Russia is the largest country in the world. It occupies most of Eastern Europe and north Asia, stretching from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south. Russia contains Mount Elbrus, Europe's tallest peak, and Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world. Lake Baikal is estimated to hold one fifth of the world's fresh water.
The Russian Federation is a federal semi-presidential republic. A semi-presidential system is one in which there is a prime minister who leads the legislature and exercises some authority, but there is also a president who fulfills an executive role in the government.
Russia has the fifth-largest diplomatic network in the world; maintaining diplomatic relations with 190 United Nations member states, two partially-recognized states, and three United Nations observer states; with 144 embassies. Russia is a member of the G20, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the APEC, and takes a leading role in organisations such as the CIS, the EAEU, the CSTO, the SCO, and BRICS.
The Russian cultural tradition is distinct and widely regarded. The nation's writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers are famous all around the world. Some of the country's most prominent cultural icons include Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace), Feodor Dostoevksy (The Brothers Karamazov), Aleksander Pushkin (Eugene Onegin), Modest Moussorgsky (A Night on Bald Mountain), Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin) and many more.
Many will be acquainted with Russian handicrafts from the Faberge Eggs to the humble matryoshka (also known as the Russian nesting doll). The country's traditional toys and decorative items are visually stunning and originate from Russia's diverse (and widespread) ethnic groups.
Among Russia's most striking cultural features is its ballet. Tchaikovsky's classics The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty, and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet are among the world's most popular performances.