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Russia Geography

    Location: Northern Asia (that part west of the Urals is sometimes included with Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean

    Geographic coordinates: 60 00 N, 100 00 E

    Map references: Asia

    Area:
    total: 17,075,200 sq km
    land: 16,995,800 sq km
    water: 79,400 sq km

    Area—comparative: slightly less than 1.8 times the size of the US

    Land boundaries:
    total: 19,917 km
    border countries: Azerbaijan 284 km, Belarus 959 km, China (southeast) 3,605 km, China (south) 40 km, Estonia 294 km, Finland 1,313 km, Georgia 723 km, Kazakhstan 6,846 km, North Korea 19 km, Latvia 217 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 227 km, Mongolia 3,441 km, Norway 167 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Ukraine 1,576 km

    Coastline: 37,653 km

    Maritime claims:
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast

    Terrain: broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
    highest point: Mount El'brus 5,633 m

    Natural resources: wide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, timber
    note: formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources

    Land use:
    arable land: 8%
    permanent crops: 0%
    permanent pastures: 4%
    forests and woodland: 46%
    other: 42% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 40,000 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: permafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula

    Environment—current issues: air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and sea coasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

    Geography—note: largest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)