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In December 2010, Russia and Belarus reached a deal to restart the export of discounted oil to Belarus.
Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state in which the leadership seeks to legitimize its rule through managed national elections, populist appeals by President PUTIN, and continued economic growth.
Russia's reliance on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the volatile swings in global prices.
The economy, which had averaged 7% growth during 1998-2008 as oil prices rose rapidly, was one of the hardest hit by the 2008-09 global economic crisis as oil prices plummeted and the foreign credits that Russian banks and firms relied on dried up.
Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion remain in place.total: 22,407 km border countries: Azerbaijan 338 km, Belarus 1,312 km, China (southeast) 4,133 km, China (south) 46 km, Estonia 324 km, Finland 1,309 km, Georgia 894 km, Kazakhstan 7,644 km, North Korea 18 km, Latvia 332 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 261 km, Mongolia 3,452 km, Norway 191 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 209 km, Ukraine 1,944 kmranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coastwide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, reserves of rare earth elements, timber note: formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resourcespermafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula; spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia volcanism: significant volcanic activity on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands; the peninsula alone is home to some 29 historically active volcanoes, with dozens more in the Kuril Islands; Kliuchevskoi (elev.
4,835 m), which erupted in 20, is Kamchatka's most active volcano; Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes, which pose a threat to the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, have been deemed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Bezymianny, Chikurachki, Ebeko, Gorely, Grozny, Karymsky, Ketoi, Kronotsky, Ksudach, Medvezhia, Mutnovsky, Sarychev Peak, Shiveluch, Tiatia, Tolbachik, and Zheltovskyair 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 pesticidesparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulfur 94party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreementslargest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture; Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak; Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, is estimated to hold one fifth of the world's fresh water0-14 years: 16.4% (male 11,980,138/female 11,344,818) 15-24 years: 10.7% (male 7,828,947/female 7,482,143) 25-54 years: 45.8% (male 31,928,886/female 33,319,671) 55-64 years: 13.8% (male 8,408,637/female 11,287,153) 65 years and over: 13.3% (male 5,783,983/female 13,105,896) (2014 est.)0-14 years: 15.4% (male 759,285/female 717,118) 15-24 years: 11.7% (male 575,907/female 544,170) 25-54 years: 45.5% (male 2,141,419/female 2,227,433) 55-64 years: 13.3% (male 562,639/female 716,216) 65 years and over: 14.2% (male 430,225/female 933,646) (2014 est.)at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female 0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female 55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.44 male(s)/female total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2014 est.)at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female 0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female 55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2014 est.)Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.) note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet ruleconventional long form: Russian Federation conventional short form: Russia local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya local short form: Rossiya former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republicconventional long form: Republic of Belarus conventional short form: Belarus local long form: Respublika Byelarus'/Respublika Belarus' local short form: Byelarus'/Belarus' former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republicname: Moscow geographic coordinates: 55 45 N, 37 36 E time difference: UTC 4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time) daylight saving time: 1hr; note - Russia has announced that it will remain on daylight saving time permanently, which began on 27 March 2011 note: Russia has 9 time zones46 provinces (oblastey, singular - oblast), 21 republics (respublik, singular - respublika), 4 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnykh okrugov, singular - avtonomnyy okrug), 9 krays (krayev, singular - kray), 2 federal cities (goroda, singular - gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast') oblasts: Amur (Blagoveshchensk), Arkhangel'sk, Astrakhan', Belgorod, Bryansk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Magadan, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Orel, Penza, Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan', Sakhalin (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Samara, Saratov, Smolensk, Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), Tambov, Tomsk, Tula, Tver', Tyumen', Ul'yanovsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Yaroslavl' republics: Adygeya (Maykop), Altay (Gorno-Altaysk), Bashkortostan (Ufa), Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude), Chechnya (Groznyy), Chuvashiya (Cheboksary), Dagestan (Makhachkala), Ingushetiya (Magas), Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik), Kalmykiya (Elista), Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk), Kareliya (Petrozavodsk), Khakasiya (Abakan), Komi (Syktyvkar), Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola), Mordoviya (Saransk), North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk), Tatarstan (Kazan'), Tyva (Kyzyl), Udmurtiya (Izhevsk) autonomous okrugs: Chukotka (Anadyr'), Khanty-Mansi (Khanty-Mansiysk), Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar), Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard) krays: Altay (Barnaul), Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm', Primorskiy [Maritime] (Vladivostok), Stavropol', Zabaykal'sk (Chita) federal cities: Moscow [Moskva], Saint Petersburg [Sankt-Peterburg] autonomous oblast: Yevrey [Jewish] (Birobidzhan) note 1: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses) note 2: the United States does not recognize Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the municipality of Sevastopol, nor their redesignation as the Republic of Crimea and the Federal City of Sevastopol6 provinces (voblastsi, singular - voblasts') and 1 municipality* (horad); Brest, Homyel' (Gomel), Horad