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. 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. 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 strict social, political, and economic controls of the Communist period. While some progress has been made on the economic front, recent years have seen a recentralization of power under Vladimir PUTIN and the erosion of nascent democratic institutions. A determined guerrilla conflict still plagues Russia in Chechnya and threatens to destabilize the North Caucasus region.
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Northern Asia (the area west of the Urals is considered part of Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean

Geographic Coordinates
60 00 N, 100 00 E

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

Area Comparative
approximately 1.8 times the size of the US

Land Boundaries
total: 20,017 km; border countries: Azerbaijan 284 km, Belarus 959 km, China (southeast) 3,605 km, China (south) 40 km, Estonia 294 km, Finland 1,340 km, Georgia 723 km, Kazakhstan 6,846 km, North Korea 19 km, Latvia 217 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 227 km, Mongolia 3,485 km, Norway 196 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Ukraine 1,576 km

37,653 km

Maritime Claims
territorial sea: 12 nm; exclusive economic zone: 200 nm; continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

ranges 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 coast

broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions

Elevation Extremes
lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m; highest point: Gora El’brus 5,633 m

Natural Resources
wide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, timber; note: formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources

Land Use
arable land: 7.17%; permanent crops: 0.11%; other: 92.72% (2005)

Irrigated Land
46,630 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural Hazards
permafrost 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

Environment – Current 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

Environment – International Agreements
party 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, 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 94

largest 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

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142,893,540 (July 2006 est.)

Age Structure
0-14 years: 14.2% (male 10,441,151/female 9,921,102); 15-64 years: 71.3% (male 49,271,698/female 52,679,463); 65 years and over: 14.4% (male 6,500,814/female 14,079,312) (2006 est.)

Median Age
total: 38.4 years; male: 35.2 years; female: 41.3 years (2006 est.)

Population Growth Rate
-0.37% (2006 est.)

Birth Rate
9.95 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death Rate
14.65 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net Migration Rate
1.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex Ratio
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female; total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate
total: 15.13 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 17.43 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 12.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth
total population: 67.08 years; male: 60.45 years; female: 74.1 years (2006 est.)

Total Fertility Rate
1.28 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate
1.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS
860,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths
9,000 (2001 est.)

noun: Russian(s); adjective: Russian

Ethnic Groups
Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, other or unspecified 12.1% (2002 census)

Russian Orthodox, Muslim, other

Russian, many minority languages

definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 99.6%; male: 99.7%; female: 99.5% (2003 est.)

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Country Name
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

Government Type


Administrative Divisions
48 oblasts (oblastey, singular – oblast), 21 republics (respublik, singular – respublika), 9 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnykh okrugov, singular – avtonomnyy okrug), 7 krays (krayev, singular – kray), 2 federal cities (singular – gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast’): oblasts: Amur (Blagoveshchensk), Arkhangel’sk, Astrakhan’, Belgorod, Bryansk, Chelyabinsk, Chita, Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), 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), Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk), North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Tatarstan (Kazan’), Tyva (Kyzyl), Udmurtiya (Izhevsk): autonomous okrugs: Aga Buryat (Aginskoye), Chukotka (Anadyr’), Evenk (Tura), Khanty-Mansi, Koryak (Palana), Nenets (Nar’yan-Mar), Taymyr [Dolgano-Nenets] (Dudinka), Ust’-Orda Buryat (Ust’-Ordynskiy), Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard): krays: Altay (Barnaul), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Permskiy, Primorskiy (Vladivostok), Stavropol’: federal cities: Moscow (Moskva), Saint Petersburg (Sankt-Peterburg): autonomous oblast: Yevrey [Jewish] (Birobidzhan); note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

24 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National Holiday
Russia Day, 12 June (1990)

adopted 12 December 1993

Legal System
based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts

18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch
chief of state: President Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (acting president 31 December 1999-6 May 2000, president since 7 May 2000); head of government: Premier Mikhail Yefimovich FRADKOV (since 5 March 2004); First Deputy Premier Dmitriy Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV (since 14 November 2005), Deputy Premiers Aleksandr Dmitriyevich ZHUKOV (since 9 March 2004) and Sergey Borisovich IVANOV (since 14 November 2005); cabinet: Ministries of the Government or “Government” composed of the premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the president; 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 four-year term; election last held 14 March 2004 (next to be held March 2008); note – 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 Vladimirovich PUTIN reelected president; percent of vote – Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN 71.2%, Nikolay KHARITONOV 13.7%, other (no candidate above 5%) 15.1%

