that is fully UNESCO World Heritage Site . Typical for St. Petersburg are the White Nights with the Neva bridges folded up from the end of May to mid-July. In addition, boat trips on the Volga as well as visits to old Russian cities northeast of Moscow, the so-called Golden Ring with more than 20 cities, are offered. Nature holidays are especially possible in Karelia and the Altai Mountains (world natural heritage). The Trans-Siberian Railway (Transsib) runs around 9,300 kilometers from Moscow via Yekaterinburg , Novosibirsk , the capital of Siberia, Irkutsk , which is also called “Paris” of Siberia, and the region around Lake Baikal , also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to Vladivostok . The Transsib is used both by individual tourists on the regular trains of the Russian railways and by group travelers who book journeys in special trains.

    Also Kaliningrad , formerly Konigsberg , attracts more and more German visitors. The Curonian Spit , a narrow headland, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, is located partly in the Kaliningrad Oblast and partly in Lithuania .

    The bathing resorts of the Black Sea coast as well as a number of North Caucasian thermal spring health resorts such as Kislovodsk or Pyatigorsk are important for inner-Russian tourism . 400 kilometers lie between the northernmost and southernmost point of the Russian Black Sea coast. During the season from May to October, most of Russia's seaside resorts are concentrated on this relatively small stretch of coast, which is at the same latitude as the seaside resorts of the Adriatic Sea and the Italian and French Mediterranean coasts.

    Ski tourism is enjoying increasing popularity in the North Caucasus. The relevant infrastructure was expanded, especially for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi .


    Transport infrastructure

    Course of the medieval Via Regia and Via Imperii in Europe

    With an area of ​​17,075,400 km², the state's particular focus is on the most diversified and functioning infrastructure possible . After the political turnaround in Russia, the volume of traffic initially decreased largely due to the economic downturn, but then experienced strong growth. The current infrastructure largely dates back to the times of the Soviet Union and is now in need of modernization, and the existing transport systems hardly produce any network effects. The expansion and modernization of the transport infrastructure is therefore a high priority for the Russian government. In 2005, the government adopted a strategy for the renewal of the transport routes, with a focus on continued modernization and improvements in rail, road and air transport as well as the rehabilitation of the country's ports. In addition, concessions and other public-private partnership models are to be promoted in the transport sector in order to mobilize funding from private investors in this sector as well.

    Despite difficult conditions, Russia wants to establish itself programmatically as an important hub in Asia-Europe traffic and partly also on the north-south axis from northern Europe to India. The logistics infrastructure is to be expanded primarily at the Moscow and Saint Petersburg hubs.

    While Russia's transport infrastructure west of the Urals is generally well developed, the infrastructure of trams and railways in the Trans-Urals and Siberia is technically out of date and uncompetitive at best. The greatest traffic-related obstacle to the economic connection of the huge territories of Siberia to the booming South and Southeast Asian states is the lack of traffic routes in the north-south direction. As a result, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping agreed in 2015 to integrate the Eurasian Economic Union , respectively initiated by Russia and China, and the Silk Road Belt Initiative into one project, the Central Eurasia Initiative . In it, a logistical strategy for a new transport structure for Siberia and the Far East of Russia is to be worked out.

    In 2018, Russia ranked 75th out of 160 countries in the Logistics Performance Index , which is compiled by the World Bank and measures the quality of infrastructure.

    Road traffic

    Highway network of the Russian Federation

    Since 2000, the trend towards the road has been clearly visible in Russia. The road density is very low with 40 meters of road per square kilometer. This is due, among other things, to the very low population density in large parts of the country. The quality of the road network in Russia varies greatly, and its expansion cannot keep pace with the ever-increasing volume of road traffic. The density of the network decreases sharply from west to east: the further you are from Moscow to the east, the worse the road conditions. Nevertheless, the majority of freight traffic between Western Europe and Russia is carried out by road - in transit via Poland and Belarus or via the northern route via Poland and the Baltic republics as well as Finland. The difference in gauge between the railways also contributes to this.

    The Russian motorway and trunk road network covers a total of around 540,000 kilometers (2001), two thirds of which are paved. A spatially and seasonally continuous road connection from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific has only existed since 2003. Outside the metropolitan areas , the trunk roads are usually not developed as motorways or expressways, and even on larger, wide roads, the directional lanes are not separated from one another by guard rails . The most important trunk road in Russia is the European route 30 , which ends in Siberia.

    The share of transport costs in production costs is up to 20 percent due to the poor roads. The poor infrastructure costs the country up to nine percent of its economic output; Transport experts estimate that the equivalent of at least 32 billion euros would have to be invested in upgrading the roads every year.

    A relatively large number of fatal accidents occur in road traffic. In 2013 there were a total of 18.9 road deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants in Russia. For comparison: In Germany there were 4.3 deaths in the same year. A total of 27,000 people were killed in traffic. The country's motorization rate is in the upper mid-range worldwide. In 2017 there were 324 vehicles for every 1000 inhabitants in the country. With around 46.9 million vehicles, Russia has the fifth largest fleet of all countries.

    Local public transport

    A class 81-740 / 741 train at Mezhdunarodnaja station , Line 4 of the Moscow Metro

    Almost half of all passenger transport takes place in local transport , mainly via the bus network that exists in 120 cities. In addition, 90 Russian cities have a trolleybus network , 66 cities have trams and suburban trains and seven cities also have an underground and four other S-Bahn lines .

    In the 1990s, many of the good local transport networks fell into disrepair and were increasingly supplemented or replaced by private bus or scheduled taxi companies . Recently, tram or trolleybus systems have been shut down in favor of buses in several large cities (for example the trolleybus in Arkhangelsk and the tram in Ivanovo in 2008 , or the tram in Voronezh in 2009 ).

    Rail transport

    The main lines of the Russian Railways ( Rossijskije schelesnyje dorogi , RŽD )
    Sapsan high-speed train (almost identical to the ICE 3) on the St. Petersburg – Moscow line

    As a means of mass transport over long distances, the railroad occupies an important part of the transport market in Russia. Due to the great distances involved, connecting the Far East was a major challenge in the early 20th century, which the country was able to create with the famous Trans-Siberian Railway . At the same time, the Baikal-Amur Mainline from Lake Baikal to the Amur River was built at the end of the 20th century to open up the Far East of Siberia . Through these two and the branching routes, the country is opened up in a west-east direction. They can, for example, reduce the transport of goods between Pusan and Helsinki from around 47 days by sea to around 16 days.

    In May 2001 the Russian government decided to implement the rail reform. The main goals were the liberalization of the railway market and the release of tariffs in rail traffic. As part of the rail reform, the former Ministry of Railways (MPS) was dissolved in October 2003 and Russia's second largest state-owned company, the Rossijskije schelesnyje dorogi (RZhD), was founded. In recent years, 85 private railway companies have emerged in Russia, which today transport more than 25 percent of goods and own around 30 percent (around 200,000 freight wagons ) of the entire freight wagon fleet in Russia. The route network in Russia is operated by RZhD. Overall, the well-developed railway network ( broad gauge with 1520 millimeter gauge ) covers around 87,000 kilometers, of which almost half (40,000 kilometers) is electrified. On the island of Sakhalin there are almost 1000 kilometers with a width of 1067 millimeters. There are also 30,000 kilometers of non-public industrial railways (all data from 2004). While road freight transport has been the dominant mode of transport in Western Europe for decades and the railways are of secondary importance, trucks have only been able to catch up in Russia since 2000. This is why the railways in Russia have an above-average market share of goods transport at 83 percent .

    Water transport

    Murmansk port

    Russia has a significant number of ports and navigable waterways. 72,000 kilometers of inland waterways connect the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the inland lakes and the White Sea in the European part of Russia. Important waterways are the Volga , the Kama , the Nizhny Novgorod Oka , the Vyatka , the Don and the canals that connect these rivers.

    24,000 kilometers are navigable in Siberia. The drainage of the large rivers Ob , Jenissei and Lena into the polar sea means that there is no east-west development on the waterway; Due to the formation of ice, the polar route is only possible for a few months in summer, but this period is lengthened by climate change . The navigability of rivers and canals is severely impaired by meteorological influences (water level) and poor development. A decline in the number of inland waterways has been observed in Russia since 1990. In 2002 the number of inland vessels was around 8,800, of which 8,000 were freight ships and 800 were passenger ships. The main Russian inland ports are Arkhangelsk , Perm , Yaroslav , Saratov and Cheboksary .

