Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi was awarded the 2014 Olympics on Wednesday, rewarding President Vladimir Putin and taking the Winter Games to his country for the first time.
Sochi defeated the South Korean city of Pyeongchang, 51 to 47, in the final round of voting by the International Olympic Committee.
Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for various purposes; people from Russia and other countries, including Belarus, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Russia; children are subjected to prostitution in large Russian cities and to forced begging; Russian women were reported to be victims of sex trafficking in many countries, including in Northeast Asia, Europe, and throughout the Middle East
The sovereign debt crisis in Europe is putting renewed pressure on Russia’s banking sector. Russian banks have limited direct exposure to European sovereign risks, but they increasingly rely on funding from Eurobonds and syndicated loans from Europe.
The actual length of the Trans-Siberian Railroad on its main way, covering nearly all Eurasia from Moscow to Vladivostok, is over 9,288 kilometers. It is the longest railway on the planet, which comes through two continents: Europe (takes 19,1% of the whole length) and Asia (takes 80,9% of the whole length). The 1778th km of Trans-Sib is relatively considered to be a border between Europe and Asia.
In 2011, Russia completed negotiations regarding its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Membership of the WTO will give Russia the advantages of being able to play a role in setting world trade rules, of Russian manufacturers not seeing their goods discriminated against on foreign markets, and of trade disputes between Russia and other partners being able to be resolved using procedures within the WTO framework.
The mighty Volga, Europe's longest river, flows from northern Russia into the Caspian Sea. A bleak behemoth, Siberia encompasses more than half the territory but is home to less than 20 percent of the population.
The Russian Orthodox Church, headquartered in Moscow, has about 60 million adherents; the numbers have grown rapidly since the end of Soviet rule. There are also large communities of Old Believers, a group that broke with the Orthodox Church in the 17th cent. Other religions include other Christian churches, various sects of Islam, Lamaist Buddhism, Judaism, and tribal religions.
There are at least 60 different recognized ethnic groups in Russia, but the vast majority of the population are Russians (83%). There are also Ukrainians (3%) and such non-Slavic linguistic and ethnic groups as Tatars (3%), Bashkirs, Chuvash, Komi, Komi-Permyaks, Udmurts, Mari, Mordovians, Jews, Germans, Armenians, and numerous groups in the Far North and in the Caucasus.
Mikhail Gorbachev took office in 1985 and unveiled sweeping plans for economic restructuring (perestroika), soon followed by unprecedented political openness (glasnost). The Soviet Union dissolved after a failed coup in 1991, producing Russia and 14 independent republics—with Russian minorities totaling some 20 million. Russia seeks to protect these minorities, maintain its economic influence on resources (like oil), and confront separatism at home (as in Chechnya).
Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire.
To get the most from Russia, head way off the beaten track. After taking in old favourites such as dynamic Moscow, historic St Petersburg and beautiful Lake Baikal, dive further and deeper into the largest country in the world. Visit the soft, golden sands of the old Prussian resort of Kranz, now known as Zelenogradsk in the far western Kaliningrad Region; the charming Volga river village of Gorodets, home to folk artists and honey-cake bakers; fascinating Elista, Europe’s sole Buddhist enclave and location of the wacky Chess City; the 400-year-old mausoleums of Dargavs, a North Ossetian ‘city of the dead’; or the hot springs of Kamchatka’s Nalychevo Valley in the Russian Far East.