Here's some background information about Russia. The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world, covering more than one ninth of the earth's land area.
About Russia: Land area - 17 million sq km (1.8 times the size of the United States.)
Population - 142,500,482 (July 2013 est.)
Capital - Moscow
Ethnic groups - Russian 79.8 percent, Tatar 3.8 percent, Ukrainian 2 percent, Bashkir 1.2 percent, Chuvash 1.1 percent, other or unspecified 12.1 percent (2002 census)
Religion - Russian Orthodox 15-20 percent, Muslim 10-15 percent, other Christian 2 percent (2006 est.)
GDP - $2.555 trillion (2012 est.)
GDP per capita: $18,000 (2012 est.)
Other Facts: One of the top producers of natural gas and oil in the world.
The legislative body, the Federal Assembly, is made up of the lower house, the State Duma, and the upper house, the Federation Council.
Russia spans nine time zones.
Contains one fourth of the world's fresh water.
Timeline: 1613 - Mikhail Romanov's coronation establishes the Romanov dynasty, which lasts for over 300 years.
1917 - The Bolshevik Revolution begins. The new government formed eventually becomes the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a communist country.
July 1918 - Tsar Nicolas II and the royal family are executed by the Bolsheviks, in Yekatrinburg, Russia.
January 21, 1924 - Vladimir Lenin, founder and first leader of the USSR, dies.
June 1991 - Boris Yeltsin is elected president of Russia.
December 19, 1991 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin issues a decree ordering the Russian government to seize the Kremlin from the USSR.
December 21, 1991 - Eleven of the 12 Soviet republics sign an agreement to form the Commonwealth of Independent States.
December 25, 1991 - President Mikhail Gorbachev resigns, and the Soviet Union dissolves.
September 21, 1993 - President Boris Yeltsin disbands parliament. Lawmakers vote to impeach Yeltsin and elect Alexander Rutskoi as acting president.
October 4, 1993 - Troops loyal to President Boris Yeltsin surround and attack the parliament.
December 11, 1993 - The first parliamentary elections are held under the new constitution with the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia receiving 24 percent of the vote.
December 11, 1994 - Invasion of Chechnya.
July 30, 1995 - Russia calls a truce with Chechen separatists.