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___ Political Map of European Russia
Map shows the European portion of Russia with neighboring countries.
Image: Nations Online Project
Russia, officially the Russian Federation (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), is the world's largest country. It occupies a great deal of the northern portion of the Eurasian continent.
Russia is a transcontinental country, a country which is situated on more than one continent. Russia spans the northern part of the Eurasian continent, 77% of Russia's area is in Asia, the western 23% of the country is located in Europe, European Russia occupies almost 40% of Europe's total area.
By convention, the line of demarcation between Western Asia and the European part of the 'supercontinent' of Eurasia, is along the Ural Mountain range, the Ural River, the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, and the Turkish Straits.
European Russia is situated in Eastern Europe on the East European Plain, the eastern part of the Great European Plain, the largest mountain-free landform in Europe, although a number of hills and highlands are interspersed within. The country is bordered to the north by the White Sea, the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea, all arms and bays of the Arctic Ocean.
In the west the country is bordered by Norway, Finland, a small part of the Baltic Sea (at the Gulf of Finland), the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, then Belarus and Ukraine (from north to south), there is also a border with Poland (at Kaliningrad Oblast), in south by Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, the country has shorelines at the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
European Russia covers an area of 3,960,000 km², making it somewhat larger than India, or about half the size of the Contiguous United States. There are five Federal Districts in Western Russia, in center the Central Federal District with Moscow as its administrative center, to the north the Northwestern Federal District, its administrative center is St. Petersburg, in south east the Volga Federal District (predominantly in Europe), and in south west, the Southern Federal District (Rostov-on-Don is the administrative center) and the North Caucasian Federal District with its administrative center at Pyatigorsk.
The northern portion of the country lies within the Arctic Circle, the northernmost parts of the Northwestern Federal District (one of the five federal districts in Western Russia), the region including the Kola Peninsula, the northern parts of the Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Komi Republic, and Nenetia (Nenets Autonomous Okrug), the landscape is dominated by Tundra, the treeless marshy steppe of the north.
Southward of the Arctic Circle, above 60 degrees north latitude, the landscape is dominated by Taiga, the swampy coniferous forest of high northern latitudes with a mix of spruces, larches, pines and birch trees in north giving way southward to broad-leaved trees.
Image: Jialiang Gao peace-on-earth.org
The center of the East European Plain is covered by temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, the mostly flat plain is here and there disrupted by a number of hills and highlands, known as the Smolensk-Moscow Upland, the Central Russian Upland, the Volga Hills, and the Northern Hills. Since modern times, the plain is heavily developed for agriculture. The primary grains are wheat, barley and rye, and 'industrial' crops such as sunflower seeds, sugar beets, and potatoes.
To the north of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea is the region of the wooded, fertile Western Steppe (Pontic–Caspian Steppe), a portion of the Eurasian Steppe (East European forest steppe), a broad band of treeless, grassy plains, a region with savannas, and shrublands, giving way to semidesert along the northern shore of the Caspian Sea. The steppe begins near the mouth of the Danube River and extends northeast almost to Kazan and then southeast to the southern tip of the Ural Mountains.
The Ural Mountain range, the natural boundary between Europe and Asia, extends about 2,100 km (1,300 mi) south from the Arctic Ocean to the northern border of Kazakhstan. Its highest peak is Mount Narodnaya (1,895 m (6,217 ft)).
Western Russia's mostly flat landscape was shaped by geomorphical processes during the Pleistocene Epoch (i.e., about 2,600,000 to 11,700 years ago, commonly known as the Ice Age), a period of repeated glaciations. Continental sized ice sheets covered most of Northern Europe, their movements scoured and abraded the plain's surface, eroded mountains to their bases and rendered the whole landscape flat. After the last glacial period, the melting ice left behind a lot of water, European Russia has many freshwater lakes, especially in north west and on the Kola Peninsula, almost all of them were created by glacial erosion. The largest lakes are Lake Ladoga, Lake Onega, Lake Peipus (shared with Estonia), the Rybinsk Reservoir (a man made reservoir and the northernmost point of the Volga river), Lake Beloye, Lake Vygozero, Lake Kovdozero, and Lake Segozero.
European Russia has a population of 110 million people (in 2017), making it most populous country in Europe. About 77% of Russia's total population lives west of the Urals. Therefore, almost all of Russia's largest cities are in the western part of the country. All these cities are important social, political, economic, industrial, and cultural centers.
Image: Nations Online Project
Most populous city is Russia's capital Moscow (pop. 12,2 million), second-largest city is Saint Petersburg (pop. 5.5 million), a major seaport and former capital (until until the Russian Revolution in 1918).
Other major cities with more than one million people are Nizhny Novgorod, until 1990 known as Gorky, an important economic hub and a main center of river tourism in Russia, Kazan, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Samara, the city at the Samara Bend of the Volga river and the Zhiguli Mountains, Rostov-on-Don, a port city at the Volga-Don Shipping Canal, Ufa, capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Perm, the administrative center of Perm Krai, near the southern foothills of the Ural Mountains, Voronezh, an industrial city and a transportation hub, and Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, an industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast. The cities of Chelyabinsk, the administrative center of Chelyabinsk Oblast, and Yekaterinburg, capital of the Ural Federal District, are technically in Asia, but they belong to the European Russian economic zone.
Murmansk on the Kola Bay on the Kola Peninsula is by far the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. Vorkuta, a coal-mining town with a population of about 70,000 people is the easternmost city in Europe.
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Political Map of European Russia
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