Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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10 countries that desperately want people to have more sex

10 countries that desperately want people to have more sex | Geography Education |
Roughly half the countries around the world experience low fertility rates, and some get pretty creative in how they encourage procreation.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While many countries have anti-natalist policies (policies to discourage more births), other countries with declining populations have pro-natalist policies in an attempt to increase fertility rates.  While not an exhaustive list, this list gives a few more examples that teachers can use to show how countries in stage 4 of the demographic transition are dealing with declining fertility rates.  



Tags: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, modelsunit 2 population. 

Deanna Wiist's curator insight, September 12, 2017 8:55 PM

While many countries have anti-natalist policies (policies to discourage more births), other countries with declining populations have pro-natalist policies in an attempt to increase fertility rates.  While not an exhaustive list, this list gives a few more examples that teachers can use to show how countries in stage 4 of the demographic transition are dealing with declining fertility rates.  



Tags: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, modelsunit 2 population. 

Ms. Amanda Fairchild's curator insight, October 16, 2017 1:21 PM
Examples of pro-natalist countries.
Frances Meetze's curator insight, September 10, 2018 1:18 PM

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The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse

The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse | Geography Education |
It's been 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. How has religious freedom fared in this part of the world?
Seth Dixon's insight:

The collapse of the former Soviet Union was one of the biggest political events of the 20th century with long-reaching cultural ramifications.  The generations of state-sponsored atheism followed by a variety of new political policies has meant that religious freedoms vary greatly in the regions that were once a part of the USSR.  This article gives a good breakdown of all the former SSR’s and the state of religious freedom today in each of them.    


Tags: religionChristianityIslam, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, AzerbaijanGeorgia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan.      

David Stiger's curator insight, October 22, 2018 10:20 AM
For post-Soviet countries, power and fear might be freedom's greatest challenges. On one hand, there is a dominant religious institution -  Eastern Orthodox Christianity - seeking to grow its influence and power. This might be a goal for a religion that is not popular elsewhere around the world (many Americans only know of Protestants and Roman Catholics, completely oblivious to the third major branch). They may see their geographic location as especially important - serving as a home-base of spiritual operations to launch evangelical missions, build coalitions, and influence national policies that shape society in a way their particular brand of Christianity approves of. On the other hand is fear of extremist groups which have resorted to terrorism to achieve their objectives. Countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan have all placed restrictions on minority faiths, such as Muslims and Protestants, requiring these groups to register with the state. Geographically, the Islamic world, which is in a constant state of turmoil, lies directly south of the post-Soviet Union, making Islam a key focus as immigrants and ideas easily flow into the region. This need for state approval is a form of control which clearly hampers independence and freedom of expression.  The irony in all of this is that fear of extremism leads to more extreme measures of security. This toxic process will only sow discord, distrust, and animosity between sub-populations leading to civil unrest.  

Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 22, 2018 5:49 PM
It is not surprising to me as a history major that they is still suppression of religious freedom in many former soviet territories. The more westernized countries have less of an issue than the countries farther from the west. This is partially due to them wanting to join Nato which requires religious freedom for joining. The more Islamic countries to the south seem to have the most difficulties with religious freedoms (as do a majority of Islamic nations). Russia would also have some problems from years of atheism being forced by the communist party. Somehow the Eastern Orthodox religion was able to hold on through out it all, but they seem to be the only;y religion openly accepted in Russia.  
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 10:45 AM
After years and years of suppression under the Atheistic USSR, many would not be unreasonable to have believed that when the USSR fell they would be able to practice their religion however they would like. Unfortunately, nothing changes in a day and when fear is a tactic learned from their former occupiers. Many countries still use the growing terrorism in the region to suppress their own citizen's rights to religious freedom.  Countries such as Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are of great concern where Religious minorities, mainly Muslims, are rounded up and registered, monitored during religious practices or severely restricted. It is not a surprise that this is happening is former-USSR countries, but you must understand it takes time for deeply rooted behaviors to change. 
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Why Ukraine needs Russia more than ever

Why Ukraine needs Russia more than ever | Geography Education |
As the country risks becoming a failed state, Kiev must recognise that economic survival depends on Moscow not the west
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a politically inflammatory title for an op-ed article, given the recent Russia's seizure of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.  Regions and economic regional linkages form and continually reform.  Our most likely business partners aren't necessarily our best friends.      


Tags: op-ed, economic, regions, UkraineRussia.  

othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 12:16 PM
This article talks about Ukraine's want to be independent from Russia. Ukraine spent one winter without buying gas from Russia but instead from Europe which was significantly more expensive. As much as Ukraine wants to cut ties with Russia, it will be difficult to because for a very long time, Russia has been Ukraine's main trading partner and investor. Recently, living standards in Ukraine have gotten worse. Their economy has also collapsed recently. Ukraine has been borrowing money from Russia for many years. Getting rid of that debt will take some time. The Ukrainian president has plans to end manufacturing and industry in Ukraine and instead focus on promoting investment in information technologies and agriculture. Russia’s annexation of Crimea is the main reason for the economic collapse in Ukraine. 
Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, October 28, 2018 3:40 PM
Its said that our most likely business partners aren't necessarily our best friends. Ukraine and Russia have been at odds with one another for many years. Ukraine wants to be completely independent from Russia meaning they want all ties severed from Russia, economically, politically etc. This is very hard for Ukraine to do because Russia has been there main trading partner and lender of money for years. So when Ukraine spent just one winter buying oil from Europe it contributed to the economy of Ukraine to fail. (The cost of gas was much higher than Russia's pricing). Ukraine has also borrowed a lot of money from Russia and this debt is going to take a very long time to pay back. For the time being Ukraine is dependent on Russia as much as they do not want to be.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 10:25 AM
It's interesting to use such a leading title for this article. Whether or not all the numbers used to make their point that Ukraine should still do business with Russia are correct or misleading a fact is that Ukraine's president is allowing his own country's economy to fall out of spite. That is how tense the situation between the two countries are. Because Russia is Ukraine's major trading partner and Ukraine has attempted to cut ties with Russia, they are hurting themselves but does that mean Russia has their best interests?
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Putin fills another U.S. leadership void in Nagorno-Karabakh

Putin fills another U.S. leadership void in Nagorno-Karabakh | Geography Education |
Russia exploits a conflict in Azerbijan’s breakaway region while Washington watches.


On April 1, an obscure conflict in Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh nearly devolved back into full-scale war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Transatlantic leaders called for an end to the violence and for redoubled efforts to settle the underlying political conflict but did little else. Russian President Vladimir Putin, by contrast, launched decisive actions to shore up Russia’s international reputation and pull Armenia and Azerbaijan away from the West.


