View Poll Results: Is Russia Europe or Asia?
Europe 23 15.86%
Asia 9 6.21%
Both 105 72.41%
Neither; it's something completely else 1 0.69%
I don't know 2 1.38%
Depends on... 4 2.76%
An answer not listed here 1 0.69%
It's actually Mars 0 0%
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  #1  
Old 04-16-2019, 11:43 PM
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Is Russia Europe or Asia?


The vast majority of the Russian population clearly lives in, around, and west of Moscow.

The vast majority of the area comprising Russia is clearly Asia.

Culturally, the vast majority of Russians are clearly much more European than Asian.

Which is it?
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Old 04-17-2019, 12:24 AM
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Both. Just like Kazakhstan and Turkey.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:25 AM
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This has been a popular parlor debate since the Middle Ages. And they were usually discussing culture, even before Russia expanded geographically.

I'm voting Europe. Peter the Great and Catherine the Great steered the culture firmly westward.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:56 AM
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Culturally Europe. Geographically Asia.

It's Eurasian.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
Both. Just like Kazakhstan and Turkey.
Quite so.

This is a geographical definition, not a cultural one.

European Russia is the western part of the Russian Federation, which is part of Eastern Europe.

North Asia … sometimes also referred to as Siberia or Eurasia, is partly a subregion of Asia, consisting of the Russian regions east of the Ural Mountains: Siberia, Ural and the Russian Far East. The region is sometimes also known as Asian Russia (as opposed to the smaller but more densely populated European Russia to the west).

If you really want to use cultural definitions, then Israel (and Australia) is in Europe.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:21 AM
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Is Russia Europe or Asia?

Yes.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:04 AM
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I voted "Both" - yes, there's been some periods of Russia being "steered westward", but just as often it turns its back on Europe or is actively antagonistic to it. And I don't mean just Western Europe, there, I mean all of it.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:44 AM
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I voted, "Depends on..." -- in my view, culturally Russia and Russians are, (greatly) in the main, European; geographically, they are wherever they happen to live.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
Both. Just like Kazakhstan and Turkey.
Topic-drifting; but I initially boggled a bit, at the mention of Kazakhstan here -- thinking, "surely Kazakhstan is in Central Asia, period". Consulting of sources reveals that nowadays anyhow, it is correct to regard the far western end of Kazakhstan -- getting towards Astrakhan and Volgograd -- as in Europe.

Along similar lines: I have trouble accepting, at a "gut" level, the present-day convention that Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are in Asia, not Europe. For most of my life, I'd strongly had the impression that they counted as in Europe: "at that end of things", Turkey was where Asia began. That, likely, on the basis that G,A and A were long parts of the successive "Russian empires" -- Tsarist, and then Soviet; but since the 1990s, such matters have become looser / more fluid. "Empires" stuff aside, there would seem to be no compelling sense-making reason for allocating these countries to one continent, rather than the other: just, for me, a matter of what I'd long been accustomed to.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:23 AM
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Geographically Russia is in Asia by my own definition. Mentally I will always place the end of Europe somewhere in a line running from the Baltic states down to the Dnieper. Since it is an arbitrary line, my line is as good as anyone else's even if most people think Europe ends at the Urals, which is just crazy to me. Look at it, the Urals are smack in the center of the Asian continent!
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:58 AM
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Hasn't this very question been vexing Russia itself for centuries? Western Russians look like Europeans, but until the 20th century the physical distance between Moscow and the Atlantic made it kind of hard to keep abreast of the Euro clique. So Russia was always the weird kid from out of town--the one with the big bushy beard, the peculiar habits, and always behind on the news. They had the same problems if they looked east, but then they didn't even look like their neighbors. They want to be European, but they're just Russian.

Last edited by Inigo Montoya; 04-17-2019 at 08:58 AM.
  #11  
Old 04-17-2019, 09:18 AM
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Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia absolutely are in Asia, no two ways about it.

The 1937 novel Ali and Nino by Kurban Said, set in Azerbaijan just after the Russian Revolution, opens with a teacher telling his class that it has never been settled whether the three Transcaucasian nations are in Asia or Europe, and that now they have the chance to settle it on the side of Europe. He was wrong; they're Asian.

