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RUSSIA (Rossiya)

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 872 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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RUSSIA (Rossiya), the general name for the European and Asiatic dominions of the " Tsar of All the Russias." Although the name is thus correctly applied, both in English and Russian, to the whole area of the Russian empire, its application is often limited, no less correctly, to European Russia, or even to European Russia exclusive of Finland and Poland. The use of the name in its most comprehensive sense dates only from the expansion of the empire in the loth century; to the historian who writes of the earlier growth of the empire, Russia means, at most, Russia in Europe, or Muscovy, as it was usually called until the 18th century, from Moscow, its ancient capital. The origin of the term " Russia " has been much disputed. It is certainly derived, through Rossiya, from Slavonic Rus or Ras (Byzantine 'Pws or 'Pw rot), a name first given to the Scandinavians who founded a principality on the Dnieper in the 9th century; and afterwards extended to the collection of Russian states of which this principality formed the nucleus. The word Rus, in former times wrongly connected with the tribal name Rhoxolani, is more probably derived from Ruotsi, a Finnish name for the Swedes, which seems to be a corruption of the Swedish rothsmenn, " rowers " or " seafarers," I. THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE The Russian empire stretches over a vast territory in E. Europe and N. Asia, with an area exceeding 8,66o,000 sq. m., or one-sixth of the land surface of the globe (one twenty-third of its whole superficics). It is, however, but thinly peopled on the average, including only one-twelfth of the inhabitants of the earth. It is almost entirely confined to the cold and temperate zones. In Novaya Zemlya and the Taimyr peninsula, it projects within the Arctic Circle as far as 770 6' and 770 40' N. respectively; while its S. extremities reach 38° 50' in Armenia, 35° on the Afghan frontier, and 42° 30' on the coasts of the Pacific. To the W. it advances as far as 20° 40' E. in Lapland, 17° in Poland, and 29° 42' on the Black Sea; and its E. limit—East Cape on the Bering Strait—is in 191° E. The White, Barents and Kara Seas of the Arctic bound it on the N., and the northern Pacific—that is, the Seas of Bering, Okhotsk and Japan—bounds it on the E. The Baltic, with the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland, limits it on the N.W.; and two sinuous lines of land frontier separate it respectively from Sweden and Norway on the N.W. and from Prussia, Austria and Rumania on the W. On the S. and E. the frontier has changed frequently according to the expansion and contraction of the empire under the pressure of political exigency and expedience. The Black Sea is the principal demarcating feature on the S. of European Russia. On the W. side of that sea the S. frontier touches the Danube for some 120 m.; on the E. side of the same sea it zigzags from the Black Sea to the Caspian, utilizing the river Aras (Araxes) for part of the distance. As the Caspian is virtually a Russian sea, Persia may be said to form the next link in the S. boundary of the Russian empire, followed by Afghanistan. On the Pamirs Russia has since 1885 been conterminous with British India (Kashmir); but the boundary then swings away N. round Chinese Turkestan and the N. side of Mongolia, and, since 1904-5, it has skirted the N. of Manchuria, being separated from it by the river Amur. As thus traced, the boundary in Central Asia includes the two khanates of Bokhara and Khiva, which, though nominally protected states, are to all intents and purposes integral parts of the Russian empire. But it excludes Manchuria, with the Liao-tung peninsula and Port Arthur, upon which Russia only placed her grasp in 1898-99, a grasp which she was compelled by Japan to release after the war of 1904-5. The total length of the frontier line of the Russian empire by land is 2800 m. in Europe, and nearly Io,000 m. in Asia, and by sea over r1,000 m. in Europe and between Ig,000 and 20,000 M. in Asia. Russia has no oceanic possessions; her islands are all appendages of the mainland to which they belong. Such Islands. are Karlo, East Kvarken, the Aland archipelago, Dago, and Osel or Oesel in the Baltic Sea; Novaya Zemlya, with Kolguyev and Vaigach, in the Barents Sea; the Solovetski Islands in the White Sea; the. New Siberian archipelago, Wrangel Land and Bear Islands, off the Siberian coast; the Commander Islands off Kamchatka; the Shantar Islands and the N. of Sakhalin in the Sea of Okhotsk. The Aleutian archipelago was sold to the United States in 1867, together with Alaska, and in 1875 the Kurile Islands were ceded to Japan. If the border regions, that is, two narrow belts, on the N. and S., be left out of account, a striking uniformity of physical Leading feature prevails throughout the whole vast extent physical of the Russian empire. High plateaus like that of features. Pamir (the " Roof of the World ") and Armenia, and