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North Korea vs. Russia

Introduction

North KoreaRussia
Background

An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM Il Sung's son, KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. Under KIM Jong Il's rein, the DPRK continued developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. KIM Jong Un was publicly unveiled as his father's successor in 2010. Following KIM Jong Il's death in 2011, KIM Jong Un quickly assumed power and has since occupied the regime's highest political and military posts. 

After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has faced chronic food shortages. In recent years, the North's domestic agricultural production has increased, but still falls far short of producing sufficient food to provide for its entire population. The DPRK began to ease restrictions to allow semi-private markets, starting in 2002, but has made few other efforts to meet its goal of improving the overall standard of living. North Korea's history of regional military provocations; proliferation of military-related items; long-range missile development; WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016, and 2017; and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community and have limited the DPRK's international engagement, particularly economically. In 2013, the DPRK declared a policy of simultaneous development of its nuclear weapons program and economy. In late 2017, KIM Jong Un declared the North's nuclear weapons development complete. In 2018, KIM announced a pivot towards diplomacy, including a re-prioritization of economic development, a pause in missile testing beginning in late 2017, and a refrain from anti-US rhetoric starting in June 2018. Since 2018, KIM has participated in four meetings with Chinese President XI Jinping, three with ROK President MOON Jae-in, and three with US President TRUMP. Since July 2019, North Korea has restarted its short-range missile tests and issued statements condemning the US.

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. Devastating defeats and food shortages in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the ROMANOV Dynasty. 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. After defeating Germany in World War II as part of an alliance with the US (1939-1945), the USSR expanded its territory and influence in Eastern Europe and emerged as a global power. The USSR was the principal adversary of the US during the Cold War (1947-1991). The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the decades following Stalin's rule, 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 led to the dissolution of the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent states.

Following economic and political turmoil during President Boris YELTSIN's term (1991-99), Russia shifted toward a centralized authoritarian state under President Vladimir PUTIN (2000-2008, 2012-present) in which the regime seeks to legitimize its rule through managed elections, populist appeals, a foreign policy focused on enhancing the country's geopolitical influence, and commodity-based economic growth. Russia faces a largely subdued rebel movement in Chechnya and some other surrounding regions, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.

Geography

North KoreaRussia
Location
Eastern Asia, northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, between China and South Korea
North Asia bordering the Arctic Ocean, extending from Europe (the portion west of the Urals) to the North Pacific Ocean
Geographic coordinates
40 00 N, 127 00 E
60 00 N, 100 00 E
Map references
Asia
Asia
Area
total: 120,538 sq km
land: 120,408 sq km
water: 130 sq km
total: 17,098,242 sq km
land: 16,377,742 sq km
water: 720,500 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than Virginia; slightly smaller than Mississippi
approximately 1.8 times the size of the US
Land boundaries
total: 1,607 km
border countries (3): China 1352 km, South Korea 237 km, Russia 18 km
total: 22,408 km
border countries (15): Azerbaijan 338 km, Belarus 1312 km, China (southeast) 4133 km, China (south) 46 km, Estonia 324 km, Finland 1309 km, Georgia 894 km, Kazakhstan 7644 km, North Korea 18 km, Latvia 332 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 261 km, Mongolia 3452 km, Norway 191 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Ukraine 1944 km
Coastline
2,495 km
37,653 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

note: military boundary line 50 nm in the Sea of Japan and the exclusive economic zone limit in the Yellow Sea where all foreign vessels and aircraft without permission are banned

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
temperate, with rainfall concentrated in summer; long, bitter winters
ranges 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
Terrain
mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; wide coastal plains in west, discontinuous in east
broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 600 m
lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Paektu-san 2,744 m
mean elevation: 600 m
lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Gora El'brus (highest point in Europe) 5,642 m
Natural resources
coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, precious metals, hydropower
wide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, bauxite, reserves of rare earth elements, timber, note, formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources
Land use
agricultural land: 21.8% (2011 est.)
arable land: 19.5% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.9% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0.4% (2011 est.)
forest: 46% (2011 est.)
other: 32.2% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 13.1% (2011 est.)
arable land: 7.3% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.1% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 5.7% (2011 est.)
forest: 49.4% (2011 est.)
other: 37.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
14,600 sq km (2012)
43,000 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards

late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall

volcanism: Changbaishan (2,744 m) (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu or P'aektu-san), on the Chinese border, is considered historically active

permafrost 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 (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-Kamchatsky, 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; see note 2 under "Geography - note"

Environment - current issues
water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
air 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; nuclear waste disposal; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides
Environment - international agreements
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
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
Geography - note
strategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated

note 1: largest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture

note 2: Russia's far east, particularly the Kamchatka Peninsula, lies along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak; Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, is estimated to hold one fifth of the world's fresh surface water

note 4: Kaliningrad oblast is an exclave annexed from Germany following World War II (it was formerly part of East Prussia); its capital city of Kaliningrad - formerly Koenigsberg - is the only Baltic port in Russia that remains ice free in the winter

