Russia emerged from a decade of post-Soviet economic and political turmoil to reassert itself as a world power.
Income from vast natural resources, above all oil and gas, have helped Russia overcome the economic collapse of 1998. The state-run gas monopoly Gazprom is the world's largest producer and exporter, and supplies a growing share of Europe's needs. Economic strength has allowed Vladimir Putin to enhance state control over political institutions and the media, buoyed by extensive public support for his policies as prime minister, president and now prime minister again. Spanning nine time zones, Russia is the largest country on earth in terms of surface area, although large tracts in the north and east are inhospitable and sparsely populated.
Россия в цитатах
Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain - at least in a poor country like Russia - and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
Everything in America is so uniform. In Russia, everywhere you go is completely insane.
In Russia I felt for the first time like a full human being. No color prejudice like in Mississippi, no color prejudice like in Washington. It was the first time I felt like a human being.
The great drama of Russian history has been between its state and society. Put simply, Russia has always had too much state and not enough society.
One my favorite things is to go to the provinces of Russia and see the 18th century wood churches with the onion dome architecture. These humble wonders of incredible imagination of architects that were obviously not living in places like Paris or London, but they've created these amazing churches.