    Maritime shipping is one of the rapidly growing transport sectors in Russia. The main reason for this is the increasing export volume of crude oil and petroleum products. The most important seaports are in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, Novorossiysk and Sochi on the Black Sea and Vladivostok , Nachodka , Magadan and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Pacific Ocean; Murmansk is the only (North) Atlantic port that is kept ice-free all year round . In 2003 the cargo throughput in the Russian ports amounted to 285.7 million tons. For freight transport between mainland Russia and the exclave of Kaliningrad is ferry traffic is important.

    air traffic

    View of the Sheremetyevo Terminal-D

    In Russia and the Soviet Union, aviation was of great importance early on due to the size of the country. The national air traffic connects remote areas, the development of which by land was never worthwhile. In the days of the Soviet Union, the state-owned Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world and its prices were sometimes cheaper than those of the railways. Even today, tickets to the Far East of Russia are subsidized by the state. In addition to the semi-state Aeroflot, larger companies also fly, also with the state, Rossija , S7 Airlines or UTair . The number of airports in Russia decreased from 1,302 to 496 between 1992 and 2011, with the number of international airports increasing from 19 to 70 and 55 airfields with paved runways longer than 3000 meters. In addition to Moscow, several international airlines also fly to other Russian cities. The largest and most important airports are Sheremetyevo -2 and Domodedovo near Moscow. In 2011, Russia's aircraft fleet comprised around 6,000 aircraft, of which almost 2,000 were cargo planes. State subsidies and regulations serve to stimulate the Russian aviation industry . In autumn 2018, the government gave the banks Sberbank and VTB an order to establish a large regional airline, with the help of which the regional airports were to be upgraded to relieve the Moscow hub. In January 2020, President Putin ordered the government to set up a company for the development of the remote eastern regions with a fleet consisting entirely of Russian aircraft. This company was created on the basis of the Red Wings .

    Space travel

    The Soviet
    Mir space station

    In the 1990s, Russian space travel suffered from major funding problems, so many programs came to a standstill. As the economic situation improved, Russian space travel was able to recover. The state-owned company Roskosmos is the national space agency responsible for the country's civil space program; its headquarters are in Star City near Moscow . It was established as an authority in 1992 and took over the essential resources of Soviet space travel . Roskosmos currently uses three space stations: the Plesetsk cosmodrome near Arkhangelsk, the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Amur region and the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan , the main base of Soviet and Russian space travel. Russia has been one of the most successful providers of commercial missile launches for decades.

    In July 2005, a new space program for the years 2005 to 2015 was approved by the Russian government. The aim was to secure the world level of Russian space travel and to consolidate Russia's position among the world's leading space powers. Priority was given to the development and use of space technology and services as well as the construction of spaceships for manned flights, transport and interplanetary missions, including a reusable space system. Russia is playing a key role in the ISS, for whose supply, since the space shuttle program was discontinued , the Soyuz rocket with the Soyuz spacecraft and the Progress space transporter have been increasingly used.

    Furthermore, the scientific-technical basis for a manned flight to Mars and a space station of the new generation are to be created. In a first step, Russia wanted to bring its satellite fleet up to world standards by 2015, primarily with the help of western elements. In addition, the first unmanned launches with modernized versions of the previous launch vehicles were to take place from the new Vostotschny cosmodrome in the Amur region. In fact, the older Soyuz-2.1 model has been launched there since 2016 . For 2020, the first manned spacecraft launches with the new Angara A5 launch vehicle were planned by Vostochny ; this shifts to the mid-2020s. At the same time, missions for in-depth exploration of the moon and the planet Venus are planned for the 2020s .

    The Russian space industry has been intertwined with that of Ukraine since the Soviet era; several missiles such as the Dnepr and the Zenit were jointly developed and produced. The war with Ukraine broke this cooperation, so that Russia lost about half of its range of launchers. New in-house developments such as the Soyuz-5 and -6 should compensate for this in the course of the 2020s.

    Communication and information


    Post office on the Arbat in Moscow

    The majority of the Russian postal system is handled by the state-owned company Potschta Rossii . This was spun off in 2002 from the Federal Post and Telecommunications Ministry, which had been dissolved at the same time and was also responsible for postal traffic during the Soviet era. Today the Potschta Rossii offers its services in a total of more than 42,000 post offices, which are spread all over Russia. The number of employees in the company amounts to around 415,000 throughout Russia. Since the beginning of the 21st century, post offices in many cities have been offering additional services, including public computer workstations with Internet access, in addition to basic postal services - such as sending and receiving letters, parcels and telegrams as well as the postal giro.

    Potschta Rossii is a monopoly in the mail delivery sector in Russia. International courier companies such as DHL and TNT Express have also been active in the field of parcel post in Russia since the 1990s .


    The all-Russian telecommunications company Rostelekom is the largest company in this branch in Russia. Since April 1, 2011, the regional branches Dalny Vostok (Far East), Sibir , Urals , Volga , Jug (south), Severo-Sapad (north-west) and Zentr (center) belong to it . The three largest providers in the country, Mobile TeleSystems , Beeline and MegaFon , as well as some smaller regional providers, essentially share the mobile communications market across the country . This industry experienced rapid growth in Russia from the year 2000: if in 2000 less than one percent of the Russian population owned a cell phone, in 2006 the number of cell phones in the country already exceeded the population and was a good 155 as of March 31, 2007 Millions.

    In 2019, a law stipulated that Internet data traffic had to run through its own server, so that from now on independence from abroad is guaranteed.


    The history of the Internet in Russia begins in September 1990, when the top-level domain ".su" was registered for what was then the Soviet Union. This domain is still used by some Russian websites today. In March 1994, the official top-level domain ".ru" was registered for Russian Internet addresses. Websites under this domain make up a significant part of the Russian Internet - often called runet for short . The country now also has a Cyrillic top-level domain (.рф). In 2012, the Russian Internet segment was in fourth place worldwide with a total of more than 3.6 million domain names.

    In the 2000s, the number of Internet users throughout Russia rose steadily: While there were only 3.1 million users (2.1 percent of the population) nationwide in 2000, their number was already 28 million (19.5 percent) in 2007 ). With more than 50 million Internet users, Russia became the European leader in 2011. In 2016, 102 million Russians used the Internet, or 71.3 percent of the population. The most important Internet projects of Runet include the search engines Rambler and Yandex , the online network W Contacts and the information and news portals RBC Informations Systems , and The best-known providers include larger telecommunications companies such as CenterTelekom , MGTS , North-West Telecom and WolgaTelekom . In the course of state funding for Internet expansion, social media activities in Russia recorded an exceptionally strong boost, and corresponding platforms play an important role in Russia. The platforms and , which were created in Russia and showed higher growth rates than international ones, such as Facebook, are particularly popular . Also LiveJournal was used on average in Russia by international standards, and finally Russian. The gross reach of social networks in 2010 was 49.2 million of the people living in Russia. Since then, many regulations with vague formulations have been issued, which allow the authorities to crack down on services and users. As of 2018, all communication content would have to be saved (and made available to the state); a postponement of this obligation by 5 years had to be considered due to the effort in 2017.


    Media structure

    There have been many phases of restructuring in the Russian media sector since the collapse of the Soviet system. State reforms privatized the media market in the early 1990s. Many newspapers, publishers and television stations have since formed alliances with oligarchs to ensure their survival. In doing so, however, they came under their control, who manipulated them to exert political influence through the media. The media empires of Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gussinsky ( Media Most ) were then dissolved again under Putin. The largest Russian media holdings are Gazprom-Media and WGTRK , the all-Russian state television and radio company . Although media censorship is practiced by Roskomnadzor (the supervisory authority for mass media, communication and protection of cultural heritage), according to the Russian Constitution, Chapter 2, Article 29, freedom of expression and speech is guaranteed. Propaganda and agitation that stir up social, racial , national and religious hostility are prohibited. Most Russians prefer television as the number one source of information, followed by newspapers. According to Roskomnadzor, 66,032 media are listed in Russia (as of 2012). These include 5254 TV stations, 3769 radio stations, 28,449 newspapers and 21,572 magazines.

    Print media

    For decades, the up-to-date press of the USSR was mainly supplied with information by the semi-official press agency TASS . After the collapse of the USSR, a free press developed in Russia, but today it is again exposed to increasing repression by the government. Freedom House rates press freedom as “not free” and with a general downward trend (in 2002 the country was still listed as “partially free”). In the Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders Russia ranked in 2019 on the 149th Place; in Europe, only neighboring Belarus (153rd place), Turkey (157th place) and Kazakhstan (158th place) performed worse. In the spring of 2017, the journalist Nikolai Andrushchenko was killed. According to the Reporters Without Borders report, the victim's death is directly related to his journalistic activities.

