Russia History

By | January 9, 2023

Russia (National Flag)

Russia National Flag

The old Russian tricolor, created by Tsar Peter the Great in 1699, was abolished in 1917, but was officially reintroduced in 1991. The colors come from the Dutch flag, which the Tsar saw on a trip to Western Europe. They were later associated with Moscow’s city coat of arms, which contains the three colors. It was not until 1799 that the horizontal tricolor, white, blue and red, became official. The flag and its colors, which have since become known as the Pan-Slavic, have been the model for many Slavic peoples’ flags.

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Russia (Prehistory)

Near the Russian territory, in Dmanisi in Georgia, bones of Homo erectus, 1.7-1.6 million, have been found. years old. Traces of habitation in the Elder and Middle Paleolithic for approximately 500,000-40,000 years ago must be searched in the Caucasus and along the river Volga, where finds from the cultures younger acheuléen and moustérien have been made. The closest skeletal finds of Homo neanderthalensis known from Crimea and Uzbekistan. In an Arctic environment in the Late Paleolithic for approximately 40,000-11,500 years ago, there were numerous settlements in Central Russia, whose residents hunted horses, bison, saiga antelopes, reindeer and mammoths, and whose oval huts were surrounded by reindeer tusks and mammoth teeth, as at Kostenki on the river Don. From here are known ocher-strewn burials and so-called Venus figures of mammoth tooth. In the Kapova Cave in the southern Urals, there are paintings of mammoths, horses and woolly rhinos. At the end of the ice age, the hunters followed with the ice edge to the north. Flint tools with parallels to the Federmesser and Ahrensburg cultures have been found in settlements in western Russia. In the Mesolithic from approximately 9300 BC there were hunter-gatherer communities adapted to the wooded stretches to the north and along the rivers to the south. There was a connection between the hunter cultures in Finnmark.

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In the Neolithic, agriculture and cattle breeding spread from the south from the Balkans, the Caucasus and through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan from approximately 6000 BC Many different cultural patterns developed over the large area. While in the Caucasus there were permanent, well-organized villages with houses built of clay, cattle nomads spread on the Pontic Steppes. In the forest belt to the west and north, the burning of pottery (pottery) was introduced, but people continued to live by hunting and fishing and built on traditions from the Mesolithic. Deposits of copper in the Caucasus and the southern Urals were exploited from approximately 3000 BC In the 3rd millennium BC. a princely environment developed north of the Caucasus with fortresses and princely tombs, see Majkop. On the southern steppes were the Jamnaja culture, known from burial mounds, Kurgan, with the oldest known four-wheeled carriages. Central Russia was with the Fatjanovo and Balanovo cultures from approximately 2900 BC involved in the string ceramic culture complex with livestock farming and the use of copper and bronze for tools, weapons and jewelry.

At the transition to the Bronze Age approximately 2000 BC witnesses rich funerals with human sacrifices about a hierarchically structured society. The exploitation of copper and tin deposits in the southern Ural led to a flourishing metal industry on both sides of the Ural Mountains. In the Late Bronze Age, the Kimmerians, prepared nomads, appear in southern Russia, who, like the Scythians, are known from clashes with the Urartian Empire and the Assyrians in 800-600 BC.

According to a2zgov, he Iron Age began approximately 700 BC, when iron technology was introduced from Asia Minor over the Caucasus. With the establishment of colonies along the Black Sea coast in the 600-t. the Greeks created a market in southern Russia and introduced viticulture. Greek blacksmiths contributed to the development of the excellent metal art of the Scythians, known from richly equipped princely funerals especially in southern Ukraine. From 100-tfKr. the Black Sea cities were attacked by the Sarmatians, who controlled the area between the Sea of ​​Azov and the Caucasus. Part of the Scythian people practiced developed agriculture. In central Russia around the Oka River and along the Upper and Middle Volga, agricultural expansion occurred in the Iron Age, presumably based on sweating. The settlements gathered on high plateaus that were often fortified, so-called gorodishtje. The time after the birth of Christ in southern Russia was marked by warlike incursions of tribal peoples such as Alans, Huns, Bulgarians, and Khazars culminating in the conquest of the Huns in the second half of the 300’s. The turbulent period was followed by a new era, characterized by the establishment of great empires such as the Bulgarian Empire from 582 between the Urals and the Volga and the Khazar Empire 600-1000-t. between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Slavic peoples immigrated from the west in the 500-t. and settled in northwestern Russia. Their tombstones in the form of long and conical round mounds characterize the area around Lake Ilmen. Cities emerged as characterized by the establishment of great empires such as the Bulgarian Empire from 582 between the Urals and the Volga and the Khazar Empire 600-1000-t. between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Slavic peoples immigrated from the west in the 500-t. and settled in northwestern Russia. Their tombstones in the form of long and conical round mounds characterize the area around Lake Ilmen. Cities emerged as characterized by the establishment of great empires such as the Bulgarian Empire from 582 between the Urals and the Volga and the Khazar Empire 600-1000-t. between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Slavic peoples immigrated from the west in the 500-t. and settled in northwestern Russia. Their tombstones in the form of long and conical round mounds characterize the area around Lake Ilmen. Cities emerged asStaraja Ladoga on the Volkhov River, where finds from 750-1000 testify to trade relations with Scandinavia. Gnezdovo near Smolensk grew as a city with a mixed Slavic-Scandinavian population. For the Norsemen in the Viking Age, they were strongholds on the trade route south through the Russian rivers to the Black Sea. But the finds also testify to a significant Scandinavian settlement. relating to. the area east of the Urals, see also Siberia (prehistory).

Russia – history until 1682

Until 1682, the Kingdom of Russia, the earliest beginnings of Russia, emerged in the 800-t. By 839, Scandinavians, known as Rhos, were active along the Russian rivers. The process that led to the rise of Russia, however, can only be followed from the Rurikids’ national assembly in the late 800-t. They had their original power base in the later Novgorod area, but approximately 900 the residence was moved to Kyjiv, after which the Prince of Rus could control the entire course of river roads connecting the Baltic Sea with Byzantine territory. The control of this important trade route seems to have motivated the formation of the kingdom. A prerequisite for this to succeed must have been the coincidence of interests between Scandinavians and local East Slavic, Baltic and Finno-Ugric peoples along the route. Although the dynasty and the circle of great men around it were Scandinavian, there are also hints that the Russian Empire in its origin was the result of multi-ethnic cooperation.


Russia. Two situations from a 1400’s chronicle manuscript. At the top, the newly baptized Vladimir I the Holy had a church built in Kiev, in which he inserts the Anastasios, who by treason helped him conquer Korsun and thus paved the way for Vladimir’s baptism and marriage to a Byzantine emperor’s daughter. The new church, built by Greek artisans, was equipped with ecclesiastical loot from Korsun. At the bottom, Vladimir lets the city of Belgorod build and populate.

With the relocation of the residence to Kyjiv, the dynasty came to live in an East Slavic environment, culturally influenced by the steppe peoples who from time to time cut off the connection to the Byzantine Empire. Over the course of a few generations, the dynasty was enslaved, and the term intoxication was passed on to the predominantly East Slavic population.

At the same time, the proximity to the Byzantine Empire involved an influence that was most strongly expressed when the Kyjiv prince Vladimir I the Holy approximately 988 chose to let himself and his people become Christians. Kyjivriget was now Europe’s geographically largest empire, but it proved difficult to hold it together. It was seen after Vladimir’s death in 1015, when a bloody dispute over succession broke out among his many sons. Only from 1036 was the kingdom reunited under a ruler, Jaroslav the Wise, whose rule appears as the flowering period of the Kyjiv Kingdom. Alliances were formed that included Scandinavia and Hungary as well as Western Europe, and the kingdom was then a well-integrated part of Europe. To avoid a new split after his death, Jaroslav introduced a rotation system for succession, which meant that his sons, after the death of a brother, moved from a princely seat of lower dignity to Kyjiv, a principle that was also applied later. In this way, it managed to keep the kingdom roughly together until 1132, even though there were branches of the dynasty that were so closely linked to their territories that they tended to become hereditary and thus also in reality independent of Kyjiv. That the Kyjiv Empire then quickly fell apart was also due to the fact that new steppe peoples had made regular trade with the Byzantine Empire impossible, so that there was no pronounced need to keep the trade route between North and South under central control. At the same time, there was a Russian emigration from the Kyjiv area to the NE, where new centers and princely residences, e.g.Suzdal, Rostov and Vladimir, emerged.

