Geography of Russia

When it comes to Russia's Geography one thing is certain – Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of land size. This amazing country is located in part of Europe and also stretches over much of North Asia. Because of its northerly location, much of it is very cold or dry, which is bad for agriculture. The country is also very sparsely inhabited with many people choosing to live in Russia's cities instead of rural areas. This, combined with sometimes poor road systems, means that many of the natural resources in the country have not yet been discovered or exploited.

The European part of Russia features the Ural Mountains and the territories west of these mountains. Within this area you will find Europe’s highest mountain and longest river. Russia is also home to the world’s deepest lake. In fact, because so much of Russia has been virtually inaccessible for so long, the most amazing and still relatively unknown flora and fauna exist within its boundaries. The Russian border is approximately 57 792 kilometers long and it is the longest border in the world. It shares this massive border with fourteen different countries, namely: Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azervaijan, North Korean, China, Mongolia, Poland, Norway and Finland. Roughly two-thirds of the country is bordered by water, with the majority of coastline falling well above the Arctic Circle. This means that much of Russia’s coastline is locked in ice for much of the year. It is worth noting that not only is Russia’s coastline lapped by the waters of the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific, but that it is bordered by thirteen different seas.

The topography of the region can be easily divided into five natural zones: tundra, taiga, steppe, arid and mountain. Roughly 10% of the country is tundra, which can basically be defined as treeless, marshy plains. Only small plants that do not need excessive light and warmth grow here, because the area experiences ‘white nights’ in summer - where night lasts only a few hours – and days of complete blackness in winter when the sun doesn’t even reach this part of the world. As a result, the area often frosts over and is generally very cold. Virtually the only inhabitants of the region are a few animals and the people who man the fishing ports and oil and gas fields in the area. Taiga is the forested regions of the country, which contain mostly spruce, fir, pine and larch trees. This is the largest natural zone of Russia and it is also the largest forest region in the world. Russia’s taiga region is roughly the same size as the United States of America. The steppe regions take the form of broad, treeless plains filled with long grass. These are interrupted by mountain ranges and are found mainly in the European side of the country. Steppe is the best type of topography for agriculture and so these parts of Russia have always seen the most human activity. The arid areas are closer to the equator and are dry and hot, while the mountainous parts of the country are rugged, beautiful and very often inaccessible.


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