I'm very interested in Russian history, and this led me the other day to look at a beautiful painting of the famous Vladimir Highway. The painting is famous in its own right, and is said to express deep truths about the Russian soul. It made me ask myself: Is Russia flatter than the UK? (I'm English.)
The question seems fairly straightforward, but I can't see any straightforward way of answering it. On the one hand, Russia's highest peak, Mount Elbrus, is some 5642 m above sea level, and thus over four times higher than Ben Nevis, the UK's highest point. On the other hand, Russia's famous lack of defensible terrain has led to Moscow being besieged and/or razed numerous times, whereas the moorland which constitutes most of the border between England and Scotland hindered the English from ever subjugating their northern neighbours militarily.
Average elevation seems like a sensible statistic to look at - until one remembers countries like Botswana, which is located on one large plateau, and which thus has a high average elevation, and yet (I'm told) is rather flat.
I suppose one would want something like an interquartile range of elevations. But how would one pick, say, 100 elevations in the country in question, from which to pick the 25th and the 75th highest?
Is there already one single, generally accepted statistic for measuring how flat or hilly a given country, county, parish, etc is? If so, how do Russia and the UK compare to other countries?