(1,000-1,500 words–better essays tend to be on the longer side). In your exposition of the essay you can interpret the question as broadly or as narrowly as you wish.

Consider the following statement:

Russia is not a landlocked state. Yet it has often behaved and was formed like a landlocked empire incorporated different populations over many time zones. Its historical expansion was a quest for security and natural resources. To put it another way, based on what you’ve read about Russia–what are the most important geographic features that explains how Russia became the way it did., that is the largest country in the world.
In your essay, explain and discuss the significance of this statement based on your textbook readings and resources. This may seem like a challenging question for beginning geography students. What’s important here is your stab at answering it and how you think about the question. There isn’t necessarily one correct answer.

Citations can be confusing since it is obvious that you are using the textbook and the resources of this course’s Moodle site. Do I cite or not? You are welcome to paraphrase what you find in the textbook, but I don’t recommend that you copy a direct quote unless it is absolutely relevant to the argument and drive of your essay. Any quotes I will assume came from the book or course resources. Library or internet research is not required. This is not a research paper, but a thinking paper. I want to check to see whether you did the readings and put some energy into applying your geographic knowledge to the question. You don’t need provide a citation (page number, for example) for every bit of evidence since I know the source you are extracting the information from. In some ways, the entire paper is a citation. You can also start sentences with “The textbook states…” or “Geographic research has revealed…” or “Geographers have concluded…” which are all acknowledgements of citations in a clever way. I am more interested in how you demonstrate your understanding of the material.

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