We often talk about how, in a country as large as the U.S., individual states are so distinct in terms of culture that it’s a wonder they are grouped together as a single unit. States are often grouped into regions, subgroups in which their neighbors share their customs, values, or beliefs. In the case of Russia, a country larger than Pluto, this is no different.
Russia is typically broken into six cultural regions – Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Volga, the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East. These are further defined by their geographical locations, either in the Eastern European, Central, or Western sectors of the nation.
The current capital of the great nation, Moscow lies as the birthplace and center of some of the most renowned figures in Russian literature and culture. Moscow holds the tradition of the state, and is considered the industrial, economical, and scientific epicenter.
As the former capital of Russia, St. Petersburg reflects its heritage as home to many Czars, containing a vibrant landscape of palaces, waterways, and a thriving life of Western European influences.
The Volga region, dominated by Europe’s longest river, capitalizes on the resources (like caviar, in days past) made available by terrain. Trade and travel were big here, leading to a pronounced Eastern European impact.
Distinguished by its mountainous landscape, the Ural region centers around mining for the abundance of minerals found deep within the ground. The Urals have filtered through various cultures and people throughout the ages, but continue to act as a natural boundary between Russia’s European and Asian halves.
Russian calculations estimate that approximately 77% of the country is Siberian, in terms of land mass, but only 27% of its population. The climate is harsh is this Northern Asian region, and like its mountainous counterpart, has been home to various peoples, some of whom adhere to traditional Russian thought (based on the Orthodox faith) and some of whom practice a more nature-based, pagan lifestyle.
The Far East region of Russia makes up one third of Russia’s territory, and contains many prominent trade routes. Bordering on Japan and China, with whom Russia has shaky relations, the area has hosted a number of ‘problems’ for the central government. The area is currently defined by the attempts at reindustrialization following the decline of the Soviet Union, during which it was utilized for agricultural resources such as fish, oil, and natural gas.
While to a large extent, Russia adheres to the stereotypes and centralized culture governing the nation as a whole, each area contained therein is a unique composite of their own rich history, of the various countries that have impacted them, and the somehow unifying stereotype of Russian religion, politics, and art that has pervaded the entire population.