Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
Enlargement of NATO
Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the process of including new member states in NATO. NATO is a military alliance of twenty-seven European and two North American countries that constitutes a system of collective defense; the process of joining the alliance is governed by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which allows only for the invitation of "other European States", by subsequent agreements. Countries wishing to join have to meet certain requirements and complete a multi-step process involving political dialogue and military integration; the accession process is overseen by NATO's governing body. After its formation in 1949 with twelve founding members, NATO grew by including Greece and Turkey in 1952 and West Germany in 1955, later Spain in 1982. After the Cold War ended, Germany reunited in 1990, there was a debate in NATO about continued expansion eastward. In 1999, Poland and the Czech Republic joined the organization, amid much debate within the organization and Russian opposition.
Another expansion came with the accession of seven Central and Eastern European countries: Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia. These nations were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, joined NATO shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. Albania and Croatia joined on 1 April 2009, prior to the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit; the most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. As of 2019, NATO recognizes four aspiring members: Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Ukraine. North Macedonia signed an accession protocol to become a NATO member state in February 2019, undergoing ratification by the member states. Future expansion is a topic of debate in several countries outside the alliance, countries like Sweden and Serbia have open political debate on the topic of membership, while in countries like Ukraine and opposition to membership is tied to ethnic and nationalist ideologies; the incorporation of countries part of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union has been a cause of increased tension between NATO countries and Russia.
NATO has added new members seven times since its founding in 1949 to include twenty-nine members. Twelve countries were part of the founding of NATO: Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States; the early years of the Cold War saw a stark divide between Capitalist states, backed by United States, Communist satellite states of the Soviet Union. This divide eased inclusion of Portugal under Salazar in NATO and encouraged the anti-Communist governments of Greece and Turkey to join NATO in 1952. Greece would suspend its membership in 1974, over the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, but rejoined in 1980 with Turkey's cooperation; the Bonn–Paris conventions ended the allies’ occupation of West Germany, were ratified in part on the condition that West Germany join NATO, which it did in 1955. Though isolationist, Spain under Francisco Franco was staunchly anti-Communist, bound by regular defence agreements with NATO countries. After its transition to democracy, Spain came under pressure to normalize its European relations, including joining NATO, which it did in 1982.
A referendum in 1986 confirmed popular support for this. The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance; this had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the former East Germany, the topic of further NATO expansion east was raised. There is no mention of NATO enlargement in the September–October 1990 agreements on German reunification, so there was no formal commitment not to expand. Whether or not the West informally committed to not enlarge NATO to the East is a matter of dispute among historians and international relations scholars. Harvard University historian Mark Kramer rejects that an informal agreement existed, whereas Texas A&M University political scientist Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson argues that an informal agreement existed.
In December 2017, Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive at George Washington University argued that newly declassified documents showed that an informal agreement existed. Jack Matlock, US ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a "clear commitment" not to expand, declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the oral impression by diplomats like Hans-Dietrich Genscher and James Baker that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland. In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that "during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east," and repeated this view in an interview in 2008. However, in 2014, Gorbachev said "The topic of'NATO expansion' was not discussed at all, it wasn't brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Western leaders didn't bring it up, either."
Eduard Shevardnadze, foreign minister of the Soviet Union between 1985 and 1991, has always maintained that "NATO's expansion beyond German borders never came up for negotiation." According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made. In February 1991, Poland and the Czech Republic and Slo
Senator Vladimir Petrovich Lukin is a Russian liberal political activist who served as Human Rights Commissioner of Russia from February 2004 to March 2014. He is the President of the Russian Paralympic Committee. Vladimir Lukin was raised by his relatives, as his parents had been repressed by the Stalinist regime soon after his birth. In 1990s, Lukin was one of the founders of the liberal-democratic Yabloko Party, he served as the deputy chairman of the Russian Duma, chair of the Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee and as Ombudsman. He is a director on the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, is a former Ambassador to the United States, he is considered a long-time specialist in U. S.-Soviet/Russian strategic arms control issues and is a member of Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, an independent association of national security experts. On 18 February 2009, at President Medvedev's recommendation, the Russian Duma voted him another five-year term as human rights commissioner; this term expired in March 2014, Lukin was replaced by Ella Pamfilova.