TagsArmenia, political, war, borders, political, geopolitics, Central AsiaAzerbaijanRussia.

David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 1, 2018 9:43 AM
Russia is filling the power vacuum that the US has created since the fall of the Soviet Union. If America and the West are concerned about growing Russian involvement in the South Caucasus region then it should provide aid to the region. If Russia wants to create a Eurasia version of the Eu then they should be able too. It would add competition to markets and bring a balance to global powers. However, Russia should be using diplomatic means in order to achieve this Union has opposed to using military force. If the West is opposed to his means of creating this "union" then they should intervene to show they will not tolerate military aggression. 
Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 22, 2018 5:54 PM
This seems to be a problem reoccurring for both The US and Russia since the cold war. When a country attempts to jump into another countries conflict it tends to make things worse and bring about no positive change( examples being US in Vietnam and Russia in Afghanistan). At the same time when one country sits idly by the other nation is able to do some good gaining much influence over the country.  International reputation and determination are important international factors on the global political field, but this must be balanced with not interfering to much causing more enemies when the situation is avoidable. 
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 11:36 AM
To keep Western influence out of Azerbaijan's conflict the Russians made sure to step up and take their own actions. Since they don't want the US coming into their region they want to make sure there is no war that happens between Azerbaijan and Armenia. 
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In Russia, Epiphany Comes With A Shockingly Cold Swim

In Russia, Epiphany Comes With A Shockingly Cold Swim | Geography Education |

"Thousands of members of the Russian Orthodox Church marked Epiphany in January with a dip in freezing waters blessed by a cleric. Epiphany is a celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ and the revelation of God as a human being in his form. Much like a baptism, the icy plunge is considered a purifying act of faith."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the photography and photo galleries of this cultural event are breathtaking--literally for those taking the plunge.  Russians cut the ice in the shape of a cross and bath in water that is blessed and considered holy as explained in this NPR podcast.  This religious tradition is particularly well-suited to the environmental conditions of the religious adherents (since the extreme climate plays a critical role in the activity).  Part of the practice involves sacrifice; the colder the swim, the greater the manifestation of religious devotion.    


Tags: Russia, religionChristianity, culture

othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 12:39 PM
This article talks about epiphany. Epiphany is a holiday in the Russian Orthodox Church. It celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. Believers are baptized in freezing water through holes cut in the ice. Big cities like Moscow set up their own stations while smaller cities have a more do-it-yourself approach. The churches are decorated with a Christmas tree and it densely packed with people. The service for Epiphany can last for as many as four hours.    
Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 22, 2018 5:58 PM
This is similar to a baptism done in both Catholic and protestant religious but with an added twist. As in often times and found through out history a regions religion is influenced by the environment( check Norse religion of Vikings or Christianity effects on the Irish for example) and the Eastern Orthodox religion in Russia is no different. Using the harsh environment in part of there religious rituals making the baptism more of a sense of acceptance and will, they do it in extremely cold waters to prove their allegiance to the religion and their determination to follow it. This must be a powerful experience full of emotion, pain, and afterwards group acceptance. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 11:19 AM
Epiphany must be an unbelievable experience for those who believe in the Russian Orthodox Church. In celebration of the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, Russian Orthodox members dip into the freezing waters blessed by clerics. The participants claim to feel cleansed after the whole experience. With hundreds of participants and many young people as well it is a testament to their faith in Russia Orthodox Church. 
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Russia and the Curse of Geography

Russia and the Curse of Geography | Geography Education |
Want to understand why Putin does what he does? Look at a map.

As things stand, Putin, like Russian leaders before him, likely feels he has no choice but to at least try to control the flatlands to Russia’s west. So it is with landscapes around the world—their physical features imprison political leaders, constraining their choices and room for maneuver. These rules of geography are especially clear in Russia, where power is hard to defend, and where for centuries leaders have compensated by pushing outward.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Calling this environmental determinism might be a stretch but so is some of the vocabulary (I take it with a grain of salt because the analysis is sound).  This article though certainly puts Russia's physical geography at the forefront of the geopolitical analysis of Russia's move's in both Syria and Ukraine.  Their strategic interests become much more comprehensible in light of their geographic challenges

Tags: UkraineRussia, geopoliticspolitical.

Diana Morey's curator insight, February 11, 2016 9:24 AM

good reading for political geography

brielle blais's curator insight, March 25, 2018 10:24 PM
This article connects to geography because it shows the importance of the physical geography of a country when it comes to natural defense from invaders. Russia, from at least the south and southeast, are very hard to invade. This is thanks to Ivan the Terrible, who expanded the territory of Russia and gained better natural barriers such as to the east to the Ural Mountains, south to the Caspian Sea, and north toward the Arctic Circle. Now, Russia needs to figure out how to control the flatlands to the west, which is why Putin wishes there were mountains east to the Ukraine.
David Stiger's curator insight, October 21, 2018 12:02 PM
Russia's geographic situation appears to greatly influence, perhaps even determine, the Russian state's political behavior. The world's largest territorial country has a number of geographic disadvantages that have caused Russia to act aggressively in securing its territory. Firstly, it lacks warm-water sea ports as the ones it has access to in the Arctic Ocean freeze for long periods of time. The area of their Pacific Ocean seaport has been commercially dominated by Japan. Secondly, Russia extends across an open European plain which is largely unguarded to the south and southeast of Eurasia. Similar to its southeast region, Russia's western front has few if any natural defenses leaving it wide open to European encroachment. The only natural barriers Russia has going for it are the Ural Mountains cutting down the middle of Russia, the Arctic to the north, and its territorial vastness along with a harsh, cold climate that makes foreign invasion challenging - but not impossible. Geographically then, Russia is highly insecure. Seeing itself as a major world power, Russia struggles to access the sea for trade and is unnerved by its massive open border. This explains why Moscow was very pleased with a pro-Russian government in Kiev but became extremely nervous when Ukraine toppled its government selecting a pro-Western, NATO-loving administration. Even if NATO and the EU did not intent to directly confront Russia, the two organizations certainly planned to transform Ukraine and influence the region - leaving Russia feeling exposed. Despite its aggressive nature, Russia went on the "defensive" and annexed Crimea in order to secure its coveted seaport while also locking down a buffer zone between itself and the West who could march through Ukraine. It was surely brazen and unethical, but the geography explains the logic behind Putin's move.  
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Road from Europe to U.S.? Russia proposes superhighway

Road from Europe to U.S.? Russia proposes superhighway | Geography Education |
London to New York City by car? It could happen if the head of Russian Railways has his way.
Seth Dixon's insight:

As Asya Pereltsvaig, the author of Languages of the World, wrote: "That's what happens when Russia's main problems, fools and roads (дураки и дороги), are combined..."  It's the opposite idea of the summer road trip that is designed to hit all the major tourist sites.


