The Republic of Tatarstan is located on the eastern frontier of Europe at the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers. The distance from Moscow is 797 km. The Republic of Tatarstan covers the territory of 68,000 km², which is roughly the size of such countries as Ireland, Lithuania, or Sri Lanka. The republic stretches for 290 km from the north to the south and for 460 km from the west to the east. In the north it borders the Kirov region, in the north-east – the Republic of Udmurtia, in the north-west – the Republic of Mari El, in the west – the Republic of Chuvashia, in the east – the Republic of Bashkortostan, and in the south – the Samara region, Orenburg region, and Ulyanovsk region. Relief of the Republic of Tatarstan is mainly of a flat character. Most of the territory is 200 metres above sea level, with an average height of 170 metres. The highest point of the republic is 381 metres, the lowest point being 35 metres. The stable crystalline foundation of the platform is deep-seated and is blocked all over by sedimentary rocks of 2000 metres, which makes Tatarstan a seismically safe territory.
The climate of the Republic of Tatarstan is moderate-continental with warm, sometimes hot, summer and moderate cold winter. The average temperature of the coldest month (January) is -14°C, and of the warmest (July) +19°C, the annual average temperature is +2.5°C. The annual average amount of precipitation comes to 500 mm, of which 2/3 falls in summer and autumn and 1/3 – in winter and spring. The moderate climate favours the development of all kinds of agriculture.
The main wealth of Tatarstan is oil. More than 2.6 milliard tons have been produced during the whole period of oil extraction in the Republic of Tatarstan (since 1946). At present, the oil stocks of Tatarstan are estimated to be 0.8-1.0 milliard tons. Along with oil, bradenhead gas is extracted in the amount of 40 m³ per ton of oil. The republic holds rich stocks of petroleum bitumen. Besides, Tatarstan possesses the stocks of brown and black coal, goat, combustible slates, copper ores, gypsum, cement raw material, sand-gravel mixtures, mason’s and glass-making sand, lime-stones and dolomites, clays, phosphorites, mineral waters, medical mud (KIPRT, 1998).
The republic has huge water resources – an annual flow of rivers of the republic exceeds 240 milliard m³. The largest rivers of the republic are the Volga, the Kama and its two navigable tributaries – the Belaya and the Vyatka. The total flow of the four rivers makes 234 milliard m³ per year. A certain part of the territory of the republic is occupied by reservoirs – the Kuibyshev and the Nizhnekamskyi. Soils are very diverse, the best fertile soils covering 1/3 of the territory. Due to the high development of agriculture in Tatarstan, forests occupy only 16% of its territory.
The surface of the territory of the republic is a raised, hilly plateau which is divided up by the Volga and Kama river valleys into three unequal parts: Predvolzh’e – on the right bank of Volga, Predkam’e – to the north of the Kama, and Zakam’e – to the south of the Kama. About 90% of the land lies below 200 m at its highest with the exception of the Bugulma-Belebeevo heights in south-east Tatarstan, where the highest point in the republic reaches 367 m.