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Russia: Major Geographic Qualities 1. Russia is the largest territorial state in the world. Its area is nearly twice as large as the next ranking country (Canada).

The Russian state constitutes a world geographic realm because of its territorial size, relative location, and substantial population; it is about three times as large as the contiguous United States and it extends across 11 time zones from its eastern frontier (the volcano-studded Kamchatka Peninsula) to its western port of St. Petersburg. The western half of Russia is bisected by the north-south trending Ural Mountains, which extend from the island of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean to the border with Kazakhstan. Its total area is 17,075,200 km²; land: 16,995,800 km², water: 79,400 km². Comparatively, it is slightly more than 2.2 times the size of Australia; slightly more than 1.7 times the size of Canada; slightly more than 70 times the size of the UK; and slightly more than 1.8 times the size of the U.S. 2. Russia is the northernmost large and populous country in the world; much of it is cold and/or dry. Extensive rugged mountain zones separate Russia from warmer subtropical air; and the country lies open to Arctic air-masses. As the northernmost populous country on Earth, Russia has virtually no natural barriers against the onslaught of Arctic Air. Winters are long, dark, and bitterly cold in most of Russia; summers are short and growing seasons limited. Many a Siberian frontier outpost was doomed by cold, snow, and hunger. To make matters worst, precipitation totals range from modest to minimal because of the warm, moist air carried across Europe from the North Atlantic Ocean loses much of its warmth and moisture by the time it reaches Russia. Russia's climatic continentality (inland climatic environment remote from moderating and moistening maritime influences) is characterized by most frigid climatic conditions on the planet. Climate and weather have always challenged Russia's farmers. Conditions are most favorable in the west, but even there temperature extremes, variable and undependable rainfall, and short growing seasons make farming difficult. During the Soviet period, fertile and productive Ukraine supplied much of Russia's food needs, but even then Russia often had to import grain.

(Physical Map of Russia showing its land elevation and depth) 3. Russia was one of the world's major colonial powers. Under the czars, the Russians forged the world's largest contiguous empire; the Soviet rulers who succeeded the czars took over and expanded this empire.

Russia, like Britain, France, and other European powers, expanded through colonialism. Yet whereas the other European powers expanded overseas, Russian influence traveled overland into Central Asia, Siberia, China, and the Pacific coastlands of the Far East. What emerged was not the greatest empire but the largest contiguous empire in the world. At the time of the RussoJapanese (1904), the Russian czar controlled more than 8.5 million square miles (22 million km2), just a tiny fraction less than the area of the Soviet Union after the 1917 Revolution. Thus, the communist empire, to a large extent, was the legacy of St. Petersburg and European Russia, not the product of Moscow and the socialist revolution. The czars embarked on their imperial conquests in part because of Russia's relative location: Russia always lacked warm-water ports. Had the Revolution not intervened, their southward push might have reached the Persian Gulf or even the Mediterranean Sea. Czar Peter the Great envisaged a Russia open to trading with the entire world; he developed St. Petersburg on the Baltic Sea into Russia's leading port. Centuries of Russian expansionism did not confine itself to empty land or unclaimed frontiers. The Russian state became an imperial power that annexed and incorporated many nationalities and cultures. This was done by employing force of arms, by overthrowing uncooperative rulers, by annexing territory, and by stoking the fires of ethnic conflict. By the time the ruthless Russian regime began to face revolution among its people, czarist Russia was a hearth of imperialism, and its empire contained peoples representing more than 100 million nationalities. The communists who forged the Soviet Union did not liberate these subjugated peoples. Rather, they changed the empire's framework, binding the peoples colonized by the czars into a new system that would in theory give them autonomy and identity. In practice, it doomed those peoples to bondage and, in some cases, extinction. 4. For so large an area, Russia's population of under 145 million is comparatively small. The population remains heavily concentrated in the westernmost one-fifth of the country. Russia's difficulties are underscored by the country's population data. The population of 144 million (2004) is shrinking because of the dislocation, turmoil, fears, and uncertainties arising from the post-Soviet transition. This population decline now amounts to about 1 million per year. Male life expectancy has dropped from 66 in the mid-1960's to 59 in the early 2000's; it is also declining for women. Among males, alcoholism, suicide, and other manifestations of social disorder drive down life expectancy. In the general population, drug abuse, heavy smoking, and poor diets are to blame. The incidence of disease is rising. Tuberculosis is taking a heavy toll; AIDS cases are multiplying rapidly; cancer rates are rising. Russia confronts a health crisis that threatens to overshadow all its problems. (See graph for some statistical figures of Russia's population growth) The population of Russia is 141,927,297 as of 1 January 2010. The population hit a historic peak at 148,689,000 in 1991, just before the breakup of the Soviet Union, but then began a decadelong decline, falling at a rate of about 0.5% per year due to declining birth rates and rising death rates. However the decline began to slow considerably in recent years, and in 2009 Russia recorded annual population growth for the first time in 15 years, with growth of 23.3 thousand. Russia's population density is 8 people per square kilometer (22 per square mile), making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The population is most dense in the European part of the country, centering around Moscow and Saint Petersburg. 73% of the population is urban.

5. Development in Russia is concentrated west of the Ural Mountains; here lie the major cities, leading industrial regions, densest transport networks, and most productive farming areas. National integration and economic development east of the Urals extend mainly along a narrow corridor that stretches from the Southern Urals region to the southern Far East around Vladivostok.

At the heart of the Russian Core lies the Central Industrial Region. Some geographers prefer to call this the Moscow Region, thereby emphasizing that for over 250 miles (400 km) in all directions from the capital, everything is oriented toward this focus of the state. Moscow has maintained its centrality: roads and railroads converge in all directions from Ukraine in the

south; from Mensk (Belarus) and the rest of Eastern Europe in the west; from St. Petersburg and the Baltic Coast in the northwest; from Nizhniy Novgorod (formerly Gorkiy) and the Urals in the east; from the cities and waterways of the Volga Basin in the southeast (a canal links Moscow to the Volga, Russia's most important navigable river); and even to the sub-arctic northern periphery that faces the Barents Sea.

The major cities of the realm are: Baki (Baku), Azerbaijan; Irkutsk, Russia; Kazan, Russia; Moscow, Russia; Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia; Novosibirsk, Russia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tbilisi, Georgia; Vladivostok, Russia; Volgograd, Russia; Yekaterinburg, Russia; and Yerevan, Armenia. 6. Russia is a multicultural state with a complex domestic political geography. Twenty-one internal republics, originally based on ethnic clusters, continue to function as politico-geographical entities. When the USSR dissolved in 1991, Russia's former empire devolved into 14 independent countries, and Russia itself was a changed nation. Russians now made up 83 percent of the population of under 150 million, a far higher proportion than in the days of the Soviet Union. Nut numerous minority peoples remained under Moscow's new flag, and millions of Russians found themselves under new governments in the former Republics. The spatial framework of the still-evolving Russian Federation is complex. It consisted of 89 entities: 2 Autonomous Federal Cities, 21 Republics, 11 Autonomous regions (Okrugs), 49 Provinces (Oblasts), 6 Territories (Krays). Moscow and St. Petersburg are the two Autonomous Federal Cities. The 21 Republics, recognized to accommodate ethnic minorities in the population, lie in several clusters. (See map of 21 Republics)

These 21 Republics are: (1) Adygea; (2) Altai; (3) Bashkortostan; (4) Buryatia; (5) Dagestan; (6)Ingushetia; (7) Kabardino-Balkaria; (8) Kalmykia; (9) Karachay-Cherkessia; (10) Karelia; (11) Komi; (12) Mari El; (13) Mordovia; (14) Sakha (Yakutia); (15) North Ossetia-Alania; (16) Tatarstan; (17) Tuva; (18) Udmurtia; (19) Khakassia; (20) Chechnya; and, (21) Chuvashia

