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The Russian Empire (Russian: Российская Империя, Rossiyskaya Imperiya), commonly known as Russia (Россия, Rossiya), is a nation which spans across Eurasia from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and from the Arctic Ocean to the Caspian Sea — ranked as the largest nation in area. Russia is a constitutional monarchy, ruled by the Tsar (or Emperor), and governed by a parliament.
Russian history dates back to the 9th Century, with the modern day Russian Empire being established in 1721 by Tsar Peter the Great. Under Peter the Great, Russia was transformed into a modern European nation and a maritime power. Russia was one of the last European nations to liberalize and establish democratic reforms. Today, Russia is one of the dominant powers in the world, and one of the largest economies.
The Russian Empire is a predominantly Christian nation, with the Eastern Orthodox Church being the largest denomination. Since the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th Century, Moscow has been the center of the church, giving the city the nickname "Third Rome." Two branches of the Orthodox Church (Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy) are practiced within the Empire. Other Christian denominations within the Empire include Catholicism (mostly in the west) and Protestantism (within the northwest and parts of the Volga River).
Since the 20th Century, Russia has been on a move towards secularism in both politics and individualism.