Historical overview
800-t. Rusriget
900-t. Kyjivriget
988 Kyjivriget is Christianized under Vladimir I the Holy
1100-t. Kyjivriget dissolves and a new center is formed in the northeast
1237-40 The Mongol storm
approx. 1326 The metropolitan moves its residence to Moscow
1441 The Russian Church is becoming independent from the Greek
1462-1505 Ivan 3. the Great; Moscow will be the center of the whole of Russia
1550’s Ivan 4. the Cruel conquers Kazan and Astrakhan
1580’s Jermak Timofeyevich begins the conquest of Siberia
1598 The Rurikid dynasty is dying out
1654 Ukraine is annexed
1689 The first Russian-Chinese treaty is concluded in Nertjinsk
1682-1725 Peter the Great; Russia opens up to the West
1703 St. Petersburg is founded; capital from 1712
1721 The peace in Nystad after the Great Nordic War; Peter the Great takes the title of emperor
1768-92 Wars against the Ottoman Empire; Russia reaches the Black Sea
1772-95 Russia secures large areas in the west by the Polish partitions
1808-09 Russia conquers Finland from Sweden
1801-64 Caucasus conquered
1812 Napoleon occupies Moscow but is forced to withdraw
1814-15 The Congress of Vienna reaffirms Russia’s sovereignty over the Kingdom of Poland
1825 The Decabrist uprising
1853-56 The Crimean War against the Ottoman Empire, Britain and France
1861 Abolition of serfdom
1864 The conquest of Central Asia begins
1891 Pact with France; with the accession of Great Britain in 1907, the Entente is formed
1898 The founding of Russia’s Social Democratic Workers’ Party
1904-05 The Russo-Japanese War
1905 The first Russian revolution
1906 The first Duma is convened; Russia gets curtailed constitutional rule
1914-18 World War 1
1917 The February Revolution; Nikolai II abdicates, and Russia gets a provisional government. October Revolutions; the Bolsheviks take power in a coup
1918 The Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic, RSFSR, is established
1918-21 The Russian Civil War; war communism
1921-28 The new economic policy, NEP
1922 Stalin becomes general secretary of the Communist Party; The Soviet Union is established by merging the RSFSR and other Soviet republics
1924 Lenin dies
1928-32 First five-year plan : forced collectivization of agriculture and forced industrialization
1932-33 Politically generated famine in Ukraine and southern Russia
1936-38 The Moscow trials and incipient repression
1939 The German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
1939-40 The Soviet Union annexes the East Pole, parts of Finland, the Baltics, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina
1941-45 WW2
1945-48 The Soviet Union circumvents the Tehran and Yalta agreements and establishes communist governments in the occupied Eastern and Central European countries
1948-49 The Berlin blockade
1949 The Soviet Union becomes nuclear power; COMECON is formed
1953 Stalin dies; Khrushchev wins the ensuing power struggle
1955 Warsaw Pact created
1956 Khrushchev’s Secret Speech at the 20th Party Congress; political and cultural thaw
1956 Soviet troops fight a popular uprising in Hungary
1957 The Soviet Union launches the first satellite into orbit around the Earth
1962 The Cuban Missile Crisis
1964 Khrushchev is overthrown and Leonid Brezhnev becomes party leader
1968 Warsaw Pact forces invade Czechoslovakia
1971-75 The arms race is slowed down through the Berlin Agreement in 1971, the SALT I Agreement in 1972 and the Helsinki Final Act in 1975.
1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; the relaxation process stops
1985 Gorbachev becomes party leader and opens for a free debate, glasnost, and launches the perestroika reform program
1988 The Soviet Union begins its withdrawal from Afghanistan
1989-90 Communist regimes lose power in Eastern Europe
1990 The Communist Party’s monopoly of power formally ceases
1991 June: Yeltsin becomes Russia’s elected president; August: Conservative coup against Gorbachev fails; December: the Presidents of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine close down the Soviet Union; SNG is formed
1992-93 Conflict between Yeltsin and the Russian parliament
1993 September: Yeltsin dissolves Russian parliament; October: Rebel members are forced out of parliament by military force
1994-96 War between Russia and Chechnya ending in de facto recognition of Chechnya’s independence
1999 Russia militarily invades Dagestan and Chechnya; Yeltsin resigns; Putin becomes new president
2004 Chechen terrorists take hostages at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia. More than 330, including many children, perish
2008 Vladimir Putin resigns as president and is replaced by Dmitry Medvedev. Putin becomes prime minister. In August, Russian troops invade parts of Georgia following a failed Georgian attempt to occupy South Ossetia.

The Mongol storm

The balance shift from the Kyjiv to the Vladimir region had as an important consequence that Russia, with the exception of the city republic of Novgorod, moved away from the pan-European development. The process intensified when the Mongols or Tatars, as they were called by the Russians, in 1237-40 directed their destructive attacks on Russia and subjugated its now central parts of the NE. Western principalities, Galich-Volynien, managed for a time to stay outside, but in the long run could not maintain their independence. They were gradually incorporated first in Lithuania and then in Poland, and these areas therefore had their own historical development, cf. Belarus and Ukraine.. The Mongols chose to rule Russia indirectly by making use of the Grand Duke of Vladimir as a tax collector. This meant that it was now the Mongols who appointed the Grand Duke, just as all princes had to have the approval of the Mongols. The Grand Duke was elected from among the princes who had a power potential that enabled them to complete the tax collection. This favored certain new principalities such as Tver and Moscow, which had benefited from the Mongol storm, in that many had fled there from the most vulnerable areas in the east. In the long run, however, this policy was to prove unfavorable to the Mongols, as it meant that these principalities were strengthened as the Mongol Empire was dissolved.


Both in the time of dissolution and especially during the Mongol lid, the Russian Church was the only institution that united the divided Russia and gave the Russians a sense of community. The head of the church, the metropolitan, still resided until approximately 1295 in Kyjiv, but then moved to Northeast Russia and settled approximately 1326 down in Moscow, which now became the center of the Russian Church. Together with a simultaneous uprising in Tver against the Mongols, which the Moscow prince Ivan 1. Kalita defeated with Mongol forces, this secured Moscow a decisive advantage in the efforts to become the principality around which the divided Russia could regroup, albeit a process, which was first settled with the subjugation of Novgorodin 1478 and Tver in 1485. Now the Prince of Moscow Ivan III emerged as the undisputed ruler of the whole of Russia, and he was also able to finally liberate the country from the Mongols.

The Russian Tsardom

Under Ivan III, Russia re-entered the European scene, now with imperial ambitions. The Russian Church became independent from the Greek Church in 1441, and after the final fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the church saw the Prince of Moscow as the heir of the Byzantine emperor, and Ivan III began to call himself Tsar.’emperor’, a title reserved for the Byzantine emperors and the Mongols. Ivan III also demanded to be equated with the German-Roman emperor, which was also reflected in the notion of Moscow as the Third Rome. The new Russian self-understanding, together with the dynamics created by the National Assembly, naturally led the country into a phase of expansion. To the west, it first targeted areas that had previously been part of the Kyjiv War but now belonged to Lithuania.. Here they succeeded in enticing local Russian princes to renounce their affiliation with Lithuania, so that more and more areas along Lithuania’s eastern border were incorporated into Moscow. To the east and south, the war of liberation against the Tatars turned into a war aimed at placing territories that had not previously been Russian under Moscow. Here it was partly Siberia’s riches of furs that enticed. Another motive was to pacify the Tatars, who were constantly threatening raids into Russia. A tentative culmination of this policy of expansion under Ivan the Terrible, who conquered the Tatar Hanakans Kazan and Astrakhan in large-scale campaigns in the 1550’s. Immediately after, Ivan IV started the Livonian War (1558-83) in an attempt to fill the vacuum of power that the Reformation had created in the territory of the old order of knights in the Baltics. For a time it seemed that Ivan should succeed in subjugating the whole of Livonia, but the threat of this called the neighboring states to battle, and the war ended with a Russian defeat.

The time of confusion

In connection with the war, Ivan IV introduced a terrorist regime with the oppritjnina. The double warfare, both externally and internally, exhausted the country, and large parts were laid waste, partly because many had perished, partly because the peasants had fled to the periphery from the ever-increasing tax burden necessitated by the wars. In the long run, this fostered Russia’s expansion to the south and east, but as a state, Russia was now again threatened with dissolution. The situation was not improved by the extinction of the Rurikid dynasty in 1598 with Ivan IV’s weakest son, Fyodor 1. His successor and brother-in-law, Boris Godunov, had ruled the country with a strong hand in 1584-98 and in 1589 had succeeded in exaltthe Russian Church to a patriarchy, but as a tsar he got legitimacy problems. When the country was also hit by famine, his family could not stay in power when he died in 1605 in the middle of a Polish-backed uprising. False pretenders to the throne, posing as Dmitry’s son IV, stepped forward and demanded power. Both Poland and Sweden intervened in support of their own candidates for the throne and occupied their respective parts of the country, but no single power group managed to gain control of all of Russia.

