202 Chap 9 Russia

202 Chap 9 Russia - Russia Like Europe, another entirely...

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Russia Like Europe, another entirely cultural construct Part European, part Asiatic, never able to decide The last (and in many ways the greatest by virtue of its being the largest) of the great imperiums, reconstituted after 1917 as an imperial non-Empire, which still fell A “warfare state,” historically always at war Demographic meltdown (unlike EU, death rate rising) Environmental meltdown (Communism doesn’t pollute!) Yet still a vast potential, not least in some of the world’s best remaining natural resources
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Russia’s size and location Russia alone STILL the world’s largest unitary state, tho only a fraction of the old USSR Dwarfs next largest state (Canada) with 17 million square kms to just under 10, and 11 time zones to Canada’s 5.5 (Newfies get a half zone!) Physically makes most sense as two regions--European Russia to Urals, Asiatic Russia from Urals to Pacific Geographic expansion dominates the history of Russia as of no other world region but North America. BUT, Russia expanded over vastly more space and against very serious opponents (Mongols, Chinese, French, British, Japanese, Germans)
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A “Warfare State” Constant war of expansion against Mongols, other Asiatic peoples, Teutonic Knights 1200s-1800s. State formation in Central Asia (modern “stans”) mid- 1800s on. Stalin continued Czarist policies Access to Atlantic via Baltic denied by Teutonic Knights (aka Sweden) Expansion into Caucasus caused Crimean War of 1850s against French, British Pushed up against British in India--fought three proxy wars in Afghanistan (1840s, 1870s, 1900) Resisted Japanese expansion 1904-5--lost almost all navy. Repaid Japanese in Nomonhan incident 1939 Constant skirmishing with Chinese--took IMAR in 1919 Lost 20 million (or more) soldiers and civilians in “Great Patriotic War,” 1940-45
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Nevsky, Suvorov, Chapev against Mongols/Knights, Napoleon, Nazis
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Fig. 9.1: Russia (including Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine) Three main regions: the breadbasket (Ukraine etc.); Southern Russia (steppe grasslands akin to N America’s Great Plains; Siberia to east of Ural Mountains.
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Fig. 9.7: Russia’s climates
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Russia’s climates Ural Mts represent statistical limit to regular penetration east of moist air masses from Atlantic Himalaya prevent any incursions of warm moist air from Indian Ocean to South. Interior of Russia cools down in winter and STAYS cooled down. Coldest place on earth not at Poles, but in Siberia Climate that looks on paper like that of interior N America cannot, even w/excellent soils, produce wheat in the abundance N America can (irony is, our best yields from Russian wheat) Coasts of Black and Caspian Seas has Med climates.
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Russia’s drive to expand and to the sea Part of Russia’s drive is to simply expand against enemies to east Part of Russia’s drive is to expand into resource rich regions to east BUT Russia’s access to sea via Baltic historically limited
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202 Chap 9 Russia - Russia Like Europe, another entirely...

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