While the Russian Empire and Soviet Union are the most popular names associated with travel in Russia, it’s also a vast country that exhibits many different physical environments. This country is home to a diverse mix of ethnic groups, many of whom speak different languages, worship different gods, and are not even considered Russian. In comparison, the European and British imperial powers had much harder times ruling their empires. Russia had the largest territory, but also the most difficult to rule.
After the collapse of the USSR, the United States assumed that Russia would seek to integrate into the Western world. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States sent advisers to the country to work with the government and the country’s nascent private sector. The two countries’ centuries-long histories provided them with a unique understanding of the world and the country’s form of government. The U.S. has remained a significant player in international affairs, but Russia has yet to fully integrate itself into Western society.
The most popular areas to visit in Russia include the capital, Moscow, and several major cities. The vast majority of the country’s people live in the Eastern European Plain, also known as the Western Russian Plain. This area is primarily agricultural. The Ural Mountains are a low-lying mountain range that stretches from the Arctic Ocean to Kazakhstan and contain a variety of precious stones, coal, and iron ore. The Caucasus Mountains rise to nearly 2,000 feet above sea level and are considered the boundary between Europe and Asia.
The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world and occupies a land area of about 17,098,242 square kilometers. It is approximately twice the size of the contiguous United States, and borders the Arctic Ocean, the Bering Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk. Russia shares maritime borders with several other countries, including China, Japan, and the United States. In addition to the continent’s largest country, Russia also borders several countries, including the European Union and the United States.
Moscow has a long history of confrontation with Europe’s major powers. It has long had a geopolitical rivalry with Turkey, and has tried to protect its interests by preventing Georgia and Ukraine from joining NATO. Moscow is also aware of the possibility of Middle Eastern instability flowing into Russia. Therefore, Russia is looking to use its Black Sea trade corridor to protect its interests. Further, Russia has also begun building new infrastructure to guard its trade corridor and create alternatives to skirt Ukraine.
In 1932, forced collectivization of agriculture caused a terrible famine. Six to eight million people were killed outright or starved to death. Many of these victims were Ukrainians. In addition, Stalin conducted periodic purges of political enemies. The largest of these, called the Great Purge, took place during 1936-38. There are no definitive records of how many people died during this time, but the effect on the country is largely unknown. Fortunately, Stalin died in 1953 of natural causes.