Romanov Dynasty: Towards the Russian Empire

Eventually, however, in 1613 a National Assembly (see zemsky sobor) succeeded in agreeing on a candidate for the throne, the young, personally weak Mikhail Romanov, son of the politically strong metropolitan, from 1619 patriarch Filaret. This gave the blessing and support of the new dynasty the church. In a European context, early Romanovrusland, despite its size, was a weak state that only managed to be a pawn in the games of other powers. Nevertheless, Russia was able to continue the Cossack-backed expansion into Siberia. During the 1600’s. the Russian expansion reached both the Pacific and the Chinese sphere of interest further south, which in 1689 led to the first Russian-Chinese treaty in Nertjinsk. At the same time, the incipient weakening of Poland allowed Russia to exploit a Cossack uprising to in 1654 incorporate large parts of Ukraine incl. Kyjiv.

However, this relative progress could not hide the fact that Russia was a country in constant crisis. In reality, the now gigantic country was ruled in the same way as the small emerging principality of Moscow by a principally autocratic ruler, who, however, in step with the growth of the empire, became completely dependent on its administrative apparatus. However, this had expanded almost by budding. Chancelleries, prikaz, often with overlapping jurisdictions, were created when specific needs arose, eg for the administration of newly incorporated territories. An attempt to coordinate the administration was made by gathering the leaders of the chancelleries in the Bojarduma, the tsar’s old advisory body, which thus also grew and was bureaucratized. Next to the tsar stood the Russian Churchas an economic, spiritual and highly conservative power factor. However, Western theological influence, which reached Russia after the incorporation of Kyjiv, created a desire in the church hierarchy for reforms in terms of church texts and rituals. At the same time, the proponent of the reform, Patriarch Nikon, was given the opportunity to assert the Church’s supremacy over secular power. Together, it gave rise to violent turbulence within both church and community. While Nikon itself suffered defeat in its claim to the supremacy of the Church, the Tsar supported his other reforms. This led to a schism between the official church and a wide range of old believers, a schism that has survived to this day.

An important component of Russian society was the nobility. As a state, it had no direct political influence, and its function had primarily been to form the backbone of the country’s military. It had its livelihood in land holdings, which the state power had alternated between regarding as hereditary or dependent on military service. To ensure the nobility its economic return of the land and thus its loyalty had the state during 1500-1600-t. secured its labor power by increasingly tying up the peasants, who gradually became serfs, completely at the mercy of the nobility and the ecclesiastical landowners. It created during the 1600-t. a latent danger of peasant uprisings and a steady stream of runaway peasants. While peasant uprisings could not immediately bring down the tsarist regime, uprisings in cities, not least Moscow, were the more dangerous. The Russian cities, like the cities of the West, did not have the special privileges that, through wholesale trade and international relations, could have made them catalysts in the development of society. As the financial needs of the state catered for the export of grain, and the urban communities were simultaneously imposed a salt tax, the supply situation in the cities evoked in the mid-1600’s. a number of almost simultaneous uprisings, in Moscow. They shook the regime and resulted in a new National Assembly convened to discuss reforms. The result was a new legal codification (see and the urban communities at the same time imposed a salt tax, provoking the supply situation in the cities in the mid-1600-t. a number of almost simultaneous uprisings, in Moscow. They shook the regime and resulted in a new National Assembly convened to discuss reforms. The result was a new legal codification (see and the urban communities at the same time imposed a salt tax, provoking the supply situation in the cities in the mid-1600-t. a number of almost simultaneous uprisings, in Moscow. They shook the regime and resulted in a new National Assembly convened to discuss reforms. The result was a new legal codification (seeSobornoje Ulozjenije), which, however, did not seriously reform society. In the late 1660’s, Stepan Razin’s peasant uprising followed, and in 1682 an uprising broke out among the Struelets in Moscow, in which many elements from the 1600’s crises came together, the urban proletariat, old believers and intriguing circles in the administrative apparatus. Together, the uprisings revealed a country in dire need of reform.

Russia (History – 1682-1917)

Russia (History – 1682-1917), Peter the Great and his reforms

With Peter the Great (1682/89-1725), Russia’s window to the West was seriously opened. In 1697-98, he was the first Tsar to make a trip to Western Europe, and when he returned home, he was determined to transform the old Muscovite society after the Western European model and to make Russia a European superpower. The first goal he symbolized by literally shaving the beard of the nobility and forcing it to wear Western clothing, and in 1700 he replaced the Byzantine calendar, still used in the Greek Catholic countries, with the Julian one. As a symbol of Russia’s opening to the West, Peter founded St. Petersburg in 1703 and then made it the capital. The dignity of great power was achieved by Russia through 25 years of constant war. First without success againstThe Ottoman Empire and then together with Saxony-Poland and Denmark-Norway against Sweden in the Great Nordic War. At the Peace of Nystad in 1721, Russia replaced Sweden as the strongest power around the Baltic Sea. Russia got Ingermanland, Estonia, Livonia and the eastern part of Karelia. Peter assumed beside the existing autokratorværdighed now the waning Western title imperator ‘Emperor’ and renamed the Moscow Russia to the Russian Empire.

The long war, which required a lot of money and an efficient state system, gave rise to Peter’s reform work. Its realization became a mixture of ad hoc solutions and a master plan to transform Russia into a well-functioning state. The reforms came to include the military (standing army and navy), the state administration (introduction of the dormitory system according to the Swedish pattern), the local government (an administrative division of the kingdom into eight governments), the tax system (the male serf, a “soul”, was made a tax object), the economic life (construction of manufactories, shipyards and ironworks) and the church, the administration of which was placed under the state. One of the means of the reform was to make the whole population conscripted in relation to the state: the tax-free nobility was to serve either in the military or as civil servants, while the rest of the population should be taxable, through a state cup tax.

Peter the Great was controversial both as a person and as a reformer in both the past and the present. Granted, the functioning of the state and the life of the upper class were radically changed, while the foundations of the political structure (self-government) and the social conditions of the general population did not change significantly. Many of the Petrine reforms lost their momentum after his death, but fundamentally the course towards Europeanization and modernization was maintained.

The period between Peter the Great and Catherine II was marked by a series of succession disputes and palace revolutions. It is noteworthy that the uncertainty and unrest surrounding the succession to the throne did not allow the nobility to curtail self-rule.

Catherine II continues the reforms

Peter’s reforms were continued by Catherine II the Great (reigned 1762-96), who had succeeded in pushing her husband, Peter III, from the throne through the intervention of the guard regiments. However, the illegitimate ascension to the throne was decisive for Katarina’s maintenance of the tacit alliance between the nobility and the autocracy, which had been established in the middle of the 17th century, consolidated under Peter the Great., and whose price had been the ever-increasing dependence of the landowner peasants on their masters. Katarina’s reign was marked by a field of tension between a ruler inspired by the ideas of the enlightened autocracy and the Enlightenment philosophy, and a Russian reality marked by serfdom and autocracy. Katarina’s ideal was the enlightened autocracy and its emphasis on the rule of law. This was the background for an instruction she issued in 1766 as the basis for a future social order; its implementation in practice, however, remained without the great results. However, at the local level, she separated the executive and the judiciary. On the other hand, she increased the centralization by e.g. to make the division of government introduced by Peter I more finely meshed. In addition, she subdivided the population into a legal system consisting of four estates (nobility, clergy, urban population and peasants). The nobility, which had already been exempted from compulsory service to the state as early as 1762, had its rights and privileges reaffirmed in 1785, including its monopoly on land ownership. Through a series of urban reforms, Katarina tried to create a basis for the development of a wealthy bourgeoisie, but without the great results. Despite the formal abolition of conscription, the nobility remained an important element of state bureaucracy. During the 1700’s. and not least in the decades between Peter I and Catherine II, the serfdom found its final form. Now it was no longer just a staff band for the peasants; they became the lord’s personal property, which could be sold with or without land, and over which he had an extensive right of neck and hand. The landowners could sentence stubborn peasants to corporal punishment, deport them or enlist them in a lifelong military service. The social and political tensions that arose in the wake of this development led 1773-75 to the so-calledPugachev uprising. It threatened central power, and it required the deployment of the army to stifle it.

The Orthodox Church, which had been permanently weakened by the schism 1666/67 (see Old Believers), and whose supreme administration in 1721 had been placed under the state (see the Holy Synod), lost under Catherine its economic foundation, as the extensive estates of the monasteries became confiscated for the benefit of the state. The development of a secular education system, the first germ of which had been laid under Peter the Great, resulted in 1755 in the establishment of the first Russian university in Moscow. In the second half of the 1700’s. a not insignificant network of secular urban schools emerged.

