Russia (My Motherland)

Russia was the largest Republic in the former USSR. But now it has
become an independent State.

It is situated in the Eastern part of Europe and in the Northern part
of Asia.

The country is washed by 12 seas of three oceans: the Pacific, the
Arctic and the Atlantic oceans. The seas are: the White Sea, the Barents
Sea, the Okhotsk Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and others.

The climate in Russia varies from arctic in the north to continental
in the central part of the country and subtropical in the South. Winters
are cold, windy and snowy, especially in the northern part of the
country. The coldest point of the northern hemisphere, where
temperatures are minus 70*C, is located in Siberia. Summers are hot and
dry, especially in the South region of the country, in such cities like
Sochi, Anapa and others. Autumn usually brings rains and fogs.

The land of Russia varies from thick forests to barren deserts, from
high peaked mountains to deep valleys. There are two great plains in
Russia: they are the Great Russian Plain and the West Siberian Plain.
There are some mountain chains. The biggest mountain chain, the Urals,
separates Europe from Asia. In Asian part of Russia we can find another
big mountain chain, the Altai. There are about 150 volcanoes in
Kamchatka Peninsula, 30 of which are active. One can find deserts in the
Far East, Arctic zones of tundra in the North. These territories are
inhabited by various animals, birds, insects. In the north of Russia
live the walrus, seal, white bear, polar fox and reindeer. In the forest
zone live the bear, wolf, fox, linx, sable, ermine, elk, roe, wild bear
and in the Far East the tiger and leopard. Among the trees growing in
the European part of Russia are birch, pine and oak: in Siberia – cedar,
larch and fir trees and in the Far East – iron and cork trees, lotus,
ginseng and lianas.

There are very many rivers in Russia, the longest of them are the
Volga in Europe and the Yenissei and the Ob in Asia. The world’s deepest
lake — Lake Baikal, with the depth of 1600 metres, is situated in
Russia, too. Its water is the purest in the world.

Russia borders on many countries: Norway and Finland in the
north-west, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and the Ukraine in the west,
Georgia and Azerbaijan in the south-west, and Kazakhstan, Mongolia,
China in the south

The capital of Russia is Moscow and it is also one of the main
political, scientific, industrial and cultural centres. It’s population
is about 10 million people. Other big cities are St. Petersburg,
Sverdlovsk, Samara, Omsk, Novosibirsk and many others.

Russia has population of about 150 million people of over a hundred
nationalities. Nearly one hundred languages are spoken in the country.
The European part of the country is densely peopled, and most population
live in cities and towns and their outskirts.

Russia is a highly-industrialized-agrarian country. Its vast mineral
resources include oil, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, zinc, lead,
aluminium, gold, diamonds, zinc and almost all other minerals. Russia
has the world’s largest oil and natural gas resources. Three-quarters of
the country’s mineral wealth are concentrated in Siberia and the Far
East.

Approximately 10 million people are engaged in agriculture and they
produce half of the region’s grain, meat, milk and other dairy products.
The largest granaries are located in the North Caucasus and the Volga
and the Amur regions.

Russia has very long and rich history. That’s why we have many
different customs and traditions. For example, there are many villages
in Russia famous for their specific crafts: painted boxes in Palekh,
wooden tableware in Khokhloma and toys in Dymkovo. Log houses, usually
decorated with wood carving are typical for Russian villages. People in
Russian villages performed traditional Khorovods (a kind of round dance)
and chastushki (folk chanted rhymes) and rode in troikas (carriages
drawn by teams of three horses abreast) and, of course, village
residents still prefer to drink tea from samovars. Traditional Russian
Cooking includes porridges, pancakes, various aspics, cabbage, chiken
and fish soup, pirozhki (tuknovers) and kvass (a beverage made from
fermented rye bread). Siberian causine has such dishes as
stroganina(frozen fish) and pelmeni(meat-filled dumplings).

Our country has always played one of the leading parts in the world
politics and economics. But, at present, there are a lot of problems in
the national economy of the Russian Federation. The industrial
production is decreasing. The prices are constantly rising, the rate of
inflation is very high. People are losing their jobs because many
factories and plants are going bankrupt.

State System

The Russian Federation, or the Russian Federative Republic, is set up
by the Constitution of 1993.

Under the Constitution Russia is a presidential republic. The federal
government consists of three branches: legislative, executive and
judicial. Each of them is checked and balanced by the President.

The legislative power is vested in the Federal Assembly. It consists
of two chambers. The Upper Chamber is the Council of Federation: the
Lower Chamber is the State Duma.

Each chamber is headed by the Speaker. Legislature may be initiated
in either of the two Chambers. But to become a law a bill must be
approved by both Chambers and signed by the President. The President may
veto the bill.

The President is commander-in chief of the armed forces, he makes
treaties, enforces laws, appoints ministers to be approved by the
Federal Assembly.

The executive power belongs to the Government headed by the Prime
Minister. The first action of the Prime Minister on appointment is to
form the Cabinet.

The judicial branch is represented by the Constitutional Court, the
Supreme Court and the regional courts.

The members of the Federal Assembly are elected by popular vote for a
four-year period.

Today the state symbol of Russia is a three-colored banner. It has
three horizontal stripes: white, blue and red. The white stripe
symbolizes the earth, the blue one stands for the sky, and the red one
symbolizes liberty. It was the first state symbol that replaced the
former symbols in 1991. The hymn of Russia was written by Alexandrov. A
new national emblem is a two-headed eagle. It is the most ancient symbol
of Russia. It originates from the heraldic emblem of the Ruricovitches.
All these symbols are official. They have been approved by the Federal
Assembly.

I love my motherland and I am very proud of it as it has great
history. Russia is famous for great scientists such as Lomonosov,
Mendeleev, Tzyolkovskii, Popov, Sacharov, Korolev, writers – Pushkin,
Tolstoy, Dostoevskii, Lermontov, Chekhov, painters, actors. And also is
famous for the great discoveries suck as the first man in the space, the
discovery of the vodorodnya bomba which contributed to the development
of society and world.

But in spite of the problems Russia is facing at present, I think,
that there are a lot of opportunities for this country to become one of
the leading countries in the world again.

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