Russia

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.

Nogin Victor
The Fir trees...- Елки...
Alexey Klement
Novgorod. Wooden sculptures near kremlin
Alexey Klement
Novgorod. The Bells
Alexey Klement
Novgorod. On the bridge near kremlin
Gabdrakhmanov Rustam
Chelyabinsk Kirov Street 19
Gabdrakhmanov Rustam
Chelyabinsk fur Salon
Sibiria, Borisovo
ecx ecx
9000x4500 Fin
"alexander-karpov"
Near The Church
Евгений Орлов
Perm. Happy New Year 2013.
Vasily Kumaev & Andrew Mishin
Rastvorovo. Abandoned church. Interior (2009)
Ivan Petrov
Znamenskaya Tower
Шубкин Сергей
Свято-Введенский Толгский женский монастырь
Шубкин Сергей
Свято-Введенский Толгский женский монастырь.
Vasily Kumaev & Andrew Mishin
Serpukhov. Church. Interior. (2009)
Vasily Kumaev & Andrew Mishin
Serpukhov. Church. Altar. (2009)
Vasily Kumaev & Andrew Mishin
Borovensk. Abandoned cathedral. Floor 2. Altar. (2009)
Anton Eryomin & Paul Bouryanov
Graffiti in the abandoned pavilion of the exhibition of achievements of national economy. September, 2009. Barnaul, Russia.
Vasily Kumaev & Andrew Mishin
Pond in Hordovo (2009)
Шубкин Сергей
Свято-Введенский Толгский женский монастырь.