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Why is Russia important to the US?. Only 53 miles separate Russia from the US (Alaska). Russia is so large (contains 12 time zones). Russia has many nuclear weapons and makes a much better ally than enemy. Russia has similar problems with terrorism and we can help each other.

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Why is Russia important to the US?

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    1. Why is Russia important to the US? Only 53 miles separate Russia from the US (Alaska). Russia is so large (contains 12 time zones). Russia has many nuclear weapons and makes a much better ally than enemy. Russia has similar problems with terrorism and we can help each other.

    2. What do these names mean? • USSR – Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics is the name for the huge nation that was the Soviet Union. It changed its name from Russia to the USSR in 1921 and remained so until 1991. There were 15 republics (like states) in the USSR that are independent today. • CCCP – Russian for USSR • Russia – the dominant republic in the USSR and an independent country today.

    3. How did the Soviet Union get to be so big? • Russia began in Kiev, a town in the Ukraine around 800. Moscow (the current capital) was unimportant at that time. The people living north of the Black Sea are ethnic Slavs. Today the largest ethnic group in Russia are the Slavs. • The area all around western Russia today was captured by the Mongols in the 1200s and was held until the 1400s.

    4. How did the USSR get to be so big? • A Moscow Prince named Ivan III refused to pay tribute to the Mongols and made Moscow the most important city for Russia. • Ivan IV conquered territory that the Mongols had held and began the Russian conquest for territory. He became the first czar – the title of a Russia ruler. • All the czars began to gain more territory – especially land that would give them a warm water port. Peter the Great built St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland.

    5. How did the USSR get to be so big? • Over time, all of Siberia and the land of the “stans” was captured. • In 1917 Russia had a revolution and the communists came to power. Lenin is the first ruler. • 1921 Joseph Stalin came into power and named the entire country the USSR.

    6. What was life like under communism? • Unemployment nearly non-existent. Underemployment. • Basic needs are met- few luxuries. Good education, decent health care, a place to live. • Wages were low. • Government supported rail and jet travel and systems of public transportation like metros and trains. Few privately owned cars. • Some people couldn’t afford consumer goods.

    7. Life under Communism • Even when people could afford consumer goods, these goods were difficult to find. Why? • The government focused on aerospace and military goods – the USSR was busy keeping up with the US in the Cold War • Quotas set by the government demanded full-time attention – no time to go off-line and innovate / experiment • Wanted items could be bought on the black market (illegal trade in which scarce or illegal goods are sold at high prices) – most workers couldn’t afford these prices. • Corruption was common.

    8. What was it like to live in a totalitarian state? • State owned and controlled all mass communications systems. State agencies reviewed all print and broadcast materials. • Permission to travel outside of the communist bloc was required. • Atheism was promoted. No one went to church. • Communist Party membership – less than 5% of the population – an elitist group.

    9. Living under a Totalitarian State • People were very afraid to speak out against the government – even to their friends.

    10. If the USSR was such a superpower in the Cold War, why did it “fall?” Communism didn’t foster growth Communism was so inefficient – time and money was wasted. There was no incentive for hard work, creativity, or technological development, aside from military uses. People were not used to working hard all day in order to keep their jobs. The government spent so much money keeping up with the US in the Cold War that they made no other improvements.

    11. Why did the USSR fall? The Government The USSR could not afford to keep intervening in Eastern Europe. They were essentially broke. They let the satellites break away from the USSR and communism. By giving the people in the USSR some freedom with his policies of glasnost, Gorbachev opened the door to ideas of democracy and human rights. The other 14 republics in the USSR broke away by 1991.

    12. The former Soviet Union

    13. Why did the USSR fall? The environment • The environment was devastated by all kinds of pollution – air, water, land. • Magnitogorsk below – steel factory

    14. Environmental damage Khabarovsk Russia

    15. What is Russia like now, 20 years after the fall of the USSR? • After a few terrible years, the Russia economy is rebounding. There is now private ownership of businesses, farms, and industries. • The economy now expanding, especially in industry and services. Petroleum extracting and processing is the most important industry. Sell to other former republics, EU, China, Japan. One of the world’s largest producers of crude oil. Pipelines crisscross Russia – common in Chechnya and Dagistan.

    16. Russia Today • Telecommunications industry is booming. Cell phone service has doubled in recent years. (30% use cell phones.) 18% use internet. • Corruption is still a major problem. It is very complicated to try and fix because it has become such a big part of the Russian way of doing business.

    17. Russia Today • These two men are leaders now. An important election is coming up for Russia in March. Everyone expects Vladimir Putin to win the election. • Russia is not really a democracy – most Russian’s accept that Putin is very controlling and wants government control over elections. They think it is OK because at least Putin is combating the problems Russia faces.

    18. President Medvedev Prime Minister Putin