Russia


Flag and map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.

Long-form Name: Russian Federation

Capital: Moscow

Area north of 60 latitude: 45% of its total area (17,075,383 sq. km.)

Ethnic Mix:
Russian 81%, Moldavian 0.7%, Belorussian 0.8%, Bashkir 0.9%, Chuvash 1.2%, Ukrainian 3%, Tatar 4%

Principal industries:
Natural gas refining, steel and coal production and processing, all forms of machine building, shipbuilding, transportation equipment, consumer durables, communications and agricultural equipment, medical and scientific instruments.

Currency: ruble = 100 kopeks

Aboriginal peoples:

Sami (near Murmansk), Inuit (east coast), Komi, Nentsy, Nganasany, Sel’kupy, Khanty, Evenki, Dolgany,Yakuti, Eveny, Chukchi. In the interior of the country are other groups such as the Mansi, Koryaki and Yukagiry.

Did you know?
Murmansk, with a population of more than 400,000, is the largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle. Because of the Gulf Stream, its port is open year round.

Learn more:
http://www.gov.ru/ (Russian Federation site)
http://www.un.int/russia/home.htm#english
(Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations – English)

Sources:
Canadian Global Almanac 2003
The Northern Circumpolar World by Bob MacQuarrie (Reidmore Books)

SANDPIPERS, BIRDS OF THE TUNDRA

The number and diversity of most bird, animal and plant species drops as you head north. But the sandpiper family is a dramatic exception.

Experts say there are 19 million birds in the sandpiper family that scientists call Calidris and 94% of them raise their young in the Arctic. The Bering Sea region of Russia is especially rich in sandpipers – in eastern Chukotka alone, 11 different species are found!

They flock north for the innumerable insects that are always available on the tundra in the perpetual daylight of midsummer, then in winter return south to spend the season in a wetland. Conservation efforts aimed at protecting sandpipers therefore need to consider preserving habitat along their entire flyway, as well as in the regions where they breed, if they are to truly assist in supporting this species.

Among Arctic sandpipers, the males generally care for the young. After laying her eggs, the female is free to leave and breed again with a different male, producing two or more clutches of eggs in a good summer.

Many Arctic wading birds, including many sandpipers, have brownish-red coloration, especially on the breast and neck. This serves as camouflage for birds sitting on the nest on the summer tundra, where low-angled sunlight gives a reddish hue to many objects and is a natural adaptation to the demands of the Arctic habitat.

Source:
Arctic Flora and Fauna: Status and Conservation. The Program for the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Helsinki: Edita, 2002