Home

European Union vs. Russia

Introduction

European UnionRussia
BackgroundFollowing the two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century, a number of European leaders in the late 1940s became convinced that the only way to establish a lasting peace was to reconcile the two chief belligerent nations - France and Germany - both economically and politically. In 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert SCHUMAN proposed an eventual union of all Europe, the first step of which would be the integration of the coal and steel industries of Western Europe. The following year, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was set up when six members, Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, signed the Treaty of Paris.
The ECSC was so successful that within a few years the decision was made to integrate other elements of the countries' economies. In 1957, envisioning an "ever closer union," the Treaties of Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and the six member states undertook to eliminate trade barriers among themselves by forming a common market. In 1967, the institutions of all three communities were formally merged into the European Community (EC), creating a single Commission, a single Council of Ministers, and the body known today as the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament were initially selected by national parliaments, but in 1979 the first direct elections were undertaken and have been held every five years since.
In 1973, the first enlargement of the EC took place with the addition of Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The 1980s saw further membership expansion with Greece joining in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht laid the basis for further forms of cooperation in foreign and defense policy, in judicial and internal affairs, and in the creation of an economic and monetary union - including a common currency. This further integration created the European Union (EU), at the time standing alongside the European Community. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU/EC, raising the membership total to 15.
A new currency, the euro, was launched in world money markets on 1 January 1999; it became the unit of exchange for all EU member states except Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In 2002, citizens of those 12 countries began using euro banknotes and coins. Ten new countries joined the EU in 2004 - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007 and Croatia in 2013, bringing the current membership to 28.
In an effort to ensure that the EU could function efficiently with an expanded membership, the Treaty of Nice (signed in 2000) set forth rules aimed at streamlining the size and procedures of EU institutions. An effort to establish a "Constitution for Europe," growing out of a Convention held in 2002-2003, foundered when it was rejected in referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005. A subsequent effort in 2007 incorporated many of the features of the rejected Constitution while also making a number of substantive and symbolic changes. The new treaty, initially known as the Reform Treaty but subsequently referred to as the Treaty of Lisbon, sought to amend existing treaties rather than replace them. The treaty was approved at the EU intergovernmental conference of the 27 member states held in Lisbon in December 2007, after which the process of national ratifications began. In October 2009, an Irish referendum approved the Lisbon Treaty (overturning a previous rejection) and cleared the way for an ultimate unanimous endorsement. Poland and the Czech Republic signed on soon after. The Lisbon Treaty, again invoking the idea of an "ever closer union," came into force on 1 December 2009 and the European Union officially replaced and succeeded the European Community.
Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new ROMANOV Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state in which the leadership seeks to legitimize its rule through managed national elections, populist appeals by President PUTIN, and continued economic growth. Russia has severely disabled a Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.

Geography

European UnionRussia
LocationEurope between the North Atlantic Ocean in the west and Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine to the eastNorth Asia bordering the Arctic Ocean, extending from Europe (the portion west of the Urals) to the North Pacific Ocean
Map referencesEuropeAsia
Areatotal: 4,324,782 sq kmtotal: 17,098,242 sq km
land: 16,377,742 sq km
water: 720,500 sq km
Area - comparativeless than one-half the size of the USapproximately 1.8 times the size of the US
Land boundariestotal: 12,440.8 km
border countries: Albania 282 km, Andorra 120.3 km, Belarus 1,050 km, Croatia 999 km, Holy See 3.2 km, Liechtenstein 34.9 km, Macedonia 394 km, Moldova 450 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Norway 2,348 km, Russia 2,257 km, San Marino 39 km, Serbia 945 km, Switzerland 1,811 km, Turkey 446 km, Ukraine 1,257 km
note: data for European Continent only
total: 22,407 km
border countries: Azerbaijan 338 km, Belarus 1,312 km, China (southeast) 4,133 km, China (south) 46 km, Estonia 324 km, Finland 1,309 km, Georgia 894 km, Kazakhstan 7,644 km, North Korea 18 km, Latvia 332 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 261 km, Mongolia 3,452 km, Norway 191 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 209 km, Ukraine 1,944 km
Coastline65,992.9 km37,653 km
Maritime claimsNAterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climatecold temperate; potentially subarctic in the north to temperate; mild wet winters; hot dry summers in the southranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast
Terrainfairly flat along the Baltic and Atlantic coast; mountainous in the central and southern areasbroad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
Elevation extremeslowest point: Lammefjord, Denmark -7 m; Zuidplaspolder, Netherlands -7 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m; note - situated on the border between France and Italy
lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Gora El'brus 5,633 m (highest point in Europe)
Natural resourcesiron ore, natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, lead, zinc, bauxite, uranium, potash, salt, hydropower, arable land, timber, fishwide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, reserves of rare earth elements, timber
note: formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources
Land usearable land: 24.91
permanent crops: 2.75
other: 72.34 (2011)
arable land: 7.11%
permanent crops: 0.1%
other: 92.79% (2011)
Irrigated land154,539.82 sq km (2011 est.)43,460 sq km (2008)
Natural hazardsflooding along coasts; avalanches in mountainous area; earthquakes in the south; volcanic eruptions in Italy; periodic droughts in Spain; ice floes in the Balticpermafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula; spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia
volcanism: significant volcanic activity on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands; the peninsula alone is home to some 29 historically active volcanoes, with dozens more in the Kuril Islands; Kliuchevskoi (elev. 4,835 m), which erupted in 2007 and 2010, is Kamchatka's most active volcano; Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes, which pose a threat to the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, have been deemed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Bezymianny, Chikurachki, Ebeko, Gorely, Grozny, Karymsky, Ketoi, Kronotsky, Ksudach, Medvezhia, Mutnovsky, Sarychev Peak, Shiveluch, Tiatia, Tolbachik, and Zheltovsky
Environment - current issuesNAair pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed but not ratified: Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulfur 94
Total renewable water resources2,057.76 cu km (2011)4,508 cu km (2011)

