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Related: Asia - East - Europe

By medium: Russian art - Russian film - Russian literature

Movements: Communism - constructivism - Marxism

people: Mikhail Bakhtin - Mikhail Bulgakov - Karl Marx - Catherine the Great - Nikolia Gogol - Fyodor Dostoevsky - Vladimir Nabokov

Cinema people: Sergei Eistenstein - Dziga Vertov

Kunstkamera Museum on Vasilyevsky Ostrov. St. Petersburg, Russia, February 1, 2000
Image sourced here.


The Russian Federation, or Russia, is a country that stretches over a vast expanse of Europe and Asia. With an area of 17,075,200 km˛ (6,595,600 mi˛), it is the largest country in the world (by land mass), covering almost twice the territory of the next-largest country, Canada. It ranks eighth in the world in population. It shares land borders with the following countries (counter-clockwise from NW to SE): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland (only through Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It is also close to the United States and Japan across stretches of water: the Diomede Islands (one controlled by Russia, the other by the United States) are just 3 km apart, and Kunashir Island (controlled by Russia but claimed by Japan) is about 20 kilometers from Hokkaido.

Formerly the dominant republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Russia is now an independent country, and an influential member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, since the Union's dissolution in December 1991. During the Soviet era, Russia was officially called the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Russia is usually considered the Soviet Union's successor state in diplomatic matters.

Most of the area, population, and industrial production of the Soviet Union, then one of the world's two superpowers, lay in Russia. After the breakup of the USSR, Russia's global role was greatly diminished, and cannot be compared to that of the former Soviet Union. In October 2005, the federal statistics agency reported that Russia's population has shrunk by more than half a million people dipping to 143 million. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia [Dec 2005]

"Red Scare"

The term "Red Scare" has been applied to two distinct periods of intense anti-Communism in United States history: first from 1917 to 1920, and second from the late 1940s through the mid-1950s. Both periods were characterized by the suspicion of widespread civil-service infiltration by Communists and Anarchists and fears of communist influence on U.S. society and infiltration of the U.S. government. These fears spurred aggressive investigation and (particularly during the first period) jailing of persons associated with communist and socialist ideology or political movements.

As is the case today, the right to free association in America makes it impossible to convict a citizen for simply belonging to a subversive group, or groups and individuals who sympathize with these groups. However, during this time the Espionage Act was extended with the passing of the Sedition Act in 1918. These laws made it illegal to speak out against the U.S. government as well as giving the Postmaster General power to deny mail of citizens suspected of being dissenters (ie: censorship of communist, socialist and anarchist related mail). However, the United States later repealed both of these acts in 1921. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Scare [Dec 2005]

See also: McCarthyism

Russian culture

The culture of Russia is a hybrid one created from the cultures of the nationalities of this multinational state and the result of development over several distinct epochs.

Historically, the dominating position in Russia is occupied by the Russian culture, the culture of Russian language and Russian nationality; this is partly because Russians constitute the vast majority of the population in the country, and partly because many times in the History of Russia the cultures of other nationalities were suppressed through Russification, see for instance Ems Ukase.

The politics of the Soviet Union with respect to culture was controversial: on one side there was a politically-motivated desire to create a "Soviet people", which was expressed in the notion of Soviet culture, exemplified by Socialist Realism. From the other side there were periodical campaigns of preservation of national cultures: every ethnicity had "great national writers" and folk cultural practices were officially supported. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Russia [Dec 2005]

Russian Revolution of 1917

The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a political movement in Russia that climaxed in 1917 with the overthrow of the Provisional Government that had replaced the Russian Tsar system, and led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, which lasted until its collapse in 1991. The Revolution can be viewed in two distinct phases. The first one was that of the February Revolution of 1917, which displaced the autocracy of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last effective Tsar of Russia, and sought to establish in its place a liberal republic. The second phase was the October Revolution, in which the Soviets, inspired and increasingly controlled by Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik party, seized power from the Provisional Government. The revolution affected both the urban areas and the countryside. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and St. Petersburg, there was also a broadbased movement in the rural areas as peasants seized and redistributed land. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Revolution_of_1917 [Jun 2005]

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