Foreign policy until 1914

Peter the Great had himself pushed Russia’s borders to the Baltic Sea, and Catherine the Great pursued the second of Peter’s goals, to advance south and SW. Here it succeeded in expanding the empire’s borders at the expense of the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Noble Republic. In two wars against the Ottomans (1768-74 and 1787-92) the fertile, but largely empty steppe areas, incl. Crimean peninsula, north of the Black Sea conquered and then colonized with immigrant Germans, Bulgarians, Serbs and Greeks. The area soon became a center for wheat production, and with it came the need to build ports from which the grain could be shipped to meet the demand for food in the growing cities of Western Europe. Through the Polish divisions (1772, 1793 and 1795) the entire eastern part of Poland-Lithuania was incorporated, whereby a large population element of Ukrainians, Belarusians, Lithuanians and Jews became subjects of the emperor.

As a European superpower, Russia from the 1790’s actively participated in the coalitions and wars that followed in the wake of the French Revolution. The victory over Napoleon in 1812 contributed significantly to Russia’s imperial self – awareness, and the Congress of Vienna 1814-15 confirmed Russia’s sovereignty over Finland (conquered from Sweden 1808-09) and the Kingdom of Poland. Both Finland and Poland were granted far-reaching autonomy by Alexander I (reigned 1801-25). Also Bessarabia, which had been conquered by the Ottomans from 1806 to 12, remained in Russia. With the Napoleonic Wars, however, Russia’s expansion to the west stalled. In the following decades, attention was focused on gaining influence over the straitsThe Bosphorus and the Dardanelles and thus the departure from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. With war (1827-29) and constant diplomatic pressure on the Ottoman sultan, Russian influence in Istanbul increased. It reached its peak in 1833, when the sultan and the Russian emperor promised each other help in case of outside attacks. The Sultan further promised to close the Dardanelles to foreign ships when Russia demanded it.

In European politics, Russia under Nikolai I (reigned 1825-55) played the role of “Europe’s gendarme”, ie. as a supporter and maintainer of the order that had been created at the Congress of Vienna, and as an ardent opponent of the ideas of freedom and national currents that emerged during the European revolutions of 1830 and 1848/49.

The Crimean War of 1853-56 was the culmination of a development in which Russia’s influence in Istanbul and thus over the exit from the Black Sea collided with the interests of Britain and France in the eastern Mediterranean. They sided with the increasingly weak Ottoman Empire and added a contemptuous defeat to Russia. Although the territorial losses were modest, the loss in prestige was enormous. At the conclusion of the peace in Paris, the Black Sea was closed to all countries’ warships, which shook Russia’s status as a great power. In the following decades, it turned its attention to Asia, where Turkestan and the Siberian Far East were incorporated. Thus, Russia became an Asian superpower, which clashed with British interests in southern Central Asia.Transcaucasiawas already in the first decades of the 1800-t. became part of the empire, and in the years 1859-64 the same thing happened to the North Caucasus after 25 years of bitter battles. On the European stage, after 1870, Russia sought alliance with the continent’s new superpower, Germany, and with its old ally Austria. From the mid-1870’s, when the national freedom movements in the Balkans made the Ottoman Empire the “sick man of Europe” and the dissolution of its Balkan rule, a competitive relationship arose between Austria and Russia to fill the vacancy left – but now with the other European powers as interested observers on the sidelines. Russia went to war alone against the sultan in 1877-78, won a significant victory militarily and sought to establish a Greater Bulgaria with access to the Aegean Sea as an important Russian bridgehead.Bismarck, at the Berlin Congress of 1878 thwarted Russian plans. Russia’s disappointment with Germany and growing competition with Austria in the Balkans removed Russia from traditional alliance partners and brought it closer to France. It resulted in a Russian-French pact in 1891. It was renewed in 1898, and after the British-Russian antagonism around Afghanistan and Central Asia had been settled, Britain joined this pact in 1907 (the Entente). With the Triple Alliance(Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) on the other hand, World War I was planned. In the early 1900-t. clashed Russian and Japanese interests in the Far East. This led to the war of 1904-05, in which Russia was again inflicted with a contemptible defeat (see The Russo-Japanese War).

Reform attempts and reaction

During the 1800’s. there was a desire among landowners and in the state apparatus to reform economic life – not least in the light of rapid social and economic development in Central and Western Europe. In Russia, however, there was no self-conscious and wealthy bourgeoisie that could put political action behind the reform aspirations. It was therefore still a tacit precondition that reforms should primarily serve to maintain Russia’s place in Europe in such a way that they did not threaten stability and the existing political order. Already under Alexander I, with Prussia as a model, there had been approaches to reforms that rationalized the administrative system. On the other hand, they did not affect autocracy and serfdom. The same came to apply to Nikolaj 1.sreign, not least because he had to open his government to crush Dekabristopstanden who was the Russian højadels last attempt to wrest imperial power some of its powers. With this starting point, and further frightened by the European revolutions of 1830 and 1848/49, Nikolai’s policies were largely marked by bureaucratization, militarization and social control. Against this background, a regulation of e.g. the conditions of the state peasants in the 1840’s only as ripples. First, the defeat in the Crimean War really gave impetus to the reforms, now under the leadership of the new emperor, Alexander II (reigned 1855-81), and primarily because it had just revealed the strategic weaknesses of the great power.

Most important among the reforms was the abolition of serfdom in 1861. The nobility had to relinquish part of the land, but retained even a significant and most fertile part of it. The now free peasants were given a plot of land for which they had to pay, which was generally smaller than the land they had previously cultivated. Lack of arable land and a large debt burden thus became part of the peasant liberation. The village community (mir) was maintained as a stabilizing and controlling element by being made collectively responsible for the debt payments. The scheme thus limited the freedom and mobility of the workforce and was therefore an obstacle to a radical reorganization of society’s economic life.

The liberation of the peasants necessitated a number of other reforms, which were an expression of a controlled activation of society and a certain movement in the existing power relations. In 1864, the zemstvo institution was established as elected bodies that were to take care of, for example, social welfare, health care, elementary education and roads. A similar reform was implemented for the cities in 1870. A judicial reform in 1864 introduced modern legal principles such as the inalienability of judges, juries and the public in the administration of justice. In 1874, conscription was introduced with built-in options for some social mobility.

The success of the reforms in activating society was limited, and they were unable to provide any change of system. This was especially true after Alexander II in 1881 had fallen victim to an assassination attempt. The new emperor, Alexander III (1881-94), again embarked on a system stabilizing course by to cancel or override a number of the father’s liberal reforms in, for example, the administration of justice, administration and education. In addition, the implementation of a Russian nationalist policy, which led to special legislation for Jews and a brutal attempt to Russify the national minorities in the outskirts of the empire. This reactionary course that continued under Nikolaj 2.(ruled 1894-1917), however, was linked to a highly active state enterprise policy. Railway construction (eg the Trans-Siberian Railway), the expansion of the banking system, foreign government loans and a protectionist trade policy made Russia a “greenhouse of capitalism” in the 1890’s, which, however, was vulnerable to international economic fluctuations due to its small domestic market. But in the 1890’s, Russia had Europe’s largest growth rates in mining and heavy industry. Basically, however, it remained an agricultural country where the number of industrial workers and the size of the cities were modest.

Towards revolution

Reforms and industrialization took place largely within the existing political framework. This strengthened the antagonism between state and society that had been established under Peter the Great. There was also a contradiction between a relatively small educated elite and the rest of the population living in illiterate darkness, between city and country, between imperial power and a burgeoning public, and between the imperial center and the national movements of the periphery.

This meant that Russia around 1900 was marked by a number of fundamental unsolved problems. They were about the division of power, about the land question, about the living conditions of the workers and about the national question. These problems came to an end in the 1905 revolution, where workers, peasants and intelligentsia for the first time in unison rose up against self-rule. The socially critical and radically minded intelligentsia had found no place in 1800’s society. Russia’s attempts at Europeanization had in the 1700’s. not been a problem for the intellectuals who were, by and large, loyal supporters of it. But under the influence of the European national romantic currents, in the 1830’s and 1840’s, they began to question Russia’s identity in this process of Europeanization and further on Russia’s place in history. On this question, the intellectuals were divided into two camps: the Slavophiles believed that Russia should return to its roots in the pre-Petrine and Orthodox-ruled society, while the Western-oriented (zapadniki) saw a continuation of Europeanization as Russia’s true path. In the second half of the century, the Russian intelligentsia developed into the self-appointed mouthpiece of society, which through fiction, literary criticism, social critique, utopian social models in both legal and illegal form more or less radically declared itself an enemy of the state and the existing social order. An example is the so-called narodniki (populists), who in the 1870’s went out into the peasant population to spread the knowledge of their agrarian socialism there.