    Among the print media, the Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloid is considered the most popular in the country. According to its own information, the tabloid has around 1.3 million readers. It is also the cheapest. The most important daily newspaper is the Komsomolskaya Pravda , with a circulation of 830,000 copies today. The daily newspaper Rossijskaja gaseta (circulation: 430,000 copies) is a publication of the Russian government with seat in Moscow. Russian laws and edicts do not come into force until they are published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta. The RIA Novosti has been a state information and analysis agency since 1993 with its own correspondents in more than 40 countries.


    In addition to the state radio Rossii, there are numerous private radio stations - mostly local stations. Some Moscow stations also have licenses in the regions. The station Echo Moskwy is considered the only remaining representative of the media critical of the government. Russian radio stations nowadays use the VHF frequencies (87.5 MHz to 108.0 MHz) commonly used in Germany under the English name “FM”. During the Soviet era, the so-called OIRT band (65.9 to 73.1 MHz) was used, where today individual transmitters are still running under the name FM. Many Russian apartments have a radio plug with which one can receive one to three transmitters in the manner of wire radio . The simple devices do not require any additional power supply and often have a volume control as the only control element. The extensive international broadcasting service is operated under the name “ Voice of Russia ”.

    Newsroom of the RIA Novosti editorial team in Moscow, picture by Jürg Vollmer
    The journalist Vladimir Vladimirovich Posner in an interview with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March 2010 in Moscow.

    For 85% of the Russian population, television is the main and often only source of information and is therefore particularly suitable as a propaganda tool for the government, which carefully controls the content of the programs. Most of Russia can receive three national TV channels and one or two regional TV channels. In Moscow, depending on the location, more than a dozen television providers can be received terrestrially . The Perwy kanal , dt .: First Channel , is the broadcaster with the greatest reach in the country and can be received by 99.8% of the Russian population, the weekly audience at the broadcaster reaches over 80% of the population. Some of the Russian television channels are operated by the state media group WGTRK . Its offer includes the Rossija 1 channel , which, according to its own statements, is received by around 98.8% of the Russian population. A sports channel called Sport ( Russian: Спорт) and a cultural channel called Rossija K are also operated by WGTRK. In addition, there has been the internationally oriented, English-language broadcaster Russia Today , headquartered in Moscow, since 2005 , whose stated goals are to break down old prejudices and clichés about Russia and to present the audience with the Russian perspective on international events. Developments within Russia are also to be examined here from a Russian perspective. Vesti is one of the most important news channels in Russia. It is part of Telekanal Rossija and RTR. The TV channel Russian TV international is produced especially for Russians living abroad.

    In the 1990s, several private television stations, some of them nationwide, developed in Russia, which also had independent information programs that were also critical of the government in their programs. At the beginning of the 2000s, however, the national broadcasters came under the indirect control of the state or were closed and replaced by state broadcasters. Sport broadcasts today on the frequency of TW-6 . Russia broadcasts with the television standard SECAM (Eastern Europe variant). Russia plans to introduce DVB-T in the long term (in the 2010s). Apparently such devices are to be subsidized so that the population can purchase the relatively expensive device.


    Education System

    The education system in Russia

    The education system in Russia is divided into four sections: general school education, vocational training, higher education and postgraduate education. The general education does not mean that the child must go to school. At the request of the parents, a child can receive home education if his level of knowledge corresponds to the school program, which is checked twice a year. This right is guaranteed in Russia by the State Constitution (Article 43), as well as by the Federal Law №273-ФЗ (the Federal Law on Education in the Russian Federation).

    In 2017, the state spent four percent of the central budget on education. In the 2015 PISA ranking , Russian students ranked 23rd out of 72 countries in mathematics, 32nd in science and 26th in reading comprehension.

    General school education

    The general school education is in turn subdivided into the sections basic level, main level and upper level.

    • Elementary level: You start school at the age of seven. Both the academic year and the school year begin uniformly across Russia on September 1st of each year. The early school age of six years is recommended on average for around 35 percent of children according to a psychological report. Children who started school at the age of seven complete the four-year primary level of elementary school within three years. In this way, you can go straight to the fifth year from the third year of school.
    • Secondary level: This is followed by a compulsory six-year secondary level. It leads to the acquisition of “basic general education” - usually at the end of the ninth grade and after reaching compulsory school age of 15 years. This qualification entitles to attend upper secondary school (two years). After nine years of compulsory education, vocational training can be completed at the middle technical school (vocational school) or the technical center instead of the secondary school level. These facilities are still available in the vertically permeable entire vocational education system for the acquisition of a complete middle education (dual training course). Because in addition to the job-specific subjects, the general subjects are also taught, but the content is oriented towards the professional orientation.
    • Upper level: The upper level is completed with the "certificate of complete secondary education" (traditionally known as the "Reifezeugnis") - in German Abitur , which does not, however, guarantee entry to the university. A demanding entrance exam is required for this. Those who have passed their Abitur with very good results only have to pass one or two entrance exams. If the Abitur grades are poor, several subjects are examined.


    Seminar room of the Law Faculty of Saint Petersburg State University

    A diverse higher education system is available to students in Russia for higher education . In addition to the classic university with a wide range of subjects, there are various universities and academies with a special technical , educational or economic orientation. Although the Abitur is a prerequisite for attending university, an entrance examination must also be passed. Study financing is free of charge for high-performing students, but only financed by fees for an ever-increasing part of the population. After 1992, the universities received greater rights of self-administration. Universities are being reorganized; Time-honored institutions are given new names and modern structures.

    The duration of most study programs is five years, whereby the first two years, as in Germany, serve a general basic course , which is then followed by the technical specialization in the main course . Until 1991 there was only the diploma as the only degree . With the gradual introduction of new courses, in addition to the diploma, the Bachelor and Master degrees are also possible, which most students also strive for.

    A total of four categories of higher education institutions can be classified in the following hierarchy:

    • Universities
    • Academies
    • Institutes (= universities)
    • Colleges

    Among the most famous Russian universities include the Moscow State Lomonosov University , the Saint Petersburg State University , the Kazan State University and the Novosibirsk State Technical University . Private schools and universities are now permitted in Russia. Visiting them is not free and is usually only affordable for a small shift. In 2005 there were 1,061 universities and colleges in Russia, of which 413 were private universities.


    Laboratory technician performing experiments in the laboratory of the ChemRar High-Tech Center , Moscow Oblast
    Manufacture of membrane filters for blood plasma with new nanotechnology in the Dubna special technological economic zone

    The first beginnings of scientific activities in Russia already existed in the times of the Kievan Rus. The first surviving chronicles, the Nestor Chronicles, date from the year 1070. Mainly historical events and also meteorological observations were recorded there.

    Science as a social institution did not emerge in Russia until the beginning of the 18th century under the rule of Peter the Great . It was at this time that the first scientific institutions of the Russian Empire were established, most notably the Academy of Sciences in 1724 . In 1755, Russia's first university was founded in Moscow, today's Lomonossow University . In 1916 there were around 100 colleges in all of Russia, including 10 universities, and a few dozen research institutions. The science of the Russian Empire was thus at a low level of development compared to many other European countries. Nevertheless, certain areas of Russian science enjoyed international renown even then. Two Russian academics were among the first Nobel Prize winners , Ivan Pawlow (1904) and Ilya Metschnikow (1908).

    Russian science received a considerable development boost during the Soviet era. Overall, the Soviet Union had a well-developed research and development system. The high degree of centralization of research was characteristic of this period. Most scientists were employed by the Academy of Sciences or in their regional departments. Central characteristics were the separation of research and production, the dominance of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in basic research and in application-oriented research and the low importance of the higher education sector in research. All companies in the economic sector were state-owned and did little research themselves. Much of the research was carried out by specialized research institutes , which were generally organizationally separated from the state-owned companies. Since the Soviet state gave industrialization and military superiority a very high priority, it was particularly generous in promoting research and development in these areas. After the end of the Second World War, the state promoted the development of Soviet space travel very intensively. All of this resulted in the Soviet Union becoming an industrialized country in the second half of the 20th century. Research and development was considered a world leader in certain areas, such as the defense industry and space travel.