7. Its large territorial size notwithstanding, Russia suffers from land encirclement within Eurasia; it has few good and suitably located ports. Except for its very long Arctic coastline (which is most of the times covered with ice), Russia is encircled basically by lands; on its western side is Europe, on its southern flank, its former territories--the Central Asian Republics, and on its eastern edge, East Asian countries. Such encirclement limits Russia's advantage in terms of good and suitably located ports. Thus, Russia has historically justified interference in nearby countries affairs in the name of its own national security and its desire to achieve a warm water port for its navy and access to shipping lanes. Ports in Russia are among one of the means of transporting goods and freights from one destination to another. The former Soviet Union had 92 seaports but after its disintegration only 41 ports belong to Russian Federation. The development of the Ports is one of the major concerns for the Russian federal and regional governments. They are determined to rebuild the infrastructure of the ports so that international trade can be increased through its own ports. (Mapsoftheworld.com, 2009) 8. Regions long part of the Russian and Soviet empires are realigning themselves in the post-communist era. Eastern Europe and the heavily Muslim Southwest Asia realm are encroaching on Russia's imperial borders. When the USSR dissolved in 1991, Russia's former empire devolved into 14 independent countries, and Russia itself was a changed nation. Russians now made up about 83 percent of the population of under 150 million, a far higher proportion than in the days of the Soviet Union. But numerous minority peoples remained under Moscow's new flag, and millions of Russians found themselves under new governments in the former Republics. Russian minorities in Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, and other former colonies continue to look to Moscow for support when their privileges or rights are abridged. In Moscow, the geographic concept of a Near Abroad took hold, a sphere of influence in the former Soviet periphery where Russia would reserve the right to protect the interests of its kin. As time went on, and Russian expatriates either returned home or adjusted to their new situation, that notion lost its urgency. Still Russia projected its power onto small neighbors when it perceived the need and opportunity, as it did in the Georgian province of Abkhazia, where its actions fomented secessionist ideas and had the effect of destabilizing the government in Tbilisi, Georgia's capital. Among former Soviet republics, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine have enjoyed the closest political and economic ties. These three, along with Kazakhstan, agreed in 2003 to form a "Common Economic Space" that also signaled closer political ties. Elsewhere, Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova formed the GUUAM group, dedicated to facilitating trade through the Caspian-Black Sea corridor. 9. The failure of the Soviet-communist system left Russia in economic disarray. Many of the long-term components of the country's infrastructure broke down in the transition to the post-communist order. Fundamental economic changes have transformed the Russian domain since the demise of the Soviet Union. Much of the highly centralized state-controlled economy of state-run operations and private enterprise. The changeover has been very difficult. Fundamental problems of unstable currencies, corruption, and changing government policies plagued the system for much of the 1990's. In Russia, steel output declined from almost 70 million tons in 1992 to less than 50 million tons at the end of the decade. The Russian economy underwent tremendous stress as it moved from a centrally planned economy to a free market system. Difficulties in implementing fiscal reforms aimed at raising government revenues and a dependence on short-term borrowing to finance budget deficits led to a serious financial crisis in 1998. Lower prices for Russia's major export earners (oil and

minerals) and a loss of investor confidence due to the Asian financial crisis exacerbated financial problems. The result was a rapid decline in the value of the ruble, flight of foreign investment, delayed payments on sovereign and private debts, a breakdown of commercial transactions through the banking system, and the threat of runaway inflation. Russia, however, appears to have weathered the crisis relatively well. As of 2009 real GDP increased by the highest percentage since the fall of the Soviet Union at 8.1%, the ruble remains stable, inflation has been moderate, and investment began to increase again. (Wikipedia, 2010) 10. Russia long has been a source of raw materials but not a manufacturer of export products, except weaponry. Few Russian (or Soviet) automobiles, televisions, cameras, or other consumer goods reach world markets. Russia is one of the most industrialized of the former Soviet republics. However, years of very low investment have left much of Russian industry antiquated and highly inefficient. Besides its resource-based industries, it has developed large manufacturing capacities, notably in machinery. Russia inherited most of the defense industrial base of the Soviet Union, so armaments are the single-largest manufactured goods export category for Russia. Efforts have been made with varying success over the past few years to convert defense industries to civilian use. (Wikipedia, 2010)

