Here's some background information about Russia. The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world, covering more than one ninth of the earth's land area.
About Russia: Land area - 17 million sq km (1.8 times the size of the United States.)
Population - 142,500,482 (July 2013 est.)
Capital - Moscow
Ethnic groups - Russian 79.8 percent, Tatar 3.8 percent, Ukrainian 2 percent, Bashkir 1.2 percent, Chuvash 1.1 percent, other or unspecified 12.1 percent (2002 census)
Religion - Russian Orthodox 15-20 percent, Muslim 10-15 percent, other Christian 2 percent (2006 est.)
GDP - $2.555 trillion (2012 est.)
GDP per capita: $18,000 (2012 est.)
Other Facts: One of the top producers of natural gas and oil in the world.
The legislative body, the Federal Assembly, is made up of the lower house, the State Duma, and the upper house, the Federation Council.
Russia spans nine time zones.
Contains one fourth of the world's fresh water.
Timeline: 1613 - Mikhail Romanov's coronation establishes the Romanov dynasty, which lasts for over 300 years.
1917 - The Bolshevik Revolution begins. The new government formed eventually becomes the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, a communist country.
July 1918 - Tsar Nicolas II and the royal family are executed by the Bolsheviks, in Yekatrinburg, Russia.
January 21, 1924 - Vladimir Lenin, founder and first leader of the USSR, dies.
June 1991 - Boris Yeltsin is elected president of Russia.
December 19, 1991 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin issues a decree ordering the Russian government to seize the Kremlin from the USSR.
December 21, 1991 - Eleven of the 12 Soviet republics sign an agreement to form the Commonwealth of Independent States.
December 25, 1991 - President Mikhail Gorbachev resigns, and the Soviet Union dissolves.
September 21, 1993 - President Boris Yeltsin disbands parliament. Lawmakers vote to impeach Yeltsin and elect Alexander Rutskoi as acting president.
October 4, 1993 - Troops loyal to President Boris Yeltsin surround and attack the parliament.
December 11, 1993 - The first parliamentary elections are held under the new constitution with the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia receiving 24 percent of the vote.
December 11, 1994 - Invasion of Chechnya.
July 30, 1995 - Russia calls a truce with Chechen separatists.
July 3, 1996 - President Boris Yeltsin defeats challenger Gennady Zyuganov in the presidential election by 14 percent.
August 9, 1996 - Chechen separatists capture the capital of Grozny.
May 12, 1997 - Russia signs peace treaty with Chechen separatists.
September 23, 1999 - Russia initiates a bombing campaign against Chechen separatists.
December 31, 1999 - Yeltsin resigns as president, naming Vladimir Putin as interim president.
March 26, 2000 - Putin is formally elected president of the Russian Federation, winning 53 percent of the vote over Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov.
May 7, 2000 - Putin is sworn in as president.
August 12, 2000 - The Russian nuclear submarine Kursk sinks in Barents Sea, killing all 118 onboard.
October 23-26, 2002 - Chechen separatists seize a Moscow theater and take 850 people hostage. Russian special forces pumps fentanyl into the theater and then storms the building, killing 50 terrorists and 129 hostages.
March 2003 - Russia opposes the U.S. led invasion of Iraq.
December 7, 2003 - Putin's party, United Russia, wins majority in the State Duma.
March 14, 2004 - Putin is re-elected for second term as president with 71 percent of the vote.
September 1, 2004 - Chechen separatists take more than 1,000 people hostage at a school in Beslan.
July 14, 2007 - The International Olympic Committee selects Sochi, Russia, as the host for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
December 2, 2007 - United Russia wins the majority in the parliamentary election with 64.1 percent of the vote.
December 10, 2007 - Putin names Dmitry Medvedev his successor as president.
March 2, 2008 - Medvedev wins the presidential election with 70.28 percent of the vote.
May 7, 2008 - Medvedev is inaugurated as president; Putin is named prime minister.
August 8, 2008 - Russia invades Georgia after clashes in South Ossetia.
October 6, 2008 - The Russian stock market plunges 19.1 percent.
October 13, 2008 - Medvedev signs into law a $37 billion aid package for banks to shore up the Russian economy, affected by the world economic downturn.
November 21, 2008 - The State Duma increases the presidential term to six years by a vote of 392-57.
June-August 2010 - Russia experiences the worst heat wave on its record, causing 15,000 deaths and destroying 25 percent of the grain crop.
December 2, 2010 - FIFA selects Russia to host the 2018 World Cup soccer games.
December 4, 2011 - Parliamentary elections take place. United Russia, Vladimir Putin's ruling party, suffers big losses in the election, but retains its parliamentary majority. The official election results are 238 seats for United Russia, 92 seats for the Communists, 64 seats for Fair Russia and 56 seats for the Liberal Democrats.
December 10, 2011 - Tens of thousands of Russians gather in Moscow to protest what they believe were parliamentary elections rigged in favor of United Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party. The protesters are demanding an annulment of the December 4 election results and a new vote.
December 11, 2011 - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev calls for a formal probe into disputed parliamentary elections results but rejects demands for a new vote.
March 4, 2012 - Russia's presidential elections are held amid complaints of fraud. Former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin faces off against Gennady Zyuganov, Mikhail Prokhorov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Sergei Mironov.
March 5, 2012 - Vladimir Putin wins the election.
May 6-7, 2012 - Demonstrators protest Vladimir Putin's return to power.
May 7, 2012 - Putin is sworn in under tight security amid protests of fraud. His new prime minister is former president Dmitry Medvedev.
December 28, 2012 - Putin signs an anti-U.S. adoption bill.
August 2013 - Russia's anti-gay stance stirs controversy surrounding both the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the 2018 World Cup.