Thinking Citizen Blog — the Volga — Europe’s longest river and the “Mother River” of Russia

Thinking Citizen Blog — Wednesday is Climate Change, the Environment, and Sustainability Day

Today’s Topic: Great Rivers of the World VII: the Volga — Europe’s longest river and the “Mother River” of Russia

The Volga, which freezes along most of its course for three months of the year, is the longest river in the world to flow into a closed basin (the Caspian Sea). Forty per cent of Russia’s population live within the river’s watershed. A vast system of canals links the Volga to the Baltic, the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the White Sea. Eleven of Russia’s largest 20 cities are located in the Volga’s basin. The “Song of the Volga Boatmen” is one of the famous of traditional Russian folk songs. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate elucidate.

THE COURSE OF THE RIVER — West to East (over 1000 miles) North to South (another 1000 miles)

1. “The course of the Volga is divided into three parts: the upper Volga (from its source to the confluence of the Oka), the middle Volga (from the confluence of the Oka to that of the Kama), and the lower Volga (from the confluence of the Kama to the mouth of the Volga itself).”

2. The Volga is connected to the Don via the Volga-Don Canal. Moscow is linked to the Volga by the Moscow Canal — built by 200,000 Gulag prisoners from 1932 to 1937.

3. The Volga is fed by snow (which accounts for 60 percent of its annual discharge), underground water (30 percent), and rainwater (10 percent).

NB: Volga gathers water from 202 tributaries. The river system comprises 151,000 rivers and is 357,000 miles long.


1. An estimated 3000 oil tankers, cargo ships and passenger ships have been sunken and abandoned.

2. “40,000 cubic yards of the river is mixed in with raw sewage carelessly dumped into the Volga every year.”

3. “The River contains 45% of Russian industries waste along with 3,000 factories dumping 10 billion cubic yards of contaminated waste.”

NB: “In 2007 data had shown that 90% of fish in the Volga River had become mutant and then in 2008 numbers had increased to 100% of some species of fish.” (last link)

VOLGOGRAD (formerly Stalingrad) is on the western bank of the Volga in southern Russia

1. Sight of the one the bloodiest battles in human history (1942–3).

2. Casualties are estimated at over 2 million.

3. The city’s name was changed to “Volgograd” in 1961 under Nikita Khrushchev’s de-Stalinisation program. Current population: roughly 1 MM.


Volga River — Climate

The Song of the Volga Boatmen

“Song of the Volga Boatmen” — Leonid Kharitonov & The Red Army Choir (Live)

The Polluted Volga River


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to climate change or the environment.

Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to climate change that the rest of us may have missed. Your favorite chart or table perhaps…

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.