Russia, also known as the Russian Federation, is a country located in Northern Eurasia. This country occupies 17,075,200 square kilometers or 6,593,000 square miles of land easily making it the biggest country in the world. However, this is a very basic measure that doesn’t help us understand or describe how big Russia is compared to other countries in the world.
Russia’s territory compared to the USA
Russia – 6,593 million sq.mi.
USA – 3,719 million sq.mi.
Russia is almost double the size of the USA, which you can see on the picture below. The US territory is in blue.
Canada (3,855 million sq. mi.) is a little bit bigger than the United States, but still, a lot smaller compared to Russia.
Australia seems to be huge, but it’s about 2,970 million sq. mi., which makes it more than twice as smaller than Russia.
On the picture below, you can see the territory of India (1,222 million sq. mi.) compared to Russia.
China – 3,705 million sq. mi.
In fact, Russia is even bigger in land mass than Pluto (6,430 million sq. mi.)!
But did you know that Russia was even bigger in size during the Soviet Union times until it collapsed in 1991? The Soviet Union (USSR) was covering about 1/6 of the land surface on Earth – 8,650 million sq. miles!
The Soviet Union was about 30% larger than Russia these days. Besides Russia, it included the land masses of 15 countries as part of the Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Here, take a look at the map of the Soviet Union:
Borders of Russia
The size of Russia makes it the most heavily bordered country in the world. Some of the countries that run along Russia’s borders were part of the now obsolete Soviet Union. Russia has a total of 14 neighboring countries by land and maritime borders with Japan and the United States.
Russia also borders the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans in addition to the Black and Caspian Seas. Russia’s coastline is also vast, stretching around 37,653 kilometers with 13 nautical miles of territorial sea.
Let me tell you a few more interesting geographical facts about Russia.
It sounds crazy, but there are 11 time zones in Russia ranging from UTC +2 to UTC +12! Can you imagine this: when people in the European part of Russia just waking up, inhabitants of the Far East are already back from work and having a lovely dinner. It’s a 10 hours difference between Kaliningrad on the west and Kamchatka on the east!
Another interesting fact is that 77% of the landmass of Russia is located in Asia – east of the Ural mountains. The Urals considered to mark the border between Europe and Asia, which makes Russia be part of both at the same time.
While most people may not know it, the distance between Russia’s mainland and the United States is only about 55 miles. In fact, if you look at a map or a chart from the West of Russia to around Alaska, you will notice that it’s a very short distance at the closest point. The distance is further reduced to around 2.5 miles if you work this system using the Island of Big Diomede in Russia to Little Diomede of Alaska. Learn more on this topic in my other post on how to get from Alaska to Russia.
Population of Russia
In the quest to unravel how large is the territory of Russia is its imperative that we look at the population. According to a census conducted in 2011 (the most recent), Russia has a population of about 142,000,000 inhabitants.
While this might sound like an unbelievable figure, the biggest country by size is only the ninth most populous country in the world. China leads the pack with a mind boggling population of around 1,400,000,000 inhabitants.
Bearing in mind that Russia is comprised of densely populated cities like Moscow and sparse rural area as you head to Siberia, these figures start to make sense. Generally, as far as the population is concerned, the numbers are still quite impressive.
Russia might easily pass as the largest county in the world due to its vast land mass it occupies but it might also shock you that this is the smallest it has ever been in recent times when you consider how big the Soviet Union was.
At the end, I recommend you to watch this very interesting documentary about the oil extraction in the Russian Arctic.