When I was studying Magyar culture, inspired by Bartók's music, I came to realize that Hungary identifies as a synthesis of East and West, while Russia by contrast defines itself in opposition to both East and West. The Magyars came from Asia and settled into Europe. The Russians hacked out a country by fighting both Asians and Europeans. Regardless, geographically Russia is both Asia and Europe.

The human-defined borders between Asia and Europe have been set at widely differing locations by different scholars, but the currently accepted boundaries make the most sense to me: the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, and the Caucasus divide. The ancient Greeks are to blame for wrongly defining Europe and Asia as different continents, and now we're stuck with that. All they knew of was the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, the one part of the boundary that everybody agrees on.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:26 AM
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It's clear to me that attempts to define Armenia as European are really a proxy for the opposition between Christianity and Islam. Which is pretty useless, geographically, and a whole other can of worms.

Ironically, while Georgia and Azerbaijan have small areas on the European side of the Caucasus divide, Armenia is nowhere near it, so of the three only Armenia is 100% Asian.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:57 AM
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It's a European nation which has colonized Northern Asia and has never let go of its Northern Asian colonies.
  #14  
Old 04-17-2019, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
Geographically Russia is in Asia by my own definition. Mentally I will always place the end of Europe somewhere in a line running from the Baltic states down to the Dnieper. Since it is an arbitrary line, my line is as good as anyone else's even if most people think Europe ends at the Urals, which is just crazy to me. Look at it, the Urals are smack in the center of the Asian continent!
Really, one can reckon that it's "Humpty Dumpty" -- anyone's Europe vis-a-vis Asia, can be whatever they want it to be. A slightly hyperbolic extreme: around the time of Germany's being re-unified, I learnt -- rather to my delight -- that the "Wessi's versus Ossi's" thing there is not all that new, and in fact antedates the events following from 1945. From a considerable time before that: in the realms of stereotypes, the people of the more westerly parts of Germany considered themselves sophisticated and forward-thinking and up with the continent's latest cultural stuff; and regarded the German further east, as uncultured bumpkins / hidebound reactionaries. The eastern folks, meanwhile, saw the west of the country as Sodom and Gomorrah.

One gathers about Konrad Adenauer, a Rhinelander; that when a member of the Reichstag in the Weimar Republic era -- when parliamentary duty called him to leave home for a spell in Berlin, he would say sadly to himself, as his eastbound train crossed the river Elbe: "Ah, me; here we go, back into Asia".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia absolutely are in Asia, no two ways about it.

The 1937 novel Ali and Nino by Kurban Said, set in Azerbaijan just after the Russian Revolution, opens with a teacher telling his class that it has never been settled whether the three Transcaucasian nations are in Asia or Europe, and that now they have the chance to settle it on the side of Europe. He was wrong; they're Asian.
Find myself now, half-wanting to read the above novel -- if only because I've never read anything originating from Azerbaijan (a country about which I in fact know very little).

Quote:
The human-defined borders between Asia and Europe have been set at widely differing locations by different scholars, but the currently accepted boundaries make the most sense to me: the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, and the Caucasus divide. The ancient Greeks are to blame for wrongly defining Europe and Asia as different continents, and now we're stuck with that. All they knew of was the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, the one part of the boundary that everybody agrees on.
Those Greeks -- they've got a lot to answer for ...


Certainly then, Johanna, for you Asia has it for the Caucasian states. As said --really for me, it's "just what I've been used to".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
It's clear to me that attempts to define Armenia as European are really a proxy for the opposition between Christianity and Islam. Which is pretty useless, geographically, and a whole other can of worms.

Ironically, while Georgia and Azerbaijan have small areas on the European side of the Caucasus divide, Armenia is nowhere near it, so of the three only Armenia is 100% Asian.
Or, if one were going to "do it by religion", then I suppose Azerbaijan, being Moslem, would be apportioned to Asia; and the other two, to Europe. Altogether, it feels tempting just to say, "let's call the whole thing out" !
  #15  
Old 04-17-2019, 11:44 AM
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I have trouble accepting, at a "gut" level, the present-day convention that Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are in Asia, not Europe.
To me, geographically at least, anything in Eurasia east of the Black Sea is Asia. Ukraine’s easternmost border, such as it is, then makes a further starting point for defining the Europe/Asia border. I’d probably then say that a line from that northeast border to the Kara Sea inlet seems as good as any other geographical boundary.