Questions to Ponder: What are the pros and cons of this project?  What would it take to actually happen?  This map is a Mercator Projection--would a different map change your perspective on the feasibility of the project? 

TagsRussia, map projections, transportation, tourism.

Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 15, 2018 3:42 PM
(Russia) In a world of globalization, this considered highway could make the world a little smaller. The Trans-Eurasian Belt Development project intends to create a road alongside the Trans-Siberian Railway, crossing all of Russia to link with roads spanning throughout Europe and connecting to North America through Alaska. The head of Russian Railways did not explain how the road would cross the Bering Strait. There are 55 miles between Russia and Alaska at the narrowest point, and one consecutive bridge would still be half the length of the longest bridge in the world. It is definitely doable. Linking to roads in Alaska and across the continent, a trip from London to New York could be about 12,910 miles, all by car. The road network would apparently pay for itself with weighty economic promise, however Russian Railways provided no information on this financial promise.

The highway would connect most of the world, but tense relations between Russia and the US and Europe could hinder progress. Additionally, the road would cost trillions of dollars, take a very long time, and require frequent maintenance, especially across seldom traveled regions in Siberia.
brielle blais's curator insight, March 29, 2018 5:20 PM
This showcases how the geography of the world can be linked together to grow the economic stability of each country through easier access to products and goods. By creating the trans-siberean highway, Russia would be connected to the United States by their western coast. This allows access for places once very difficult to travel too. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 11:05 AM
The Russian Railway president has proposed a plan for a Europe to U.S. superhighway. The Trans'Eurasian Belt Development would lead London to Moscow through Siberia, over the Bering Strait to Alaska, through Canada ending in New York. This would take major coordination between all the different countries. You must think about the time, money and effort this would take. From  Eastern Russia to Alaska, how would drivers get over the gap? Who would tear through the forests and stretches of land needed to create this? 
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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

"Workers at an ailing paper mill in Siberia are clinging to their jobs in the face of financial pressure and criticism from environmentalists.
Related Article:"

Seth Dixon's insight:

The environment, industry and politics play key roles in this story of an old style Soviet mono-town on Lake Baikal.  Monotowns had planned economies that revolved around one industry and today many of these are struggling in the post-Soviet era.  While the particulars of the political situation are a bit dated, the overall issue is still quite relevant to understanding Russia today. 

2013 update: The paper plant is now officially closed  


Tags: Russia, industry, labor, environment, economic, water, pollution, environment modify, unit 6 industry.

Douglas Vance's curator insight, March 20, 2018 12:18 PM
The Soviet Union's command and control economy allowed totally impractical industrial ventures like a paper mill on Lake Baikal to exist. This mill only served to employ workers and produce a good that would be sold at a set cost where profit is irrelevant. However, the mill's location away from any industrial center or shipping hub made the operation of such an isolated factory in a capitalistic economy totally unfeasible. Also, factors such as the environmental perfection of the lake's ecosystem adds additional pressure to cease operations. What can function in the Soviet Union does not always survive the forces of political and economic changes. 
Nicole Canova's curator insight, March 24, 2018 2:38 AM
This shines a light on a couple of different issues.  First, the economic implications of monotowns.  Monotowns are towns with planned formal economies that are based on one industry.  Other, small businesses pop up to cater to the needs of the people who work in that central industry.  These monotowns were utilized throughout the Soviet Union, and some survive today.  One example of such a town is Baikalsk, a town on Lake Baikal that is centered around a paper mill.  The economic well-being of every resident of Baikalsk--the mill's employees, their families, and the owners of small businesses in the town-- is based in the success of the paper mill.  But on the other hand, the process of paper making has been polluting Lake Baikal for decades, which has led to environmentalists campaigning for the mill to be closed.
Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, October 28, 2018 3:52 PM
Lake Baikal is in the middle of environmental destruction and the people of a small Siberian mono-town being out of work. This is a huge crisis because mono-towns are areas where the economy is revolved around one industry. The industry that is located around Lake Baikal is one that is severely polluting the Lake. The problem with shutting down this one industry which is a paper company is that all the people that live in this mono-town work at the paper company, so the whole community will be out of work. Lake Baikal could be a source of revenue for Russia as a whole however Putin is bypassing environmental guidelines to keep these workers in a job. Its sad that polluting the worlds deepest Lake is second to these workers. Ruining this lake will have a long term effect on Russia and it will not be good. There should better steps to be put in place to protect this natural wonder as well as keep people in work.
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The Putin Factor: Russia, America and the Geopolitics of Ukraine

The Putin Factor: Russia, America and the Geopolitics of Ukraine | Geography Education |

"President Obama came into office promising a 'reset' in U.S.-Russia relations. Six years later, the reset, for all intents and purposes, is dead."

Seth Dixon's insight:

A more informed, globally aware citizenry helps to strengthen U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic efforts; we need citizens with a spatial framework within which to organize political, environmental, cultural and economic information.  This interview with political science professor Michael McFaul is a great introduction to understanding Russia, Putin and today's most pressing geopolitical issue.    

Tags: Russia, Ukraine, geopoliticspolitical.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 19, 2015 3:40 PM

Russian-American Relations are always an interesting thing to talk about because of the nations' histories in relation to one another.  It is interesting how Putin views America, in the fact that he thinks that we function like Russia without a strong legislative branch and no freedom of the press.  Putin also seeks to, in a way, rebuild the USSR of old by taking his neighbors over (or having them "join" the Eurasian Economic Region).  The article does point out that tensions from the Russian incursions into the Ukraine won't result in Cold War Era tensions because Putin welcomes American investment, and also Russia is more of a regional power than a world power.  While Russia is a regional power, they are still a very strong and threatening force, and as the article points out, they are not afraid of using their strength to get their way.  Russia, although not as strong as the old USSR, is still a concern for the NATO nations of Europe, as it shows a revived Russian spirit, and Putin is not afraid of using force to get what he wants for the country.


David Lizotte's curator insight, February 27, 2015 5:04 PM

Its interesting reading an article written June 5, 2014 about Russia and the Ukraine. There has been an escalation of events since the article. This article was neat in how it gives the reader a more sound perception of Putin. Mind you though, the source was an American Ambassador to Russia, so he may be a bit biased, although he does a good job covering it throughout the interview. If he had a disagreement or judgment about Putin he said it. Its likely McFaul's ideologies would differ no matter what due to being of Western Influence and Putin... well Putin being Russia. None the less McFaul gave a professional and well-rounded/structured interview in answering the questions in detail. 