Demographics

European UnionRussia
Population511,434,812 (July 2014 est.)142,470,272 (July 2014 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 15.4% (male 40,489,605/female 38,450,957)
15-24 years: 11.2% (male 29,297,915/female 28,019,963)
25-54 years: 42.1% (male 108,580,059/female 106,875,351)
55-64 years: 12.7% (male 31,624,447/female 33,531,109)
65 years and over: 18.5% (male 40,278,139/female 54,287,267) (2014 est.)
0-14 years: 16.4% (male 11,980,138/female 11,344,818)
15-24 years: 10.7% (male 7,828,947/female 7,482,143)
25-54 years: 45.8% (male 31,928,886/female 33,319,671)
55-64 years: 13.8% (male 8,408,637/female 11,287,153)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 5,783,983/female 13,105,896) (2014 est.)
Median agenote - see individual country entries of member statestotal: 38.9 years
male: 36 years
female: 41.9 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate.22% (2014 est.)-0.03% (2014 est.)
Birth rate10.17 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)11.87 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate10.17 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)13.83 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate2.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)1.69 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.44 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 4.33 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.77 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
total: 7.08 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.93 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 80.02 years
male: 77.19 years
female: 83.01 years (2014 est.)
total population: 70.16 years
male: 64.37 years
female: 76.3 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate1.60 children born/woman (2014 est.)1.61 children born/woman (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence ratenote - see individual country entries of member states1% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSnote - see individual country entries of member states980,000 (2009 est.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, JewishRussian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.)
note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule
HIV/AIDS - deathsnote - see individual country entries of member statesNA
LanguagesBulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish
note: only the 24 official languages are listed; German, the major language of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, is the most widely spoken mother tongue - about 18% of the EU population; English is the most widely spoken foreign language - about 38% of the EU population is conversant with it (2013)
Russian (official) 96.3%, Dolgang 5.3%, German 1.5%, Chechen 1%, Tatar 3%, other 10.3%
note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2010 est.)
Hospital bed density5.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)9.7 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Government

European UnionRussia
Capitalname: Brussels (Belgium), Strasbourg (France), Luxembourg note - the European Council and the Council of the European Union meet in Brussels, Belgium; the European Parliament meets in Brussels and Strasbourg, France, and has administrative offices in Luxembourg; the Court of Justice of the European Union meets in Luxembourg
geographic coordinates: (Brussels) 50 50 N, 4 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
name: Moscow
geographic coordinates: 55 45 N, 37 36 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr; note - Russia has announced that it will remain on daylight saving time permanently, which began on 27 March 2011
note: Russia has 9 time zones
Independence7 February 1992 (Maastricht Treaty signed establishing the European Union); 1 November 1993 (Maastricht Treaty entered into force)
note: the Treaties of Rome, signed on 25 March 1957 and subsequently entered into force on 1 January 1958, created the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community; a series of subsequent treaties have been adopted to increase efficiency and transparency, to prepare for new member states, and to introduce new areas of cooperation - such as a single currency; the Treaty of Lisbon, signed on 13 December 2007 and entered into force on 1 December 2009 is the most recent of these treaties and is intended to make the EU more democratic, more efficient, and better able to address global problems with one voice
24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: 1157 (Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal created); 16 January 1547 (Tsardom of Muscovy established); 22 October 1721 (Russian Empire proclaimed); 30 December 1922 (Soviet Union established)
National holidayEurope Day 9 May (1950); note - the day in 1950 that Robert SCHUMAN proposed the creation of what became the European Coal and Steel Community, the progenitor of today's European Union, with the aim of achieving a united EuropeRussia Day, 12 June (1990)
Constitutionnone

