a very large country in Eastern Europe and northern Asia, officially called the Russian Federation. It consists of the land from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, and from the borders of Belarus and Ukraine in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. Population: 143,782,197 (2004). Capital: Moscow. Before 1917, Russia was a large, powerful country, ruled by a king called the TSAR. After 1917, it formed the largest part of the Soviet Union, and people often used the name "Russia" when they meant the whole Soviet Union and its Communist government. Since 1991, Russia has had a democratic government.

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