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View Poll Results: Wher does Siberia belong ?

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Thread: Siberia: Europe or Asia ?

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    Heart Siberia: Europe or Asia ?



    This question has bothered me for some time. What to think of Siberia ? To what does Siberia belong; in terms of human geogrphy, history, politics & economy, culture, ethnicity, language, and other things ?
    Siberia mostly belongs to Russia, which in turn is considered a European country. What then is Siberia ?

    1. Europe: Eastern Europe by extension of Russia's possession of West Siberia since 1581.
    2. Asia: Russian colonial territory in Asia.
    3. Neither: Ought to be considered a separate entity neither all European nor all Asian. For a new name, how about the following ?

    Eurussuria, for eu "good" + russ "Russia" + ussuri "Ussuri River, Chinese Heilongjiang üK—´]" + a "big place"

    Interesting stats regading area (unit: square miles) & population (unit: 1,000) of (1970)

    Region:..........Russia....Russia in Europe.....Siberia...........Asia
    Area: ..............6,593.......................1,262... ...5,331........17,139
    Population:...130,090.....................94,485.. ..35,605....2,661,000

    Only 19% of Russian territory lies in Europe; 81% lies in Asia
    Upto 73% of Russians live in Europe; 27% in Asia.
    Physically Siberia constitutes 39% of the Asian Continent in the traditional sense.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Siberia Fact Sheet pulled from various sources

    Siberia refers to the "region in NE Asia in Russia extending from the Urals to the Pacific; roughly coextensive with Russia in Asia"
    (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed., 1998)

    "on North bounded by the Arctic Ocean., Sounthern limits crossing Khazakh Republic, and the boundaries of China and the Mongolian People's Republic.

    The region lies almost entirely in within Russia except for a small part in the Khazakh Republic; regarding administration the political subdivisions bordering on the Ural Mts. and the Pacific Ocean are not considered Siberia.

    Administrative units: Altai Krai, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Chita, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Omsk, and Tomsk oblasts, and the Buryat, Tuva, and Yakutsk Republics.

    Physical features: Bordered by Kara, Laptev, and East Siberian Seas on North, and by Bering Sea, Sea of Okhostk, and the Sea of Korea-Japan on East.

    Has 3 large peninsulas Taimyr, Chukotski, and Kamchatka.
    Principle islands off its coasts are Severnaya Zemlya group, New Siberian Is., Wrangel, Komandorskiye Is., and Sakhalin.

    The northern belt along the Arctic Ocean consists of open, frozen tundra, rich in fur-bearing animals.
    In the west are low plains, some with extensive marshland.
    In the south & central parts are several plateaus.
    In the east & south-east numerous mountain ranges; Eastern Range on Kamchatka, containing highest peak in Siberia (Klyuchevskaya Sopka 15,580 ft.); Cherskogo and Chukot Ranges, and Verkhoyansk Kolyma and Yablonovy Mts., and the Sikhote-Alin along the coast of the Sea of Korea-Japan; Sayan Mts. on the southern border and Ural Mts. on the west.

    Its great rivers, the Ob, Yenisei, and Lena, flow north to the Arctic Ocean, and the Amur on its SE border flows to east to Tartar Straight; other rivers are the Khatanga, Yana, Indigirka, Kolyma, and Anadyr. In the south is the large lake Baikal.

    Chief products: Coal, iron ore, manganese, gold, copper, lead, zinc, tungsten; large oil fields in west brought into production in 1966; spring wheat, oats, rye,; lumbering, fishing.

    Chief cities: Novosibirsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novokuznetsk, Irkutsk, Barnaul, Kemerovo, Tomsk, Ulan-ude, Chita.

    History: Tartar Khanate of Siberia conquored for Russia by Cossacks under Ermak Timofeev 1581 (Cossack name of Region Sibi'r /s@-bi'r/); region of the Amur reached by Russians in 1644 and partly abandoned by Treaty of Nerchinsk 1689; Maritime Province ceded to Russia by China 1860; connected with Russia by Trans-Siberian Rail Road, built 1891-1905.

    Eastern Siberia the scene of activities of anti-Bolshevist Admiral Kolchak and of Allied intervention 1918-1919; reconquored by Boshevks and made part of Russia.

    In WWII its western part, esp. the industrial and mining areas, played an important role in the Soviet war effort. Has undergone large-scale colonization and exploitation of its natural resouces since WWII."

    (Adapted with nominal adjustments from Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988)

    note: Official names of the independent republics since the former USSR have not been verified.

    note: The controversial sea between South Korea (Eastern Sea, 동해, Donghae, “ŒŠC), North Korea (Eastern Sea of Joseon, 동조선해, Donjoseonhae, “Œ’Š‘NŠC), Japan (Sea of Japan, ‚É‚Á‚ŰƒA‚Š‚˘, ‚É‚ŮƒA‚Š‚˘, Nipponkai, Nihonkai, “ú–{ŠC), and Russia has been temporarily styled 'Sea of Korea-Japan' adopting some forumers' opnion in previous discussions on the forum, Japan Reference. For those of you who might find the order in which Korea & Japan appear as offensive could equally use the alternative, 'Sea of Japan-Korea,' thus making the term context friendly depending on the particular communication situation.

    Websters' Online Dictionary on Sea of Japan Controversy
    Last edited by lexico; 21-04-05 at 16:22. Reason: West Siberia <== East Siberia since 1581

  2. #2
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    Geographically Siberia is part of the Asian continent, but being Russia, it is probably a bit more European than Asian.

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    I tend to go with what Maciamo said.

    We should remember though, the differentiation between Asia & Europe is kind of artificial. It's the same tectonic plate: Eurasia. It would make more sense to separate the Arabian & Indian peninsulas from Eurasia than Europe from Asia. Hence I can't really recognise a problem regarding Siberia (although a small part of Siberia seems to be on the North American plate, maybe you should ask whether Siberia should be divided into a Eurasian & an American part).

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    Talking How novel an idea !!!

    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    I tend to go with what Maciamo said.

    We should remember though, the differentiation between Asia & Europe is kind of artificial. the same tectonic plate: Eurasia.
    True, but there used to be quite some many non-Indo-European peoples living in Siberia, the greatest example being the Xingnu who threatened the Chinese from Zhou to Han, and the Three Kingdomes period. The Ural Mountains did serve to delineate population groups from prehistoric times down to the historical period. Although low in population, those Paleo-Asian peoples do make the place, Siberia, controversial for more than one reason.
    It would make more sense to separate the Arabian & Indian peninsulas from Eurasia than Europe from Asia.
    Intersting observation about Asia Minor, and Levantine Asia, which reminds me of the Nostradic / Eurasiatic (forgot which) that separates Afro-Asiatic languages apart from most Indo-European & Asian language groups.
    Hence I can't really recognise a problem regarding Siberia (although a small part of Siberia seems to be on the North American plate, maybe you should ask whether Siberia should be divided into a Eurasian & an American part).
    Are you saying that you consider the Aleutian Islands, the Bering Strait, Alaska, and part of Canada Siberian ? Why would you think that ? *genuinely puzzled at this alien idea*

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    True, but there used to be quite some many non-Indo-European people living in Siberia
    Er..., if you want to go for ethnic or even linguistic lines, then it gets even more complicated. You would have quite a number of subdivisions. I prefer to go for the tectonic plates.

    Are you saying that you consider the Aleutian Islands, the Bering Strait, Alasca, and part of Canada are also Siberian ? Why do you think that ?
    From looking at the tectonic plates (which looks as if you had to divide Siberia in an American & a Eurasian part):
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I put Asia, I mean even Russia is not really inside europe, so siberia, although close i would have to say is more to the asian part than the european side.

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    Great observation about Arabia and India. Could it be that a different tectonic plate implies a different soil, and therefore different nutriments in the food, which over the long term could make these regions (Arabia & India) more different too in the way people think (esp. religious beliefs) ? Just a supposition. It is funny to see how the Greater India (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka) fits with the tectonic plate. Interesting also to see that the true Arabic heartland fits with the Arabian plate (eg. stops just at the border of Turkey and Iran).

    Even funnier is that Japan is divided West-East between the Eurasian plate and American plate, exactly at the typical division of West and East Japan for such things as the TV's hertz (50 vs 60), liking of natto, or side of the escalator people stand (right in Westerrn Japan, left in Eastern Japan), etc.

    Iceland, whose people aren't sure whether they are European or American, is also on both tectonic plates.

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    I've always considered it part of Asian. Geographically it is in Asia. Fair enough Russia is considered a European country, but so is Turkey, even though both of them are mainly in Asia. Cyprus is the one for me. I would call it an Asian island seeing it is off the coast of Turkey and Syria, but it a European country. Go figure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Great observation about Arabia and India. Could it be that a different tectonic plate implies a different soil, and therefore different nutriments in the food, which over the long term could make these regions (Arabia & India) more different too in the way people think (esp. religious beliefs) ? Just a supposition. It is funny to see how the Greater India (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka) fits with the tectonic plate. Interesting also to see that the true Arabic heartland fits with the Arabian plate (eg. stops just at the border of Turkey and Iran).
    Interesting coincidences (if those are coincidences & not as you said, linked to to some geographic features).

    Another one to add would be the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican high cultures (Olmecs, Maya, etc.) whose sphere of influence pretty much ended at the division of North-American & Caribbean plate. IIRC the next high culture area south of that line was in & around what is now Peru, & those cultures were not closely related to the Mesoamerican ones.

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    siberia: permafrost* most likely, unlike europe.

    geographically, the ural landmarks europes east border.
    climatically, russia features large areas which are remote from the sea.
    europe countries are never far away from the sea.

    *below 1 metere the ground keeps frozen all year.

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    It should stick to being european, because of the language..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor
    It should stick to being european, because of the language..
    There are several languages spoken in Siberia. I think, most languages in Siberia belong to the Altaic language family, not Indo-European (as Russian is).

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    culturally: Russia = Europe....however, I think I'd pick Asia....although I'd say it is "in between"...

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    im from russia (i kak ne stranno imenno s sibiri AGA )

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by smit
    im from russia (i kak ne stranno imenno s sibiri AGA )
    Welcome to the forum, and Eurussuria, smit ! Can you please tell me what this means ? I have a feeling you're saying something humorous, but can't quite pinpoint it, not even close. But let me try a couple of guesses just for fun:

    1. And what's isn't strange about Siberia, huh ?
    2. And where isn't there something strange with Siberia, Aha !
    3. And isn't it strange to be from Siberia ?
    4. And what can be more strange than to have Siberia ? Yes ?

    Anyway, I'd like your opinion ... I know it's your country, but do you feel Siberia to have been fully integrated into Russian culture, or is it still considered the heterogenous frontierlands with vast, untamed, wild territories ?

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    Asia, Europe, Euroasia... What difference... How did Shakespear said?
    smth like "the rose still smells as rose no matter how you called it" (don`t know in english)

    We are "AsiaApes" Living on vast territories with great rivers, forests and tundra, with lots of snow in a winter and a lot of gnat in a summer
    and about 10 people per square km (ok! ok! might be exaggerating)

    Culturally? hm... got a lot from Europe (since all started there) but then moved beyond the Urals, merged (sometimes not successfully) with many ethnic groups there. But, i guess, we have sort of 'mindset of our own'. One saying runs in a country: that "we have 2 problems - fools and roads", others add "and four seasons which always seem to come unexpectedly"
    But, of course, it`s not that bad. Inspite of all, i am proud and happy to be Russian

    Area around my city (which is a part of western Siberia)
    http://www.yaroslavovna.ru/index.php?cat=0

    it`s in Russian (NP for those who can read cyrillic). But to ease a little: pictures go under titles

    winter.................spring
    summer...............fall
    mashrooms...........birds&animals
    fishing.................flowers&butterflies
    berries.................vacation (not our region)
    the best
    random
    recent

    if won`t be too lazy will find some more sites about Eastern Siberia

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    Meh, well I'm part russian by birth, and I attended russian school during my yearly childhood years, and in geo class we were often taught that russia is an asian country, rather than european. Yes, western russia has a more european culture and such, but if you go out to sibera, its like full out asian. So if youre only talking about sibera, then its asian all the way.

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    Culturally I think its been shifting for quite some time. Just because something was Asian in 1500 AD doesn't make it culturally asian right now. Canada was inihabited by First nations before colonization, but their culture has little influence today.

    Before 1891 and the building of the Trans Siberian railway I'd say that Siberia was clearly asian because it was populated mainly by indigenous people. Even up until 1919, the weak control of the commons by the Tsars would really not have integrated them culturally beyond a vassalship relationship However I'd say various five year plans and the Second World War which instigated a massive population movement eastwards from the west would have had a major effect on the cultural makeup of Siberia. In addition the persuasive cultural program initiated by the Communist party across the breadth of the USSR (based on Lenninist/Marxist Values developed in western Europe) would have likely pushed it more towards the European camp. Soviet Style architecture, education, and social programs, clearly had an effect on how individuals think of themselves culturally. Literacy rates skyrocketed under the CCCP, which enabled them to root their cultural conceptions into the populace.

    For those who would like to make the point that China also developed communism as well, therefore this would not make Siberians under Soviet Communism, so different from Chinese comminsts, this would underplay the difference between the parties. Chinese Chinese communism developed its own distinctive culture and styles which differentiate it significantly from Soviet Communism. According to a close friend of mine who does Russian studies, you can see very clear cultural differences today at the border towns of Russia and China, where you can see a culture difference in operation. I doubt though that this will go all the way, but it may make a european/chinese hybrid culture.

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    You know what`s the main problem? The ultimate need to generalize and classify
    Why Siberia just can`t be Siberia? and russian mindset just the russian mindset?
    Germans are not French and French are not Italians, and Italians are not Norwegian
    Chinese are not Japanese or Koreans, and Vietnamese are not Chinese and so on...

    and btw, i am lousy historian. But why they always speak about soviet comminism? We didn`t have one. Tried to build socialism not really succeded
    USSR - second S is for socialistic as well or, maybe, i`ve heard about completely different marxist ideas and theories?

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    Its not a general need to classify for me. Clearly Siberians, (many of which are really European Russians who have emigrated out to the wastes) have been affected by Soviet era social programs. I'm just pointing out the effects of the cultural change on Siberians, and making a comment that they share more traits with European societies than Asian ones.

    About communism; Communism is usually used to denote political systems derived from the writings of Karl Marx. Bolshevik and Menshevik communism are obvious variants as is Maoist variants. Communist states liked to make really grand names for themselves just to make themselves look better than they really were. However in the west the USSR has always been classified as a communist state. Would you argue that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea really is a Democracy when its really one of the most totalitarian countries? Socialism usually denote systems where equality is a progressive aim of the state, although there may be many different variations of it. The Nazi Party described itself as the National Socialist Party, while many Europeans like the UK and France instituted "socialist" policies as part of the Welfare state. There is a clear difference between each.

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    I've always considered it as part of Asia.

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    Of Course Siberia is Asia. I think that maybe all Russia is Asia. Only Kaliningrad or St-Petersbourg is Europe. Maybe Moscow but im not sure. I think Europe borders mustt to be in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus Ukraine and Bulgary. I think that Turkey and Russia must'nt be in Europe territorys.

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    There is only the continent of Eurasia. Some countries happen to have moved towards Eurasia. In that sense Italy is a part of Africa ;)
    And India is a subcontinent that collided with Eurasia what formed the Himalaya.

    So Russia is Russia, and Siberia is Siberia. Both on either side of the Ural mountains. ;)

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    Geographically, Siberia is Asia. There's almost nothing except endless coniferous forests and marshes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Europa View Post
    Of Course Siberia is Asia. I think that maybe all Russia is Asia. Only Kaliningrad or St-Petersbourg is Europe. Maybe Moscow but im not sure. I think Europe borders mustt to be in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus Ukraine and Bulgary. I think that Turkey and Russia must'nt be in Europe territorys.
    I always considered western Catholic Ukrainians as part of Asia, especially those who are sympathetic to the Nazis. Western Ukraine rich by such kind of people.

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