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Russia (Russian: Россия, tr. Rossiya, pronounced [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world by area, covering over 17,125,191 square kilometres (6,612,073 sq mi), and encompassing one-eighth of Earth's inhabitable landmass. Russia extends across eleven time zones and borders sixteen sovereign nations, the most of any country in the world. It is the ninth-most populous country and the most populous country in Europe, with a population of 145.5 million. The country's capital and largest city, Moscow, is also the largest city entirely within Europe. Saint Petersburg is Russia's cultural centre and second-largest city. Other major urban areas include Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan.

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The Russia Ukraine War (aka Russo-Ukrainian War, aka Putin's War) started on 24 February 2022 when Russia launched a full-scale unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Opinion by Janusz Bugajski

Winston Churchill famously called Russia a "riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." A more accurate description of the current Russian Federation is a forgery wrapped in a deception inside a lie. Numerous analysts have focused on Moscow’s campaign of disinformation to undermine the West, but they have barely noticed that the most important subject of disinformation is Russia itself. Moscow has a long record of deceiving Westerners and depicting its empire as invincible. In a previous imperial incarnation, Soviet communism and socialist internationalism were supposed to ensure salvation for all humanity. Until, that is, they were exposed as a fraud. Today’s Russia has created an image of great power status, economic strength, and military power that is rapidly unraveling in Ukraine. This is revealing that the Russian state structure itself stands on rotting foundations.

On December 25, 1991, the Soviet flag flew over the Kremlin in Moscow for the last time. Representatives from Soviet republics (Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) had already announced that they would no longer be part of the Soviet Union. Instead, they declared they would establish a Commonwealth of Independent States. Because the three Baltic republics (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) had already declared their independence from the USSR, only one of its 15 republics, Kazakhstan, remained. The once-mighty Soviet Union had fallen, largely due to the great number of radical reforms that Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev had implemented during his six years as the leader of the USSR. However, Gorbachev was disappointed in the dissolution of his nation and resigned from his job on December 25. It was a peaceful end to a long, terrifying and sometimes bloody epoch in world history.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union[e] (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, economic, and ethnic disintegration within the Soviet Union, which resulted in the end of its existence as a sovereign state. It was an unintended result of General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's effort to reform the Soviet political and economic system, in an attempt to end the "Era of Stagnation". In late 1991, the leaders of three of the Union's founding and largest republics (the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR) declared that the Soviet Union no longer existed, and eight more republics joined them shortly thereafter. Gorbachev had to resign his office as president and what was left of the parliament to formally acknowledge the Union's collapse as a fait accompli. The process began with growing unrest in the Union's various constituent national republics developing into an incessant political and legislative conflict between them and the central government. Estonia was the first Soviet republic to declare state sovereignty inside the Union in 1988. Lithuania was the first republic to declare independence from the Soviet Union by the Act of March 11, 1990 (not counting the autonomy of Nakhchivan, which had declared independence from both the Soviet Union and the Azerbaijan SSR a few weeks earlier, later rejoining Azerbaijan).

The Soviet Union,[n] officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a communist state that spanned Eurasia during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a federal union of multiple national republics; in practice its government and economy were highly centralized until its final years. The country was a one-party state (prior to 1990) governed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, with Moscow as its capital within its largest and most populous republic, the Russian SFSR. Other major urban centers were Leningrad (Russian SFSR), Kiev (Ukrainian SSR), Minsk (Byelorussian SSR), Tashkent (Uzbek SSR), Alma-Ata (Kazakh SSR) and Novosibirsk (Russian SFSR). It was the largest country in the world, covering over 22,402,200 square kilometres (8,649,500 sq mi), and spanning eleven time zones.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin[f] (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili;[d] 18 December [O.S. 6 December] 1878[1] – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1953. He held power as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953). Initially governing the country as part of a collective leadership, he consolidated power to become dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin formalised these ideas as Marxism–Leninism while his own policies are known as Stalinism.

The Great Purge, also known as the “Great Terror,” was a brutal political campaign led by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to eliminate dissenting members of the Communist Party and anyone else he considered a threat. Although estimates vary, most experts believe at least 750,000 people were executed during the Great Purge, which took place between about 1936 and 1938. More than a million other people were sent to forced labor camps, known as Gulags. This ruthless and bloody operation caused rampant terror throughout the U.S.S.R. and impacted the country for many years.

Motives for the Great Purge
Soviet Union leader Vladimir Lenin, head of the Bolshevik party, died in 1924. Stalin had to fight his way to political succession, but ultimately declared himself dictator in 1929.

From 1900 until he was deposed in 1917, Russia was ruled by the last of the Russian czars, Nicholas II. He was an absolute nationalist, an autocrat, and anti-semitic. Under him Jewish pogroms were encouraged, opposition repressed, dissident minorities bloodily subjugated, and in particular, during the First World War, German and other prisoners of war were treated atrociously, many dying as a result. Taking into account all the democide under the Czar, possibly near 900,000 to almost 1,500,000 Russians, subjects of the Russian empire, and foreigners were killed; perhaps around 1,000,000. But this figure is very uncertain. There are too few sources for the largest democides that earn the Czar's regime full status as a megamurderer, but still there is sufficient evidence to at least issue an indictment.

