Russia has an estimated population of 142 Million in mid-2013, with a slightly negative growth rate. It is geographically the largest country in the world, with 1.8 times the size of the US. This means that it is very sparsely populated, with vast, open, and empty landscapes. Of these 142 Million Russians, 73.8% live in urban centers, and the largest city by far is Moscow, with 10.5 Million people, followed by Saint Petersburg, with 4.5 Million inhabitants. The total median age is only 38.8 years, and the life expectancy at birth differs widely between men and women: Men reach an average age of 64 years, while women can expect to live into their 76th year. This difference is probably linked to health issues, like eating habits, alcoholism, depression, and general outlook on life.

 Russia has a total GDP (in terms of purchasing power parity, PPP) of 2.5 trillion US Dollars in 2012, with a growth rate of approximately 3.5 to 4%. This translates into a GDP per capita rate of $18.000; compared to a US Per capita GDP rate of $50.000, or Germany’s rate of $40.000.

Russia is the world leading oil producer, surpassing Saudi-Arabia. It holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves, and is the second-largest coal producer. It also exports minerals, metals, and other raw materials. The natural resources are the source of Russia’s wealth; government attempts to create high-tech jobs or a thriving private-sector economy are not very successful.

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