Russia is the largest country in the world, its area being 17 125.2 thousand square km. This is 11.5% of the world's territory. The state is located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia.
Poitical System: Federal Republic
Head of State: President (Vladimir Putin)
Head of Government: Prime Minister (Dmitri Medvedev)
Legislature: Bicameral Parliament (State Duma and Federation Council)
Capital: Moscow
Population:144 million people
Official language: Russian
Monetary Unit: Ruble


Religions

Russia is a secular state, where no religion can be established as dominant, state or compulsory. The freedom of conscience and religion is guaranteed by the Constitution. All citizens are granted the right to profess any religion and the right to be an atheist. Despite that there are many believers in Russia.

Orthodox Christianity

The ancestors of many of today’s Russians adopted Orthodox Christianity in the 10th century. According the polls, about 70% of respondents consider themselves Russian Orthodox. Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk was elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus in 2009. Russian Orthodoxy differs to an extend from other branches of Christianity in terms of doctrine, rituals and calendar: for instance, Christmas is celebrated on January, 7, not December, 25; music during a service is performed by a choir without any instrumental accompaniment.

Islam in Russia

Russia’s second most popular religion is Islam. It’s thought the country is home to around 14 to 20 million Muslims, making up 10 to 16 per cent of Russia’s population. Almost all Russian Muslims are Sunnis but there are small pockets of Shiites in the Caucasus. Russia’s Muslims mainly live in the Volga Region and the North Caucasus, although Moscow and St. Petersburg also have thriving local communities.

The largest Islamic centres are Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. The republic of Tatarstan on the Volga River has as many as 1150 mosques. Its capital Kazan, an ancient Tatar stronghold, boasts the largest mosque in Russia and, reputedly, in Europe – the Qolsharif Mosque. Built in the 16th century, it was destroyed in 1552 during a military campaign. Now restored and looking decisively modern, it’s the gem of the city’s architectural landscape.


Buddhism

Buddhism made its way to Russia in the late 16th century, when Russian explorers travelled to and settled in Siberia and the Far East. Russia’s key Buddhist centre is Kalmykia. Vast steppe land on the north-western shores of the Caspian Sea, the republic of Kalmykia is the only place in Europe where Buddhism is the major religion. Buddhist teaching is also widespread in Tuva and Buryatia. Located at the midpoint of Asia, the republic of Tuva is famous for its bewitching throat singers. The Buryat Republic, along the eastern shore of Lake Baikal has a strong tradition of Tibetan Buddhist medical practices.

History

The early history of Russia as a unified state dates back to 882. The new empire, known as Kievan Rus', flourished for the next three hundred years, its cities being important trade hubs.
By 989, Vladimir I was ruler of a kingdom that extended to as far south as the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, and the lower reaches of the Volga River. Vladimir is honored for establishing Orthodox Christianity in the country.

In 1147 Yuri Dolgorukiy, one of the regional princes, held a feast at his hunting lodge atop a hill overlooking the confluence of the Moskva and Neglina Rivers. A chronicler recorded the party, thus providing us with the earliest mention of Moscow, the small settlement that would soon become the pre-eminent city in Russia.

Kievan Rus' struggled on into the 13th century, but was decisively destroyed by the arrival of a new invader--the Mongols. Invasions of Russia were attempted during this period from the west as well, first by the Swedes (1240) and then by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword (1242), a regional branch of the fearsome Teutonic Knights. In the best news of the era for Russia, both were decisively defeated by the great warrior Alexander Nevsky, a prince of Novgorod who earned his surname from his victory over the Swedes on the Neva River.

For the next century or so, Moscow has gained more influence. As a sign of the city's importance, the patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church was transferred to the city, making it the spiritual capital of Russia. In 1547 Ivan IV adopted the title of tsar and started opening vast new areas for Russia, including Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia.

In 1604 a pretender, claiming to be Dmitri, a son of Ivan IV invaded Russia. Ushering in the so-called "Time of Troubles". For the next eight years both the first and a second false Dmitri laid claims to the throne, both supported by invading Polish armies. Finally, in 1613, the Poles were ousted from Moscow. The decisive battle took place on 4 November, 1612, so this date is celebrated as the National Unity Day in Russia.

In 1613 Michael Romanov unanimously elected as Tsar. The Romanov dynasty was to rule Russia for the next 304 years. Peter the Great was an outstanding ruler of the Romanov dynasty. He spent about two years in Europe, not only meeting monarchs and conducting diplomacy but also travelling incognito and even working as a ship's carpenter in Holland. He amassed a considerable body of knowledge on industrial techniques and state administration, and became determined to modernize the Russian. Having returned to Moscow, he reformed economic structure, established technical schools, simplified the alphabet, changed the calendar, changed his title from Tsar to Emperor, and introduced a hundred other novelties. In 1703 he transferred the capital from Moscow to a new city to be built from scratch on the Gulf of Finland. The city, named St.Petersburg, has become one of the most beautiful places in the world.