As for whether Russia is Europe or Asia, I’m voting both.
  #16  
Old 04-17-2019, 12:13 PM
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Seems to me that the question is very much like "Is Texas Southern or Western?"
  #17  
Old 04-17-2019, 12:24 PM
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Seems to me that the question is very much like "Is Texas Southern or Western?"
Seems more like asking "Is Mexico North America or Central America?" It's technically North America, but shares far more in common with Central America than with the USA or Canada.

So, like Two Many Cats said, Russia is geographically Asian (most of it's in Asia,) but most of the culture is European.
  #18  
Old 04-17-2019, 02:39 PM
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Depends on the part/region we're speaking of and who is doing the talking/deciding. Under the laws of various states at various times I qualified as "other" and whole branches of my family Oriental. All because someone asked Great and Grand-Pap to point at a globe to show where they were from.
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Old 04-17-2019, 02:43 PM
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Seems to me that the question is very much like "Is Texas Southern or Western?"
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Some people say Texas is the South. Texas don't want the South. Texas wants Mexico.
  #20  
Old 04-18-2019, 12:13 AM
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Never mind Texas, look at Missouri: It isn't North. It isn't South. It isn't East. It isn't West. It's just... Missouri.
  #21  
Old 04-18-2019, 04:13 AM
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I view culture over geography. The western half of Russia is very much European as are some of the countries here, while others take a hard lean into Asian class and culture. The ancient Greeks, a portion of my own ancestors, hastily divided up regions of the immediate world.
  #22  
Old 04-18-2019, 04:17 AM
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So, like Two Many Cats said, Russia is geographically Asian (most of it's in Asia,) but most of the culture is European.
If 'most of Russia is in Asia', where is the rest of it in?!
  #23  
Old 04-18-2019, 04:18 AM
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I view culture over geography.
Australia take part in the Eurovision Song contest.
Does that mean Australia is in Europe?!
  #24  
Old 04-18-2019, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
One gathers about Konrad Adenauer, a Rhinelander; that when a member of the Reichstag in the Weimar Republic era -- when parliamentary duty called him to leave home for a spell in Berlin, he would say sadly to himself, as his eastbound train crossed the river Elbe: "Ah, me; here we go, back into Asia".
Brandenburg, where Berlin is, Thuringia, and the other eastern parts of Germany were not originally German. They were conquered from Slavic peoples called Wends in the Middle Ages. Prussia was conquered from Baltic people.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:41 AM
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I voted Europe, just because that's where all the important cities are. Sure, some of the nation is geographically Asian, but I doubt any Asian has had much say into the running of the government.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:20 AM
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Australia take part in the Eurovision Song contest.
Does that mean Australia is in Europe?!
Australia was a guest entrant. They still are. Israel is a guest entrant, too, as the IBU is a member of the EBU. Neither country are culturally Europe, and one contest doesn't dictate what an entire country is like. Your own argument doesn't make sense since north African countries are allowed to enter as well as European countries with a predominantly Muslim population.

Either you didn't do research or you thought I layer culture over geography, when I was clear I prefer to view culture instead of geography.