Legislative Branch
bicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of the Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (178 seats; as of July 2000, members appointed by the top executive and legislative officials in each of the 88 federal administrative units – oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg; members serve four-year terms) and the State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats; currently elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 7% of the vote; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms); elections: State Duma – last held 7 December 2003 (next to be held in December 2007); election results: State Duma – percent of vote received by parties clearing the 5% threshold entitling them to a proportional share of the 225 party list seats – United Russia 37.1%, CPRF 12.7%, LDPR 11.6%, Motherland 9.1%; seats by party – United Russia 222, CPRF 53, LDPR 38, Motherland 37, People’s Party 19, Yabloko 4, SPS 2, other 7, independents 65, repeat election required 3

Judicial Branch
Constitutional Court; Supreme Court; Supreme Arbitration Court; judges for all courts are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president

Political Parties and Leaders
Communist Party of the Russian Federation or CPRF [Gennadiy Andreyevich ZYUGANOV]; Liberal Democratic Party of Russia or LDPR [Vladimir Volfovich ZHIRINOVSKIY]; Motherland Bloc (Rodina) [Dmitriy ROGOZIN]; People’s Party [Gennady RAIKOV]; Union of Right Forces or SPS [Nikita BELYKH]; United Russia [Boris Vyacheslavovich GRYZLOV]; Yabloko Party [Grigoriy Alekseyevich YAVLINSKIY]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders

International Organization Participation
APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BSEC, CBSS, CE, CERN (observer), CIS, EAPC, EBRD, G- 8, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), ONUB, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMOVIC, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer), ZC

Diplomatic Representation in the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Yuriy Viktorovich USHAKOV; chancery: 2650 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone: [1] (202) 298-5700, 5701, 5704, 5708; FAX: [1] (202) 298-5735; consulate(s) general: Houston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle

Diplomatic Representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador William J. BURNS; embassy: Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok No. 8, 121099 Moscow; mailing address: PSC-77, APO AE 09721; telephone: [7] (095) 728-5000; FAX: [7] (095) 728-5090; consulate(s) general: Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg

Flag Description
three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red

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Russia ended 2005 with its seventh straight year of growth, averaging 6.4% annually since the financial crisis of 1998. Although high oil prices and a relatively cheap ruble are important drivers of this economic rebound, since 2000 investment and consumer-driven demand have played a noticeably increasing role. Real fixed capital investments have averaged gains greater than 10% over the last five years, and real personal incomes have realized average increases over 12%. 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, with its foreign debt declining from 90% of GDP to around 31%. Strong oil export earnings have allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from only $12 billion to some $180 billion at yearend 2005. These achievements, along with a renewed government effort to advance structural reforms, have raised business and investor confidence in Russia’s economic prospects. Nevertheless, serious problems persist. Economic growth slowed to 5.9% for 2005 while inflation remains high. Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of exports, leaving the country vulnerable to swings in world prices. Russia’s manufacturing base is dilapidated and must be replaced or modernized if the country is to achieve broad-based economic growth. Other problems include a weak banking system, a poor business climate that discourages both domestic and foreign investors, corruption, and widespread lack of trust in institutions. In addition, a string of investigations launched against a major Russian oil company, culminating with the arrest of its CEO in the fall of 2003 and the acquisition of the company by a state owned firm, have raised concerns by some observers that President PUTIN is granting more influence to forces within his government that desire to reassert state control over the economy. State control has increased in the past year with a number of large acquisitions. Most fundamentally, Russia has made little progress in building the rule of law, the bedrock of a modern market economy.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$1.539 trillion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)
$740.7 billion (2005 est.)

GDP – real growth rate
5.9% (2005 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)
$10,700 (2005 est.)

GDP – composition by sector
agriculture: 5%; industry: 35%; services: 60% (2005 est.)

Labor Force
74.22 million (2005 est.)

Labor Force – By Occupation
agriculture 10.3%, industry 21.4%, services 68.3% (2004 est.)