Population distribution
population concentrated in the plains and lowlands; least populated regions are the mountainous provinces adjacent to the Chinese border; largest concentrations are in the western provinces, particularly the municipal district of Pyongyang, and around Hungnam and Wonsan in the east
population is heavily concentrated in the westernmost fifth of the country extending from the Baltic Sea, south to the Caspian Sea, and eastward parallel to the Kazakh border; elsewhere, sizeable pockets are isolated and generally found in the south

Demographics

North KoreaRussia
Population
25,643,466 (July 2020 est.)
141,722,205 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 20.47% (male 2,677,578/female 2,571,118)
15-24 years: 14.68% (male 1,894,091/female 1,869,799)
25-54 years: 44% (male 5,659,446/female 5,624,034)
55-64 years: 11.2% (male 1,369,199/female 1,503,086)
65 years and over: 9.65% (male 859,151/female 1,615,964) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 17.24% (male 12,551,611/female 11,881,297)
15-24 years: 9.54% (male 6,920,070/female 6,602,776)
25-54 years: 43.38% (male 30,240,260/female 31,245,104)
55-64 years: 14.31% (male 8,808,330/female 11,467,697)
65 years and over: 15.53% (male 7,033,381/female 14,971,679) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 34.6 years
male: 33.2 years
female: 36.2 years (2020 est.)
total: 40.3 years
male: 37.5 years
female: 43.2 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
0.51% (2020 est.)
-0.16% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
14.5 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
10 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
9.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
13.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
1.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.53 male(s)/female
total population: 94.5 male(s)/female (2020 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: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.77 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.47 male(s)/female
total population: 86.1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 20 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 6.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 71.6 years
male: 67.7 years
female: 75.6 years (2020 est.)
total population: 71.9 years
male: 66.3 years
female: 77.8 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.92 children born/woman (2020 est.)
1.6 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
NA
1.2% (2017 est.)
Nationality
noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
noun: Russian(s)
adjective: Russian
Ethnic groups
racially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese
Russian 77.7%, Tatar 3.7%, Ukrainian 1.4%, Bashkir 1.1%, Chuvash 1%, Chechen 1%, other 10.2%, unspecified 3.9% (2010 est.)

note: nearly 200 national and/or ethnic groups are represented in Russia's 2010 census

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
NA
1 million (2017 est.)
Religions
traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way)

note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom

Russian 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 official atheism under Soviet rule; Russia officially recognizes Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism as the country's traditional religions

HIV/AIDS - deaths
NA
NA
Languages
Korean
Russian (official) 85.7%, Tatar 3.2%, Chechen 1%, other 10.1% (2010 est.)

note: data represent native language spoken

Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2015)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.7% (2018)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2015)
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2018)
Education expenditures
NA
3.7% of GDP (2016)
Urbanization
urban population: 62.4% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 0.82% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 74.8% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 0.18% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 97.2% of population
rural: 90.2% of population
total: 94.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 2.8% of population
rural: 9.8% of population
total: 5.5% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 98.6% of population
rural: 94.2% of population
total: 97.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 1.4% of population
rural: 5.8% of population
total: 2.9% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 91.9% of population
rural: 72.3% of population
total: 84.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 8.1% of population
rural: 27.7% of population
total: 15.5% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 94.8% of population
rural: 78.1% of population
total: 90.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 5.2% of population
rural: 21.9% of population
total: 9.5% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
3.084 million PYONGYANG (capital) (2020)
12.538 million MOSCOW (capital), 5.468 million Saint Petersburg, 1.664 million Novosibirsk, 1.504 million Yekaterinburg, 1.272 million Kazan, 1.258 million Nizhniy Novgorod (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
89 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
17 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Physicians density
3.68 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
4.01 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density
13.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)
8.1 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
6.8% (2016)
23.1% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
70.2% (2017)
68% (2011)

note: percent of women aged 15-44

Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 41.2
youth dependency ratio: 28
elderly dependency ratio: 13.2
potential support ratio: 7.6 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 51.2
youth dependency ratio: 27.8
elderly dependency ratio: 23.5
potential support ratio: 4.3 (2020 est.)

Government

North KoreaRussia
Country name
conventional long form: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
conventional short form: North Korea
local long form: Choson-minjujuui-inmin-konghwaguk
local short form: Choson
abbreviation: DPRK
etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the North Korean name "Choson" means "[Land of the] Morning Calm"
conventional long form: Russian Federation
conventional short form: Russia
local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
local short form: Rossiya
former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
etymology: Russian lands were generally referred to as Muscovy until PETER I officially declared the Russian Empire in 1721; the new name sought to invoke the patrimony of the medieval eastern European Rus state centered on Kyiv in present-day Ukraine; the Rus were a Varangian (eastern Viking) elite that imposed their rule and eventually their name on their Slavic subjects
Government type
dictatorship, single-party state; official state ideology of "Juche" or "national self-reliance"
semi-presidential federation
Capital
name: Pyongyang
geographic coordinates: 39 01 N, 125 45 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: on 5 May 2018, North Korea reverted to UTC+9, the same time zone as South Korea

etymology: the name translates as "flat land" in Korean

name: Moscow
geographic coordinates: 55 45 N, 37 36 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: does not observe daylight savings time

note: Russia has 11 time zones, the largest number of contiguous time zones of any country in the world; in 2014, two time zones were added and DST dropped

etymology: named after the Moskva River; the origin of the river's name is obscure but may derive from the appellation "Mustajoki" given to the river by the Finno-Ugric people who originally inhabited the area and whose meaning may have been "dark" or "turbid"

