The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that later became Kievan Rus.An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe.Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms.
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About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country.
Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod.
By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.