The Russian Federation is a federation of 83 oblasts, republics, autonomous republics, territories, districts and federal cities. This is as complicated as it sounds. Imagine if the US had 83 states that occasionally had shooting wars against each other.
After experimenting with anarchy in the 1990s under Boris Yeltsin, Russia is, thanks to Vladimir Putin, an enlightened liberal democracy, which has cut assassinations of journalists down to only two or three a year, and which doesn't cut off the gas supply every time a foreign country criticises it. Their democracy is now so successful that the United Russia Party scored 238 out of 450 Duma seats in the 2011 elections with only minimal widespread electoral fraud. One of their many favorite pastimes is subsisting in the delusion that NATO is out to get them, while NATO's favourite pastime is
subsisting in the delusion that Russia is out to get them to find some purpose (read — enemy) for a military alliance without one.
Apparently, the country is also adding the spectator sport of public creationist silliness, as demonstrated by a protest by Russian Orthodox young-earth creationists outside of Moscow's Charles Darwin museum.
Siberia is the Asian portion of Russia ("portion" being two thirds of the country, though one quarter of the population). It was notorious as the destination of prisoners of conscience exiles within the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. So notorious is the association of the words Siberia and prison that the place is routinely described as the destination of all Russian prisoners, even when they are sent to Mordovia, as far west of Siberia itself as London is from Warsaw. And, beside that, Siberia is a major source of oil and gas, while the Siberia in its entirety has almost every known resource, from timber to diamonds, to offer.
Today, Siberia is a mostly-settled region with several large cities connected by a network of highways and railroads; indeed, Novosibirsk, the unofficial "capital of Siberia," is the third largest city in Russia with a population of 1.47 million. Settlement far away from established urban centers is still impractical due to the harsh climate and long travel distances, but at least the era of the phrase "send them to Siberia" in the sense of imprisonment or exile is almost over. However, the well known imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a Siberian penal colony shows that this assumption is a bit premature.
 См. также
- ↑ See Russian Journalist Assassination Comes After U.S. Congressional Resolutions Urging Protection for Media and Wikipedia - List of journalists killed in Russia
- ↑ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-06/russians-protest-against-election-fraud/3714310
- ↑ Russian Creationists Denounce Evolution, Dispatches From the Culture Wars
- ↑ "Mordovia, while Maria Alyokhina was shipped to a similar institution in Perm. The two cities, located in the freezing central region of Siberia..." so the Republic of Mordovia is a city now?
- ↑ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/oct/25/russia.tomparfitt