Geography 200
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Ukraine’s leader urges Putin to pull back troops

Ukraine’s leader urges Putin to pull back troops | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Ukraine's interim prime minister says the country is "on the brink of disaster."

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

That this could happen at all in this day and age just goes to show that the Cold War may be over but Russia is still flexing its muscles.  As a child of the 1980s, this turn of events frightens me.  I lived my childhood with the fear that there could be a nuclear war at any time always in the back of my mind.  Younger people just don’t understand what it was like living during the cold war and perhaps poo-poo it a bit too much.  But the threat was always there and it was something that was real and did not lesson until the fall of the Soviet Union.  The fact that this event has occurred just brings up the old fears and memories of the tensions between America and the USSR.  I hope that a solution can be found that doesn’t hurt the Ukrainian people.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 2, 2014 6:46 PM

Many observers fear that Russia's military control of the Crimea could lead to more centrifugal forces in the region.  In response, pundits are discussing what the U.S. response should be; clearly this will be a major issue for the Obama administration.

Linda Alexander's comment, March 3, 2014 9:29 AM
We've been asleep at the wheel while the genocide goes on in Syria and Russia blocks UN action. Well, this is the outcome...Putin acts as though no one will blink. Shameful.
Jessica Rieman's curator insight, March 5, 2014 4:41 PM

Crimea has been a region whee Russian traditions have been strong throughout the years and will continue t stay strong but if Putin is going to be the President who decides that he wants to isrupt part of Europe by putting the Ukraine and Russia against eachother on a battle field then there are going to be some drastic differences and not just in Crimea.

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Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations—and the Gerrymandered Ethnic Map

Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations—and the Gerrymandered Ethnic Map | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"An earlier GeoCurrents post on Chechnya mentioned that the Chechens were deported from their homeland in the North Caucasus to Central Asia in February 1944.  However, the Chechen nation was not the only one to suffer such a fate under Stalin’s regime."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article describes the practice of Lenin and Stalin of Russifacation.  This policy led to many ethnic minorities with in the Soviet Union being deported from their home soil to the interior of Russia.  The aim was to place ethnic Russian in boarder areas and to bring the ‘undesirable’ ethnicity into the interior to become Russian or sent to the gulags to die.  The effects of this mass relocation of ethnicity is still being felt today.  The rising conflict in Ukraine is a direct result from these policies as the country is split between ethnic Ukraine and the decedents of the ethnic Russians move there to secure the ports to the Black Sea.

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Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 12, 2014 1:43 PM

The Soviet Union forced vast amounts of people and ethnic groups out of their historical homelands to settle new areas during the early and mid 20th century. Many of those forced into resettlement died, and today some consider it a genocide or crime against humanity. As ethnic groups were moved out, ethnic Russians were moved in to take their places, and explains why many places outside of Russia (Ukraine) have populations that still maintain strong Russian identities. It also explains why places like Chechnya have such a long history of insurgency and extremism against Russian authority and power.

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:37 PM

This graph represents the areas where many of the Chechnes had been displaced to in the era of Stalins regime. Many of these people were displaced from their homes and forced to move. Many of them either had to leave family behind of they were forced to move together and had no initial home to live in.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:51 PM

i see this as history retelling itself. for some reason throughout history terrible men think that their race is better than another, this is not true and if a person wants to think this that is their prerogative, but some men think it to such an extent that they seek to eliminate the entire other people. nothing good can come of this and it turns into mass conflict every time. it destroys countries and breeds hate on all sides.

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Chechnya: 200 years of background in four minutes


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video gives a good background to understand Chechnya.  The dislocation and genocide that the people had to suffer under Soviet Russia certainly has led to the violence in the region.  We are not separate from our pasts and if anything this video explains where that violence and hatred comes from.  It doesn't excuse the violence but it does explain it.