Unemployment Rate
7.6% plus considerable underemployment (2005 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line
17.8% (2004 est.)

Household Income or Consumption by Percentage Share
lowest 10%: 1.7%; highest 10%: 38.7% (1998)

Distribution of Family Income – Gini Index
40 (2002)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices)
11% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed)
17.5% of GDP (2005 est.)

revenues: $176.7 billion; expenditures: $125.6 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public Debt
15.6% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture – Products
grain, sugar beets, sunflower seed, vegetables, fruits; beef, milk

complete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; defense industries including radar, missile production, and advanced electronic components, shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, handicrafts

Industrial Production Growth Rate
4% (2005 est.)

Electricity – Production
931 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity – Consumption
811.5 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity – Exports
24 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity – Imports
14 billion kWh (2002)

Oil – Production
9.15 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil – Consumption
2.8 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil – Exports
5.15 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil – Imports
75,000 bbl/day

Oil – Proved Reserves
69 billion bbl (2003 est.)

Natural Gas – Production
587 billion cu m (2005 est.)

Natural Gas – Consumption
402.1 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Exports
157.2 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Imports
12 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Proved Reserves
47.57 trillion cu m (2003)

Current Account Balance
$89.31 billion (2005 est.)

$245 billion (2005 est.)

Exports – Commodities
petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, wood and wood products, metals, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures

Exports – Partners
Netherlands 9.1%, Germany 8%, Ukraine 6.4%, Italy 6.2%, China 6%, US 5%, Switzerland 4.7%, Turkey 4.3% (2004)

$125 billion (2005 est.)

Imports – Commodities
machinery and equipment, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar, semifinished metal products

Imports – Partners
Germany 15.3%, Ukraine 8.8%, China 6.9%, Japan 5.7%, Kazakhstan 5%, US 4.6%, Italy 4.6%, France 4.4% (2004)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold
$181.3 billion (2005 est.)

Debt – External
$230.3 billion (30 June 2005 est.)

Economic Aid – Recipient
in FY01 from US, $979 million (including $750 million in non-proliferation subsidies); in 2001 from EU, $200 million (2000 est.)

Currency (Code)
Russian ruble (RUR)

Exchange Rates
Russian rubles per US dollar – 28.284 (2005), 28.814 (2004), 30.692 (2003), 31.349 (2002), 29.169 (2001)

Fiscal Year
calendar year

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Telephones – Main Lines in Use
39.616 million (2004)

Telephones – Mobile Cellular
74.42 million (2004)

Telephone System
general assessment: the telephone system underwent significant changes in the 1990s; there are more than 1,000 companies licensed to offer communication services; access to digital lines has improved, particularly in urban centers; Internet and e-mail services are improving; Russia has made progress toward building the telecommunications infrastructure necessary for a market economy; however, a large demand for main line service remains unsatisfied; domestic: cross-country digital trunk lines run from Saint Petersburg to Khabarovsk, and from Moscow to Novorossiysk; the telephone systems in 60 regional capitals have modern digital infrastructures; cellular services, both analog and digital, are available in many areas; in rural areas, the telephone services are still outdated, inadequate, and low density; international: country code – 7; Russia is connected internationally by three undersea fiber-optic cables; digital switches in several cities provide more than 50,000 lines for international calls; satellite earth stations provide access to Intelsat, Intersputnik, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Orbita systems

Radio Broadcast Stations
AM 323, FM 1,500 est., shortwave 62 (2004)

Television Broadcast Stations
7,306 (1998)

Internet Country Code
.ru; note – Russia also has responsibility for a legacy domain “.su” that was allocated to the Soviet Union, and whose legal status and ownership are contested by the Russian Government, ICANN, and several Russian commercial entities

Internet Hosts
1,306,427 (2005)

Internet Users
23.7 million (2005)

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1,730 (2005)

Airports – With Paved Runways
total: 640; over 3,047 m: 51; 2,438 to 3,047 m: 199; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 129; 914 to 1,523 m: 109; under 914 m: 152 (2005)

Airports – With Unpaved Runways
total: 1,090; over 3,047 m: 16; 2,438 to 3,047 m: 30; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 88; 914 to 1,523 m: 135; under 914 m: 821 (2005)