Administrative divisions

9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 3 cities (si, singular and plural)

provinces: Chagang, Hambuk (North Hamgyong), Hamnam (South Hamgyong), Hwangbuk (North Hwanghae), Hwangnam (South Hwanghae), Kangwon, P'yongbuk (North Pyongan), P'yongnam (South Pyongan), Ryanggang

major cities: Nampo, P'yongyang, Rason

note: Nampo is sometimes designated as a metropolitan city, P'yongyang as a directly controlled city, and Rason as a city

46 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast), 21 republics (respubliki, singular - respublika), 4 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnyye okrugi, singular - avtonomnyy okrug), 9 krays (kraya, singular - kray), 2 federal cities (goroda, singular - gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast')

oblasts: Amur (Blagoveshchensk), Arkhangel'sk, Astrakhan', Belgorod, Bryansk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Magadan, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Orel, Penza, Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan', Sakhalin (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Samara, Saratov, Smolensk, Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), Tambov, Tomsk, Tula, Tver', Tyumen', Ul'yanovsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Yaroslavl'

republics: Adygeya (Maykop), Altay (Gorno-Altaysk), Bashkortostan (Ufa), Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude), Chechnya (Groznyy), Chuvashiya (Cheboksary), Dagestan (Makhachkala), Ingushetiya (Magas), Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik), Kalmykiya (Elista), Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk), Kareliya (Petrozavodsk), Khakasiya (Abakan), Komi (Syktyvkar), Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola), Mordoviya (Saransk), North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk), Tatarstan (Kazan'), Tyva (Kyzyl), Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)

autonomous okrugs: Chukotka (Anadyr'), Khanty-Mansi-Yugra (Khanty-Mansiysk), Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar), Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard)

krays: Altay (Barnaul), Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm', Primorskiy [Maritime] (Vladivostok), Stavropol', Zabaykal'sk [Transbaikal] (Chita)

federal cities: Moscow [Moskva], Saint Petersburg [Sankt-Peterburg]

autonomous oblast: Yevreyskaya [Jewish] (Birobidzhan)

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

note: the United States does not recognize Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the municipality of Sevastopol, nor their redesignation as the "Republic of Crimea" and the "Federal City of Sevastopol"

Independence
15 August 1945 (from Japan)
25 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union; Russian SFSR renamed Russian Federation); 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 holiday
Founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), 9 September (1948)
Russia Day, 12 June (1990); note - commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR)
Constitution
history: previous 1948, 1972; latest adopted 1998 (during KIM Jong Il era)
amendments: proposed by the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA); passage requires more than two-thirds majority vote of the total SPA membership; revised 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2019
history: several previous (during Russian Empire and Soviet era); latest drafted 12 July 1993, adopted by referendum 12 December 1993, effective 25 December 1993
amendments: proposed by the president of the Russian Federation, by either house of the Federal Assembly, by the government of the Russian Federation, or by legislative (representative) bodies of the Federation's constituent entities; proposals to amend the government’s constitutional system, human and civil rights and freedoms, and procedures for amending or drafting a new constitution require formation of a Constitutional Assembly; passage of such amendments requires two-thirds majority vote of its total membership; passage in a referendum requires participation of an absolute majority of eligible voters and an absolute majority of valid votes; approval of proposed amendments to the government structure, authorities, and procedures requires approval by the legislative bodies of at least two thirds of the Russian Federation's constituent entities; amended 2008, 2014, 2020
Legal system
Suffrage
17 years of age; universal and compulsory
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: Supreme People's Assembly President CHOE Ryong Hae (since 11 April 2019); note - functions as the technical head of state and performs related duties, such as receiving ambassadors' credentials
head of government: State Affairs Commission Chairman KIM Jong Un (since 17 December 2011); note - functions as the commander-in-chief and chief executive
cabinet: Cabinet or Naegak members appointed by the Supreme People's Assembly except the Minister of People's Armed Forces
elections/appointments: chief of state and premier indirectly elected by the Supreme People's Assembly; election last held on 10 March 2019 (next election March 2024)
election results: KIM Jong In reelected unopposed

note: the Korean Workers' Party continues to list deceased leaders KIM Il Sung and KIM Jong Il as Eternal President and Eternal General Secretary respectively