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Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 16, 2015 1:20 PM

Chechnya may not be a country that one hears much about, but it is a country who has suffered the most from its powerful reigning neighboring countries. Chechnya has important oil deposits, as well as natural gas and others. Overall, Oil is a resource a lot of countries fight for and this is why Chechnya suffers from Russia. Russia wants to have territorial denomination of Chechnya. Russia throughout the years has fought and bombed over Chechnya for territory. It is similar to the situation in Africa, where small nations have been trying to break free from their regional superpowers and colonial rulers. The resulting anarchy in Chechnya strengthened Russian belief that the region should not become independent and undermine its territorial integrity. Overall, this is a problem all over the world and Chechnya still stands strong as an independent country. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 1:40 PM

Clearly, Chechnya has a very violent past. It is nothing but a place of death and heavy conflict. You can even say it had a genocide going on, when the citizens of Chechnya was sent to Siberia to pretty much be killed off by the extreme cold. It is also important to understand that Chechnya wants to be it's own country. It is sad to hear about this country in such  negative way with all the fighting going on and the fact that the Boston Marathon bombers came from there... Why could we not hear of it in a better way better way? For example, they want to be a country of their own. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:47 PM

first off i would like to say that i am pretty sure half of the world did not even know Chechnya existed until the marathon bombing happened. also this stuff is really important to know because it give you background and insight into what these people were thinking and how what goes on on the other side of the world can twist people in such a way that it effects us here at home.

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Russian Summer

Russian Summer | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
At the dacha, the soul of Russia--and its cultural divide--is on display. In vacation cottages the women are in housedresses. The men, Speedos and rubber boots. They brood, plant, party, and restore their souls.

 

The dacha (a seasonal second home or a vacation spot) is incredibly important in Russia.  It is is estimated that over 50% of city residences in Russia own a dacha as a way to culturally connect with the countryside.  This is a nice glimpse into that life. 


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article talks about the almost mythical feelings of a Russian summer spent in a dacha.  The brief summer is enjoyed and experienced from a home in the country that is a representation of freedom to the Russian people.  The oppressive Soviet sate was hard to escape but for a few months out of the year, people who owned dachas could get away and enjoy life.  It gave city dwellers a place to garden and to relax from the city.  The dacha is still an integral part of the Russian soul.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 2014 12:02 PM

This is definitely a part of the country/cultural side of Russia. Bathing with animals and in lakes like this is definitely not a part of urban Russia. Throughout societies, there is always an urge to live a different lifestyle. In this country, the residents are given an option to live both countryside Russian life and urban Russian life.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, October 27, 2014 9:07 AM

“Everyone in Russia has a dacha story”. Dachas are small, summer cottages and cabins that over half of Russia’s population owns. While many people in the United States have this mental image of Russians as drunk, stern, communists, the dacha shows insight to a life much more similar to ours than many people would probably imagine. Russians use dachas as a form of escape, in the same way that many Americans visit a beach house or a mountain cabin in the summer. The need to escape and break through the rut of the daily grind is something that transcends ethnicity or nationality. The need to leave our concrete jungles for the simplicities and feeling of completeness offered by the natural environment is something much more  primordial.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:12 PM

Everyone in Russia has a dacha story. It may be a trace of childhood memory like playing ball late into evening by a sun that won’t set, gathering pinecones to perfume the fire, or swimming in an icy pond. It may be quietly romantic, a first love that fades with the season or blossoms into marriage. An older woman tells of coming home from work to find her husband in bed with her best friend. She kicked him out and, with retirement looming and no husband, wondered, What will I do now? The answer was the dacha she bought for 500 rubles, with a forest nearby for mushroom hunting, a lake, and a garden. “The dacha saved my life,” she says. Sweet or bitter, lighthearted or dark, the story always takes place in summer. A dacha, after all, is a summer cottage.

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150 Years Ago, Sochi Was the Site of a Horrific Ethnic Cleansing

150 Years Ago, Sochi Was the Site of a Horrific Ethnic Cleansing | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Czar Alexander II may have freed the serfs, but his war against the stateless people of the Caucasus cannot be ignored

 

The czar’s approval of this rapid expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Circassians to the Ottoman Empire resulted in an ethnic cleansing through disease and drowning as overcrowded ferries crossed the Black Sea. The Ottomans were unprepared for the influx of refugees, and the absence of adequate shelter caused even more deaths from exposure. Those Circassians who attempted to remain in the Russian Empire and fight for their land were massacred. Sochi’s “Red Hill,” where the skiing and snowboarding events will take place during these Olympic Games, was the site of the Circassian last stand, where the Imperial Russian armies celebrated their “victory” over the local defenders.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

It is interesting to learn the history of a place that most American’s didn’t know existed until the Olympics.  It is always helpful to have things placed in a historic perspective.  The historic background makes understanding modern day events easier

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 2014 8:33 PM

This is basically like a mini Holocaust. When do people think its okay to do something like this? It boggles my mind how things like this can actually go on in the world still with todays technologies and armed forces. 