note: the EU legal order, although based on a series of treaties, has often been described as "constitutional" in nature; the Treaty on European Union (TEU), as modified by the Lisbon Treaty, states in Article 1 that "the HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES establish among themselves a EUROPEAN UNION ... on which the Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common"; Article 1 of the TEU states further that the EU is "founded on the present Treaty and on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as 'the Treaties')," both possessing the same legal value; Article 6 of the TEU provides that a separately adopted Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union "shall have the same legal value as the Treaties" (2013)
several previous (during Russian Empire and Soviet eras); latest drafted 12 July 1993, adopted by referendum 12 December 1993, effective 25 December 1993; amended 2008 (2013)
Legal systemunique supranational law system in which, according to an interpretive declaration of member-state governments appended to the Treaty of Lisbon, "the Treaties and the law adopted by the Union on the basis of the Treaties have primacy over the law of Member States" under conditions laid down in the case law of the Court of Justice; key principles of EU law include fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and as resulting from constitutional traditions common to the EU's states; EU law is divided into 'primary' and 'secondary' legislation; the treaties (primary legislation) are the basis for all EU action; secondary legislation - which includes regulations, directives and decisions - are derived from the principles and objectives set out in the treatiescivil law system; judicial review of legislative acts
Suffrage18 years of age; universal; voting for the European Parliament is permitted in each member state18 years of age; universal
Executive branchunder the EU treaties there are three distinct institutions, each of which conducts functions that may be regarded as executive in nature:
the European Council: brings together heads of state and government, along with the president of the European Commission, and meets at least four times a year; its aim is to provide the impetus for the development of the Union and to issue general policy guidelines; leaders of the EU member states appointed former Belgian Prime Minister Herman VAN ROMPUY to be the first full-time president of the European Council in November 2009; he took office on 1 December 2009 for a two-and-one-half-year term, renewable once; EU member state leaders confirmed Herman VAN ROMPUY for a second term in March 2012; his core responsibilities include chairing the EU summits and providing policy and organizational continuity
the Council of the European Union: consists of ministers of each EU member state and meets regularly in different configurations depending on the subject matter; it conducts policy-making and coordinating functions (as well as legislative functions); ministers of EU member states chair meetings of the Council of the EU based on a six-month rotating presidency
the European Commission: headed by a College of Commissioners composed of 28 members, one from each member country; each commissioner is responsible for one or more policy areas; the Commission's responsibilities include the sole right to initiate EU legislation (except for foreign and defense policy), promoting the general interest of the EU, acting as "guardian of the Treaties," executing the budget and managing programs, ensuring the Union's external representation, and additional duties; its president is Jose Manuel BARROSO (since 2004); the president of the European Commission is nominated by member state governments taking into account the results of the European Parliament elections and elected by the European Parliament; working from member state recommendations, the Commission president then assembles the "college" of Commission members; the European Parliament confirms the entire Commission for a five-year term; the next confirmation process will likely be held in the fall of 2014
note: for external representation and foreign policy making, leaders of the EU member states appointed Catherine ASHTON of the United Kingdom as the first High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; ASHTON took office on 1 December 2009; her concurrent appointment as Vice President of the European Commission endows her position with the policymaking influence of the Council of the EU and the budgetary influence of the European Commission; the High Representative helps develop and implement the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), chairs the Foreign Affairs Council, represents and acts for the Union in many international contexts, and oversees the European External Action Service (EEAS), the diplomatic corps of the EU, established on 1 December 2010
chief of state: President Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (since 7 May 2012)
head of government: Premier Dmitriy Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV (since 8 May 2012); First Deputy Premier Igor Ivanovich SHUVALOV (since 12 May 2008); Deputy Premiers Arkadiy Vladimirovich DVORKOVICH (since 21 May 2012), Olga Yuryevna GOLODETS (since 21 May 2012), Aleksandr Gennadiyevich KHLOPONIN (since 19 January 2010), Dmitriy Nikolayevich KOZAK (since 14 October 2008), Dmitriy Olegovich ROGOZIN (since 23 December 2011), Sergey Eduardovich PRIKHODKO (since 22 May 2013), Yuriy Petrovich TRUTNEV (since 31 August 2013)
cabinet: the "Government" is composed of the premier, his deputies, and ministers; all are appointed by the president, and the premier is also confirmed by the Duma
note: there is also a Presidential Administration (PA) that provides staff and policy support to the president, drafts presidential decrees, and coordinates policy among government agencies; a Security Council also reports directly to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 March 2012 (next to be held in March 2018); note - the term length was extended from four to six years in late 2008, effective after the 2012 election; there is no vice president; if the president dies in office, cannot exercise his powers because of ill health, is impeached, or resigns, the premier serves as acting president until a new presidential election is held, which must be within three months; premier appointed by the president with the approval of the Duma
election results: Vladimir PUTIN elected president; percent of vote - Vladimir PUTIN 63.6%, Gennadiy ZYUGANOV 17.2%, Mikhail PROKHOROV 8%, Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY 6.2%, Sergey MIRONOV 3.9%, other 1.1%; Dmitriy MEDVEDEV approved as premier by Duma; vote - 299 to 144
Legislative branchtwo legislative bodies consisting of the Council of the European Union (28 member-state ministers having 352 votes; the number of votes is roughly proportional to member-states' population, and 255 votes plus a majority of member states forms a "qualified majority" to pass a measure) and the European Parliament (766 seats; seats allocated among member states in proportion to population; members elected by direct universal suffrage for a five-year term); note - the European Parliament President is elected by a majority of fellow members of the European Parliament (MEP), and represents the Parliament within the EU and internationally; German MEP Martin SCHULZ from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) was elected in January 2012; the Council of the EU is the main decision-making body of the EU, although the European Parliament must also approve almost all EU legislation; the Parliament does not have the right to initiate legislation
