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Russia (Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya, IPA: [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Covering an area of 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), it is the largest country in the world by area, spanning more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, stretching eleven time zones, and bordering 16 sovereign nations. The territory of Russia extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south. With 146.7 million inhabitants living in the country's 85 federal subjects, Russia is the most populous nation in Europe and the ninth-most populous nation in the world. Russia's capital and largest city is Moscow; other major urban areas include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Chelyabinsk and Samara.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognisable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. The medieval state of Rus' arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states, until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in the 15th century. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which became a major European power, and the third-largest empire in history, stretching from Norway on the west to Canada on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian SFSR became the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the world's first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a recognised superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognised as the continuing legal personality and a successor of the USSR.

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Arena Active Protection System

Arena (Russian: Арена) is an active protection system (APS) developed at Russia's Kolomna-based Engineering Design Bureau for the purpose of protecting armoured fighting vehicles from destruction by light anti-tank weapons, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), and missiles with top attack warheads. It uses a Doppler radar to detect incoming warheads. Upon detection, a defensive rocket is fired that detonates near the inbound threat, destroying it before it hits the vehicle.

Arena is the successor to Drozd, a Soviet active protection system from the late 1970s, which was installed on several T-55s during the Soviet–Afghan War. The system improved the vehicle's survivability rate, increasing it by up to 80%. Drozd was followed by Shtora in the late 1980s, which used an electro-magnetic jammer to confuse inbound enemy anti-tank missiles and rockets. In late 1994 the Russian Army deployed many armoured fighting vehicles to Chechnya, where they were ambushed and suffered heavy casualties. The effectiveness of Chechen rocket-propelled grenades against Russian combat vehicles prompted the Kolomenskoye machine-building design bureau to devise the Arena active protection system in the early and mid-1990s. An export variant, Arena-E, was also developed. The system has been tested on the T-80UM-1, demonstrated at Omsk in 1997, and was considered for use on the South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tank. Read more...

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Pastila from Kolomna

Pastila (Russian: пастила́) is a traditional Russian fruit confectionery (pâte de fruits). It has been described as "small squares of pressed fruit paste" and "light, airy puffs with a delicate apple flavor". In Imperial Russia, the "small jellied sweetmeats" were served for tea "with a white foamy top, a bit like marshmallow, but tasting of pure fruit".

The first mentions of pastila in Russian written sources date back to the 16th century. The name is probably a loanword from Italian: pastello or pastiglia, or from the cognate French: pastille which in turn comes from Latin: pastillus (a loaf or pie, cf. pastilla). Read more...

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Shostakovich, c. 1950

Shostakovich's signature

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (Russian: Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович, tr. Dmitriy Dmitrievich Shostakovich, pronounced [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ˈdmʲitrʲɪjɪvʲɪtɕ ʂəstɐˈkovʲɪtɕ]; (25 September [O.S. 12 September] 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Russian composer and pianist. He is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century, with a unique harmonic language and a historic importance due to his years of work under Stalin.



Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947) and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (from 1962 until his death). Read more...

In the news

11 August 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Russia, COVID-19 vaccine
Russian PresidentVladimir Putin announces the approval of a vaccine against COVID‑19, named Gam-COVID-Vac, claiming it as a "world-first", amid continued concern and unanswered questions over its safety and effectiveness. (CNN)
10 August 2020 –
An explosion at a gas station in Volgograd, Volgograd Oblast, Russia, leaves at least 13 people injured and creates a 1,000 m2 (11,000 sq ft)-sized blaze. It is believed that it was caused by an electrical fire. (The Independent)
8 August 2020 – 2020 Belarusian protests
On the eve of a presidential election, Belarusian security forces arrest Maria Moroz, the campaign manager of leading opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and three Open Russia activists who traveled to Belarus to "observe Sunday's presidential election". (DW)
7 August 2020 – 2020 United States presidential election
The National Counterintelligence and Security Center reports that China, Russia, and Iran are working to interfere with the upcoming American presidential election. They specifically claim that Russia is working to undermine former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's presidential campaign and boost Trump's, while China and Iran are working to undermine Trump's and boost Biden's. Iran is also trying to "undermine US democratic institutions". (BBC)
3 August 2020 –
Two anonymous sources confirm to Reuters that the classified United KingdomUnited States trade documents leaked ahead of the UK parliamentary election last year was caused by Russian hacking of the email account of former UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. They declined to name which Russian group or organisation they believed was responsible, but said the attack bore the hallmarks of a government-backed operation. (Reuters)

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I think Russian people are learning that democracy is not an alien thing; it's not a western invention. It's probably the most affordable mechanism to solve problems inside the country, inside the society because Putin proved to all of us that democracy has a world of alternatives, security forces and police and power abuse and that's why I think eventually the people of Russia will embrace democracy as the least costly institution to help them to solve their daily problems.
Garry Kasparov, 2005

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