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RUSSIA


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RUSSIA


part of Eastern Europe, and a third of Afia; its area is one-sixth of the land surface of the globe. In the reign of Alexander II the total area of the empire was 8,689,945 sq. miles, of which only 2,156,000 were in Europe. The greatest length of Russia from east to west is 6666 miles, and its greatest breadth is 2666 miles; it lies between 35° 45' and 79° N. lat., and 17° 40' and 191° E. long (i. e., 169 W. long.). The boundaries of Russia are: on the north, the Arctic Ocean; on the west, Sweden, Norway, the Baltic Sea, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Rumania; on the south, the Black Sea, Turkey, Persia, the Caspian Sea, Afghanistan, and China; on the east, the Pacific Ocean. Russia forms a vast, compact territory, the area of its islands being only 107,262 sq. miles, which was greatly reduced by the cession of the southern part of Sakhalin to Japan. Geographers usually di- vide Russia into European and Asiatic Russia, re- garding the natural boundarj to be the Ural Moun- tains, the Ural River, the Don, and the Volga; this division is based neither on natural nor on political grounds. The Ural Mountains form a chain of wooded highlands, which may be compared to the central axis of the empire rather than to a dividing barrier; moreover there is no natural boundary line between the southern extremity of these mountains and the Caspian Sea. The division between European and Asiatic Russia can best be established ethnologically, and this method is frequently used in Russian geographies.

Seas. — The coasts of Russia are washed by many seas; the Arctic Ocean, the White Sea, the Bay of Tcheskaya, the Bay of Kara, the Gulf of Obi, the Baltic Sea, the Gulfs of Bothnia, Finland, and Riga, the Black Sea, the Sea of Azof, the Caspian Sea, the Pacific Ocean, Behring Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan. But Russia is not destined to be- come a great maritime power, because for the most part the seas of Ru.ssia are in regions where naviga- tion is impossible in winter; for periods of six months in the Arctic Ocean, and from fifteen days to one month at some points in the Black Sea. And the future of Russia as a maritime power is moreover obstructed by pohtical difficulties; the way from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean is closed by the Bo.sphorus and the Dardanelles; the way from the Baltic to the Atlantic is closed by Sweden, Germany, Norway, and Denmark. The Arctic Ocean washes the extreme northern coasts of Russia, sterile, unin- habited regions, over which there hangs a winter of nine months, paralyzing the activities of life. The ice, whether fixed or floating, blocks the way of ships; these ply however in the White Sea, which is free of ice for three months of the year, and the waters of which form the Gulfs of Mezen, the Dwina, Onega, and Kandalak, the latter being the most frequented. There are but few islands in this immense extent of ice; the more important ones are the islands of Kolguet, Vaigatch, Nova Zembla, New Siberia, and the islands of Solovka, on one of which is a famous monastery founded in the fifteenth century by St. Sabbatius and the Blessed Germanus. Among the most important peninsulas may be cited that of Kola or Russian Lap- land. Russia shares the possession of the Baltic Sea with Sweden, Germany, and Denmark, and its waters have been the highway of Russian commerce since the time of Peter the Great, although their shores are rugged and reefs numerous. The Gulfs of Bothnia, Finland and Riga are frozen for several months of the year, while the Gulf of Livadia is frozen for six weeks, although it scjmetimes remains free of ice through the whole year. Notwithstanding these natural obstacles, Russian commerce has been devel- oped on the Batlic, the shortest route for the exporta- tion of Russian products to European countries and America. The Baltic Sea is studaed with islands, of which the following belong to Russia: the numer-


ous Aland group, eighty of which are inhabited; the Islands of Dago, Oesel, Mohn, Wornes, and Kothn; on the last is built the formidable fortress of Kronstadt.

Climate. — In European Russia the climate is se- vere, both in winter and summer, the rains are scanty, and the temperature is not as mild as in Western Europe. The coasts of the Baltic and the shores of the Vistula have a climate similar to that of Western Europe. European Russia presents graduated varia- tions of climate between 40° and 70° N. lat., and alsc from east to west. At Nova Zembla the lowest win- ter temperature is 16° F., while at the south of the Crimea it rises to 56-3° in summer. The isothermal lines of European Russia are not coincident with the parallels of latitude, but diverge towards the south- east. There are places situated on the same parallel presenting considerable differences in mean tempera- ture, e. g. Libau, 49-1°; Moscow, 39-2°; Kazan, 37-4°; Yekaterinburg, 32-9°. In the valley of the Rion in the Caucasus, cotton and sugar-cane are grown, while the tujidras of the Kola Peninsula are sparsely covered with moss. In Western Russia, the cold of winter is never greater than 31° below zero, while the heat of summer is never in excess of 86°; but in Eastern Rus- sia the thermometer falls to 40° below zero in winter, and rises to 109° in summer. European Russia may be divided into fom* climatic zones: the cold zone, which includes the coasts of the Arctic Ocean and their adjacent islands, and extends bej^ond the Arctic Cir- cle; its winter lasts nine months, and its summer three; the cold-temperate zone, from the Arctic Circle to 61° N. lat. ; its winter lasts six months, and each of the other seasons two months; the temperate zone, ex- tending from 61° to 48° N. lat. ; each season lasts three months, the winter being longer towards the north, and summer longer towards the south ; the warm zone, between 48° N. lat. and the southern frontier of Rus- sia; the summer lasts six months, and the other three seasons two months each. European Russia is not unhealthy, although in the cold zone scurvy is fre- quent, and near the Gulf of Finland ailments of the throat and the respiratory organs; plica polonica in- fects the marshy regions of Lithuania and Russian Poland; and there is the so-called Crimean fever in the neighbourhood of the Sivash and in a region on the coast of the Black Sea.

The climate of the Caucasus is not of a uniform character; it belongs in the north to the cold-temper- ate zone, and in Transcaucasia to the warm zone. In the north, summer lasts six months, and the other seasons two months each. In Transcaucasia the sum- mer lasts nine months, and the other three months of the year are like spring. Nevertheless the irregularity of the mountain sy.stem of the Caucasus produces dif- ferences of temperature in jjlaccs separated by short distances. On the coast of the Black Sea, between Batum and Sukhum, the temperature seldom falls be- low 32°; in January the temperature rises as high as 43°. Western Transcaucasia receives warm and hu- mid winds, while the eastern part is exposed to dry winds from the north-east.

The part of Siberia 1 hat borders on the Arctic Ocean lies entirely within the cold zone; tlie wiiifor lasts nine months, and the summer is like (he bcgiiiniiig of spring in European Ru.ssia. T)ie jjortion of Siberia Ix'tween the Arctic Circle and ()0° N. lat. has a winter that lasts six months; the region below the parallel of 60° N. lat. has a winter a little longer than the summer. In proportion to the flistance from tiie Ural Moiin tains the climate of Western Siberia experiences great ei extremes of temperature, the winter and the lieat of summer becoming more sf^vere; and the same is true of Eastern Siberia in relation to the Pacific Ocean. The greatest variations of temperature in Eastern Siberia are observed at Irkutsk, Yakutsk, and Verkhoyansk, where the thermometer registers at times 59-6° below