Geography 2204: Geography of Russia


"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest." Although Winston Churchill in 1939 probably should have said “Soviet Union” instead of Russia; indeed, often this part of our world is mysterious and misunderstood.

Lake Baikal


It is Russia again, for the larger USSR broke into fifteen pieces about two decades ago. Russia is the main successor State of the communist Soviet Union, taking 6.6 million square miles out of the USSR’s 8.6 million square miles.

In several cases, elements of the USSR still influence life in contemporary Russia – for instance, in many places environmental damage is still present from Soviet disregard. At the same time, in many new ways Russia’s current democratic, capitalist, and technological advances have dramatically altered life there.

In this online course we consider the different geographies of Russia – physical, political, economic, demographic, etc. In doing so, we strive to gain a geographic sense of place, an understanding of the peoples and places of Russia today.


Consider some of the issues and places of Russia.

Siberia, in its most general sense, is about 40% larger in area than the United States, but has about 12% of the American population. Is Siberia simply a much larger version of Alaska? After all, Alaska once was owned by Russia.

The Ural Mountains are old and weathered, but house a variety of natural resources. The American Appalachia?

St. Basil's Cathedrall

Russia’s population has been in decline, a striking pattern that troubles Russian leaders. Strangely, demographers once predicted that Russia’s population in the year 2000 would total 400 million people. Instead, now Russia holds a few more than 140 million people. How did this happen? What might be done to stabilize Russia’s population?

Through readings – textbook, daily e-reader, and novels – and other assignments, this three (3) credit hour course examines these noted issues and many other facets of the Geography of Russia.