42 (2005)

condensate 122 km; gas 150,007 km; oil 75,539 km; refined products 13,771 km (2004)

total: 87,157 km; broad gauge: 86,200 km 1.520-m gauge (40,300 km electrified); narrow gauge: 957 km 1.067-m gauge (on Sakhalin Island); note: an additional 30,000 km of non-common carrier lines serve industries (2004)

total: 537,289 km; paved: 362,133 km; unpaved: 175,156 km (2001)

96,000 km; note: 72,000 km system in European Russia links Baltic Sea, White Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and Black Sea (2004)

Merchant Marine
total: 1,199 ships (1000 GRT or over) 5,138,457 GRT/6,385,116 DWT; by type: barge carrier 48, bulk carrier 44, cargo 766, chemical tanker 24, container 12, passenger 12, passenger/cargo 9, petroleum tanker 218, refrigerated cargo 49, roll on/roll off 12, specialized tanker 5; foreign-owned: 86 (Cyprus 1, Estonia 1, Germany 2, Greece 1, Latvia 2, Malta 5, Norway 1, Russia 1, Sweden 1, Switzerland 8, Turkey 54, Ukraine 9); registered in other countries: 382 (Antigua and Barbuda 6, The Bahamas 4, Belize 33, Cambodia 73, Comoros 5, Cyprus 54, Denmark 1, Dominica 2, Georgia 20, North Korea 2, Latvia 1, Liberia 65, Malta 60, Marshall Islands 1, Mongolia 10, Panama 6, Russia 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 4, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 21, Sierra Leone 1, unknown 10, Vanuatu 1, Venezuela 1) (2005)

Ports and Terminals
Anapa, Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Nakhodka, Novorossiysk, Rostov-na-Donu, Saint Petersburg, Taganrog, Vanino, Vostochnyy

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Military Branches
Ground Forces (SV), Navy (VMF), Air Forces (VVS); Airborne Troops (VDV), Strategic Rocket Troops (RVSN), and Space Troops (KV) are independent “combat arms,” not subordinate to any of the three branches

Military Service Age and Obligation
Russia has adopted a mixed conscript-contract force; 18-27 years of age; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; length of compulsory military service is two years; plans as of November 2005 call for reduction in mandatory service to one year by 2008; 30% of Russian army personnel were contract servicemen at the end of 2005; planning calls for volunteer servicemen to compose 70% of armed forces by 2010, with the remaining servicemen consisting of conscripts; at the end of 2005, the Army had 40 all-volunteer permanent-readiness units, with another 20 permanent-readiness units to be formed in 2006; 88 MoD units have been designated as permanent readiness units and are expected to become all-volunteer by end 2007; these include most air force, naval, and nuclear arms units, as well as all airborne and naval infantry units, most motorized rifle brigades, and all special forces detachments (2005)

Manpower Available for Military Service
males age 18-49: 35,247,049 (2005 est.)

Manpower Fit for Military Service
males age 18-49: 21,049,651 (2005 est.)

Manpower Reaching Military Service Age Annually
males: 1,286,069 (2005 est.)

Military Expenditures – Dollar Figure

Military Expenditures – Percent of GDP

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Transnational Issues

Disputes – International
in 2005, China and Russia ratified the treaty to divide up the islands in the Amur, Ussuri, and Argun Rivers, representing the final portion of 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 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 a member state that forms part of the EU’s external border, to strict Schengen border rules; delimitation of land boundary with Ukraine is complete, but states have renewed discussions on demarcation; the dispute over the maritime 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; discussions toward economic and political union with Belarus advance slowly; Kazakhstan and Russia boundary delimitation ratified November 2005 and demarcation is underway; Russian Duma has not yet ratified 1990 Maritime Boundary Agreement with the US in the Bering Sea

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
IDPs: 339,000 (displacement from Chechnya and North Ossetia) (2005)

Illicit Drugs
limited cultivation of illicit cannabis and opium poppy and producer of methamphetamine, mostly for domestic consumption; government has active illicit crop eradication program; used as transshipment point for Asian opiates, cannabis, and Latin American cocaine bound for growing domestic markets, to a lesser extent Western and Central Europe, and occasionally to the US; major source of heroin precursor chemicals; corruption and organized crime are key concerns; heroin increasingly popular in domestic market

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