Ch. 16: Human Geography of Russia & the Republics Please turn to pg. 360.
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Russia & the Western Republics • Russia • Estonia • Latvia • Lithuania • Belarus • Moldova • Ukraine Baltic Republics Eastern Europe
A Rich Culture • Significant ethnic diversity • Dominant religion: Orthodox Christianity • A significant percentage of the population is atheist because practicing religion—at least openly—is usually not legal in communist countries. Why? Whom/what do religious adherents worship, and why might the gov’t perceive this behavior as a threat? • Artistic genius: Dostoyevsky (writer), Tchaikovsky (musician), Baryshnikov (ballet dancer) • The Baltic republics identify strongly with Europe—why?
Orthodox churches St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow Onion domes help to prevent the accumulation of snow during the winter.
Visual Art: Socialist Realism • The Communist Party in the Soviet Union outlawed art that was not produced in the official style of socialist realism, which promoted Soviet ideals.
Examples of Socialist Realism “Be Watchful and Shrewd”
Examples of Socialist Realism “Country and Party First”
Examples of Socialist Realism “Don’t babble. Keep your tongue behind your teeth!”
Examples of Socialist Realism “In capitalist countries…In socialist countries!”
Examples of Socialist Realism “Kill the Imperialist Monster.”
Tradition & Change in Russian Life • Since the fall of the USSR, more open to the influence of other countries, especially those in the West • Tradition is still honored and preserved. • Dachas—second homes in rural areas owned by urban dwellers; usually small & plain with vegetable gardens • Banyas—bathhouse combining a dry sauna, a steam bath, and—usually—a plunge into icy water afterwards
Chernobyl • April 26, 1986--meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine (north, near border with Belarus) • Considered the world’s worst nuclear accident until the meltdown at Fukushima, Japan in 2011 • Death toll 1986-2004=almost one million people • 2000 estimate suggested that the health of 3.4 million of Ukraine’s 50 million people was adversely affected. • 100,000 sq. mi. of land in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus was contaminated. • Approximately 250,000 had to be evacuated & resettled. • Costs related to the disaster estimated at $300 billion+.
TRANSCAUCASIA • Georgia • Armenia • Azerbaijan
A Gateway of Migration • Long used as a migration route, especially between Asia and Europe • Presence of many trade routessignificant cultural diversity • Cultural diversitytension that was rarely expressed as open hostility during the Soviet era • Significant violence following collapse of the USSR • Dominant religions=Christianity & Islam
Armenia—first officially Christian country in the world Noravank—13th century monastery in Armenia
Economic Potential • Agriculture in humid subtropical lowlands and foothills—tea and grapes • “land of flames”—oil in Azerbaijan
Dividing the Caspian Sea • Is it a sea? If so, each country has the legal right to resources on its own sea bed. • If it’s a lake, most of the resource wealth is required by law to be shared by each of the countries bordering the Caspian. • Map, pg. 373 • How might development of the significant oil reserves in this region affect the physical environment?
Dividing the Caspian Sea Azerbaijan has large oil reserves off its coast. Would it want the Caspian to be a sea or a lake? Russia has few offshore reserves. Would it want the Caspian to be called a sea or a lake?
Modern Life in Transcaucasia • Literacy rates rose to 99% under Soviet rule, and education remains a high priority. • Mealtime celebrations are important. • Supra=Georgian dinner party involving large quantities of food and drink
CENTRAL ASIA • Kazakhstan • Kyrgyzstan • Tajikistan • Turkmenistan • Uzbekistan
A Historical Crossroads • Traders called the ancient route between China and the Mediterranean Sea the Silk Road. • Movement--In addition to goods, ideas, technology, & religion were spread.
The Great Game • Interest in this region exploded during the 19th century when the British and Russian empires struggled to control it. • The British didn’t want the southward moving Russians to threaten British control of India. • The struggle between these two empires is known as theGreat Game.
An Uncertain Economic Future • Until the late 1980s, the center of Soviet nuclear testing was in present day Kazakhstan. • Between 1949 and 1989, 470 nuclear devices were exploded in “the polygon,” a vast nuclear testing site. • Effects—cracked walls in buildings; widespread health problems such as leukemia, thyroid cancer, birth defects, and mental illness • What sorts of effects do these health problems have on families and the economy? • Oil & gas reserves have potential to bring significant wealth to the region.
Cultures Divided & Conquered • Republics divided among ethnic groups although significant minorities of neighboring groups exist. • Soviet leaders tried to prevent opposition to their authority by using the tensions that existed among the ethnic groups. • Dominant religion today: Islam • Many people in Central Asia speak Turkish languages and Russian.
The Survival of Tradition • Expansive grasslands are ideal grounds for nomads, people who have no permanent home. • The number of nomads decreased under Soviet rule because people were forced onto collective farms. • Some nomads still live in the region today. • Yurts, tents that usually consist of several layers of felt stretched around a wooden frame, are among nomads’ most valuable possessions.