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In physical geography, steppe (from Russian language "stepe") is a plain without trees (apart from near rivers and lakes), the same as a prairie. It may be semi-desert or covered with grass or shrubs, or both depending on the season.
The term is usually used for the plains of central Russia and neighbouring republics of Central Asia. The steppes begin east of the Volga river and extend through desert or semi-desert south of the Ural Mountains and to the north and east of the Caspian Sea. To the east of the Caspian Sea they extend through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to the mountain ranges of Mongolia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. To the north on the eastern side of the Urals is the forested West Siberian Plain which extends to the Arctic Ocean.
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