Chapter 17-18 Russia and Northern Eurasia

Chapter 17-18
Russia and Northern Eurasia
Natural Environments
Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus cover 12% of the
world’s land area.
Russia is the world’s largest country.
The Siberian rivers (Ob, Yenisey, and Lena) flow
northward toward the Arctic circle.
humid continental, sub artic, and tundra
The south is the taiga, a forest of mainly
evergreen trees that covers half of Russia.
Siberian winters have reached -90 degrees F.
Winter in Siberia
History and Culture
800’s AD – Scandinavian traders called
Rus (this is where Russia got its name)
1100’s AD – Russia became predominately
Eastern or Orthodox Christian.
1240 AD – Mongols invaded but life went
on the same.
1400’s AD – the czars (kings) took control
from the Mongols.
– Cossacks (ruthless group) played an
important role in eastward expansion.
1800’s AD – Started to industrialize but
remained largely a country of peasant
1917 – Bolsheviks overthrew the
government (Russian Revolution).
– Czar Nicolas II and his family were
– Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin
– Wanted to remake Russia using the
ideas of German philosopher Karl
Marx (Marxism)
 Russian empire was renamed the Union
of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR).
 It became a communist state.
 Kremlin – fortified complex in Moscow
that became known as the government
Czar Nicholas II
Czar Nicolas and his Family
Karl Marx
Street demonstration just after troops of the Provisional
Government have opened fire with machine guns. 1917
The storming of the Czars’ Winter Palace
The Kremlin, Moscow
The Soviet Union was a totalitarian
 After Lenin’s death, Joseph Stalin
took over.
– His brutal rule lasted until 1953.
The government ran large state
farms, but millions of peasants died
of starvation during the forced
Vladimir Lenin
Joseph Stalin
Personal freedoms restricted in communism:
– Worship (Government believed it lessen
“state” loyalty)
– Press (Government controlled what people
– Speech (Government controlled what was
– Assembly (Government controlled who got
 Sent to jail or labor camp if disagreed with
– Gulag – network of labor camps millions
were sent to
Cold War – the arms race and
competition that occurred between
the United States and the Soviet
Union after World War II.
Iron Curtain – boundary between
East and West Europe after World
War II
The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Life changed quickly for the people
there. People could vote, worship
more freely, and receive outside
news more readily.
Church of the Resurrection
St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
The Region Today
Russia = 60 different Ethnic groups.
– 85% are Slavic and speak Slavic
– 95% of Ukrainians and 98% of
Belarusians are Slavic.
– 25% of Russia lies in Europe, but 85%
of the population lives there.
 Moscow is the capital of Russia (9 million
 Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the
predominant religion.
St. Petersburg, Russia represents the
country’s desire for Western ideas.
 Heavy industry – Volga and Ural
 Siberia has many natural resources,
but accessing these resources is
– Siberia has the world’s longest
railway (5,800 miles).
Trans-Siberian Railroad
Trans-Siberian Railroad
Kiev = capital of the Ukraine (10% of
the Ukraine population lives there.)
Minsk – capital of Belarus; The
country has few mineral resources
and generally poor soil. Much of the
country is in need of repair since the
fall of the USSR.
Problems in the Region
Pollution has become a huge problem
from actions of USSR.
Tensions exist between those who
want to return to communism and
those who want democracy.
Chernobyl Disaster
In 1986, a disastrous nuclear
accident happened at the power
plant in Chernobyl, north of Kiev. It
spread as far away as Sweden and
The city is still abandoned to this
day, and people will not be able to
return for many years to come.
Arial photo of Chernobyl plant in
1986, after explosion
Children born since
1986 are affected by a
200 percent increase in
birth defects and a 250
percent increase in
congenital birth
Central Asia
The central Asian countries are:
– Kazakhstan
– Turkmenistan
– Uzbekistan
– Tajikistan
– Kyrgyzstan
All five countries are landlocked.
 Has all known landforms (below sea
level to mountains)
 Arid and semiarid climates.
 Water is a precious resource
 Formerly part of the “Silk Road” (a
trade route to China)
 Sometimes called Turkistan.
 Nomadic culture
 Former Soviet Union
Central Asian Issues and
poor with few opportunities to
improve their lives
 Ethnic conflict threatens the region.
Central Asian Environmental
Former soviet nuclear and biological
testing contaminated many areas.
– 1.5 million people exposed to
radiation in 1949 which led to birth
defects, cancer, and other health
– Uranium mining has also
contaminated areas.
Central Asia’s Future
Kazakhstan is home to one of the
largest oil fields in the world (13
billion barrels), but it is dependent
on Russia for transport.
Nomads in Kazakhstan
Uzbekistan cotton farm
Bukhara, Uzbekistan