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GEOG 1001 Week 6 World Regional Geography

During our travels around the world, we have delved into various realms, exploring a wide range of topics that span from ancient times to the present day. Our exploration has covered subjects such as culture, commerce, and religion, leaving no stone unturned in our quest for information for our Global Travel Film.

Russia: Multiculturalism, Political Unification, and Devolution

Russia, the largest nation in the world, stands as a Superlative Nation in the northern realm. Encompassing North Asia and the eastern third of Europe, Russia spans 11 time zones and boasts diverse ecosystems and landforms, including deserts, steppes, forests, and the Arctic tundra.

Despite its vast size, Russia’s population is relatively small, slightly exceeding that of countries like Pakistan or Nigeria, despite being 21 times larger than Pakistan. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the population of the realm has been declining, primarily due to changes in political, economic, and social conditions.

GEOG 1001 Week 6 World Regional Geography

While Russia is a monocentric realm, it exhibits significant multiculturalism. This hasn’t always been the case, as, during the growth and establishment of the Russian empire in the 1800s and the Soviet Union era, the territory of Russia included not only ethnic Russians but also various other ethnic groups. Many of these minority groups resented being dominated by an imperial power. The Russian Empire pursued a policy of russification, which aimed to assimilate non-Russian groups into Russian culture and language. 

However, this strategy had limited success, particularly in the outer regions. Under the Soviet Union, cultural assimilation focused on becoming part of the Soviet Union rather than being Russian. Today, while the majority of the population identifies as Russian and speaks the Russian language, Russia comprises 185 different ethnic groups speaking over 100 languages. The Tatars, accounting for about 4% of the population, and Ukrainians, at approximately 1.4%, are the largest ethnic groups after ethnic Russians. The presence of significant Russian populations in former Soviet republics is a result of Soviet resettlement policies.

GEOG 1001 Week 6 World Regional Geography

Multiculturalism has played a crucial role in the development of Russian society in recent years. Greater cultural diversity leads to increased tolerance among different cultures. Multiculturalism has positively influenced the cultural growth in various regions of Russia.

Political unification has not been an easy journey for contemporary Russia. After devolution following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia faced significant challenges in building a democratic structure to replace the 75 years of Soviet governance. Political leaders in the legislative and executive branches have presented contrasting views on Russia’s political course and the regulatory tools needed to pursue it. This disagreement reached its peak in September and October 1993 when President Boris Yeltsin used military force to dissolve the parliament and called for new parliamentary elections. This event marked the end of the first constitutional era in Russia and indicated that positive political unification was achievable.

Europe: Multiculturalism, Political Unification, and Devolution

Europe, though small in size, is densely populated and stretches from Iceland in the west to the Ural Mountains in Russia in the east. It extends from Norway’s Svalbard archipelago in the north to the Greek and Malta islands in the south.

Thirty years ago, many Europeans viewed multiculturalism as a solution to social problems. However, a growing number of people now see it as a cause of social issues. This shift in perception has led to the rise of far-right groups and nationalist leaders across Europe, as excessive immigration without adequate integration has eroded social cohesion.

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