What is the terrain and geography like in Russia?
Moscow is the largest city in Russia and is located west of the great Russian plain on the banks of the Moscow River at 37°73' E and 55°45' N. The city is built on several low hills varying from 25 feet to 815 feet above sea level.
St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city and the former imperial capital, is located on a flat plain at the mouth of the Neva River on the Gulf of Finland at 55°57' N and 30°20' E. Established in 1703, the city is built on a series of 101 islands, and is laced by canals and various streams of the Neva.
Yekaterinburg, Russia's third largest city with an estimated population of 1.5 million, is located near the center of Russia, at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Founded in 1723, Yekaterinburg today is the seat of the government for the Sverdlovsk region, which contains numerous heavy industries, mining concerns, and steel factories. In addition, Yekaterinburg is a major center for industrial research and development as well as home to numerous institutes of higher education, technical training, and scientific research.
Vladivostok, the largest city in the Russian Far East and home to the Russian Pacific fleet, is an important center for trade with the Pacific Rim countries. Closed to foreigners from 1958 to 1992, the city now is home to many foreign businesses and consulates.
Climate ranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia.
In Moscow Snow begins in October and continues periodically through April, although snowfall in May is not unusual. Annual rainfall averages 21 inches, with the heaviest rains falling between May and October. Prevailing winds are southerly and southwesterly. Due to Moscow's northern location, daylight varies from 7 hours in December to 17 1/2 hours in June. The average temperature in June and July is 66°F, but the summer temperatures frequently reach the low 90s. In the winter the temperature may fall to minus 40°F, but the average December and January temperature is 14°F. Though Moscow's winter air usually is dry, the wind chill factor makes the temperature feel much colder.
The climate in St. Petersburg is milder than in Moscow but is damp and misty. Average temperatures are 64°F in July and 17°F in January. St. Petersburg is famous for its "white nights" which occur in June when the sun shines for nearly 19 hours and sunset only brings semidarkness.
The climate in Vladivostok is milder than in many other Russian cities due to its location on the Pacific Ocean. Winter temperatures range between -68°F and 25°F.