Mapping Russia’s Strategy

Feb. 1, 2016

This Week in Geopolitics

|February 1, 2016

Originally produced on Jan. 25, 2016 for Mauldin Economics, LLC

By George Friedman

There is an old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In geopolitics, this is especially so, but the pictures in this case are actually maps. Many people think of maps in terms of their basic purpose, showing a country’s geography and topography. But maps can speak to all dimensions—political, military, and economic—and are an elemental place to start thinking about a country’s strategy… revealing factors that are otherwise not obvious. Sometimes a single map can reveal the most important thing about a country. In the case of Russia, it is this map:

One of the keys to understanding Russia’s strategy is to look at its position relative to the rest of Europe. The European Peninsula is surrounded on three sides by the Baltic and North Seas, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The easternmost limit of the peninsula extends from the eastern tip of

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