The Volga is the largest river in Europe and it is considered the national river of Russia as it mainly flows through the western part of Russia. Many of the largest cities in Russia are in the Volga basin. The Volga actually belongs to the Caspian Sea and exits in the Caspian Sea. One of the most strategic spots on the river is where Stalingrad was originally located.
Some of the main tributaries of the Volga are the Sura, Vetluga, Oka and the Kama. These tributaries make up the Volga River system. The Volga actually freezes over for about three months of each year and it is the only spot in Russia where you can find lotuses, flamingos and pelicans. This river actually drains off of most of the water in Western Russia. It provides irrigation for many areas.
There are several canals and waterways that connect the Volga to other areas. The Volga-Don Canal, Moscow Canal and Volga-Baltic waterway connect the city of Moscow to the Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, White sea and the sea of Azov. Many people are concerned about the river as it is highly polluted with chemicals.
There are many hydroelectric reservoirs only the Volga that were built during the Soviet rule. Some of the large reservoirs that are the Uglich, Ivankovo, Rybinsk, Gorky, Kuybyshev, Volgograd, Saratov, and Cehboksary reservoir. Many of these reservoirs were formed by flooding towns.
Originally the downstream area of the Volga was thought to be the cradle for the Prot-Indo-European civilization as it was originally settled by the Turks and Huns. The river basin was very important to moving people from Asia into Europe.
The river was one of the most important for trade between Persia and Scandinavia. By constructing of dams made many people move and much of the history of the area.