elections: last held on 22-25 May 2014 (next to be held May 2019)
election results: percent of vote - EPP 28.5%, S&D 25.2%, ALDE 8.7%, Greens/EFA 6.9%, ECR 6.1%, GUE/NGL 6.0%, EFD 5.1%, independents 5.5%, new parties 8.1%; seats by party - EPP 214, S&D 189, ALDE 66, Greens/EFA 52, ECR 46, GUE/NGL 45, EFD 38, independents 41, new parties 61
bicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of an upper house, the Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (166 seats; two members appointed by the top executive and legislative officials in each of the 83 federal administrative units - oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg; term lengths are not fixed but instead are determined by the regional bodies represented) and a lower house, the State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats; as of 2007, all members elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 7% of the vote; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: State Duma - last held on 4 December 2011 (next to be held in December 2016)
election results: State Duma - United Russia 49.6%, CPRF 19.2%, Just Russia 13.2%, LDPR 11.7%, other 6.3%; total seats by party - United Russia 238, CPRF 92, Just Russia 64, LDPR 56
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Justice of the European Union (organized into Court of Justice, General Court, and Civil Service Tribunal; consists of 28 judges, one from each of the member states)
note - the Court of Justice ensures that treaties are interpreted and applied uniformly throughout the EU, resolves disputed issues among the EU institutions, issues opinions on questions of EU law referred by member state courts;
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed for 6-year terms; note - the court may sit as a full court, in a "Grand Chamber" of 15 judges, or in chambers of 3 or 5 judges; General Court (a court below the Court of Justice) - 28 judges appointed for 6-year terms; Civil Service Tribunal - 7 judges appointed for 6-year terms
subordinate courts: NA
highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (consists of 23 members); Constitutional Court (consists of 19 members); Superior Court of Arbitration (consists of a chairman and 4 deputy chairmen); note - as of January 2014 legislation was pending that would merge the Constitutional Court and Superior Court of Arbitration
judge selection and term of office: all members of Russia's three highest courts nominated by the president and appointed by the Federation Council (the upper house of the legislature); members of all three courts appointed for life
subordinate courts: Higher Arbitration Court; regional (kray) and provincial (oblast) courts; Moscow and St. Petersburg city courts; autonomous province and district courts; note - the 14 Russian Republics have court systems specified by their own constitutions
Political parties and leadersConfederal Group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left or GUE/NGL [Gabriele ZIMMER]
Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group or EFD [Nigel FARAGE and Francesco SPERONI]
European Conservatives and Reformists Group or ECR [Martin CALLANAN]
Group of Greens/European Free Alliance or Greens/EFA [Rebecca HARMS and Daniel COHN-BENDIT]
Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe or ALDE [Guy VERHOFSTADT]
Group of the European People's Party or EPP [Joseph DAUL]
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats or S&D [Hannes SWOBODA]
seventy eight political parties are registered with Russia's Ministry of Justice (as of January 2014), but only four parties maintain representation in Russia's national legislature:
A Just Russia [Sergey MIRONOV]
Communist Party of the Russian Federation or CPRF [Gennadiy ZYUGANOV]
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia or LDPR [Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY]
United Russia [Dmitriy MEDVEDEV]
International organization participationARF (dialogue member), ASEAN (dialogue member), Australian Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CERN, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-8, G-10, G-20, IDA, IEA, IGAD (partners), LAIA (observer), NSG (observer), OAS (observer), OECD, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), UN (observer), UNRWA (observer), WCO, WTO, ZC (observer)APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BRICS, BSEC, CBSS, CD, CE, CERN (observer), CICA, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAPC, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NSG, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Joao VALE DE ALMEIDA (since 16 July 2010)
chancery: 2175 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 862-9500
FAX: [1] (202) 429-1766
chief of mission: Ambassador Sergey Ivanovich KISLYAK (since 16 September 2008)
chancery: 2650 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 298-5700, 5701, 5704, 5708
FAX: [1] (202) 298-5735
consulate(s) general: Houston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Anthony L. GARDNER (since 12 February 2014)
embassy: 13 Zinnerstraat/Rue Zinner, B-1000 Brussels
mailing address: same as above
telephone: [32] (2) 811-4100
FAX: [32] (2) 811-5154
chief of mission: Chargé d'Affaires Sheila GWALTNEY (since 27 February 2014)
embassy: Bolshoy Deviatinskiy Pereulok No. 8, 121099 Moscow
mailing address: PSC-77, APO AE 09721
telephone: [7] (495) 728-5000
FAX: [7] (495) 728-5090
consulate(s) general: Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg
Flag descriptiona blue field with 12 five-pointed gold stars arranged in a circle in the center; blue represents the sky of the Western world, the stars are the peoples of Europe in a circle, a symbol of unity; the number of stars is fixedthree equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red
note: the colors may have been based on those of the Dutch flag; despite many popular interpretations, there is no official meaning assigned to the colors of the Russian flag; this flag inspired other Slav countries to adopt horizontal tricolors of the same colors but in different arrangements, and so red, blue, and white became the Pan-Slav colors
National anthemname: "Ode to Joy""
lyrics/music: none/Ludwig VON BEETHOVEN, arranged by Herbert VON KARAJAN
note: adopted 1972, not in use until 1986; according to the European Union, the song is meant to represent all of Europe rather than just the organization; the song also serves as the anthem for the Council of Europe
name: "Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii" (National Anthem of the Russian Federation)
lyrics/music: Sergey Vladimirovich MIKHALKOV/Aleksandr Vasilyevich ALEKSANDROV
note: in 2000, Russia adopted the tune of the anthem of the former Soviet Union (composed in 1939); the lyrics, also adopted in 2000, were written by the same person who authored the Soviet lyrics in 1943

