The country of Russia has extensive land borders, including the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and Caspian. Some smaller bodies of water are part of the open oceans, including the Barents Sea, White Sea, and East Siberian Sea. The country also shares maritime borders with Japan, China, the United States, and the Republic of Korea. Here’s a quick guide to the country’s geographical layout.
The Slavic peoples, the ancestors of the Russian people, originally lived in the Pripet Marshes. In the early eighth century, they spread out into the lands vacated by Germanic tribes. They settled western Russia in two waves, moving from Kiev toward Suzdal and then from Polotsk to Novgorod. After the earliest Slavs had settled in Western Russia, they began assimilating the Finno-Ugric tribes that had previously lived there.
The Russian Federation emerged as a major power in the early twenty-first century, and is now considered a global energy superpower and the successor state of the Soviet Union in diplomatic matters. It is also a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Its vast territory, which stretches across much of the northern edge of the supercontinent Eurasia, exhibits both monotony and diversity. Climate, vegetation, and soils vary dramatically throughout the country, demonstrating the diversity and dynamism of a nation.
Putin’s claim that eastern Ukraine should be considered part of the historical South of Russia and “primordial Russian territory” is completely false on two counts. The first is that it should have been considered part of the UkrSSR in the early twentieth century, despite there not being a significant Russian presence in the area before the 19th century. And the second is that the country’s south-eastern borders were drawn without consideration of the ethnic makeup of the population.
The Russian annexation of Crimea has galvanised Ukrainian nationalism, and Putin’s foreign policy towards Ukraine is shaped by this interpretation. But the country has a long and complicated history, and its involvement in Ukraine has helped define perceived differences between the Ukrainian people and the Russians. The Russian-Ukraian rivalry is likely to intensify in the coming years. And a return to the Cold War-era model may be a stepping stone in this new world order.
The Russian government has long maintained a synergistic relationship with private military companies (PMCs). The Russian government was keen to expand its footprint and pursue a more active foreign policy, and Libya seemed like a promising venue. Moscow was eager to fill the void left by the United States and make common cause with Egypt and the Emirates. Because the military involvement in Libya carries minimal direct risks, the risks are largely masked. The symbiotic relationship between PMCs and the Russian government makes it possible for Russia to pursue an aggressive foreign policy while maintaining a high level of secrecy.