Russia vs United States



The United States and Russia have been battling off pernicious factions menacing the stability of their democracies over the years. Russia has come a long way over the past century, enduring a number of different phases that have completely desecrated any power Russia may have had paralleled to the rest of the world. The United States, however, has been evolving into a prosperous world power that has led to new respect from many other nations. Both Russia and the United States have struggled in the past at maintaining a significant amount of cultural commitment to preservation of specific aspects of their respective democracies. Having a relatively new democracy, Russian citizens have different perceptions and expectations of government from those of United States citizens. With new liberties and freedoms, Russians are struggling to grasp the concept of capitalism and participation in government. In order to preserve strong features of democracy, such as the right to vote or freedom of speech, a country\'s constituents must respect and positively view their government. They must have faith in that the government is working for their best interests. Physically, the United States and Russia have been impacted greatly by their geography. Historically, the backgrounds of Russia and the United States are of stark contrast. Traditionally, Russians have a difficult time believing in the stability of their government as it has changed a number of times.
Geography has had a profound influence on the Russian psyche. Russia is a land that lies open to invasion and the elements, for it possesses no major natural barriers. In the southeast, there are great plains that allow easy entrance to any would-be conquerors (Melvin 139). In the southwest there is the steppe, home of many fierce nomadic tribes and prime invasion route for the horsemen of central Asia. In Russia\'s north there are vast forests and tundra, which, although not a defensive vulnerability, provide little possibility for sustenance (Melvin 156). There are no significant mountain chains to shield Russia west of the Urals. This has allowed countless invasions to devastate Russia through the centuries. The Mongols, Poles, Swedes, French, Germans, and other nations have all invaded and pillaged Russia (McDaniel 162). The lack of mountain barriers leads to another problem; unhindered cold arctic winds. They blow across Russia, bringing freezing air and much snow. As a result, forty percent of Russian territory is permanently frozen subsoil, and only one third of Russia is moderately temperate. The great plains of Russia, which are responsible for producing much of its food, are on the same latitude as Canada. This leads to great difficulty in producing sufficient quantities of food (Gustafson 137). The duel problems caused by geography, the vulnerability to attack and the paucity of resources, have caused a marked effect on the Russian mind. The Russian people are more favorable to a strong, even authoritarian government, because they see it as necessary in order to mobilize their scarce resources to provide for the common defense (McDaniel 125). This effect has been present throughout Russian history. The Russian peasants tolerated serfdom until 1864, with only one major revolt. This was much later than in Western Europe. Even when the tsar rescinded many of the liberties granted to them in 1905, it took more than ten years and millions of Russian soldier deaths to lead to revolution (McDaniel 124). The Russians were hesitant to depose their ruler because they saw the stability he offered as more important than their individual rights. This tendency is not conducive to democracy. Freedom and equality for all, the basic prerequisites of democracy, are not the Russian people\'s number one priority. Living in such a harsh land they see the necessities of food and safety as more important than philosophical ideals.
In stark contrast, is the American geographical situation, which has had an equally profound influence, albeit with radically different results (Heywood 98). Unlike Russia, America is a temperate and relatively sheltered land. The Atlantic Ocean has provided protection from most serious invasion threats, while the Native American tribes of the interior never proved to be a serious danger to the United States. As a result, the American people never saw a need for an immensely powerful central government to protect