Russia (Russian: Rossiya), also the Russian Federation (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), is a country that stretches over a vast expanse of Asia and Europe. With an area of 17,075,400 km╡, Russia is the largest country in the world, covering almost twice the territory of the next-largest country, Canada, and has the world's eighth-largest population.
Russia shares land borders with the following countries (counter-clockwise from northwest to southeast): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It is also close to the United States and Japan across relatively small stretches of water (the Bering Strait and La Perouse Strait, respectively).
Formerly the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), a republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Russia is now the Federation of Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. After the Soviet era, the area, population, and industrial production of the Soviet Union (then one of the world's two Cold War superpowers) that was located in Russia passed on to the Russian Federation.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia went from a superpower to a great power (although it is sometimes considered to be an energy superpower). Russia is considered the Soviet Union's successor state in diplomatic matters (see Russia's membership in the United Nations) and is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. It is also one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the world's largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Russia is the leading nation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a member of the G8 as well as other international organisations.
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