I believe Putin truly does believe in a Russia of old coming back under his regime. The past few years have certainly made a good case for that argument. A major country just taking territory from another seems outlandish. Since this article has come out there have been more advancements made into the Ukraine thus spilling bloodshed. Russian backed rebels have been slowly taking important towns and transport hubs in Eastern Ukraine. A ridiculous part of this is Putin claiming Russia is not backing the Rebels/Separatists by providing military and intelligence. Of course he is. Its clear he and his government are more than involved. 

As Russia moves more eastward it does raise the question; what exactly is there endgame? Its scary reading McFaul's opinion being Putin not truly knowing what he wants/how to proceed. Putin is usually very blunt about what he wants, yet in this case no one knows what Putin wants, probably not even Putin. Perhaps since the writing of the article Putin has formed more of a general idea/goal... In any case it is interesting to watch the events unfold. 

There was a conference of some sort just a week or two ago. The President of France, Prime Minister of Germany and Putin negotiated a seize fire and troops from both sides of the battle to pull back. There was still bloodshed after the specified seized arms agreement. This was a reminder of the first agreement made in September and just ignored by the rebels.

Personally I believe Putin to not care about what the west thinks. Rather he wants to keep pushing the limits. Putin wants to become a dominant powerhouse economic force. He also seems to wish for more physical land, like the Russia of old. The more he can have the better. As stated Putin seems to be testing the Western countries. He had no problem ignoring peace deals. He kept moving westward and in the end there are still no Western Military, just Ukrainian troops. The U.S. was not strong in opinion and neither was the U.K.

Sanctions have hurt Russia's economy but they are still finding there way around it. With that being said, Western countries such as Germany for instance have also been hurt economically by the sanctions. Some countries export a lot of goods to Russia, they now can't. This shows what happens when Russia doesn't play nice. They get cut off and other suffer from the consequences as well. But from Russia's perspective they are still claiming more land from the Ukraine. Also, with all this being said Russia is reaching out to week countries whom are criticized within the EU. For example Greece and Hungary, and the island country Cyprus. Russia is working with Cyprus on the debt situation and in return docking naval ships off the coast of Cyprus. No matter the reasoning its the same outcome...Russia is moving westward.

As of now (as in me writing this scoop) there has been 24 hours of non-violence in the Eastern Ukraine. That has not happened in a very long time. But no one truly knows what the Russian backed Separatists/Putin are thinking. They've been winning so far so why stop. All I have to say is don't sleep on Russia.   

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 7, 2015 2:37 PM

"The Bear of the East Strikes Again." It feels like news of Russian military intervention in Ukraine should be a news story of the 80's, and yet it continues to hit headlines as information is leaked of continued aggression in Eastern Ukraine. Why this sudden aggression? Geography of course! The Crimea is a vital seaport, allowing a large, international port in the Mediterranean- something that Russia has craved since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Eastern Ukraine is one of the richest areas in the world in terms of raw materials and industrial centers, which could prove to be vital additions to the Russian economy (if Western sanctions don't inflate the ruble any more than they already have). Despite this authoritarian approach to his foreign affairs, it is Putin accuses the Ukrainian government of fascist tendencies- and of attacking ethnic Russians currently residing in Ukraine. Not only is this laughable in the sense that Ukraine is not only a democracy, but there has been no history of violence between ethnic Russians and Ukrainians in the country, but also when one considers the attacks on Russian homosexuals within Putin's own borders. Putin has disregarded international law for his own purposes, the first time a major power has done so since the world was a lot "colder," and it will be interesting (and terrifying) to see how he proceeds. My heart goes out to the Ukrainians still engaging in guerrilla warfare along their Eastern border.

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Culture Ministry Affirms 'Russia is not Europe'

Culture Ministry Affirms 'Russia is not Europe' | Geography Education |

"A state commission working on a much-discussed report titled 'Foundations of State Cultural Politics' will release their findings in two weeks, presidential advisor Vladimir Tolstoi announced last week, adding that the basic formula of the report could be summarized as 'Russia is not Europe.'"

Seth Dixon's insight:

At times Russia has sought to be perceived as a part of Europe only to be excluded in the minds (and institutions) of Western Europe.  Now, in a discursive way to protect itself, it is reaffirming and building a cultural buffer zone between Europe and Russia.  What are the borders of Europe as you think of it?  Can world regions change over time?  Any examples of regions having their borders redrawn?  

Tags: RussiaEurope, regions.

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, May 7, 2015 3:06 PM

I wasn't even really aware that Russia had ever wanted to seem like part of Europe, or that people saw it as part of Europe.  I've always seen Russia as it's own place, because it is.  It is not in Europe, it just borders Europe.  I understand how there is a misconception because most people don't see it as part of Asia either, because it seems much different than other countries in Asia.  However, it should be recognized as it's own place, and not as part of Europe.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 3:32 PM

Russia has long since been Europe's backwards, awkward cousin. On the outskirts of the continent, Russia has always been different in every sense of the world. Their religion is different, their culture is a unique blend of East and West; a history of intense poverty of its lower classes, followed by the Communist revolution and the alienation of Russia as a whole, has helped to perpetuate this idea of backwardness associated with the country. The Cold War and the Eastern bloc has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Western powers, and Russia has continued to be culturally ostracized despite major economic progress in the nation and increased political and economic ties between the nation and the rest of Europe. Although Russia has fought hard to be considered a part of Europe, to many Europeans, it will always remain "other." Russia has done little to help its case as of late, considering its actions in the Crimea and the incitement of conflict in much of Eastern Ukraine. For the sake of the Russian people, I hope their situation improves for the better.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 10, 2015 6:44 AM

For the past few centuries, there has been an ongoing debate occurring within Europe and within Russia. The central question in that debate has been, is Russia part of Europe?  One of Peter the greats main goals was to make Russia a force within Europe. He attempted to westernize the nation. Successive Tsars followed his policy of westernization. The Russians were instrumental in repelling Napoleon during the latters ill-fated invasion of the Russian Empire. The Russian Empire was one of the leading powers on the ailed side during the first few years of World War I.  The Russian Revolution set off a period of harsh tensions between Russia an the rest of the western world. The rise of Bolshevism and the withdrawal from the war  created a great schism between Russia and the rest of Europe. Those harsh tensions continue  until this day. There have been ebbs and flows in the conflict,  but  for many in the western world, Russia is not a part of Europe.

