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|Print version. Published on site Rusnet.NL 6 November 2003
Russia or Russian Federation, republic (1995 est. pop. 149,909,000), 6,591,100 sq mi (17,070,949 sq km).
The country is bounded by Norway and Finland in the north-west; by Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, and Ukraine in the west; by Georgia and Azerbaijan in the south-west; and by Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China along the southern land border. The Kaliningrad Region is an exclave on the Baltic Sea bordered by Lithuania and Poland.
Moscow is the capital and largest city.
In its political meaning, the term Russia applies to the Russian Empire until 1917, to the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR) from 1917 to 1991, and to the Russian Federation since 1991 (as well as to main constituent republic in the Russian Federation).
The name also is often used informally to mean the whole of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR); the Russia Federation was established in 1991 when the USSR disintegrated and the former RSFSR became an independent nation. The term Russia also is used to designate the area inhabited by the Russian people as distinguished from other Eastern Slavs and from non-Slavic peoples.