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RUSSIA AND EASTERN EUROPE

RUSSIA AND THE FORMER SOVIET STATES

Where does Asia end and Europe begin?

Though Europe and Asia are actually part of one large landmass, tradition has split the region into two continents along the Ural Mountains in western Russia.

What was the U.S.S.R.?

The country called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (commonly known as the Soviet Union) was created in 1924, seven years after the Russian Revolution that overthrew the czarist monarchy. The Soviet Union consisted of Russia and its neighboring territories, such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the Baltic States. By the end of 1991, communism had failed in the Soviet Union and many of its internal republics became independent states.

How many republics or states comprised the former Soviet Union?

The U.S.S.R. was comprised of the following 15 Socialist Republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

What is the Commonwealth of Independent States?

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), established by Russia just after the fall of the Soviet Union, is an organization that serves to keep the resources of the Soviet Union flowing between the now-independent countries. Ten of the 15 former

Ice melting along the Neva River in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, which in the past has also been called Leningrad and Petrograd (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

Ice melting along the Neva River in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, which in the past has also been called Leningrad and Petrograd (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

Soviet republics are members: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The Republic of Georgia withdrew in 2006, and Turkmenistan withdrew in 2005.

How large a part of the Soviet Union was Russia?

While the Soviet Union consisted of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics, the largest was the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The RSFSR, also known as Russia, comprised three-quarters of the Soviet Union's territory and over half of its population.

How big is Russia?

With 6.6 million square miles (17 million square kilometers) and 145 million people, Russia is Europe's largest country and also its most populous. Additionally, Russia is the largest country in the world and the world's sixth-most populous. Within Europe, the second largest country is the Ukraine, with 233,100 square miles (603,729 square kilometers), and the second-most populous country is Germany, with 82 million people.

What is Russia's official name?

The official name of Russia is the Russian Federation. It consists of 83 federal subjects, including 46 provinces, 21 republics, 9 territories, 4 autonomous districts, 1 administrative sector, and 2 federal districts (Moscow and St. Petersburg).

Why is there a tiny piece of Russia in the middle of Eastern Europe?

The important seaport of Kaliningrad, wedged between Poland and Lithuania, was annexed by the U.S.S.R. at the end of World War II. Though once the capital of East Prussia and ethnically German, the Soviets quickly evicted the Germans and replaced them with ethnic Russians. In 1991 many of the autonomous republics within the U.S.S.R. gained independence. Though Kaliningrad lies west of these new countries, its inhabitants are ethnically Russian and thus remained part of the Russian state.

How cold is Siberia?

Siberia holds the record for the world's lowest temperature outside of Antarctica. On February 6, 1933, the temperature reached -90 degrees Fahrenheit in Oimyakon, Rus-

What do the names St. Petersburg, Leningrad, and Petrograd have in common?

St. Petersburg, Leningrad, and Petrograd were three names for the same city. Located in northwestern Russia along the Gulf of Finland, the city was originally founded as St. Petersburg in 1703 by Czar Peter the Great. Since "St. Petersburg" sounded too German to be the capital city of Russia, the city's name was changed to Petrograd in 1914. After the death of Communist leader Vladimir Lenin in 1924, the city's name was again changed, this time to Leningrad. After the change in the Soviet government in 1991, Leningrad once again became St. Petersburg.

sia. During the winter, almost all of Siberia has extremely cold temperatures, often reaching -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

 
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