1. The Russian Steppe

So, I wanted to write this blog post about the Russian Steppe, a space I had always believed to be a rectangle. Apparently it’s less of a rectangle than I thought: 

 

:this is mostly almost a rectangle:

:this is mostly almost a rectangle:

 

 

But it’s just so cool that I gotta fit it in. It’s not that much of a stretch.

As a redheaded Jew, I’ve often been told that I am descended from the Chazars, a tribe of the Russian Steppe (here’s one extremely long and boring article, and also one extremely stupid one). The Steppe peoples include the Mongols, the Huns, the Scythians and other total badass tribes that annihilated cultures on either side of their vast, sorta-rectangular realm. These people were extremely violent and often had strange coloring – including red hair. In fact, a fabulous podcast on the Steppe peoples by my boy Dan Carlin told me that Genghis Khan was a redhead. Check that, pussies. Being a ginger is way more badass than you thought.

The word, steppe, comes from the Russian степь. I’m taking it on faith that that sounds like “step”, since I don’t speak Russian, but Wikipedia promised it was true. So, a Steppe is a “flat and arid land,” not quite dry enough to be a desert, not quite temperate enough for a forest. And guess what, bitches. A steppe is a biome. As in, this isn’t just an area that some asshole linguist decided to call the Russian Steppe, it’s a legit scientific categorization of a region. As legit as a rainforest, but without as many cool animals.

 

:this picture is most definitely a rectangle:

:this picture is most definitely a rectangle:

May 13, 2009. Geography, History, Rectangles.

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