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Russia is the worlds largest country in area. It is almost twice as big as Canada, the second largest country. From 1922 until 1991, Russia was the biggest republic in the Soviet Union, the most powerful Communist country in the world.

In the 1980s, many of the union republics began making strong demands for greater control of their own affairs or for independence.

Independence moves by the republics gained strength after a failed coup in 1991. In that year, the Soviet Union broke apart, and Russia began to set up a new political, legal, and economic system.

A Short Background

The defeat of the Russian Empire in World War I led to the seizure of power by the communists and the formation of the USSR. The brutal rule of Josef STALIN (1924-53) strengthened Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives.

The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into 15 independent republics.

Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the strict social, political, and economic controls of the communist period.map of russia

Location: Northern Asia (that part west of the
Urals is sometimes included with Europe),
bordering the Arctic Ocean, between
Europe and the North Pacific Ocean
Geographic coordinates: 60 00 N, 100 00 E
Population: 145,470,197 (July 2001 est.)
Ethnic groups: Russian 81.5%, Tatar 3.8%,Ukrainian 3%,
Chuvash 1.2%, Bashkir 0.9%,
Byelorussian 0.8%, Moldavian 0.7%,
other 8.1%
Religions: Russian Orthodox, Muslim, other
Languages: Russian, other
Currency: Russian ruble (RUR)
Currency code: RUR
Exchange rates: Russian rubles per US dollar - 28.3592 (January 2001), 28.1292 (2000), 24.6199 (1999), 9.7051 (1998), 5,785 (1997), 5,121 (1996)

1 EURO to Russian Rouble: 34,679 (April 2004)

note:  the post-1 January 1998 ruble is equal to 1,000 of the pre-1 January 1998 rubles


 Action 5.1 activity 9 “Support for quality and innovation of the Program Youth.”
Project no: 5.1/R1/2003/06 Made by Hienet working Teams in cooperation with T.E.S.