The teaching of soil classification in the universities of Russia is being discussed as a comparatively new experience in the education of environmental science students. The lecture course (24–30 academic hours) changes in response to the inevitable changes in soil classification systems. In the introduction, the objectives and structure of soil classifications are outlined, and then a brief overview of the most well-known national systems is given, which is also important for understanding the difficulties, origin and problems of the International WRB system. The latter is the central point of the lecture course: its principles are explained, the main diagnostic features of Reference Soil Groups are communicated, and students are trained to use system basing on the descriptions of soil profiles and analytical data relating to them. As a result, students give WRB names to soils either by correlating with a name from the national system, which is familiar to them, or by looking at soil profile photos; in both cases morphological and analytical data are clarified by the teacher. Chernozem is used as an example for training. In the conclusion, the reasons to know soil classifications are specified, and they are differentiated for soil scientists, geochemists and geographers.
An attempt to incorporate the popular systematic of urban soils proposed by Marina Stroganova with colleagues into the new Russian soil classification system is presented. It was facilitated by the coincidence of approaches in both systems: priority of diagnostic horizons and their combinations as criteria to identify soil types being the main units in all Russian classifications. The central image of urban soils . urbanozem . in Stroganova.s system found its due place in the order of stratozems (urbostratozem type) owing to its diagnostic horizon . urbic, which combines artificial and natural properties, and to its simultaneous formation with the parent material.