Social Progress and Sustainability: Eurasia
by Don Rauf
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In Eurasia, two countries have dominated the political, economic, and social landscape for centuries--Russia and Turkey. By sheer landmass, Russia is the largest country in the world and for decades after World War I, it was even bigger as the leader of the Soviet Union. This dictatorial, predominantly Christian empire included Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Ukraine. Other areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro were under Soviet influence. Often in conflict with Russia, Turkey stood apart with its democratic government and mostly Muslim population.
In the early 1990s, the Soviet Union broke up, leading to several independent nations that, for the most part, have shifted to more democratic governments. While Russia and Belarus have elections, however, the process is highly controlled so that opposition parties cannot gain power. Several countries in Eurasia face economic struggles with high unemployment and health problems, with dangerous levels of pollution and alcoholism. Turmoil in the Middle East and between Ukraine and Russia have contributed to instability in the region. Since the harsh Soviet regime of the 1900s, however, social progress is heading in a positive direction as more people experience increased personal freedoms and tolerance. Each title in this series contains a forward from the Executive Director of the Social Progress Imperative, color photos throughout, maps, charts, and back matter including: a special "Countries at a Glance" statistical section, an index, and further reading lists for books and internet resources. Key Icons appear throughout the books in this series in an effort to encourage library readers to build knowledge, gain awareness, explore possibilities and expand their viewpoints through our content rich non-fiction books. Key Icons in this series are as follows: Words to Understand are shown at the front of each chapter with definitions. These words are set in boldfaced type in that chapter, so that readers are able to reference back to the definitions--building their vocabulary and enhancing their reading comprehension. Sidebars are highlighted graphics with content rich material within that allows readers to build knowledge and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Text-Dependent Questions are placed at the end of each chapter. They challenge the reader's comprehension of the chapter they have just read, while sending the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects are provided at the end of each chapter as well and provide readers with suggestions for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. And a Series Glossary of Key Terms is included in the back matter containing terminology used throughout the series. Words found here broaden the reader's knowledge and understanding of terms used in this