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As with its topography, its climates, vegetation, and soils span vast distances.

Russia shares land borders with the following countries (counter-clockwise from northwest to southeast): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea.

Truly unique on Earth, Baikal is home to more than 1700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world.

Of its 100,000 rivers, the Volga River is the most famous—not only because it is the longest river in Europe but also because of its major role in Russian history.

A small part of Black Sea coast around Sochi is considered in Russia to have subtropical climate.

Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water, providing it with one of the world's largest surface-water resources.

The most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest and most capacious freshwater lake.

Lake Baikal alone contains over one fifth of the world's liquid fresh surface water.

With an area of 6,592,800 square miles (17,075,400 square kilometers), Russia is by far the largest country in the world, covering almost twice the total area of the next-largest country, Canada, and has significant mineral and energy resources.

Most of the land consists of broad plain with low hills west of Urals, and vast plains in Siberia.

These plains are predominantly steppe to the south and heavily forested to the north, with tundra along the northern coast.

Mountain ranges are found along the southern borders, such as the Caucasus (containing Mount Elbrus, Russia's and Europe's highest point at 18,511 feet (5642 meters), and the Altai, and in the eastern parts, such as the Verkhoyansk Range or the volcanoes on Kamchatka.

Moscow is the capital and the country's economic, financial, educational, and transportation center.