One of his successors, Catherine the Great, continued Peter the Great's reforms. Russia's influence in global affairs, as well as its territory in Eastern and Central Europe, were increased and expanded. Catherine was also an enthusiastic patron of the arts. She built and founded the Hermitage Museum, commissioned buildings all over Russia, founded academies, journals, and libraries.

In June of 1812, Napoleon began his fatal Russian campaign, a landmark in the history of the destructive potential of warfare. Having gathered nearly half a million soldiers from France as well as all of the vassal states of Europe as virtually all of continental Europe was under his control, Napoleon entered Russia at the head of the largest army ever seen only to be bitterly defeated by the Russians under Marshal Kutuzov.
Russia had expanded its territory and its power considerably over the nineteenth century. Its borders extended to Afghanistan and China, and it had acquired extensive territory on the Pacific coast. The foundation of the port cities of Vladivostok and Port Arthur there had opened up profitable avenues for commerce, and the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway (constructed from 1891-1905) linked the European Russia with its new eastern territories.

As Russia became more industrialized, larger, and far more complicated, the inadequacies of autocratic Tsarist rule became increasingly apparent. By 1917 conditions were ripe for a serious convulsion. On October 25, the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin inaugurated the Soviet era.

The first years of Soviet rule were marked by an extraordinary outburst of social and cultural change. The country's infrastructure was rebuilt, industrial development was pushed along at breakneck speed, while the Russian Avant-Garde reached its height, developing the radical new styles of Constructivism, Futurism, and Suprematism.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, the Soviet Union found itself unprepared for the conflict. At first the Nazis had seized most of the Soviet territory in the west, surrounded St. Petersburg (having been renamed as Leningrad), and advanced to within a few hundred miles of Moscow. With tremendous effort, a Russian counter-offensive pushed back the advance on the capital. Despite an overwhelming disadvantage in numbers and inferior weaponry, the Russian army succeeded in holding out against the enormous German army. From 1943 onward, the Russian army remained on the attack. By 1944 they had driven the Nazis back to Poland, and on May 2, 1945, Berlin fell, marking the liberation of Europe and salvation of the whole world.

The second half of the 20th century saw a number of great discoveries by Russian scientists, the most prominent being space exploration. In 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man and the envoy of humankind in space.


Indian Russia

According to the Association of Indians in Russia, around 40,000 people of Indian origin are living in our country.

The Archives in Astrakhan, Moscow and St.Petersburg contain significant information on the activity of Indian merchants and artisans. We learn that the first Indians from Sindh and Multan arrived in Russian Astrakhan in 1615-1616. In 1624 a special trading post for Indian merchants was erected in Astrakhan. Historical records show that at one point more than one hundred Indian merchants and their servants lived in the region. They were dealers in Astrakhan textiles, jewelry and medicines. In 1650 Indian merchants sold their goods in Yaroslavl, not far from Moscow. Thereafter Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhaylovich invited Indian artisans to Moscow to introduce a textile industry there. Moscow had given the local administrative head instruction to allow Hindus to follow their rites of passage. Indian diamond trade was known then in Moscow and St. Petersburg. From the mid-1950s onwards significant numbers of Indian students began attending educational institutions in Moscow, Leningrad, Sverdlovsk, Kursk etc.

Because of warm relations between Russia and India for more than 65 years, Indians have always found a welcoming atmosphere among Russians. Russian society was in love with Indian movies and music for a long time, thus, it is more likely to accept Indians as a part of its emerging multi-cultural mosaic.

Science and Technology

Science and technology in Russia developed rapidly since the Age of Enlightenment, when Peter the Great founded the Russian Academy of Sciences and polymath Mikhail Lomonosov founded the Moscow State University, establishing a strong native tradition in learning and innovation.

In the 19th and 20th centuries the country produced a large number of notable scientists, making important contributions to physics, astronomy, mathematics, computing, chemistry, biology, geology and geography. Russian inventors and engineers excelled in such areas as electrical engineering, shipbuilding, aerospace, weaponry, communications, IT, nuclear research and space exploration. Nano technologies have been developing intensely latest decades.

To learn more about nana technologies visit http://en.rusnano.com/

About history of science and technology in Russia

http://web.mit.edu/slava/guide/