The largest country in the world by some distance, Russia is so large that it has eight distinct time zones. A vast expanse of territory spanning from Eastern Europe through the Easternmost point of Asia, Russia has been a country in transition for over a century. Following the Revolutions of 1917, years of oppressive monarchy came to an end and were replaced by a Communist system of rule. Its ideological conflict with the United States, the Cold War dominated international relations for the latter half of the 20th Centuries. Since the introduction of democracy in the early 1990’s, the Russian Federation has opened up to the world.