Blog: Russia

Blog Participation (20 points)

Many of the events we read or hear about in the news are better understood if we have some geographic knowledge about the place where these events are taking place. Likewise, paying attention to current world events can help further our knowledge of geography.

Let’s take a very timely example, the current crisis in Ukraine.  Here is a BBC article with maps summarizing the changing situation since the start of 2014.

As we examine the current situation in Ukraine, there are several geographic concepts to consider, such as Russification, irredentism, and the geography of oil transport systems.  Under the policy of Russification, the Soviet Empire relocated “entire peoples from their homelands in order to better fit in the grand design…The overall effect…was to move minority peoples eastward and to replace them with Russians.' (p. 117) Figure 1B-14 (p. 97) shows large pockets of ethnic Russians in Ukraine.  There is also a map in the BBC article noted above that shows the concentration of ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

Irredentism is defined in your text as “a policy of cultural extension and potential political expansion by a state aimed at a community of its nationals living in a neighboring state'. (p. GL-7) Russia wants to maintain close ties to Ukraine and sees the large number of ethnic Russians in the east of Ukraine as justification for this.

How do oil and natural gas transport systems fit into this? The European Union would like Ukraine to be more aligned with Europe than with Russia. However, Europe relies on the natural gas that flows through Ukraine from Russia.  Having the ability to cut off that flow of oil gives Russia leverage.

This Ukraine story is a good example of seeing current events through a geographic lens.   You will find throughout the semester, as you learn to think geographically, that more and more you will notice the geographic concepts we learn about in class appearing in the current events of the day.

Your task for Blog: Russia:
-       Find a current event article that takes place in the Russian realm.
-       Locate any geographic aspects in the news story.
-       Write a blog post that includes the link to your article, the title of your article, brief summary of the article, and a brief explanation of the geographic concepts involved in the story
Here are some possible news sources for this assignment:
o       New York Times World News:
o       International Herald Tribune:
o       BBC World News:
o       Reuters World News:
o       Time World:
o       The Christian Science Monitor World News: