Unit 2: Russia and Its Neighbors

By: Kila Haney

2.1 Defining the Region

Russia dominates over its neighbors by land. The most populated areas of Russia, the West and Central, with many other parts of all over are below sea level. The other parts mountains containing the Central Siberian plateau and the Ural Mountains, and other mountain ranges in the East. The coasts of Russia are mostly Arctic Ice. The northern parts of Russia are Tundra, the central area all across the country are coniferous forests. The more populated areas, the Southwest consists of mixed and deciduous forests. Other small parts consist of temperate grassland and desert shrub. The parts of Russia that are more populated are the West of the country going south as you go to the East. The second least populated areas are spread out a little more in the southern and central part of the country around where the main rivers and railroads are. The largest percentage of people is in the ages of 50-55. This shows that people aren’t having as many kids as they did about 50 years ago. The older population is a very small percentage. You can tell from this population pyramid when people are having kids and how that percentage of population will and has affected what the percentage of population will be. From the population cartogram you can definitely tell that Russia dominates over its neighbors by population. Ukraine is the next biggest population compared to Russia and is almost a tenth of the size. The more populated areas of Russia contain more diverse ethnic groups.

The central part of the country consists of the Slavic ethnicities and the Southern part is mostly Turkic. The North East part of the country is mostly Turkic and other diversities. The more populated area is mostly commercial farming. It is used for mostly grain and mixed farming.

2.2 Distinctive Physical Geography

With much of Russia’s land in the frozen arctic environments of the north or the hot deserts of the south the region is the least populated on Earth. River systems that tend to flow toward the edges of the region, like to the Arctic Sea, and extreme climates of hot and cold make it difficult to build railroads. This has prevented governments from integrating the region with highly developed transportation and communication networks.

2.3 Distinctive Human Geography

In the Russian Federation the greatest concentration of people is in western Russia. The most significant geographic variation is between the western regions of the Russian Federation and the more recently settled regions of the north and Siberia. In western Russia birth rates are low, death rates, are high and the population is aging quickly. The western population isn’t declining as much though because people in the north and Siberia are immigrating to western Russia. The more fertile lands of western Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova have higher population densities and are punctuated with greater concentrations of people around industrial cities.

2.4 Geographic Diversity

Although the Russia Federation and the other countries are experiencing bad economy because their economy is moving from communism to capitalism, the Russian Federation still has a considerable amount of power. The Russian Federation remains a nuclear power and a substantial amount of the world’s natural resources, the Russian Federation has considerable economic potential. That shows that there are huge differences between the Russian Federation and it’s neighbors because of the large amount of power Russia has. As well the political geography of the Russian Federation includes a mixture of political units. Some similarities between Russia and its neighbors are that they are going through the same bad economy. They are also dependent on each other. There are more differences than similarities because of Russia’s power and history. There is a lot of rivalry between these countries because all five countries produce similar commodities; oil, natural gas, and cotton. This creates rivalry, as well as competition for the issue of water resources.

2.5 Contemporary Geographic Issues

The biggest issue for Russia is that Russia has more power than the countries around them. For the other countries it is often a power struggle because Russia provides more resources, has more land, and has the biggest population. It is hard for the other countries around Russia because they are often trying to compete with Russia. It is important to know these issues because they affect the whole world. Russia in my opinion is still in a lot of power, and they provide many resources to around the world. It doesn’t only affect the countries in that region but countries like ours and all over the world.