Hello! You asked how Russia's geographic features influence the country's political, economic, and social development.
Russia is a vast country; in fact, it is the largest country in the world. Because of her size, Russia is faced with unique challenges in preserving its borders and with governing its multi-ethnic population effectively, even in this age of mass communication. Its vast areas present challenges to transportation infrastructure and to calculations in military strategy.
Russia boasts enviable natural resources; it has substantial oil reserves and gas deposits, making it one of the world's top producers of oil and gas. It also has numerous other mineral deposits (gold, silver, zinc, mercury, platinum), diamonds, and timber.Obviously, this is a strength to the Russian economy. The largest oil deposits are on Sakhalin Island and in Western and Eastern Siberia. Earlier in 2015, low oil prices and international sanctions (due to the annexation of Crimea) has forced Russia to rethink its approach to capitalism. In fact, it has entered into an oil-for-goods barter arrangement with the Iranians.
The Steppes of Russia total a quarter of a billion acres from Hungary to Mongolia, and is home to rich, black soil which sustains Russian agriculture. However, the growing season is short (six months on the steppes), manure is scarce, decomposition is slow because of frigid winters, and frequent food shortages prove a challenge to the health of livestock. Stalin's uncompromising Five Year Plans to modernize the state of agriculture proved a brutal experiment in human suffering. The social cost of the modernizing operations has been staggering. Because of its large area and harsh continental climate, Russia has struggled to adequately feed its large population. With a substantial Muslim population, Russia also has to define its wars with Chechnya; she needs to outline an efficient military strategy against terrorism within its borders. Again, because of Russia's vast areas, social stability is highly impacted by famine, food shortages, terrorism, and corruption inherent in government.
Russia, Iran and Oil
Putin, Diplomacy and Islam