chief of state: President Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (since 7 May 2012)
head of government: Premier Mikhail MISHUSTIN (since 16 January 2020); First Deputy Premier Andrey Removich BELOUSOV (since 21 January 2020); Deputy Premiers Yuriy TRUTNEV (since 31 August 2013), Yuriy Ivanovich BORISOV, Tatiana Alekseyevna GOLIKOVA (since 18 May 2018), Dmitriy Yuriyevich GRIGORENKO, Viktoriya Valeriyevna ABRAMCHENKO, Aleksey Logvinovich OVERCHUK, Marat Shakirzyanovich KHUSNULLIN, Dmitriy Nikolayevich CHERNYSHENKO (since 21 January 2020), Aleksandr NOVAK (since 10 November 2020)
cabinet: the "Government" is composed of the premier, his deputies, and ministers, all appointed by the president; the premier is also confirmed by the Duma
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term (2020 constitutional amendments allow a second consecutive term); election last held on 18 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2024); note - for the 2024 presidential election, previous presidential terms are discounted; there is no vice president; premier appointed by the president with the approval of the Duma
election results: Vladimir PUTIN reelected president; percent of vote - Vladimir PUTIN (independent) 77.5%, Pavel GRUDININ (CPRF) 11.9%, Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY (LDPR) 5.7%, other 5.8%; Mikhail MISHUSTIN (independent) approved as premier by Duma; vote - 383 to 0

note: there is also a Presidential Administration 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

Legislative branch
description: unicameral Supreme People's Assembly or Ch'oego Inmin Hoeui (687 seats; members directly elected by majority vote in 2 rounds if needed to serve 5-year terms); note - the Korean Workers' Party selects all candidates
elections: last held on 10 March 2019 (next to be held March 2024)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KWP 607, KSDP 50, Chondoist Chongu Party 22, General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) 5, religious associations 3; ruling party approves a list of candidates who are elected without opposition; composition - men 575, women 112, percent of women 16.3%

note: KWP, KSDP, Chondoist Chongu Party, and Chongryon are under the KWP's control; a token number of seats reserved for minor parties
description: bicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of:
Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (170 seats; 2 members in each of the 83 federal administrative units (see note below) - oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg - appointed by the top executive and legislative officials; members serve 4-year terms)
State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats (see note below); as of February 2014, the electoral system reverted to a mixed electoral system for the 2016 election, in which one-half of the members are directly elected by simple majority vote and one-half directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections:
State Duma - last held on 18 September 2016 (next to be held in fall 2021)
election results:
Federation Council (members appointed); composition - men 145, women 25, percent of women 14.7%

State Duma - United Russia 54.2%, CPRF 13.3%, LDPR 13.1%, A Just Russia 6.2%, Rodina 1.5%, CP 0.2%, other minor parties 11.5%; seats by party - United Russia 343, CPRF 42, LDPR 39, A Just Russia 23, Rodina 1, CP 1, independent 1
note 1: the State Duma now includes 3 representatives from the "Republic of Crimea," while the Federation Council includes 2 each from the "Republic of Crimea" and the "Federal City of Sevastopol," both regions that Russia occupied and attempted to annex from Ukraine and that the US does not recognize as part of Russia

note 2: seats by party as of December 2018 - United Russia 341, CPRF 43, LDPR 39, A Just Russia 23, independent 2, vacant 2; composition as of October 2018 - men 393, women 57, percent of women 12.7%; note - total Federal Assembly percent of women 13.2%
Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court or Central Court (consists of one judge and 2 "People's Assessors" or, for some cases, 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Supreme People's Assembly for 5-year terms
subordinate courts: lower provincial courts as determined by the Supreme People's Assembly
highest courts: Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (consists of 170 members organized into the Judicial Panel for Civil Affairs, the Judicial Panel for Criminal Affairs, and the Military Panel); Constitutional Court (consists of 11 members, including the chairperson and deputy); note - in February 2014, Russia’s Higher Court of Arbitration was abolished and its former authorities transferred to the Supreme Court, which in addition is the country’s highest judicial authority for appeals, civil, criminal, administrative, and military cases, and the disciplinary judicial board, which has jurisdiction over economic disputes
judge selection and term of office: all members of Russia's 3 highest courts nominated by the president and appointed by the Federation Council (the upper house of the legislature); members of all 3 courts appointed for life
subordinate courts: regional (kray) and provincial (oblast) courts; Moscow and St. Petersburg city courts; autonomous province and district courts; note - the 21 Russian Republics have court systems specified by their own constitutions
Political parties and leaders
major parties:
Korean Workers' Party or KWP [KIM Jong Un]
General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon)
minor parties:
Chondoist Chongu Party (under KWP control)
Social Democratic Party or KSDP [KIM Yong Dae] (under KWP control)
A Just Russia [Sergey MIRONOV]
Civic Platform or CP [Rifat SHAYKHUTDINOV]
Communist Party of the Russian Federation or CPRF [Gennadiy ZYUGANOV]
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia or LDPR [Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY]
Rodina [Aleksei ZHURAVLYOV]
United Russia [Dmitriy MEDVEDEV]

note: 64 political parties are registered with Russia's Ministry of Justice (as of September 2018), but only four parties maintain representation in Russia's national legislature

International organization participation
ARF, FAO, G-77, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, IMSO, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, NAM, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO
APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BRICS, BSEC, CBSS, CD, CE, CERN (observer), CICA, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAEU, EAPC, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
none; North Korea has a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York
Ambassador Anatoliy Ivanovich ANTONOV (since 8 September 2017)
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, Seattle
Diplomatic representation from the US
embassy: none; the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represents the US as consular protecting power
chief of mission: Ambassador Jon M. HUNTSMAN, Jr. (since 3 October 2017)
telephone: [7] (495) 728-5000
embassy: Bolshoy Deviatinskiy Pereulok No. 8, 121099 Moscow
mailing address: PSC-77, APO AE 09721
FAX: [7] (495) 728-5090
consulate(s) general: Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg
Flag description
three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (triple width), and blue; the red band is edged in white; on the hoist side of the red band is a white disk with a red five-pointed star; the broad red band symbolizes revolutionary traditions; the narrow white bands stand for purity, strength, and dignity; the blue bands signify sovereignty, peace, and friendship; the red star represents socialism
three 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 several 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 anthem
name: "Aegukka" (Patriotic Song)
lyrics/music: PAK Se Yong/KIM Won Gyun

note: adopted 1947; both North Korea's and South Korea's anthems share the same name and have a vaguely similar melody but have different lyrics; the North Korean anthem is also known as "Ach'imun pinnara" (Let Morning Shine)

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

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICC
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)
red star, chollima (winged horse); national colors: red, white, blue
bear, double-headed eagle; national colors: white, blue, red
Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of North Korea
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: unknown
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Russia
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 3-5 years

Economy

North KoreaRussia
Economy - overview

North Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Large-scale military spending and development of its ballistic missile and nuclear programs severely draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power outputs have stagnated for years at a fraction of pre-1990 levels. Frequent weather-related crop failures aggravated chronic food shortages caused by on-going systemic problems, including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, poor soil quality, insufficient fertilization, and persistent shortages of tractors and fuel.

 

The mid 1990s through mid-2000s were marked by severe famine and widespread starvation. Significant food aid was provided by the international community through 2009. Since that time, food assistance has declined significantly. In the last few years, domestic corn and rice production has improved, although domestic production does not fully satisfy demand. A large portion of the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Since 2002, the government has allowed semi-private markets to begin selling a wider range of goods, allowing North Koreans to partially make up for diminished public distribution system rations. It also implemented changes in the management process of communal farms in an effort to boost agricultural output.

 

In December 2009, North Korea carried out a redenomination of its currency, capping the amount of North Korean won that could be exchanged for the new notes, and limiting the exchange to a one-week window. A concurrent crackdown on markets and foreign currency use yielded severe shortages and inflation, forcing Pyongyang to ease the restrictions by February 2010. In response to the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, South Korea’s government cut off most aid, trade, and bilateral cooperation activities. In February 2016, South Korea ceased its remaining bilateral economic activity by closing the Kaesong Industrial Complex in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test a month earlier. This nuclear test and another in September 2016 resulted in two United Nations Security Council Resolutions that targeted North Korea’s foreign currency earnings, particularly coal and other mineral exports. Throughout 2017, North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile tests led to a tightening of UN sanctions, resulting in full sectoral bans on DPRK exports and drastically limited key imports. Over the last decade, China has been North Korea’s primary trading partner.

 

The North Korean Government continues to stress its goal of improving the overall standard of living, but has taken few steps to make that goal a reality for its populace. In 2016, the regime used two mass mobilizations — one totaling 70 days and another 200 days — to spur the population to increase production and complete construction projects quickly. The regime released a five-year economic development strategy in May 2016 that outlined plans for promoting growth across sectors. Firm political control remains the government’s overriding concern, which likely will inhibit formal changes to North Korea’s current economic system.

Russia has undergone significant changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, moving from a centrally planned economy towards a more market-based system. Both economic growth and reform have stalled in recent years, however, and Russia remains a predominantly 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, transportation, banking, and defense-related sectors. The protection of property rights is still weak, and the state continues to interfere in the free operation of the private sector.

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 is heavily dependent on the movement of world commodity prices as 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 the 1998-2008 period as oil prices rose rapidly, has seen diminishing growth rates since then due to the exhaustion of Russia’s commodity-based growth model.

A combination of falling oil prices, international sanctions, and structural limitations pushed Russia into a deep recession in 2015, with GDP falling by close to 2.8%. The downturn continued through 2016, with GDP contracting another 0.2%, but was reversed in 2017 as world demand picked up. Government support for import substitution has increased recently in an effort to diversify the economy away from extractive industries.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$40 billion (2015 est.)
$40 billion (2014 est.)
$40 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars
North Korea does not publish reliable National Income Accounts data; the data shown are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP estimates that were made by Angus MADDISON in a study conducted for the OECD; his figure for 1999 was extrapolated to 2015 using estimated real growth rates for North Korea's GDP and an inflation factor based on the US GDP deflator; the results were rounded to the nearest $10 billion.

