Russia - CHAPTER FIVE Russia and the Newly Independent...

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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER FIVE Russia and the Newly Independent States Russia and the Newly Independent States Figure 5.1 I. THE GEOGRAPHIC SETTING Constituted by 12 former republics of the USSR Russia contains more than 30 ethnic internal republics Diversity hidden by single country Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia already discussed A. Physical Patterns Undulating landforms from west to east To south, no regular physical barriers North European Plain Ural Mountains West Siberian Plain Central Siberian Plateau Pacific Mountains Caucasus, steppes, mountains of East Asia A. Physical Patterns Landforms North European Plain: western subregion European Russia; most densely populated Volga River important for transportation Ural Mountains: border between Europe and Asia West Siberian Plain: largest plain in the world Oil reserves, permafrost Relatively low, not a barrier to movement A. Physical Patterns Landforms Central Siberian Plateau Pacific Mountain Zone activity Permafrost at varying depths Moderated by ocean, warmed by volcanic These two regions, together, size of USA Steppes and mountains to the south; area of cultural interpenetration Pacific Plate sinking under Eurasian Plate A. Physical Patterns Climate and Vegetation Harsh continental climate Protected from moderating oceanic winds by mountains to the south Agriculture focused in west, where precipitation is maximized Best soils are found in southwest Taiga found in northern Siberian vastness Northern coniferous forest Climate Zones Figure 5.6 The Communist Revolution and its B. Human Patterns Over Time Aftermath During WWI, czar overthrown, Bolsheviks take power Communism: criticizes capitalism for centralization Centrally planned economy instituted by Stalin Government owned all land and means of of production in a wealthy minority production Government directs all economic activity Significant successes and failures World War II and the Cold War 23 million casualties B. Human Patterns Over Time Almost singlehandedly won WWII Created buffer of allied Communist countries Cold War confrontation over ideology Arms race, promotion of communism overseas Dragged down by war in Afghanistan Steady drift away from hardline communism B. Human Patterns Over Time The PostSoviet Years Gorbachev: glasnost, perestroika Russia: major inheritor of USSR's mantle 11 other new republics in this region Rollback of democratic reforms in Russia? Failed to solve problems, stoked nationalism Haphazard transition to free market economies C. Population Patterns European Russia: densest population in the region Siberian settlement follows the Trans Wedge from Odessa north to St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk (best farmland) Siberian Railway Concentrated in a few cities Population Distribution Figure 5.13 Recent Population Changes Post1991, rapidly deteriorating C. Population Patterns USSR: Relatively high standard of living and wellbeing Decline in life expectancy (esp. men) social disruption Alcoholism Nutritional deficiencies Physical and mental stress from lost jobs and Women choosing not to have children Population Pyramids Figure 5.15 II. CURRENT GEOGRAPHIC ISSUES Soviet experiment: to reform quickly and totally a society and its institutions Now, a new experiment: shifting to democracy and a free market economy As in Bolshevik Revolution, great uncertainty as to outcomes The Former Command Economy A. Economic and Political Issues Successfully eradicated abject poverty, basic needs met Still, because of inefficiencies, scarcities and gluts No competition, therefore inefficient production methods Products of poor quality and overpriced Lack of technological innovation outside of military, space exploration Soviet Regional Development A. Economic and Political Issues Central government in charge of locating industry Spread throughout vast territory to boost Schemes Cost of transport made industry inefficient Many industries incapable of being sustained after breakup of USSR standards of living in distant areas Also, protected from enemy attack Transport Issues A. Economic and Political Issues However, Soviet rivers generally run northsouth Few oceanic ports Water transport: cheapest Land transport: best option Hindered by permafrost, swampy forests, complex Therefore, USSR (2.5x size of USA) has 1/6 the roads Importance of TransSiberian Railway, air transport (expensive) upland landscapes, limited car ownership ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2011 for the course GEOG 101 taught by Professor Sheers during the Spring '08 term at George Mason.

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