Chapter 16
Human Geography of Russia & the
A Diverse Heritage
Objective: Analyze features of
human geography in the
three sub-regions of Russia &
the Republics
Chapter 16 Section 1
Russia & the Western Republics
Vocabulary: Baltic Republics, Czar,
Russian Revolution, USSR, Cold
War, Command Economy, &
Collective Farm
Objective: Describe the cultural
background & achievements of Russia &
the Western Republics
A History of Expansion
• Vikings from Scandinavia
established a settlement near Kiev
• The Vikings adopted the
customs of the local Slavic
• Mongols halted the expansion of the
Russians until Ivan the Great put an
end to their rule
• Many people belonged to
different ethnic groups, spoke
different languages, & practiced
different religions
• Czar (emperor/king of Russia)
• Peter the Great made impressive
strides toward modernizing Russia
The Rise & Fall of the Soviet Union
• In 1917, the Russian Revolution
occurred, ending the rule of the czars
• The Russian Communist Party took control
of the government
• In 1922 the USSR (Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics) was created
• The leader Joseph Stalin led the Soviet
Union to victory in WW2
• Tensions rose between the United
States & the Soviet Union creating the
Cold War
• The Cold War lasted until the fall of
the Soviet Union in 1991
• The Soviet Union was divided into 15
independent republics
Building a Command Economy
• The Communists were inspired by the idea of
a Command Economy replacing Capitalism
• In a communist society, citizens would
own property together & everyone
would share the wealth
• Command Economy: central
government makes all the decisions
• The government created collective farms
where laborers worked together
• Under this huge transformation, millions of
citizens starved while only a few benefited
• People tried to rise in protests but were
stopped the government
• Historians estimate that Stalin was
responsible for the death of 14 million people
A Rich Culture
• Russia has the greatest ethnic
diversity of the region’s
• Russians make up the
largest ethnic group with
about 80% of the
• Orthodox Christianity is
the most popular religion
• However, the region also has
Buddhist, Muslims, & Jews
• Art & Architecture style are
unique in Russia
• Russia is known for their
ballet companies
Tradition & Change in Russian Life
• The region’s people have
begun to enjoy more social
& cultural opportunities
• They can now keep up with
new movies, music, & clothing
trends from around the world
• However, they still favor a
traditional way of life
• 30% of the population own
dachas or vacation homes in
the countryside
• They also enjoy visiting a banya
(sauna, steam room, icy cold
pool, then hot tea)
Nuclear Explosion At Chernobyl
• On April 28, 1986 a Swedish
engineer was startled when a
radiation detector went off as he
entered his office
• After checking the radiation on his
clothes, he believed a nuclear war
had begun
• 800 miles away a nuclear power
plant at Chernobyl had exploded
• Radiation contaminated 100,000
square miles
• 250,000 people were evacuated &
Chapter 16 Section 2
Vocabulary: Red Army & Supra
Objective: Summarize some of the
historic influences on Transcaucasia
A Gateway of Migration
• Transcaucasia is the gateway
between Europe & Asia
• 50 different types of people
live in Transcaucasia today
because of its access to
trade routes
• Migrants have brought a great
variety of languages to the
• Because of its close location to
Southwest Asia, most people
are Christian or Islamic
• Tensions among different
groups have resulted in
violence & civil war
A History of Outside Control
• By 1870, the Czar’s troops
had added Transcaucasia to
the Russian Empire
• The Red Army of the Soviet
Union, solidified control of
the region
• The republics of
Transcaucasia regained
their political
independence in 1991
after the fall of the Soviet
• However, they have struggled
to rebuild their nations’
Economic Potential
• They have taken advantage
of the region’s climate by
producing tea & grapes
• The oil industry has had
an important impact on
the Transcaucasia region
• However many continue to
live in poverty
• They region argues about
whether the Caspian is an
inland sea or a lake
Modern Life in Transcaucasia
• Literacy rates in
Transcaucasia rose to
the nearly 99% within
the Soviet Union
• One major traditional
value is mealtime
• The supra “dinner party” is
an extravagant event with
cold dishes, then hot
courses, following desserts
Chapter 16 Section 3
Central Asia
Vocabulary: Silk Road, Great
Game, Nomad, & Yurt
Objective: Describe the
environmental problems &
promise in the region
A Historical Crossroads
• Central Asia consists of five
independent republics
• The Silk Road carried
products through Central
• They products consisted of gold,
silver, ivory, jade, wine, spices,
amber, linen, porcelain, grapes,
& perfumes
• The Silk Road also became a
route for spreading ideas,
technology, & religion
An Uncertain Economic Future
• Until the late 1980s, the Soviet
nuclear industry was an economic
mainstay of Central Asia
• 470 nuclear devices were
exploded in a nearby town
• Exposure to high levels of
radiation caused increase
rates of different diseases
• They diseases include leukemia,
thyroid cancer, birth defects, &
mental illness
• Oil & gas reserves have been found
in the region
Cultures Divided & Conquered
• Soviet planners carved the
region into five new
nations that corresponded
to the largest ethnic groups
• However they purposely left
large numbers of one ethnic
group as minorities in the
neighboring republic
• The Soviets tried to prevent
opposition by using the tensions
in these regions to keep control
• Most Central Asians speak
languages related to Turkish or
The Survival of Tradition
• The expansive
grasslands of Central
Asia are ideal for
nomadic people
• Yurts are portable tents that
are lightweight
• Nomads use them for
sleeping, floor coverings,
wall linings, & insulation
• They are trying to preserve
their traditions by allowing
tourists to experience being

Chapter 16 Human Geography of Russia & the Republics A