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1 Robbie Garner, Stephanie Reynolds, Sarah Tepper, and Linda Wang The Russian EmpireRobbie Garner, Stephanie Reynolds, Sarah Tepper, and Linda Wang
2 BackgroundPrinces of Moscow began to expand their holdings as early as the mid-fourteenth century.From their small commercial town of Moscow, the princes received new territories by war, marriage, and even out right purchase.By the mid-fifteenth century, the state of Moscow was the most powerful of several Russian provinces under Mongol rule.
3 Expansion of the Russian Empire In 1480, Ivan the third, the grand prince of Moscow stopped paying tribute to the Mongol khan.After that, he declared Russian independence from the Mongol rule.Ivan acquired a vast amount of land that almost tripled the Russian empire in size as he brought Russian speaking people under his control.The most important addition of land was the prosperous trading city of Novgorod in the 1470’s.
4 Peasants known as Cossacks played an enormous role in the expansion of the Russian empire, particularly the steppe lands to the south.During the sixteenth century, the Cossacks conquered the Volga River Valley and moved across the Ural Mountains into Siberia.
5 PoliticalIvan the 3rd drew his inspiration for a centralized government from the Byzantine Empire. He even used the Byzantine symbol of the double-headed eagle as the emblem of the Russian empire.Like the Byzantine emperors, he ruled as the head of state as well as the head of the church, stating that he derived his authority directly from god.
6 Ivan the TerribleIvan the Terrible began to rule when he was 16. He was the grandson of Ivan the 3rd. When he began his rule, he married into the powerful and ambitious boyar clan of the Romanovs.In 1564, he abdicated the throne in a highly sensational fashion, claiming that the boyars prevented him from governing effectively.He agreed to come back on the condition that he receive power to deal with the treacherous boyars, as well as complete control over a vast portion of Muscuvite territory that he called the “oprichnina”, the land apart.This new power allowed Ivan to confiscate large estates and redistribute them among his supporters
7 Peter the GreatPeter gladly allowed his half sister Sophia to rule for him. When he grew older, he enforced politics and maneuvered Sophia out of position. By 1689, he had established himself as tsar.Peter instituted a policy of forced and rapid modernization.He wanted Russia to match Western Europe achievements in science.He worked to establish Russian industries based on the most advanced science and technology available.Peter also created a military, bureaucratic and social reform.
8 Catherine the GreatUnder Catherine the Great, nobles gained a free hand over their estates ad their serfs. In exchange for noble support, she granted extensive control over their own domains. This greatly strengthened tsarist authority.Catherine II worked to increase the effectiveness of the tsarist administration. She organized Russia into 50 administrative provinces, each supervised by a governor general. She sought to devise policies that would improve the subjects lives without distracting from her own power and authority.
9 SocialBefore Westernization, agricultural society revolved around the peasant village.The peasants lived in extended families and the male heads of the households met periodically to make decisions for the entire village.They distributed lands according to the needs of individual families.
10 Gender RolesWomen in peasant communities did domestic chores and arranged marriages.Unlike women in most other countries, Russian women retained control of dowries after marriage and enjoyed more financial independence than women elsewhere.
11 SerfdomMost peasants were serfs tied to lands owned by nobles, the monarchy, or monasteries.With the expansion of the empire, noble landowners constantly pressured the tsars to limit serfs rights to move off the land or marry.In 1649, the government passed a law code that placed serfs under the control of the landowners. Even though serfs were not slaves, landowners often sold them as if they were private property.
12 Social OrderThe law code passed in 1649 established a rigid, castelike social order.The law code required merchants and artisans to register their children into their father’s professions and to introduce them into the family trade.It also established a hierarchy of nobles that included the fifty-two boyar families who owed political and military services to the state.Nobles had the right to deploy laborers, levy taxes on serfs, and administer punishments through courts they controlled.
13 EducationPeter and Catherine introduced much Western European art, literature and ideas. One example is the emergence of Russian ballet, which is still a present day Russian identity.In 1714, Peter created an elementary school system that taught science, math, reading and writing. Tens years later, academies of advanced instruction started to appear.Catherine added on to Peter’s work by expanding Peter’s elementary school system and opening to first Russian school for girls.Catherine also encouraged Russian literature. Her encouragement of cultural expansion facilitated the emergence of an intellectual class known as the intelligentsia.The outbreak of the French Revolution let to a speedy end to the intellectual and cultural experimentation in Russia. In fear of rebellion, Catherine severed all ties with Western Europe. The policy of westernization lost imperial sponsorship and momentum, but western European ideas continued to make their way to Russia.
14 EconomicIn the mid-sixteenth century, an English expedition made its way into the White Sea.Tsar Ivan IV escorted the crew to Moscow, opening Russia to European trade.Archangel, a port in the northern Russia, became a prosperous city for trade between Europeans and Russians.
15 Asian TradeAs Russians expanded into Asian lands, they began to trade with merchants from Safavid Persia, the Ottoman empire, and Mughal India.The Volga and other rivers connected Russia to Islamic society.Astrakhan, a city along the Volga, became a flourishing trading center. It was home to about two hundred foreign merchants.
16 Trading RestrictionsForeign merchants were resented by Russian merchants. As a result, tsars only allowed foreigners to trade in approved areas. Foreign merchants were not allowed to sell profitable commodities (i.e. alcohol and tobacco), either.Many foreign merchants ignored the restrictions. Some bribed their way around them. Others allied with Russians to conduct business with local partners.
17 ReligiousRussia looked to Orthodox Greek and eastern Europe for religious influence.Ceremonies were important to the Russian church because they sought enlightenment in groups or communities.Reformers attempted to standardize ritual practices and reform them to reflect the most accurate texts and most authentic practices.In the mid-seventeenth century, Nikon, the patriarch of Moscow and leader of the reformists, established schools and institutions in Latin and Greek and built Byzantine-style churches.This led to a deep schism in the Russian church. Important points of controversy included the reformists insisting that the sign of the cross be made with three fingers rather than two.
18 Crisis in the ChurchThe priest Avvakum led a group of religious conservatives and tried to restore traditional practices. They believed that that reformed rituals would endanger their chances at eternal salvation. They associated all evil with the tsar who supported Nikons beliefs.Avvakums sectarianism was known as Old Belief, and was outlawed by the tsarist government. As a result, Avvakum was burned at the stake.This separation of the old and new beliefs weakened the Russian Orthodox church and detracted from the authority of religious leaders.
19 Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, tsars progressively increased their control over the church until Peter the Great eventually made a department of religious affairs in his government.Large monasteries formed centers of learning and wielded considerable political influence. Some even served as military bases during periods of civil stress.
20 BibliographyBentley, Jerry, and Herbert Ziegler. Traditions and Encounters. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.Info Please. “Russia.” InfoPlease.com. 1 Feb InfoPlease. 1 Feb <http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A html>US Department of State. “Background Note: Russia.” Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Sept US Department of State. 1 Feb <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3183.htm>.