Europe from Moscow and Asia from Irkutsk

Europe and Asia from the eyes of Moscow and Irkutsk during the Cold War. These maps were published in times magazine.

Europe from Moscow and Asia from Irkutsk

“Since the beginning of World War II, the Soviet Union has gobbled up its neighbors at a rate unmatched by any conqueror in history – 1,154,000 square miles of territory and 105 million people, plus the vast resources of Red China. Now Russia’s rulers know they cannot reach for much more without risking World War III. But as the maps on these two pages show, the view from inside Russia looking out is a pleasing vista of past opportunities promptly cashed in on and prospects that may pay big dividends—if the capitalist West goes bankrupt.

Europe, seen from Moscow, is a long peninsula reaching west to the English Channel and the Pyrenees. Russia’s conquest of the satellites has pushed the Red frontier to the waist of Europe. On its northern flank, Russia still intimidates little independent Finland yet benefits from Sweden’s neutrality. Only looking toward the south does the Moscow-eye-view of Russia’s advance give its rulers any cause for dissatisfaction. Turkey has successfully resisted all Russian pressures; Greece has crushed its Communist rebels, Communist Yugoslavia has deserted the Russian camp. As new partners of NATO, Greece and Turkey are now firmly anchored between Russia and the troubled Middle East.

Asia, seen from Irkutsk (the traditional administrative capital of Siberia), is an even more inviting picture, dominated by the vast mass of Communist China. On the left, the bastion of Japan is outflanked by Korea, Sakhalin, and the Kurils (part of Russia’s price for its one week of fighting in the Pacific war). On the right, the Himalayas are both a military buffer and a barrier separating China from India. On the southern border of Red China, Russia now stands on the threshold of one of the world’s highest prizes: the fertile green valleys of Communist-infested Indo-China and Malaya, and the immense, unexploited riches of the islands beyond.”

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