From the 1890’s, the agrarian socialists were opposed by the Marxist Social Democrats, who turned their attention to the rather few industrial proletariat. Their party, founded in 1898, was split as early as 1903 at the party’s second congress into an evolutionary faction (Mensheviks) and a revolutionary wing (Bolsheviks).

Among the non-Russian peoples such as the Baltics, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians, Armenians and Tatars, national movements developed that with varying intensity made cultural, political and social demands. The liberal opposition, which consisted mainly of academics and people in liberal professions, organized itself in 1905 in the party The Constitutional Democrats (Cadets).

The 1905 revolution

The direct cause of the upheavals in 1905 was a peaceful workers’ demonstration in St. Petersburg on January 22, 1905, which wanted to hand over a petition to the emperor, but by the intervention of elite units turned into a massacre (see The Bloody Sunday). In the following months, numerous strikes followed, forming the first workers’ soviets, and which in the autumn turned into a general strike. At the same time, the imperial power suffered defeat in the war against Japan 1904-05, and it was therefore in the autumn of 1905 on the verge of collapse. However, the imperial power succeeded in splitting the organized part of the opposition by issuing a manifesto (the October Manifesto), which promised far-reaching concessions. The Liberal opposition thus lost its moderate wing, which under the party name Oktobrister allowed itself to be satisfied by the manifesto’s promises. The October Manifesto formed the basis for the constitutional provisions issued in April 1906. For the first time in Russia’s history, civil and political rights were guaranteed; trade unions and political parties were legalized, which created the basis for a legal political public. A two-chamber system was established with a Council of State, where the emperor was to appoint half of the members, and a State Duma, whose members were to be appointed through elections with ordinary but indirect and unequal suffrage. The emperor retained dominance over military and foreign policy. He continued to appoint the government, convening and dissolving parliament. He also had a veto power over all Duma decisions and could impose a state of emergency. convened and was able to dissolve Parliament. He also had a veto power over all Duma decisions and could impose a state of emergency. convened and was able to dissolve Parliament. He also had a veto power over all Duma decisions and could impose a state of emergency.

The 1st and 2nd Duma (1906-07) were dominated by radical and socialist parties and were disbanded as they came into conflict with the government rather quickly. Thereafter, suffrage was curtailed, and the two following Dumas, who came to sit 1907-17, were given a conservative composition. Prime Minister Stolypin had, against the wishes of the first two Duma, initiated a far-sighted agrarian reform which, by freeing the peasants from the village and allowing them to relocate and replace the land over a number of years, foresaw the formation of a government-loyal peasantry. Industrial development and the gradual literacy of the population also continued after 1905. However, this development was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

World War 1

After some military progress in the beginning, the Russian armies soon suffered defeat, and the empire had to give up territory for the first time in centuries. The food supply totally collapsed, causing the social tensions to reach the breaking point. The government’s incompetent military leadership and its partly German – friendly policies gradually removed the regime from the Duma’s liberal-conservative majority, which wanted to stand firm on Entente co – operation. At the end of February 1917, therefore, the regime was again on the brink of collapse, but this time it did not stand to be saved. A spontaneous popular movement in the capital Petrograd (until 1914 St. Petersburg) demanded its fall. A self-appointed committee of the Duma, led by members of the Cadet Party, agreed to this demand, and on March 15, 1917, Nikolai 2 abdicated. The 300-year reign of the Romanov dynasty was over.

The resulting power vacuum was filled by a dual government, which from the beginning helped to weaken the transitional government. The spontaneously emerging Petrograd Soviet of workers ‘and soldiers’ deputies shared power with the Duma Committee, now called the Provisional Government. But the temporary nature of the government prevented it from addressing the very fundamental problems: the agrarian question, the workers’ question, and an end to the war. They were postponed to a Constituent Assembly to be elected and convened later in the year 1917.

The dual government went from crisis to crisis. Its dependence on the Western allies prevented it from concluding a special peace with the Axis powers. During the summer a social revolution was carried out. The industrial proletariat organized itself into trade unions, factory committees and workers ‘militias, took over the factories by suicide and demanded workers’ control of production. In the countryside, the farmers carried out a land distribution by e.g. by force to take over the estates and distribute the land among themselves. The national movements of the peripheral areas were in the process of realizing autonomy. The government, since July under the leadership of the socialist Alexander Kerensky, could not stand a chance.

In the autumn of 1917, the social and political crisis culminated. At that time, all parties except the Bolsheviks had compromised by participating in the Provisional Government and by allowing the war to continue. The time had come when political power was at stake for anyone who was able to offer the people the right slogans. And the Bolsheviks could. Their leader, Lenin, had, after the party split in 1903, created a small but well-organized party of revolutionaries who believed they would have history with them if they took power. In his theory of imperialism, Lenin, like the agrarian socialists of his day, had argued that a socialist revolution was possible in an agrarian society like Russia. He saw the country as the weakest link in the chain of capitalist countries, and therefore a revolution here could be the beginning of the world revolution. Lenin had coupled this theory with concrete promises to solve all the pressing problems that the Provisional Government had postponed. By April 1917, the promises had been summed up in three slogans with a clear popular appeal: land, peace, and all power to the Soviets. During the autumn, the Bolsheviks gained a majority in the Soviets of the largest cities, and 7.11.1917 (October 25, 1917,Live Trotsky at the head of the Petrograd Soviet Revolutionary Committee undramatically and without meeting appreciable resistance in an armed coup take over political power in the capital. The Provisional Government was arrested, but its leader, Alexander Kerensky, had fled. An authoritarian empire had collapsed, and its successor had proved too weak to create a new capitalist and democratic Russia.

Russia (History – 1917-45)

the October Revolution led to the formation of a new government, the Council of People’s Commissars, led by Lenin. The aim was then to build a dictatorship of the proletariat, based on a system of state Soviets and with the Bolshevik wing of the Social Democrats (from 1918 the Communist Party) as the all-dominating political force. Shortly after the revolution, other parties were banned and the non-Bolshevik press closed. The Communists’ rapid monopoly of power and radical economic policies triggered in 1918 the Russian Civil War between the Reds, ie. the Bolsheviks, and the whites, the anti-Bolsheviks. The fronts, however, were not clear; the large population majority, the peasants, for example, found it difficult to choose sides in the conflict. The war, which cost 8-9 million. human life, the vast majority of civilians, ended in the late 1920’s with defeats to the whites who were weakened by mutual strife and failed to devise an alternative political program. Britain, France and a number of other states intervened to varying degrees in the Civil War. The main goal of the European intervention powers in the short term was to create a new eastern front in World War I, after Soviet Russia concluded a separate peace in March 1918, the Brest-Litovsk peace., with Germany; in the long run, they wanted to prevent communism from spreading to the rest of Europe. The foreign intervention, however, only to a modest extent came to influence the course of the civil war.

Of greater importance were the many non-Russian nationalities who fought for increased autonomy or full independence from Russia. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland gained independence, but most other national movements were neutralized by Soviet power in the first half of the 1920’s. Most of the old tsarist empire was thus reunited, and in 1922 a highly centralized federal state, the Soviet Union, was established, consisting of four Union republics: the Russian, the Ukrainian, the Belarusian, and the Transcaucasian. The number of Union Republics has since risen to 16.

The Soviet state also consolidated its foreign policy position. The attempt to promote proletarian revolutions in the rest of Europe, through the new Communist International, the Comintern, had created a deep opposition to the capitalist countries. But the world revolution did not take place, and Soviet Russia therefore had to try to find a place in a traditional international system. In 1922, Moscow signed a treaty of friendship, the Treaty of Rapallo, with Germany, and in 1924, the Soviet Union was recognized by Great Britain, France and the Scandinavian countries.

The Civil War had plunged the country into a deep economic and social crisis. In order to rectify the economy and counter several peasant uprisings, Lenin decided in 1921 to abolish the radical war communism that had been introduced in 1918 and, among other things, entailed extensive nationalizations and forced seizure of grain by the peasants. Instead, a new economic policy, NEP, was introduced, which provided significant room for private economic enterprise. Cultural life was also given relatively free opportunities to unfold.

With Lenin’s death in 1924, however, the smoldering controversy over the future political course intensified. The general secretary of the Communist Party, Josef Stalin, was in favor of a continuation of the NEP for a long time. But after maneuvering Lev Trotskyand other leading Bolsheviks, he initiated in 1928-29 a new radical social upheaval. The Stalin revolution involved the forced collectivization of agriculture, the deportation of millions of stubborn peasants, the nationalization of the means of production, and forced industrialization, based on a highly centralized planned economic system. In addition, there was a massive unification of cultural and social life and a general attack on the Orthodox Church, Islam, Judaism and other denominations. The goal was in a short time to build a strong industrial state and a real socialist social order.