Last edited by SOJA; 04-18-2019 at 08:22 AM.
  #27  
Old 04-18-2019, 12:18 PM
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Australia was a guest entrant. They still are. Israel is a guest entrant, too, as the IBU is a member of the EBU. Neither country are culturally Europe, and one contest doesn't dictate what an entire country is like.
How are you defining cultural similarities? Australian culture has far more in common with the UK than any of its neighbours, excepting New Zealand. Likewise Israel is generally more culturally aligned with Mediterranean Europe than with any of its immediate neighbours. Visit Jordan or Egypt and there's a very Arabic "vibe". Israel has some of that vibe - obviously so in Arabic neighbourhoods - but the overall atmosphere is very European. Although possibly, some of that impression may be because Israel is more prosperous than it's neighbours. Israel is very culturally unique, but so is Russia. Wandering around Israel, the countries it seems most similar to are Italy and Spain. The former Warsaw Pact countries still have Russian influences. But Russia seems far less like Germany than the contrast between Israel and Mediterranean Europe.
  #28  
Old 04-18-2019, 08:27 PM
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I voted Europe, just because that's where all the important cities are. Sure, some of the nation is geographically Asian, but I doubt any Asian has had much say into the running of the government.
You mean other than Stalin from Georgia, and Chernenko and Yeltsin from Siberia?
  #29  
Old 04-18-2019, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
...One gathers about Konrad Adenauer, a Rhinelander; that when a member of the Reichstag in the Weimar Republic era -- when parliamentary duty called him to leave home for a spell in Berlin, he would say sadly to himself, as his eastbound train crossed the river Elbe: "Ah, me; here we go, back into Asia"...
It's been an aphorism in German/Austrian politics since at least Metternich, and probably earlier: "Asia begins at the Landstraße." https://history.stackexchange.com/qu...an/27986#27986

I think it's geographically European, with Siberia as an Asian colony appended to it. And culturally closer to the Levant than Western or Central Europe. For all of the blather about Islam taking over France or Germany, the major European country (so not Turkey or one of the Balkan states) that is likely to first have a significant Islamic plurality, is probably Russia, given demographics. Of course, Russia could always divest from Ingushetia and Chechnya, etc...

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 04-18-2019 at 08:34 PM.
  #30  
Old 04-18-2019, 08:39 PM
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How are you defining cultural similarities? Australian culture has far more in common with the UK than any of its neighbours, excepting New Zealand. Likewise Israel is generally more culturally aligned with Mediterranean Europe than with any of its immediate neighbours. Visit Jordan or Egypt and there's a very Arabic "vibe". Israel has some of that vibe - obviously so in Arabic neighbourhoods - but the overall atmosphere is very European. Although possibly, some of that impression may be because Israel is more prosperous than it's neighbours. Israel is very culturally unique, but so is Russia. Wandering around Israel, the countries it seems most similar to are Italy and Spain. The former Warsaw Pact countries still have Russian influences. But Russia seems far less like Germany than the contrast between Israel and Mediterranean Europe.
Arabic is a language. You're looking for the word "Arab."

Australia is much like America, not the UK. The UK consists of several countries. Not every country is similar, especially in socio-economic interests. Israel is more like a middle eastern country, because it is one. Israel is not like Slovenia, Italy, Greece, and such. Which parts of Italy and Spain are you inferring Israel is like? Not any of the major cities. The country side? The Israeli countryside isn't too different than the rest of the middle east. If you use looks to define cultural similarity, than the major cities of Saudi Arabia and Jordan also resemble Israel's major areas such as Tel Aviv and Haifa, and if the latter resemble Italy and Spain, then your logic would say that Jordan and Saudi look the same, as well, and thus share some obscure cultural connection. Former Warsaw Pact countries don't look the same as Russia. They may share some culture due to the histories ties these countries have, but ideology, customs and a variety of traditions all lead towards west European influence and not Russian.

Having been to a bulk of the countries you brought up as an example for several weeks at a time outside of touristy areas, it's abundantly clear you've never had any meaningful time in those countries other than a few days and are blatantly trolling.

Last edited by SOJA; 04-18-2019 at 08:41 PM.
  #31  
Old 04-18-2019, 08:52 PM
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Australia is much like America, not the UK.
That doesn't preclude their also being closer to the UK than to their non-Kiwi neighbors. Culturally I think both are true: Australia and the United States are both closer to the UK than the UK, and the rest of western Europe in my opinion, is to Russia.

Now, who Poland is closer to is another story. Personally that's where I think the cultural boundary lies. Because while geographically Poland is European, culturally they seem to be in between Russia and their European neighbors. (I hesitate to say they are a "mixture" because they would probably tell you they are sui generis.)
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:11 PM
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That doesn't preclude their also being closer to the UK than to their non-Kiwi neighbors. Culturally I think both are true: Australia and the United States are both closer to the UK than the UK, and the rest of western Europe in my opinion, is to Russia.