    Start a Proton-K - launcher
    Physics research seminar at the United Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna

    Science experienced a serious crisis in the Russian Federation in the 1990s, as there was a permanent lack of financial resources to support the existing research facilities. This led to development stops in many areas and the migration of qualified research and teaching staff to other European countries or to the USA. The institutions and working methods in Russian research and development have retained many features of the former Soviet system, the majority of research organizations are separate from the economic sector. Research institutions in companies are generally poorly trained. The Russian Academy of Sciences holds a dominant position. Almost two thirds of all research institutions (as of April 2012) were state-owned and employ 78 percent of the research staff. In contrast, 14 percent of the institutions are privately organized. Because of the overwhelming power of the state, Russian research is primarily led by large research institutes, while small organizations are of little importance. Accordingly, in 2008 the largest of all Russian research institutions employed a total of 53 percent of the research staff and were responsible for 44 percent of the total research expenditure. When it comes to financing research and development, funding from the state budget predominates. In the early 2010s, the government tried to increase the universities' research contribution. The higher education sector accounts for just six to seven percent of the total amount of funding for research. Twelve percent of the teaching staff are classified as researchers . Almost half of all universities and other higher education institutions do not participate in research activities at all.

    Despite the crises in the 1990s, some areas of Russian science continue to occupy top positions in an international comparison. Five Russian physicists were awarded the Nobel Prize: Shores Alfjorow in 2000, Alexei Abrikossow and Vitali Ginsburg in 2003, and Andrei Geim and Konstantin Novosjolow in 2010.

    To promote local research and development from 2000 onwards, special national target programs have been drawn up which include, among other things, an increase in salaries for employees in science, the promotion of young academics and the establishment of technology parks across the country . Particular emphasis is placed on further development in the areas in which Russia previously achieved top results, i.e. above all in the natural sciences and the armaments industry. President Medvedev launched a modernization offensive by funding numerous key projects, such as the City of Innovations ( Innograd ) in Skolkowo . In the future, new technologies are to be researched there and developed until they are ready for the market. The new research and development complex should work primarily in five areas: energy, information technology, telecommunications, biomedicine and nuclear technology. The Russian government is still planning to start manufacturing microelectronics . In satellite navigation , too , Russia wants to tailor its market to the use of the domestic GLONASS system .


    Cultural development

    Russian culture consists of a high European culture and a grown Russian folk culture. At times Russia saw itself as the radical other of the West, also because for a long time Russian culture developed differently from Western European culture, due to its location on the periphery of Western cultural development. Furthermore, the schism of 1054 led to a completely different unfolding Orthodox Christianity with a growing rejection of Catholicism. The Russian state and legal conception , which originated from Byzantine Caesaropapism , in contrast to the Roman legal tradition in the West, also contributed to the demarcation of Russian culture from Western European culture (see legal history of Russia ). In contrast to the development of nation states in the rest of Europe, Russia began to change from 1550 to a multi-ethnic empire that helped shape cultural development.

    The exhibition of Faberge eggs in the armory of the Moscow Kremlin

    The Russian culture is still characterized by time different stages of development to Western European culture. This can be explained by the geocultural peripheral location and simultaneous expansion of Russia to the east, which cause a different evolutionary pace in the interplay of slowed and accelerated catch-up and development phases, which repeatedly resulted in social upheavals and political radicalizations in Russian history . Accordingly, Russia can be seen as a translation culture, but not in passive imitation, but out of the need to catch up and outbid. This creates productive interactions by modeling one's own after the imitated foreign and thus creating something new.

    Russia's cultural history begins largely with its Christianization (988/989) at the end of the 10th century, with Byzantine culture in its Slavic forms gaining dominance among the Russians for the next seven centuries at the request of Prince Vladimir I of Kiev . There followed a rapid blossoming of their literature, their art and architecture after the introduction of Christianity.

    Orthodoxy in particular required a different understanding of culture based on persistence and traditions. The religious worldview and ecclesiastical conception of text determined and slowed down the cultural development in the Moscow Empire. A solidification of the Russian Orthodox culture set in from 1500, after the initiator Byzantium had come under Ottoman rule through the fall of Constantinople . Under Peter I began a forced secularization and Europeanization of social life from the 17th century . The first emperor of the Russian Empire brought Western European architects and artists into the country and wanted through external Europeanization - e.g. B. Removal of beards and adoption of the European dress code - achieve a change in attitudes. However, the Europeanization of Russia only reached a small upper class. Russia caught up with European culture in the 19th century and was part of its avant-garde around 1900 . In addition to a westernized high culture of the upper class, traditional Russian folk culture persisted among the people, so that until 1914 two cultures still existed side by side. In the Soviet Union, under Stalin, socialist realism was declared the only binding cultural norm. Written or sung expressions of culture that did not conform to the system could only appear underground as samizdat . In the new Russian state, Russian culture experienced another crisis in the 1990s. With the cessation of state subsidies and competition in capitalist mass culture in the 1990s, Russian artists first had to overcome the resulting stagnation.

    Folk culture

    A typical Isba in Kulaschino, Tver Oblast

    Wood architecture

    For a long time, residential houses in Russia were built using block construction (Isba). These log houses can still be found in the villages today. They are mostly painted in blue or green tones and have imaginative carved, mostly white window frames. As colors of Orthodoxy, blue and green are said to drive away evil spirits.


    Russian traditional handicrafts form an important aspect of Russian folk culture. Woodturning and wood carving developed in the forest zone of Northeastern Rus. Ceramic crafts developed in places where clay was present . In the northern regions of Russia with its extensive fields of flax, lace was made. The Urals, with their rich deposits of iron ore, as well as semi-precious and semi-precious stones, is famous for its casting, weapon jewelry and jewelry. Famous are the Dymkowo ceramic toys (see Anna Afanassjewna Mesrina ), Chochloma , ceramics from Gschel and lacquer miniatures from Palech . Matryoshka is the most popular Russian souvenir. Just a few years after its appearance, the matryoshka was demonstrated at the Paris World's Fair in 1900 , where it earned a medal and achieved worldwide fame.


    For traditional Russian clothing belonged Kaftan , Kossoworotka and Ushanka for men, Sarafan and kokoshniks for women, with bast shoes from bast and valenki (felt boots) as a common footwear. The traditional clothing of the Cossacks from southern Russia includes the burqa and papacha .


    Preparation of pelmeni , originally from Tatarstan and Siberia, Khokhloma -Handarbeit is depicted in the background.
    Family portrait in Russia (1844) with the samovar

    The Russian cuisine , originally a typical farmhouse kitchen, uses many ingredients from fish, poultry, mushrooms, berries and honey. They eat bread, pancakes, and drink kvass , beer and vodka . Vodka is a part of Russian culture. According to Russian chronicles, the first distilleries appeared in Russia in the 12th century. Initially, vodka was used for medicinal purposes. Russian vodka is made from grain. Traditionally, people in Russia prefer a pure, unflavored vodka, which is usually drunk in company at room temperature. Something salty (such as pickled cucumbers , salt mushrooms or salted herring ) is often served with vodka . Tasty soups and stews such as shchi , borscht , rassolnik , ucha , soljanka and okroshka are the hallmarks of Russian cuisine. Famous are also Russian Teigspeisen as Piroschki , Blini and syrniki . Kiev pork chops , beef stroganoff , pelmeni, and shashlik are popular meat dishes, the latter two of which are of Tatar and Caucasian origins. Other common meat dishes are cabbage rolls (Russian Голубцы ), which are usually filled with meat. Typical Russian salads are vinaigrette (Russian винегрет ), olivier salad and herring in a fur coat (Russian Сельдь под шубой ). Tea has been drunk in every household in Russia since the 17th century, so that a real tea culture developed in Russia. A samovar is traditionally used to prepare the tea in Russia ; it is considered a kind of national symbol in Russia. In addition to traditional Russian desserts such as Baranki , Prjaniki , Warenje and Pastila (or Sefir ), oriental sweets such as Halva , Gosinaki and Lokum , as well as various chocolates and cakes are also served with tea .

    Folk music

    Russia's large number of ethnic groups have strong folk music traditions . Typical Russian musical instruments are gusli , balalaika , shellika and garmon . The Russian people have a rich dance folklore. Reports of Russian dances have been found since the 11th century. Dances play a big role for the Russian people. In many of the dances the national traits of the Russian character are very clearly expressed. The oldest type of Russian dance is the so-called khorovod , a round dance of a group of participants holding hands. The second type of dance that is characteristic of the Russian dance art is the improvisational dances. They are performed as solo dances (male or female), in pairs or by several dancers. In these dances the individuality of the dancer is particularly strongly expressed. The perepljas is a kind of competition dance, with each dancer appearing in turn striving to outdo the other through his dance mastery, imagination and better execution of the movements.

