Geography, Climate and Environment
With an area of 22,402,200 square kilometres (8,649,500 sq mi), the Soviet Union was the world's largest state, a status that is retained by the Russian Federation. Covering a sixth of the Earth's land surface, its size was comparable to that of North America. The European portion accounted for a quarter of the country's area, and was the cultural and economic center. The eastern part in Asia extended to the Pacific Ocean to the east and Afghanistan to the south, and was much less populous. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert, and mountains.
The Soviet Union had the world's longest border, measuring over 60,000 kilometres (37,000 mi), two-thirds of it a coastline of the Arctic Ocean. Across the Bering Strait was the United States. The Soviet Union bordered Afghanistan, China, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Hungary, Iran, Mongolia, North Korea, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Turkey from 1945 to 1991.
The Soviet Union's highest mountain was the Communism Peak (now Ismail Samani Peak) in Tajikistan, at 7,495 metres (24,590 ft). The longest river of the Soviet Union was the Irtysh. The Soviet Union also included the world's largest lake, the Caspian Sea, and the world's largest freshwater and deepest lake, Lake Baikal.
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