$4.016 trillion (2017 est.)
$3.955 trillion (2016 est.)
$3.963 trillion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
-1.1% (2015 est.)
1% (2014 est.)
1.1% (2013 est.)
1.34% (2019 est.)
2.54% (2018 est.)
1.83% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$1,700 (2015 est.)
$1,800 (2014 est.)
$1,800 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

$27,900 (2017 est.)
$27,500 (2016 est.)
$27,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 22.5% (2017 est.)
industry: 47.6% (2017 est.)
services: 29.9% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 4.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 32.4% (2017 est.)
services: 62.3% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
NA
13.3% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 32.2% (2012 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)

NA

3.7% (2017 est.)
7.1% (2016 est.)
Labor force
14 million (2014 est.)

note: estimates vary widely

69.923 million (2020 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 37%
industry: 63% (2008 est.)
agriculture: 9.4%
industry: 27.6%
services: 63% (2016 est.)
Unemployment rate
25.6% (2013 est.)
25.5% (2012 est.)
4.6% (2019 est.)
4.8% (2018 est.)
Budget
revenues: 3.2 billion (2007 est.)
expenditures: 3.3 billion (2007 est.)
revenues: 258.6 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 281.4 billion (2017 est.)
Industries
military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism
complete 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
1% (2017 est.)
-1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
rice, corn, potatoes, wheat, soybeans, pulses, beef, pork, eggs, fruit, nuts
grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables, fruits; beef, milk
Exports
$222 million (2018)
$4.582 billion (2017 est.)
$2.908 billion (2015 est.)
$353 billion (2017 est.)
$281.9 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments), textiles, agricultural and fishery products
petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, metals, wood and wood products, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures
Exports - partners
China 86.3% (2017)
China 10.9%, Netherlands 10%, Germany 7.1%, Belarus 5.1%, Turkey 4.9% (2017)
Imports
$2.32 billion (2018 est.)
$3.86 billion (2016 est.)
$238 billion (2017 est.)
$191.6 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment, textiles, grain
machinery, vehicles, pharmaceutical products, plastic, semi-finished metal products, meat, fruits and nuts, optical and medical instruments, iron, steel
Imports - partners
China 91.9% (2017)
China 21.2%, Germany 10.7%, US 5.6%, Belarus 5%, Italy 4.5%, France 4.2% (2017)
Debt - external
$5 billion (2013 est.)
$539.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$434.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
North Korean won (KPW) per US dollar (average market rate)
135 (2017 est.)
130 (2016 est.)
130 (2015 est.)
98.5 (2013 est.)
155.5 (2012 est.)
Russian rubles (RUB) per US dollar -
58.39 (2017 est.)
67.056 (2016 est.)
67.056 (2015 est.)
60.938 (2014 est.)
38.378 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
GDP (official exchange rate)
$28 billion (2013 est.)
$1.578 trillion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$1.878 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$535.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$461.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
11.4% (of GDP) (2007 est.)

note: excludes earnings from state-operated enterprises

16.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-0.4% (of GDP) (2007 est.)
-1.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: NA (2014 est.)
government consumption: NA (2014 est.)
investment in fixed capital: NA (2014 est.)
investment in inventories: NA (2014 est.)
exports of goods and services: 5.9% (2016 est.)
imports of goods and services: -11.1% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 52.4% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 18% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 21.6% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 2.3% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 26.2% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -20.6% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving

NA

26.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
25.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

North KoreaRussia
Electricity - production
16.57 billion kWh (2016 est.)
1.031 trillion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
13.89 billion kWh (2016 est.)
909.6 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
13.13 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
3.194 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
10.759 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
10,640 bbl/day (2015 est.)
76,220 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
4.921 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
80 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
47.8 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - production
0 cu m (2017 est.)
665.6 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
0 cu m (2017 est.)
467.5 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
210.2 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
15.77 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
10.01 million kW (2016 est.)
244.9 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
45% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
68% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
55% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
21% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
11% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
11,270 bbl/day (2015 est.)
6.076 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
18,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
3.65 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
2.671 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
8,260 bbl/day (2015 est.)
41,920 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
27.83 million Mt (2017 est.)
1.847 billion Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
population without electricity: 19 million (2019)
electrification - total population: 26% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 36% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 11% (2019)
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Telecommunications