REGIONAL ISSUE--Russia: CHECHNYA

IN SUPPORT OF RUSSIAN CONTROL OVER CHECHNYA "As a policeman here in Moscow, I strongly support the government and the army in their efforts to establish control over the criminal elements trying to take control of Chechnya. Let us remember what happened there. When the Russian government back in 1991 had to take charge of our country and its many components, there was lots of opposition. The Tatars (also Muslims, like the Chechens) talked about establishing an independent state in their republic. The Kalmyks, the Udmurts, the Bashkirs, the Chuvash and many others proclaimed that they wanted everything ranging from autonomy to independence. There were even Russians demanding it in places like Yekaterinburg and Primorskiy. But the government under President Yeltsin negotiated all these claims and gave those people reasons to want to stay under the Russian flag. Except the Chechens. Nothing was going to satisfy them. "And the Chechens were even given their own republic after the changeover from Soviet to Russian administration. In 1991 they still shared their territory with the Ingush, who are also Muslims, in the so-called Chechen-Ingush Republic. So what did the Chechens do? They installed their separatist leader as ruler of the republic and started fighting with the Ingush minority. To help solve this crisis, Russia's government divided the republic's territory into two, the larger, richer part including the capital and the oilfields for the Chechens and the remainder for the Ingush. "But it wasn't good enough for the Chechens. They attacked the Russians living in Chechnya, causing the army to move in to protect Russians and Russian interests. They broke the truce that followed. Then they mounted a full-scale war from their mountain hideouts and caused us hideous casualties. They didn't care that their capital was totally

WHY CHECHNYA DESERVES INDEPENDENCE "My grandparents were born in what is today the Russian colony of Chechnya, and they died a horrible death somewhere in Soviet Central Asia. I am here to avenge their deaths and to punish the Russians for what they did to my people. "Russians seem to think that we are fighting for independence just because we want it. Why aren't we like all those other minorities that have come to terms with their lives under Moscow's heel? Well, in our case there is more to it. We fought the Russian imperialists to a standstill less than two centuries ago, when the czars' armies colonized Islamic peoples from the Caucasus to Central Asia. Yes, we were eventually defeated, but those Russians never really penetrated our mountain hideouts. Then came the Soviets, who thought they did us a big favor by creating one of those "Autonomous Republics" for us along with the poor Ingush. But look at the map. They combined our traditional homeland with a stretch of flatland to the north, which was full of Russian farmers and oilmen. Do you think Groznyy was a Chechen town? Think again. 0r look for a mosque on those photographs of the 'good old days.' "But we might have put up with it all except for what happened during the war between the Soviets and the Germans, World War ll. Some of us Chechens were happy to see the Germans do to the Soviets what the Soviets had done to us, but Josef Stalin accused us all of collaborating with the enemy. In a few short months he packed all 500,000 of my people on trains and sent them to exile in Kazakhstan. Thousands died on the trains and were simply thrown onto the tracks. Many more, probably about 125,000, perished in the desert. I don't know where or when my grandparents died, but my parents survived.

destroyed; these Muslim warlords fought among themselves even as they fought us. Next they started using terror to get their way. Remember the autumn of 1999, when they blew up apartment buildings in Moscow, causing more than 300 dead? And how about what they did in Dagestan, where they took over a bunch of villages and declared an "independent Chechen republic"? Not to mention that hospital full of doctors, nurses, and patients, whom they took hostage, eventually killing hundreds of innocent victims. These are people to whom we should entrust the government of an independent country on our borders? Never. "So don't criticize us when it comes to our strategies to deal with these barbarians. Foreign governments say that the Russian army does terrible things to captured Chechens, but what about the treatment of Russian soldiers by Chechen rebels? War is brutal, and this is a war for the soil of Mother Russia. "lf we give up in Chechnya, other minorities will get ideas about independence too, and that would be the end of the nation. There is nothing to negotiate. Russia must and will prevail."

"We got our homeland back because the Soviet dictator Khrushchev reinstated our Republic in 1957, and the survivors straggled back. But nobody ever forgot what was done to us. We're not talking of a few hundred hostages here. We're talking about the killing of a quarter of a nation. Still, we tried to restart our society under those atheist Soviets, keeping our Islamic practices quiet and private. But then the Soviet Empire collapsed and we got our chance. ln 1991 we declared our independence from the new Russia, and at first it seemed that the Russians would be sensible and approve. "But before long the Russians changed their minds and tried to intervene in our internal affairs. We managed to defeat the Russian army once again, and the war devastated Groznyy, but the Russians would not even consider independence. We got assistance from Muslims elsewhere and money from many sources, but we can see that Russia will not give us what we want. So we turn to any means we can to wound the Russian bear, and we will chase it out of Chechnya with the help of Allah. "