lofty mountain chains like the snow-clad Caucasus, the Alai, the Tian-shan, the Sayan Mountains, exist only on the out-skirts of the empire. Viewed broadly, the Russian empire may be said to occupy the territories to the N.W. of the great plateau formation Plateau of the old continent—the backbone of Asia—which formation stretches with decreasing altitude and width from 0' Asia. the high tableland of Tibet and Pamir to the lower plateaus of Mongolia, and thence N.E. through the Vitimr.egion to the farthest extremity of Asia. Thus it consists of the immense plains and flat lands which extend between the plateau formation and the Arctic Ocean, including the series of parallel chains and hilly spurs which skirt the former region on the N.W. And it is only to the E. of Lake Baikal that it climbs up on to the plateau, from which it descends again before it reaches the Pacific. This plateau formation—the oldest geological continent of Asia—being unfit for agriculture and for the most part unsuited for permanent settlement, while its oceanic slopes have from the dawn of history been occupied by a relatively dense population, long pre-vented Slav colonization from reaching the Pacific. The Russians chanced to cross it in the 17th century at its narrowest and most N. part, and thus struck the Pacific on the foggy and frozen shores of the Sea of Okhotsk; but two centuries elapsed ere, after colonizing the depressions around Lake Baikal, they crossed over the plateau in a more genial zone and descended to the Pacific by the Amur. After that they spread rapidly S., up to the nearly uninhabited valley of the Usuri, to what is now the Gulf of Peter the Great. In the S.W. higher portions of the plateau formation the empire has only comparatively recently planted its foot on the Pamir, and it was only a few years earlier that it established itself firmly on the high-lands of Armenia. A broad belt of hilly tracts—in every respect alpine in character, and displaying the same variety of climate and organic life as alpine tracts usually do—skirts the plateau formation throughout The its entire length on the N. and N.W., forming an inter- alpine mediate region between the plateau and the plains. The belt. Caucasus, the Elburz, the Kopet-dagh and Paropamisus, the intricate and imperfectly known network of mountains W. of the Pamir, the Tian-shan and the Ala-tau mountain regions, and farther N.E. the Altai, the still unnamed complex of the Minusinsk Mountains, the intricate mountain-chains of Sayan, with those of the Olekma, Vitim and Aldan all arranged en echelon—the former from N.W. to S.E., and the others from S.W. to N.E.—all these belong to the same alpine belt that borders the plateau from "end to end of the series. The flat lands which extend from the base of the Alpine foothills to the shores of the Arctic Ocean, assume the character either of dry deserts, as in the Aral-Caspian depression, or of low The flat tablelands, as in central Russia and E. Siberia, of lands. lacustrine regions in N.W. Russia and Finland, or of marshy prairies in W. Siberia, and of tundras in the far N. Throughout the whole of this vast area, their monotonous surfaces are diversified by only a few, and, for the most part, low, hilly tracts. Recently emerged from the Post-Pliocene sea, or freed from their mantle of ice, they persistently maintain the self-same features over immense areas; and the few portions that rise above the general elevation have more the character of broad and gentle swellings than of mountain-chains. Of this class are the swampy plateaus of the Kola peninsula, sloping gently S. to the lacustrine region of Finland and N.W. Russia; the Valdai table-lands, where all the great rivers of Russia take their rise; the broad and gently sloping meridional belt of the Ural Mountains; and lastly the Taimyr, Tunguzka and Verkhoyansk ranges in Siberia, which, notwithstanding their sub-Arctic position, do not reach the snow-line. The picturesque Bureya Mountains above the Amur, the forest-clad Sikhota-ahn on the Pacific, and the volcanic chains of Kamchatka belong, however, to quite another orographical construction, being the border-ridges of the terraces by which the great plateau formation descends to the depths of the Pacific Ocean. It is owing to these leading orographical features—divined by Carl Ritter, but only recently ascertained and established as fact by geographical research—that so many of the great Rivera. rivers of the old continent are comprised within the limits . of the Russian empire. Taking their rise on the plateau formation, or in its outskirts, they flow first along lofty longitudinal valleys formerly filled with great lakes, next they cleave their way through the rocky barriers, and finally they enter the lowlands, where they become navigable, and, describing wide curves to avoid here and there the minor plateaus and hilly tracts, they bring into water-communication with one another places thousands of miles apart. The double river-systems of the Volga and Kama, the Ob and Irtysh, the Angara and Yenisei, the Lena and Vitim on the Arctic slope, and the Amur and Sungari on the Pacific slope, are instances. These were the obvious channels of Russian colonization. A broad depression—the Aral-Caspian desert—has arisen where the plateau formation reaches its greatest altitude, and at the same time suddenly changes its direction from N.W. to N.E. This desert is now filled to only a small extent by the salt waters of the Caspian Aral and Balkash inland seas; but it bears unmistakable traces ott having been during Post-Pliocene times an immense inland basin. There the Volga, the Ural, the Syr-darya and the Amu-darya discharge their waters without reaching the ocean, but they bring life to the rapidly desiccating Transcaspian steppes, and link together the most remote parts of Russia. Geology.