Now, who Poland is closer to is another story. Personally that's where I think the cultural boundary lies. Because while geographically Poland is European, culturally they seem to be in between Russia and their European neighbors. (I hesitate to say they are a "mixture" because they would probably tell you they are sui generis.)
The UK is such a vast entity of countries that your post makes little sense. North Irish culture isn't similar to Australian or American culture, or other west European culture. Scottish culture isn't similar either. In my experience, Slovenian culture varies depending on which region of the country you're in during the warmer months. Some parts of Slovenia or even Italy reminded me of Greece. From the food, the way people interact, customs, etc. Beit Yannai is akin to Cape Cod in the spring if you go by looks alone. Culturally, they're very different. Monaco is considered a west European country by geography alone, but it is nothing like the other countries in the region, particularly the UK. The closest thing is maybe the fancy resort towns in Devon, England.

And then again, Monaco is an amalgam of several cultures as the country is so small and thus is teeming with variability in culture due to it being a melting pot of various economic status and ethnic background. Estonia and Finland could be easily compared to Russia as they have such a historic connection by culture, though that wasn't the former twos own doing or want to do that.

Last edited by SOJA; 04-18-2019 at 09:15 PM.
  #33  
Old 04-19-2019, 03:30 AM
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Brandenburg, where Berlin is, Thuringia, and the other eastern parts of Germany were not originally German. They were conquered from Slavic peoples called Wends in the Middle Ages. Prussia was conquered from Baltic people.
Aren't the Wends still around, as a distinct ethnic group -- and using their Slavic language -- in the far south-east of former East Germany; around Bautzen, Hoyerswerda and such places?
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:02 AM
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From a viewpoint of someone who lives in East Asia, Russia is European. While they have a large amount of land extending all the way to the Pacific, they just do not have much influence on the affairs of other countries. China and Japan are the most influential countries of East Asia, followed by Korea and then Taiwan (although don't tell my wife I said that). There are Southern Asia, South East Asia, Central Asia, and possibly the Middle East, although most East Asians don’t really see that as part of Asia.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:48 AM
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Aren't the Wends still around, as a distinct ethnic group -- and using their Slavic language -- in the far south-east of former East Germany; around Bautzen, Hoyerswerda and such places?
There's a Wendish museum near one of the main routes to get from Austin to Houston in Texas. I've seen the sign along 290, but never made in. https://texaswendish.org/museum/

Sounds like a fun side trip.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:08 AM
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The precise dividing line between Europe and Asia is somewhat ambiguous, but every version of it I've seen passes through part of Russia. So if we're going to insist that they're two separate continents, Russia is in both of them.

Bonus question: Is France Europe or South America?
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:41 AM
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Something something something, Urals, something Siberia, something something Former Soviet States, etc etc.
  #38  
Old 04-20-2019, 12:42 AM
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Aren't the Wends still around, as a distinct ethnic group -- and using their Slavic language -- in the far south-east of former East Germany; around Bautzen, Hoyerswerda and such places?
Yeah, the Sorbs. They're the remnant of the ancient Wend population. They were there before the Germans. A reminder of Germany's medieval eastward expansion.
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:36 AM
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Yeah, the Sorbs. They're the remnant of the ancient Wend population. They were there before the Germans. A reminder of Germany's medieval eastward expansion.
Thanks for the link -- much interesting material. Wiki tells us that these folk observe on April 30, the custom of Witch Burning -- not literally, one hopes.
  #40  
Old 04-20-2019, 08:12 PM
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Geographically it is both. Culturally, I wouldn't really call it Asia. There are Asians throughout the Russian Far East (remnants of the Mongol and other "hordes") but I believe they are far outnumbered by European Russians these days. The Russian Far East certainly does NOT project culturally into Mongolia, China, Korea. In fact, it's probably the other way around with Chinese from China making inroads into the Russian Far East.
  #41  
Old 04-21-2019, 11:08 AM
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Russia, of course, is a European country. It does more trade with EU and more gas shipments than it does with China. Her latest weapons, with the exception of the su-35, will have priority deployment in Europe.
Isn't it obvious where the core of a country lies, in terms of its military deployment?
  #42  
Old Yesterday, 10:41 AM
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By that logic, the US's military deployments make us a Middle Eastern country.
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