In 2014, Lukin was awarded the Paralympic Order. Vladimir Lukin, Deputy Chairman of the Yabloko Association
2007 Russian legislative election
Legislative elections were held in the Russian Federation on 2 December 2007. At stake were the 450 seats in the 5th State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia. Eleven parties were included in the ballot, including Russia's largest party, United Russia, supported by President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Official results showed that United Russia won 64.3% of the votes, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation 11.6%, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 8.1%, Fair Russia won 7.7%, none of the other parties won enough votes to gain any seats. Although 400 foreign election monitors were present at the polling stations, the elections received mixed criticism internationally from Western countries, by some independent media and some opposition parties domestically; the observers stated that the elections were not rigged but that media coverage was favoured towards United Russia. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stated that the elections were "not fair", while foreign governments and the European Union called on Russia to look for possible violations.
The election commission responded saying. The Kremlin said it demonstrated Russia's political stability; the 2007 election were assigned from party-list proportional representation under a law adopted in 2005 on the initiative of President Vladimir Putin. He claimed. In the previous elections half of the seats were filled using proportional representation and another half using the first-past-the-post system, it was the first parliamentary election since 1993 that lacks the "against all" option on the ballot, the first in which there was no provision for the minimum number of voters that must be achieved for the elections to be considered valid. That year, the 225 single-member districts were abolished. In the election of 2003, 100 of these seats were won by minor party candidates. All seats were awarded by proportional representation; the threshold for eligibility to win seats was raised from 5.0 to 7.0 percent. In 2003 four parties each exceeded 7.0 percent of the list vote and collectively won 70.7 percent of the total Duma vote.
Only registered parties were eligible to compete, registered parties could not form a bloc in order to improve their chances of clearing the 7.0 percent threshold, with the provision that parties in the Duma had to represent at least 60% of the participating citizens, that there must be at least two parties in the Duma. There were eleven parties eligible to take part in the Duma election. Duma seats were allocated to individuals on the lists of successful parties in accordance with their ranking there, divided among each regional group of candidates for the party in proportion to the votes received by that party in each region. Any members who resign from their party automatically forfeit their seats. Several weeks ahead of the election, party leaders take part in moderated debates. Debates are televised on several state channels; each candidate were given a chance to present his party's agenda, to challenge opponents with questions. In the Republic of Chechnya, a constitutional referendum was held on the same date.
15 parties were eligible to participate in the elections. On 13 September 2007, Patriots of Russia and Party of Russia's Rebirth created a coalition, leaving only 14 parties to participate. All 14 parties have presented their lists of candidates to the Central Election commission. However, the Electoral Commission decided the Russian Ecological Party "The Greens" would not be able to stand, due to an alleged large number of faked signatures in their supporters' lists. Nationalist People's Union decided to endorse the Communist Party. Included in final ballots were: Agrarian Party of Russia Citizens' Force Democratic Party of Russia Communist Party of the Russian Federation Union of Rightist Forces Russian Social Justice Party Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Fair Russia Patriots of Russia–Party of Russia's Rebirth Coalition United Russia Yabloko A number of parties contested the election; the biggest and most popular party in Russia is United Russia, which supports the policies of Vladimir Putin.
