Russian Federation occupies one eighth of the world’s landmass and
is the world’s largest state. It is located on the eastern edge of
Europe, south of the Arctic Ocean. To the east it is bounded by the
Pacific Ocean, to the west by the Baltic Sea. In the southwest it
extends to the Caspian, the Black and the Azov seas. Russia’s
territory is 6,592,812 square miles in size. It spans 11 time zones,
with its furthermost western and eastern points being 5,625 miles
Russia borders on Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China,
Mongolia, and North Korea.
45 percent of
Russia’s territory is covered by forests, 4 percent by water, 13
percent by farmlands, 19 percent by reindeer pasturelands, and 19
percent by other types of land.
Species of flora and fauna that can be found in Russia are
characteristic of its various climatic zones. In the harsh
conditions of the territories above the Arctic Circle only sedge and
cotton grass can grow. To the south, sparse birch tree, fir and
àðpear. Further south, dense forests begin, occupying 40
percent of the country’s territory. Most forests are situated in the
Asian part of the country.
Òî the south of the forest tundra is the taiga that extends
to the southern limit of Siberia. The taiga forests feature mainly
firs, pines, cedars, and larches.
the central part of the East European Plain the forests are mostly
mixed, with pine trees prevailing in the northern
and oaks and birch trees in the south. Miõåd forests also predominate in the southern areas of the
Far East, where the Korean cedar, fir and the Amur cork tree
grow. Russia’s forests are inhabited by numerous and varied fauna,
including many species of fur-bearing animals. Further south, the fîrest
zone gradually changes into partially wooded steppe and then into
steppe covered with thick grass vegetation. In the Caspian
lowland this turns into a semi-desert featuring sagebrush, barillas,
and steppe cereals.
European Russia lies on the East European Plain. To the south, it
gives way to the northern slopes of the Caucasus and, to the north,
the Khibin Mountains. The Ural Mountains to the east serve as a
natural border between the European and Asian parts of the country.
continental divide continues from the southern end of the Ural
Mountains through the Caspian Sea and along the Caucasus Mountains.
West Siberian Plain, fringed with the Altai Mountains in the
southeast, lie to the east of the Urals. The Middle Siberian Plateau
is situated between the Yenisei and Lena rivers, with the Sayan
Mountains flanking it to the south. Further east, the mountain
ridges and tablelands of northeastern Asia lie between the Lena
River and the Pacific.