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Introduction Russia
Background: Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The Communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Josef STALIN (1928-53) strengthened Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize Communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into 15 independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the strict social, political, and economic controls of the Communist period. While some progress has been made on the economic front, recent years have seen a recentralization of power under Vladimir PUTIN and an erosion in nascent democratic institutions. A determined guerrilla conflict still plagues Russia in Chechnya.
 
Geography Russia
Location: Northern Asia (that part west of the Urals is included with Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean
Geographic coordinates: 60 00 N, 100 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 17,075,200 sq km
water: 79,400 sq km
land: 16,995,800 sq km
Area - comparative: approximately 1.8 times the size of the US
Land boundaries: total: 20,017 km
border countries: Azerbaijan 284 km, Belarus 959 km, China (southeast) 3,605 km, China (south) 40 km, Estonia 294 km, Finland 1,340 km, Georgia 723 km, Kazakhstan 6,846 km, North Korea 19 km, Latvia 217 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 227 km, Mongolia 3,485 km, Norway 196 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Ukraine 1,576 km
Coastline: 37,653 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast
Terrain: broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Gora El'brus 5,633 m
Natural resources: wide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, timber
note: formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources
Land use: arable land: 7.33%
permanent crops: 0.11%
other: 92.56% (2001)
Irrigated land: 46,630 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: permafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula; spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia
Environment - current issues: air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: largest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture; Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak
 
People Russia
Population: 143,782,338 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15% (male 11,064,109; female 10,518,595)
15-64 years: 71.3% (male 49,534,076; female 52,958,107)
65 years and over: 13.7% (male 6,177,580; female 13,529,871) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 37.9 years
male: 34.7 years
female: 40.7 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.45% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 9.63 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 15.17 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 1.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female
total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 16.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 19.58 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66.39 years
male: 59.91 years
female: 73.27 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.26 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.9% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 700,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 9,000 (2001 est.)
Nationality: noun: Russian(s)
adjective: Russian
Ethnic groups: Russian 81.5%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 3%, Chuvash 1.2%, Bashkir 0.9%, Belarusian 0.8%, Moldavian 0.7%, other 8.1% (1989)
Religions: Russian Orthodox, Muslim, other
Languages: Russian, other
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.6%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.5% (2003 est.)
 
Government Russia
Country name: conventional long form: Russian Federation
conventional short form: Russia
local short form: Rossiya
local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Government type: federation
Capital: Moscow
Administrative divisions: 49 oblasts (oblastey, singular - oblast), 21 republics (respublik, singular - respublika), 10 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnykh okrugov, singular - avtonomnyy okrug), 6 krays (krayev, singular - kray), 2 federal cities (singular - gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast')
: oblasts: Amur (Blagoveshchensk), Arkhangel'sk, Astrakhan', Belgorod, Bryansk, Chelyabinsk, Chita, Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Magadan, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Orel, Penza, Perm', Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan', Sakhalin (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Samara, Saratov, Smolensk, Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), Tambov, Tomsk, Tula, Tver', Tyumen', Ul'yanovsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Yaroslavl'
: republics: Adygeya (Maykop), Altay (Gorno-Altaysk), Bashkortostan (Ufa), Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude), Chechnya (Groznyy), Chuvashiya (Cheboksary), Dagestan (Makhachkala), Ingushetiya (Magas), Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik), Kalmykiya (Elista), Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk), Kareliya (Petrozavodsk), Khakasiya (Abakan), Komi (Syktyvkar), Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola), Mordoviya (Saransk), Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk), North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Tatarstan (Kazan'), Tyva (Kyzyl), Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)
: federal cities: Moscow (Moskva), St. Petersburg (Sankt-Peterburg)
: autonomous oblast: Yevrey [Jewish] (Birobidzhan)
: krays: Altay (Barnaul), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Primorskiy (Vladivostok), Stavropol'
: autonomous okrugs: Aga Buryat (Aginskoye), Chukotka (Anadyr'), Evenk (Tura), Khanty-Mansi, Komi-Permyak (Kudymkar), Koryak (Palana), Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar), Taymyr [Dolgano-Nenets] (Dudinka), Ust'-Orda Buryat (Ust'-Ordynskiy), Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Independence: 24 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday: Russia Day, 12 June (1990)
Constitution: adopted 12 December 1993
Legal system: based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (acting president since 31 December 1999, president since 7 May 2000)
note: there is also a Presidential Administration (PA) that provides staff and policy support to the president, drafts presidential decrees, and coordinates policy among government agencies; a Security Council also reports directly to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 14 March 2004 (next to be held NA March 2008); note - no vice president; if the president dies in office, cannot exercise his powers because of ill health, is impeached, or resigns, the premier succeeds him; the premier serves as acting president until a new presidential election is held, which must be within three months; premier appointed by the president with the approval of the Duma
cabinet: Ministries of the Government or "Government" composed of the premier and his deputy, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the president
head of government: Premier Mikhail Yefimovich FRADKOV (since 5 March 2004); Deputy Premier Aleksandr Dmitriyevich ZHUKOV (since 9 March 2004)
election results: Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN reelected president; percent of vote - Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN 71.2%, Nikolay KHARITONOV 13.7%, other (no candidate above 5%) 15.1%
Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of the Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (178 seats; as of July 2000, members appointed by the top executive and legislative officials in each of the 89 federal administrative units - oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg; members serve four-year terms) and the State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats; currently 225 seats elected by proportional representation from party lists winning at least 5% of the vote, and 225 seats from single-member constituencies; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: State Duma - last held 7 December 2003 (next to be held NA December 2007)
election results: State Duma - percent of vote received by parties clearing the 5% threshold entitling them to a proportional share of the 225 party list seats - United Russia 37.1%, CPRF 12.7%, LDPR 11.6%, Motherland 9.1%; seats by party - United Russia 222, CPRF 53, LDPR 38, Motherland 37, People's Party 19, Yabloko 4, Union of Rightist Forces 2, other 7, independents 65, repeat election required 3
Judicial branch: Constitutional Court; Supreme Court; Superior Court of Arbitration; judges for all courts are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president
Political parties and leaders: Communist Party of the Russian Federation or CPRF [Gennadiy Andreyevich ZYUGANOV]; Liberal Democratic Party of Russia or LDPR [Vladimir Volfovich ZHIRINOVSKIY]; Motherland Bloc (Rodina) [Dmitriy ROGOZIN]; People's Party [Gennadiy RAYKOV]; Union of Rightist Forces or SPS [Anatoliy Borisovich CHUBAYS, Yegor Timurovich GAYDAR, Irina Mutsuovna KHAKAMADA, Boris Yefimovich NEMTSOV]; United Russia [Boris Vyacheslavovich GRYZLOV]; Yabloko Party [Grigoriy Alekseyevich YAVLINSKIY]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BSEC, CBSS, CE, CERN (observer), CIS, EAPC, EBRD, G- 8, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), ONUB, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNMISET, UNMOVIC, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer), ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Yuriy Viktorovich USHAKOV
consulate(s) general: New York, San Francisco, and Seattle
FAX: [1] (202) 298-5735
telephone: [1] (202) 298-5700, 5701, 5704, 5708
chancery: 2650 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Alexander VERSHBOW
embassy: Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok No. 8, 121099 Moscow
mailing address: PSC-77, APO AE 09721
telephone: [7] (095) 728-5000
FAX: [7] (095) 728-5090
consulate(s) general: Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red
 