Moscow, Russian Moskva, city, capital of Russia, located in the far western part of the country. Since it was first mentioned in the chronicles of 1147, Moscow has played a vital role in Russian history. It became the capital of Muscovy (the Grand Principality of Moscow) in the late 13th century; hence, the people of Moscow are known as Muscovites. Today Moscow is not only the political centre of Russia but also the country’s most populous city and its industrial, cultural, scientific, and educational capital. For more than 600 years Moscow also has been the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.

A red star, five-pointed and filled, is a symbol that has often historically been associated with communist ideology, particularly in combination with the hammer and sickle, but is also used as a purely socialist symbol in the 21st century. It has been widely used in flags, state emblems, monuments, ornaments, and logos. One interpretation sees the five points as representing the five fingers of the worker's hand, as well as the five populated continents (counting the Americas as one). A lesser-known suggestion is that in communist symbolism, the five points on the star were intended to represent the five social groups that would lead Russia to communism: the youth, the military, the industrial labourers, the agricultural workers or peasantry and the intelligentsia. In Soviet heraldry, the red star symbolized the Red Army and military service, as opposed to the hammer and sickle, which symbolized peaceful labour.

By Bob Strauss

​The Russian honorific "czar"—sometimes spelled "tsar"—derives from none other than Julius Caesar, who predated the Russian Empire by 1,500 years. Equivalent to a king or an emperor, the czar was the autocratic, all-powerful ruler of Russia, an institution that lasted from the mid-16th to the early 20th centuries. The 10 most important Russian czars and empresses range from the grouchy Ivan the Terrible to the doomed Nicholas II.

The Rurikid dynasty, which ruled the Russian lands from circa 9th century, was most likely founded by Rurik. He is considered the first war commander who had the power of a knyaz (prince) – i.e. a political leader. However, Rurik wasn’t the leader of a unified state – neither were his successors, who became Princes of Kiev and ruled the Kievan Rus’. It was a medieval state that existed in the 9th-12th centuries and dissolved in the 11th-12th centuries, because of the rivalry between the Rurikid princes. When the Mongol-Tatars attacked the Russian lands in the 13th century, there were over 20 minor states (duchies) on the current territories of Central Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. It took Russians almost two centuries to gain political and military independence from the Mongol-Tatar state of the Golden Horde. The first unified state on the Russian territory was the Grand Duchy of Moscow under Grand Prince Ivan III.

This is a list of all reigning monarchs in the history of Russia. It includes the princes of medieval Rus′ state (both centralised, known as Kievan Rus′ and feudal, when the political center moved northeast to Vladimir and finally to Moscow), tsars, and emperors of Russia. The list begins with the semi-legendary prince Rurik of Novgorod, sometime in the mid 9th century (c. 862) and ends with emperor Nicholas II who abdicated in 1917, and was executed with his family in 1918. The vast territory known today as Russia covers an area that has been known historically by various names, including Rus', Kievan Rus',[1] the Grand Duchy of Moscow, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, and the sovereigns of these many nations and throughout their histories have used likewise as wide a range of titles in their positions as chief magistrates of a country. Some of the earliest titles include kniaz and velikiy kniaz, which mean "prince" and "grand prince" respectively but are often rendered as "duke" and "archduke" in Western literature; then the title of tsar, meaning "caesar", which was disputed to be the equal of either a king or emperor; finally culminating in the title of emperor. According to Article 59 of the 1906 Russian Constitution, the Russian emperor held several dozen titles, each one representing a region which the monarch governed.

This is a list of wars and armed conflicts in and involving Russia in chronological order, from the 9th to the 21st century. Russian troops took part in a large number of wars and armed clashes in various parts of the world. Starting from the princely squads, opposing the raids of nomads, and fighting for the expansion of the territory of the Old Russian state, through the period of significant territorial growth of Russia in the 15th-20th centuries, marked by wars of conquest in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Volga region, Siberia, Central Asia and the Far East, to the world wars of the 20th century and today.

The Soviet–Afghan War (1979–1989) was a conflict wherein insurgent groups known collectively as the Mujahideen, as well as smaller Marxist–Leninist–Maoist groups, fought a nine-year guerrilla war against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) and the Soviet Army throughout the 1980s, mostly in the Afghan countryside. The Mujahideen were variously backed primarily by the United States, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United Kingdom; the conflict was a Cold War-era proxy war. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 Afghans were killed and millions more fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran. Between 6.5%–11.5% of Afghanistan's population is estimated to have perished in the conflict. The war caused grave destruction in Afghanistan, and it has also been cited by scholars as a contributing factor to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, in hindsight leaving a mixed legacy to people in both territories.

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