From north to south the East European Plain is clad sequentially in tundra, coniferous forest (taiga), mixed forest, broadleaf forest, grassland (steppe), and semidesert (fringing the Caspian Sea) reflecting the changes in climate.Siberia supports a similar sequence but lacks the mixed forest. Environmental issues include air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; and abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides.

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Major lakes include Lake Baikal, Lake Ladoga, and Lake Onega.

Russia has major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, timber and many strategic minerals.

Some smaller bodies of water are part of the open oceans; the Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea are part of the Arctic, whereas the Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan belong to the Pacific Ocean.

Major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya, the Franz Josef Land, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island, the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin.

Moscow is the capital and the country's economic, financial, educational, and transportation center.

Located on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia, Moscow's population constitutes about seven percent of the total population.

The climates of both European and Asian Russia are continental except for the tundra and the extreme southeast.

Winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia, while summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast.

Truly unique on Earth, Baikal is home to more than 1700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world.