Country Project

Russia

Map of Russia

Russia is a country in Northern Asia and eastern Europe. It borders the Arctic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean. It has an area of 17,098,242 sq km, the largest in the world. Its population is less than half of the U.S.’ yet it is almost twice the size. The capital is Moscow, which is a modern urban center with western technologies such as running water and proper sewage management.

Population: 139,390,205

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Russia is a federation which is similar to a republic, which is what the United States is. It’s government is very similar to the United States with a president, and cabinet members, it also has a bicameral legislature. This means that environmental issues are often debated in a bureaucratic fashion before they are decided.

Environmental Issues in Russia

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Main Religions: Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% all others are non-practioners

Language: Russian

Ethnicity: Russian 79.8%, Tatar 3.8%, Ukrainian 2%, Bashkir 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, other or unspecified 12.1%

Urban population: 73% of total population

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Natural Capital: In 2009 Russia was the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, the second largest exporter of oil, and the third largest exporter of steel and primary aluminum. They also export other heavy metals, such as rare earths (neodymium). This rare earth trade is likely going to increase in size, as China has recently put a tariff on their exports of rare earths. Because of this recent tariff, technological industries will become primarily dependent on the Russian production of these materials.

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Water availability: With the total irrigated land only 46,000 sq km, the amount of irrigated (CIA)

Major Bodies of water: Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Baltic Sea, and the Gulf of Finland, Lake Baikal, the Kama river, the Irtysh-Ob river, the Yenisei river, and the Lena river. (CIA)

Uses of water: They use water for irrigation (18%), industry (63%), and drinking and other domestic uses (19%). (Country Studies)

Human impact: While the amount of total arable land is 7.17% of the vast country 1.8 times as large as the U.S., only 0.11% of the land is devoted to permanent crops. During the Soviet era, 75 percent of Russia’s surface water was now polluted, and as a result, 50 percent of all water is not potable. Acid rain is also issue. Since Russia doesn’t adequately offset the pollution from it’s Siberian industrial centers and from power plants, the acid rain has had a detrimental effect on Siberian forests (Country Studies). Another issue is radiation from nuclear power plants that have failed–such as Chernobyl (World Atlas). Still further issues are the lack of limitations on fishing limits, and the stagnation of water that has been caused by diversion for urban centers. (Water for People, Water for Life: A Joint Report by the UN).

Issue that is most pressing: There are many areas where the groundwater is contaminated with toxic waste, such as obselete fertilizers from the Soviet days. 59 percent of the population now draws their water from common wells affected by groundwater pollution. In 1965,  the Iset’ River in Sverdlovsk (present-day Yekaterinburg) caught on fire because of the high concentration of chemicals on the river. In 1992 the Russian Federation’s Committee on Fishing reported 994 cases in which bodies of water were “completely contaminated” by agricultural runoff. In Dzerzhinsk, Russia, water has been contaminated with the runoff from the Russian chemicals production industry. This city is the focus of the most pressing issue facing Russia’s water supply. There is very little being done for this city, although there are groups that have been able to lobby in order to cease the production of chemical weapons in the area, which were tested and whose byproducts have leached into the ground water. Below is map of the location of the city, which is framed by a major river, the Oka.

Sources:

http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-11390.html

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rs.html

http://www.questiaschool.com/read/116303806?title=Water%20for%20People%2c%20Water%20for%20Life%3a%20A%20Joint%20Report%20by%20the%20Twenty%20Three%20UN%20Agencies%20Concerned%20with%20Freshwater

http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/europe/eur.htm

http://countrystudies.us/russia/25.htm

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3183.htm

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