Sochi, Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from the 7th – 23rd February. Sochi is located in the Krasnodar Territory of Russia, along the Black Sea, just north of Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains. With an elevation of only 295 ft (89m) and on the 43rd North Parallel, Sochi is a port city with tourism as its main source of revenue. Located in the far southeastern section of Russia, Sochi has a humid continental climate.
Founded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy, was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. Under Peter I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The communists, under Vladimir Lenin, seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The Soviet economy and society stagnated until General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism. These initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics.
Russia is comprised of 46 provinces; 21 republics, 4 autonomous okrugs, 9 krays, 2 federal cities, and 1 autonomous oblast. The city of Sochi is within Krasnodar, which is one of the nine krays. Russia has two national symbols: the bear and the double-headed eagle. Russia is the largest country in the world and is 1.8 times the size of the United States. Natural resources throughout Russia include: oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, reserves of rare earth elements, and timber. However, formidable obstacles such as climate, terrain and distance hinder exploitation of many natural resources. Much of Siberia faces permafrost as a major impediment; volcanic activity is a concern in the Kuril isalnds and Kamchatka Peninsula; and spring flooding is a concern throughout Siberia and European Russia. Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak and it is also in the Krasnodar Territory of Russia.
CIA World Factbook; The Columbia Gazeteer, 1/2014; 2/2014