    Bathing culture

    Russia has a distinctive steam bath culture, the banya . Visiting the banya is a ritual. Important conversations, business negotiations and political discussions take place there to this day. There's even a banya in the Kremlin. According to old Russian tradition, people carefully knock themselves off with weniks - bundles of dried birch branches dipped in warm water.

    Dacha culture

    Russian city dwellers like to spend the weekends or their vacation in a dacha , a country house or holiday home with a garden to relax and unwind. The dachas have been part of Russian history and culture for three centuries. The dacha is also often mentioned in many Russian ballads and in Russian literature. The dacha season begins in mid-May. There are many dacha suburbs around St. Petersburg and Moscow that have moved further and further away from the city in the course of their history.

    Narrative culture

    Also known are the Russian fairy tales , which have their origins in the pagan times of the Rus. They formed the basis for the famous Soviet fairy tale films. They have brought fairy-tale characters such as " Father Frost ", the " Snow Maiden " or the " Witch Baba Jaga " to Central Europe.


    Russian hospitality is proverbial even in the most difficult economic times. When invited, the host deliberately tries to prepare as many different dishes as possible. This shows that nothing is saved for the guests. The custom of handing a round loaf of bread with a salt container in the middle to the most important guest on official occasions still lives today . Bread has long been the main staple food in Russia. Salt was rare and therefore very expensive.


    Russian troika

    A very common street scene in winter in the 19th century was the troika , the typical Russian trio. To do this, three horses are harnessed next to each other in front of a carriage or sledge. A bell hangs on the arch, which tinkles constantly while driving and keeps the horses on their toes. The Troika comes from the Valdai height measurements, a hilly area between Moscow and St. Petersburg, and is now considered folklore maintained.

    public holidays

    Victory parade in Moscow's Red Square on May 9, 2010

    As national days of the so-called considered in Russia day of unity of the people on November 4, which commemorates the liberation of Moscow in 1612 by Polish-Lithuanian foreign rulers, and the Day of Russia on June 12 on the occasion of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian SFSR in this Day in 1990. In addition, there are several public holidays each year, of which the New Year (continuously from January 1st to 5th) is celebrated. The New Year celebrations were extended in 2005, but the most important national holiday for the communists, the day of the October Revolution on November 7th, was abolished. Russian Orthodox Christians do not celebrate Christmas on December 24th, as they do with Christians of other denominations. According to the Julian calendar, they celebrate the feast of the apparition of the Lord on January 7th . Religious celebrations were not allowed during the Soviet era. But since January 7th was declared an official holiday in 1991, Christmas has been celebrated properly again in Russia. Christmas Eve on January 6th is called Sochelnik in Russia .

    The feast of the Epiphany in the Primorye region , near the town of Partisan

    Every year the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the festival of Epiphany . It is one of the oldest Orthodox holidays and goes back to the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan . Despite the frost, millions of Russians are drawn to the ice hole every year on the night of January 18-19. On this one day of the year, the water of all rivers and lakes in Russia is sacred, especially if it has been previously blessed by an Orthodox priest. Participants have to submerge completely three times . Before each immersion of the head, they cross each other. The procedure is intended to cleanse the believers of sin and give them new strength.

    The “ Victory Day ” over National Socialist Germany (on May 9th) is still very important to the population. At the beginning of May, war veterans in festive clothes come together all over Russia and commemorate their fallen comrades. Such a meeting often begins at a grave or tomb of the unknown soldier or at an eternal fire . After that, the commemoration will continue either at an official reception or privately at a banquet table. On Victory Day, war veterans are given carnations. Every year military parades are held in many cities in Russia (2011: 23) on Victory Day.

    If a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, it is customary to set up a non-working bridging day on Monday or Friday by declaring the previous Saturday or the following Sunday to be working days in return.

    Cultural centers

    Moscow and St. Petersburg are the cultural centers of Russia with a large number of cultural institutions. Moscow alone has more than 120 theaters, five opera houses, six professional symphony orchestras and numerous museums and galleries. The Moscow Bolshoi Theater enjoys world renown, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow house world-class art collections. Cultural scenes have also developed in other regional centers, for example in Novosibirsk (theater, opera), Yekaterinburg (theater, contemporary dance) and Nizhny Novgorod (contemporary art).


    Book fittings

    In Russia, literature is very valued. The order patterns of poetics and genre theory that are customary and valid in Western Europe , as well as literary epochs, are used differently in Russia because they are time-shifted and have a different function. The Romanesque corresponded to the “period of stylistic simplicity” (11th century) in Kievan Rus, the Gothic to the “age of the ornamental style” (12th and 13th centuries) there are common ideological and geopolitical epoch names (“period of intellectual disputes” and “Moscow literature”). In the 17th and 18th centuries, the imitation of baroque stylistic processes led to a late consonance with the Western European contemporary style.

    The basic stock of spiritual texts and genres, taken from Byzantine historiography , laid the foundations for the Church Slavonic tradition, which was considered literature and literary text in the Slavic Middle Ages. A spiritual-ecclesiastical literary term dominated (i.e. reading and writing - similar to icon painting - for the benefit of the soul). On the other hand, there was no aesthetic function, individual style, fictionality (separation of truth and poetry), literary genres in the modern sense and a modern concept of author. Literature with a not predominantly spiritual function in ancient Russia (before 1700) is comparatively little represented. The literary transition to the modern age took place in the name of the closest possible connection between Russia and Western Europe under Peter the Great. At the beginning of the 18th century, literature primarily fulfilled educational and representational functions for the state. Around 1800 literary communication emancipated itself from the demands of the court, educational institutes and patronage . Russian authors were able to publish their works on their own book market for the first time. For decades, the genre of the realistic social novel dominated, and it made a lasting impression on readers in Europe. The Russian realistic novel developed its own methods of mapping reality and formed meta-points of view regarding the destabilizing effect of Western modernization on traditional ways of life and social structures.

    Pushkin is considered to be the founder of modern Russian literature. Other world-class Russian writers are: Mikhail Bulgakov , Fyodor Dostoyevsky , Nikolai Gogol , Maxim Gorky , Boris Pasternak , Alexander Solzhenitsyn , Lev Tolstoy , Anton Chekhov , Ivan Turgenev , the exile Vladimir Nabokov and Ivan Bunin , the first Russian writer to work with the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded.

    In 1990 books in Russia had a circulation of 1.6 billion books. In 2004 it was only 562 million. The author with the highest circulation was Darja Donzowa with 99 volumes and a circulation of 18.1 million books.

    In 2016, the Russian Booksellers Association lamented the increased prices for both production and sales by small booksellers with trading fees. In Moscow there is only one bookstore for every 58,000 inhabitants; Moscow's 12 million people shared 199 bookstores compared to Paris's 3 million people and its 700 bookstores.

    Visual arts


    Picture gallery in the Hermitage . The Hermitage in St. Petersburg is one of the most important art museums in the world; the buildings themselves are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here you will find over three million exhibits in over 350 halls. In addition to archaeological exhibits, the Hermitage mainly houses large works by European painters. Important artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Gauguin are represented as well as da Vinci and Picasso.

    Russia also made a great contribution in the field of painting . The portrait painting was very popular in the 18th century. But other styles, such as history painting and religious painting, were also frequently used. Towards the end of the 19th century, European modernism, like Impressionism and Art Nouveau , came to Russia in a derivative form.

    In connection with Impressionism and the Russian avant-garde names such as Wassily Kandinsky , Kasimir Malewitsch , Alexej von Jawlensky , Vladimir Tatlin , Michail Larionow and Natalja Goncharova should be mentioned. The great Russian painters also include Andrei Rublev , Ilya Repin , Marc Chagall , Michail Vrubel , Valentin Serow , Vasily Surikov , Ivan Aivazovsky , Isaak Levitan , and important landscape painters include Nikolai von Astudin and many more. In recent times, provocative artists and artist groups such as “ The Blue Noses ” have caused a sensation, which have received international awards but are repeatedly relegated to their place by the Russian Orthodox Church and the authorities.

    See also: List of Russian painters , Peredwischniki , Mir Iskusstva , Russian avant-garde , Suprematism , Cubofuturism , Constructivism (art)


    The onion domes of Russian Orthodox churches have a special meaning: three domes for the Trinity, five domes for Christ and the four evangelists. Pillars and pillars represent angels and saints.

    There are 25 World Heritage Sites in Russia , 14 of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites (as of 2013); among them are the old towns and historical centers of Derbent , Yaroslavl , Saint Petersburg , Veliky Novgorod , Vladimir or the Kremlin of Kazan and Moscow as well as the wooden churches of Kizhi Pogost .