However, collectivization became a regular disaster. In rural areas, due to peasant resistance, there were civil war-like conditions, and in 1932-33, parts of the Soviet Union were hit by a severe famine that cost millions of lives. Stalin, however, stood firm and in the following years laid the groundwork for an inviolable personal dictatorship. Already as general secretary he had built up a solid power base in the party apparatus, and at the same time the influence of the Soviet government had been gradually reduced in favor of the party’s Politburo. In the 1930’s, the Politburo also lost its significance, as all important decisions were now made by Stalin himself and the circle around him. To further secure his position, Stalin carried out extensive purges of real and potential opponents. It culminated inthe great terror of 1936-38, in which a number of leading Bolsheviks were sentenced to death by the Moscow trials, and millions of ordinary citizens were liquidated or imprisoned in Soviet prisons and forced labor camps (see GULag). In those years, the security service NKVD stood as society’s dominant institution.

The terror deprived the non-Russian peoples of the last remnant of autonomy, but affected the Russians just as much. At the same time, the Soviet population was disciplined through a series of measures aimed at pushing the workforce to the extreme and counteracting the chaos that had prevailed in companies in the first phase of the industrialization process. However, the 1930’s were also marked by targeted government education efforts and strong social mobility. Many Soviet citizens therefore also experienced the period as the emergence of a new, modern age with great career and development opportunities. With Stalin’s own expression, the original “equality” was now rejected in favor of a strong wage differentiation and a host of privileges for the new elite. The massive ideological indoctrination,

Under enormous human costs, it succeeded in transforming the backward agrarian Russia into an industrial power, thereby also achieving fundamental security policy goals. Both industrialization and political terror were largely aimed at preparing the country for war. It was about, firstly, creating a strong defense, secondly, developing new industrial centers far from the vulnerable western border and, thirdly, ensuring that the people in the hinterland were absolutely loyal. The Soviet leadership at the time considered a military showdown with the capitalist world inevitable. The agreements that Moscow made with other states were therefore to serve both to postpone the military conflict until the Soviet Union itself was ready, and to strengthen the economy through trade and technology transfer.

The special relations with Germany, which had been established in 1922, were largely maintained until shortly after Hitler took power in 1933. In the following years, the Soviet Union sought to approach the Western powers and create a system of collective security against fascism and Nazism. at the same time equipped to counter an attack from Japan. The major political developments of the second half of the 1930’s, however, caused the Soviet leadership to change course. It had not succeeded in obtaining French and British support against Germany, and in the light of the concession to Germany in the Munich Agreement of 1938 and the fascists’ victory in the Spanish Civil War sought the Soviet Union again with Germany. On 23.8.1939 was signedThe German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, supplemented by a secret additional protocol that divided Eastern Europe into a German and a Soviet sphere of interest. The pact triggered Hitler’s attack on Poland on September 1, and thus World War II.

Through the annexation of the East Pole, the three Baltic states, smaller Finnish territories, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, the Soviet Union in 1939-40 pushed its defenses to the west. Yet the country was ill-prepared militarily as well as politically when Hitler, on June 22, 1941, launched his lightning war against the Soviet Union, thus becoming the Western powers’ ally in the fight against Germany. In a few months, the Germans pushed to the outskirts of Leningrad and Moscow, and in 1942 they reached the Volga city of Stalingrad. After this, however, a Soviet counter-offensive set in, driving the Germans into retreat. Most of Eastern Europe was conquered by Soviet forces 1944-45, and in April-May 1945 the Red Army occupied Berlin.

The war on the Eastern Front had been waged with unusual brutality. Hitler’s goal was to colonize the Soviet Union west of the Urals and force the Slavic “subhumans” to live on a subsistence level and function as cheap labor for the German “lords”. In the occupied territories, special SS units also had the task of liquidating Jews and Communist party functionaries. Far greater, however, were the losses on the battlefield itself and the number of civilian casualties of the German attacks; in total, the Great Patriotic War cost about 25 million. Soviet citizens life.

Also for the Russians who were behind the front, the situation was extremely harsh due to great food shortages, appallingly poor housing conditions, etc. In addition, the Soviet state persecuted its own citizens. Both before and during the war, for example, a number of smaller non-Russian peoples suspected of disloyalty or rebellious intentions were deported to the outskirts of the Soviet Union.

Despite the immense devastation of the war, the Soviet Union in 1945 stood strong in the foreign policy arena. The Red Army had control over most of Eastern Europe and the eastern part of Germany; moreover, the agreements reached with the Western powers at the Tehran and Yalta conferences in November 1943 and February 1945 provided good opportunities for the Soviet Union to gain decisive influence in the Eastern European countries and thereby build a new advanced security zone vis-à-vis the West. The pattern in the world of the Cold War took shape even before the real war was over.

Russia (History – 1945-91)

Already at the Potsdam Conference in the summer of 1945, disagreements arose between the former allies, and when the Soviet Union in 1945-48, bypassing the Tehran and Yalta Accords, had communist-dominated governments in the occupied Central and Eastern European states. countries, the Cold War was a reality. The first serious confrontation between East and West was the Berlin Blockade in 1948-49, in which Stalinto prevent the formation of a West German state, the access roads to West Berlin closed, but were forced to abandon the blockade due to the West Powers’ airlift to the city. In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was established, after which the Soviet Union established the East German state of GDR. That same year, the Soviet Union got the atomic bomb, laying the groundwork for its status as a superpower. The new Eastern European “people’s democracies” were imposed on Soviet-like political and economic systems and largely subject to Moscow’s leadership. Control of Eastern Europe was exercised through COMECON, formed in 1949. Only Yugoslavia under Titowent its own ways despite strong Soviet pressure. In return, in 1950, Moscow signed a friendship and aid agreement with the new communist China. That same year, Stalin supported North Korea’s invasion of South Korea and then also China’s interference in the Korean War, increasing polarization between East and West.

The victory in World War II had endowed both Communism and Stalin’s person with almost inviolable popular legitimacy. Nevertheless, after the end of the war, coercion and unification continued as political means of control. The labor camps were replenished, leading politicians were executed (see the Leningrad affair), and cultural life was kept in check, while at the same time the Stalin cult reached absurd heights. The newly incorporated territories in the west were brutally integrated into the Soviet system, by forced collectivization of agriculture and mass deportations of, in particular, Balts to Siberia.

Economically, the early post-war period was marked by forced reconstruction. An ambitious five-year plan for 1946-50 achieved good results, especially in heavy industry, but agriculture and thus the living conditions of the population continued to be neglected.

Stalin died in 1953, and the ensuing power struggle was won by Nikita Khrushchev. He was deeply rooted in Stalinism, but wanted to free it from some of its repressive features. Therefore, at the 20th Party Congress in 1956, he exposed a number of Stalin’s crimes (see The Secret Speech) and in the following years with the so-called thaw broke allowed some liberalization of the public life of Soviet society. A large number of the prisoners were released, and many of the victims of the Stalin terror were rehabilitated, just as the secret police, the
Grades: KGB, came under stricter political control. However, the course was highly volatile, and the ideological framework remained narrow.

Khrushchev tried with some success to expand the welfare of Soviet citizens through increased emphasis on consumer production, housing construction, and access to education. Moreover, he understood the negative consequences of the backwardness of agriculture and took the initiative to bring it to its feet. To strengthen the overall planned economy, he implemented a comprehensive decentralization of economic planning and governance, which, like a number of other initiatives, strengthened the party and made it the sovereign leading institution in the state administration. Soviet technology experienced a short-lived global lead when in 1957 the first satellite was sent and in 1961 the first human in orbit around the Earth.

Khrushchev agreed with Stalin’s thesis of “two camps” in world politics, but instead of confrontation, he wanted a more peaceful rivalry between communism and capitalism under the motto “peaceful coexistence”. He was sure of the victory of communism, in the expectation that the Soviet Union would already around 1970 surpass the United States in production per. resident. In step with the decolonization, the controversy increasingly arose about the new countries in the third world, and here Soviet diplomacy reaped good results in Egypt, India and Cuba. In return, it came to a violent break with China, which would not recognize the Soviet leading role in world communism.

All the more so, the Soviet Union cemented its control of the Eastern Bloc and thus, despite the intention to the contrary, maintained the fundamental conflict between East and West. In 1955, the Warsaw Pact was established in response to West Germany’s accession to NATO, in 1956 Soviet troops stifled a popular uprising in Hungary, and after several years of international crisis over Berlin’s status, the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 to stem the population exodus from East Germany. The following year, the world was brought to the brink of a nuclear war when the Soviet Union in Cuba wanted to deploy nuclear missiles that could reach large parts of the United States.