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Take Me Home, Mother Russia

Take Me Home, Mother Russia | Geography Education |
10 places that would welcome a Putin landgrab, and 10 parts of Russia that want the hell out.
Seth Dixon's insight:

One of the ideological weaknesses in the idea that Russia should annex Crimea because of the large number of ethnic Russians that want to join the Russian Federation, is that there are many places within the Russian Federation without a majority of ethnic Russians that would want out of the Russian Federation.  This list from Foreign Policy is pretty intriguing and they provide insight about the geographic context for each place on the list.

Top 10 looking for a way into Russia (abbreviated)

  1. Transnistria
  2. Donbass
  3. New Russia
  4. Abkhazia
  5. South Ossetia
  6. Belarus
  7. Northern Kazakhstan
  8. Russians in the Baltic
  9. Nagorno Karabakh
  10. Brighton Reach, Brooklyn

Top 10 look for a way out of Russia:

  1. Chechnya
  2. Tatarstan
  3. Idel-Ural
  4. Kalmykia
  5. Kaliningrad
  6. Karelia
  7. Komi Republic
  8. Circassia
  9. Karachay-Balkaria
  10. Birobizhan
Kevin Barker's curator insight, March 22, 2014 10:03 AM

For every argument to aquire land based on ethnic boundaries, there is at least one that would argue land should be lost. This would apply to essentially any country in the world. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 10:57 AM

In the recent light of the Crimea annexation and following conflict, many are questioning what Russia's next move will be and how this region may change in the future.  The former USSR encomassed a huge amount of land, and therefore many different ethnic groups.  Of course this has always been a problem, and this article illustrates how it probably always will be a problem.  As politics and cultures in different countries change, people will favor either secession or affiliation due to these centripetal or centrifugal forces .  While some may be far-fetched (Siberia and Brooklyn), it is important to remember that as long as there are some people who are in favor, there may be conflict at same scale.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 5, 2015 2:43 PM

This article is interesting because it shows that as Russia could potentially gain land, it could also lose parts of the country as well.  I thought the Brooklyn Beach point was funny due to Putin's argument that wherever Russians live should be Russia (Crimea).  I don't think the United States would ever let this happen though, even if it is just a single part of NY, the US would never let Russia back onto the North American Continent after buying Alaska from them back in the 1800s.  I also thought it was an intriguing point to state that China could try to make a move at getting Siberia from Russia.  I personally don't think that Russia would willingly give up a resource rich region of its nation to China easily, and if China wanted to buy the region, I'd bet Putin would make them pay a pretty penny for the area.  The fact that Russia is such a varied nation, especially in the south of the nation, is not surprising due to winning the land from the Ottomans, and the best thing Russia could do, in the case of Chechnya would be to let them go.  This way the country could achieve a lasting peace, rather than always fighting campaigns against the region, which as a result, will make the people hate the Russian government even more.  However, I do not think Putin will allow his country to decrease in size, Putin only wants increases.

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Ukraine’s leader urges Putin to pull back troops

Ukraine’s leader urges Putin to pull back troops | Geography Education |
Ukraine's interim prime minister says the country is "on the brink of disaster."
Seth Dixon's insight:

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.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 2014 9:50 AM

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.

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.

tyrone perry's curator insight, April 9, 2018 6:56 PM
Putin doesn’t seem to like how the surrounding countries are independent from Russia!  A majority of people in Ukraine favor the independence while a few Russians that reside there are all for Russia to occupy Ukraine.  Also in Russia people who are protesting the occupy are being arrested and others who are for it are allowed to protest.  Putin has been very testy over the last few years.  Trying to over throw the weaker country’s and backing the evil doing countries. 
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Military industrial complex: These 15 countries have the largest defense budgets

Military industrial complex: These 15 countries have the largest defense budgets | Geography Education |
World defense spending is expected to go up for the first time in five years, thanks to China and Russia.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The top 3 shouldn't come as any big surprises, but there might be a few farther on down the list though that might raise some eyebrows.  There are specific geopolitical, historic, economic and cultural rationales for each of these countries that explain why they are on this list, and discussing those reasons is a conversation would having. 

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:32 PM

Russia is the third highest goverment military that spends around 143 million people lived in Russia in 2012 and they spent around $475 per person on it's military. Russia compared to China and the US is another story the US is number one in who spent the most on their military forces at $600.4 billion. As far as China is concerened it comes in at number two at spending around  $112.2 billion. These numbers make sense especially for the power house that China is and how their values of militarism affect their spending and their way of society/life.

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, March 7, 2015 10:00 PM

Wow looking at all these defense military budgets show why some economies are not producing well, but at the same time its astonishing how much money is spent protecting homelands. It will grow in the next 5 years, and hopefully i'll be around to see what has changed who has taken the top position because i feel as if their will be a shift in the tides.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 9, 2015 6:10 PM

Not surprised at many names on the list, but am surprised at The US figure, how much it costs per American, and at the gap between The US and China.  Its scary to see some of the names on the list though and wonder if they are using that money for defense, or an offensive attack.

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Why are the Baltic states so rattled?

This week, soldiers from Germany and Belgium are settling into a new posting in Lithuania as part of the latest NATO troop deployment. Will their hosts—and the region—feel more secure as a result of their presence?
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video from the Economist shows how shifting political situations in one country can create some powerful ripples elsewhere.  It also shows how fluid geopolitical alliances can either embolden a waxing power, or create anxiety among states that might be waning in regional influence.  Supranational allegiances can weigh heavily on smaller states. 


Tags: Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, supranationalism, political.    

