History of Russia

History of Russia

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The history of Russia began with the founding of the Rus’ state in the north in 862, ruled by Varangians. The towns of Staraya Ladoga and Novgorod grew into cities of immigrants from Scandinavia along with Slavs and Finns. In 882, Prince Oleg of Novgorod conquered Kiev and the lands of the Eastern Slavs, and brought them under one authority. The state absorbed Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in 988, which accomplished the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic culture. Kievan Rus’ disintegrated as a state due to the devastation of the Mongol invasions in 1237–1240. Russia has alternately looked for its cultural inspiration to Western Europe and to the absolutism and terror of the Mongols to inspire its governance. This paradox has defined Russian culture ever since.

After the 13th century, Moscow became a political and cultural center that unified Russian lands. By the end of the 15th century, it had united the northeastern and northwestern Russian principalities. In 1480 it finally overthrew its Mongol oppressors, and the lands of the Grand Duchy of Moscow became the Tsardom of Russia in 1547. In 1721, Peter the Great inaugurated the Russian Empire, hoping to take its inspiration from historical and cultural wellsprings of Western Europe. The empire now extended Poland to the Pacific, a great power that dominated post-Napoleonic Europe. Peasant revolts broke out and were brutally suppressed. Emperor Alexander II abolished serfdom in 1861, but the peasant unrest worsened and revolutionary sentiment grew. Reforms such as the Stolypin reforms, the constitution of 1906, and the State Duma (parliament) tried to liberalize the economy and government, but Alexander resisted sharing his autocratic power… resulting in his and his family’s deaths and the outbreak of Russian Revolution of 1917.

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Russia and the Mongol Khanates | Russia and the Byzantine Empire | Russia in the High Middle Ages | 17th Century: Society | 18th Century | Peter the Great: BureaucracyMilitaryModernization | Catherine the Great | Russian Revolution: BolsheviksLeninFirst Spontaneous Revolution | Civil War | Soviet Union | Stalin: BackgroundTerrorSocietyEconomy | Khrushchev: Cold War: Cold War in Cuba • | Brezhnev: Proxy Wars | Gorbachev | Modern Russia

history of Russia

Russia and the Mongol Khanates

history of Russia | Byzantine Empire

Russia in the Byzantine Empire

Russia in the High Middle Ages

Russia in the High Middle Ages

Russia in the 17th century

Russia in the 17th Century

history of Russia | society in the 17th century

Society in the 17th Century

Russia 18th century

Russia in the 18th Century

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history of Russia | Peter the Great

Peter the Great

Peter the Great | bureaucracy

Peter the Great: Bureaucracy

Peter the Great | military

Russia: Power: Peter the Great: Military

Peter the Great | modernization

Russia: Power: Peter the Great: Modernization

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great

Russian Revolution | Bolsheviks

Russian Revolution: Bolsheviks

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Russian Revolution: Lenin

First Spontaneous Revolution

Russian Revolution: First Spontaneous Revolution

Russian Civil War

Russian Revolution: Civil War

Soviet Union

Soviet Union

Stalin | background

Stalin: Background

Stalin | the Terror

Stalin: The Terror

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Stalin | society

Stalin: Society

Stalin | economy

Stalin: Economy


Power: Khrushchev

Cold War

Cold War

Cold War | Cuba

Cold War: Cuba


Power: Brezhnev

Cold War: Proxy Wars

Power: Gorbachev

Modern Russia

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