North KoreaRussia
Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 1,183,806
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4.64 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 31,171,043
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 21.96 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 3,821,857
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14.98 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 233,342,795
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 164.39 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
.kp
.ru; note - Russia also has responsibility for a legacy domain ".su" that was allocated to the Soviet Union and is being phased out
Telecommunication systems
general assessment: nationwide fiber-optic network; mobile-cellular service expanded beyond Pyongyang; infrastructure underdeveloped yet growing mobile penetration by means of foreign investment; Chinese services being increasingly favored and FaceBook and Instagram actions dropped and now absent; low broadband penetration; mobile penetration in North Korea believed to stay well below other Asian nations due to government restrictions; 3G network deployed among universal population (2020)
domestic: fiber-optic links installed down to the county level; telephone directories unavailable; mobile service launched in late 2008 for the Pyongyang area and considerable progress in expanding to other parts of the country since; fixed-lines are 5 per 100 and mobile-cellular 15 per 100 persons (2019)
international: country code - 850; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Russian - Indian Ocean region); other international connections through Moscow and Beijing
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: telecom sector impacted by sanctions related to the annexations in Ukraine; the estimated number of mobile subscribers jumped from fewer than 1 million in 1998 to 255 million in 2016; fixed-line service has improved but a large demand remains; Russia with low broadband penetration is one of Europe's fastest growing markets for fiber-based broadband and moving from DSL to fiber; use by the population of multiple SIM cards; regulator ended roaming charges and works to bring down prices; 4 major operators in the mobile market; deployment of LTE support mobile broadband and data services, mobile on the cusp of 5G (2020)
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, telephone services are still outdated, inadequate, and low-density; 22 per 100 for fixed-line and mobile-cellular 164 per 100 persons (2019)
international: country code - 7; landing points for the Far East Submarine Cable System, HSCS, Sakhalin-Kuril Island Cable, RSCN, BCS North-Phase 2, Kerch Strait Cable and the Georgia-Russian submarine cable system connecting Russia, Japan, Finland, Georgia and Ukraine; satellite earth stations provide access to Intelsat, Intersputnik, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Orbita systems (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadcast media
no independent media; radios and TVs are pre-tuned to government stations; 4 government-owned TV stations; the Korean Workers' Party owns and operates the Korean Central Broadcasting Station, and the state-run Voice of Korea operates an external broadcast service; the government prohibits listening to and jams foreign broadcasts (2019)
13 national TV stations with the federal government owning 1 and holding a controlling interest in a second; state-owned Gazprom maintains a controlling interest in 2 of the national channels; government-affiliated Bank Rossiya owns controlling interest in a fourth and fifth, while a sixth national channel is owned by the Moscow city administration; the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian military, respectively, own 2 additional national channels; roughly 3,300 national, regional, and local TV stations with over two-thirds completely or partially controlled by the federal or local governments; satellite TV services are available; 2 state-run national radio networks with a third majority-owned by Gazprom; roughly 2,400 public and commercial radio stations

Transportation

North KoreaRussia
Railways
total: 7,435 km (2014)
standard gauge: 7,435 km 1.435-m gauge (5,400 km electrified) (2014)

note: figures are approximate; some narrow-gauge railway also exists

total: 87,157 km (2014)
narrow gauge: 957 km 1.067-m gauge (on Sakhalin Island) (2014)
broad gauge: 86,200 km 1.520-m gauge (40,300 km electrified) (2014)

note: an additional 30,000 km of non-common carrier lines serve industries

Roadways
total: 25,554 km (2006)
paved: 724 km (2006)
unpaved: 24,830 km (2006)
total: 1,283,387 km (2012)
paved: 927,721 km (includes 39,143 km of expressways) (2012)
unpaved: 355,666 km (2012)
Waterways
2,250 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)
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)
Pipelines
6 km oil (2013)
177700 km gas, 54800 km oil, 19300 km refined products (2016)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam, Namp'o, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Wonsan
major seaport(s): Kaliningrad, Nakhodka, Novorossiysk, Primorsk, Vostochnyy
oil terminal(s): Kavkaz oil terminal
container port(s) (TEUs): Saint Petersburg (1,848,700) (2017)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Sakhalin Island
river port(s): Saint Petersburg (Neva River)
Merchant marine
total: 264
by type: bulk carrier 9, container ship 5, general cargo 188, oil tanker 33, other 29 (2019)
total: 2,739
by type: bulk carrier 16, container ship 13, general cargo 899, oil tanker 404, other 1,407 (2019)
Airports
total: 82 (2013)
total: 1,218 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 39 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 3 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 22 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2017)
under 914 m: 4 (2017)
total: 594 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 54 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 197 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 123 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 95 (2017)
under 914 m: 125 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 43 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 15 (2013)
under 914 m: 8 (2013)
total: 624 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 4 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 13 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 69 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 81 (2013)
under 914 m: 457 (2013)
Heliports
23 (2013)
49 (2013)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 4
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 103,560 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 250,000 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 32 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 958
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 99,327,311 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 6,810,610,000 mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
P (2016)
RA (2016)

Military

North KoreaRussia
Military branches
Korean People's Army (KPA): KPA Ground Forces, KPA Navy, KPA Air Force (includes air defense), KPA Strategic Force (missile forces); Guard Command (protects the Kim family, other senior North Korean leadership figures, and government facilities in Pyongyang); Ministry of Public Security: Border Guards, civil security forces (2019)
Armed Forces of the Russian Federation: Ground Troops (Sukhoputnyye Voyskia, SV), Navy (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot, VMF), Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily, VKS); Airborne Troops (Vozdushno-Desantnyye Voyska, VDV), and Missile Troops of Strategic Purpose (Raketnyye Voyska Strategicheskogo Naznacheniya, RVSN) referred to commonly as Strategic Rocket Forces, are independent "combat arms," not subordinate to any of the three branches

