The Russian Federation is the largest of the 21 republics that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States. It occupies most of eastern Europe and north Asia, stretching 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 Sea and the Caucasus in the south. It is bordered by Norway and Finland in the northwest; Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania in the west; Georgia and Azerbaijan in the southwest; and Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and North Korea along the southern border. Government Constitutional federation. History
Tradition says the Viking Rurik came to Russia in 862 and founded the first Russian dynasty in Novgorod. The various tribes were united by the spread of Christianity in the 10th and 11th centuries; Vladimir “the Saint” was converted in 988. During the 11th century, the grand dukes of Kiev held such centralizing power as existed. In 1240, Kiev was destroyed by the Mongols, and the Russian territory was split into numerous smaller dukedoms. Early dukes of Moscow extended their dominion over other Russian cities through their office of tribute collector for the Mongols and because of Moscow's role as an administrative and trade center. In the late 15th century, Duke Ivan III acquired Novgorod and Tver and threw off the Mongol yoke. Ivan IV—the Terrible (1533–1584), first Muscovite czar—is considered to have founded the Russian state. He crushed the power of rival princes and boyars (great landowners), but Russia remained largely medieval until the reign of Peter the Great (1689–1725), grandson of the first Romanov czar, Michael (1613–1645). Peter made extensive reforms aimed at westernization and, through his defeat of Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava in 1709, he extended Russia's boundaries to the west. Catherine the Great (1762–1796) continued Peter's westernization program and also expanded Russian territory, acquiring the Crimea, Ukraine, and part of Poland. During the reign of Alexander I (1801–1825), Napoléon's attempt to subdue Russia was defeated (1812–1813), and new territory was gained, including Finland (1809) and Bessarabia (1812). Alexander originated the Holy Alliance, which for a time crushed Europe's rising liberal movement. Alexander II (1855–1881) pushed Russia's borders to the Pacific and into central Asia. Serfdom was abolished in 1861, but heavy restrictions were imposed on the emancipated class. Revolutionary strikes, following Russia's defeat in the war with Japan, forced Nicholas II (1894–1917) to grant a representative national body (Duma), elected by narrowly limited suffrage. It met for the first time in 1906 but had little influence on Nicholas. EDUCATION IN RUSSIA:- In the Russian Federation, there are 180,000 educational establishments of all types and categories. About 35 million people or 23 percent of the total population of the country are annually involved in one type of education or another. More than 6 million people are employed in the sphere of education. The system of education in Russia evolved for centuries under the influence of Christianity, and since the end of the Seventeenth Century, under the influence of the Enlightenment. In the Twentieth Century, when general and professional education came more than ever to be considered as a factor of social and economic change and as an inherent individual right, illiteracy was eliminated, access to higher education was extended, and an educational system for adults was created. Many persons, however, came to feel that the educational system, that had been built up by the beginning of the 1980's, was not sufficiently flexible and not entirely capable of meeting the demands of individuals. The socio-political changes that have been taking place in Russia and the transition to a market economy have led to a need to reform the education system. The Constitution of the Russian Federation of 1993 and the federal law On Education of 1992 and its 1996 revisions strengthened the right of citizens to education, stimulated the democratization of life in educational institutions, extended academic freedom and institutional autonomy, and promoted the humanization of education. The former centralized and unified system was replaced by a system which, to a fuller extent, takes into account the interests of students and teachers, of the academic community, and of employers. The non-state education sector, including educational establishments founded by both individuals and by non-state organizations, has been developing rapidly. The Federal Programme for the Development of Education, aimed at the encouragement of innovations in all components of the education system, has been designed for the support of educational reforms. In recent years, the system of education of the Russian Federation has been undergoing drastic changes in the framework of the comprehensive transformation of the country as a whole. The main changes have been proceeding along the following lines:
diversification: emergence of new types of educational institutions, introduction of a multi-level higher education system (Bakalavr and Magistr degrees in addition to the traditional Diplom-Specialist degree), and profound changes in curricula; democratization: expansion of academic freedom and institutional autonomy, an increase in the number of public and buffer organizations; quality of education: strengthening of a mechanism for evaluation and quality control; content of education: in-depth changes in many disciplines, especially in political science, history, economics, law, and others.