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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Russia

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Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Communist rule and 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 Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the social, political, and economic controls of the Communist period. In tandem with its prudent management of Russia's windfall energy wealth, which has helped the country rebound from the economic collapse of the 1990s, the Kremlin in recent years has overseen a recentralization of power that has undermined democratic institutions. Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

Russia ended 2007 with its ninth straight year of growth, averaging 7% annually since the financial crisis of 1998. although high oil prices and a relatively cheap ruble initially drove this growth, since 2003 consumer demand and, more recently, investment have played a significant role. over the last six years, fixed capital investments have averaged real gains greater than 10% per year and personal incomes have achieved real gains more than 12% per year. during this time, poverty has declined steadily and the middle class has continued to expand. russia has also improved its international financial position since the 1998 financial crisis. the federal budget has run surpluses since 2001 and ended 2007 with a surplus of about 3% of gdp. over the past several years, russia has used its stabilization fund based on oil taxes to prepay all soviet-era sovereign debt to paris club creditors and the imf. foreign debt is approximately one-third of gdp. the state component of foreign debt has declined, but commercial debt to foreigners has risen strongly. oil export earnings have allowed russia to increase its foreign reserves from $12 billion in 1999 to some $470 billion at yearend 2007, the third largest reserves in the world. during president putin's first administration, a number of important reforms were implemented in the areas of tax, banking, labor, and land codes. these achievements have raised business and investor confidence in russia's economic prospects, with foreign direct investment rising from $14.6 billion in 2005 to approximately $45 billion in 2007. in 2007, russia's gdp grew 8.1%, led by non-tradable services and goods for the domestic market, as opposed to oil or mineral extraction and exports. rising inflation returned in the second half of 2007, driven largely by unsterilized capital inflows and by rising food costs, and approached 12% by year-end. in 2006, russia signed a bilateral market access agreement with the us as a prelude to possible wto entry, and its companies are involved in global merger and acquisition activity in the oil and gas, metals, and telecom sectors. despite russia's recent success, serious problems persist. oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of exports and 30% of government revenues, leaving the country vulnerable to swings in world commodity prices. russia's manufacturing base is dilapidated and must be replaced or modernized if the country is to achieve broad-based economic growth. the banking system, while increasing consumer lending and growing at a high rate, is still small relative to the banking sectors of russia's emerging market peers. political uncertainties associated with this year's power transition, corruption, and lack of trust in institutions continue to dampen domestic and foreign investor sentiment. putin has granted more influence to forces within his government that desire to reassert state control over the economy. russia has made little progress in building the rule of law, the bedrock of a modern market economy. the government has promised additional legislative amendments to make its intellectual property protection wto-consistent, but enforcement remains problematic.

Environmental Issues

Air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides

Government Type



140,702,096 (july 2008 est.)


Northern asia (the area west of the urals is considered part of europe), bordering the arctic ocean, between europe and the north pacific ocean


Total: 17,075,200 sq km land: 16,995,800 sq km water: 79,400 sq km

Approximately 1.8 times the size of the us

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: russian federation conventional short form: russia local long form: rossiyskaya federatsiya local short form: rossiya former: russian empire, russian soviet federative socialist republic


Name: moscow geographic coordinates: 55 45 n, 37 35 e time difference: utc+3 (8 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last sunday in march; ends last sunday in october note: russia is divided into 11 time zones

Military Service

18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; service obligation - 1 year; reserve obligation to age 50; foreign citizens and dual-nationality russians are precluded from contract military service; as of july 2008, a draft military strategy called for the draft to continue up to the year 2030 (2008)

International Disputes

China and russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the amur and ussuri confluence and in the argun river in accordance with the 2004 agreement, ending their centuries-long border disputes; the sovereignty dispute over the islands of etorofu, kunashiri, shikotan, and the habomai group, known in japan as the "northern territories" and in russia as the "southern kurils," occupied by the soviet union in 1945, now administered by russia, and claimed by japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending world war ii hostilities; russia and georgia agree on delimiting all but small, strategic segments of the land boundary and the maritime boundary; osce observers monitor volatile areas such as the pankisi gorge in the akhmeti region and the kodori gorge in abkhazia; azerbaijan, kazakhstan, and russia signed equidistance boundaries in the caspian seabed but the littoral states have no consensus on dividing the water column; russia and norway dispute their maritime limits in the barents sea and russia's fishing rights beyond svalbard's territorial limits within the svalbard treaty zone; various groups in finland advocate restoration of karelia (kareliya) and other areas ceded to the soviet union following the second world war but the finnish government asserts no territorial demands; in may 2005, russia recalled its signatures to the 1996 border agreements with estonia (1996) and latvia (1997), when the two baltic states announced issuance of unilateral declarations referencing soviet occupation and ensuing territorial losses; russia demands better treatment of ethnic russians in estonia and latvia; estonian citizen groups continue to press for realignment of the boundary based on the 1920 tartu peace treaty that would bring the now divided ethnic setu people and parts of the narva region within estonia; lithuania and russia committed to demarcating their boundary in 2006 in accordance with the land and maritime treaty ratified by russia in may 2003 and by lithuania in 1999; lithuania operates a simplified transit regime for russian nationals traveling from the kaliningrad coastal exclave into russia, while still conforming, as an eu member state with an eu external border, where strict schengen border rules apply; preparations for the demarcation delimitation of land boundary with ukraine have commenced; the dispute over the boundary between russia and ukraine through the kerch strait and sea of azov remains unresolved despite a december 2003 framework agreement and on-going expert-level discussions; kazakhstan and russia boundary delimitation was ratified on november 2005 and field demarcation should commence in 2007; russian duma has not yet ratified 1990 bering sea maritime boundary agreement with the us

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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