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.

Nikolay Gernet
Над шпилем высотки
Alexey Klement
Kronstadt. Near Lighthouse
Churbanov Yakov
Стадион на Крестовском острове (Зенит Арена) Cанкт Петербург , Вид на вход
Михаил Шишов
Crosswalk on Gagarin
Михаил Шишов
Crosswalk Gagarin
Churbanov Yakov
Arkhangelsk,10 november 2014, parking boats, embankment of the Northern Dvina, Kuznechevskiy Bridge
Ivan Melnikov
Waterpark Tursib
Alabuhi krasnoyar
Chesnoque
Two headed nipple in winter
"alexander-karpov"
Cottage Spring
Vladimir Georgievskiy
Interior of Konstantinovkiy Palace, St Petersburg
Vladimir Georgievskiy
Apartment-for-Just-Married-Briz-Hotel-Sochi-Russia
Vladimir Georgievskiy
Russian Winter Forest
Vladimir Georgievskiy
Konstantinovsky Palace, Strelna, Petersburg
Vladimir Georgievskiy
Garden of Winter Palace, Petersburg
Vladimir Salman
Ruins of church in a round floor 01
Vladimir Salman
Alehsandr Ruhinin the sculptor
Lev Trusov
The Old Mill in Yuryatino
Lev Trusov
Karelia. Lake Murashevo.
Andrey Ilyin
David Sarkisyan, the Director of MUAR and his private office.