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 5, 2015 2:27 PM

This article shows the great deal of overlap between Geography and History.  Today, when people think of Sochi, they will remember the Olympic games, and the epic hockey battle between the USA and the Russian Federation.  Yet, as this article discusses, Sochi was once the sight of a military battle, and a massacre.  The Russian Empire under Alexander II wanted to expand its borders to be well defined and would wage war against the Circassians who lived in the region.  When they would not go to the Ottoman Empire, and fought the Russians, the army and the Czar were prepared to fight them.  As a result, on Red Hill, the native people had a last stand against the Russian Army and were massacred.  Yet, the southern region of Russia near the middleast, to this day, is not secure.  The history of this region has guaranteed that the people living in these regions of the country would come to loathe Russia.  In fact, this area in the form of Chechnya, has exported the hatred and Islamic fervor of the region, to the United States in the Boston Marathon Bombings of 2013.  History and Geography are not neat boxes that are separate from each other, they are always influencing one another in all actuality. 

Calem Cauley's curator insight, April 7, 2016 10:16 AM
I didn't know how ruthless this leader was. At the little lest threat the czar would fight them and demolish them. 
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Aral Sea Basin

Aral Sea Basin | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"Dust blows from what was once the Aral Sea floor. Tragic mismanagement of a natural resource."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This startling picture from space of the Aral Sea is heartbreaking.  The destruction of this inland sea is a terrible thing to behold.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 2014 8:36 PM

The Aral Sea Basin has been a topic of conversation throughout geography for many reasons. What used to be filled with water is now blowing dust because its that dry? This basin is no longer a natural resource.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 3:30 PM

Here is a question. Do you think perhaps in the future this could happen to lake Mead in Nevada/Arizona? With all the non-stop building and no rain perhaps one day could it run dry or do we have a way to stop it.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 7:17 PM

Once there is less water in a lake there is less water in the air therefore less rain. The long term consequences is that the fishing industry is destroyed where once upon a time there were 61000 workers and now there are under 2000. The water is more saltier. The lands are now ill suited and unbuildable. Also the people there are prone to health problems.

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The Geography of Chechnya

The Geography of Chechnya | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The Caucasus region, dominated by the imposing Great Caucasus mountain range and stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, has long been known as one of the world’s ethnically and linguistically most diverse areas.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

It is amazing to consider such a small area (the size of New England) could hold such a vast area of languages.  The mountainous region certainly helps in creating such diversity as it isolated villages from each other in the ages before modern communication and travel.

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Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 17, 2013 3:01 PM

Using this article helps to teach ourselves, students, and others about particular places in the world that are unknown or very little known.  We can use articles such as this one to be less prejudiced and more apt to think about these places of the world in a different context rather than just a negative, terrorism-related one.

Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 19, 2013 10:16 AM

Most Americans had never heard Chechnya before the Boston bombing in April 2013. Now, most think that it is full of America-hating terriosts. However, Chechnya is so very complex and diverse a place, that it is ludacris to think that. Over 100 languages are spoken in the country. The southern half speaks languages such as Georgian, Svan and Mingrelian. Turkish, Iranian and Chechens are the languages you will probably hear in the North. Another misconception is that there are many Christians in Chechnya as well as Muslims. This country is made up of so many different groups, it is incredible. 

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 2014 6:46 PM

This map does a fantastic job of highlighting the cultural diversity within Russia and the former Soviet states. Understanding how these cultural regions overlap one another is paramount in understanding the region's tensions and the repercussions that result including Chechen terrorism in Russia and even in America (Boston bombings).