    The early architecture of Russia is based on that of the Byzantine Empire : early sacred buildings, like the Byzantine ones, are based on the Greek cross , which is crowned by five domes. Examples of this are the St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod , or the Church of St. Demetrios in Vladimir . Western European influences spread with the baroque . Baroque influences ( Russian Baroque ) began to show in Russia at the end of the 17th century (Church of the Icon of the Mother of God from Vladimir zu Kurkino in Moscow).

    The most important example of wood construction:
    wooden churches by Kischi Pogost in Lake Onega . Summer Church of the Transfiguration Church (left) from 1714, Winter Church of Maria Protection and Intercession (right) from 1764

    An independent Russian style probably originally only developed in the area of ​​wooden buildings, of which, due to the building material, no buildings have survived that are older than the 17th century. The churches that emerged from it are characterized by a simpler central structure and a large octagonal central tower. These have become more and more decorative over time. A famous example is St. Basil's Cathedral on Moscow's Red Square from 1555. However, it achieved its breakthrough in Saint Petersburg, which was founded by Tsar Peter I. European architects like Andreas Schlueter and Domenico Trezzini came to Russia, they built buildings like the Menshikov Palace or the Peter and Paul Fortress .

    World-class architecture was achieved by the master builders under Catherine II ( Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli ). The palaces such as the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, the Peterhof Palace or the Catherine Palace show a large and powerful Rococo style on the facades and are exorbitantly luxurious on the inside.

    With classicism , which began in Russia at about the same time as in the rest of Europe, original Russian builders like Iwan Yegorowitsch Starow began to occupy a prominent position for the first time. Most of the buildings in downtown St. Petersburg are still classicist today. A prime example of this is Rossistraße in Saint Petersburg, named after the architect Carlo Rossi , whose entire complex, including the houses, follows a strictly geometric overall pattern. In the sacred buildings such as Isaac's Cathedral, however, classicist and historicist style elements mix.

    By the early 20th century, avant-garde currents were strong throughout Russian culture. After the October Revolution, its advocates were able to implement them for a number of years. Examples here are El Lissitzky or new types of prototypes for residential construction, industrial construction and for public administration. International architects such as Le Corbusier , Walter Gropius , Peter Behrens and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe were able to build in Moscow. Under Stalin's rule, however, there was a quick setback to monumentally increased classical patterns. The confectioner style began to dominate, the representativeness was clearly in the foreground compared to artistic designs. In the late Soviet phase of the 1970s until the collapse of the Soviet empire, unique, partly futuristic buildings emerged in all sub-republics, whose radical aesthetics and idiosyncratic design language contrasted with the conformist state architecture. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union , a historicizing architectural style has become increasingly modern, which seeks points of contact in traditional Russian architecture. Examples of this are, among many other buildings, the rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, or the cathedral of the same name in Kaliningrad.

    performing Arts


    Russian music goes back a long way. Its origins lie in the pagan customs of the Eastern Slavs. After the adoption of Christianity, ecclesiastical music developed first. Originally from Byzantium, it quickly gained national Russian characteristics. In the 11th century a special type of Orthodox church chant, the so-called Snamenny raspew , developed. The lyrical folk song did not spread until the 16th to 17th centuries. Some songs are world famous, such as B. Song of the Volga Tug , Kalinka , Katyusha , Cossack Lullaby , Dubinuschka , Korobeiniki , Black Eyes .

    The beginnings of Russian art music began to develop in the 18th century and have been influenced by Western European music since Peter the Great. The most important composer of this time was Dmytro Bortnjanskyj , in whose work both art music and the typically Russian a cappella chants of Orthodox church music are represented. Yevstignei Ipatowitsch Fomin , Russia's most important opera composer of the late 18th century, was still influenced by the West. Twists from Russian folk music appear for the first time increasingly in the operas and orchestral pieces by Michail Glinkas and Alexander Dargomyschskis , paving the way for a national Russian composer school. Subsequently, the so-called Group of Five was formed from five young composers ( Alexander Borodin , César Cui , Mili Balakirew , Modest Mussorgski , Nikolai Rimski-Korsakow ), which set itself the task of specifically targeting the peculiarities of Russian folk music for symphonies, operas, To make tone poems and chamber music usable.

    In contrast to this, a countercurrent oriented more towards Western music (especially German Romanticism) developed, which was founded by Anton Rubinstein . It also included the most important Russian composer of the 19th century, Pyotr Tchaikovsky , whose works (symphonies, operas, ballets, chamber music works) made Russian music more prestigious abroad for the first time. The following composers such as Anatoly Lyadow , Sergei Taneyev , Anton Arensky , Alexander Grechaninow , Alexander Glasunow and Vasily Kalinnikow relied primarily on a reconciling union of the western-international and the Russian-national style in their compositions. While Sergei Rachmaninow independently developed Tchaikovsky's style in his piano concertos and symphonies, with Alexander Scriabin , creator of an idiosyncratic harmonic system, musical modernity found its way into Russia for the first time.

    Expressionism is represented in Russian music through the early works of Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev . In the 1920s, many composers experimented with new types of musical design, including the young Dmitri Shostakovich , whose early works are particularly characterized by a satirical tone. Most of the older composers, on the other hand, clung to Romanticism, such as Glasunow, Reinhold Glière and Nikolai Mjaskowski , and later Prokofiev as well. From the mid-1930s, by order of Stalin, the doctrine of socialist realism became binding for Russian musicians , forbidding avant-garde experiments and calling for “popular” art. This constraint gradually relaxed only after Stalin's death in 1953. In addition to Shostakovich, the main representatives of a Soviet musical culture were Dmitri Kabalewski and the Armenian Aram Khachaturian . Since around 1980, the once frowned upon avant-garde elements have been making themselves felt in Russian compositions, for example in Edisson Denissow , Sofia Gubaidulina and Alfred Schnittke . In contrast, composers such as the native Pole Mieczysław Weinberg or Boris Tchaikovsky maintained the tradition in the succession of Shostakovich.

    In addition to the traditional light music from the time of the Soviet Union, the so-called Estrada , there are a number of different genres of Russian pop music . The poet, singer and actor Vladimir Vysotsky , whose songs were mostly composed in the 1960s and 1970s, is regarded as an important Russian singer-songwriter of the 20th century . At the beginning of the 1980s and during the period of perestroika , a lively, Russian-speaking rock music scene developed in Russia, which complemented the established bands such as Maschina Wremeni . The figurehead of these years is generally considered to be the front man of Kino , Wiktor Zoi , who died in 1990 and whose songs and lyrics were formative for many bands in the following years. In addition to original Russian bands such as Kino, Ljube , Aquarium , DDT and Nautilus Pompilius , or the punk bands Graschdanskaja Oborona and sector Gasa , pop culture in the field of music was strongly influenced by the international mainstream.

    In the 1990s, an extensive underground was established in the country's cultural centers, but especially in St. Petersburg , which to this day covers the entire spectrum of music. At the end of the century, the Russian MTV also started . During this time, a large number of rock bands were founded and disbanded, but above all the formations founded in the 1980s celebrated great success. The first bands of the underground culture were able to win many listeners. B. Leningrad . Semfira also became very famous during this time . Russian Popsa has also held significant market shares since the beginning of this decade at the latest . This is danceable music with a high proportion of electronic music, which is especially aimed at teenagers and is musically based entirely on internationally successful projects ( Valerija , VIA Gra ). The duo tATu is the only internationally successful Russian pop band to date. Another genre that was largely marginalized during the Soviet Union has also experienced a renaissance in recent years - the Russian chanson . A popular star of this direction is the singer Mikhail Schufutinsky .

    See also: Anthology of Russian secular a cappella choral music from the 19th to early 20th centuries , Russian hip-hop

    Ballet, theater and opera

    Scene from Prokofiev's “ Romeo and Juliet ”, with Galina Ulanowa and Juri Schdanow

    The ballet has a long tradition in Russia and is a very popular form of entertainment. Peter I got to know ballet on one of his trips to Western Europe and was enthusiastic. There were also dancing parties at his residence, but they were different, more folkloric, closer to the people. Ballet specialists from Europe were hired to Russia. This marked the beginning of the impressive development of Russian ballet, whose dancers and choreographers soon rose to be among the leading in Europe thanks to the patronage of the Russian monarchy for the Bolshoi and Mariinsky ballet . In the choreographic work of Marius Petipas , for which Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in particular provided the music, The Nutcracker , Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty were the classic masterpieces in romantic ballet in Russia.