On 1 October 2007, Putin announced he would run first place on the United Russia list and that he might consider becoming Prime Minister after the elections. Other pro-Kremlin parties crossing the seven percent threshold include the new Fair Russia party, led by the Speaker of the Federation Council of Russia Sergey Mironov, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, favourable towards President Putin's policies; the largest opposition party is the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which saw its share of the vote cut in half between 1999 and 2003. It came in second with over 11% of the vote, however; the liberal democratic opposition was represented by the free-market Union of Rightist Forces, the more minded Yabloko, Civilian Power representing right liberal ideology, none of which won any seats. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe planned to send a large team of election monitors to Russia for the election, but scuttled the plans after accusing Moscow of imposing curbs and delaying monitors' visas (Russian officials denied the claim
Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company. It is based in California, it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon and Google; the founders limited the website's membership to Harvard students and subsequently Columbia and Yale students. Membership was expanded to the remaining Ivy League schools, MIT, higher education institutions in the Boston area. Facebook added support for students at various other universities, to high school students. Since 2006, anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old has been allowed to become a registered user of Facebook, though variations exist in this requirement, depending on local laws; the name comes from the face book directories given to American university students. Facebook held its initial public offering in February 2012, valuing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company.
It began selling stock to the public three months later. Facebook makes most of its revenue from advertisements; the Facebook service can be accessed from devices with Internet connectivity, such as personal computers and smartphones. After registering, users can create a customized profile revealing information about themselves. Users can post text and multimedia of their own devising and share it with other users as "friends". Users can use various embedded apps, receive notifications of their friends' activities. Users may join common-interest groups. Facebook had more than 2.3 billion monthly active users as of December 2018. It receives prominent media coverage, including many controversies such as user privacy and psychological effects; the company has faced intense pressure over censorship and over content that some users find objectionable. Facebook offers other services, it independently developed Facebook Messenger. Zuckerberg built; the site was comparable to Hot or Not and used "photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the "hotter" person".
Facemash attracted 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours. The site was sent to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days by Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged with breaching security, violating copyrights and violating individual privacy; the charges were dropped. Zuckerberg expanded on this project that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an art history final exam, he uploaded all art images to a website, each of, accompanied by a comments section shared the site with his classmates. A "face book" is a student directory featuring personal information. In 2003, Harvard had only a paper version along with private online directories. Zuckerberg told the Crimson, "Everyone's been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard.... I think. I can do it better than they can, I can do it in a week." In January 2004, Zuckerberg coded a new website, known as "TheFacebook", inspired by a Crimson editorial about Facemash, stating, "It is clear that the technology needed to create a centralized Website is available... the benefits are many."
Zuckerberg met with Harvard student Eduardo Saverin, each of them agreed to invest $1,000 in the site. On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched "TheFacebook" located at thefacebook.com. Six days after the site launched, Harvard seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing that he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com. They claimed; the three complained to the Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation. They sued Zuckerberg, settling in 2008 for 1.2 million shares. Membership was restricted to students of Harvard College. Within a month, more than half the undergraduates had registered. Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes joined Zuckerberg to help manage the growth of the website. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Columbia and Yale. and to all Ivy League colleges, Boston University, New York University, MIT, Washington and successively most universities in the United States and Canada.