Economy Russia
Economy - overview: Russia ended 2003 with its fifth straight year of growth, averaging 6.5% annually since the financial crisis of 1998. Although high oil prices and a relatively cheap ruble are important drivers of this economic rebound, since 2000 investment and consumer-driven demand have played a noticeably increasing role. Real fixed capital investments have averaged gains greater than 10% over the last four years and real personal incomes have averaged increases over 12%. Russia has also improved its international financial position since the 1998 financial crisis, with its foreign debt declining from 90% of GDP to around 28%. Strong oil export earnings have allowed Russia to increase its foreign reserves from only $12 billion to some $80 billion. These achievements, along with a renewed government effort to advance structural reforms, have raised business and investor confidence in Russia's economic prospects. Nevertheless, serious problems persist. Oil, natural gas, metals, and timber account for more than 80% of exports, leaving the country vulnerable to swings in world prices. Russia's manufacturing base is dilapidated and must be replaced or modernized if the country is to achieve broad-based economic growth. Other problems include a weak banking system, a poor business climate that discourages both domestic and foreign investors, corruption, local and regional government intervention in the courts, and widespread lack of trust in institutions. In addition, a string of investigations launched against a major Russian oil company, culminating with the arrest of its CEO in the fall of 2003, have raised concerns by some observers that President PUTIN is granting more influence to forces within his government that desire to reassert state control over the economy.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.282 trillion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 7.3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,900 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5.2%
industry: 35.1%
services: 59.8% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 18.2% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line: 25% (January 2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 5.9%
highest 10%: 47% (2001)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 39.9 (2001)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 13.7% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 71.68 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 12.3%, industry 22.7%, services 65% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate: 8.5% plus considerable underemployment (2003 est.)
Budget: revenues: $83.99 billion
expenditures: $73.75 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003)
Public debt: 34.1% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products: grain, sugar beets, sunflower seed, vegetables, fruits; beef, milk
Industries: complete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: 7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production: 915 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption: 773 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 21.16 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 7 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 7.286 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 2.595 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 51.22 billion bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production: 580.8 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 408.1 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 205.4 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 32.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 47.86 trillion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance: $35.91 billion (2003)
Exports: $134.4 billion (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, wood and wood products, metals, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures
Exports - partners: Germany 7.8%, Netherlands 6.5%, Italy 6.3%, China 6.2%, Belarus 5.7%, Ukraine 5.7%, US 4.6%, Switzerland 4.4% (2003)
Imports: $74.8 billion (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, consumer goods, medicines, meat, sugar, semifinished metal products
Imports - partners: Germany 14%, Belarus 8.6%, Ukraine 7.7%, China 5.8%, US 5.2%, Kazakhstan 4.7%, Italy 4.2%, France 4.1% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $76.94 billion (2003)
Debt - external: $175.9 billion (2003)
Economic aid - recipient: in FY01 from US, $979 million (including $750 million in non-proliferation subsidies); in 2001 from EU, $200 million (2000 est.)
Currency: Russian ruble (RUR)
Currency code: RUR
Exchange rates: Russian rubles per US dollar - 30.692 (2003), 31.3485 (2002), 29.1685 (2001), 28.1292 (2000), 24.6199 (1999)
note: the post-1 January 1998 ruble is equal to 1,000 of the pre-1 January 1998 rubles
Fiscal year: calendar year
 
