What Continent is Russia in?

Russia is one of the few countries in the world that is located in more than one continent. So, rather than asking “what continent is Russia in?”, or “is there a Russia Continent?”, a better question might be “what continents is Russia in?”.

The answer is that Russia is in both the continents of Europe and Asia. There is no official boundary between Asia and Europe, but most experts place the boundary at the Urals Mountains. The map that you can see in this article shows the nominal border between Europe and Asia clearly – the parts of Russia in Europe are coloured green, and the parts of Russia in Asia are blue.

Although Russia is thought of by many people as a European country, actually much more of Russia’s landmass is in Asia than in Europe. Russia is 17,075,200 square kilometres in size, and only about 4,000,000 sq km of that is in Europe – the rest is in Asia. European Russia is much more densely populated than Asian Russia, though – about 75% of the Russian population lives in European Russia.

There are several other countries in the world that are in more than one continent – the most famous, of course, is Turkey, which is commonly thought to be the only other country in Europe and Asia. However, if you’re looking for a tricky pub quiz question, then you might want to note that Greece is also based in both continents – some of its most easterly islands are technically in Asia – and some also say that Kazakhstan is as well, because a few of its provinces are also west of the Urals. Other major countries that cover more than one continent include Egypt, which is in both Africa and Asia.

Being split across two continents has done a great deal to shape Russian identity and Russian politics over the centuries. Periodically the balance of power in Russia shifts between those who wish to adopt more European ways and those who wish to assert Russia’s independence from Europe. Peter the Great was a typical example of a Russian leader who looked west for modernizing ideas.

Historically, Russia is one of the few countries in the world that has held territory in three continents at the same time. As well as its European and Asian territory, Russia held territory in North American in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, through the auspices of the Russian American Company. Quite a few Russian colonies were founded in Alaska, as well as a number of others along the western seaboard of North America, going as far south as Fort Russ (now Fort Ross) in California.

You can find more information about this topic in our article, which seeks to answer the question of Is Russia in Europe or Asia?