Blog: Russia

On the 7th of February, Vladimir Putin met with the Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko at Sochi to discuss reducing the cost of oil being sold from Russia to Belarus. Currently, Belarus relies on oil from Russia, and though they still maintain a favorable deal on natural gas, that isn't enough. However, Putin rejected this deal and instead focused on a 1999 plan to unite the two countries. Lukashenko was predictably unreceptive to this idea, and no progress was made on a deal.

The situation involved in this deal is much the same as the Ukraine crisis that happened recently. Russification plays into this with the simple fact that Russia is aiming to bring Belarus under its control through a union. Irredentism is a large concept present in this deal because like Ukraine, Belarus was part of the major portions of the USSR until 1991 when it gained independence, meaning there are many ethnic Russians present in the country. Finally, the obvious parallel is the focus on the sale of Russian oil and gas, which Belarus is in a similar geographic location to Ukraine and so controlling trade with Belarus can stop the flow of oil into Europe. Though this is not a copy of the events that occurred in Ukraine, the concepts behind it are very similar.

The article in the Russian realm that I found was from the “TIME' website. The news story is titled “536 Fishermen Stranded on Giant Ice Floe Rescued in Russia,' and is by the Associated Press. This current event was published on January 29th, 2020.

This article discusses that Russia’s emergency services had to rescue 536 ice fishermen after they got trapped on an enormous ice floe that broke off the island of Sakhalin. 60 people were able to make it back to the island on their own, however, the rest did not. The victims tried to save themselves by using the ice sheets as floats and sticks as paddleboards to lure themselves toward the land. It is important to note that this is the third incident that had occurred that week in the Sakhalin area. This could have ties to the island’s geographic region.   When looking at an ocean temperature map one can notice that the island is on the border of the permafrost region. Due to global warming the region of warmer water has penetrated the Bay of Mordvinia, which is on the southern tip of Sakhalin. This causes large pieces of ice to break off uncontrollably.

Below is a link where the World Sea Temperature can be seen more clearly.

I came upon this article on BBC world news about a bomb hoax in Moscow. The article explains that after receiving the bomb threats, all the Moscow metro stations, more than 100 schools and nurseries, and 20 shopping centers were checked for bombs. As a result of these threats, there has been mass evacuations out of the largest populated city, Moscow. The main places being evacuated are hospitals, courts, railway stations, and administrative buildings. The threats have not been traced back to whoever sent them and the article states that other major cities have also been targeted. These major cities, which are mostly in the Russian plains, are already being affected by losing important workers and having to shut down some city operations and that can affect the flow of resources in and out of these cities. Also, if there were bombs and they were to go off in Moscow, it could affect a major gas pipeline that runs through Russia's capital making them turn to other energy reserves.

I have decided to scrap my old post for a topic better suited for the subject at hand. With that being said I found another article: “Melting glaciers in the Russian Arctic reveal five new islands'.

The Russian Navy had discovered islands back in 2016 through the use of satellite imagery and the size of the islands according to the article:

“They range in area from 900 to 54,500 square meters (about 9,690 to 586,630 square feet) -- as big as 10 football fields.'

As for the precise location of these islands, they can be found near the coast of Novaya Zemlya and close to the Vylki Glacier. Russian Navy researchers have been using satellite data in order to map out and study the changes in the Novaya Zemlya coastlines and Franz Josef land. Between 2015-2018, around 30 more islands had been discovered off of these coastlines and bay areas. A similar topic happened over in the glaciers of Canada when land that had been buried for over 40,000 underneath the Arctic snow and ice.

My personal views of the topic are a mix of fascination and ironic twist. While global warming is expected to take land away due to flooding, we are instead discovering hidden lands within glaciers.

While the news organization Russia Today can sometimes be biased, I found this article had none and thought it was interesting. The article is titled, "Coronavirus food warning: PRICES DOUBLE in Russia’s Far East after Chinese border closed, vegetable supplies running scarce". The article discusses how the price of produce has doubled in Siberian districts like Khabarovsk, Primorsky, and Yakutia. The only district I have heard of was Yakutia because its' capital city Yukatsk is sister cities with Fairbanks. Yakutia is the largest and coldest territory in Russia which may explain it have a population just under a million. Khabarovsk krai borders Yakutia and the Pacific Ocean. Primosky krai lies under Khabarovsk krai and between China and the Pacific Ocean. It is also is the only region to border North Korea. I can understand how this will effect daily life for Russians in small towns in these areas. Since Russia is still in the dead of winter, there have been shortages of vegetables in some areas because of lack of local supplies and suspension of incoming produce from China due to the Coronavirus. The article says that in some places the prices of cucumbers has doubled. Cucumbers and pickles are a diet staple for many Russians. This not only effects Russia's society, but Russia's economy.

“What a Deadly Nuclear Explosion in Russia Tells Us About the World’s New Arms Race'

The article I chose was from the suggested list of websites, This article discussed the imposing threat of a nuclear arms race around the world. You would think that Chernobyl would have taught Russia a thing or two, but it is evident by this article that they are on a self-fulfilling destructive path. The article began discussing an explosion during nuclear testing at a northern military base. Geopolitics were very evident throughout this article and you could surmise from this secret military testing that economic geography was sure to play a part as resources are shifted and increased. There were also some key topics discussed such as treaties expiring soon between the US and Russia and that it’s likely there won’t be many legal constraints in the future. It was alarming to hear that seven people died in this nuclear explosion that Russia was ultimately trying to hide. As if that wasn't bad enough, in 2010 a Russian submarine sank and the Russian government was willing to let over one hundred of their men die to contain the nuclear secrets on board. This is affecting our physical geography as they allow these killer weapons to contaminate our oceans and our soils.  

Kiara Kearns, January 19, 2020, Blog : Russia  

The current article I found takes place in Russia and is authored by Neil MacFarquhar. I found this article on and chose it because I found the topic very interesting and feel it very much relates to Geography.  

The geographic aspects I found in the news story, Russian Land of Permafrost and Mammoths Is Thawing, include: shrinking ground, global warming, permafrost, land movement, and thawing of the ground.

This article discusses the impact thawing permafrost has on the land and how it is deforming the landscape. It begins by introducing a lab assistant that discovered a part of a wolf that had been, as the text states, “preserved in the permafrost, 65 feet underground in Yakutia in northeastern Siberia' (para 4). This wolf is just one of many animals has emerged from the frozen ground recently at an alarming rate. Although, the loss of the permafrost does more than resurface previously frozen animals. It is causing the land to move and change, floods, and the coast line to vanish into the rising water levels and shrink. The text continues on to explain that while researchers in the capital are looking into it, the government does not show much concern.  

Why is the previously frozen ground warming so quickly? MacFarquhar explains this is due to the rising temperatures in the remote region. Paragraph 17 informs us that “the average annual temperature in Yakutsk has risen more than four degrees.' This temperature difference has also affected the migration of birds in the area, the natural migration routes of reindeer, and the plants that find a home in the woods. Lastly, the permafrost is causing the terrain to sink into swamps, lakes, craters, and hummocks (para 32).  

Here’s a link to the article for a very interesting read!