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The more central Ural Mountains, a north-south range that form the primary divide between Europe and Asia, are also notable.The lowest point is the Caspian Sea, at 28 meters below sea level.The Diomede Islands (one controlled by Russia, the other by the United States) are just under two miles (three kilometers) apart, and Kunashir Island (controlled by Russia but claimed by Japan) is about 20 kilometers (12 mi) from Hokkaido.With access to three of the world's oceans -—the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific—- Russian fishing fleets are a major contributor to the economy.These plains are predominantly steppe to the south and heavily forested to the north, with tundra along the northern coast.Mountain ranges are found along the southern borders, such as the Caucasus (containing Mount Elbrus, Russia's and Europe's highest point at 18,511 feet (5642 meters), and the Altai, and in the eastern parts, such as the Verkhoyansk Range or the volcanoes on Kamchatka.

Russia has major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, timber and many strategic minerals.

The Russian Federation emerged as a great power in the early twenty-first century, also considered to be an energy superpower.

The country is considered the Soviet Union's successor state in diplomatic matters, and is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Truly unique on Earth, Baikal is home to more than 1700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world.

Of its 100,000 rivers, the Volga River is the most famous—not only because it is the longest river in Europe but also because of its major role in Russian history.A small part of Black Sea coast around Sochi is considered in Russia to have subtropical climate.