Despite the collapse of Communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation remains the largest country in the world: spread across two continents and eleven time zones, it has a population of about 142 million people. A republic since 1991 and equipped with a new constitution since 1993, Russia experienced a decade of severe economic and political uncertainty that appeared to foreshadow its imminent historical-strategic demise. But a vast inflow of capital stemming from Western-bound exports of Siberian and Arctic natural resources has allowed the Kremlin to bounce back, re-assert its leadership role, and defend its sphere of influence even in those areas of strategic interest comprising countries that were formerly part of the USSR. Today Russia is one of the four BRIC countries (along with Brazil, India, and China) that seem destined to dominate the economy over the next fifty years. In political terms, the country is a federated democracy with a very strong, and controversial, executive branch.
Mario Ganino teaches Comparative Public Law in the Political Science Faculty at the University of Milan.