A Geography of Russia and Its Neighbors

Mikhail S. Blinnikov

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November 22, 2010
ISBN 9781606239339
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448 Pages
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November 23, 2010
ISBN 9781606239209
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448 Pages
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June 13, 2011
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Comprehensive and authoritative, this text offers an accessible introduction to post-Soviet Eurasia. Students get a solid grounding in the physical, cultural, political, and economic geography of this rapidly changing region. Core thematic chapters focus primarily on Russia but also incorporate relevant information on the other 14 former Soviet republics. Regional chapters provide concise discussions of each republic and of Russia's main regions. Student-friendly features include engaging vignettes, review questions, exercises, recommendations for further reading, and Internet resources. The volume's over 200 original maps, photographs, and other figures are also available as PowerPoint slides at the companion website.

“Finally, a geography of Russia written by a Russian geographer for a Western audience. This book is filled with mesmerizing details of Soviet and post-Soviet everyday life, as well as unique photographs. It captures the richness of Russian society and reflects its contradictions. This is an invaluable, accessible text for all levels, and will be great for stimulating classroom discussion.”

—Marianna Pavlovskaya, Department of Geography, Hunter College, City University of New York


“A timely, insightful, well-written, and engaging volume on contemporary Russia's economies, recent history, environmental settings, and enduring legacies. Personal reflections and observations add to the book's strengths. I will definitely use this text the next time I teach a class on the former Soviet Union. It is far ahead of any previous book on the region. It also will have broad appeal outside geography and should be required reading for business people and professionals in all fields who are working in the region.”

—Stanley D. Brunn, Department of Geography, University of Kentucky


“This text offers a comprehensive, accessible introduction to the physical, cultural, social, economic and political geography of the region. The book goes well beyond the bounds of a general geography text, giving students the historical and political context that will help them engage more thoughtfully with the material. The author doesn’t shy away from interjecting his own insights about the personalities that have shaped contemporary Russia. For the student, this brings to life some of the major actors whose names would otherwise get lost on the page. Each chapter is followed by review questions and exercises that will prepare both instructors and students for class discussion, making the book useful for both lecture courses and seminars.”

—Melinda Herrold-Menzies, Intercollegiate Environmental Analysis Program, The Claremont Colleges

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Russia and Post-Soviet Northern Eurasia

I. Physical Geography

2. Relief and Hydrography

3. Climate

4. Biomes

5. Environmental Degradation and Conservation

II. History and Politics

6. Formation of the Russian State

7. The Soviet Legacy

8. Post-Soviet Reforms

9. The Geopolitical Position of Russia in the World

III. Cultural and Social Geography

10. Demographics and Population Distribution

11. Cities and Villages

12. Social Issues. Health, Wealth, Poverty, and Crime

13. Cultures and Languages

14. Religion, Diet, and Dress

15. Education, Arts, Sciences, and Sports

16. Tourism

IV. Economics

17. Oil, Gas, and Other Energy Sources

18. Heavy Industry and the Military Complex

19. Light Industry and Consumer Goods

20. Fruits of the Earth: Agriculture, Hunting, Fishing, and Forestry

21. Infrastructure and Services

V. Regional Geography of Russia and Other FSU States

22. Central Russia: The Heart of the Country

23. Russia’s Northwest: Fishing, Timber, and Culture

24. The Volga: Cars, Food, and Energy

25. The Caucasus: Cultural Diversity and Political Instability

26. The Urals: Metallurgy, Machinery, and Fossil Fuels

27. Siberia: Great Land

28. The Far East: The Russian Pacific

29. The Baltics: Europeysky, Not Sovetsky

30. Eastern Europeans: Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova

31. Central Asia: The Heart of Eurasia

32. Epilogue: Engaging with Post-Soviet Northern Eurasia


About the Author

Mikhail S. Blinnikov, PhD, is Professor of Geography and Graduate Coordinator at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and Associate Researcher at Kazan Federal University Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Archaeological and Ethnological Studies in Kazan, Russia. A native of Moscow, Russia, he has traveled extensively in the former Soviet Union, including doing field work on the White, Baltic, and Black Seas; in Central Russia; on the Volga; and in Crimea, the Caucasus, and the Altay. Besides his work in Russia, he has visited Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan on extended field trips. Dr. Blinnikov’s research focuses on the late-Pleistocene biogeography of grasslands; phytolith analysis; remote sensing and geographic information systems; protected natural areas and green spaces in and near cities; young naturalist movements; and Orthodox religious landscapes. He has worked with the Biodiversity Conservation Center, the Center for Russian Nature Conservation, Nearby Nature, The Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund Russia, among others. Dr. Blinnikov has also worked as an interpreter and translator for Russian–American exchanges and has written two books in Russian. He is a past president of the International Phytolith Society and president of the Eurasian Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers

Audience

Geography instructors and students.

Course Use

Will serve as a primary text in undergraduate courses.