From the series Social Progress and Sustainability
Grade Range: 7th – 12th
Page Count: 80
Lexile Level: 1220L
In Eurasia, two countries have dominated the political, economic, and social landscape for centuries–Russia and Turkey. By sheer landmass, Russia is the largest country in the world and for decades after World War I, it was even bigger as the leader of the Soviet Union. This dictatorial, predominantly Christian empire included Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Ukraine. Other areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro were under Soviet influence. Often in conflict with Russia, Turkey stood apart with its democratic government and mostly Muslim population. In the early 1990s, the Soviet Union broke up, leading to several independent nations that, for the most part, have shifted to more democratic governments. While Russia and Belarus have elections, however, the process is highly controlled so that opposition parties cannot gain power. Several countries in Eurasia face economic struggles with high unemployment and health problems, with dangerous levels of pollution and alcoholism. Turmoil in the Middle East and between Ukraine and Russia have contributed to instability in the region. Since the harsh Soviet regime of the 1900s, however, social progress is heading in a positive direction as more people experience increased personal freedoms and tolerance.
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