What is the geographical location of Russia?
The Russia of today is immense. It extends over a vast territory measuring 10,000 square kilometers from east to west and 3,000 kilometers from north to south. Its area is 30 times that of France. To go from the east of the country (Saint PETERSBOURG) to the Pacific coast (Vladivostok), it takes no less than ten hours by plane and five days by Trans-Siberian. The country is also crossed by eleven time zones, which does not facilitate communications from one end of the territory to the other.
The climate is also very heterogeneous. Half of Russia’s territory lies north of 50 degrees north latitude. The temperatures are therefore very harsh all year round. Only the coasts of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea enjoy a milder continental climate.
In terms of topography, Russia is dotted with high mountains surrounding wide plains and plateaus, as well as an extensive network of rivers connected to the seas. Among these mountains, the Ural massif is the most important, since it traditionally constitutes the border between the European part and the Asian part of the country.
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How did Russia come to such a territory?
To understand how such a vast country was able to come together, you have to go back to the history of Russia. Before being the country we know today, there was a great empire that had Kyiv for capital. The princes linked up with the Byzantine Empire which dominated the area through its influence. The Russian principalities then passed under the yoke of the Russian cities of the Volga basin in the 12th century before being dominated by descendants of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan. Little by little, the princes of Moscow gained power until they succeeded in gaining their independence from Mongol domination. From the 17th century, the Russians pushed their territorial conquests ever further east until obtaining a very vast territory. In the 19th century, the latter included present-day Kazakhstan and Turkestan to the south, and stretched from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
At the end of the First World War and the Russian revolutions of 1917, the country took on another face to become the Union of Socialist and Soviet Republics. The USSR was then made up of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia… Since the fall of this union in 1991, the country has reduced its territory, but this it still extends from Europe to Asia.
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Is Russia Asian or European?
With a territory crossing two continents, the identity of Russia is still debated. About 75% of the population lives in the European part of the country, and this is also where Moscow and St. Petersburg, the centers of power, are located. The Siberia and the Far East are underpopulated due to climate. However, it is in the Asian part of Russia that most of the natural resources which make the wealth of the country are found. Russia is for example the second oil producer after Saudi Arabia and the first exporter. This immense state is also the leading producer of gas, and it ranks 5th in the world in terms of coal production. As for wood, it is Russia that produces the most in the world. This richness of the Asian territory gives it a significant importance.
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