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Russia (Russian: Россия, Rossiya, Russian pronunciation: [rɐˈsʲijə]), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black, Azov, and Caspian seas in the south. Russia covers over 17,125,191 square kilometres (6,612,073 sq mi), consists of more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, extends to eleven time zones, and has borders with sixteen sovereign nations. Moscow is the country's capital and largest city, while Saint Petersburg is the second-largest city.

Russia is the largest country in the world, the ninth-most populous country, as well as the most populous country in Europe. The country is one of the world's most sparsely populated and urbanised. About half of the country's total area is forested, concentrating around four-fifths of its total population of over 146.8 million on its smaller and dense western portion, as opposed to its larger and sparse eastern portion. Russia is administratively divided into 85 federal subjects. The Moscow Metropolitan Area is the largest metropolitan area in Europe, and among the largest in the world, with more than 20 million residents. (Full article...)

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Two paskhas with candles (with a kulich and Easter eggs in the background)

Paskha (also spelled pascha, or pasha; Russian: па́сха; [ˈpasxə]; "Easter") is a Slavic festive dish made in Eastern Orthodox countries which consists of food that is forbidden during the fast of Great Lent. It is made during Holy Week and then brought to Church on Great Saturday to be blessed after the Paschal Vigil. The name of the dish comes from Pascha, the Eastern Orthodox celebration of Easter. Besides Russia, Ukraine, etc., pasha is also often served in Finland.

Cheese paskha is a traditional Easter dish made from quark (curd cheese, Russian: творог, tr. tvorog), which is white, symbolizing the purity of Christ, the Paschal Lamb, and the joy of the Resurrection. It is formed in a mould, traditionally in the shape of a truncated pyramid (a symbol of the Church; this form is also said to represent the Tomb of Christ). It is usually served as an accompaniment to rich Easter breads called paska in Ukraine and kulich in Russia (where the "paskha" name is also used in the Southern regions). (Full article...)

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Laika (Russian: Лайка; c. 1954 – 3 November 1957) was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika, a stray mongrel from the streets of Moscow, was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into outer space on 3 November 1957.

Little was known about the impact of spaceflight on living creatures at the time of Laika's mission, and the technology to de-orbit had not yet been developed, so Laika's survival was never expected. Some scientists believed humans would be unable to survive the launch or the conditions of outer space, so engineers viewed flights by animals as a necessary precursor to human missions. The experiment aimed to prove that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure a micro-g environment, paving the way for human spaceflight and providing scientists with some of the first data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments. (Full article...)

In the news

6 February 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
Myanmar approves the use of the Sputnik V vaccine developed by Russia. (Sputnik V)
4 February 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
Iran receives its first shipment of 500,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. (The Times of Israel)
Palestine receives 10,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. (Anadolu Agency)
3 February 2021 – Terrorism in Canada
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announces the designation of 13 groups as terrorist organizations, including the American far-right group Proud Boys and white supremacist organizations such as the Russian Imperial Movement, Atomwaffen Division, and The Base. In the process, Canada has become the first country to designate the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization. (The Washington Post) (USA Today)
2 February 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
A peer-reviewed result published in the journal The Lancet finds Russia's Sputnik V vaccine to be 91.6% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infection. It is the third major vaccine candidate to exceed 90% efficacy, along with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. (CBS on MSN)
1 February 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
Armenia approves the use of the Sputnik V vaccine developed by Russia. (Public Radio of Armenia)


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Leonid Brezhnev
We bow our heads in respect for those Soviet women who displayed exceptional courage in the severe time of war. Never before but during the days of the war the grandeur of spirit and the invincible will of our Soviet women, their selfless dedication, loyalty and affection to their Homeland, their boundless persistence in work and their heroism on the front manifested themselves with such strength.

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