In addition to having small frontages on the Baltic Sea in the northwest at St. Petersburg and the seperate Russian oblast (region) of Kaliningrad (a part of what was once East Prussia and was annexed in 1945), which also borders Poland and Lithuania, Russia is bordered to the north and east by the Arctic and Pacific oceans. Russia’s southern borders include Mongolia, China, North Korea, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Its neighbors to the southwest and west are Finland and Norway, as well as the countries of Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and Estonia.

Russia covers the majority of eastern and northeastern Europe, all of northern Asia, and extends about halfway around the Northern Hemisphere with a maximum east-west reach of around 5,600 miles (9,000 km) and a north-south breadth of 1,500 to 2,500 miles (2,500 to 4,000 km). The vast majority of the world’s landforms and landscapes may be found in a few large latitudinal belts.

Arctic Desert

Arctic deserts are located in the far north, giving way to tundra in the south before reaching the woodland zones, which make up nearly half of the nation and are largely responsible for its distinctiveness. Small patches of semi-desert may be found along the northern shore of the Caspian Sea south of the forest zone, which is followed by the forested steppe and the steppe.


A large portion of Russia is located at latitudes with harsh winters and low evaporation rates, which results in an abundance of rivers, lakes, and marshes. Seven times the size of the drainage basin of the Volga River, Europe’s longest river, permafrost covers a region of around 4 million square miles (10 million square kilometers), making habitation and road construction challenging in huge areas. Permafrost may be found in the tundra and the zone between the forest and the tundra in Russia’s European regions.

Almost the whole region east of the Yenisey River in western Siberia has permafrost, with the exception of the southern Kamchatka Province, Sakhalin Island, and Primorsky Kray (the Maritime Region).


Russia may be split into two primary regions, the western and the eastern, approximately along the line of the Yenisey River, based on its geologic structure and topography. Lowland plains dominate the western region of Russia, which makes up around two-fifths of the entire geographical area and is only sometimes broken up by low hills and plateaus. Although there are some sizable plains, the eastern region’s geography is primarily hilly. 


Russia may be classified into six primary relief zones based on its topology: the Kola-Karelian region, the Russian Plain, the Ural Mountains, the West Siberian Plain, the Central Siberian Plateau, and the mountains in the south and east.

The botanical garden in the Kola-Karelian area of Russia

The smallest of Russia’s relief areas, Kola-Karelia, is located between the Finnish border and the White Sea in the northwest of European Russia. Karelia is a low plateau covered in ice that rises to a maximum elevation of 1,896 feet (578 meters), although the majority of the region is below 650 feet (200 meters). Low ridges and knolls alternate with hollows filled with lakes and marsh. Similar to the Kola Peninsula, but with a smaller mountain range that reaches to nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 meters), is the Khibiny range. Numerous locations have old rocks that are mineral-rich that are on or near the surface.

the Plateau of Central Siberia

The Central Siberian Plateau, which makes up most of the region between the Yenisey and Lena rivers, is made up of a number of strongly angular plateau surfaces with elevations varying from 300 to 700 meters (1,000 to 2,300 feet) above sea level. The Putoran Mountains reach a height of 5,581 feet (1,701 meters) at its northern border. The North Siberian Lowland, an eastward extension of the West Siberian Plain, is reached by descending the plateau’s northern edge, which is bordered to the south by the Eastern Sayan and Baikal (Baikalia) mountains.


Further north, on the Taymyr (Taimyr) Peninsula, which juts into the Arctic Ocean, the Byrranga Mountains rise 3,760 feet (1,146 meters) above sea level. The Central Siberian Plateau gives way to the low-lying Central Yakut Lowland on its eastern side.


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