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What is the historical geography of Russia?

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Russia’s historical geography has been complex.  However, the general idea of Russian historical geography is that Russia has long been the center of a major empire.  Even today, when the Soviet Union has fallen apart, it is still possible to characterize Russia as an empire.

Beginning in the 800s AD, the area that is now the center of Russia was part of an entity that is called Kievan Rus.  This was a political unit based on a loose confederation of city-states.  Kievan Rus was powerful for centuries, but was then dominated by the Mongols beginning in about 1200.  Around 1400, Russia threw off Mongol domination and started to create an empire of its own.  By the late 1600s, Russia’s empire stretched across Central Asia, into Siberia, and all the way to the Pacific.

Beginning in the late 1910s, Russia ceased to exist as a country.  It became the center of the Soviet Empire.  It continued to dominate all of the area that had been the Russian Empire along with other areas that it conquered for the first time in the 20th century.

Thus, Russia’s historical geography has centered on the fact that it has been the core of an empire for centuries.

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