James Piccolino's curator insight, March 24, 2018 9:07 AM
This is one of the many cases where it may be easy to understand each side but harder to understand a solution. Imagine being in the position the Baltic states are currently in? Russia will always put the pressure on them, or at least it seems Putin will.
brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 1:02 PM
This post showcases how geopolitical relationships can really cause tension, fear, or even bring positivity between many countries. Russia has been on the offense, testing NATO and the Baltic states. The states feel the need to prepare for anything that could happen, one even calling in more troops and for conscription to bring back the feeling of safety in their country. However, this post also showcases how geopolitical relationships can be positive, as President Trump showed his admiration for Russia. This new bond one may call it, scares the Baltic states even more.
tyrone perry's curator insight, April 9, 2018 4:48 PM
The Baltic states seem to be rattled because Putin has been flexing his muscle lately.  Because Trump has vocally been threatening to leave NATO it seems as if Putin is trying to take advantage of a weak support of NATO.  Considering the Baltic states were at one point part of the USSR before they broke away it seems that now would be the right time to for a take over. 
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Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault

Conventional wisdom in the West blames the Ukraine crisis on Russian aggression. But this account is wrong: Washington and its European allies actually share most of the responsibility, having spent decades pushing east into Russia’s natural sphere of interest.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Ukraine is culturally, economically, and geographically connected with Russia. It is a territory that Russia cannot afford to lose as a part of their sphere of influence.  John Mearsheimer, in his article Why Ukraine Crisis is the West's Fault, gives a detailed account of NATO expansion and how it effected the Russian demand for hegemony in East Europe. Ultimately it is his conclusion that it was this expansion that provoked the Russians, and the current crisis is on the hands of the West. The will of a majority of Ukrainians is be begin economically aligning more with EU/NATO countries.  Ukraine decided against Russia, and Russia responded with force.   Here is an article where scholars weigh in and mostly disagree with the author's provocative assessment


Tags: op-ed, Ukrainesupranationalism, Russia, geopoliticspolitical.


Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 10, 2018 7:42 PM
This brings up some good points about a commonly opposed view in Europe and America. Often times we simply put Russia as the bad guy and Putin as its evil leader, but there is more to it then this. It is tough to say Russia's involvement in Ukraine is completely unjustified. To Russia the eastern nations of Europe are their buffer zone to NATO, and would like for them to stay aligned with Russia. When the Pro Russian Ukrainian president was ousted in a popular revolution (or a coup) many in the west simply deemed this as ok because the coup was pro NATO, to Russia this was seen as a threat. Then when Russia got involved the pro Russian "uprising" in Crimea seemed like Russia meddling in other nations internal affairs.  Dont forget that their are many Russians who live in Ukraine, and Russia sees these as their people who they need to protect. Either way this is a complicated situation that gets ignored all too often.
David Stiger's curator insight, October 20, 2018 11:28 PM
A good deal of Ukraine's crisis with Russia is centered around geopolitics. Russia annexed Crimea because of its seaport - a port that NATO had its eye on as a strategic position for keeping Russia in check. The territory of Ukraine as a whole serves as a buffer between Western Europe and Russia. If NATO were to incorporate and pro-Western Ukraine, Russia would feel threatened. As a major power with a history of pride, Russia would never tolerate a direct threat on its border. Making Ukraine into such a threat is not worth the potential political, economic, and military consequences from Russia. Since it is a thin place between two differing ideological powerhouses - Russia and the West - Ukraine might want to consider remaining neutral; even receiving help and assistance from the EU, the United States, and Russia. This route has not been taken because the West, specifically the U.S., has misunderstood Russia as an aging and weak country that would ultimately embrace the good-guy America as a benevolent friend. The U.S. needs to rethink its ideas about Russia and do the sensible thing of giving it a buffer zone and a little deference, just as the U.S. expects other major powers to keep away from Mexico and Central America. 

Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 22, 2018 5:41 PM
This hows a different perspective than the normal western one on the crisis in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Ukraine is more culturally and traditionally connected to Russia than the rest of Europe( historically Kiev was a capital of Russian empires, specifically the "Kieven Rus"). To Russia NATO is a threat, and constantly pushing east towards Russia. Russia wants some kind of friendly buffer Zone out of fears of influence from the west, and possible invasions. Historically Ukraine has been a buffer zone, but with the overthrow of the Russian friendly Ukrainian president and his replacement by a staunch Nato and western supporter Russia feals threaten. Though they denied any involvement at first, in the very least they have been supplying material and training to Crimean and other pro Russian separatist rebels whop are fighting the Ukrainian government in hopes of maintaining some sort of buffer zone.   
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The Chernobyl Disaster: How It Happened

On April 26, 1986, a routine safety test at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine spiraled out of control. Follow the dramatic events that led to the world's worst civilian nuclear disaster.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Today marks 30 years since the worst nuclear accident in history.  The disaster reshaped Ukraine and Belarus as radioactive material spread throughout Europe; liquidators went in to clean up, putting themselves at great personal risk while the Soviet media reports tried to act as if things were under control.  Learn more by reading these articles from the BBC, Global News, and the Washington Post; you can also view videos of an extended academic talk and documentary about the Chernobyl disaster.  Today the wildlife in the regions is surging forward as people are staying out of the region.   


Tagsdisasters, environmentUkraineRussia.  

James Piccolino's curator insight, March 24, 2018 9:38 AM
As a history lover and also a lover of urban exploration Youtube videos, Chernobyl has always peaked my interest. I had heard of the effects that it had on Europe and the rest of the world before but I did not quite know the severity. I also heard about how the Soviet Union tried to ignore it and cover the incident up for a time. Both interesting and terrifying.
Matt Manish's curator insight, May 3, 2018 12:34 AM
From the accidental disaster that happened at Chernobyl, one can see how important it is to keep nuclear reactors running safely an properly. A disaster like Chernobyl can be very costly, not just financially but also in regards to human life and the environment as well. The nuclear plant there still has extremely high levels of radiation. So much so, that the original concrete sarcophagus that was laid on top of the sight to block radiation began to deteriorate over time. A new dome structure has recently been built over the sarcophagus to help block the radiation and is expected to last at least a hundred years. This disaster makes one wonder if the benefits that come from nuclear energy are worth the risks.
Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, October 28, 2018 4:05 PM
The Chernobyl Disaster was and still is the worst nuclear accident to happen in the history of the world. It happened because a nuclear reactor at the Soviet Unions nuclear power plant exploded. This was a crazy accident to happen as this particular nuclear power plant because it was one of the Soviet Unions most advanced plants. All this destruction happened because of a routine safety test on the reactor. This explosion of the reactor spewed 8 tons of radioactive fumes into the air. These fumes spread all over Europe so the Soviet Unions accident affected half of the world not just themselves.
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Geography textbook changed after Crimea row

Geography textbook changed after Crimea row | Geography Education |
A geography textbook that prompted a complaint from the Ukrainian embassy for showing Crimea as part of Russia is changed.
Seth Dixon's insight:

How we describe and categorize geopolitical shifts matter, and can ocassionally ruffle some feathers.  More important than the ruffled feathers is the fact that how we present the issues helps to shape students' perspectives.  In a somewhat related article, the Russian annexation of Crimea has magnified internal divisions in Kazakhstan.  


Tags: UkraineRussia, geopoliticspolitical, Kazakhstan.

