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Fact Sheet on Imperial Russia in 1914

Satisfactory Essays
Landforms

• the European side is mostly flat plains

• the Ural Mountain and several large rivers (Volga, Ob, Yenisey, Lena) run in a south-north direction

• much of the Asian side (west of the Ural) is in the tundra zone

• high mountain ranges along the Mongolian border and in the far east of the country

Climate

• the largest country in the world.

extreme temperate conditions: temperatures below freezing for several months, although it can get very hot in the summer

• most of the ports freeze in wintertime, living the country with only limited year-round access to important sea routes

Resources

• rich soil and grazing land in most places in the European side

• coal and iron accessible in the European part

• huge mineral wealth in the Asian part (gold, diamond, oil, iron and heavy metals, etc.) – hard to access

People

• population is about 174 million, the second largest in the world after China, with a 50% population rise between 1860 and 1914

• about four fifth of the population lived in the European part,

• about 80% of them peasants, had been owning small pieces of land since 1861

• the Tsar, Nicholas the II, was an autocratic ruler

• most of the population lived in poverty.

• most of the land was owned by the church and a few noble families, the nobility accounting for 1% of the population owned 25% of the land

• poor education system, only a selected few could read and write

• disease and starvation was common

• only 40% of the people are Russian-speaking

Comment

Russia, the world’s largest country, covered one sixth of the planet’s total landmass (Warnes, 1999), excluding Antarctica. The country had a huge wealth of resources, most located in hardly accessible or completely inaccessible parts of Siberia. The European coal and iron mines supported and increasingly powerful iron industry. The Trans-Siberian Railway completed in 1904 did not make mining of these resources much easier. The roads in Siberia were muddy and impassable for most of the summer season. The flooding rivers made east-west travels and transportation very difficult. Most routes were open only in the winter, when the harsh conditions made movement of people and goods tough. As a result, the country could not enjoy the benefits of the available mineral resources.

Although home to the world’s second largest population, the 174 million people were not united. Only 40% belonged to the “motherland”, the rest was made up almost 20 different other nationalities and several other smaller groups. Most people lived below the standards of other European nations.
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