Russia or, also officially known as the Russian Federation, is a country situated in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait and Canada's Arctic islands. At 17,075,400 square kilometres, Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. Russia is also the world's ninth most populous nation with 143 million people as of 2012. Extending across the entirety of northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans nine time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms.
The nation's history began with that of the East Slavs, who emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century.