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Russia (Russ and Simpson 8th Grade): The Assignment

A 2nd Semester Research Project in Cultural Geography

Project Details

Each student will choose a topic from the list on the back.  You will then complete a written report meeting the following criteria:

LENGTH AND FORMAT:  Your report should be approximately 600 words in length, which is around two pages typed, double-spaced.  Typing is required.

SOURCES: You must have at least two sources for your report (maximum one encyclopedia, minimum one non-Internet). You should cite in proper MLA format (use of Noodletools will help!)  DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!!!

CONTENT: You need to develop a thesis statement (like a topic sentence in a paragraph) and include it in the introduction to your paper. You should then organize your paper into two or three body paragraphs, each consisting of a main argument in support of your thesis. Go beyond a simple report on your topic and offer an analysis of how this issue/person/event affects people and nations.  Try to explore the causes and effects, the “why” as well as the “what.”  Make sure that you organize your content and that you follow the rules of grammar and usage we have discussed! DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!!! TURN IN THE PLANNING SHEET ALONG WITH YOUR REPORT.


In addition to the written reports, each student will also make an oral presentation to the class.  The oral report should meet the following criteria:

LENGTH - no less than TWO minutes and no longer than THREE minutes.  This means that you will need to practice at home to make sure that what you intend to say fits into the allotted time frame!

CONTENT - Much like the written report, provide an overview/summary. Again, organize your material instead of simply making a list and do not forget to explain why your topic is important.  Remember that you are teaching this information to the rest of the class.

PRESENTATION - You do not need to memorize your report, but you should not read the entire thing.  You may use up to two note cards to assist with your oral presentation.


 Due Date


  • Aral Sea - Central Asian sea, less than half its former size
  • Battle of Stalingrad (WWII) – turning point in European theater
  • Bolshevik Revolution - 1917 revolution bringing Lenin and communists to power
  • Caspian Sea - world’s largest inland sea
  • Catherine the Great - czarina of Russia from 1762-1796
  • Chechnya - Russian province that wants to break away; site of recent wars
  • Chernobyl - Ukrainian site of world’s worst nuclear disaster
  • Cossacks - peasants who formed the basis of the Russian army 1600’s-1800’s
  • Crimean War - 1850’s war between Russia and Britain/France
  • Dostoyevsky, Fyodor – great Russian author
  • Gorbachev, Mikhail - last ruler of USSR
  • Gulag – Soviet prison camp system
  • Ivan IV (the Dread) – Russian czar in the 1500’s
  • KGB - Soviet secret police
  • Lake Baikal - world’s largest (by volume) and oldest lake
  • Lenin, Vladimir - first Communist ruler of USSR
  • Mongols – Asian conquerors who dominated Russia for over two hundred years
  • oligarchs – the mega-rich of the new Russia
  • Peter the Great - czar of Russia from 1682-1725
  • Putin, Vladimir – former Russian President and still the most powerful man in Russia
  • Russia’s nuclear arsenal - security issues surrounding nuclear weapons
  • Russia’s oil and natural gas resources and their impact on Russia
  • Siberia - eastern Russia, extreme climate, prison camps
  • Stalin, Joseph - ruthless Communist dictator of USSR from 1928-1953
  • Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich - famous Russian composer
  • Trotsky, Leo – leader of the Red Army; lost power struggle with Stalin after Lenin’s death
  • Yeltsin, Boris - first post-Communist leader of Russia