It took many years for Russia to grow and develop as a country. This development essentially started when the Principality of Muscovy began to conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the 17th century, the Romanov Dynasty continued this expansion.
Eventually, under the rule of Peter the 1st, the conquered land mass was extended to the Baltic Sea and the whole territory was renamed the Russian Empire. More territories were conquered during the 19th century and then later, in 1917, the imperial household was overthrown. Communism took a hold of the country, many lives were lost and the economy slowly fell into a decline. In December 1991, the USSR was splintered into fifteen independent republics and it has since struggled to build a good democratic political system. The country is starting to regain economic momentum and many of the scars left by communism are slowly disappearing. Unfortunately, there is still guerrilla conflict in Chechnya.