In both total area and geographic extent, Russia is the largest country in the world. With an area of 17,075,200 sq km, Russia constitutes more than one-ninth of the world s land area. The country stretches over a vast area of Eurasia and is bordered by a number of countries that include (counter-clockwise from NW to SE) Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. Russia is also close to the United States and Japan.
Russia is a middle income country with a population of approximately 143 million people and a gross national income per capita of $4460 in 2005 (GNI, Atlas method, WDI-2006). Russia contains the greatest reserves of mineral resources of any country in the world. The country may hold as much as one-half of the world s potential coal reserves and may hold larger reserves of petroleum than any other nation. Russia has been one of the most dominant players in the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). After the break up of the Soviet Union Russia’s domination in the region was challenged as several new states took birth. However, a newly formed Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) gave Russia the much-needed influence over its neighbors. In diplomatic matters, Russia is considered to be the successor state of the Soviet Union. Russia has changed profoundly in the past 15 years. It is no longer governed by a single socialist party that imposes its official ideology on the citizenship.
Russian society has opened itself up to the rest of the world and to a new pluralism of views and ways of life. All of this was unthinkable during the many years of closed Soviet socialism. The Russian economy has also changed. It is transforming itself from a centrally managed to a market economy. The performance of the Russian economy since the 1998 crisis has been impressive. Between 1998 and 2006, Russian GDP expanded by an estimated 57.6 percent, while real incomes of the population grew by 65 percent. Poverty (headcount) rates were cut in half and regional disparities declined considerably. Russia has been experiencing a boom in capital investment since the beginning of 2007.
Capital investment showed record growth in June, rising 27.2 percent over June of last year in real terms (adjusted for price changes), to 579.8 billion rubles. That is a rise of 58 percent in nominal terms. (Source: World Bank Report) In short, the continued responsible conduct of macroeconomic (stabilization) policy has substantially improved the economic climate in Russia. All major multi-national corporations and their brands are significantly present all over Russia today.