Atlas of Russia and the Independent Republics

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9780130519962: Atlas of Russia and the Independent Republics
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The breakup of the Soviet Union has necessitated the updating of old reference sources and the creation of new ones. This new atlas is a useful contribution to that effort. Author Brawer brings considerable authority and experience to the project. He earned his doctorate in geography at the University of London and has been a professor at Tel Aviv University since 1964. He is also the author of Atlas of the Middle East and Atlas of South America.

The atlas places the territory it covers in its twentieth-century historical context. An "Introductory Survey" describes the territory's abiding natural features, flora and fauna, and climate; territorial expansion of the USSR; population and ethnicity; and communications and transportation networks. Text and maps in this section, and throughout the atlas, complement one another. Subsequent chapters cover each of the 15 independent republics, beginning with the Russian colossus of the north and working south, first from the west and then to the east. These 15 include the 12 republics that belong to the Commonwealth of Independent States and the three Baltic states (i.e., Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania).

Country-specific chapters describe each republic's natural regions, climate, population, economy, history, government and politics, and national capital. A fact box introducing each chapter cites statistics on area, population, and demographic trends. Maps, charts, and tables illustrate the lucid text. These employ various shades of red, from a faint pink to a full red reminiscent of the Soviet Union's flag. Brawer's text touches only lightly on civil and ethnic strife such as the recent war in Chechnya. The index confines itself to the national political maps and place-names listed on them. A concluding bibliography cites sources within brief topical bibliographic essays.

Brawer has put together a useful atlas with a combination of analytical commentary and maps that provides a good overview of these countries, most of which westerners had little awareness of while they were subsumed by the Soviet Union. Because the Economist Atlas of the New Europe [RBB O 1 93] and the Historical Atlas of East Central Europe [RBB D 15 93] cover only the western part of the former USSR, this atlas makes a unique contribution.

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Brawer, Moshe
Published by MacMillan Reference Books (1995)
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