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1.    Tim Marshall, the author of Russia and the Curse of Geography explains in the beginning of the article how the geography of Russia determines how Russia’s political leaders ruled the country. Due to the flatlands in the west that led all the way up to Moscow also known as the European Plains, Russia has be invaded several times for the past 500 years. Previous Russian leaders and President Putin believed that it was their duty to prevent more invaders coming in from the west and to control the European Plains. Although the plains are about a width of 2,000 miles near the border which makes it difficult for leaders to protect it, Russia’s vastness has also helped protect invaders, such as The Mongols who which expanded their empire by attacking the region.       The next leader to rule was Ivan the Terrible and took a different approach to the geography issue, so he extended territory east to gain many strengths for Russia such as the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea. Expanding their territory caused Russia to become a lot tougher to invade, because invaders would have to go through mountains or invade from the south but that would call for a giant army and larger supply chains. Next Peter the great and Catherine the Great expanded the empire westward so they could reach all the way to the Carpathian mountains and to occupy Ukraine. At the end of WW2 Russians occupied territory which became part of the U.S.S.R, but instead of the Mongols it was NATO. That struck the fall of the U.S.S.R which is most commonly known as the collapse of the U.S.S.R caused the territory to shrink again, so the European borders ended up with Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.        Marshall now discusses how a large problem for Russia was due to the lack of ports and warm water oceans.The largest Russian port was closed off by the Sea of Japan which the Japanese was in control of. Not only did that stop trade from flowing in and out of Russia, but it also prevented Russia from functioning as a global trade power, because Russian fleet didn’t have access to the world’s most important sea lanes. Russia at this time was now dependent on Ukraine, because pro-Russian government held say in Kiev then Russia’s buffer zone would remain guard also a neutral Ukraine would lease the warm-water port Russia had in Crimea. Then protests started occurring in Ukraine which then brought down the pro-Russian government so Putin had a choice whether to respect Ukraine or do what previous leaders have done. Putin decided to annex Crimea so Russia would be able to access the only warm-water port and to protect the border from NATO.      Towards the end of the article Marshall explains why Russia intervened in Syria and that was because of Putin’s ally, Bashar al-Assad. Putin believes that confronting NATO members is worth having a naval base in the port city of Tartus.That just means that if Bashar al-Assad fails then the new rulers of Syria are allowed to kick them out. All of the previous leaders such as Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great and now current leader, Putin they have all faced the same problem, geography of the land, but no matter how each leader has approached the problem they all face the same outcome which is frozen ports and no barriers in the west to stop invaders from passing through the European Plains.2.    Tim Marshall claims that geography dictates leaders’ decisions. The evidence the author uses to explain his assertion can be found in paragraph 1 on page 2 and paragraphs 9 and 10 on page 6. Marshall states that due to the fact that there are no barriers to protect Russia’s border and control invasions from the west Putin and leaders before him have had to figure out ways to stop these invasions from occurring with what geography Russia has. Also, political leaders are feeling that with a lack of geography to help make Russia easier to control, it has put limitations on what leaders can do to improve Russia with the power that they have. During the 18th century there was nothing to stop invasions so Russia was indefensible but as Marshall proves in the article he talks about how since there was nothing protecting invasions Peter the Great took matters into his own hands and annexed Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania to be able to experience less invasions.     The author stated that Russia’s size was a beneficial factor and a non-beneficial factor. Tim Marshall uses paragraphs 3-4 on pages 2-4 to help prove his comment. In the article Marshall elaborates on how Russia’s size is one of the main reasons why Russia gets invaded numerous amounts of times. The European Plain for example encompasses 2,000 miles around the Russian border and since Russia is so large it makes it easy for people to use the European Plain to enter Moscow. Also since Russia is so large it is hard to control the border and defend the border from invaders such as the Poles, the Swedes, and the Germans. Although Russia is a large landmass, Russia’s size is also a beneficial factor. Since the European Plain runs all the way to Moscow lots of invaders use that plain, but since it’s such a long route that by the time the attackers reach Moscow they have a long chain of supply lines that become very hard to defend when it’s reaching from their territory all the way to Russia, making it easier for Russian leaders and armies to encounter the supply line.    According to the reading Marshall believes that Russia’s problems aren’t only due to land, but also have to deal with the water surrounding and nearby Russia. Marshall supported his assertion in paragraph 5 on page 4 and paragraph 11 onpage 7. Marshall has stated that since Russia does not have access to a warm-water port it makes it very difficult for trading. That is shown, because since the Vladivostok port is controlled by the Japanese that doesn’t allow Russia to access the port all year long and that means no access to the sea-lanes. Also since Russia was lacking its own port that has made Russia have to become crony with Ukraine, so Ukraine would allow Russia to use it’s own warm-water port in Sevastopol. With that being said Russia is only leased the port if Ukraine doesn’t join the European Union or NATO and the pro-Russian government isn’t overruled. So, Russia not having it’s very own port that can be used for trade or military services has caused Russian leaders to come with ways and systems that’ll allow Russia to be able to have access to ports.3.    