—The most striking feature in the geology of Russia is its Boundaries. remarkable freedom from disturbances, either in the form of mountain folding or of igneous intrusions. Over the greater part of the oeuonian Silurian d other Poiesoroic Rocks of the Caucasus -Cambrian MstamorphioSPlutonlo Rocks (. ~.I6 Volcanic Rocks of M. Cauca.,on region country the strata are still nearly as flat as when they were first laid down, and the deposits, even of the Cambrian period, are as soft as those of the Mesozoic and Tertiary formations in England. Only in the Urals, the Caucasus, the Timan Mountains, the region of the Donets coalfield, and the Kielce Hills is there any sign of the great folding from which nearly the whole of the rest of Europe has suffered at one time or another. In the early part of the Palaeozoic era only the gneissic region of Finland and Olonets and probably the Archean mass of S. Russia remained constantly above the sea; but there were several oscillations. Gradually, however, the sea retreated from W. Russia and in the Upper Carboniferous and Permian periods it was confined to the E. At the beginning of the Mesozoic era the whole country became land, bearing upon its surface the salt lakes in which the Trias was laid down. During the Jurassic period the sea again invaded the region, both from the N. and from the S., but still the W. of Russia rose above the waves. In the Cretaceous period the waters with-drew from the N.E., but in the S. they spread W., covering the whole of Poland and finally uniting with the ocean in which the chalk of W. Europe was deposited. The Tertiary era was marked by a gradual extension S. of the N. land-mass. In the later stages arms of the sea were cut off and were converted at first into lagoons and then into brackish or fresh-water lakes which continued to occupy much of S. Russia until the beginning of the Quaternary period. During the first part of the Glacial period Russia seems to have been covered by an immense ice-sheet, which extended also over central Germany, and of which the E. limits cannot yet be determined. The Archean rocks have a broad extension in Finland, N. Russia, the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus. In S. Russia they form the floor upon which lies a thin covering of Tertiary beds, and they are exposed to view in the valleys of the Dnieper and the Bug. They consist for the most part of red and grey gneisses and granulites, with subordinate layers of granite and granitite. The Finland rappa-kivi, the Serdobol gneiss, and the Pargas and Rustiala marble (with the so-called Eozoon canadense) yield good building stone; while iron, copper and zinc-ore are common in Finland and in the Urals. Rocks regarded as representing the Huronian system appear also in Finland, in N.W. Russia, as a narrow strip on the Urals, and in the Dnieper ridge. They consist of a series of unfossiliferous crystalline slates. The Cambrian is represented by blue clays, ungulite sandstones and bituminous slates in Esthonia and St Petersburg. The Ordovician and Silurian systems are widely developed, and it is most probable that, with the exception of the Archean continents of Finland and the S , the sea covered the whole of Russia. Being concealed, however, by more recent deposits, the deposits appear on the surface only in N.W. Russia (Esthonia, Livonia, St Peters-burg and on the Volkhov), where all the subdivisions of the system have been found; in the Timan ridge; on the W. slope of the Urals; in the Pai-kho ridge; and in the islands of the Arctic Ocean. In Poland the rocks of these periods are met with in the Kielce Mountains, and in Podolia in the deeper ravines. The Devonian dolomites, limestones and red sandstones cover immense tracts and appear on the surface over a much wider area. From Esthonia these rocks extend N.E. to Lake Onega, and S.E. to Mogilev; they form the central plateau, as also the slopes of the Urals and the Petchora region. In N.W. and middle Russia they contain a special fauna, and it appears that the Lower Devonian series of W. Europe, represented in Poland and in the Urals; is missing in N.W. and central Russia, where only the Middle and Upper Devonian divisions are found. Carboniferous deposits occur over nearly the whole of E. Russia, their W. boundary being a line drawn from Archangel to the upper Dnieper, thence to the upper Don, and S. to the mouth of the last-named river, with a long narrow gulf extending W. to encircle the plateau of the Donets. They