Economy

European UnionRussia
Economy - overviewInternally, the EU has adopted the framework of a single market with free movement of goods, services and capital and a common currency amongst 18 member states. Internationally, the EU aims to bolster Europe's trade position and its political and economic weight. Despite great differences in per capita income among member states (from $13,000 to $82,000) and in national attitudes toward issues like inflation, debt, and foreign trade, the EU has achieved a high degree of coordination of economic and fiscal policies. Eleven established EU member states, under the auspices of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), introduced the euro as their common currency on 1 January 1999 (Greece did so two years later). Between 2004 and 2007, 12 states acceded to the EU that are, in general, less advanced economically than the other 15 member states. On 1 July 2013 Croatia became the most recent member of the EU, following a decade long application process. Of the 13 most recent entrants, Slovenia (1 January 2007), Cyprus and Malta (1 January 2008), Slovakia (1 January 2009), Estonia (1 January 2011) and Latvia (2014) have adopted the euro; 11 other member states - other than the UK and Denmark, which have formal opt-outs - are required by EU treaties to adopt the common currency upon meeting fiscal and monetary convergence criteria. Following the 2008-09 global economic crisis, the EU economy saw moderate GDP growth in 2010 and 2011, but a sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone intensified in 2011, making it impossible for several member states to gain market financing for new sovereign debt to sustain fiscal deficits. As a result, the eurozone crisis became the bloc's top economic and political priority. Despite EU/IMF rescue programs in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus, and fiscal consolidation measures in many other EU member states, significant risks to growth remain, including high public and private debt loads, crimped lending as banks raise capital, aging populations, onerous regulations, and high unemployment. In response, eurozone leaders in 2011 boosted funding levels for the temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to almost $600 billion and made loan terms more favorable for crisis-hit countries, followed in July 2012 by the permanent European Stabilization Mechanism (ESM). In addition, 26 of 28 EU member states (all except the UK and Czech Republic) enacted a "fiscal compact" treaty to boost long-term budgetary discipline and coordination. In September 2012 the European Central Bank indicated its willingness to purchase bonds from troubled eurozone member states that agree to a formal program of fiscal and structural reforms, aiming to reduce their borrowing costs and restore confidence in the eurozone. The eurozone has since made great strides towards a banking union to increase financial stability and improve lending conditions. In an effort to restore economic growth and create jobs, in 2013 the EU and the United States started negotiations on an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with the goal of expanding already massive trade and investment flows.Russia has undergone significant changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, moving from a globally-isolated, centrally-planned economy towards a more market-based and globally-integrated economy, but stalling as a partially reformed, statist economy with a high concentration of wealth in officials' hands. Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industry, with notable exceptions in the energy and defense-related sectors. The protection of property rights is still weak and the private sector remains subject to heavy state interference. Russia is one of the world's leading producers of oil and natural gas and is also a top exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum. Russia's manufacturing sector is generally uncompetitive on world markets and is geared toward domestic consumption. Russia's reliance on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the volatile swings in global prices. The economy, which had averaged 7% growth during 1998-2008 as oil prices rose rapidly, was one of the hardest hit by the 2008-09 global economic crisis as oil prices plummeted and the foreign credits that Russian banks and firms relied on dried up. Slowly declining oil prices over the past few years and difficulty attracting foreign direct investment have contributed to a noticeable slowdown in GDP growth rates. In late 2013, the Russian Economic Development Ministry reduced its growth forecast through 2030 to an average of only 2.5% per year, down from its previous forecast of 4.0 to 4.2%. In 2014, following Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, prospects for economic growth declined further, with expections that GDP growth could drop as low as zero.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$15.85 trillion (2013 est.)
$15.83 trillion (2012 est.)
$15.89 trillion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
$2.553 trillion (2013 est.)
$2.52 trillion (2012 est.)
$2.437 trillion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - real growth rate0.1% (2013 est.)
-0.3% (2012 est.)
1.7% (2011 est.)
1.3% (2013 est.)
3.4% (2012 est.)
4.3% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$34,500 (2013 est.)
$34,500 (2012 est.)
$34,600 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
$18,100 (2013 est.)
$17,800 (2012 est.)
$17,100 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 1.8%
industry: 25.2%
services: 72.8% (2013 est.)
agriculture: 4.2%
industry: 37.5%
services: 58.3% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty linenote - see individual country entries of member states11% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 23.9% (2012 est.)
lowest 10%: 5.7%
highest 10%: 42.4% (2011 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.5% (2013 est.)
2.6% (2012 est.)
6.8% (2013 est.)
5.1% (2012 est.)
Labor force228.6 million (2013 est.)75.29 million (2013 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 5.2%
