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Landscape Concept in History of Russian (Soviet) Geography

  • Nikolai M. DroninEmail author
  • John M. Francis
Chapter
Part of the Innovations in Landscape Research book series (ILR)

Abstract

Our historical review aims to clarify the modern meaning of the term “landscape” in the context of historical evolution of the notion in the twentieth century. A remarkable feature of the history of Russian geography was the coexistence of multiple readings of the term “landscape.” In the 1910s, landscape notion had an important human dimension, whereas Soviet geographers interpreted landscape as a principally natural object. Nor was there ever a monopoly on reading the term “landscape” in the Soviet period. For some Soviet geographers landscapes had definite scale (Solntsev’s landscape) while for many others, the term was applicable for a complex of any scale and rank. For some scientists the terms “landscape” and “geosystem” were synonymous but for others—not. All too often collisions of different interpretations of landscape were a matter of definition. Imperfect argumentation resulted in marginalization of the study of landscape morphology, the most original concept in Soviet geography, and blurring the term. Most modern Russian geographers use the term “landscape” as a synonym of natural complex applicable to units at any spatial scale. The term “geosystem” also is used widely by modern geographers referring in a generalizing and non-selective way to all natural complexes regardless of their spatial scale and rank. For the bulk of modern Russian geographers, the terms “landscape,” “natural complex,” and “geosystem” are loosely interchangeable.

Keywords

Soviet geography Landscape Anthropogeography Physical-geographical regionalization Geosystem 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of GeographyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.JMF Research AssociatesPhiladelphiaUSA

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