Russia - the largest country on earth - emerged from a decade of post-Soviet economic and political turmoil
to seek to reassert itself as a world power. Income from vast natural resources, above all oil and gas, helped
Russia overcome the economic collapse of 1998, but the oil price slump of 2014 ended the long run of
prosperity. The state-run gas monopoly Gazprom still supplies a large share of Europe's needs. Vladimir Putin
Russia's dominant political figure since 2000 - has enhanced his control over state institutions and the media
a process supplemented more recently by an emphasis on fierce nationalism and hostility to the West.
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