Communications Russia
Telephones - main lines in use: 35.5 million (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 17,608,800 (2002)
Telephone system: general assessment: the telephone system underwent significant changes in the 1990s; there are more than 1,000 companies licensed to offer communication services; access to digital lines has improved, particularly in urban centers; Internet and e-mail services are improving; Russia has made progress toward building the telecommunications infrastructure necessary for a market economy; however, a large demand for main line service remains unsatisfied
domestic: cross-country digital trunk lines run from Saint Petersburg to Khabarovsk, and from Moscow to Novorossiysk; the telephone systems in 60 regional capitals have modern digital infrastructures; cellular services, both analog and digital, are available in many areas; in rural areas, the telephone services are still outdated, inadequate, and low density
international: country code - 7; Russia is connected internationally by three undersea fiber-optic cables; digital switches in several cities provide more than 50,000 lines for international calls; satellite earth stations provide access to Intelsat, Intersputnik, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Orbita systems
Radio broadcast stations: AM 420, FM 447, shortwave 56 (1998)
Radios: 61.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 7,306 (1998)
Televisions: 60.5 million (1997)
Internet country code: .ru; Russia also has responsibility for a legacy domain ".su" that was allocated to the Soviet Union, and whose legal status and ownership are contested by the Russian Government, ICANN, and several Russian commercial entities
Internet hosts: 560,874 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 300 (June 2000)
Internet users: 6 million (2002)
 
Transportation Russia
Railways: total: 87,157 km
broad gauge: 86,200 km 1.520-m gauge (40,300 km electrified)
note: an additional 30,000 km of non-common carrier lines serve industries (2003)
narrow gauge: 957 km 1.067-m gauge (on Sakhalin Island)
Highways: total: 532,393 km
paved: 358,833 km
unpaved: 173,560 km (2000)
Waterways: 96,000 km
note: 72,000 km system in European Russia links Baltic Sea, White Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and Black Sea (2004)
Pipelines: condensate 122 km; gas 150,007 km; oil 75,539 km; refined products 13,771 km (2004)
Ports and harbors: Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinskiy, Arkhangel'sk, Astrakhan', De-Kastri, Indigirskiy, Kaliningrad, Kandalaksha, Kazan', Khabarovsk, Kholmsk, Krasnoyarsk, Lazarev, Mago, Mezen', Moscow, Murmansk, Nakhodka, Nevel'sk, Novorossiysk, Onega, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Rostov, Shakhtersk, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Taganrog, Tuapse, Uglegorsk, Vanino, Vladivostok, Volgograd, Vostochnyy, Vyborg
Merchant marine: total: 958 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 4,521,472 GRT/5,505,118 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 20, cargo 562, chemical tanker 13, combination bulk 21, combination ore/oil 36, container 28, multi-functional large load carrier 2, passenger 35, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 179, rail car carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 27, roll on/roll off 21, short-sea/passenger 6, specialized tanker 2
foreign-owned: Belize 2, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 9, Denmark 1, Estonia 3, Germany 1, Greece 3, Hong Kong 1, South Korea 1, Latvia 2, Lithuania 3, Malta 2, Moldova 3, Netherlands 2, Panama 2, Switzerland 4, Turkey 18, Turkmenistan 2, Ukraine 7, United Kingdom 3, United States 4
registered in other countries: 350 (2004 est.)
Airports: 2,609 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 585
over 3,047 m: 56
2,438 to 3,047 m: 201
914 to 1,523 m: 100
under 914 m: 106 (2003 est.)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 122
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 2,024
under 914 m: 1,590 (2003 est.)
over 3,047 m: 19
2,438 to 3,047 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 261
1,524 to 2,437 m: 120
Heliports: 36 (2003 est.)
 
Military Russia
Military branches: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Forces; Airborne troops, Strategic Rocket Forces, and Military Space Forces are classified as independent combat arms, not subordinate to any of the three branches
:
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 18-27 years of age; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; 200,000 conscripts were inducted into the armed forces in 2003; length of compulsory military service is 2 years; plans as of August 2004 call for reduction in mandatory service to 1 year by 2008; 2003 planning calls for volunteer servicemen to compose 70% of armed forces by 2010, with the remaining servicemen consisting of conscripts (August 2004)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 39,127,169 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 30,600,088 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 1,262,339 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA
This page was last updated on 1 January 2003



This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005