Summarized five themes in understanding Russia's geography Environmental geography: Many areas within the Russian domain suffered severe environmental damage during the Soviet Era (1917-91), and today, air, water, toxic chemical, and nuclear pollution plague many portions of the region. The Russian domain faces many environmental challenges. The breakup of the Soviet Union and subsequent opening of the region to international public scrutiny revealed some of the world's severe environmental degradation. Studies suggest that nearly 65 million Russians live in areas of chronically poor air quality and that the drinking water is unsafe in half of the country. The frenetic pace of seven decades of Soviet industrialization took its toll across the region. Even in some of the most remote reaches of Russia, careless mining and oil drilling, the spread of nuclear contamination and rampant forest cutting have resulted in frightening environmental damage. For example, since the 1980's the global environmental costs of Siberian forests lost to lumbering and pollution may have exceeded the more widely publicized destruction of the Brazilian rain forest. Poor air quality plagues hundreds of cities and industrial complexes throughout the region. Building of large clusters of industrial processing and manufacturing plants in concentrated areas, often with minimal environmental controls, has produced an ongoing legacy of fouled air that stretches from Belarus to Russian Siberia. A traditional reliance on abundant, but low-quality coal also contributes to pollution problems. In effect, large numbers of urban residents across the region suffer from chronic respiratory problems. Degraded water is another hazard that residents of the region must cope with daily. Municipal water supplies are always constantly vulnerable to industrial pollution, flows of raw sewage, and demands that increasingly exceed capacity. For example, the Baltic Sea near the city of St. Petersburg has reached a critical level of pollution that killed fish and threatens to permanently damage the region's ecosystem. The biggest problem is that 30 percent of all the residential and industrial waste that enters the sea via the Neva River is unfiltered raw sewage, a toxic mix of heavy metals and human waste that is rapidly killing the Baltic. Settlement and population: Unlike most world regions, one of the key demographic challenges facing the Russian domain is its declining population, given the rising death rates and low birthrates recently experienced by the region.

Striking differences in population densities exist between European and Asian portions of the Russian domain. The more favorable agricultural setting of the European West historically encouraged higher densities of population than did the more inhospitable conditions found across central and northern Siberia. Although Russian efforts over the past century have encouraged a wider dispersal of the population, it remains heavily concentrated in the west. European Russia is home to 100 million persons, while Siberia although far larger, holds some 35 million. When one adds the 65 million inhabitants of Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine, the imbalance between east and west becomes even more striking. Recently, Russia acknowledged that the country faced a crisis of persistently declining populations. Government officials pledged to improve the nation's health-care system, provide more incentives for increasing birthrate, and foster immigration. The success of those initiatives remains to be seen, however, and government studies in 2000 predicted that Russia's population could fall by a startling 25 million by 2030. The region's demographic crisis appears related to the fraying social fabric and uncertain economic times. Many Russian families report that they simply do not have sufficient incomes to support children. The health of women of childbearing age also has declined, while problem pregnancies, maternal childbirth death rates, and birth defects are on the rise. Similarly, sharp increases in death rates, especially among Russian men, appear related to many stress-related conditions, such as alcoholism and heart disease. Murder and suicide rates have climbed rapidly in the past 20 years. Perhaps, 20 to 30 percent of the increase in death rates may be attributed to the region's increasingly toxic environment. Cultural coherence and diversity: Although Slavic cultural influences dominate the region, many nonSlavic minorities shape the cultural and political geography of the domain, including varied indigenous peoples in Siberia and a complex collection of ethnic groups in the Caucasus Mountains. For hundreds of years, Slavic peoples speaking the Russian language expanded their influence from an early homeland in central European Russia. Eventually, this Slavic cultural imprint spread north to the Arctic Sea, south to the Black Sea and Caucasus, west to the shores of the Baltic, and east to the Pacific Ocean. In this process of diffusion, Russian cultural patterns and social institutions spread widely, and they also influenced scores of non-Russian ethnic groups that continued to live under the rule of the Russian Empire. The legacy of that Slavic expansion continues today. It offers Russians a rich historical identity and sense of nationhood. It also provides a meaningful context in which to understand the way present-day Russians are dealing with forces of globalization and how non-Russian cultures have evolved within the region. Approximately 80 percent of Russia's population claims a Russian linguistic identity. Russians inhabit most of European Russia, but there are large enclaves of other peoples. The Russian zone extends across southern Siberia to the Sea of Japan. In sparsely settled land of central and northern Siberia, Russians are numerically dominant in many areas, but they share territory with varied indigenous peoples. Finno-Ugric (Finnish-speaking peoples), though small in number, dominate sizable portions of the non-Russian north. While many have been culturally Russified, distinct Finnish-speaking peoples such as the Karelians, Komi, and Mordvinians remain a part of Russia's modern cultural geography. Altaic speakers also complicate the country's linguistic geography. This includes the Volga Tatars. Yakut peoples of northeast Siberia also represent Turkish speakers within the Altaic family. Geopolitical framework: President Vladimir Putin's attempt to centralize Russian political power has contributed to economic stability within the region, but many observers fear democratic freedoms and a more open Russian society may suffer under Putin's regime. The geopolitical legacy of the former Soviet Union still weighs profoundly upon the Russian domain. After all, the bold lettering of the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" dominated the Eurasian map for much of the 20th century, and the country's global political reach left no corner of the world

