Russia is the largest country in the world, with 77% of its territory located behind the Ural Mountains. The vast lands of Siberia and the Far East have provided the entire country with resources for many years.
However, for a long time these territories belonged to the Russians only on paper and did not really settle down.
Southern Siberia, the Volga region and Central Asia are steppe regions in which nomads have lived since ancient times. In addition to hunting and cattle breeding, they plundered sedentary peoples and levied tribute to them. Naturally, the sedentary peoples did not like this and they gathered armies for protection.
Russia had the same fate. For many years, the Russians opposed the eastern nomads: the Pechenegs, Polovtsians, Tatars, Nogais. Until the 17th century, the Crimean Tatars annually raided the southern lands of Russia and took hundreds of thousands of people prisoner.
To stop the robberies, the Russians were forced to move east and settled in the lands of the nomads. AND
There was no question of any development and long-term prosperity. And the construction of a wall along the Urals, similar to the Great Chinese, for protection from raids was not possible.
Throughout the history of Russia, furs have been the main trade commodity. She was literally the oil of the Middle Ages:
However, in the 16th century, the number of fur animals in Europe declined dramatically. It was necessary to look for new habitats for animals, and Siberia became such. The hunters mastered unfamiliar places and slowly moved east.
In the 18th century, the role of furs declined, replaced by gold, coal, oil, gas and other natural resources. In the 20th century, it was Siberian resources that became a reliable support for the USSR, and then modern Russia. Without them, the state would be much poorer.
Siberia is a treasure trove of Russian resources. Here
All the heavy industry, which the Soviet Union was proud of and which Russia inherited, could not have been created without the mineral deposits of the Urals and Siberia. Today it is 20% of Russia’s GDP, and together with the extractive industries, the eastern lands make a huge contribution to the country’s economy.
The position of Siberia on the world map greatly helped the USSR in the 20th century. During the confrontation with the United States, due to the threat of the Third World War, missile systems, combat aircraft, tanks, and nuclear warheads were deployed throughout the snow-covered region.
Decentralization of military equipment reduces the risk of accurately hitting enemy missiles when attacking opponents. This is how Siberia helps the European part of the country feel relatively safe.
Instead of the Russians, the lands of North and East Asia would be mastered by other peoples. For example, the British could include Siberia in their colonial empire, and after its collapse it would be an English-speaking country with a small number of indigenous people, like Canada.
Today Russia would be a much less developed country. Of course, it would hardly have ceased to exist, but it would definitely have turned into an average state without the right to a serious voice on the world stage.
What do you think, what would Russia be like without Siberia? Leave your opinions in the comments! And also subscribe to the channel so as not to miss new interesting materials 🙂