Russia

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Russia facts

As the world’s largest country, Russia encompasses nine timezones and contains within its borders dozens of ethnic groups. For about seventy years, it existed as the Soviet Union. The Cold War tension between the Soviets and the United States very nearly led to nuclear war on several occasions, until the dissolution of the USSR on Christmas Day, 1991.Today, the country exists as a “federal semi-presidential republic”, with a president, a prime minister, and a cabinet—but many allege that the power belongs squarely with hardline President Vladimir Putin. Putin enjoys considerable popular support, though some within the country believe him to be responsible for several nefarious doings.With vast natural resources, a government in flux, and a dwindling population inexorably steeped in alcohol, Russia remains one of the most fascinating places on earth.