    Spartacus production at the Bolshoi, October 28, 2011, with Ivan Wassiljew in the role of Spartacus
    Auditorium of the Bolshoi Theater , built in 1776

    The groundbreaking Ballets Russes were founded in 1909 on the initiative of the impresario Sergei Pavlovich Djagilew . On tours in the European capitals of culture in Paris and London, the company became a fixed point of the European art avant-garde. The European audience got into storms of enthusiasm in view of the partly contemporary penchant for folklore and orientalism , partly the revolutionary innovations in music, choreography and interpretation, as exemplified in the staging of Petrushka by Igor Stravinsky, Michel Fokine and Vaslav Nijinsky . In its general development, the Russian ballet had dethroned France as the leading ballet nation. Russian technique and Russian repertoire were now general synonyms of classical ballet. The influence went so far that well-known western dancers (such as Alicia Markova ) even Russified their names in order to improve the chances of getting involved.

    The global development of ballet in the 20th century was also decisively influenced by the emigration of numerous dancers and choreographers trained in Russia. George Balanchine had a fundamental influence on the choreographic style in contemporary ballet and Rudolf Nureyev initiated the continued popularity of romantic ballets with the resumption of the classical repertoire, which have remained standard works to this day. They continue to set standards here with their high interpretive standards and technical bravery.

    Although the further political development in the Soviet Union also introduced artistic stagnation in ballet compared to developments in modern dance, the high level was maintained thanks to state training such as at the Waganowa Ballet Academy and financial support for new productions. As in Sergei Prokofiev's “ Romeo and Juliet ” and “ Cinderella ”, the Soviet repertoire was partially adapted directly in the West. The development of a dramaturgical staging of a socialist ballet was effectively implemented in Juri Grigorowitsch's choreography of " Spartakus ", which has remained the high point of ballet production.

    Russia produced such great dancers as Anna Pawlowa , Tamara Platonowna Karsavina , Léonide Massine , Galina Ulanowa , Mikhail Baryshnikov , Natalja Romanovna Makarowa and Maja Plissezkaja . The most famous ballet group today is the Russian State Ballet with 20 million visitors so far. It was founded in 1981 by Irina Tichimisowa and has been under the direction of Vyacheslav Gordejew, ex-Bolshoi star, since 1984.

    In this area, too, there is state influence and regime-critical cultural workers are harassed: In June 2017, the director Kirill Serebrennikow even called on the audience to confirm that they had seen the play A Midsummer Night's Dream ; this in order to put an end to the madness after a state committee had accused him of withholding the contribution approved for this production.


    Russian film history began in the era of the Russian Empire with silent film pioneers such as Alexander Chanschonkow , Ivan Mosschuchin and Vera Cholodnaja . During the Soviet era, Russia also produced some of the most important European film directors, such as Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkowski . However, numerous notable Russian films and directors remained largely unknown in the West due to the East-West conflict . During the Soviet era, the cinema was subject to strict ideological censorship, but within the permitted ideological framework, there was considerable talent promotion and state support for the cinema industry. Even today, many Russians consider the Soviet era, which produced many popular actors and films, to be the pinnacle of Russian cinematography and drama school.

    Despite the post-Soviet crisis of the Russian film industry since the 1990s reached Russian films occasionally international success: to be mentioned, for example, the Oscar-winning streaks The sun that we deceived (1994) by director Nikita Mikhalkov , the youth drama The Return - The Return (2003) by Andrei Svyagintsev , who was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival , and the fantasy film The Guardian of the Night - Nochnoi Dozor (2004), which became the most commercially successful Russian film production to date.

    Overall, there has been an enormous increase in cinema admissions in Russia in recent years - while in most of the rest of Europe the number of cinema admissions has stagnated at best in recent years. It is also unusual that the Russian film production was able to maintain its market share, which since 2005 has consistently been over a quarter of all cinema visits in Russia, by almost doubling its admissions to the cinema. The most important film award in Russia is the Nika , which is awarded by the Russian Film Academy . The largest Russian film studios include Goskino , Sowkino , Mosfilm , Lenfilm , Gorki Filmstudio (formerly Meschrabpom ), and the animation studio Soyuzmultfilm .


    Video art is very popular in modern Russia. Russia is one of the most important markets for YouTube. The most popular episode of the Russian animated series Masha and the Bear has over 3 billion views. Particularly popular is the +100500 show, which hosts video reviews for funny videos and BadComedian, which reviews popular movies. Many Russian movie trailers have been nominated for Golden Trailer Awards. Many videos by Nikolai Kurbatow, the founder of trailer poetics and the dialogue construction of the trailer, were uploaded to the major YouTube channels, used as the main trailer and entered in the Book of Records.


    Medvedev celebrates the triumph of the
    2008 Ice Hockey World Championship with the national team in the Moscow Kremlin .

    In Russia, sport has a relatively high priority, which can be traced back to the extensive sporting support in the USSR (see Sport in the Soviet Union ). In 2008 Russia had 2687 stadiums with 1500 seats and more than 3762 swimming pools and 123,200 sports facilities. The grassroots is significant as the number of members is in sports clubs at 22.6 million people, including 8.1 million women. The most popular team sport among Russians is football (see football in Russia ), which is experiencing a boom - supported by strong financial sponsorship from business. Ice hockey (see ice hockey in Russia ) is the second most popular team sport. Basketball is the third most popular team sport, but chess and tennis are also very popular. Russia has already produced numerous world-class athletes. Russian athletes dominate particularly in athletics, winter sports, figure skating, gymnastics and weightlifting. No other nation has more current and former world chess champions and grandmasters than Russia.

    Russia has so far participated 19 times in the Summer Olympics and 17 times in the Winter Olympics, including its participation as part of the Soviet Union. So far, athletes from Russia and the Soviet Union were able to win Olympic medals in sports competitions in 1911 and thus occupy second place in the all-time medal table . In 1980 the then Soviet capital Moscow hosted the Summer Olympics for the first time . The Black Sea spa town of Sochi hosted the Winter Olympics in Russia for the first time in 2014 . In addition, Russia is often the venue for international competitions such as world and European championships. For example, Russia hosted the soccer World Cup for the first time in 2018 , which took place in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, but also in the exclave of Kaliningrad. In motorsport, Russia has a former Formula 1 driver, Vitaly Petrow, and an active Formula 1 driver, Daniil Kwjat . The DTM and the Superbike World Championship were also guests in Moscow.

    Russia is also a domain in ice speedway sport and the Russian ice speedway pilots established ice speedway world champions in series. The cities of Togliatti and Balakovo are the centers of Russian speedway motorcycle racing.

    The country is also one of the world's top boxers. Since the end of the Soviet Union, Russian amateur boxers have won 10 gold, 6 silver and 15 bronze medals at the 1996 Olympic Games. Together with 14 × gold, 19 × silver and 18 × bronze at the Olympic Games from Soviet times, Russia is currently in second place in the all-time medal table with a total of 84 Olympic medals, behind the USA with 114 medals and ahead of Cuba with 73 medals (status after the Olympic Games 2016). From 1993 to 2017, Russian boxers also won 45 gold medals at world championships.

    Rugby union is also enjoying increasing popularity. The Russian national team has so far qualified for two rugby union world championships ( 2011 and 2019 ), but has not yet reached the knockout phase. Russia is one of the participants in the Rugby Union European Championship , where it will meet other emerging national teams. Especially games against the political rival Georgia arouse great interest and are considered a kind of "David against Goliath", also due to Russia's negative profit balance against its southern neighbor. Russia and Romania have been playing the Kiseleff Cup since 2021 ; this trophy is named after Duke Pawel Kisseljow , a Russian who played a decisive role in the drafting of the first constitution for the two principalities of Wallachia and Moldova (today's Romania and Republic of Moldova). The central stadium in Sochi serves as the home stadium .

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accuses Russia of practicing systematic, state-controlled doping for years ; the manipulations are "directed, controlled and monitored" by the Ministry of Sports, supported by the domestic secret service FSB and affect almost all sports, especially in the Russian Athletics Federation there is a "deeply rooted culture of fraud". Numerous positive doping samples from Russian athletes were exchanged at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow, but also at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2015 World Swimming Championships in Kazan. In November 2015, WADA withdrew its accreditation from the Russian national anti-doping agency RUSADA; A few days later, the World Athletics Federation (IAAF) banned Russian athletes from all international competitions - including the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro - until further notice . Even the Russian weightlifters were not allowed to compete in Rio after a corresponding decision by the world association IMF.