industry: 22.7%
services: 72.2% (2012 est.)
agriculture: 9.7%
industry: 27.8%
services: 62.5% (2012)
Unemployment rate10.5% (2013 est.)
10.1% (2012)
5.8% (2013 est.)
5.5% (2012 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index30.6 (2012 est.)
30.8 (2011 est.)
42 (2012)
41.7 (2011)
Industriesamong the world's largest and most technologically advanced regions, the EU industrial base includes: ferrous and non-ferrous metal production and processing, metal products, petroleum, coal, cement, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, rail transportation equipment, passenger and commercial vehicles, construction equipment, industrial equipment, shipbuilding, electrical power equipment, machine tools and automated manufacturing systems, electronics and telecommunications equipment, fishing, food and beverages, furniture, paper, textilescomplete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; defense industries (including radar, missile production, advanced electronic components), shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate-0.3% (2013 est.)0.1% (2013 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, barley, oilseeds, sugar beets, wine, grapes; dairy products, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry; fishgrain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables, fruits; beef, milk
Exports$2.173 trillion (2012 est.)
$2.174 trillion (2011 est.)
note: external exports, excluding intra-EU trade
$515 billion (2013 est.)
$528 billion (2012 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, fuels, aircraft, plastics, iron and steel, wood pulp and paper products, alcoholic beverages, furniturepetroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, metals, wood and wood products, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures
Imports$2.312 trillion (2012 est.)
$2.404 trillion (2011 est.)
note: external imports, excluding intra-EU trade
$341 billion (2013 est.)
$335.7 billion (2012 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfuels and crude oil, machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, precious gemstones, textiles, aircraft, plastics, metals, shipsmachinery, vehicles, pharmaceutical products, plastic, semi-finished metal products, meat, fruits and nuts, optical and medical instruments, iron, steel
Debt - external$15.95 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$14.78 trillion (31 December 2011)
$714.2 billion (30 September 2013 est.)
$636.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Exchange rateseuros per US dollar -
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.7752 (2012 est.)
0.755 (2010 est.)
0.7198 (2009 est.)
0.6827 (2008 est.)
Russian rubles (RUB) per US dollar -
31.82 (2013 est.)
30.84 (2012 est.)
30.368 (2010 est.)
31.74 (2009)
24.853 (2008)
Fiscal yearNAcalendar year
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$812.1 billion (31 December 2011)
note: $863.8 billion (31 December 2011); this includes reserves held by the European Central Bank and euro-zone national central banks; it excludes reserves for non-euro-area members of the EU
$515.6 billion (01 December 2013 est.)
$537.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Current Account Balance-$34.49 billion (2011 est.)
-$5.73 billion (2010 est.)
$74.8 billion (2012 est.)
$71.43 billion (2012 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$16.95 trillion (2013 est.)$2.113 trillion (2013 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA$552.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$497.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$10.4 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$NA (31 December 2011)
$10.56 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
$874.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$796.4 billion (31 December 2011)
$1.005 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Central bank discount rate0.75% (31 December 2013)
1.5% (31 December 2012)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
8.25% (31 December 2012 est.)
8% (31 December 2011)
note: this is the so-called refinancing rate, but in Russia banks do not get refinancing at this rate; this is a reference rate used primarily for fiscal purposes
Commercial bank prime lending rate5.9% (31 December 2010 est.)
7.52% (31 December 2009 est.)
9.3% (31 December 2013 est.)
9.1% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$21.71 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$21.29 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
note: this figure refers to the euro area only; it excludes credit data for non-euro-area members of the EU
$947 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$922.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money$6.736 trillion (31 December 2013)
$6.219 trillion (31 December 2012)
note: this is the quantity of money, M1, for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union
$452.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$399.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of broad money$12.9 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$12.29 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
note: this is the quantity of broad money for the euro area, converted into US dollars at the exchange rate for the date indicated; it excludes the stock of broad money carried by non-euro-area members of the European Union
$1.061 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$893.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 56.9%
government consumption: 21.6%
investment in fixed capital: 17.9%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 44.9%
imports of goods and services: -42.9%
(2012 est.)
household consumption: 51.3%
government consumption: 18.8%
investment in fixed capital: 22%
investment in inventories: 1.4%
exports of goods and services: 29.6%
imports of goods and services: -23%
(2013 est.)
Gross national saving19.2% of GDP (2013)
19% of GDP (2012)
19.5% of GDP (2011)
28.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
29.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
30.6% of GDP (2011 est.)

