CCD Geography 105 - World Regional Geography
lights from the whole earth
Here is an animation of population growth in Russia
Map of Population Density
Replacement Migration in
Language families as cultural markers
Politically the Russian Federation is somewhat complicated. It's composed of forty-nine oblasts, twenty-one autonomous republics, ten autonomous okrugs, six krays, two federal cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg), and one autonomous oblast (Yevreyskaya).
Conflict in Chechnya -A well-written and very thorough scholarly paper on the origins and current status of the conflict.
Refugee problem in the Caucasus Short overview of conflict in the Caucasus since the breakup of the Soviet Union. (offsite article)
A look at the ethnic diversity of Russia. Photographer to the Tsar: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (an exhibit at the US Library of Congress)
The photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) offer a vivid portrait of a lost world--the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia's diverse population.
In the early 1900s Prokudin-Gorskii formulated an ambitious plan for a photographic survey of the Russian Empire that won the support of Tsar Nicholas II. Between 1909-1912, and again in 1915, he completed surveys of eleven regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation.
people at work 1909-1915
A Guide to Russian Cities
Chronology of Russian History
Khazars Saving Byzantium and the Origins of the Ashkenazi
The Thirteenth Tribe: The Khazar Empire and its Heritage 1976, [At SMOM-ZA.ORG]
Interesting online book by Arthur Koestler, on the Jewish Khazar state that kept Turkic nomads at bay for 400 years checked the advance of the Vikings in Russia and is the probable origin for the Ashkenazi people. Highly Recommended
Illustrated History of Russia and the Former USSR: Lots of links to historical information and arts.
Central Asia - a look at the Silk Road
Cultural Revival in the Post-Soviet Era
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly formed independent nations have celebrated their diversity in a variety of ways. After years of living under a repressive, Moscow-centered government, Russia and the 11 other loosely allied countries can now learn about their distinctive heritages and show off their uniqueness. In some cases, this freedom has meant a difficult struggle with the Soviet past and a proud pre-Soviet heritage. In this lesson, you will learn about the struggle that Belarusians and Central Asians are experiencing in expressing their national identities, especially following years of being Russified in the twentieth century.
During the Soviet era, students in Belarus learned little Belarusian, being told that it was a peasant language. Instead, they learned Russian. Today there is a call by a growing number of Belarusians for their fellow citizens to learn Belarusian and better understand their national identity. These individuals feel that by speaking Belarusian, they can better express their nationality. Read about this identity struggle in the following article:
- Do you believe that by continuing to speak Russian, the majority of Belarusians are continuing to be "provincials in a larger empire," instead of realizing their place as citizens of a unique state?
- What are some of the disadvantages of speaking Belarusian?
This article is also interesting because of the comments made about larger regional identities in Belarus.
- Do you consider Belarus more European or more Russian?
- Why is this distinction important to the people in the article?
Next, read about the emerging cultural and national identity of Kazakhs:
- What are some of the reasons behind the complex nationalism in Kazakhstan?
- What factors will cause Kazakhstan to remain close to Russia?
National identities are more complicated in Kyrgyzstan, where ethnic Uzbeks, Meskhetian Turks, Russians, and Kyrgyz live in constant tension. Religious, ethnic and language differences, plus arbitrary borders drawn by Stalin, have led to conflicts like the one in 1990 and show few signs of being resolved in the near future. In addition, with few job opportunities and little chance for tourist visits, some have turned to the drug trade and have increased the gap between rich and poor, further intensifying tensions. Fortunately, none of the conflicts have led to a civil war like the one that took place in Tajikistan, which was discussed in the text.
Read about Kyrgyzstan in the stories titled "Tangled Threads" and "No Time to Waste":
- How did the Soviet Union contribute to the current tensions in the nation?
- What factors help explain the existence of the drug trade in Kyrgyzstan?
- Why does the author of the story consider the silk factory a model for the nation?
- How might the pollution problems increase tensions in the nation? How might they cause the nation to come closer together?
A brief history of the Silk Road
Take a look at the site linked below. It is still developing, but it offers terrific city maps, photos of buildings and material culture, and text about such things as nomadic homes.http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/index.shtml
Next explore the site of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. This documentary presents nine stories of some of the changes that have occurred in Central Asian nations since the end of the Soviet Union, especially following the refugee crises in the region: http://www.unhcr.ch/witness4/III_Stans/html/toc/toc_set.html
Skim all of the articles, and ask yourself the following questions:
Next, focus your attention on three of the articles. First, read "Almaty faces West" and think about the following questions:
Second, read "Slouching toward Samarkand":
Then read the story entitled "Timur is back":
Finally, view the following sites describing travel
opportunities to the Silk Road: http://www.asiatour.org/ (on the left bar, enter via the
"Cultural Tours" link and choose the "Central Asia, China Silk
Road" option. Examine this itinerary.)
http://www.akc.com.kg/gsr/index.html (check out the "next" page as well)
As the Russia continues it structural adjustment programs, their economies are becoming more integrated into the global economy primarily through the export of oil, metal and wood.