    Russian sports science research is also affected by this. While training science has long been based on the successes of athletes through systematic planning and development such as B. benefited from the periodization of sports training , the innovation lead has shrunk in recent years, as the methods have proven to be less successful with a simultaneous reduction in doping . A long-term analysis of the leading Soviet / Russian training science journal Theory and Practice of Body Culture (Moscow) showed that the literature used in the journal was getting older and that the journal today, with an average age of 15 years, is more than ten years old compared to the 1980s Years has deteriorated. In the meantime, the inclusion of covert doping methods has also been published, since nanotechnology is still largely beyond the control of WADA .

    In December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) blocked the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA for four years after various doping scandals - among other things, data from athletes were manipulated - and pronounced an Olympic ban for the Russian team. The Russian state doping procedure is due to be heard before the International Court of Justice for Sports (CAS) in autumn 2020 . The CAS set the hearing to be November 2-5. RUSADA has lodged an objection with the CAS.


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    1. The Russian Federation has considered Crimea as part of its national territory since March 18, 2014.
    2. Andreas Zimmermann: State succession in international treaties , p. 85 ff .; see also the a. A. Schweisfurths, From the unitary state (USSR) to the confederation of states (CIS). Legal stages of a state collapse and the emergence of a state federation , ZaöRV , Vol. 52 (1992), pp. 541–702, here pp. 545 f., 547 ( PDF ), which assumes an identity between the Russian Empire and Soviet Russia, but the USSR regarded as a new subject of international law .
    3. According to the Russian constitution, the two terms Russia and Russian or Russian Federation are equivalent.
    4. Critique of the OSCE anniversary , NZZ, July 12, 2015; Quote from Burkhalter: gross violation of the principles of the OSCE ; Exemption as an obligation , NZZ, May 9, 2015; Hanns W. Maull: About intelligent power politics , Science and Politics Foundation, November 14, 2014; “Putin's power games have also shattered the foundations of the pan-European order”; Jan C. Behrends : Russia is again pursuing Soviet foreign policy , NZZ, August 14, 2014 The annexation of Crimea means Russia's return to the Brezhnev doctrine, writes historian Jan C. Behrends. Putin pursues a foreign policy of the old Soviet school, which understands military force as a central instrument; Jeffrey D. Sachs : Putin's dangerous course. In: NZZ. May 9, 2014; Andreas Kappeler: A Brief History of Ukraine. Beck, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-406-67019-0 , p. 351; Political promoters and relegators: who was top, who was flop? - Wladimir Putin. In: FAZ. December 14, 2014; "Post-war order unhinged"; Europe's nightmare neighbor. In: The Spectator. March 8, 2014; "Brings to an end the Pax Americana and the post-Cold War world that began in 1989"; Putin destroyed all trust for a long time , Die Welt May 13, 2014; What Would Willy Brandt Do? , Die Zeit, November 28, 2014; Putin's annexation of Crimea overturns four European agreements - the CSCE Final Act of 1975, the Charter of Paris 1990, the Budapest Memorandum 1994 and the NATO-Russia Founding Act 1997. Putin shifted European borders in a stealth war. This is exactly the opposite of what the Soviet Union wanted to achieve in Helsinki in 1975 - the recognition and reliability of borders. Here is the crucial difference between Brezhnev and Putin: one wanted to see the post-war order cemented, the other wants to dig it up. Brezhnev wanted the status quo, Putin wanted revision. That is why Brandt's Ostpolitik was possible with Brezhnev, with Putin everything is left behind. Mr Putin has driven a tank over the existing world order. In: The Economist ; Merkel criticized Russia with clear words. In: SRF. September 1, 2014; "With this approach, Russia is violating the foundations of the post-war European order," said Merkel. Such a breach of international law should not remain without consequences ”; Crimean annexation: Federal government rejects Putin's Temple Mount settlement. In: The mirror. December 5, 2014; While the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested that one should think about whether the European structures were still appropriate, Steinmeier emphasized that Germany would adhere to the principles of the Helsinki Final Act passed almost 40 years ago. The principles of territorial integrity and self-determination are neither outdated nor negotiable. Didier Burkhalter , OSCE Chairman: Opening of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. October 5, 2014; “The violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as well as the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia have an impact far beyond Ukraine. You question the foundations of European security, which is defined in the Charter of Paris on the basis of the Helsinki Final Act ”; Merkel can mend a broken relationship with Russia , Sputnik, November 13, 2014; Full text of Chancellor Merkel's speech , Die Zeit, November 17, 2014; “Nevertheless, we have to experience that there are still forces in Europe that refuse to respect each other and to refuse to resolve conflicts by democratic and constitutional means, that rely on the alleged right of the stronger and disregard the strength of the law. That is exactly what happened with the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia at the beginning of this year. Russia violates the territorial integrity and state sovereignty of Ukraine. One of Russia's neighbors, Ukraine, is seen as a sphere of influence. After the horrors of two world wars and the end of the Cold War, this calls into question the European peace system as a whole. This is continued in the Russian influence to destabilize eastern Ukraine in Donetsk and Lugansk. "; Annul Russia's Annexation of Crimea - Hegemonic overturning of world peace order impermissible: Shii , Communist Party of Japan, March 19, 2014
    5. According to the Fischer Weltalmanach , 50 of 143.8 or 142.1 million are non-denominational (as are the 2008, 2009 and 2010 editions), which is around 35 percent. The Spiegel Almanach from 2002 (p. 328) stated that 33 percent were atheists. The Time Almanac 2010 published together with the Encyclopaedia Britannia (p. 404 f.) Differentiated between 25.8 percent of those without religion and 5 percent of atheists.
    6. In contrast to earlier editions, the Fischer Weltalmanach gives the number of Orthodox in 2011 and 2012 as 70%.
    7. Contents: Jörg Stadelbauer, Russlands Geographie. Landscape zones, mineral resources, climate change and population ; Stefan Plaggenburg, The Legacy. From the Soviet Union to the new R .; Margareta Mommsen, The Political System under Yeltsin. A mix of democracy, oligarchy, autocracy and anarchy ; Petra Stykow , The Authoritarian Consolidation of the Political System in the Putin Era ; Vladimir Gelman, Federalism, Regional Politics and Local Self-Government ; Uwe Halbach , focus North Caucasus ; Angelika Nußberger , Legal Affairs and Legal Culture ; Cornelia Rabitz, Without censorship and yet not free. Russia's media landscape ; Jens Siegert, civil society ; Dmitrij Trenin, The Development of Russian “Western Policy” and its Lessons ; Andrej Zagorskij, R. in the post-Soviet space ; Sabine Fischer, R. and the European Union, EU ; Angela Stent, Russian-German Relations from 1992 to 2008 ; Hannes Adomeit , Military and Security Policy ; Pekka Sukela, The Russian Economy from 1992 to 2008. Developments and Challenges ; Ksenia Gonchar, Competitiveness and Innovations in Russian Industry ; Pleines, Energy Economics and Energy Policy ; Peter Lindner, Russian Agriculture. Privatization experiment with an open outcome ; Schröder, society in transition. Stratification, demographics and social inequality ; Yevgeny Gontmacher, social policy. Developments and perspectives ; Stefan Meister , Education and Science ; Lev Gudkov , The Political Culture of Post-Soviet Russia as Reflected in His Public Opinion ; Thomas Bremer , The Orthodox Church as a Social Factor ; Halbach, Islam in Russia ; Elisabeth Cheauré, Women in Russia ; Ulrich Schmid , Everyday Culture and Lifestyle . Statistical data on pp. 529-550.

    Individual evidence

    1. ПРЕДВАРИТЕЛЬНАЯ ОЦЕНКА ЧИСЛЕННОСТИ ПОСТОЯННОГО НАСЕЛЕНИЯ на 1 января 2018 г. и в среднем за 2017 г. .
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    6. Cf. Theodor Schweisfurth : Staatensukzession , p. 172.
    7. Thomas Kunze, Thomas Vogel: From the Soviet Union to independence | APuZ. Retrieved August 23, 2021 .
    8. Steven Rosefielde: Russia in the 21st Century: The Prodigal Superpower . Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-521-83678-4 ( here in Google Book Search [accessed December 29, 2017]).
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    12. Jeffrey Hays: NATURAL RESOURCES IN RUSSIA | Facts and details. Retrieved December 29, 2017 .
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    15. Federal Agency for Civic Education: Constitutional Order versus Political Reality | bpb. In: Retrieved December 3, 2016 .
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    24. ^ Mental health reform in the Russian Federation: an integrated approach to achieve social inclusion and recovery , Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Vol. 85, 2007, November 11, 2007.
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    27. AIDS. A high transmission rate , Novaya Gazeta, July 1, 2015.
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