Taylor Doonan's curator insight, March 15, 2018 3:00 PM
This image shows how inaccurate textbooks can be. Winston Churchill said "History is written by the victors" this quote shows that the history that is told in textbooks is not always the most accurate. This case with Crimea shows that the textbook is inaccurate which in this case the textbook company acknowledged and corrected but errors in textbooks so often go unfixed, and if they do get fixed, many children are still learning from the old version of the textbook depending on which school district they are in.  
Douglas Vance's curator insight, March 20, 2018 11:57 AM
This article shows how describing international events like territorial changes can cause significant international backlash should the event in question be described in ways that do not respect the views of the bereaved party. In this case, the textbook failed to provide sufficient context that highlighted the Ukrainian position that the territory was illegally seized by Russia. This show that how an issue is described can shed significant light on which side that person appears to be taking. 
Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 22, 2018 11:19 AM
(Russia) The Oxford University Press was forced to revise a textbook because of their description of Crimea. The original edition had an illustration showing Crimea in a different color than Ukraine, explaining that Crimea is owned by Ukraine but voted to become part of Russia. Readers believed this did not reflect the history of Crimea's annexation, when pro-Russian Crimeans took over the peninsula and held an illegal referendum. The new edition spends more time discussing the annexation and explains that Crimea legally belongs to Ukraine but is under Russian control.
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Putin: Turkey's downing of jet a 'stab in the back'

Putin: Turkey's downing of jet a 'stab in the back' | Geography Education |
Russian warplane crashes in Latakia province in Syria and two pilots seen ejecting from the aircraft.
Seth Dixon's insight:

A border is not a line in the sand but a vertical plane, defining airspace as well as underground assets. The protection of borders and airspace is something that sovereign states take very seriously and can lead to some tense situations.  

Tags: borders, political, conflict, geopolitics.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 4:48 PM

it is truly insane that turkey would shoot down a Russian jet engaging anyone in Syria, especially when the Turks are shooting at the Kurds, who are fighting the people that the Turks claim to hate. this is especially troubling, as Turkey is a part of NATO and may drag the rest of the NATO nations into any war they start.

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Fiddler on the Roof

Seth Dixon's insight:

Folk cultures are often described as regionally based, nearly homogeneous, rural cultures.  These societies are typically dominated by the older generation, traditional, family-based and slow to change.  This is an audio-visually rich collage showing a classic example of a folk culture being confronted by the forces of a changing world. 

No comment yet.
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Folk Culture--Tradition

Seth Dixon's insight:

The clip which starts at 0:25 (speaking at 0:50) is an audiovisually rich cultural collage.  Folk cultures are often described as regionally based, nearly homogenous, rural cultures.  These societies are typically dominated by the older generation, traditional, family-based and slow to change.  Folk cultures typically rural, religious, agricultural, family-based and in a word: traditional.  This classic movie's opening is a good primer for markers of folk cultures and struggles that folk cultures have to maintain there vitality in a globalizing world.  If you continue on in the movie, the actual song Tradition is also rich in explaining how the society maintains itself.  

Tags: Russia, folk cultures, culture, music.

Danielle Lip's curator insight, February 16, 2015 7:34 PM

While watching this movie I found the over idea of tradition to be quite accurate because everyone wether they are from Russia, the United States or another country has traditions that come from many years ago. These traditions tell how the people should dress, sleep, work and eat all in the eyes of God. Traditions come from a group and then are passed on for generations, everyone has some type of tradition wether it is in their family or in another community. Tradition helps the people to gain an identity for themselves so he knows and everybody else knows who he is as well as what God expects. The main focus in this movie is not only tradition but also to please and have God in mind at all cost.

Elle Reagan's curator insight, March 22, 2015 9:18 PM

This video was nice because it had a little song that played and I thought that it showed the culture well. Before the Industrial Revolution played out, this way the way it used to be in many places. Riding horses and pulling a wooden carriage to deliver milk that had been freshly squeezed from a cow. It's funny to think that this was't that long ago and how culture can change quickly.

Bella Reagan's curator insight, May 27, 2015 12:37 AM

Unit 3 

Cultural Practices

Folk Culture

This video is the intro to a movie that shows the basis of this folk culture. It gives a good representation of the different elements of folk culture. Folk culture is made up of so many different elements. In the video there is music that begin stye culture being showcased. Then the man's attire and his environment. The infrastructures show the folk culture as well and so does the accent. 


This video revealed the elements of folk culture. It tied them all together and gave a good visual and good sound to what makes up a culture. Culture consists of so much from language, to dress, to food, to music. A video really gives a good eye into what the folk culture is like in this. 


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Pro-Natalist Policies

"No one has found out how to help Denmark's falling birth rate. Until now. Spies Travels announces a competition where you have to make a baby to win."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Not all countries are concerned about overpopulation;  Countries like Japan are in steep decline in terms of their population.    Denmark is a country that is seeking to to encourage higher fertility rates (and this travel company is using this salacious ad to promote the it and themselves, but there is some actual demographic analysis in there). Singapore's National Night was another innovative campaign to boost fertility rates (warning: the video is provocative).  Russia is also trying to boost fertility rates with a similar idea, but another major part of their strategy is to reaffirm traditional sexual norms in society.  

Tag: declining populations.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 27, 2014 10:41 AM

This shows what Pro-Natalism looks like in the 21st century. Youtube videos, and competitions that can go viral and trending. I find it interesting how these policies are trying to gain traction through video campaigns with sexy models and catchy slogans like "Do it for Demark". Population geography can be a key indicator of the characteristics of a country or nation. Denmark knows they need to counter a falling birthrate in order to stay growing this is definatly a modern way of going about that.

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 4, 2015 9:58 PM

Sex sells everything, even making babies!

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 10, 2015 7:03 AM

This video may be both the greatest and worst television commercial in the history of civilization. I can already imagine a do it for Rhode Island commercial airing sometime in the near future. In all seriousness, this video is aimed at an enormous issue facing Both Europe and Russia. Russia particularly, is suffering terribly. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian death rate far outpaced the Russian birth rate. The seriousness of such an issue can not be understated. A country can not survive if more people are dying, than being born. Only recently, has the birth rate caught back up to the death rate in Russia. While the death crises may be ebbing in Russia, there is no way to erase twenty years of death.

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Here are three of Russia's military options in Ukraine

Here are three of Russia's military options in Ukraine | Geography Education |
There have been a number of warnings from Kiev and Washington about the possibility of a direct and open Russian military intervention in Ukraine. But what could that look like?
Seth Dixon's insight:

I'm not saying any of these 3 scenarios are going to happen nor am I endorsing them either.  That said, this article/podcast provides a geopolitical analysis (with maps) of Russia's potential military options if they are planning on invading Ukraine. 

Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 9, 2015 5:50 PM

add your insight...I feel like Russia is always up to something shady. I dont understand why Putin wants to move forces into Ukraine. The story makes it seem like the only reason he has interest is because there is a high number of Russians living there. Does not seem like a good reason to attack another country.  This smells really bad and I have a feeling something major could be on the horizon.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 1, 2015 10:44 AM

Russia needs to tread lightly if they don't want to dismantle the international political progress that they have made since the fall of the Soviet Union over twenty years ago.  If they decide to manhandle and manipulate the government in Kiev, along with the rest of Ukraine, they could have an international boycott and sanction put on everything Russian.  This situation is very important, not only for Russians and Ukrainians, but globally as well.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 10, 2015 6:31 AM

Putin's military adventure into Ukraine is troubling to say the least.  Putin has made no secret about his desire to recreate the lost Soviet Empire. He is truly a dangerous man on the world stage. Generally speaking, Putin seems to favor the destabilization approach. He has yet to conquer an entire nation. By launching  destabilizing attacks, he probably hopes to create an environment of uncertainty and chaos within the invaded country. Such chaos could lead to the overthrow a anti-Russian government, and the instillation of a pro Russian government. The word will eventually have to face up to Putin.

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Soviet Bus Stops

Soviet Bus Stops | Geography Education |

"Photographer Christopher Herwig has covered more than 30,000 km by car, bike, bus and taxi in 13 countries discovering and documenting these unexpected treasures of modern art. From the shores of the Black Sea to the endless Kazakh steppe, the bus stops show the range of public art from the Soviet era and give a rare glimpse into the creative minds of the time."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a delightful glimpse into a time gone by, and what makes it even more surprising is that few would expect such creative architecture to dot the cultural landscape of the old Soviet Union.  I was recently looking at a photo gallery of old Russian Orthodox churches and just like these Soviet bus stops, they are perfect subjects for classic cultural landscape studies.  Geography students can analyze and interpret the cultural, political and economic material landscape as this photographer has.  What do these elements of the landscape mean?  How does it make us re-evaluate the society that created them?   

Tags: Russia, culture, landscape.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 9, 2015 6:04 PM

A new way to observe and appreciate architecture and creativity from a different culture.  I love the idea of the book to show how something so ordinary and overlooked in everyday society like a bus stop can be turned into works of art.  It would be cool to see this inspire other artists to turn other modern day things into cool works of art.  How awesome would this have been 20 years ago if they did things like this to phone booths?

Louis Mazza's curator insight, April 21, 2015 1:18 PM

This article is a collage of soviet bustops, which happen to be extravagant. Some of them are ancient looking made out of cement. Some have highly decorated sculptures of the sickle and hammer soviet sign. Others are large sheltered areas to protect citizens. By looking at the high scale of bustops, and large amount, it shows that the population must use a lot of bus transport. Some of these bustop are very nice looking, elegant, unique, or a distinct representation of Russian History. It is unique to see a different spin on a Bustop, something that seems so repetitive at Kennedy Plaza here in Providence.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 4:55 PM

for as monstrous as the soviet union was, they did care about appearances and the safety of their people. these bus stops show some of the wonderful aspects of soviet architecture. in addition, you can see bus stops in the middle of nowhere. this is the same mindset that made the soviets build nuclear shelters for the majority of their populace.

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Exit polls show Crimea votes for secession

Exit polls show Crimea votes for secession | Geography Education |
Russian media says exit polls show 93 percent of voters elected to join Russia, in a move the West deems illegal.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The vote wasn't a surprise, but it now means there are more questions than answers about the political future of Crimea,  both regionally and internationally (this is the U.S. State Dept's rejection of the referendum).  Also is interest is how this impacts Turkey, which feels kinship with the Crimean Tatar population.  Historically they've been Black Sea rivals and Turkey was a key NATO ally during the Cold War.  However since the fall of the the Soviet Union they've improved diplomatic relations and Turkey is reluctant to damage relations with Russia.  We all know by now that the majority of Crimean residents speak Russian as their native language, but what's the linguistic geography of Crimea look like at a at a different scale?    

Utah Geographical Alliance's curator insight, March 17, 2014 2:30 PM

Seth Dixon's insight:
The vote wasn't a surprise, but it now means there are more questions than answers about the political future of Crimea, both regionally and internationally. Also is interest is how this impacts Turkey, which feels kinship with the Crimean Tatar population. Historically they've been Black Sea rivals and Turkey was a key NATO ally during the Cold War. However since the fall of the the Soviet Union they've improved diplomatic relations and Turkey is reluctant to damage relations with Russia. We all know by now that the majority of Crimean residents speak Russian as their native language, but what's the linguistic geography of Crimea look like at a at a different scale?

Aimee Knight's curator insight, March 19, 2014 9:52 AM

While everybody argues over whether or not the referendum complies with international laws and peace treaties, we have to ask, is it right? Does one country have the right to take control of another? We teach our children not to bully one another, and then Russia goes and bullies the people of Crimea into agreeing to secede. What are we teaching people? What messages are we sending to young people by saying that this is okay?  We are spreading the word that it is okay to threaten others into cooperation. If we allow for acts such as this to go unpunished, how can we guarantee that something much worse will not be in our foreseeable future? 

BandKids13-14's curator insight, April 3, 2014 9:56 AM

Russia is just a big bully. If Crimea joins Russia will Russia want to take over other places in the Ukraine? Will they have enough power then? Why do they even want Crimea? How will they benefit if Crimea goes over to Russian power? Will the Ukraine allow Crimea to ever join Russia?


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West warns Russia amid Crimea threat

West warns Russia amid Crimea threat | Geography Education |

"Western nations have called on Russia to ease tensions in Ukraine's Crimea region after armed men seized the local parliament and raised the Russian flag."

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 1, 2014 12:17 AM

This article is about the rising tension in the Crimean region of Ukraine. There is a strong pro-Russian sentiment among many in this region and the recent ousting of Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych has caused unrest in Crimea. The former president of Ukraine was removed due to protest of his refusal to partner with European Union. These events highlight the lasting effects of the Soviet Union on Ukraine and the division it has caused in the country.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, March 4, 2014 1:59 PM

I've been watching this inernest. I doubt that Russia will invade any further.


Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 12, 2014 1:02 PM

Russia's has attempted to justify their recent aggression as an effort to reincorporate areas with a Russian majority, and at the request of the locals. This article shows all the other areas that are requesting a return to Russia, and shows the opposite side with all the areas under Russia that are requesting independence. It offers a counter to the Russian argument and outlines the hypocrisy of their actions.