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There are two themes to imperial Russia’s history: a specific concept of empire and a cyclical approach to domestic governance.

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Presentation on theme: "There are two themes to imperial Russia’s history: a specific concept of empire and a cyclical approach to domestic governance."— Presentation transcript:

1 There are two themes to imperial Russia’s history: a specific concept of empire and a cyclical approach to domestic governance

2 Concept of Empire  From Peter the Great through Alexander I, the Russian empire operated “traditionally” in that it emphasized the exercise of legal authority, political order, and issuance of laws from a centralized political entity over peripheral groups who were not ethnically Russian.  When Nicholas I came to power, the ideals of Liberalism were applied to Russia’s nationalities and ethnic groups, as the Russian nationality was viewed as systematically and illegitimately violating the self-determination/ sovereignty of weaker marginal nationalities

3  Periods of reform, expansion, and development were typically followed by periods of reactionary political decisions that undermined the socioeconomic and/or political progress made in the period beforehand  HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR YA, RUSSIA?

4 Peter the Great

5  Peter’s father had two wives and two lines of succession  when Peter’s half-brother Theodore died without an heir, Peter and his other half- brother Ivan shared the title of Tsar with Ivan’s sister Sophia as regent  Sophia took advantage of her boyar (landed gentry) associates to preserve her family power against those that wanted Peter on the throne, even convincing the streltsy (elite military guards) to use violence to back her claims

6  She undermined the support from the noble classes and:  gave concessions to the merchant class  relaxed penalties against runaway peasants  founded first institute of higher education  started an ill-advised war against Crimean Tartars  Successfully brokered the Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686, but the boyars still opposed her  The military backed Peter and installed him as primary leader when Sophia planned a coup in 1689

7  He worked his way through the ranks of the army and navy in order to better appreciate how they worked. This especially helped later on when he  overhauled the system  made the military more professional and efficient  hoped to make Russia a maritime power (WITH NO UNCONTESTED OPEN-WATER PORTS)  Made two lengthy trips to Western Europe, where he considered ways in which Western European innovations could benefit Russia

8  Brought a strong and progressive mentality that broke sharply with the political and religious traditions of his predecessors:  First tsar to subject himself to the interests of the state, requiring the military swear loyalty to RUSSIA and NOT the tsar  Introduced compulsory education for nobility and government officials  Because he was used to working with commoners and disliked the political elite, he selected advisers based on SKILL not SOCIAL CLASS  1698: Russia’s first naval base established at Azov

9  Traveled secretly through Europe to garner support to stop the spread of Ottoman influence  largely unsuccessful  Learned tons about Western culture, and appreciated its liberalism  Introduced a variety of methods to modernize Russian society (there are quite a few…look on page 24)  Travels cut short in 1698 when Peter heard a coup was being undertaken to reinstate Sophia  Over a thousand military guards were executed as a result and Sophia was exiled to a convent

10  1700-1721  War declared on Sweden  during recuperation from an early loss at Narva, Peter founded St. Petersburg!!! Yay Russia!!!  Sweden invaded in 1708, defeated a year later at Poltava  Turkey wasn’t too smart and declared war in 1710  Sweden surrendered in 1721 with Treaty of Nystadt, Russia gets Estonia, Ingria, Livonia, and part of Karelia

11  Enacted general conscription for the landed gentry (first time they had to participate in the military as obligation to the crown)  Rest of population subject to lottery draft  Modernized the army (let’s find out how)  Created the Senate (given judicial, bureaucratic, and financial power) and twelve bureaucratic Colleges  Series of local government reforms

12  Patriarch was replaced by Holy Synod, a committee of religious leaders supervised by a secular official  limited the church’s authority, so it began to focus on education  Created a “head tax” to tax every subject except gentry and merchants  Table of Ranks (who wants to tell me what it is?)  Created Academy of Sciences and introduced academic specialization  Incorporated women into public social roles (SCANDALOUS)  Sheer size of Russia made it difficult to enforce the policies  created a “dual culture”

13  Peter’s only son died while awaiting execution in 1718 (he was plotting to overthrow his father, after he ran away and gave up his birthright)  After Peter died in 1725, 37years of chaos followed, with six different rulers, and constant warfare (I circled the 5 conflicts on page 27. YOU SHOULD TOO :D)


15  Born princess of minor German royalty  Educated in the liberal arts  Married Tsar Peter III, fell into favor with the court  When Peter III was assassinated, she was viewed as illegitimately usurping the throne  Incredibly cunning and intelligent  Willing to set the values of the Age of Reason aside in favor of a more utilitarian approach

16  Introduced a couple of seemingly nonthreatening governmental reforms (aka liberal/Western inspired)  Emphasized secular political institutions guided by legal parameters  Denounced capital punishment and torture  Catherine rejected serfdom in theory but couldn’t do anything about it just yet

17  Installed in 1767 to serve as a putative legislative body that could address local and regional issues while providing Catherine with information about the best course of action  Introduced an unprecedented degree of rationality and reason  Proved to be unwieldy as the controversial issues of class, ethnicity, religion, and nationality began to take hold  Disbanded in 1768