Energy

European UnionRussia
Electricity - production3.255 trillion kWh (2011 est.)1.057 trillion kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - consumption3.037 trillion kWh (2009 est.)1.038 trillion kWh (2012 est.)
Oil - production1.578 million bbl/day (2012 est.)10.44 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves5.675 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)80 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves1.811 trillion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)47.8 trillion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Natural gas - production162.8 billion cu m (2012 est.)669.7 billion cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption443.9 billion cu m (2012 est.)457.2 billion cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports93.75 billion cu m (2010 est.)196 billion cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports420.6 billion cu m (2010 est.)32.5 billion cu m (2012 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity867.6 million kW (2010 est.)223.1 million kW (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production12.05 million bbl/day (2012 est.)4.812 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption12.8 million bbl/day (2012 est.)3.196 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports2.196 million bbl/day (2010 est.)2.92 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports8.613 million bbl/day (2010 est.)24,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy3.978 billion Mt (2012 est.)1.788 billion Mt (2011 est.)

Telecommunications

European UnionRussia
Telephones - main lines in use226 million (2011)42.9 million (2012)
Telephones - mobile cellular629 million (2011)261.9 million (2012)
Telephone systemnote - see individual country entries of member statesgeneral assessment: the telephone system is experiencing significant changes; there are more than 1,000 companies licensed to offer communication services; access to digital lines has improved, particularly in urban centers; Internet and e-mail services are improving; Russia has made progress toward building the telecommunications infrastructure necessary for a market economy; the estimated number of mobile subscribers jumped from fewer than 1 million in 1998 to more than 235 million in 2011; fixed line service has improved but a large demand remains
domestic: cross-country digital trunk lines run from Saint Petersburg to Khabarovsk, and from Moscow to Novorossiysk; the telephone systems in 60 regional capitals have modern digital infrastructures; cellular services, both analog and digital, are available in many areas; in rural areas, the telephone services are still outdated, inadequate, and low density
international: country code - 7; Russia is connected internationally by undersea fiber optic cables; satellite earth stations provide access to Intelsat, Intersputnik, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Orbita systems (2011)
Internet country code.eu; note - see country entries of member states for individual country codes.ru; note - Russia also has responsibility for a legacy domain ".su" that was allocated to the Soviet Union and is being phased out
Internet users340 million (2009)40.853 million (2009)
Internet hosts201,116; note - this sum reflects the number of Internet hosts assigned the .eu Internet country code (2012)14.865 million (2012)

