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The Russian republic was established immediately after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and became a union republic in 1922.
During the post-World War II era, Russia was a central player in international affairs, locked in a Cold War struggle with the United States.
Despite such profound problems, Russia showed promise of achieving its potential as a world power once again, as if to exemplify a favourite proverb, stated in the 19th century by Austrian statesman Klemens, Fürst (prince) von Metternich: “Russia is never as strong as she appears, and never as weak as she appears.”Russia can boast a long tradition of excellence in every aspect of the arts and sciences.
Prerevolutionary Russian society produced the writings and music of such giants of world culture as Anton Chekhov, Aleksandr Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Nikolay Gogol, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
To the southwest and west it borders Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as Finland and Norway.
Extending nearly halfway around the Northern Hemisphere and covering much of eastern and northeastern Europe and all of northern Asia, Russia has a maximum east-west extent of some 5,600 miles (9,000 km) and a north-south width of 1,500 to 2,500 miles (2,500 to 4,000 km).
Serfdom endured well into the modern era; the years of Soviet communist rule (1917–91), especially the long dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, saw subjugation of a different and more exacting sort.In 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia joined with several other former Soviet republics to form a loose coalition, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).Although the demise of Soviet-style communism and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union brought profound political and economic changes, including the beginnings of the formation of a large middle class, for much of the postcommunist era Russians had to endure a generally weak economy, high inflation, and a complex of social ills that served to lower life expectancy significantly.The 1917 revolution and the changes it brought were reflected in the works of such noted figures as the novelists Maxim Gorky, Boris Pasternak, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the composers Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergey Prokofiev.And the late Soviet and postcommunist eras witnessed a revival of interest in once-forbidden artists such as the poets Vladimir Mayakovsky and Anna Akhmatova while ushering in new talents such as the novelist Victor Pelevin and the writer and journalist Tatyana Tolstaya, whose celebration of the arrival of winter in St.
(region) of Kaliningrad (a part of what was once East Prussia annexed in 1945), which also abuts Poland and Lithuania.