The official name for Russia in English is the Russian Federation. The capital city of Russia is Moscow. At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. It is among the world’s most populous nations and is one of the biggest countries by nominal GDP.

Extending from eastern Europe across the whole of northern Asia, Russia spans nine time zones and has a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources and is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, and its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's fresh water.

There are 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia, 40 UNESCO biosphere reserves, 40 national parks and 101 nature reserves.



The National Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation

The National Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation is an official state symbol of the Russian Federation. The State Duma passed on December 8, 2000, Federal Constitutional Bill "On the National Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation," which was later approved by the Federation Council and signed into law, on December 25, 2000, by President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation.

The National Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation is a quadrangular red heraldic shield with rounded lower angles and a pointed extremity, which has a gold two-headed eagle rising up on open wings. The eagle wears two small crowns and one large above them, linked by a band.. In its right talon it holds an orb, and in the left a scepter. On its chest is a red shield, on which a silver horseman in a blue cloak is riding to the left on a silver horse. He is piercing a black, prone dragon with a silver spear as the horse tramples it.

 The gold two-headed eagle placed against the red background keeps historical continuity with the color gamut of the late 15th - 17th century coats of arms. In its design, the eagle dates back to images on monuments of Peter the Great's epoch. It is his three historic crowns that are depicted above the eagle's heads, which in the new conditions symbolize the sovereignty of both the Russian Federation as a whole and its parts, the subjects of the Federation. The scepter and the orb the eagle holds in its talons symbolize the state power and a united state. The horseman piercing a dragon on its chest is an ancient symbol of the clash of good and evil, light and darkness, as well as of defense of Fatherland.

 The restoration of the two-headed eagle as Russia's National Coat of Arms represents indissolubility and continuity of national history. Its present-day coat of arms is a new crest, but its components are profoundly traditional; it reflects the different stages of national history and carries them on in the Third Millennium.



The State Flag of the Russian Federation

 The Russian Federation state flag is rectangular in form and comprises three equal horizontal stripes: the upper one white, the middle one blue, and the lower one red. The flag is two-by-three in terms of length to width.

The Russian flag was created when Russia built its first naval vessels, and was used mostly as a naval ensign until the nineteenth century.

Geographical exploration and discoveries by Russian navigators laid the start of the white, blue and red flag’s use on dry land.

Before the nineteenth century, Russian sailors would raise a cross to mark land they were claiming for the country. But in 1806, a new tradition began when a Russian expedition exploring the coast of southern Sakhalin landed and raised two flags on the island – the St Andrew flag, which symbolized the navy’s valour, and the white, blue and red state flag which declared Russia’s new territorial acquisition.

The white, blue and red tricolour’s increasing use came to a halt in 1858, when the state emblems office at the Government Senate’s Heraldry Department proposed making changes to the national flag.

Over the next 150 years Russia’s flag changed numerous times. In November 1990, a government commission on new state symbols settled the flag question quickly and almost unanimously: Russia had had the white, blue and red tricolour with its more than 300 years of history, and should return it to use.

The state flags of the Russian Federation are hoisted atop the buildings of the supreme bodies of state power and administration, embassies, trade missions, consulates of the Russian Federation abroad, are flown by ships in the high seas and in the territorial waters of foreign states, etc.

The State Flag of Russia is hung on a specialized flag-pole (mast) in front of a building or atop a building. Whenever raised vertically, the white stripe shall be on the left and the red stripe on the right.



The National anthem

The National Anthem is one of the official state symbols of the Russian Federation.

The lyrics and music of the national anthem create a ceremonial composition intended as a symbol of state unity. The Anthem’s words reflect feelings of patriotism and respect for the country’s history and its system of government.

The National Anthem can be performed by an orchestra or choir, separately or jointly, or using other vocal and instrumental media. Audio and video recordings can also be made and used in performing the Anthem, as can television and radio broadcasts.

During official performances of the national anthem everyone present listens to it standing, and men remove their hats.

The new National Anthem of the Russian Federation was first officially performed on December 30, 2000, at a state reception in the Great Kremlin Palace.