Transportation

European UnionRussia
Railwaystotal: 461,096 km (2013)total: 87,157 km
broad gauge: 86,200 km 1.520-m gauge (40,300 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 957 km 1.067-m gauge (on Sakhalin Island)
note: an additional 30,000 km of non-common carrier lines serve industries (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 10,582,653 km (2013)total: 1,283,387 km
paved: 927,721 km (includes 39,143 km of expressways)
unpaved: 355,666 km (2012)
Waterways53,384 km (2013)102,000 km (including 48,000 km with guaranteed depth; the 72,000 km system in European Russia links Baltic Sea, White Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and Black Sea) (2009)
Ports and terminalsmajor port(s): Antwerp (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain), Braila (Romania), Bremen (Germany), Burgas (Bulgaria), Constanta (Romania), Copenhagen (Denmark), Galati (Romania), Gdansk (Poland), Hamburg (Germany), Helsinki (Finland), Las Palmas (Canary Islands, Spain), Le Havre (France), Lisbon (Portugal), London (UK), Marseille (France), Naples (Italy), Peiraiefs or Piraeus (Greece), Riga (Latvia), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Split (Croatia), Stockholm (Sweden), Talinn (Estonia), Tulcea (Romania), Varna (Bulgaria)major seaport(s): Kaliningrad, Nakhodka, Novorossiysk, Primorsk, Vostochnyy
river port(s): Saint Petersburg (Neva River)
oil terminal(s): Kavkaz oil terminal
container port(s) (TEUs): Saint Petersburg (2,365,174)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Sakhalin Island
Airports3,102 (2013)1,218 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 1,858
over 3,047 m: 118
2,438 to 3,047 m: 335
1,524 to 2,437 m: 504
914 to 1,523 m: 422
under 914 m: 479 (2013)
total: 594
over 3,047 m: 54
2,438 to 3,047 m: 197
1,524 to 2,437 m: 123
914 to 1,523 m: 95
under 914 m: 125 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 1,244
over 3,047 m: 1
2,437 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 245
under 914 m: 982 (2013)
total: 624
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 13
1,524 to 2,437 m: 69
914 to 1,523 m: 81
under 914 m:
457 (2013)
Heliports90 (2013)49 (2013)

Military

European UnionRussia
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.65% of GDP (2012)
1.66% of GDP (2011)
1.65% of GDP (2010)
4.47% of GDP (2012)
4.13% of GDP (2011)
4.47% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

European UnionRussia
Disputes - internationalas a political union, the EU has no border disputes with neighboring countries, but Estonia has no land boundary agreements with Russia, Slovenia disputes its land and maritime boundaries with Croatia, and Spain has territorial and maritime disputes with Morocco and with the UK over Gibraltar; the EU has set up a Schengen area - consisting of 22 EU member states that have signed the convention implementing the Schengen agreements or "acquis" (1985 and 1990) on the free movement of persons and the harmonization of border controls in Europe; these agreements became incorporated into EU law with the implementation of the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam on 1 May 1999; in addition, non-EU states Iceland and Norway (as part of the Nordic Union) have been included in the Schengen area since 1996 (full members in 2001), Switzerland since 2008, and Liechtenstein since 2011 bringing the total current membership to 26; the UK (since 2000) and Ireland (since 2002) take part in only some aspects of the Schengen area, especially with respect to police and criminal matters; nine of the 13 new member states that joined the EU since 2004 joined Schengen on 21 December 2007; of the four remaining EU states, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia are obligated to eventually join, while Cyprus' entry is held up by the ongoing Cyprus disputeRussia remains concerned about the smuggling of poppy derivatives from Afghanistan through Central Asian countries; China and Russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the Amur and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River in accordance with the 2004 Agreement, ending their centuries-long border disputes; the sovereignty dispute over the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group, known in Japan as the "Northern Territories" and in Russia as the "Southern Kurils," occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia, and claimed by Japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities; Russia's military support and subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence in 2008 continue to sour relations with Georgia; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea; Norway and Russia signed a comprehensive maritime boundary agreement in 2010; various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia (Kareliya) and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union following World War II but the Finnish Government asserts no territorial demands; Russia and Estonia signed a technical border agreement in May 2005, but Russia recalled its signature in June 2005 after the Estonian parliament added to its domestic ratification act a historical preamble referencing the Soviet occupation and Estonia's pre-war borders under the 1920 Treaty of Tartu; Russia contends that the preamble allows Estonia to make territorial claims on Russia in the future, while Estonian officials deny that the preamble has any legal impact on the treaty text; Russia demands better treatment of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia and Latvia; Lithuania and Russia committed to demarcating their boundary in 2006 in accordance with the land and maritime treaty ratified by Russia in May 2003 and by Lithuania in 1999; Lithuania operates a simplified transit regime for Russian nationals traveling from the Kaliningrad coastal exclave into Russia, while still conforming, as an EU member state with an EU external border, where strict Schengen border rules apply; preparations for the demarcation delimitation of land boundary with Ukraine have commenced; the dispute over the boundary between Russia and Ukraine through the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov is suspended due to the occupation of Crimea by Russia; Kazakhstan and Russia boundary delimitation was ratified on November 2005 and field demarcation should commence in 2007; Russian Duma has not yet ratified 1990 Bering Sea Maritime Boundary Agreement with the US; Denmark (Greenland) and Norway have made submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental shelf (CLCS) and Russia is collecting additional data to augment its 2001 CLCS submission

Source: CIA Factbook