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Russia: Future Prospects
Country Study > Chapter 3 > Physical Environment and Population > Future Prospects


The Russian Federation possesses a unique variety and scale of geographic features, even after the collapse of the larger Soviet Union, but it faces grave problems in managing its abundant natural resources. Although the potential remains for constructive exploitation of Russia's environment, the economic and political condition of the country does not bode well for an organized effort in that direction. Meanwhile, a large percentage of Russia's population is threatened by numerous grave ecological hazards left behind by Soviet regimes as well as by the tolerance the post-Soviet government has for most of those conditions. In the mid-1990s, those threats combine with other health problems, a low birthrate, and a declining life expectancy to give Russia one of the least positive demographic profiles in the world.Two classic authorities on the geography of Russia are Paul E. Lydolph's Geography of the U.S.S.R. and David Hooson's The Soviet Union: People and Regions . A post-Soviet treatment of the topic is found in Russian Regions Today: Atlas of the New Federation, published in 1994 by the International Center in Washington, D.C. Environmental problems are discussed at length in D.J. Peterson's Troubled Lands: The Legacy of Soviet Environmental Destruction and in Ecocide in the USSR: Health and Nature under Siege, edited by Murray Feshbach and Alfred Friendly. Information on the current demographic crisis is provided by Valentina Bodrova's "Reproductive Behaviour of Russia's Population in the Transition Period" and Penny Morvant's "Alarm over Falling Life Expectancy." (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of July 1996

Last Updated: July 1996

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Russia was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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