Khrushchev’s risky games and defeats in the Cuba crisis, his dictatorial leadership style, and the problems caused by his chaotically implemented reforms in the economy, led in 1964 to his removal under coup-like circumstances. The leadership was taken over by Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin, with the former in the now dominant role.

The new leadership quickly abolished many of Khrushchev’s reforms, including the decentralization of the planned economy, and replaced his restless reforms with a leadership style that emphasized stability and the preservation of the existing structure of power and privilege in society. The decade leading up to the mid-1970’s was probably the most materially prosperous period in the history of the Soviet Union, but thereafter a stagnation ensued which in the first half of the 1980’s led to economic zero growth and paralysis of political action.

In 1965, Kosygin tried to implement a reform that, through economic framework management, was to make companies more independent, but it ran into the sand due to opposition in the powerful ministries. Subsequent sub – reforms failed to address the inability of the planned economy system to manage and further develop the now relatively complex economy. Among other things, it was clearly when the West in the same period actually hooked the Soviet Union on international technological development. On the other hand, the black market and corruption flourished, which probably covered the population’s need for consumer goods and services, but at the same time undermined the legitimacy of communism.

The aging leadership took many initiatives to remedy the problems, but constantly refused to go beyond the existing political-economic system, for which it in turn led a stifling ideological defense. From the mid-1960’s, however, the system was challenged on several fronts: the growing political cynicism and apathy of the population effectively eliminated the ideological tools of the past, while the growing dissident movement created considerable turbulence with its demands for political and religious freedoms and the right to emigrate. the Jewish population.

The course of the Cuban Missile Crisis had exposed the Soviet Union’s inability to respond to global military action. It brought about under Brezhnev a tremendous expansion of the navy and the intercontinental missile forces, whereby in the 1970’s, at enormous cost, the country achieved strategic equality with the United States. But the crisis also gave rise to a process of relaxation between the superpowers, further alienated by the Soviet Union’s need for Western technology and the tense relationship with China. The process came to a temporary halt when the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 to halt Alexander Dubček’s reforms; but in the first half of the 1970’s a number of agreements were concluded, including the Berlin Agreementin 1971, the SALT I Agreement in 1972 and the Helsinki Agreement in 1975, which together slowed down the arms race and increased stability in Europe. After this, the mistrust between the parties grew again, due to Soviet use of Cuban troops in the Third World and a fierce dispute over the deployment of medium-range missiles in Europe. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the process came to a complete standstill.

At Brezhnev’s death in 1982, the Soviet Union was in deep internal and external crisis, and its successors, Yuri Andropov (1982-84) and Konstantin Chernenko (1984-85), failed to change this. Mikhail Gorbachev, who became the new leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, realized, unlike his predecessors, that the problems had their roots in the political-economic system itself. Therefore, he launched under the name perestroika’restructuring’ means an in-depth reform program. By means that had previously been ideologically unacceptable, the perestroika was to boost the ailing economy and involve the population more in the political process, all in order to preserve the Soviet Union as a socialist state in the long run. In practice, however, the reform work suffered from a lack of clear ideas about what should be put in place of the parts of the Soviet system that it managed to break down. The economic reforms thus cut central planning, but for ideological reasons failed to replace it with a truly free market, which destabilized the economy. Under the slogans glasnost, political reforms introduced ‘openness’ and democratizationfar-reaching freedom of speech and of the press, as well as relatively free elections to parliament, which were given real powers. These conditions opened up an avalanche of criticism of the system, but never led to full democracy; Among other things, the Communist Party was first deprived of its formal monopoly of power in 1990.

Also in relations with the outside world, Gorbachev broke with decades of habitual thinking and sought a new, afideologized relationship with the West. This was done partly in recognition of the fact that inflated defense spending hampered internal reforms, and partly out of a presumably genuine desire to make the Soviet Union a “civilized” actor on the international stage. The change of course led to a number of important arms control and disarmament agreements with the West, to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and to the conclusion of the treaties that made German reunification possible in 1990. But it also led to the loss of Moscow’s dominance over the Eastern Bloc; the Eastern European revolutions of 1989-90 were largely born of the example of perestroika and of Gorbachev’s insistence on not using armed force against its European neighbors.

The political upheaval in the Soviet Union took on an ethnic dimension as the many non-Russian peoples began to turn against the highly centralized and Russian-dominated regime and demand autonomy or direct secession from the Soviet Union. The demands most strongly put forward by the Baltic republics weakened in conjunction with bloody ethnic clashes around the country’s central power, especially as the Greater Russia Republic under the leadership of Boris Yeltsinin 1990 joined the pressure for a decentralization of the union. Gorbachev tried to meet the demand with a new Union treaty, which extended extensive powers to the republics, but before signing, he was subjected to a conservative coup attempt in August 1991. The coup failed, but intensified the dissolution tendencies. The Communist Party was now banned, a number of republics declared independence, and in December the presidents of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine single-handedly disbanded the Soviet Union, forming the looser CIS, the Union of Independent States, which soon gained membership from most other Soviet republics. Gorbachev took the consequence and resigned as President of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991.

Russia (History – After 1991)

During the coup attempt against Gorbachev, Yeltsin had acted as a courageous opponent of the coup plotters and defender of democratic values. He was the leading figure in the last phase of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and as President of Russia, he took over upon Gorbachev’s resignation of the Soviet Union’s previous international obligations as well as the leadership of the armed forces, the secret services and the ministries. Thus, an independent Russia was established with borders that, apart from the later conquered areas of the North Caucasus, the Far East and East Prussia, corresponded to the borders in the mid-1600’s.

Yeltsin immediately launched a shock therapy market economy program. Social tensions grew as economic performance slowed and output declined as inflation rose. 1992-93 was also marked by a grueling conflict between Yeltsin and parliament, ie. The People’s Congress and the Supreme Soviet, both of which were elected during the Soviet era. The conflict over both the constitution and economic policy culminated when Yeltsin dissolved parliament in September 1993 in violation of the constitution and then in early October forced the rebel members out by letting the military bomb the parliament building. A new constitution that provided for a strong presidency came to a referendum in December, while its provisions were applied in an election to one chamber of the new parliament, the State Duma.

Heads of State
grand princes Sort
1462-1505 Ivan 3. the Great
1505-33 Vasilij 3.
1533-84 Ivan 4. the Cruel
1584-98 Fyodor 1. Ivanovich
1598-1605 Boris Godunov
1605-13 “The Time of Confusion”
1605 Fyodor 2. Borisovich
1605-06 Dmitry Ivanovich (First Pseudo-Dmitry)
1606-10 Vasily Shusky
the Romanov house
1613-45 Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov
1645-76 Alexei Mikhailovich
1676-82 Fyodor 3. Alekseevich
1682-96 Ivan 5.
1682/89-1725 Peter the Great (Emperor of 1721)
1725-27 Catherine 1.
1727-30 Peter 2.
1730-40 Anna Ivanovna
1740-41 Ivan 6.
1741-62 Elisabeth Petrovna
the house Holsten-Gottorp-Romanov
1762 Peter 3.
1762-96 Catherine II the Great
1796-1801 Paul 1.
1801-25 Alexander 1.
1825-55 Nicholas 1.
1855-81 Alexander 2.
1881-94 Alexander 3.
1894-1917 Nicholas 2.
the Provisional Government
1917 Georgia Lvov
1917 Alexander Kerensky
leaders of the Soviet Union
chairmen of the Council of People’s Commissars, from 1946 the Council of Ministers
1917/23-24 Vladimir Lenin
1924-30 Alexei Rykov
1930-41 Vyacheslav Molotov
1941-53 Josef Stalin
1953-55 Georgia Malenkov
1955-58 Nikolaj Bulganin
1958-64 Nikita Khrushchev
1964-80 Alexei Kosygin
1980-85 Nikolai Tikhonov
1985-91 Nikolai Ryzhkov
Secretaries-General (1953-66 First Secretaries) of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
1922-53 Josef Stalin
1953 Georgia Malenkov
1953-64 Nikita Khrushchev
1964-82 Leonid Brezhnev
1982-84 Yuri Andropov
1984-85 Konstantin Tjernenko
1985-91 Mikhail Gorbachev
Presidents (1917-38 Presidents of the Central Executive Committee, 1938-90 Presidents of the Supreme Soviet Presidium of the Soviet Union, 1990-91 President of the Soviet Union)
1917 Lev Kamenev
1917-19 Jakov Sverdlov
1919/23-46 Mikhail Kalinin
1946-53 Nikolaj Sjvernik
1953-60 Kliment Voroshilov
1960-64 Leonid Brezhnev
1964-65 Anastas Mikojan
1965-77 Nikolai Podgornyj
1977-82 Leonid Brezhnev
1982-84 Yuri Andropov
1984-85 Konstantin Tjernenko
1985-89 Andrej Gromyko
1989-91 Mikhail Gorbachev

The division of the new Russia into 89 administrative units, some of which were ethnically based, was a threat to the unity of the state. Not only was there unrest in the national republics, but also in the purely Russian regions there was a desire for increased independence. Most conflicts were resolved through bilateral agreements; only with Chechnya, which had declared independence in 1991, no agreement was reached. The Republic’s strategic position in relation to international oil agreements led in December 1994 to the start of a bloody war against the Republic. It ended in the summer of 1996 with a de facto recognition of Chechnya’s independence, although the question of Chechnya’s status was formally postponed until 2001.

