On March 4, Vladimir Putin was elected as Russia’s next president. He had been the president of the country earlier, serving two terms from 2000 to 2008. In 2008, he could not run for the presidential elections since the Russian constitution doesn’t allow a person to be the president for more than two back-to-back terms. He became the prime minister and has held that post since then.
Russia’s economy was struggling when Putin became president in 2000. During his presidency, Putin helped the economy recover and brought Russia back as a prominent world power. However, in recent years, Putin has lost popularity. People have been protesting across Russia, both before and after the elections, asking Putin to step down. There have been complaints of fraud and cheating during the elections.
Russia is the largest country in the world, but it used to be even larger! Russia was part of a country called the Soviet Union (USSR) until 1991, when the USSR split into Russia and fourteen other countries. The USSR was a communist country, and was formed in 1922, with Moscow as its capital city. The capital of Russia used to be Saint Petersburg, and Moscow became the capital city in 1918. Russia had been ruled by emperors called czars until 1917. The last czar of Russia was Nicholas II.
One of the landmarks of Russia is the Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow (see image). It is about 450 years old. The deepest lake in the world is in Russia – Lake Baikal (1,637 meters or 5,371 ft). That is about 5 Eiffel Towers deep! Russia is very rich in oil and natural gas. Russian is the official language of the country, and its currency is the Russian ruble (RUB).
Russia has produced many talented people. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the music to the ballets The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist considered by many to be the father of the periodic table of elements. Yuri Gagarin was the first human being to travel into space in 1961. Garry Kasparov is one of the world’s greatest chess players. “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” are two classic novels written by Leo Tolstoy. More recently, Sergey Brin, of Russian origin, co-founded a company many of you are familiar with called Google.
Did you know?
Alaska, one of the states of the United States, was part of Russia, and was sold to the United States in 1867.
Image credits: RIA Novosti archive and Sergey Subbotin / Сергей Субботин for Putin’s image; A.Savin for St. Basil’s Cathedral image