Russia is the world’s largest country. Our territory is comparable to the planet Pluto. We Russians did it in four major steps:
- Crushed the descendant royalties of Mongol-Tartars to the east and took their lands and dependencies (15th and 16th centuries) in Siberia and Far East
- Crushed the Swedes in the west and got access to the Baltic sea (17th century). That´s where St. Petersburg is now.
- Crushed the Turks and the Persians to the south and took from them the Crimean peninsula and Caucasus (1700s and 1800s)
- Took East Prussia from the Germans and partitioned it with Lithuania and Poland (1945)
A few other land conquests (Alaska, Finland & the Baltics, Ukraine & Belorussia, Romania and Central Asia) don’t count because we lost them along the way.
The annexation of Crimea in 2014 doesn’t belong to that list. The official version states it was Russian even in Ukrainian possession, because it belonged to Russian empire before 1917, was part of Russian Socialist Federative Soviet republic until 1956, and joined Russian Federation as a result of a referendum, not a military conquest.
Also remember that the Mercator projection used on modern maps makes Russia look much bigger than it actually is. Below is an illustration showing the real size of Russia compared to Africa, without the Mercator distortion.