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In the northeast, above the Arctic Circle, lies a huge expanse of frigid, occasionally marshy tundra, a nearly unpopulated region where much of the land is permanently frozen and little grows but moss and shrubs.Below that is the taiga, a vast expanse of coniferous forest, which gradually blends with a band of mixed coniferous and deciduous forest to cover half the country.In the northern areas, winter days are dark and long; in the summer, the days are long and the sun barely sets.
The climate of much of European Russia is continental, with long, cold winters and short, hot summers.
The current figure includes several million immigrants and refugees from newly independent former Soviet republics.
Since 1991, a stark drop in the birthrate has combined with a dramatic rise in the mortality rate.
These factors limit agricultural production and account for the frequency of crop failures; what is produced requires substantial labor.
The huge forests provide for foraging, hunting, and logging.