Many rivers flow across Russia. Of its 100,000 rivers, Russia contains some of the world's longest. The Volga is the most famous—not 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.

The Russian constitution provides for freedom of religion and the equality of all religions before the law, as well as the separation of church and state. Although Jews and Muslims continue to encounter prejudice and societal discrimination, they have not been inhibited by the government in the free practice of their religion. High-ranking federal officials have condemned anti-Semitic hate crimes, but law enforcement bodies have not always effectively prosecuted those responsible. The influx of foreign missionaries has led to pressure by groups in Russia, specifically nationalists and the Russian Orthodox Church, to limit the activities of these "nontraditional" religious groups. In response, the Duma passed a restrictive and potentially discriminatory law on religion in October 1997.

The group of princes manage to unite with Mstislav the Bold and Mstislav Romanovich the Old to defend against the Mongols in 1223, but were defeated at the Battle of the Kalka River.

Ivan the Terrible, who was preceded by Ivan III between the years 1462 to 1505 (also known as Ivan the Great) and Vasili III between the years 1505 to 1533, started his reign as a good leader and made noteworthy changes.

By December 1991, the shortages had resulted in the introduction of food rationing in Moscow and Saint Petersburg for the first time since World War II. Russia received humanitarian food aid from abroad. After the Belavezha Accords, Russia denounced the Soviet Union Treaty on December 12. The Soviet Union officially broke up on December 25, 1991, and the Russian Federation (formerly the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) took power on December 26. The Russian government lifted price control on January 2, 1992. Prices raised dramatically, but shortages disappeared.

The Soviet Union immediately occupied much of Eastern Europe and installed powers in the eastern half of Germany after World War II.

In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific.

The Nihilists first attempted to convert the aristocracy to the cause of reform. Failing there, they turned to the peasants. Their "go to the people" campaign became known as the Narodnik movement.