Russia Geography Geography of Russia

Geography of Russia

Russia is the largest country on earth, covering 17,075,000 square kilometres. Occupying the eastern part of Europe and the northern part of Asia, Russia is washed by the Arctic Ocean on the north and the Pacific Ocean on the east. To the west and south-west, the country has exits to the Atlantic Ocean. Russia spreads over nine time zones. When it is midnight in Moscow, it is eight o’clock in the morning on the islands of the Bering Sea.

The borders of the Russian Federation stretch for a total of 58,000 kilometres (including 14,300 kilometres on dry land). The most northerly point in the country is on Rudolf Island in the Franz Josef Land archipelago. The most southerly is over four thousand kilometres away, in Dagestan, on the border with Azerbaijan. The most westerly point is in Kaliningrad Region, on the Curonian Spit in the Baltic Sea. The most easterly is Ratmanov Island in the Bering Strait. The last two places are ten thousand kilometres apart.

The shoreline of the Arctic Ocean has a sub-arctic climate and the temperature does not rise above zero, while the frosts can reach as low as minus 71° ?. Sochi on the Black Sea has a subtropical climate, with up to three hundred centimetres of annual rainfall. In the southern Trans-Caspian lowlands, less than forty centimetres fall in summer in temperatures of 40° ?.

The Russian plain extends throughout the western part of the country as far as the Ural Mountains, which run from the Arctic Ocean to the steppes of Kazakhstan. Beyond the Urals stretches the West Siberian plain. To the east, between the River Lena and River Yenisei, is the Central Siberian Plateau.

The Russian plain is bordered on the south by the Caucasian mountain range. The Rivers Ob and Yenisei flow into the Arctic Ocean from the Altai and Sayan Mountains. The Sayan Range is bordered on the east by the mountains of the Baikal region. The Verkhoyansk and Chersky Ranges lie to the east of the Central Siberian Plateau. In the Far East, the Sikhote-Alin Range runs parallel to the shore of the Pacific Ocean. The Kamchatka peninsula is also mountainous.

Forty-five percent of Russia is covered in woodland, mostly coniferous, with over 1,500 species of trees and shrubs. The forests are rich in wildlife, including fur-bearing animals. The majority of natural resources are concentrated in sparsely populated regions – northern Russia, Siberia and the Far East.

According to the census of 2010, Russia is inhabited by 142.9 million people and 160 ethnic groups. Ninety-one percent of the population lives in the European half of the country. The overwhelming majority of citizens are Russian (81%). There are fourteen cities with over a million inhabitants – Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Vologda, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Ekaterinburg, Ufa and Chelyabinsk in European Russia and Novosibirsk, Omsk and Krasnoyarsk in Siberia.

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