Exam 2

Definition: Literally, “openness”; the opening up of public discussion of social and economic problems that occurred in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s. Statement of Significance & Example: The beginnings of democratization came to the USSR somewhat unexpectedly in 1985 when Soviet Union’s reform-minded president, Mikhail Gorbachev, responded to the various pressures for change by opening up public discussions of social and economic change. Gorbachev is credited with effectively ending the Cold War by opening dialogue with Europe and the US.

 Definition: Restructuring of the 

planned centralized economy. Statement of Significance and example: Gorbachev’s policy of perestroika was an admission that domestic economic conditions increasingly lagged those of western Europe and 

the United States. 


Definition: The assimilation of all minorities to Russian (Slavic) ways.

Statement of Significance: During the fall of the Soviet Union, the communist government in Moscow sought to make the non-Russian peoples and territories of the Soviet Union more Russian.

Example: Percentage of population of Russian descent within Post-Soviet States: 1/3 of Latvia; 1/4 of Kyrgyzstan; 1/3 of Kazakhstan

Steppe; Taiga; Tundra

Definition ; Statement of Significance:

  • Steppe: Semiarid grasslands found in many parts of the world. Grasses are usually shorter and less dense in steppes than in prairies.
  • Taiga: The vast coniferous forest of Russia that stretches from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean. The main forest species are fir, spruce, and larch.
  • Tundra: Arctic region with a short growing season in which vegetation is limited to low shurbs, grasses, and flowering herbs. 

Example: Russia goes from tundra in the north to taiga to steppe in Kazakhstan. 

Fertile Crescent

Definition: An ecologically diverse zone of lands in Southwest Asia that extends from Lebanon eastward to Iraq.

Statement of Significance: The ferticle crescent is the place in which agriculturally based civilizations first emerged.

Example: Wheat and barley were first domesticated in the fertile crescent. 

Islamist Movement

Definition: Political movements that attempt to increase the role of Islam–in particular more fundamentalist forms of Islam–into government.

Statement of Significance: The overall goal of an Islamist movement is to create a theocracy. 


Arab Spring

Definition: A series of public protests, strikes, and rebellions in the Arab countries, often facilitated by social media, that have called for fundamental government and economic reforms.

Statement of Significance: The Arab Spring rebellions raised prospects for longer-term political reforms while producing shorter-term challenges as economic output and tourism declined in many settings.

Example: Tunisia is the birthplace of the Arab Spring


Definition: OPEC is a commodity cartel that attempts to influence gloabl prices and supplies of oil.

Statement of Significance: OPEC has an outside influence on oil trade because oil demand is inelastic. 

Example: OPEC members control the majority of the worlds oil reserves. 


Defintion: A political state led by religious authorities.

Statement of Significance: In a theocracy, or religious state, God and His law rule. 

Example:  Islamic fundamentalists argue for a theocratic state, such as modern-day Iran. 


Definition: The patterns of rainfall that shift back and forth across the equator during different times throughout the year. 

Example:  Subtropical Africa, north and south of the Congo Basin, gets seasonal variation.


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