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GEOGRAPHY-ENVIRONMENT-WEATHER        Though it’s a big place, the geography isn’t too difficult  overall.  First, the western part, called European Russia, is  mostly flat without significant geographic landmarks.  There are  no obstacles to human transport, so the great majority of  Russians live there.  Numerous rivers flow mainly north-to-  south.  It is forested northerly and with mostly fertile plains,  some long-ago deforested, everywhere else.  The eastern  boundary of European Russia and Western Siberia  is a low  mountain range called the Urals.  This range has historically  been called the primary longitudinal boundary between Europe  and Asia.  Next eastwardly comes Siberia, which is like a flat  soup bowl cut in half.  The lipped southern extreme is either  steppe, forest,  or mountains.  Generally, the southern boundary  between Russia and other countries in this region is the line  between forest and steppe.  Rivers all run north to the arctic  through forest and tundra, much of which has permafrost  underneath.  There are huge human transport issues here, so  folks mainly live along the rivers or along the single railroad  running through it, aptly called the Trans-Siberian.  About 20%  of Russia’s population lives here, though it constitutes most of  the country’s area.  Finally, in the south-east corner, there is the  Far East which, like European Russia,  is flat and ideally suited  for agricultural development and population density.  It is  Russia’s only year-round contact with warm ocean water (for the  Navy) but is isolated from the rest of the country.  This only  became a part of Russia in the 1860’s, at the expense of China.   (*KEY*) Throughout their history, Russians have been forest  folks, hunter/gather types, and this plays a large role in their  approach to life, even today; appreciating this makes their  behavior much easier to understand.   Note: Alaska, a very  important subject for many Russians even today, will be treated  in the history section.  (*KEY*) Russia expanded  (hunted/gathered) continuously out of its European root-base  continually between  1551-1991.    The environment, given the relative simplicity of the geography  through similar latitudes, must be thought of mainly in terms of  present-day damage, adding in the problems caused during the  Soviet times to the southern steppe regions which now aren’t a  part of the Russian Federation:                
1.  Nuclear waste (southern Urals)      2.  Biochemical waste  (Aral Sea)      3. River and  air pollution from industry and coal-fired  electrical production  (EVERYWHERE)     4.  World Heritage Site damage  (Lake Baikal and Sochi)     5.  Deforestation  (EVERYWHERE)     6. Massive oil pollution in the arctic, resulting from  abandoned and/or poorly maintained exploration and  development. 7. The short and long term costs of 1-5…. This site often  pays attention to the cost of things.    The weather works pretty much the same everywhere, and  folks generally associate it with seasons.  Spring and  Autumn are identical, each lasting 45-60 days.  These two  seasons feature every imaginable type of weather in  transition between summer and winter, with patterns often  changing extremely on very short notice.  Folks generally  don’t like these two seasons for this reason.  Summer is 2  good hot months and can be 3 if luck holds out.  Winter fills  in the rest of the year, usually about 7 strong months.   (*KEY*) Hitler respected the weather so  much, Germany  didn’t invade Russia in ww-2 until June 22nd.  Even then,  despite bringing along 800,000 horses, they often got  bogged down and later, many froze to death,  not  being  adequately prepared for the coldest winter in 100 years.   

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