Is Russia in Europe or Asia?

This indomitable area of the world is dwelling to the Russian nation, a rustic with a historical past that goes again tons of of years. Figuring out the place the borders sit, culturally and geographically, is a problem because of the nation occupying over 6.6 million sq. miles. This makes it the biggest nation on the planet, a undeniable fact that obfuscates the particular continent(s) it sits on. As a way to perceive Russia’s distinctive location, straddling each Europe and Asia, a deep dive into the historical past, geography, and tradition of its individuals is crucial. Latest occasions of the trendy period have proven the present Russian administration to be expansionist of their efforts to annex territories from neighboring sovereign international locations. This political local weather supplies an ideal justification for studying about this widespread dominion.

Historic Background

Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Picture credit score FOTOGRIN through Shutterstock

Within the thirteenth century, Russia existed as a small state known as Muscovy round their central capital, Moscow. The state expanded till Grand Duke Ivan III made huge territorial advances by the 12 months 1505. Within the seventeenth century, the Russian Tsars as soon as once more elevated the dimensions of the nation’s borders just like immediately, spanning between Europe and the Pacific Ocean. Peter I, relocated the capital to Petrograd (modern-day Saint Petersburg) for entry to the ocean. This provided the huge empire safety of its authorities establishments on the fortified islands that the harbor supplies. The Romanov household secured and elevated these boundaries till the Soviet Union took over in 1918. Russians restored Moscow because the capital, however Russia suffered important land loss throughout the transition to the modern-day authorities, represented by Boris Yeltsin. At this time, these “misplaced lands” are nations reminiscent of Ukraine and Belarus, which the Putin administration is determined to regain.

Geographic Background

Beautiful summer landscape in the mountains, Russia.
The Ural Mountains and Ural River in Russia. Picture credit score Sergej Money through Shutterstock

The Ural Mountains and the Ural River are the definitive boundaries between the Asian continent and the European continent. Due to this fact, because the Russian Federation at the moment straddles each plates, Russia is in Europe and Asia. Since each Moscow and Saint Petersburg are nearer to Europe, the Asian half of Russia has been largely forgotten all through historical past. Due to this fact, Russia is usually falsely misunderstood to be a solely European nation, which negates the numerous teams of Asiatic individuals dwelling in its japanese territories. Russia additionally owned Alaska till 1867 however bought it to the US for $7.2 million. This area over three separate continents solidifies Russia because the third-largest nation all through historical past. The British Empire lined 13.71 million sq. miles, and the Mongol Empire 9.27 million sq. miles at their peak, beating Russia by a major margin (though, Soviet Russia’s landmass did cowl an astonishing 8.80 million sq. miles).

The Russian territory east of the Urals encompasses Siberia and stretches eastward to the Bering Sea, which is north of the North Pacific Ocean. In actual fact, Russia and Alaska are solely separated by 2.4 miles at their closest factors to one another. Russian territory additionally stretches north to south in components of Central and East Asia. The nation shares a maritime border with Japan within the North Pacific Ocean. It additionally shares land borders with the international locations of Central Asia, which had been as soon as a part of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union, and the East Asian international locations of Mongolia, China, and North Korea. A staggeringly giant land, it’s outstanding that the nation has remained principally united after a long time of instability and financial battle.

Two of Russia’s ten largest cities, Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk, lie roughly on the border between Europe and Asia within the Ural Mountains. Solely three of Russia’s largest cities, Novosibirsk, Omsk, and Samara are in Asian territory. The majority of Russia’s inhabitants that resides in Asia lives near the border with the nation’s southern neighbors. Thus, it’s as if there’s a considerably slim, populous strip stretching from the Ural Mountains to the nation’s east coast.


Procession of students of the Institute of culture, dancers in Cossack traditional dress in Russia
Procession of dancers of the Institute of tradition in Cossack conventional gown in Russia. Picture credit score Obitotckaia Tatiana through Shutterstock

Though most of Russia’s landmass is in Asia, a lot of the Russian inhabitants lives within the European portion of the nation. About 77% of Russia’s 143 million individuals stay within the territory that lies in Europe. This consists of Russia’s most populous metropolis, Moscow, which continues to be the nation’s capital. It has greater than 12 million residents, making it the second-most populous metropolis in all of Europe. Different giant cities within the European a part of Russia embrace Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, and Rostov-on-Don.

Over 190 ethnic teams at the moment reside inside Russia, though over the previous few centuries, systematic genocides have wreaked havoc on lots of the former populations that known as the area dwelling. This enlargement by pressure, up till the nineteenth century, is contemporary on the minds of teams pressured emigrate into the Ottoman Empire, such because the individuals of Circassia. Many individuals in Russia are Slavic, who predominantly stay within the western area, whereas Mongol and Turkic heritage can be widespread. Different teams just like the Tatars, Bashkirs, Chuvash, and Chechens are ethnic minorities.

At this time, Russia is a various nation wherein the customs and traditions of each Europe and Asia thrive. Greater than three-quarters of the nation’s inhabitants is Russian by ethnicity. But ethnic Russians are solely one of many many ethnic teams within the Russian Federation. Many of those teams, such because the Karelians, Mordovians, and Udmurts are, just like the ethnic Russians, European in origin; whereas different ethnic teams are Asian in origin, together with the Buryats and the Yakuts, who stay within the japanese portion of Siberia. The most important minority group in Russia immediately is the Tatars (or Tartars), a gaggle of Turkic-speaking individuals, whose origins lie in present-day Mongolia. Expressions of Russian tradition are usually present in numerous literature, ballet, portray, and classical music.

Many international locations have made the error of believing that Russia’s measurement can be its weak spot, which in principle would enable many vulnerabilities throughout occasions of conflict. Somewhat, historical past has confirmed that makes an attempt to overcome the nation have proved fruitless due to its unforgiving scale, not despite it. French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte misplaced over 400,000 troopers whereas making an attempt to occupy Moscow. The Russians burned and deserted town as a powerful assertion of solidarity with their nationwide id, in 1812. In World Warfare II, Hitler’s forces made the identical mistake and suffered comparable outcomes. It’s evident that when Russians stand collectively for his or her better good, they will obtain marvels regardless of variations of their geographic or cultural backgrounds.

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