Minsk* (Minsk City), Hrodna (Grodno), Mahilyow (Mogilev), Minsk, Vitsyebsk (Vitebsk) note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers; Russian spelling provided for reference when different from Belarusian24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: 1157 (Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal created); 16 January 1547 (Tsardom of Muscovy established); 22 October 1721 (Russian Empire proclaimed); 30 December 1922 (Soviet Union established)chief of state: President Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (since ) head of government: Premier Dmitriy Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV (since ); First Deputy Premier Igor Ivanovich SHUVALOV (since ); Deputy Premiers Arkadiy Vladimirovich DVORKOVICH (since ), Olga Yuryevna GOLODETS (since ), Aleksandr Gennadiyevich KHLOPONIN (since 19 January 2010), Dmitriy Nikolayevich KOZAK (since 14 October 2008), Dmitriy Olegovich ROGOZIN (since 23 December 2011), Sergey Eduardovich PRIKHODKO (since ), Yuriy Petrovich TRUTNEV (since 31 August 2013) cabinet: the "Government" is composed of the premier, his deputies, and ministers; all are appointed by the president, and the premier is also confirmed by the Duma note: there is also a Presidential Administration (PA) that provides staff and policy support to the president, drafts presidential decrees, and coordinates policy among government agencies; a Security Council also reports directly to the president elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 March 2012 (next to be held in March 2018); note - the term length was extended from four to six years in late 2008, effective after the 2012 election; there is no vice president; if the president dies in office, cannot exercise his powers because of ill health, is impeached, or resigns, the premier serves as acting president until a new presidential election is held, which must be within three months; premier appointed by the president with the approval of the Duma election results: Vladimir PUTIN elected president; percent of vote - Vladimir PUTIN 63.6%, Gennadiy ZYUGANOV 17.2%, Mikhail PROKHOROV 8%, Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY 6.2%, Sergey MIRONOV 3.9%, other 1.1%; Dmitriy MEDVEDEV approved as premier by Duma; vote - 299 to 144chief of state: president Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994); note - the US does not recognize the results of the 19 December 2010 elections under which the Central Election Commission of Belarus declared LUKASHENKO president head of government: prime minister Mikhail MYASNIKOVICH (since 28 December 2010); first deputy prime minister Vladimir SEMASHKO (since December 2003) cabinet: Council of Ministers elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; first election took place on 23 June and 10 July 1994; according to the 1994 constitution, the next election should have been held in 1999, however, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; subsequent election held on 9 September 2001; an October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits and allowed the president to run in a third (19 March 2006) and fourth election (19 December 2010); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO 79.7%, Andrey SANNIKOV 2.6%, other candidates 17.7%; note - election marred by electoral fraudbicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of an upper house, the Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (166 seats; two members appointed by the top executive and legislative officials in each of the 83 federal administrative units - oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg; term lengths are not fixed but instead are determined by the regional bodies represented) and a lower house, the State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats; as of 2007, all members elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 7% of the vote; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: State Duma - last held on 4 December 2011 (next to be held in December 2016) election results: State Duma - United Russia 49.6%, CPRF 19.2%, Just Russia 13.2%, LDPR 11.7%, other 6.3%; total seats by party - United Russia 238, CPRF 92, Just Russia 64, LDPR 56bicameral national assembly or natsionalnoye sobraniye consists of the Council of the Republic or Sovet Respubliki (64 seats; 56 members elected by regional and Minsk city councils and 8 members appointed by the president, to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); note - the US does not recognize the legitimacy of the national assembly elections: Palata Predstaviteley - last held on 23 September 2012 (next to be held September 2016); OSCE observers determined that the election was neither free nor impartial and that vote counting was problematic in a number of polling stations; pro-LUKASHENKO candidates won every seat with no opposition representation in the chamber; international observers determined that the previous election, on 28 September 2008, despite minor improvements also fell short of democratic standards, with pro-LUKASHENKO candidates winning every seat election results: Sovet Respubliki - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Palata Predstaviteley - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KPB 3, AP 1, Republican Party of Labor and Justice 1, no affiliation 105highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (consists of 23 members); Constitutional Court (consists of 19 members); Superior Court of Arbitration (consists of a chairman and 4 deputy chairmen); note - as of January 2014 legislation was pending that would merge the Constitutional Court and Superior Court of Arbitration judge selection and term of office: all members of Russia's three highest courts nominated by the president and appointed by the Federation Council (the upper house of the legislature); members of all three courts appointed for life subordinate courts: Higher Arbitration Court; regional (kray) and provincial (oblast) courts; Moscow and St.
The country also has a broad agricultural base which is inefficient and dependent on government subsidies.
After an initial burst of capitalist reform from 1991-94, including privatization of state enterprises, creation of institutions of private property, and development of entrepreneurship, Belarus' economic development greatly slowed.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.Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industry, with notable exceptions in the energy and defense-related sectors.The protection of property rights is still weak and the private sector remains subject to heavy state interference.About 80% of all industry remains in state hands, and foreign investment has been hindered by a climate hostile to business.