Southernmost Fairly Major City in Russia:

What is it? Let's define "fairly major" as having population over 500,000, or as being a place that many relatively geographically savvy non-Russians would have heard of (so that Makhachkala, for instance, doesn't qualify). The answer, at least as best I can tell, is hidden below in this post.

BU2L (mail):
As a russian, I feel pretty embarassed that for the last 25 years or so I thought that Vladivostok was at the northeastern-most point. Oops.
1.30.2006 3:30pm
honeybadger (mail):
I immediately knew the answer to this, but have no idea how or why.
1.30.2006 3:37pm
I got it right! What do I win?
1.30.2006 3:46pm
Speaking of Vladivostok, is there a paved road across Siberia from the Urals to Vladivostok? If so, it could be part of a great around-the-world bike journey I'm dreaming of, a lot safer (relatively) than taking a southern route through Iran, Pakistan, Burma, China, etc.
1.30.2006 3:57pm
Syd (mail):
I got it right!

One reason it seems further north is the same that Maine seems to be further north than Minnesota.
1.30.2006 4:01pm
BU2L (mail):
Is Sakhalin further to the South? and if so, is it in Russia, or Stolennukestan? I suppose that either way, the only people who heard of it outside of Russia, were those who read a lot about the purges.
1.30.2006 4:04pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):
One reason it seems further north is the same that Maine seems to be further north than Minnesota.

I was going to surmise that the prevailing currents bring water past Vladivostok from the (Arctic) north, which would not moderate its climate in the same way that the Gulf Stream makes Maine a balmy place to bask on the beach well into August.
1.30.2006 4:26pm
Fitzwilliam Darcy (mail):
A good trivia question, which depends upon the distorting effect of the commonly used mapping projections. Another trivia question of the same ilk is: "What is the northernmost of the 48 contiguous states?" Memories of maps made with standard projections suggest Maine, but the long 49th Parallel boundary shared by many Western states is further north than the northernmost point of Maine. (The answer to the question is, in fact, Minnesota. Faulty surveying led the first settlers in a tiny area north of the 49th parallel to think they were south of it, and the later treaty demarcating the border allowed that tiny wedge to remain American. Score one for preserving expectations.)

As to driving across Siberia, it was done as early as 1907, incredibly enough, in the famous Peking-to-Paris auto race of that year. The winner made the journey in an amazingly short time of just over two months. Here's a link to a brief story on that event: 1907 Peking to Paris Auto Race .
1.30.2006 4:45pm
Well, I was guessing Vladikavkaz....

Which turns out to have a population of about 650.000 and a latitude of 43.03 or .04 degrees north.

But apparently that's not the answer Prof. Volokh was looking for. Or perhaps my sources were incorrect.
1.30.2006 4:49pm
Fitzwilliam Darcy (mail):
Oops, didn't read the thread before posting -- others previously made the Maine/Minnesota point. My apologies.
1.30.2006 4:50pm
Bart Nemmers (mail):
Gordo, as far as I know there is no paved road all the way across Russia. Paris-Peking is not really across Russia. I drove from eastern Ukraine to Tomsk about 8 years ago and there were long stretches that were gravel/non-paved, east of the Urals. When I was looking at making a trip further east I learned that near the "hump" of China there is not paved road, or any road. I believe that they were working on building one, but I am not sure if it is finished.

I believe a few years ago a group did drive across Russia, but it was quite involved and had a large support staff/team. I believe Camel cigarettes sponsored it, but I could be wrong.
1.30.2006 5:34pm
I vote for Tashkent - a population of nearly a million Russians, and at a balmy 41 degrees latitude. =)
1.30.2006 5:53pm
M (mail):
A trans-siberian road was set to open in 2004. I believe that it has in fact opend, but I can't say that I'm remembering correctly.
1.30.2006 6:24pm
I thought it would be Grozny, but it's a fair bit smaller and 11 minutes of latitude farther north.
1.30.2006 6:39pm
Tony (mail):
I was going to say Tashkent as well, but I don't think it's part of Russia anymore...
1.30.2006 7:18pm
Mr. Bingley (www):
San Francisco.

Oh wait, that was part of the Soviet Union, not Russia...
1.30.2006 10:06pm
I was going to say Tashkent as well, but I don't think it's part of Russia anymore...

That's why he added the smiley face.
1.30.2006 11:53pm
Pixelshim (mail):
This thread reminds me of that major US city that is 1 mile north of a medium=sized Canadian city.
1.31.2006 9:09am
Detroit / Windsor?
1.31.2006 9:50am
ytterbium (mail):
Gordo, the paved road across the Pacific will be finished in a few years too.
1.31.2006 9:50am
Abdul (mail):

I know others have done either what you're attempting. or something similar, but they used mountain bikes. while there is no paved road, you might be able to use embankments along the trans-siberian railroad. Be aware, though, that you're talking about crossing 11 time zones, and much of that territory has some of the world's lowest population density.
1.31.2006 10:42am