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  • After the Soviet Union: Talking About Russia as a Superpower

    When we talk about the world’s next superpowers, Russia is inevitably mentioned. Indeed, Russia, as the Soviet Union, was considered a world superpower until it broke apart in the early 1990’s.

    Do you think Russia has what it takes to be a superpower again? Let’s discuss the positive and negative sides of the argument.

    Points in Russia’s Favor

    It has the world’s largest gas reserves.

    It is home to the world’s top ten largest oil reserves.

    It is one of the world’s leading suppliers of electricity and alternative energy. 

    It has access to three of the world’s largest oceans, The Pacific, The Atlantic and The Arctic.

    Russia has achieved political and democratic stability.

    It has reduced its levels of poverty and unemployment.

    Russia has the world’s fourth largest area of cultivated agricultural land.

    The country is a world leader in technological development in fields such as pharmaceuticals, automobiles and aerospace research. 

    Russia offers a free universal education.

    The negative side of the argument

    Russia has high levels of crime and corruption.

    It has a low birth rate.

    It is known for a poor public health system.

    It has low numbers of high skilled graduates due to few places in public universities.

    It has a difficult relationship with neighboring nations like Chechnya.

    It also has a difficult relationship with international bodies like NATO.

    Russia suffers from a bad international image as a result of its Communist past and ideological conflict with the West.

    Let’s watch a short report about Russia’s richest men and answer the questions that follow it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM9zS7_XNv0

    How many billionaires are there in Russia today?

    How did Russia’s richest man begin his working life?

    What were the two industries he used to make his fortune?

    What place on Russia’s rich list does the owner of England’s Chelsea football club occupy?

    How much are the top ten people on Russia’s rich list worth combined?

    What is the proof that Russia’s wealth is tied to its natural resources, according to the report?

    What has brought about the downfall of some of Russia’s richest men according to the report?

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