Why is Russia so big? Spanning two continents and stretching across 11 time zones, this country is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. We’ll explore Russia’s grand scale and discover the incredible diversity and richness that lies within its borders.
From the frigid expanses of the Arctic tundra to the lush forests of the south, lies Russia with an incredible 17.1 million square kilometers.
But why is Russia so big? What factors have shaped this vast landmass and its borders?
Buckle up and get ready for an epic journey through the history and geography of one of the world’s most fascinating countries.
Why is Russia so Big?
The answer is a complex tapestry of history, geography, politics, and culture that spans centuries and reaches deep into the heart of Eurasia.
Russia started out as a minor kingdom in the 800s, centered in Kyiv (the capital of contemporary Ukraine).
However, the following reasons make Russia so enormous:
1. Geography and Natural Resources
Russia’s enormous size can be attributed in part to its geography and natural resources.
The country spans two continents, Europe and Asia, and covers over one-eighth of the Earth’s land area.
Much of Russia’s landmass is covered by taiga forests, tundra, and steppe grasslands, as well as numerous rivers and lakes.
These natural resources have played a key role in Russia’s development.
From the fur trade of the 17th and 18th centuries to the oil and gas reserves that fuel the country’s economy today.
2. History and Imperial Expansion
Centuries of imperial expansion have also shaped Russia’s size.
In the 16th century, Russia was a relatively small state centered around Moscow.
But under the leadership of Ivan the Terrible and subsequent tsars, Russia began to expand rapidly.
By the end of the 18th century, the country had absorbed large territories in the west and south.
These countries include much of modern-day Ukraine, Belarus, and the Caucasus.
The 19th century saw further expansion, as Russia moved eastward into Siberia and the Far East.
This expansion was driven in part by the discovery of valuable natural resources such as furs, gold, and oil.
Also, the desire to establish a foothold in the Pacific region fueled the expansion.
Russia had grown to be the world’s largest nation by the end of the century.
3. Soviet Era and Centralized Control
The Soviet era also played a role in shaping Russia’s size and borders.
A federation of republics, many of which were formerly Russian Empire lands, was founded as the Soviet Union.
This was a result of the 1917 Revolution.
Under Soviet rule, the country continued to expand, absorbing territories in Central Asia.
Also, Russia’s current borders were established during the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
This took place when that enormous nation split into 15 sovereign governments after failing to create a sufficiently United Communist Empire.
Why Does Russia have a Small Population?
From the Mongol invasions to the Tsarist autocracy to the Soviet Union, Russia has undergone centuries of war, famine, and political upheaval.
These events have taken a toll on the population, leading to significant declines in birth rates and life expectancy.
Also, Russia’s harsh climate and rugged terrain have made it difficult for people to settle and thrive in certain regions.
For instance, one of the least populated places on earth is the Siberian wilderness.
Only a few million people live in an area larger than the entire United States.
A complex mix of geographical, historical, and political circumstances led to Russia’s vastness.
Despite its size, Russia encounters a number of difficulties, such as a dwindling population, economic stagnation, and political unrest.
The nation is still fascinating and influential, though, and it continues to play a vital role in world affairs.