CLICK HERE for Country Information and History

AREA: (approximately 1.8 times the size of the US) total: 17,098,242 sq km (6,601,668 sq miles), land: 16,377,742 sq km ( 6,323,482 sq miles), water: 720,500 sq km (278,187 sq miles)

Population: 142,355,415 (July 2016 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.06% (2016 est.)

Capital City: Moscow

Independence Day: 24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: 1157 (Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal created); 16 January 1547 (Tsardom of Muscovy established); 22 October 1721 (Russian Empire proclaimed); 30 December 1922 (Soviet Union established)

Ethnic Groups: Russian 77.7%, Tatar 3.7%, Ukrainian 1.4%, Bashkir 1.1%, Chuvash 1%, Chechen 1%, other 10.2%, unspecified 3.9%  note: more than 190 ethnic groups are represented in Russia’s 2010 census (2010 est.)

Languages: Russian (official) 85.7%, Tatar 3.2%, Chechen 1%, other 10.1%

Life Expectancy at Birth: total population: 70.8 years / male: 65 years / female: 76.8 years (2016 est.)

Religious Groups:

  • Russian Orthodox 15-20%
  • Muslim 10-15%
  • other Christian 2% (2006 est.)

note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule

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. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. 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 Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. After defeating Germany in World War II as part of an alliance with the US (1939-1945), the USSR expanded its territory and influence in Eastern Europe and emerged as a global power. The USSR was the principal adversary of the US during the Cold War (1947-1991). The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the decades following Stalin’s rule, 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 Russia and 14 other independent republics.
Following economic and political turmoil during President Boris YELTSIN’s term (1991-99), Russia shifted toward a centralized authoritarian state under the leadership of President Vladimir PUTIN (2000-2008, 2012-present) in which the regime seeks to legitimize its rule through managed elections, populist appeals, a foreign policy focused on enhancing the country’s geopolitical influence, and commodity-based economic growth. Russia faces a largely subdued rebel movement in Chechnya and some other surrounding regions, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.

SOURCE: The CIA Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.

EEMN Serving in Russia

10th Year at Kondopoga, Russia! – 2016 EEMN Russia Team

The vast majority of the ministries and leaders with whom EEMN partners in Russia (including our Vision Petrozavodsk partners) are, in some way, connected with the Ingrian Lutheran Church in Russia (ELCIR). However, the ministries themselves are as unique as the communities they serve. Additionally, EEMN partners with the ecumenical ministries of the Christian Center at Petrozavodsk and Campground & Retreat Center in Karelia, Russia.




Team Leader Debra Parks; Tatiana I.; Principal Elena; and Pr. David Breidenbach

The key partners in this close-knit community include Tatiana I., who serves as our main liaison and coordinator for the Language Schools hosted there and Pr. Vadim Lysenko, who serves the Ingrian Lutheran Church at Kondopoga. Along with our long-time volunteer team leader, Debra Parks, they work together as a well-oiled machine that blesses not only the students who participate in the language schools, but also the local orphanage and surrounding community. The English Language Schools are a highlight for this town and the community responds with open doors and open hearts to the group of Americans that visits every year. In fact, 2016 was the 10th year celebration of EEMN teams blessing Kondopoga!




Pr. Aleksei and Nadia  Krongolm

Pr. Aleksie and Nadia Krongolm are the dynamic ministry duo that serves the city of Petrozavodsk through the ministries they lead at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church. They have been partners of EEMN since before accepting their call to full-time parish ministry.


The Krongolms are also writing the next chapter in the 20+ year history of support by Vision Petrozavodsk. This accompaniment in ministry includes prayer, exchange visits, short-term educational courses, mentoring, and the financial support needed as Holy Spirit Lutheran Church works toward becoming more self-sustaining. For more information about Vision Petrozavodsk, under the coordination of Paul Anderson, please visit their Task Force website: NE Minnesota Synod: Vision-Petrozavodsk.

Because of the overwhelming need for supporting Ingrian Lutheran pastors and congregations, throughout the Karelian region of Russia, EEMN is seeking to expand support to include these other ministries, too!



Pr. David with church partners at Pitkyranka Lutheran Church, Karelia

EEMN is blessed to work together in ministry with the Ingrian Lutheran Church & Seminary  in reaching the Karelia region of Russia with the Gospel!