are visible, however, only on the W. borders of this region, being covered towards the E. by thick Permian and Triassic strata. Russia has three large coal-bearing regions—the Moscow basin, the Donets region and the Urals. In the Valdai plateau there are only a few beds of mediocre coal. In the Moscow basin, which was a broad gulf of the Carboniferous sea, coal appears as isolated inconstant seams amidst littoral deposits, the formation of which was favoured by frequent minor subsidences of the seacoast. The coal is here confined to the lower division of the system; the Upper Carboniferous (corresponding with the English Coal-Measures) is exclusively marine, consisting chiefly of Fusulina limestone. The Donets Coal-Measures, containing abundant remains of a rich land-flora, cover nearly i6,000 sq. m., and comprise a valuable stock of excellent anthracite and coal, together with iron-mines. In this basin, as in W. Europe generally, the principal coal seams occur in the Upper Carboniferous, while the Lower Carboniferous is mainly composed of marine deposits, with, however, the first bed of coal near its summit. Several smaller coalfields on the slopes of the Urals and on the Timan ridge may be added to the above. The Polish coalfields belong to another Carboniferous area of deposit, which extended over Silesia. The Permian limestones and marls occupy a strip in E. Russia of much less extent than that assigned to them by Murchison. The variegated marls of E. Russia, rich in salt-springs, but very poor in fossils, are now held by most Russian geologists to be Triassic. The Permian deposits contain marine shells and also remains of plants similar to those of England and Germany. But in the government of Vologda, on the rivers Sukhona and N. Dvina, Glossopteris, Noeggerathiopsis and other ferns characteristic of the Indian Gondwana beds have been found; and with these are numerous remains of reptiles similar to those which occur in the Indian deposits. In the Urals the marine fades is more fully developed and the fauna shows affinities with that of the Productus limestone of the Central Asian mountain belt. During the Jurassic period the sea began again to invade Russia from S.E. and N.W. The limits of the Russian Jurassic system may be represented by a line drawn from the double valley of the Sukhona and Vytchegda to that of the upper Volga, and thence to Kieff, with a wide gulf penetrating towards the N.W. Within this space three depressions, all running S.W. to N.E., are filled up with Upper Jurassic deposits. They are much denuded in the higher parts of this region, and appear but as isolated islands in central Russia. In the S.E. all the older subdivisions are represented, the deposits having the characters of a deep-sea formation in the Aral-Caspian region and on the Caucasus. Cretaceous beds—sands, loose sandstones, marls and white chalk—occupy nearly the whole of the region S. of a line drawn from the Niemen to the upper Oka and Don, and thence N.E. to Simbirsk. Over a large part of this area, however, they are concealed by the later Tertiary deposits, and they are absent over the Dnieper and Don ridge in the Yaila Mountains and in the higher parts of the Caucasus. They are rich in grinding stone, and in phosphatic deposits. The Tertiary formations occupy large areas in S. Russia. The Eocene covers wide tracts from Lithuania to Tsaritsyn, and is represented in the Crimea and Caucasus by thick deposits belonging to the same ocean which left its deposits on the Alps and the Himalayas. Oligocene, quite similar to that of N. Germany, and containing brown coal and amber, has been met with only in Poland, Courland and Lithuania. The Miocene (Sarmatian stage) occupies extensive tracts in S. Russia, S. of a line drawn through Lublin to Ekaterinoslav and Saratov. Not only the higher chains of Caucasus and Yaila, but also the Donets ridge, rose above the ~~7/'',~~~ Quaternary G':'711 Tertiary Cretaceous Volgian Jurau/a Trias & Perm-Trine a.mion sae r.rn,o. ceraony„a,.s Carboniferous level of the Miocene sea, which was very shallow to the N. of this last ridge, while farther S. it was connected both with the Vienna basin and with the Aral-Caspian. The Pliocene appears only in the coast region of the Black and Azov Seas, but it is widely developed in the Aral-Caspian region, where, however, the Ust-Urt and the Obshchiy Syrt rose above the sea. The thick Quaternary, or Post-Pliocene, deposits which cover nearly all Russia were for a long time a puzzle to geologists. They consist of a boulder clay in the N. and of loess in the S. The former presents an intimate mixture of boulders brought from Finland and Olonets (with an addition of local boulders) with small gravel, coarse sand and the finest glacial mud,—the whole bearing no trace of ever having been washed up and sorted by water in motion, except in subordinate layers ofglacial sand and gravel; the size of the boulders decreases on the whole from N. to S., and the boulder clay, especially in N. and central Russia, often takes the shape of ridges parallel to the direction of the motion of the boulders. Its S. limits, roughly corresponding with those established by