Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area. It extends across the entirety of northern Asia and 40% of the territory of Europe, spanning eleven time zones and incorporating a wide range of climatic zones and landforms.
Russia has the world’s largest reserves of mineral and energy resources and is considered one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas globally. The population of Russia is approximately 145 million people, which makes it the ninth most populous nation in the world.
Russia is a democratic country with a strong and effective federal government. It comprises 85 federal regions. Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, one of the Russian regions with a local government.
Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and is a leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Russian is the official language of the nation. The use of English is widespread in cities of Russia, including Kazan, which is considered a student and sports city.
Development of physical education and sports is a top priority of the Russian Federation’s social policy. Soviet and Russian athletes have always been prominent on the international sporting stage, excelling in Olympic sports and ending up among medal winners at the Olympic Games and World Championships.
The Federal Government allocates substantial funds to develop both high performance sports and citizen participation. Federal target programmes have been launched to promote sport to the public as a fundamental social activity. About 2,000 sports centres will be constructed across the country over the next 10 years, providing Russian people with the venues for practicing sports and enjoying world-class competitions. The government strongly believes that healthy lifestyle choices and facilities with lots of opportunities to play sports are a key to a healthier society.
At the same time, hosting major international sporting events provides a perfect opportunity to welcome visitors from all over the
world, share the celebration of sports and youth, and increase the social benefits created by these events.
The success of Russia’s bid campaigns is an extraordinary example of the government’s commitment to hosting international sporting events: in 2013 Kazan hosted the 27th Summer Universiade, in 2014 the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games were held in Sochi, in 2015 the 16th FINA World Aquatics Championships and 16th FINA World Masters Championships took place in Kazan and in 2018 eleven cities of Russia will play host to the FIFA World Cup.
Swimming and other aquatic sports have a long and distinguished history in Russia. As of today, more than 700,000 people practice swimming in the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Salnikov, a four-time Olympic champion (1980, 1988), is probably the nation’s most renowned and legendary swimmer. He currently serves as the President of the All-Russian Swimming Federation.
Recent Russian swimming champions include Alexander Popov, four-time Olympic champion (1992, 1996) and IOC member; Dmitry Sautin, two-time Olympic diving champion (1996, 2000);
Olga Brusnikina and Maria Kiseleva, three-time Olympic champions (2000, 2004), and Larisa Ilchenko, the first ever Olympic gold medallist in the 10 km open water swimming (2008).
The Russian national synchronised swimming team, the defending Olympic champions (London 2012), is made up of big-name stars, among them the most decorated Russian athlete, five-time Olympic champion Anastasia Davydova (2004, 2008, 2012) and three-time Olympic champion Natalia Ishchenko (2008, 2012).
Another national athlete, diver Ilia Zakharov, continued Russia’s run of success at the London 2012 Olympic Games by winning gold in the men’s 3m springboard event.