Just in case you mistakenly heard that it was all ice and snow in Russia, take a peek at the Big Bikini Exposition. This is right on the river Moskva in Moscow!

Moscow has been the capital of Russia for almost its entire history. The exception is during the period of the Russian Empire, which lasted from 1721 until the Russian Revolution 1917. For these two centuries the capital was St. Petersburg. The Russian Empire was the second largest contiguous Empire in world memory; only the Mongol Empire had been greater.

Check out what's happening north of Mongolia these days, in Chita

Although you may not have heard of Sochi, on the Black Sea, they're building up quickly and hope to host the 2014 Olympics.

Other periods of Russian history include the Tsardom of Russia, from Ivan IV to Peter the Great, and the Grand Duchy (14th-16th centuries).

The earliest period of Russian history was ruled by the Novgorod Republic and Kievan Rus, which was the first Russian state dating back to 800AD in Kiev.

Modern Russia remains one of the world's superpowers. They launched the earth's second satellite, called Sputnik 1, and were the first country to put a human being into orbit around earth. (The first one is called the Moon.)

After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia became a federal republic of 83 states.

Text by Steve Smith.

Pavel Gor
Evening on the Black Sea coast
Михаил Шишов
Hot on the Siberian
Михаил Шишов
crooked house in Maimaksa
Space "Buran" at the exhibition centre
Churbanov Yakov
St. Petersburg, Nevsky Prospect 82 . house actor
Chebaldin Vladimir
crossroads on the ancient great siberian road in winter
Chebaldin Vladimir
Siberian Boundary post, Siberian Pillar of Farewell
Chebaldin Vladimir
Siberian Pillar of Farewell, Siberian Boundary post in winter
Churbanov Yakov
Kargopol , Arkhangelsk region,Church, the Cathedral Church of the Annunciation, St. Nicholas Church
Churbanov Yakov
Kargopol evening winter. Cathedral Square, Arkhangelsk region,
Anton Tsarkov
Kolomna Palace - Porch
Anton Tsarkov
Kladovka na Pokrovke-Leto
Olga Parshina
Into the brain
Iouri Ivliev
Kremlin. At the Kul Sharif mosque. Kazan
Andrew Chekmaryov
Aerial view of Sovetov square in Barnaul
Anton Tsarkov
Parter Nijegorodskogo teatra dramy
Ivan Khimin
Kievskiy Pano 1 Copy Cube 0 Equi
Zakirov Aleksey
Ice lake Baikal
Markin Aleksandr
Novosibirsk city (Russia) from Helicopter view