The enormous size of Russia and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental climate, which is prevalent in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme southeast. Mountains in the south obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean, while the plain of the west and north makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences.
Russia's 160 ethnic groups speak some 100 languages. According to the 2002 census, 142.6 million people speak Russian, followed by Tatar with 5.3 million and Ukrainian with 1.8 million speakers. Russian is the only official state language, but the Constitution gives the individual republics the right to make their native language co-official next to Russian.
The Russian ruble, often denoted by RUB, is the name of the currencies of the Russian Federation and Belarus. The ruble has been the Russian unit of currency for several centuries, and its name stems from the Russian verb rubit, meaning, "to chop."
The population of Russia was estimated at 146, 001, 176 (July 2000 est.) by official U.S. government sources. According to official figures, the Russian population growth rate is negative, declining at a rate of 3 percent a year.
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent.
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