In addition to containing a wealth of natural resources, Russia is a diverse country. The Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean flank the eastern and southern portions of the country. The Black Sea and Caucasus Mountains are among its mountain ranges. The Ural Mountains, which extend north to south, have traditionally formed the boundary between Europe and Asia. These high mountains have long been considered a significant impediment to development in the region. Western Russia is similar to Eastern Europe, while Siberia lies east of the Ural Mountains.
The Russian Empire conquered most of the territory in the nineteenth century and held it as part of the Soviet Union in the twentieth. Today, the majority of its population consists of ethnic Russians, although only a minority of this region is ethnically Russian. There are more than fifty ethnic groups in Russia, each with their own language and culture. Many of these groups had feelings of resentment towards the Russian Empire for establishing its dominion over their homeland.
During the Soviet era, the Soviet government killed thousands of church officials and closed down most churches. Because of state-sanctioned atheism, the practice of Orthodox Christianity in Russia decreased. However, today, many more people claim to be Russian Orthodox Christians. That said, it’s impossible to know how much Orthodox faith is practiced in the country. This makes it difficult to judge if Russian Christians are indeed Orthodox.
The country’s political, economic, and social system changed in the 1990s when a new style of capitalism replaced the old Communist regime. It began to export natural resources to Europe and the rest of the world. The recent increase in energy prices has helped Russia rebound from the economic collapse of the 1990s. While many Russians have been able to keep their existing homes, the price of a house has become beyond the reach of ordinary citizens. Moreover, the value of the ruble fell rapidly, making it impossible for many to purchase a home. Sadly, this change in government policy made Russians poorer, and older people began to watch their life savings evaporate.
Transcaucasia consists of the independent countries of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. They have more in common with Russia than with Southwest Asia. These countries were annexed by the Russian Empire in the late 1800s, and declared their independence in 1991. They were all former Soviet socialist republics before the collapse of the Soviet Union. They are also neighbors of Kazakhstan and China. In the past, they have been the subject of ethnic conflict and tensions.
The security of the Russian homeland is the foremost concern of Moscow. It has numerous economic assets in the Black Sea region. The Black Sea is an important trade artery for Russia, and the port of Novorossiysk is vital for the export of grain and oil. This provides it with a significant degree of leverage over Central Asia. To protect its trade corridor, Russia is investing in new infrastructure, creating alternative routes to skirt Ukraine. So, Russia must maintain the Black Sea trade corridor for the benefit of its people.