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    Soviet Union Geography - 1991

      Total area: 22,402,200 km2
      land area: 22,272,000 km2

      Comparative area: slightly less than 2.5 times the size of US

      Land boundaries: 19,933 km total
      Afghanistan 2,384 km, Czechoslovakia 98 km, China 7,520 km, Finland 1,313 km, Hungary 135 km, Iran 1,690 km, North Korea 17 km, Mongolia 3,441 km, Norway 196 km, Poland 1,215 km, Romania 1,307 km, Turkey 617 km

      Coastline: 42,777 km

      Maritime claims: Continental shelf: 200 m (depth) or to depth of exploitation
      Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
      Territorial sea: 12 nm

      Disputes: bilateral negotiations are under way to resolve disputed sections of the boundary with China; US Government has not recognized the incorporation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania into the Soviet Union; Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan Islands and the Habomai island group occupied by Soviet Union since 1945, claimed by Japan; maritime dispute with Norway over portion of Barents Sea; has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other nation; Kurdish question among Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and the USSR

      Climate: mostly temperate to arctic continental; winters vary from cool along Black Sea to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from hot in southern deserts to cool along Arctic coast

      Terrain: broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia, deserts in Central Asia, mountains in south

      Natural resources: self-sufficient in oil, natural gas, coal, and strategic minerals (except bauxite, alumina, tantalum, tin, tungsten, fluorspar, and molybdenum), timber, gold, manganese, lead, zinc, nickel, mercury, potash, phosphates; note--the USSR is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas, third in coal

      Land use: arable land 10%; permanent crops NEGL%; meadows and pastures 17%; forest and woodland 41%; other 32%; includes irrigated 1%

      Environment: despite size and diversity, small percentage of land is arable and much is too far north; some of most fertile land is water deficient or has insufficient growing season; many better climates have poor soils; hot, dry, desiccating sukhovey wind affects south; desertification; continuous permafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development

      Note: largest country in world, but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of world

      NOTE: The information regarding Soviet Union on this page is re-published from the 1991 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Soviet Union Geography 1991 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Soviet Union Geography 1991 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 08-Feb-03
    Copyright © 2003 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)