Many rivers flow across Russia. Of its 100,000 rivers, Russia contains some of the world's longest. The Volga is the most famousónot only because it is the longest river in Europe but also because of its major role in Russian history.Major lakes include Lake Baikal, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega.

Canada comparative: Russia slightly more than 1.7 times the size of Canada.

United Kingdom comparative: Russia slightly more than 70 times the size of the UK.

Russian military salaries are low. Theoretically, the army provides all necessities, but housing and food shortages continue to plague the armed forces. Problems with both discipline and brutal hazing are common as well. HIV infection rates in the Russian army are estimated to be between two to five times higher than in the general population, and tuberculosis is a persistent problem.

Such conditions continue to encourage draft evasion and efforts to delay military service. Although the available manpower (males 15-49) for the Russian Armed Forces was projected at 35.2 million in 2005, only approximately 11% of eligible males do military service. Moreover, military officials complain that new recruit cohorts are plagued by increasing incidences of poor education, communicable diseases and criminality.

The Russian Government has stated a desire to convert to a professional army, but implementation has been delayed repeatedly. Current plans envision a transition to a mixed force, in which professional soldiers fill the ranks of select units and conscription is gradually phased out. Some officials have talked of developing a non-commissioned officer corps to lead the professional army, but the military has yet to make any concrete investments in training or facilities that would begin this process.

The history of the Russian Federation is brief, dating back only to the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991.

Russia has existed as a state for over a thousand years, and during most of the 20th century Russia was the core of the Soviet Union.