Murchison, but not yet settled in the S.E. and E., are, according to M. Nikitin, the following:—from the S. frontier of Poland to Ovrutch, Uman, Kremenchug, Poltava and Razdornaya (50° N. latitude), with a curve N. to Kozelsk (I); thence due N. to Vetluga (58° N. latitude), E. to Glazova in Vyatka, and from this place towards the N. and W. along the watershed of the Volga and Pechora (?). S. of the 50th parallel appears the loess, with all its usual characters (land fossils, want ofpstratification, &c.), showing a remarkable uniformity of composition over very large surfaces; it covers both watersheds and valleys, but chiefly the former. Such being the characters of the Quaternary deposits in Russia, the majority of Russian geologists now adopt the opinion that Russia was covered, as far as the above limits, with an immense ice-sheet which crept over central Russia and central Germany from Scandinavia and N. Russia. Another ice-covering was probably advancing at the same time from the N.E., that is, from the N. of the Urals, but the question as to the glaciation of the Urals still remains open. As to the loess, the usual view is that it was a steppe-deposit due to the drifting of fine sand and dust during a dry episode in the Pleistocene period. The deposits of the Post-Glacial period are represented through-out Russia, Poland and Finland, as also throughout Siberia and Central Asia, by very thick lacustrine deposits, which show that, after the melting of the ice-sheet, the country was covered with immense lakes, connected by broad channels (the Darden of the Swedes), which later on gave rise to the actual rivers. On the outskirts of the lacustrine region, traces of marine deposits, not higher than 200 or perhaps even 15o ft. above present sea-level, are found alike on the Arctic Sea and on the Baltic and Black Sea coasts. A deep gulf of the Arctic Sea advanced up the valley of the Dvina; and the Caspian, connected by the Manych with the Black Sea, and by the Uzboy valley with Lake Aral, penetrated N. up the Volga valley, as far as its Samara bend. Unmistakable traces show that, while during the Glacial period Russia had an arctic flora and fauna, the climate of the Lacustrine period was more genial than it is now, and a dense human population at that time peopled the shores of the numberless lakes. The Lacustrine period has not yet reached its close in Russia. Finland and the N.W. hilly plateaus are still in the same geological phase, and are dotted with numberless lakes and ponds, while the rivers continue to dig out their yet undetermined channels. But the great lakes which covered the country during the Lacustrine period have disappeared, leaving behind them immense marshes like those of the Pripet and in the N.E. The disappearance of what still remains of them is accelerated not only by the general decrease of moisture, but also perhaps by the gradual upheaval of N. Russia, which is going on from Esthonia and Finland to the Kola peninsula and Novaya Zemlya, at an average rate of about two feet per century. This upheaval—the consequences of which have been felt even within the historic period, by the drainage of the formerly impracticable marshes of Novgorod and at the head of the Gulf of Finland—together with the destruction of forests (which must be considered, however, as a quite subordinate cause), contributes towards a decrease of precipitation over Russia and towards increased shallowness of her rivers. At the same time, as the gradients are gradually increasing on account of the upheaval of the continent, Lhe rivers dig their channels deeper and deeper. Consequently central and especially S. Russia witness the formation of numerous miniature canons; or ovraghi (deep ravines), the summits of which rapidly advance and ramify in the loose surface deposits. As for the S. steppes, their desiccation, the consequence of the above causes, is in rapid progress.' 1 Bibliography: Memoirs, Izvertia and Geological Maps of the Committee for the Geological Survey of Russia; Memoirs and Sborniks of the Mineralogical Society, of the Academy of Science and of the Societies of Naturalists at the Universities; Mining Journal; Murchison's Geology of Russia; Helmersen's and Moller's Geological Maps of Russia and the Urals; Inostrantsev in Appendix to Russian translation of Reclus's Geogr. Univ., and Manual of Geology (Russian). { Semiryechensk Population.—The population of the empire, which was estimated at 74,000,000 in 1859, was found to be over 129,200,000 at the census of 1897, taken over all the empire except Finland. In 1904 it was estimated to be 143,000,000, and in 1906, according to a detailed estimate of the Central Statistical Committee, it was 149,299,300. Thus from 186o to 1897 the population increased 741%, and from 1897 to 1904 26.3, an average annual increase of about 31% as compared with an average annual increase of 21% during the period 186o-97. The increase took place chiefly in the large cities, in Siberia, Poland, Lithuania, S. Russia and Caucasia. The official divisions of the empire are given here, and details are given in separate articles.
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