Where lies Russia? A search to the ‘real’ location of Russia

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The main question of this thesis is: Where lies Russia? To answer the question where Russia lies seems easy. The question itself seems uninteresting and a bit strange, you can open an atlas and see within a second where Russia lies. Digging deeper into the question, I found out that it is not as simple as it looks. In fact, it is very difficult to answer the question. When opening an atlas, you see that it is very simple, the world consists of countries which are defined by their static borders. The border in this case is a simple line between countries, but the meaning of the term ‘border’ is not generally accepted by scholars. If a border is more complex than just a simple line between countries and the meaning of the term border is not even generally accepted, then it seems to me that defining the location of a country just by explaining where the borders on the map are is not sufficient to answer the question ‘where lies country x?’. We need more to answer the question. In my search to answer the question I used four categories: the territorial development of Russia since the eleventh century; Russian border (politics); Russian identity and economical and political influence (sphere of influence). In every chapter I try to find out what the location of Russia is, and if not possible, why it is impossible to find out the location of Russia. This leads to an overall conclusion in the last chapter. The search leads to answers that are, in fact, completely logical, but at the same time different than the leading discourses and everyday practices would suggest. The idea of social construct plays an important role in the answering to the question ‘where lies Russia’. So what at first sight seems to be a very simple question, appears to be a question which is not so simple at all to answer. What at first sight seems to be a slightly irrelevant question (why should you ask the location of a country when you can simply open an atlas and immediately see what the location is?) seems to be a question which is definitely relevant when put in the context of identity, politics and economy.
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