From north to south the East European Plain is clad sequentially in tundra, coniferous forest (taiga), mixed forest, broadleaf forest, grassland (steppe), and semidesert (fringing the Caspian Sea) reflecting the changes in climate.

As with its topography, its climates, vegetation, and soils span vast distances.

Russia shares land borders with the following countries (counter-clockwise from northwest to southeast): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea.

With an area of 6,592,800 square miles (17,075,400 square kilometers), Russia is by far the largest country in the world, covering almost twice the total area of the next-largest country, Canada, and has significant mineral and energy resources.

Most of the land consists of broad plain with low hills west of Urals, and vast plains in Siberia.

Some smaller bodies of water are part of the open oceans; the Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea are part of the Arctic, whereas the Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan belong to the Pacific Ocean.

Major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya, the Franz Josef Land, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island, the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin.In addition, Russia's mountain ranges, predominantly to the south and the east, block moderating temperatures from the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but European Russia and northern Siberia lack such topographic protection from the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans.In much of the territory there are only two distinct seasons - winter and summer—spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low and extremely high temperatures.Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, which supply lumber, pulp and paper, and raw material for woodworking industries.Formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources.The Russian Federation stretches across much of the north of the supercontinent of Eurasia.