Russia is the largest nation in the world, stretching from Europe to the Pacific coast. It has been a world power for centuries, and since the latter half of the nineteenth century has been the dominant power and culture in eastern Europe and central Asia.
Russia is a monarchy, though the powers of the monarch have become more limited over the years. The Tsarina of Russia (literally "Empress"), Maria I, is Head of State and, while she wields considerable political influence, the democratically-elected Parliament ("Duma") is the legislative body; the country's Premier leads the country's government. Political corruption is a problem in Russia, and both the military and the aristocracy wield considerable influence over the democratically elected government.