untouched. Many of the present political uncertainties that plague the region stem from the Soviet period. Former Soviet republics continue to struggle to define new geopolitical identities for themselves. Neighboring states persist in eyeing the region with trepidation, the legacy of former Soviet political and military power. Present demands for more local political control within countries such as Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia can still be understood in the context of the Soviet era, when a highly centralized political apparatus gave little voice to regional dissent. At the same time, Russia's new regional and global visibility and its desire to recentralize authority in Moscow have raised concerns elsewhere within the domain, in Europe, and in the U.S.A. Within Russia, further pressures for devolution, or more localized political control, produced the March 1992 signing of the Russian Federation Treaty. The treaty granted Russia's internal autonomous republics and its lesser administrative units greater political, economic, and cultural freedoms, including more control of their natural resources and foreign trade. Defined essentially along ethnic lines, 21 regions possess status as republics within the federation and now have constitutions that often run counter to national mandates. Economic and social development: Russia's large supplies of oil and natural gas have made it a major player in the global economy, but future prosperity increasingly hinge on unpredictable world prices for fossil fuels. Russia's oil and gas industry remains one of the strongest economic links between the region and the global economy, and the diverse international connections it has forged suggest the increasing importance of the sector to the region's future. The statistics are impressive: Russia's energy production now makes up 25 percent of its entire economic output. Russia has 35 percent of the world's natural gas reserves (mostly in Siberia), and it is the world's largest gas exporter. AS for oil, Russia is by far the world's largest non-OPEC producer, and it is the second largest oil exporter in the world (behind Saudi Arabia). It far outpaces the United States in annual output (major oilfields are in Siberia, the Volga Valley, the Far East, and the Caspian Sea region), and it possesses more than twice the proven reserves of the United States. The Russian Mafia. Organized crime is pervasive in Russia and controls many aspects of the economy. The government's own interior ministry estimates that the Russian mafia controls about 40 percent of the private economy and 60 percent of state-run enterprises. The mafia provided critical capital and jobs to many unemployed young men in the unstable months immediately following the collapse of communism. Today, bribery and protection are part of the cost of doing business across much of the Russian domain. Various local and regional crime organizations have divided up much of the economy. More than 8,000 syndicates now exist in Russia alone. While one group might control the construction business in a Moscow suburb, another syndicate oversees drug dealing and prostitution, and still another helps to funnel illegal CD's and DVD's to eager consumers. Fraying Social Fabric. Tough economic times and political uncertainties have contributed to a fraying social fabric within the Russian domain. Rates of violent crime increased late in the Soviet period and have risen further since the fall of communism. Organized criminal activities have profited from fewer state restrictions on economic activity, and street crime has escalated with growing urban poverty and insecurity. Unemployment, rising housing costs, and declining social welfare expenditures have hit many families. Often, both husband and wife work multiple low-paying jobs with few benefits and long hours. Women are paying an especially heavy price amid the current economic and social problems. Beatings and rapes are common. A survey in Moscow suggested that one-third of divorced women had experienced domestic violence, while a women's rights group in Ukraine reported that rape was an all-too-common crime in many villages.

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