Federal National Guard Troops Service of the Russian Federation (National Guard, Russian Guard, or Rosgvardiya): created in 2016 as an independent agency for internal/regime security, combating terrorism and narcotics trafficking, protecting important state facilities and government personnel, and supporting border security; forces include Interior Troops that formerly belong to the Interior Ministry, special police units, rapid response units, and other air, ground, maritime, and police forces

Federal Security Services Border Troops (includes land and maritime forces) (2019)
Military service age and obligation
17 years of age for compulsory male and female military service; service obligation 10 years for men, to age 23 for women (2015)
18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; one-year service obligation (Russia offers the option of serving on a two-year contract instead of completing a one-year conscription period); reserve obligation for non-officers to age 50; enrollment in military schools from the age of 16, cadets classified as members of the armed forces (2019)

note: in April of 2019, the Russian government pledged its intent to end conscription

Transnational Issues

North KoreaRussia
Disputes - international

risking arrest, imprisonment, and deportation, tens of thousands of North Koreans cross into China to escape famine, economic privation, and political oppression; North Korea and China dispute the sovereignty of certain islands in Yalu and Tumen Rivers; Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents in the Yellow Sea with South Korea which claims the Northern Limiting Line as a maritime boundary; North Korea supports South Korea in rejecting Japan's claim to Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima)

Russia 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; Russia remains involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine while also occupying Ukraine’s territory of Crimea; 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

Illicit drugs
at present there is insufficient information to determine the current level of involvement of government officials in the production or trafficking of illicit drugs, but for years, from the 1970s into the 2000s, citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea (DPRK), many of them diplomatic employees of the government, were apprehended abroad while trafficking in narcotics; police investigations in Taiwan and Japan in recent years have linked North Korea to large illicit shipments of heroin and methamphetamine
limited cultivation of illicit cannabis and opium poppy and producer of methamphetamine, mostly for domestic consumption; government has active illicit crop eradication program; used as transshipment point for Asian opiates, cannabis, and Latin American cocaine bound for growing domestic markets, to a lesser extent Western and Central Europe, and occasionally to the US; major source of heroin precursor chemicals; corruption and organized crime are key concerns; major consumer of opiates
Refugees and internally displaced persons
IDPs: undetermined (periodic flooding and famine during mid-1990s) (2019)
refugees (country of origin): 41,251 (Ukraine) (2019)
stateless persons: 68,209 (2019); note - Russia's stateless population consists of Roma, Meskhetian Turks, and ex-Soviet citizens from the former republics; between 2003 and 2010 more than 600,000 stateless people were naturalized; most Meskhetian Turks, followers of Islam with origins in Georgia, fled or were evacuated from Uzbekistan after a 1989 pogrom and have lived in Russia for more than the required five-year residency period; they continue to be denied registration for citizenship and basic rights by local Krasnodar Krai authorities on the grounds that they are temporary illegal migrants
Trafficking in persons
current situation: North Korea is a source country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; many North Korean workers recruited to work abroad under bilateral contracts with foreign governments, most often Russia and China, are subjected to forced labor and do not have a choice in the work the government assigns them, are not free to change jobs, and face government reprisals if they try to escape or complain to outsiders; tens of thousands of North Koreans, including children, held in prison camps are subjected to forced labor, including logging, mining, and farming; many North Korean women and girls, lured by promises of food, jobs, and freedom, have migrated to China illegally to escape poor social and economic conditions only to be forced into prostitution, domestic service, or agricultural work through forced marriages
tier rating: Tier 3 - North Korea does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government continued to participate in human trafficking through its use of domestic forced labor camps and the provision of forced labor to foreign governments through bilateral contracts; officials did not demonstrate any efforts to address human trafficking through prosecution, protection, or prevention measures; no known investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of trafficking offenders or officials complicit in trafficking-related offenses were conducted; the government also made no efforts to identify or protect trafficking victims and did not permit NGOs to assist victims (2015)
current situation: Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; with millions of foreign workers, forced labor is Russia’s predominant human trafficking problem and sometimes involves organized crime syndicates; workers from Russia, other European countries, Central Asia, and East and Southeast Asia, including North Korea and Vietnam, are subjected to forced labor in the construction, manufacturing, agricultural, textile, grocery store, maritime, and domestic service industries, as well as in forced begging, waste sorting, and street sweeping; women and children from Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central Asia are subject to sex trafficking in Russia; Russian women and children are victims of sex trafficking domestically and in Northeast Asia, Europe, Central Asia, Africa, the US, and the Middle East
tier rating: Tier 3 - Russia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making a significant effort to do so; prosecutions of trafficking offenders remained low in comparison to the scope of Russia’s trafficking problem; the government did not develop or employ a formal system for identifying trafficking victims or referring them to protective services, although authorities reportedly assisted a limited number of victims on an ad hoc basis; foreign victims, the largest group in Russia, were not entitled to state-provided rehabilitative services and were routinely detained and deported; the government has not reported investigating reports of slave-like conditions among North Korean workers in Russia; authorities have made no effort to reduce the demand for forced labor or to develop public awareness of forced labor or sex trafficking (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook