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 146 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. Russian is the state language, which is widespread throughout the entire country and brings together people from more than 190 ethnic groups.  

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). Being the UNESCO member country since 1954, the Russian Federation actively implements projects in the field of physical education, science and culture.

Development of physical education and sport is a top priority of the country’s social policy. The Russian government has launched sports federal target programmes aimed at developing both high-performance and grassroots sports, modernising children’s sports schools and providing them with equipment and gear, creating regional centres for sports reserve development, and constructing budget-friendly sports venues that will provide Russian citizens with the opportunity to practice sports.

Russia annually hosts a number of major grassroots sports activities, such as the Cross-Country Race of the Nation, Ski Track of Russia, Golden Puck and Leather Ball, as well as Spartakiades for different groups of population – students, young people, working teams, disabled people and retirees. Compared with the year 2008, the share of population regularly practicing physical activities and sports increased twice and reached 43 million people.

On September 1, 2014, the Russian government launched implementation of the Russian National GTO (the Russian acronym for the ‘Ready for Labour and Defence’ slogan) Health and Fitness Programme, or the GTO complex. The complex consists of standards for the physical development and preparedness of people across various age groups. Since the signing of the executive order on revival of the GTO complex, up to 2 mln people took GTO tests, of them over 550,000 people have obtained the excellence pins for the successful tests performance.

In view of positive social benefits of hosting sporting events such as development of sports infrastructure, promotion of healthy lifestyles and engagement of different groups of society in sports, the federal government invests considerable efforts in the delivery of major international events in Russia. This was evidenced by successful implementation of a whole number of high-profile sports projects: the 27th Summer Universiade (2013) in Kazan, the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (2014) in Sochi, the 16th FINA World Championships and 16th FINA World Masters Championships (2015) in Kazan, and the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships (2016) in Moscow. Even more, in 2017 the FIFA Confederations Cup was held in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan, and in 2018 eleven Russian cities will play host to the FIFA World Cup.

In autumn 2015, Russia submitted a bid to host the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI). Russia’s bid was approved in February 2016. The sports capital of the Russian Federation, Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan), was selected as the host city for the upcoming conference.