Tim Marshall’s essay reminded me of the movie The 5th Wave, because both the article and the movie both dealt with a main leader dealing with how to protect its citizens and how to deal with the geography. In the movie one of Callie’s problems was dealing with geography, because as she was trying to figure out a way to save her brother she goes through all sorts of waves. The first wave was losing all power, the second was an actual and massive wave, the third was disease, the fourth and fifth were invasions. Callie tries to find her brother which related to how in the essay Marshall talked about how Russia annexed Crimea, because Russia believed that Crimea would be an asset due to pro-Russian government and because of the ethnicity and finding Sam was a huge asset to Callie, because of previous history. Both Russia and Callie had to do what they thought was best for them and what would benefit them, because Crimea benefitted Russia due to its warm-water port and Callie’s going through geographic barriers so she’ll be able to reunite with her family member.      Also the article reminded me of the movie, because both the article and movie had problems with invasions. Russia has had many invasions which made me think of how in The 5th Wave the United States was being invaded by “The Others”, because of how big of a landmass the United States was. According to the article, Russia was being invaded due to the lack of barriers and where the position of the barriers were, for example the Ural Mountains were in the east so barely any invaders came through there, so the invasions were more from the west due to the European Plain leading all the way to Moscow. Same as how in the movie where Callie was stationed there were barriers surrounding their camp, so it made “The Others” have to figure out a way to invade their camp, but also Callie had to figure out a way for “The Others” not to. When reading the article the movie stuck out to me, because both movie and article were dealing with some sort of land issue, mostly due to barriers, and both had to deal with invasions, whether a leader had to be in charge and figure out a way to stay sovereign such as Putin and Ivan the Terrible or if a group had to be in charge such as Callie and her team.                   4.    Czarist- The government’s system and principles under a czar.       Arctic circle- An imaginary parallel line to the equator which is located between the North Temperate Zone and the North Frigid Zone.         Crony Capitalist- An economic system in which the success of business depends on how close relationships are between government officials       Sea-lanes- The route ships take to pass over into a sea or ocean.            The Mongols- A native Mongolian that has joined the Mongol Empire.5.     Physical Boundary- The article reminded me of physical boundary, because Russia had a major problem with the lack of boundary the state had to keep out intruders. Russia has had the same occurrence which is invaders, because for the past 100 years people have been invading Russia due to where their boundaries are because there are the European Plains which is a straight route all the way to Moscow. Also in the article Tim Marshall discussed how the geography was a disadvantage to Russia, so Ivan the Terrible made his territory larger by pushing his territory out east, south, and north so that would allow Russia to how physical boundaries such as the Ural Mountains (east), the Caspian Sea (south), and the Arctic Circle (north) to separate themselves from the Mongols and access to more barriers to keep out invaders.        Geopolitics-  “Russia and the Curse of Geography” reminded me of geopolitics, because Russia’s geography was dictating the leaders power by only allowing them to have so much power to be able to run the state and figure out a way to stop invaders. Russia was very hard to control but easy to invade in the early stages due to the fact of where its physical barriers were located. That affected leaders, because instead of worrying about their trading, which was not their strong suit due to lack of ports, the leaders had to worry about how they were going to come up with a solution on how to still have power and control the borders. Leaders like Peter the Great in the 18th century decided to expand his empire to be able to gain more physical barriers such as the Carpathian Mountains and occupy more land for him to rule.      Irredentism- The article represented the term irredentism, because of when Russia annexed Crimea. The fall of the U.S.S.R did not benefit Russia, because it caused Russia’s territory to become smaller and did not allow it to have claim of territory that they believed belonged to them. Crimea was apart of the Ukraine before Russia annexed it and Russia believed that land would be a benefit, because Crimea had access to a warm-water port and Crimea had a pro-Russia government which meant that Russian ethnicity was still a factor in Ukraine. Having the pro-Russian government and warm-water port made Russia’s decision easier, because they felt Crimea should be apart of Russia and not Ukraine.     Sovereignty- This article reminded me of sovereignty, because each leader had control and authority over the matters of Russia such as the geography and the invasions. For example, Ivan the Terrible, also known as the first tsar, saw that what Russia needed to do was to expand its territory so it would gain access to physical barriers such as the Caucasus and Ural Mountains. Now Peter the Great took over after Ivan the Terrible and “piggybacked” Ivan’s ideas by taking control of Russia and deciding that expanding Russia and taking over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania would help defend attacks coming in from the Baltic Sea. Putin’s ideas were a little more different, because he showed sovereignty by having agreements with other states such as Ukraine and gaining access to a port before Russia annexed Crimea and Putin’s ally Bashar al-Assad letting Russia have a naval base inside of Syria.     Annexation- The article reminded me of annexation, because Tim Marshall talked about Russia claiming territory such as Crimea. Before Crimea, Ukraine was annexed Russia was leased that warm-water port, but only if the Ukraine was neutral or the pro-Russian government held influence in the capital of Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea so that would gain Russia its own warm-water port and not have to worry about whether or not people would protest against the pro-Russian government.

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