What is the economic geography of Russia?

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Perhaps the most relevant aspect of Russia’s economic geography is the fact that much of Russia’s land area is not economically useful.  Most of the country is essentially uninhabited.  The majority of the land area is made up of tundra with permafrost.  These things make it hard for these areas to be economically useful.  In addition, the physical geography of Russia makes economic exploitation of these areas hard.  There are no large east-west rivers in Russia, making it hard to transport goods.  This means that much of Russia’s land area is far from markets either in the outside world or in Russian population centers.

One area of Russia is based mainly on extractive industries.  This is the area of Siberia and the Far East.  These areas have a great deal of mineral wealth as well as timber.  Another area is based on agriculture.  This is the “breadbasket” of Russia in Southwestern Russia, adjoining places like the Ukraine.  The economic driver of Russia is in Europe.  This is the area that has the bulk of the population.  It is also the area that has the most industry.

Thus, Russia is generally split up into a large unproductive area, some areas dominated by extractive industries and agriculture, and an industrial heartland.

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