18  Pugachev, a Cossack deserter military veteran led a rebellion in 1773, which quickly spread to the lower classes  Pugachev seized considerable territory and proclaimed the throne belonged to Peter III and emancipated the serfs  Succumbed to the army in 1774, executed in 1775  Catherine then pursued a series of reforms to help and placate the masses

19  Empire was geographically restructured based on population to give some semblance of equality  Weaker government institutions were established to provide an opportunity to indirectly appeal to Catherine  Garnered support from regional gentry  At the expense of the peasants (of course)

20  First (1768-74) allowed Russia to acquire additional territory along the Black Sea  Second (1787-92) secured Russian preeminence in the Crimean peninsula and on the Northwestern shore of the Black Sea for decades

21  Poland was falling to bits  Russia, Prussia, and Austria decided they wanted it for their own  First Partition of 1772: Russia gets Belorussian and Lithuanian territory  Second (1793): Russia gets Ukrainian and more Lithuanian territory  Third (1794): Russia gets EVEN MORE Ukrainian and Lithuanian territory  1795=What’s Poland?  Russia becomes even more ethnically diverse  Poland given special status as a kingdom within the Russian Empire

22  Catherine DID NOT like him and he didn’t like her  he wanted to undo all her work  Supported the deepening of serfdom while also undermining authority of the gentry  Incorrectly thought alignment with Napoleon would bring European stability  He did establish primogeniture for the Romanov family  Russian elite disliked him  he was assassinated in a coup in 1801

23  Catherine preferred him as a successor  Disposed toward Western liberalism because of Catherine and was inspired by the French revolutionaries  His father’s influence allowed him to maintain autocracy, use the military advantageously, and use international diplomacy  Viewed as both simultaneously liberal and reactionary

24  Reversed the decisions of his reactionary and undisciplined father  Lifted bans on international travel for Russian citizens and reopened the border to foreigners, international goods, and cultural artifacts  Relaxed censorship  Reinstated a ban on torture  Restored the powers of local and regional governments

25  Members: Nicholas Novosiltsev, Count Paul Stoganov, Count Victor Kochubey, Adam Czartoryski, and Akexander himself  Most important issues: serfdom and autocratic nature of tsar (they got nowhere with that one)  Believed emancipation of serfdom was unwise, decided more moderate reforms were alright instead  Ended in 1805  Unsuccessful in implementing reforms that matched their theoretical views, but it was important nonetheless

26  Would have transformed the monarchy into a constitutional one  Three basic tiers of society with own rights (top with most, last with least)  Organize Russia into federal administrative units governed by regional legislative assemblies  TOO RADICAL  GET IT OUT OF MY SIGHT, said Alexander

27  Senate granted authority to serve as supreme judicial and administrative body under the tsar  Colleges replaced with ministries  1810: Council of State founded to aid the tsar with legislation and emphasize the legality of the law-making process


29  In 1825, a group of liberal army officers became fed up with domestic issues being ignored for nearly a decade and believed the only way to achieve change was to overthrow the government  Stuck on December 26, 1825 as Nicholas was sworn in  Among Nicholas’s first acts was to arrest and prosecute the remaining protestors not killed when the army dispersed the crowd from the Senate Square

30  Committed to the military, incredibly conservative socio-political beliefs  Militarized most state institutions (they became obsessively bureaucratic)  Constantly in fear of showing weakness  BUT he referred to and attempted to address the Decembrist’s list of grievances

31  Nicholas thought the processes by which the Council of State operated was too cumbersome  Created Ad Hoc committees outside of the legal order to bypass the problems  Met and ended at the whim of Nicholas  Gave way to infighting and made few real changes

32  Permanent entity  Originally supposed to give the tsar an entity to focus on immediate issues, expanded to include six departments  Highly specialized focus, relatively effective

33  Part of the Chancery to create a new police force answerable only to the tsar  Deeply penetrated Russian society, instilling fear and pitting individuals against one another  Persecution of innocents really made people hate them

34  Developed by leader of the Department of Education Sergei Uvarov in 1833  Stressed “Orthodoxy, autocracy, and nationality”  Relied on “constructed mythology” of Russia’s past  What else did Uvarov do?? Let’s go find out

35  Nicholas believed serfdom was a moral evil  Serfdom was believed to create conditions that spurred destabilization ad powerful insurrections  Nicholas did issue some de jure reforms, such as the allowance for serfs to conditionally purchase their freedom, but a lack of specific enforcement mechanisms meant that the de facto conditions of serfs were not changes

36  There’s a bit less than the last foreign policy part. LET’S DO IT TOGETHER AGAIN!!!

37  Russia against France, Britain, Turkey, and Sardinia  After the French occupied the area and forced the Ottomans to accept Catholic dominance over the region’s religious sites, Nicholas feared the Orthodox Church would lose access to religious sites

38  Also feared the French cooperation with Ottomans would threaten Russia’s control of Turkish straits and access to the Black Sea  After losing, Russia was prohibited from using the Black Sea for militarization, was forced to relinquish control of the mouth of the Danube and part of the Bessarabia, and lost control of the Orthodox Church in the Ottoman Empire

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