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The Russian Federation

1. Answer the questions:

· What is the geographical location of the Russian Federation?

· Do you know any interesting facts from the history of the country?

· What cultural traditions of Russians do you know?

The geography of the Russian Federation entails the physical and human geography of Russia. Comprising much of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, it is the world's largest country in total area. Due to its size, Russia displays both monotony and diversity. As with its topography, its climates, vegetation, and soils span vast distances. From north to south the East European Plain is clad sequentially in tundra, taiga, mixed and broad-leaf forests, steppe, and semi-desert as the changes in vegetation reflect the changes in climate. Siberia supports a similar sequence but is taiga. The country contains 40 UNESCO Biosphere reserves.

Located in the northern and middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, most of Russia is much closer to the North Pole than to the equator. The country's 17.1 million square kilometers include one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area.

Extending for 57,792 kilometers, the Russian border is the world's longest, a source of substantial concern for national security in the post-Soviet era. Along the 20,139-kilometer land frontier, Russia has boundaries with fourteen countries. These "neighbors" are Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia Abhazia, South Osetia and Azerbaijan. The remaining bordering countries are North Korea, China, Mongolia, Poland, Norway, and Finland. And, at the far northeastern extremity, only eighty-six kilometers of the Bering Strait separate Russia from a fifteenth neighbor—the United States, coming with in 4 km in the Diomede Islands.

Approximately 2/3 of the frontier is bounded by water. Thirteen seas and parts of three oceans—the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific—wash Russian shores. Russia is the largest country in the world.

With a few changes of status, most of the Soviet-era administrative and territorial divisions of the Russian Republic were retained in constituting the Russian Federation. In 2006, there were eighty-eight administrative territorial divisions (called federal subjects): twenty-one republics, seven territories, forty-eight provinces, one autonomous area and nine autonomous districts. The cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg also have federal status.

Geographers traditionally divide the vast territory of Russia into five natural zones: the tundra zone; the taiga, or forest, zone; the steppe, or plains, zone; the arid zone; and the mountain zone.

Russia's mountain ranges are located principally along its continental divide (the Ural Mountains), along the southwestern border (the Caucasus), along the border with Mongolia (the eastern and western Sayan Mountains and the western extremity of the Altay Mountains), and in eastern Siberia (a complex system of ranges in the northeastern corner of the country and forming the spine of the Kamchatka Peninsula, and lesser mountains extending along the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan). Russia has nine major mountain ranges.

Russia is a water-rich country. The earliest settlements in the country sprang up along the rivers, where most of the urban population continues to live. Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water, providing it with one of the world's largest surface-water resources. Forty of Russia's rivers are longer than 1,000 kilometers. The Volga, Europe's longest river, is by far Russia's most important commercial waterway.

The most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest and most capacious freshwater lake. Lake Baikal alone holds 85% of the freshwater resources of the lakes in Russia and 20% of the world's total. It extends 632 kilometers in length and 59 kilometers across at its widest point. Its maximum depth is 1,713 meters.

Russia has a largely continental climate because of its sheer size and compact configuration. Most of its land is more than 400 kilometers from the sea, and the center is 3,840 kilometers from the sea. In addition, Russia's mountain ranges, predominantly to the south and the east, block moderating temperatures from the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but European Russia and northern Siberia lack such topographic protection from the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans.

Russia holds the greatest reserves of mineral resources of any country in the world. It may hold as much as half of the world's coal reserves and even larger reserves of petroleum. Deposits of coal are scattered throughout the region, but the largest are located in central and eastern Siberia. Natural gas, a resource of which Russia holds around 40% of the world's reserves, can be found along Siberia's Arctic coast, in the North Caucasus, and in northwestern Russia. Major iron-ore deposits are located south of Moscow, near the Ukrainian border in the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly; this area contains vast deposits of iron ore that have caused a deviation in the Earth's magnetic field. The Ural mountains hold small deposits of manganese. Nickel, tungsten, cobalt, and molybdenum and other iron alloys occur in adequate quantities.

3. Scan the text and answer the questions:

1/ What is the total area of the Russian Federation? 2/ What is the population of the country? 3/ What countries does the Russian Federation border on? 4/ Give a sketch on a landscape of the Russian Federation? 5/ What is the largest river of the Russian Federation? 6/ What is the largest fresh water body of the Russian federation? 7/ Speak on the Russian mineral resources diversity.

4. Prepare a report about the political structure of the Russian Federation (not less then 50 words). Use additional sources of information.

5. Make up the plan of the text and retell it according to the plan (not less then 100 words).


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