The elections to the State Duma did not produce a reform-friendly majority in either 1993 or 1995. Communists and nationalists could therefore force the president and his prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin, to slow down reforms and adjust the course of foreign policy in a nationalist direction. Despite this and despite the war in Chechnya, in 1996 Yeltsin succeeded in being re-elected for a new five-year term. However, the president’s serious health problems weakened the power of the central government to deal with the rapidly growing crime and the stubborn states. Debt, which was not matched by growth in output, gave Russia such great economic problems in 1998 that it had to carry out a sharp devaluation and declare itself unable to meet its debt obligations. A new government led byYevgeny Primakov then initiated a revision of the reform policy with greatly increased state influence in economic life; In the field of foreign policy, Primakov had already, as Foreign Minister since 1996, emphasized Russia’s orientation towards Asian partners and Russia’s need to pursue national interests, for example in relation to NATO enlargement.

Putin’s period

Despite great popularity, Primakov was fired in May 1999; Yeltsin wanted a successor who would look after the interests of the inner circle after the presidential election in the year 2000, and therefore in August made Vladimir Putin the prime minister and unofficial presidential candidate. Among other things, he was to fight a new, strong political party that had fielded Primakov as a presidential candidate. In late summer, a Muslim-inspired uprising erupted in Dagestan, led by a Chechen breakaway group. After the uprising, Putin took advantage of the situation to invade Chechnya. The purpose of the action, which met with criticism in the international community, was, in addition to the officially declared fight against Chechen terrorism, probably both to force Chechnya back into Russia and to build Putin up as a strong man in public opinion. The latter succeeded as the majority of the population supported the action and Putin’s popularity grew, whereupon he became acting president until the March 2000 presidential election, which he won with 53% of the vote.

During his first term in office, he launched political and economic reforms to strengthen state power and promote the development of a market economy. The State Duma, elected in 1999, supported his initiatives. In 2000, Putin divided the country’s 89 regions into seven “federal districts” and deployed its own people to control them, but many regions remain autonomous. Among other things, he received adopted a law on the purchase and sale of agricultural land and took action against corruption and abuse of office. His popularity was high despite events such as the sinking of the submarine Kursk with 118 men on board in 2000, the unending war in Chechnya and the growing control of the media. The country had economic prosperity, but in 2002 lived 1/3of the population below the poverty line. In addition, the population fell by approximately 800,000 a year. Putin’s foreign policy was to look after the country’s economic interests, including in cooperation with the EU to create a common economic space. Following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Putin quickly joined the anti-terror coalition. His orientation of the country to the west in 2002 led to the formation of a new NATO-Russia Council, which to combat terrorism, and for the accession of Russia as a member of the G8. In addition, the EU and the US have recognized Russia’s market economy and supported its accession to the World Trade Organization, WTO.

The Russian Federation
presidents Sort
1991-99 Boris Yeltsin
1999-2008 Vladimir Putin
2008-2012 Dmitry Medvedev
2012- Vladimir Putin
heads of government
1991-92 Boris Yeltsin
1992 Jegor Gajdar
1992-98 Viktor Tjernomyrdin
1998 Sergei Kirijenko
1998 Viktor Tjernomyrdin
1998-99 Yevgeny Primakov
1999 Sergei Stepasjin
1999-2000 Vladimir Putin
2000-04 Mikhail Kasyanov
2004-07 Mikhail Fradkov
2007-08 Viktor Zubkov
2008-12 Vladimir Putin
2012- Dmitry Medvedev

In March 2004, Putin was re-elected with 71% of the vote for a final four-year term, after which he continued his efforts to centralize power by, among other things, to appoint former colleagues from the security service to senior positions. In the Duma elections in 2003, the Putin-friendly party United Russia occupied over two-thirds of the 450 seats. In his second term, Putin restricted freedom of expression by, among other things. to subject state-wide television stations to state control, and in 2006 he approved a law allowing authorities to monitor the activities of NGOs. In 2004, he abolished direct election of regional leaders; they are then appointed by the President and subsequently approved by the regional parliaments. In 2005, a process of merging some of the 89 regions that make up the Russian Federation was launched,Komi-Permjakien Autonomous Circle was merged with the Perm region where it is located. Putin has failed to normalize conditions in Chechnya, which still had 80,000 federal troops in 2005, and since the hostage-taking at the Dubrova Theater in Moscow in 2002, Chechen rebels have carried out several terrorist attacks, including the Beslan hostage-taking in 2004. the director of the oil company Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for tax evasion and the sentence of eight years in prison in 2005 Putin tightened his grip on the stone-rich businessmen, the oligarchs, and he let the state take over the majority stake in the gas company Gazpromin 2005. Russia has benefited from the high world oil and gas market prices, and initiatives have therefore been taken to reform health care and the social sphere. In the 2007 Duma elections, in which single-member constituencies were abolished and all were elected to party lists by proportional representation, the United Russia party won 315 seats, retaining the qualified majority, Russia’s Communist Party 57 seats, the Liberal Democratic Party 40 seats, and Justice Russia. received 38 seats. Seven of the 11 parties lined up did not meet the 7% threshold. President Putin was nominated as the leading candidate for United Russia, but only to attract voters. He did not intend to become a member of the Duma, which he would not be able to be if he became Prime Minister after his resignation as President.

Despite joining the anti-terror coalition in 2001 and accepting the coalition’s military presence in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Russia turned to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and since then relations between the two countries have been strained. also because of US concerns over Russia’s support for Iran’s civilian nuclear program. The EU is Russia’s most important trading partner, but the relationship is slowly developing, and even in the summer of 2006 it was not known what to build on when the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement expired in 2007. Relations with China have developed strongly since 2004, and in 2006 a agreement on future supplies of gas from Russia. Among SNGThe countries are Kazakhstan Russia’s most loyal partner, but the other Central Asian countries also have a good relationship with Russia. Since 2003, Russia has had forces stationed in Kyrgyzstan, and in Tajikistan, Russia’s largest military base is located abroad. Putin supported his Uzbek counterpart’s crackdown on the demonstrations in Andijan, and Turkmenistan is an important gas partner. Russia has been concerned about the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 and the Orange Revolutionin Ukraine in 2004, and relations with these countries in early 2006 were marked by frictions regarding energy supplies. In the South Caucasus, Armenia is Russia’s most important strategic partner, but relations with Azerbaijan are also good. Belarus is part of a loose union with Russia, but Putin has not interfered in Lukashenko’s regime. As for Moldova, Russia holds the key to resolving the conflict over the Dniester Republic.

The presidential election on March 2, 2008 was won by Dmitry Medvedev, who received the support of President Putin and was nominated by the United Russia party. The newly elected president took the oath in May 2008, and Putin resigned. Putin became the new prime minister. In August 2008, Russian forces invaded Georgia and proclaimed recognition of the two separatist republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The conflict led to a period of cool relations between Russia and the West, as well as to fears of a renewed Cold War. However, the relationship softened up. Medvedev continued largely the line from Putin, but generally with a more conciliatory rhetoric on the outside. During Medvedev’s tenure, the international financial crisis occurred; especially the falling energy prices for a period had a negative impact on the Russian economy.

Vladimir Putin was confirmed in 2011 as the presidential candidate for the 2012 election, which was seen as a confirmation of the presumption that Medvedev was installed in the presidency to “keep the chair warm” for Putin. Putin won the election, but there were widespread demonstrations revealing that popular support was not as great as before. Following Putin’s inauguration, Medvedev became prime minister. In 2012, Russia became a member of the World Trade Organization.

Under Putin, Russia has rediscovered its role as a confident superpower. On the international stage, Russia has been able to set the agenda in several cases. As for Iran’s reprocessing of uranium, which parts of the international community feared was an attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, Russia was skeptical of sanctions and backed a negotiated solution. Russia has also supported its main ally in the Middle East, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; here, Putin emerged as a diplomatic victor when he reached an agreement to disarm Syria for chemical weapons. However, Putin’s regime has also been criticized for its authoritarian tendencies and attacks on the opposition.