In mid-2004, Napster co-founder and entrepreneur Sean Parker—an informal advisor to Zuckerberg—became company president. In June 2004, the company moved to California, it received its first investment that month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. In 2005, the company dropped "the" from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com for US$200,000. The domain had belonged to AboutFace Corporation. In May 2005, Accel Partners invested $12.7 million in Facebook, Jim Breyer added $1 million of his own money. A high-school version of the site launched in September 2005. Eligibility expanded to include employees including Apple Inc. and Microsoft. On September 26, 2006, Facebook opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address. By late 2007, Facebook had 100,000 pages. Organization pages began rolling out in May 2009. On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced th
Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko is a Belarusian politician serving as President of Belarus since the office was created on 20 July 1994. Before launching his political career, Lukashenko worked as director of a collective farm and spent time with the Soviet Border Troops and the Soviet Army, he was the only deputy to vote against the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union. Lukashenko opposed Western-backed shock therapy during the post-Soviet transition, he has supported state ownership of key industries in Belarus. Lukashenko's government has retained much of the country's Soviet-era symbolism related to the victory in the Second World War. Western opponents of Lukashenko have described Belarus as'Europe's last dictatorship'. Since 2006, Lukashenko and other Belarusian officials have been the subject of on-and-off sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States for human rights violations, he responds that his policies are the only alternative to instability and have spared Belarus from the poverty and oligarchy seen elsewhere in the former Soviet republics.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, under Lukashenko's leadership Belarus has maintained government control over key industries and eschewed large-scale privatizations seen in other former Soviet republics. Lukashenko was born on 30 August 1954 in the settlement of Kopys in the Vitebsk Oblast of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, his maternal grandfather, Trokhym Ivanovich Lukashenko, had been born in the Sumy Oblast of Ukraine near Shostka. Lukashenko grew up without a father in his childhood, leading him to be taunted by his schoolmates for having an unmarried mother. According to one version, his father was a peasant from Orsha but another version that's widespread in Belarusian society said that his father was an unknown gypsy. Due to this, the origin of his patronymic Grigorevich is unknown, his mother, Ekaterina Trofimovna Lukashenko, worked as a milkmaid. Lukashenko went to Alexandria secondary school, he graduated from the Mogilev Pedagogical Institute in 1975, after 4 years studying there and the Belarusian Agricultural Academy in Horki in 1985.
He served in the Border Guard from 1975 to 1977, where he was an instructor of the political department of military unit No. 2187 of the Western Frontier District in Brest and in the Soviet Army from 1980 to 1982. In addition, he led an All-Union Leninist Young Communist League chapter in Mogilev from 1977 to 1978. While in the Soviet Army, Lukashenko was a deputy political officer of the 120th Guards Motor Rifle Division, based in Minsk. In 1979, he joined the ranks of the CPSU. After leaving the military, he became the deputy chairman of a collective farm in 1982 and in 1985, he was promoted to the post of director of the Gorodets state farm and construction materials plant in the Shklov district. In 1987, he was appointed as the director of the Gorodets state farm in Shkloŭ district and in early 1988, was one of the first in Mogilev Region to introduce a leasing contract to a state farm. In 1990, Lukashenko was elected Deputy to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus, he was the only deputy of the Belarusian parliament who voted against ratification of the December 1991 agreement that dissolved the Soviet Union and set up the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Having acquired a reputation as an eloquent opponent of corruption, Lukashenko was elected in April 1993 to serve as the interim chairman of the anti-corruption committee of the Belarusian parliament. In late 1993 he accused 70 senior government officials, including the Supreme Soviet chairman Stanislav Shushkevich and prime minister Vyacheslav Kebich, of corruption including stealing state funds for personal purposes. While the charges were never proven against him, Shushkevich resigned his chairmanship due to the embarrassment of this series of events and losing a vote of no-confidence, he served in that position until July 1994. A new Belarusian constitution enacted in early 1994 paved the way for the first democratic presidential election on 23 June and 10 July. Six candidates stood in the first round, including Lukashenko, who campaigned as an independent on a populist platform. Shushkevich and Kebich ran, with the latter regarded as the clear favorite. Lukashenko won 45.1% of the vote while Kebich received 17.4%, Zyanon Paznyak received 12.9% and Shushkevich, along with two other candidates, received less than 10% of votes.
Lukashenko won the second round of the election on 10 July with 80.1% of the vote. Shortly after his election, he addressed the State Duma of the Russian Federation in Moscow proposing a new Union of Slavic states, which would culminate in the creation of the Union of Russia and Belarus in 1999. In May 1995, Belarus held a referendum on changing its national symbols. Lukashenko was given the ability to disband the Supreme Soviet by decree. In the summer of 1996, deputies of the 199-member Belarusian parliament signed a petition to impeach Lukashenko on charges of violating the Constitution. Shortly after that, a referendum was held on 24 November 1996 in which four questions were offered by Lukashenko and three offered by a group of Parliament members; the questions ranged from social issues (changing the independence day to 3 July (the date of the liberation