Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a country in Eurasia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with over 144 million people as of December 2017, excluding Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod.
Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. 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 and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD.