Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:07 pm

Russia: A Country Study
Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
Edited by Glenn E. Curtis
Headquarters, Department of the Army
Research completed July, 1996



Table of Contents:

• Acknowledgments
• Preface
• Chronology of Important Events
• History
o Early History
o Muscovy
o Early Imperial Russia
o Ruling the Empire
o Transformation of Russia in the Nineteenth Century
o The Last Years of the Autocracy
o Revolutions and Civil War
o The Era of the New Economic Policy
o Transformation and Terror
o The War Years
o Reconstruction and Cold War
o The Khrushchev Era
o The Brezhnev Era
o The Leadership Transition Period
o The Gorbachev Era
o New Thinking: Foreign Policy under Gorbachev
o Gorbachev's Reform Dilemma
o Nationality Ferment
o The August Coup and Its Aftermath
• Geography
o Global Position and Boundaries
o Topography and Drainage
o Climate
o Environmental Problems
• Society
o Population
o Demographics
o Migration
o Ethnic, Religious, and Cultural Setting
o Ethnic Composition
o The Russians
o Minority Peoples and Their Territories
o Other Ethnic Groups
o Movements Toward Sovereignty, Chechnya
o Religion
o The Russian Orthodox Church
o Other Religions
o Islam
o Judaism
o The Russian Language
o Literature
o Music
o Ballet
o Architecture and Painting
o Social Structure
o Social Stratification
o Wages and Work
o Rural Life
o Social Organizations
o The Family
o The Role of Women
o Education
o Health
o Social Welfare
• The Economy
o Historical Background
o Economic Reform in the 1990s
o Economic Conditions in Mid-1996
o Natural Resources
o Agriculture
o Energy
o Banking and Finance
o The Labor Force
o Manufacturing
o Transportation
o Telecommunications
o Foreign Economic Relations
• Government
o Historical Background
o The Constitution and Government Structure
o The Executive Branch
o The Parliament
o The Judiciary
o Local and Regional Government
o Political Parties and Legislative Elections
o Civil Rights
o The Media
• Foreign Relations
o The Emergence of Russian Foreign Policy
o The Foreign Policy Mechanism
o Regional Policies
o The Near Abroad
o The United States
o Western Europe
o Central Europe
o China
o Japan
o Other Asian States
o The Third World
o The Middle East
o Latin America
• Appendix. Tables
• Bibliography
• Glossary

THE DEMISE OF THE SOVIET UNION in 1991 brought a measure of freedom to Russia's people, but at the same time this change removed or severely weakened certain elements of the social safety net, which for many years had included a guarantee of employment, basic medical care, and government subsidies for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. For the average citizen, social and economic conditions worsened considerably in the early postcommunist era. Although some components of state support remained close to their Soviet-era levels, the government lacked the resources to compensate Russia's citizens for the stresses of the transition period.

The end of the Soviet Union meant the disappearance of a reliable, if mediocre, set of social expectations for every Russian. Lacking such guidance, various elements of Russian society moved in very different directions. A small segment took immediate action--both legal and illegal--to make the most of its newfound range of opportunities for self-expression and economic advancement. Although few such adventurers found success, those who did coalesced into a new class of wealthy Russians independent of the government. The vast majority, however, met the prospect of reduced predictability in their lives with suspicion, confusion, or resentment. Remembering the security of Soviet life, many clung to symbolic or real remnants of that life, particularly in the workplace.

As the economic controls of centralized government were eased, prices for basic necessities rose--sometimes precipitously--and society was buffeted by marked increases in crime, infectious diseases, drug addiction, homelessness, and suicide. Growing pollution and other environmental hazards added to the malaise....

Despite Marxist-Leninist (see Glossary) notions of a classless society, the Soviet Union had a powerful ruling class, the nomenklatura, which consisted of party officials and key personnel in the government and other important sectors such as heavy industry. This class enjoyed privileges such as roomy apartments, country dachas, and access to special stores, schools, medical facilities, and recreational sites. The social status and income of members of the nomenklatura increased as they were promoted to higher positions in the party....

Postcommunist society also is characterized by a wide disparity in wealth and privilege. Although there is no rigid class structure, social stratification based on wealth is evident and growing. The nomenklatura as it existed in Soviet times disappeared with the demise of the CPSU, but many of its members used their continuing connections with industry and finance to enrich themselves in the emerging capitalist system. According to a 1995 study conducted by the Russian Academy of Sciences, more than 60 percent of Russia's wealthiest millionaires, and 75 percent of the new political elite, are former members of the communist nomenklatura, and 38 percent of Russia's businesspeople held economic positions in the CPSU. The wealth of the new capitalists, who constitute 1 to 2 percent of the population, derives from the ownership of private property, which was prohibited under the communist regime; from former black-market transactions that now are pursued legally; and from repatriation of funds that were secretly transferred abroad during the Soviet era. Entrepreneurs have purchased former state-owned enterprises privatized by the government (often using connections with government authorities to gain favorable treatment) and have opened banks, stock exchanges, and other ventures typical of a market economy.

The most successful of the new capitalists practice conspicuous consumption on an extravagant scale, driving flashy Western cars, sporting expensive clothing and jewelry, and frequenting stylish restaurants and clubs that are far beyond the reach of ordinary Russians. Russian biznesmeny with cash-filled briefcases purchase expensive real estate in exclusive areas of Western Europe and the United States. Other areas of the world, such as the city of Limassol, Cyprus, have been transformed into virtual Russian enclaves where illicit commercial transactions help fuel the economy. Russian capitalists attempting to achieve at a high level using legitimate means must nonetheless pay protection money to criminal groups, especially in the larger cities.

In the first half of the 1990s, the gap between the richest and poorest citizens of Russia grew steadily, and it became a source of social alienation because newly successful Russians are resented and often are assumed to have criminal connections. In 1995 the World Bank (see Glossary) ranked Russia's dichotomy between the highest and lowest economic echelons on a par with the wide gaps between rich and poor in Argentina and Turkey....

Nonreporting of incomes by the highest socioeconomic level likely makes the real gap wider than the official statistics indicate. The overall decline in living standards in 1995 is revealed by an 8 percent decrease in retail trade and by opinion surveys. For instance, in early 1995 some 56 percent of respondents said that their material situation had declined, and 17 percent said that it had improved. Another survey identified 68 percent of respondents claiming to live below the poverty line in 1995, compared with 56 percent the previous year. Such self-perceptions of victimization promote the platforms of antireform political parties that promise a return to the guaranteed well-being of the Soviet era...

Conditions for the working class and the peasants are sharply at variance with those of the new capitalist class. Political repression has eased, but economic privations have increased. Although more goods are available, they are often beyond the means of the average worker. Full employment, the virtually guaranteed basis of survival under communism, no longer is the norm (see Unemployment, ch. 6). At the lower end of the social scale, the "working poor" toil predominantly in agriculture, education, culture, science, and health, most of which are considered middle-class fields of employment in the West. State employees, who suffer especially from inflation because of infrequent wage adjustments, often fall below the official poverty line.

Young parents with little work experience and more than one child are especially likely to be members of the working poor. In 1993 some 57 percent of families classified as poor by the World Bank had one or more children, and 86 percent of families with three or more children were classified in the lowest income group. Most single-parent families also belonged to this group....

In the post-Soviet era, social mobility is unlimited in theory, but in the mid-1990s economic factors play an important role in restricting upward movement for most Russians. Those without an established source of wealth generally are unable to purchase land, real estate, or enterprises, or to take advantage of other financial opportunities to increase their income and status. Because individuals under such limitations also lack opportunities to pursue higher education, they tend to remain at or below the socioeconomic level of their parents. In many cases, the younger generation has less earning power than the one that preceded it.

In 1995 official government estimates placed 39 million people, or 26 percent of the population, below the poverty line....

Among the low-paying jobs are some that require higher or specialized education and that carry some level of prestige. Women predominate in these job categories, which include engineers, veterinarians, agronomists, accountants, legal advisers, translators, schoolteachers, librarians, organizers of clubs and cultural events, musicians, and even doctors. A 1994 World Bank report identified an increasing likelihood that positions offering lower wages would be filled by women, in most sectors and occupations of the Russian economy....

Rural dwellers tend to spend more time in their homes than residents of urban areas. Rural homes generally are larger than those in the city and have private garden plots. The tastes of country people are simpler and less Western-oriented than those of their urban counterparts, and they have less money to spend on leisure pursuits. The routine of life in many rural villages has scarcely changed over many generations; the central concerns continue to be the weather and the condition of crops and livestock.

The end of Soviet rule cast a shadow over the villages' guarantee of medical care, job training, and entertainment, and rural areas benefited much less from the increased pace of information exchange characteristic of urban centers. Rural young people continue to leave their families to seek a better life elsewhere because village life has improved little since their grandparents were young. In this process, the family, the foundation of peasant society, has become fragmented. Villages with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants are disappearing at a rapid rate: between 1960 and 1995, the entire population of an estimated two-thirds of such villages either died or moved away. In the remaining rural villages, health care and education are increasingly inadequate, and essential commodities such as propane gas have become extremely expensive.

Many young people return to their rural homes after acquiring the type of education or technical training that is available only in cities and that is increasingly necessary to run mechanized farming operations and agroindustrial enterprises. They are joined by Russian émigrés from former Soviet republics, especially Central Asia, for whom it is easier to start life in Russia in a rural rather than an urban setting. However, most of those additions to the rural population are only stopping temporarily until they find more satisfying situations elsewhere. According to most experts, the long-term prospects of the traditional Russian village became grim in the immediate post-Soviet period....

In the 1980s, the divorce rate in the Soviet Union was second in the world only to that of the United States, although "unofficial divorces" and separations also were common. Crowded housing and lack of privacy contributed heavily to the divorce rate, especially for couples forced to live with the parents of one spouse....In the first half of the 1990s, the conditions contributing to the majority of Russia's divorces did not change, and the divorce rate increased....

The average distribution of common household tasks was shown to be far from equal, with women performing an average of about 75 percent of cooking, cleaning, and shopping chores. Between 1989 and 1994, women's expression of dissatisfaction with their family situation increased 13 percent, while that of men rose only 2 percent....

In the post-Soviet era, the position of women in Russian society remains at least as problematic as it was in previous decades. In both cases, a number of nominal legal protections for women either have failed to address the existing conditions or have failed to supply adequate support. In the 1990s, increasing economic pressures and shrinking government programs left women with little choice but to seek employment, although most available positions were as substandard as in the Soviet period, and generally jobs of any sort were more difficult to obtain. Such conditions contribute heavily to Russia's declining birthrate and the general deterioration of the family....

Russian women in the 1990s predominate in economic sectors where pay is low, and they continue to receive less pay than men for comparable positions. In 1995 men in health care earned an average of 50 percent more than women in that field, and male engineers received an average of 40 percent more than their female colleagues. Despite the fact that, on average, women are better educated than men, women remain in the minority in senior management positions. In the Soviet era, women's wages averaged 70 percent of men's; by 1995 the figure was 40 percent, according to the Moscow-based Center for Gender Studies. According to a 1996 report, 87 percent of employed urban Russians earning less than 100,000 rubles a month (for value of the ruble--see Glossary) were women, and the percentage of women decreased consistently in the higher wage categories.

According to reports, women generally are the first to be fired, and they face other forms of on-the-job discrimination as well. Struggling companies often fire women to avoid paying child care benefits or granting maternity leave, as the law still requires. In 1995 women constituted an estimated 70 percent of Russia's unemployed, and as much as 90 percent in some areas.

Sociological surveys show that sexual harassment and violence against women have increased at all levels of society in the 1990s. More than 13,000 rapes were reported in 1994, meaning that several times that number of that often-unreported crime probably were committed. In 1993 an estimated 14,000 women were murdered by their husbands or lovers, about twenty times the figure in the United States and several times the figure in Russia five years earlier. More than 300,000 other types of crimes, including spousal abuse, were committed against women in 1994....

Often women with families are forced to work because of insufficient state child allowances and unemployment benefits. Economic hardship has driven some women into prostitution. In the Soviet period, prostitution was viewed officially as a form of social deviancy that was dying out as the Soviet Union advanced toward communism. In the 1990s, organized crime has become heavily involved in prostitution, both in Russia and in the cities of Central and Western Europe, to which Russian women often are lured by bogus advertisements for match-making services or modeling agencies. According to one estimate, 10,000 women from Central Europe, including a high proportion of Russians, have been lured or forced into prostitution in Germany alone....

[T]he most frequently offered job in new businesses is that of secretary, and advertisements often specify physical attractiveness as a primary requirement. Russian law provides for as much as three years' imprisonment for sexual harassment, but the law rarely is enforced. Although the Fund for Protection from Sexual Harassment has blacklisted 300 Moscow firms where sexual harassment is known to have taken place, demands for sex and even rape still are common on-the-job occurrences....

Prior to the 1995 elections, women held about 10 percent of the seats in parliament: fifty-seven of 450 seats in the State Duma and nine of 178 seats in the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council. The Soviet system of mandating legislative seats generally allocated about one-third of the seats in republic-level legislatures and one-half of the seats in local soviets to women, but those proportions shrank drastically with the first multiparty elections of 1990....

In 1992 and 1993, the Government expanded the money supply and credits at explosive rates that led directly to high inflation and to a deterioration in the exchange rate of the ruble. In January 1992, the Government clamped down on money and credit creation at the same time that it lifted price controls. However, beginning in February the RCB loosened the reins on the money supply. In the second and third quarters of 1992, the money supply had increased at especially sharp rates of 34 and 30 percent, respectively, and by the end of 1992, the Russian money supply had increased by eighteen times.

The sharp increase in the money supply was influenced by large foreign currency deposits that state-run enterprises and individuals had built up and by the depreciation of the ruble. Enterprises drew on these deposits to pay wages and other expenses after the Government had tightened restrictions on monetary emissions....

Government efforts to control credit expansion also proved ephemeral in the early years of the transition. Domestic credit increased about nine times between the end of 1991 and 1992. The credit expansion was caused in part by the buildup of interenterprise arrears and the RCB's subsequent financing of those arrears. The Government restricted financing to state enterprises after it lifted controls on prices in January 1992, but enterprises faced cash shortages because the decontrol of prices cut demand for their products. Instead of curtailing production, most firms chose to build up inventories. To support continued production under these circumstances, enterprises relied on loans from other enterprises. By mid-1992, when the amount of unpaid interenterprise loans had reached 3.2 trillion rubles (about US$20 billion), the government froze interenterprise debts. Shortly thereafter, the government provided 181 billion rubles (about US$1.1 billion) in credits to enterprises that were still holding debt.

The Government also failed to constrain its own expenditures in this period, partially under the influence of the conservative Supreme Soviet, which encouraged the Soviet-style financing of favored industries. By the end of 1992, the Russian budget deficit was 20 percent of GDP, much higher than the 5 percent projected under the economic program and stipulated under the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary) conditions for international funding. This budget deficit was financed largely by expanding the money supply. These ill-advised monetary and fiscal policies resulted in an inflation rate of over 2,000 percent in 1992....

In May 1993, the Ministry of Finance and the RCB agreed to macroeconomic measures, such as reducing subsidies and increasing revenues, to stabilize the economy. The RCB was to raise the discount lending rate to reflect inflation. Based on positive early results from this policy, the IMF extended the first payment of US$1.5 billion to Russia from a special Systemic Transformation Facility (STF) the following July....

The 1993 annual inflation rate was around 1,000 percent, a sharp improvement over 1992, but still very high. The improvement figures were exaggerated, however, because state expenditures had been delayed from the last quarter of 1993 to the first quarter of 1994. State enterprise arrears, for example, had built up in 1993 to about 15 trillion rubles (about US$13 billion, according to the mid-1993 exchange rate).

In June 1994, Chernomyrdin presented a set of moderate reforms calculated to accommodate the more conservative elements of the Government and parliament while placating reformers and Western creditors. The prime minister pledged to move ahead with restructuring the economy and pursuing fiscal and monetary policies conducive to macroeconomic stabilization. But stabilization was undermined by the RCB, which issued credits to enterprises at subsidized rates, and by strong pressure from industrial and agricultural lobbies seeking additional credits.

By October 1994, inflation, which had been reduced by tighter fiscal and monetary policies early in 1994, began to soar once again to dangerous levels. On October 11, a day that became known as Black Tuesday, the value of the ruble on interbank exchange markets plunged by 27 percent....

During most of 1995, the government maintained its commitment to tight fiscal constraints, and budget deficits remained within prescribed parameters. However, in 1995 pressures mounted to increase government spending to alleviate wage arrearages, which were becoming a chronic problem within state enterprises, and to improve the increasingly tattered social safety net. In fact, in 1995 and 1996 the state's failure to pay many such obligations (as well as the wages of most state workers) was a major factor in keeping Russia's budget deficit at a moderate level (see Social Welfare, ch. 5). Conditions changed by the second half of 1995. The members of the State Duma (beginning in 1994, the lower house of the Federal Assembly, Russia's parliament) faced elections in December, and Yeltsin faced dim prospects in his 1996 presidential reelection bid. Therefore, political conditions caused both Duma deputies and the president to make promises to increase spending....

In 1992, the first year of economic reform, retail prices in Russia increased by 2,520 percent. A major cause of the increase was the decontrol of most prices in January 1992, a step that prompted an average price increase of 245 percent in that month alone. By 1993 the annual rate had declined to 840 percent, still a very high figure. In 1994 the inflation rate had improved to 224 percent.....

For the first half of 1996, the inflation rate was 16.5 percent. However, experts noted that control of inflation was aided substantially by the failure to pay wages to workers in state enterprises, a policy that kept prices low by depressing demand....

From July 1992, when the ruble first could be legally exchanged for United States dollars, to October 1995, the rate of exchange between the ruble and the dollar declined from 144 rubles per US$1 to around 5,000 per US$1....

The essence of economic restructuring, and a critical consideration for foreign loans and investment in Russia's economy, is the privatization program. In most respects, between 1992 and 1995 Russia kept pace with or exceeded the rate established in the original privatization program of October 1991. As deputy prime minister for economic policy, the reformist Chubays was an effective advocate of privatization during its important early stages. In 1992 privatization of small enterprises began through employee buyouts and public auctions. By the end of 1993, more than 85 percent of Russian small enterprises and more than 82,000 Russian state enterprises, or about one-third of the total in existence, had been privatized....

By the end of June 1994, the voucher privatization program had completed its first phase. It succeeded in transferring ownership of 70 percent of Russia's large and medium-sized enterprises to private hands and in privatizing about 90 percent of small enterprises. By that time, 96 percent of the vouchers issued in 1992 had been used by their owners to buy shares in firms directly, invest in investment funds, or sell on the secondary markets. According to the organizers of the voucher system, some 14,000 firms employing about two-thirds of the industrial labor force had moved into private hands.

The next phase of the privatization program called for direct cash sales of shares in remaining state enterprises. That phase would complete the transfer of state enterprises and would add to government revenues. After that procedure met stiff opposition in the State Duma, Yeltsin implemented it by decree in July 1994....

By 1995 privatization had gained a negative reputation with ordinary Russians, who coined the slang word prikhvatizatsiya, a combination of the Russian word for "grab" and the Russianized English word "privatize," producing the equivalent of "grabification." The term reflects the belief that the privatization process most often shifted control of enterprises from state agencies to groups of individuals with inside connections in the Government, the mafiya [mafia], or both....

Because the faults of the Yeltsin privatization program were an important plank in the 1996 presidential election platform of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (Kommunisticheskaya partiya Rossiyskoy Federatsii--KPRF), the strongest opposition party, Yeltsin's campaign strategy was to reduce privatization as far as possible as a campaign issue (see The Executive Branch, ch. 7). Part of that strategy was to shift the privatization process from Moscow to the regions....

After Yeltsin's reelection in July 1996, his financial representatives announced continuation of the privatization program, with a new focus on selling ten to fifteen large state enterprises, including the joint-stock company of the Unified Electric Power System of Russia (YeES Rossii), the Russian State Insurance Company (Rosgosstrakh), and the St. Petersburg Maritime Port. The Communications Investment Joint-Stock Company (Svyazinvest), sale of which had failed in 1995, was to be offered to Western telecommunications companies in 1996.

The new, postelection privatization stage also was to reduce the role of enterprise workers in shareholding. Within the first years of such ownership, most worker shares had been sold at depressed prices, devaluing all shares and cutting state profits from enterprise sales....

As of mid-1996, four and one-half years after the launching of Russia's post-Soviet economic reform, experts found the results promising but mixed. The Russian economy has passed through a long and wrenching depression. Official Russian economic statistics indicate that from 1990 to the end of 1995, Russian GDP declined by roughly 50 percent, far greater than the decline that the United States experienced during the Great Depression....Much of the decline in production has occurred in the military-industrial complex and other heavy industries...

But other major sectors such as agriculture, energy, and light industry also suffered from the transition. To enable these sectors to function in a market system, inefficient enterprises had to be closed and workers laid off, with resulting short-term declines in output and consumption. Analysts had expected that Russia's GDP would begin to rise in 1996, but data for the first six months of the year showed a continuing decline, and some Russian experts predicted a new phase of economic crisis in the second half of the year....

An important but unconventional service in Russia's economy is "shuttle trading"--the transport and sale of consumer goods by individual entrepreneurs, of whom 5 to 10 million were estimated to be active in 1996. Traders buy goods in foreign countries such as China, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates and in Russian cities, then sell them on the domestic market where demand is highest. Yevgeniy Yasin, minister of economics, estimated that in 1995 some US$11 billion worth of goods entered Russia in this way. Shuttle traders have been vital in maintaining the standard of living of Russians who cannot afford consumer goods on the conventional market. However, domestic industries such as textiles suffer from this infusion of competing merchandise, whose movement is unmonitored, untaxed, and often mafiya [mafia]-controlled....

In Moscow an economic oligarchy, composed of politicians, banks, businesspeople, security forces, and city agencies, controlled a huge percentage of Russia's financial assets under the rule of Moscow's energetic and popular mayor, Yuriy Luzhkov. Unfortunately, organized crime also has played a strong role in the growth of the city (see The Crime Wave of the 1990s, ch. 10). Opposed by a weak police force, Moscow's rate of protection rackets, contract murders, kickbacks, and bribes--all intimately connected with the economic infrastructure--has remained among the highest in Russia. Most businesses have not been able to function without paying for some form of mafiya [mafia] protection, informally called a krysha (the Russian word for roof).

Luzhkov, who has close ties to all legitimate power centers in the city, has overseen the construction of sports stadiums, shopping malls, monuments to Moscow's history, and the ornate Christ the Savior Cathedral. In 1994 Yeltsin gave Luzhkov full control over all state property in Moscow. In the first half of 1996, the city privatized state enterprises at the rate of US$1 billion per year, a faster rate than the entire national privatization process in the same period. Under Luzhkov's leadership, the city government also acquired full or major interests in a wide variety of enterprises--from banking, hotels, and construction to bakeries and beauty salons. Such ownership has allowed Luzhkov's planners to manipulate resources efficiently and with little or no competition. Meanwhile, Moscow also became the center of foreign investment in Russia, often to the exclusion of other regions. For example, the McDonald's fast-food chain, which began operations in Moscow in 1990, enjoyed immediate success but expanded only in Moscow. The concentration of Russia's banking industry in Moscow gave the city a huge advantage in competing for foreign commercial activity....

With the decline in demand for defense industry goods, overall production has shifted from heavy industry to consumer production (see The Defense Industry, ch. 9). However, in the mid-1990s the low quality of most domestically produced consumer goods continued to limit enterprises' profits and therefore their ability to modernize production operations. On the other side of the "vicious circle," reliance on an outmoded production system guaranteed that product quality would remain low and uncompetitive....

Russia is one of the world's richest countries in raw materials, many of which are significant inputs for an industrial economy. Russia accounts for around 20 percent of the world's production of oil and natural gas and possesses large reserves of both fuels. This abundance has made Russia virtually self-sufficient in energy and a large-scale exporter of fuels. Oil and gas were primary hard-currency earners for the Soviet Union, and they remain so for the Russian Federation. Russia also is self-sufficient in nearly all major industrial raw materials and has at least some reserves of every industrially valuable nonfuel mineral....Russia possesses rich reserves of iron ore, manganese, chromium, nickel, platinum, titanium, copper, tin, lead, tungsten, diamonds, phosphates, and gold, and the forests of Siberia contain an estimated one-fifth of the world's timber, mainly conifers (see fig. 8; Environmental Conditions, ch. 3).

The iron ore deposits of the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly, close to the Ukrainian border in the southwest, are believed to contain one-sixth of the world's total reserves. Intensive exploitation began there in the 1950s. Other large iron ore deposits are located in the Kola Peninsula, Karelia, south-central Siberia, and the Far East. The largest copper deposits are located in the Kola Peninsula and the Urals, and lead and zinc are found in North Ossetia....

The Yeltsin regime has attempted to address some of the fundamental reform issues of Russian agriculture. But agricultural reform has moved very slowly, causing output to decline steadily through the mid-1990s. Reform began in Russia shortly before the final collapse of the Soviet Union. In December 1990, the Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Republic enacted a number of laws that were designed to restructure the agricultural sector and make it more commercially viable. The Law on Peasant Farms legalized private farms and allowed them to operate alongside state and collective farms, to hire labor, and to sell produce without state supervision. The same session of the congress passed the Law on Land Reform, which permitted land to be bequeathed as an inheritance from one generation to the next, but not to be bought or sold. The government also established the State Committee for Agrarian Reform, whose responsibility was to oversee the transfer of available land to private farming.

The main thrust of Yeltsin's agricultural reform has been toward reorganizing state and collective farms into more efficient, market-oriented units. A decree of December 1991 and its subsequent amendments provided several options to state and collective farmers for the future structure of their farms. The decree required that farmers choose either to reorganize into joint-stock companies, cooperatives, or individual private farms, or to maintain their existing structure. Under the first two arrangements, workers would hold shares in the farms and be responsible for managing the enterprises. An individual farmer could later decide to break from the larger unit and establish private ownership of his or her share of the land, as determined by an established procedure.

This restructuring program has progressed slowly. Although 95 percent of the state and collective farms underwent some form of reorganization, about one-third of them retained essentially their earlier structure. Most of the others, fearing the unstable conditions of market supply and demand that faced individual entrepreneurs, chose a form of collective ownership, either as joint-stock companies or as cooperatives. The conservatism of Russia's farmers prompted them to preserve as much as possible of the inefficient but secure Soviet-era controlled relationships of supply and output.

As of 1996, individual private farming had not assumed the significance in Russian agriculture that reformers and Western supporters had envisioned. Although the number of private farms increased considerably following the reforms of 1990, by the early 1990s the growth of farms had stalled, and by the mid-1990s the number of private farms actually may have dropped as some individuals opted to return to a form of cooperative enterprise or left farming entirely. By the end of 1995, Russia's 280,000 private farms accounted for only 5 percent of the arable land in Russia.

A number of factors have contributed to the slow progress of agricultural reform. Until the mid-1990s, the state government continued to act as the chief marketing agent for the food sector by establishing fixed orders for goods, thus guaranteeing farmers a market. The government also subsidized farms through guaranteed prices, which reduced the incentive of farmers to become efficient producers.

Perhaps most important, effective land reform has not been accomplished in Russia. The original land reform law and subsequent decrees did not provide a clear definition of private property, and they did not prescribe landholders' rights and protections. The nebulous status of private landholders under the new legislation made farmers reluctant to take the risk of proprietorship. In March 1996, President Yeltsin issued a decree that allows farmers to buy and sell land. However, in April 1996 the State Duma, heavily influenced by the antireform KPRF and its ally, the Agrarian Party of Russia (representing the still formidable vested interests of collective and state farms), passed a draft law that prohibits land sales by anyone but the state. Recent opposition to the new notion of private landownership is based in a strong traditional Russian view that land must be held as collective rather than individual property.

However, in 1996 several factors were exerting pressure on the agricultural sector to become commercially viable. The federal government has retreated from its role as a guaranteed purchaser and marketer, although some regional governments are stepping in to fill the role. And private markets are emerging slowly. Increasingly, Russian agricultural production must compete with imported goods as the gap between domestic prices and world prices narrows. In addition, the fiscal position of the federal government has forced it to reduce subsidies to many sectors of the economy, including agriculture. Subsidies are among the targets of major budget cuts to comply with the standards of the IMF and other Western lenders and achieve macroeconomic stabilization.

Like the rest of the economy, the Russian agricultural sector has experienced a long, severe recession in the 1990s. Even before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the output of grains and other crops began to decline, and it decreased steadily through 1996 because of the unavailability of fertilizers and other inputs, bad weather, and major readjustments during the period of transition. In 1995 overall agricultural production declined 8 percent, including a drop of 5 percent in crop production and 11 percent in livestock production. That year Russia suffered its worst grain harvest since 1963, with a yield of 63.5 million tons.

The most dramatic declines occurred in livestock production. Farmers reduced their holdings of animals as the price of grains and other inputs increased. As meat prices rose, the composition of the average consumer's diet included less meat and more starches and vegetables. Reduced demand in turn exacerbated the decline in livestock production.

-- Russia: A Country Study, by Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, edited by Glenn E. Curtis
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:07 pm


The authors are indebted to numerous individuals and organizations who gave their time, research materials, and expertise on affairs in the Russian Federation to provide data, perspective, and material support for this volume. Thanks go to Raymond Zickel, who organized the early stages of the book's preparation, including the selection of chapter authors, and who contributed the lacquer-box chapter illustrations. The research process was supported by the work of Joseph Rowe and David Osborne, who identified numerous valuable sources. The publications office of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Washington, D.C., and Charles Yost of the International Trade Commission also contributed useful material. Ray Brandon lent invaluable research, editorial, and writing assistance as intern to the book editor.

Thanks also go to Ralph K. Benesch, former monitor of the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program for the Department of the Army, under whose guidance the plan for the six volumes on the post-Soviet states was formulated. In addition, the authors appreciate the advice and guidance of Sandra W. Meditz, Federal Research Division coordinator of the handbook series. Special thanks go to Marilyn L. Majeska, who supervised editing; to Andrea T. Merrill, who performed the final prepublication editorial review and managed production; to Wayne Horne, who designed the book cover and the title page illustrations for the ten chapters; and to David P. Cabitto, who provided graphics support and, together with the firm of Maryland Mapping and Graphics, prepared the maps and charts. Vincent Ercolano and Janet Willen edited the chapters, and Helen Fedor was responsible for assembling and organizing the book's photographs. The numerous individuals who contributed photographs are acknowledged by name in the photograph captions.

The contributions of the following individuals are gratefully acknowledged as well: Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson, who did the word processing and initial typesetting; Janie L. Gilchrist and Stephen C. Cranton, who prepared the camera-ready copy; and Joan C. Cook, who prepared the Index.
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:07 pm


At the end of 1991, the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union was the surprisingly swift result of decrepitude within that empire. The Russian Federation was one of the fifteen "new" nations that emerged from that process; in this form, Russians retained much of the domination over nearby minority groups that they had exercised in the days of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. But the major changes that have occurred since 1991 fully justify the new subseries of Country Studies describing all fifteen of the former Soviet republics in their past and present circumstances. The present volume is the fifth in the six-volume series, which is the successor to the one-volume Soviet Union: A Country Study, published in 1991.

The marked relaxation of Soviet-era information restrictions, which began in Russia in the late 1980s and accelerated after 1991, allows the presentation of reliable, complete information on most aspects of life in the Russian Federation--including many of the negative aspects such as corruption, environmental degradation, and deterioration of the military that were reported only incompletely in earlier volumes. Scholarly articles and periodical reports have been especially helpful in accounting for the years of independence in the 1990s and in evaluating the earlier times that form the backdrop for the most recent period. The authors have described the historical, political, economic, and social background of Russia as the context for their current portraits. In each case, the author's goal was to provide a compact, accessible, and objective treatment of five main topics: historical background, the society and its environment, the economy, government and politics, and national security. Military insignia, a standard feature of the Country Studies series, have not been included in this volume because, at the time of preparation, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation was in the process of changing insigina, and budget shortages delayed its publication of a comprehensive chart. Brief comments on some of the more useful, readily accessible sources used in preparing this volume appear at the end of each chapter. Full references to these and other sources used by the authors are listed in the Bibliography.

In most cases, personal names have been transliterated from Russian according to the system approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN). In the case of widely known individuals whose names appear frequently in Latin alphabets, such as Joseph V. Stalin and Boris N. Yeltsin, the widely used conventional form of the name has been chosen. Geographical names are treated in the same way: places such as Moscow and St. Petersburg and geographical names such as Siberia and Lake Baikal are rendered in conventional form, but all other geographical names appear in the transliteration of the BGN system. Some Soviet-era place-names such as the cities of Gor'kiy and Sverdlovsk have been changed in the 1990s (to Nizhniy Novgorod and Yekaterinburg, respectively, in the case of these two examples), and the newest forms are used in this book.

Organizations commonly known by their acronyms (such as IMF--the International Monetary Fund, and KGB--the Committee for State Security) are introduced in full form, supplemented with the vernacular form where appropriate. Autonomous republics such as the Republic of Chechnya are introduced in full form in the detailed description of those regions in the chapter Ethnic, Religious, and Cultural Setting, but short forms (in the case of this example, Chechnya) are used elsewhere.

Measurements are given in the metric system; a conversion table is provided in the Appendix. The Chronology at the beginning of the book lists major historical events in Russia from the founding of Kievan Rus' to the significant events of the first nine months of 1997. To amplify points in the chapters, tables in the Appendix provide statistics on the environment, the population, economic conditions, political events, and the military establishment.

The body of the text reflects information available as of July 31, 1996. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:10 pm

Chronology of Important Events

Period / Description


ca. 860 Rurik, a Varangian, according to earliest chronicle of Kievan Rus', rules Novgorod and founds Rurik Dynasty.
ca. 880 Prince Oleg, a Varangian, first historically verified ruler of Kievan Rus'.
911 Prince Oleg, after attacking Constantinople, concludes treaty with Byzantine Empire favorable to Kievan Rus'.
944 Prince Igor' compelled by Constantinople to sign treaty adverse to Kievan Rus'.
ca. 955 Princess Olga, while regent of Kievan Rus', converts to Christianity.
971 Prince Svyatoslav makes peace with Byzantine Empire.
988 Prince Vladimir converts Kievan Rus' to Christianity.
1015 Prince Vladimir's death leads Rurik princes into fratricidal war that continues until 1036.
1019 Prince Yaroslav (the Wise) of Novgorod assumes throne of Kievan Rus'.
1036 Prince Yaroslav the Wise ends fratricidal war and later codifies laws of Kievan Rus' into Rus'ka pravda (Justice of Rus').
1037 Prince Yaroslav defeats Pechenegs; construction begins on St. Sofia Cathedral in Kiev.
1051 Ilarion becomes first native metropolitan of Orthodox Church in Kievan Rus'.
1113-25 Kievan Rus' experiences revival under Grand Prince Vladimir Monomakh.
1136 Republic of Novgorod gains independence from Kievan Rus'.
1147 Moscow first mentioned in chronicles.
1156 Novgorod acquires its own archbishop.
1169 Armies of Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy of Vladimir-Suzdal' sack Kiev; Andrey assumes title "Grand Prince of Kiev and all Rus'" but chooses to reside in Suzdal'.
1219-41 Mongols invade: Kiev falls in 1240; Novgorod and Moscow submit to Mongol "yoke" without resisting.
1242 Aleksandr Nevskiy successfully defends Novgorod against attack by Teutenic Knights.
1253 Prince Daniil (Danylo) of Galicia-Volhynia accepts crown of Kievan Rus' from pope.
1327 Ivan I, prince of Moscow, nicknamed Ivan Kalita ("Money Bags"), affirmed as "Grand Prince of Vladimir" by Mongols; Moscow becomes seat of metropolitan of Russian Orthodox Church.
1380 Dmitriy Donskoy defeats Golden Horde at Battle of Kulikovo, but Mongol domination continues until 1480.
1462 Ivan III (the Great) becomes grand prince of Muscovy and first Muscovite ruler to use titles of tsar and "Ruler of all Rus'."
1478 Muscovy defeats Novgorod.
1485 Muscovy conquers Tver'.
1505 Vasiliy III becomes grand prince of Muscovy.
1510 Muscovy conquers Pskov.
1533 Grand Prince Ivan IV named ruler of Muscovy at age three.
1547 Ivan IV (the Terrible) crowned tsar of Muscovy.
1552 Ivan IV conquers Kazan' Khanate.
1556 Ivan IV conquers Astrakhan' Khanate.
1565 Oprichnina of Ivan IV creates a state within the state.
1571 Tatars raid Moscow.
1581 Yermak begins conquest of Siberia.
1584 Fedor I crowned tsar.
1589 Patriarchate of Moscow established.
1596 Union of Brest establishes Uniate Church.
1598 Rurik Dynasty ends with death of Fedor; Boris Godunov named tsar; Time of Troubles begins.
1601 Three years of famine begin.
1605 Fedor II crowned tsar; first False Dmitriy subsequently named tsar after Fedor II's murder.
1606 Vasiliy Shuyskiy named tsar.
1610 Second False Dmitriy proclaimed tsar.
1610-13 Poles occupy Moscow.
1611-12 Forces from northern cities and Cossacks organize counterattack against Poles.
1613 Mikhail Romanov crowned tsar, founding Romanov Dynasty.
1631 Metropolitan Mogila (Mohyla) founds academy in Kiev.
1645 Aleksey crowned tsar.
1648 Ukrainian Cossacks, led by Bogdan Khmel'nitskiy (Bohdan Khmel'nyts'kyy), revolt against Polish landowners and gentry.
1649 Serfdom fully established by law.
1654 Treaty of Pereyaslavl' places Ukraine under tsarist rule.
1667 Church council in Moscow anathemizes Old Belief but removes Patriarch Nikon; Treaty of Andrusovo ends war with Poland.
1670-71 Stenka Razin leads revolt.
1676 Fedor III crowned tsar.
1682 Half brothers Ivan V and Peter I named co-tsars; Peter's half sister, Sofia, becomes regent.
1689 Peter I (the Great) forces Sofia to resign regency; Treaty of Nerchinsk ends period of conflict with China.
1696 Ivan V dies, leaving Peter the Great sole tsar; port of Azov captured from Ottoman Empire.
1700 Calendar reformed; war with Sweden begins.
1703 St. Petersburg founded; becomes capital of Russia in 1713.
1705-11 Bashkirs revolt.
1708 First Russian newspaper published.
1709 Swedes defeated at Battle of Poltava.
1710 Cyrillic alphabet reformed.
1721 Treaty of Nystad ends Great Northern War with Sweden and establishes Russian presence on Baltic Sea; Peter the Great proclaims Muscovy the Russian Empire; Holy Synod replaces patriarchate.
1722 Table of Ranks established.
1723-32 Russia gains control of southern shore of Caspian Sea.
1725 Catherine I crowned empress of Russia.
1727 Peter II crowned emperor of Russia.
1730 Anna crowned empress of Russia.
1740 Ivan VI crowned emperor of Russia.
1741 Elizabeth crowned empress of Russia.
1762 Peter III crowned emperor of Russia; abolishes compulsory state service for the gentry; Catherine II (the Great) crowned empress of Russia after Peter III's assassination.
1768-74 War with Ottoman Empire ends with Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji.
1772 Russia participates in first partition of Poland.
1773-74 Emel'yan Pugachev leads peasant revolt.
1785 Catherine II confirms nobility's privileges in Charter to the Nobility.
1787-92 War with Ottoman Empire ends with Treaty of Jassy; Ottomans recognize 1783 Russian annexation of Crimea.
1792 Government initiates Pale of Settlement, restricting Jews to western part of the empire.
1793 and 1795 Russia participates in second and third partitions of Poland.
1796 Paul crowned emperor of Russia; establishes new law of succession.
1801 Alexander I crowned emperor; conquest of Caucasus region begins.
1809 Finland annexed from Sweden and awarded autonomous status.
1812 Napoleon's army occupies Moscow but is then driven out of Russia.
1817-19 Baltic peasants liberated from serfdom but given no land.
1825 Decembrist Revolt fails; Nicholas I crowned emperor.
1831 Polish uprising crushed by forces of Nicholas I.
1833 "Autocracy, Orthodoxy, and nationality" accepted as guiding principles by regime.
1837 First Russian railroad, from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo, opens; Aleksandr Pushkin, foremost Russian writer, dies in duel.
1840s and 1850s Slavophiles debate Westernizers over Russia's future.
1849 Russia helps to put down anti-Habsburg Hungarian rebellion at Austria's request.
1853-56 Russia fights Britain, France, Sardinia, and Ottoman Empire in Crimean War; Russia forced to accept peace settlement dictated by its opponents.
1855 Alexander II crowned emperor.
1858 Treaty of Aigun signed with China; northern bank of Amur River ceded to Russia.
1860 Treaty of Beijing signed with China; Ussuri River region awarded to Russia.
1861 Alexander II emancipates serfs.
1863 Polish rebellion unsuccessful.
1864 Judicial system reformed; zemstva created.
1866 Crime and Punishment by Fedor Dostoyevskiy (1821-81) published.
1869 War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy (1828-1910) published.
1873-74 Army reformed; Russian radicals go "to the people."
1875 Kuril Islands yielded to Japan in exchange for southern Sakhalin Island.
1877-78 War with Ottoman Empire ends with Treaty of San Stefano; independent Bulgaria proclaimed; Russia forced to accept less advantageous terms of Congress of Berlin.
1879 Revolutionary society Land and Liberty splits; People's Will and Black Repartition formed.
1879-80 The Brothers Karamazov by Fedor Dostoyevskiy published.
1881 Alexander II assassinated; Alexander III crowned emperor.
1894 Nicholas II crowned emperor.
1898 Russian Social Democratic Labor Party established and holds first congress in March; Vladimir I. Lenin one of organizers of party.
1903 Russian Social Democratic Labor Party splits into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions.
1904-05 Russo-Japanese War ends with Russian defeat; southern Sakhalin Island ceded to Japan.
1905 Bloody Sunday massacre in January begins Revolution of 1905, a year of labor and ethnic unrest; government issues so-called October Manifesto, calling for parliamentary elections.
1906 First Duma (parliament) elected.
1911 Petr Stolypin, prime minister since 1906, assassinated.
1914 World War I begins.
1916 Rasputin murdered.
1917 March February Revolution, in which workers riot in Petrograd; Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies formed; Provisional Government formed; Emperor Nicholas II abdicates; Petrograd Soviet issues Order Number One.
April Demonstrations lead to Aleksandr Kerenskiy's assuming leadership in government; Lenin returns to Petrograd from Switzerland.
July Bolsheviks outlawed after attempt to topple government fails.
November Bolsheviks seize power from Provisional Government; Lenin, as leader of Bolsheviks, becomes head of state; Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (Russian Republic) formed; Constituent Assembly elected.
December Cheka (secret police) created; Finns and Moldavians declare independence from Russia; Japanese occupy Vladivostok.
1918 January Constituent Assembly dissolved; Ukraine declares its independence, followed, in subsequent months, by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
February Basmachi Rebellion begins in Central Asia; calendar changed from Julian to Gregorian.
March Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed with Germany; Russia loses Poland, Finland, Baltic lands, Ukraine, and other areas; Russian Social Democratic Labor Party becomes Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik).
April Civil War begins.
July Constitution of Russian Republic promulgated; imperial family murdered.
Summer War communism established; intervention in Civil War by foreign expeditionary forces--including those of Britain, France, and United States--begins.
August Attempt to assassinate Lenin fails; Red Terror begins.
November Treaty of Brest-Litovsk repudiated by Soviet government after Germany defeated by Allied Powers.
1919 January Belorussia established as theoretically independent Soviet republic.
March Communist International (Comintern) formally founded at congress in Moscow; Ukrainian Soviet established.
1920 January Blockade of Russian Republic lifted by Britain and other Allies.
February Peace agreement signed with Estonia; agreements with Latvia and Lithuania follow.
April War with Poland begins; Azerbaijan Soviet republic established.
July Trade agreement signed with Britain.
October Truce reached with Poland.
November Red Army defeats Wrangel's army in Crimea; Armenian Soviet republic established.
1921 March War with Poland ends with Treaty of Riga; Red Army crushes Kronshtadt naval mutiny; New Economic Policy proclaimed; Georgian Soviet republic established.
Summer Famine breaks out in Volga region.
August Aleksandr Blok, foremost poet of Russian Silver Age, dies; large number of intellectuals exiled.
1922 March Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic formed, uniting Armenian, Azerbaijan, and Georgian republics.
April Joseph V. Stalin made general secretary of party; Treaty of Rapallo signed with Germany.
May Lenin suffers his first stroke.
June Socialist Revolutionary Party members put on trial by State Political Directorate; Glavlit organized with censorship function.
December Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) established, comprising Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Transcaucasian republics.
1924 January Lenin dies; constitution of Soviet Union put into force.
February Britain recognizes Soviet Union; other European countries follow suit later in year.
Fall Regime begins to delimit territories of Central Asian nationalities; Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan elevated to Soviet republic status.
1925 April Theoretician Nikolay Bukharin calls for peasants to enrich themselves.
November Poet Sergey Yesenin commits suicide.
December Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) becomes All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik).
1926 April Grigoriy Zinov'yev ousted from Politburo.
October Leon Trotsky and Lev Kamenev ousted from Politburo.
1927 Fall Peasants sell government less grain than demanded because of low prices; peasant discontent increases; grain crisis begins.
December Fifteenth Party Congress calls for large-scale collectivization of agriculture.
1928 January Trotsky exiled to Alma-Ata.
May Shakhty trial begins; first executions for "economic crimes" follow.
July Sixth Congress of Comintern names socialist parties main enemy of communists.
October Implementation of First Five-Year Plan begins.
1929 January Trotsky forced to leave Soviet Union.
April Law on religious associations requires registration of religious groups, authorizes church closings, and bans religious teaching.
Fall Red Army skirmishes with Chinese forces in Manchuria.
October Tajikistan split from Uzbek Republic to form separate Soviet republic.
November Bukharin ousted from Politburo.
December Stalin formally declares end of New Economic Policy and calls for elimination of kulaks; forced industrialization intensifies, and collectivization begins.
1930 March Collectivization slows temporarily.
April Poet Vladimir Mayakovskiy commits suicide.
November "Industrial Party" put on trial.
1931 March Mensheviks put on trial.
August School system reformed.
1932 May Five-year plan against religion declared.
December Internal passports introduced for domestic travel; peasants not issued passports.
1932-33 Terror and forced famine rage in countryside, primarily in southeastern Ukrainian Republic and northern Caucasus.
1933 November Diplomatic relations with United States established.
1934 August Union of Soviet Writers holds its First Congress.
September Soviet Union admitted to League of Nations.
December Sergey Kirov assassinated in Leningrad; Great Terror begins, causing intense fear among general populace, and peaks in 1937 and 1938 before subsiding in latter year.
1935 February Party cards exchanged; many members purged from party ranks.
May Treaties signed with France and Czechoslovakia.
Summer Seventh Congress of Comintern calls for "united front" of political parties against fascism.
August Stakhanovite movement to increase worker productivity begins.
September New system of ranks issued for Red Army.
1936 June Restrictive laws on family and marriage issued.
August Zinov'yev, Kamenev, and other high-level officials put on trial for alleged political crimes.
September Nikolay Yezhov replaces Genrikh Yagoda as head of NKVD (secret police); purge of party deepens.
October Soviet Union begins support for antifascists in Spanish Civil War.
November Germany and Japan sign Anti-Comintern Pact.
December New constitution proclaimed; Kazakstan and Kyrgyzia become Soviet republics; Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic splits into Armenian, Azerbaijan, and Georgian Soviet republics.
1937 January Trial of "Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Center."
June Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevskiy and other military leaders executed.
1938 March Russian language required in all schools in Soviet Union.
July Soviet and Japanese forces fight at Lake Khasan.
December Lavrenti Beria replaces Yezhov as chief of secret police; Great Terror diminishes.
1939 May Vyacheslav Molotov replaces Maksim Litvinov as commissar of foreign affairs; armed conflict with Japan at Halhin Gol in Mongolia continues until August.
August Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact signed; pact includes secret protocol.
September Stalin joins Adolf Hitler in partitioning Poland.
October Soviet forces enter Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
November Remaining (western) portions of Ukraine and Belorussia incorporated into Soviet Union; Soviet forces invade Finland.
December Soviet Union expelled from League of Nations.
1940 March Finland sues for peace with Soviet Union.
April Polish officers massacred in Katyn Forest by Soviet troops.
June New strict labor laws enacted; northern Bukovina and Bessarabia seized from Romania and subsequently incorporated into Ukrainian Republic and newly created Moldavian Republic, respectively.
August Soviet Union annexes Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; Trotsky murdered in Mexico.
1941 April Neutrality pact signed with Japan.
May Stalin becomes chairman of Council of People's Commissars.
June Nazi Germany attacks Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.
August Soviet and British troops enter Iran.
November Lend-Lease Law of United States applied to Soviet Union.
December Soviet counteroffensive against Germany begins.
1942 May Red Army routed at Khar'kov; Germans halt Soviet offensive; treaty signed with Britain against Germany.
July Battle of Stalingrad begins.
November Red Army starts winter offensive.
1943 February German army units surrender at Stalingrad; 91,000 prisoners taken.
May Comintern dissolved.
July Germans defeated in tank battle at Kursk.
September Stalin allows Russian Orthodox Church to appoint patriarch.
November Tehran Conference held.
1944 January Siege of Leningrad ends after 870 days.
May Crimea liberated from German army.
June Red Army begins summer offensive.
October Tuva incorporated into Soviet Union; armed struggle against Soviet rule breaks out in western Ukrainian, western Belorussian, Lithuanian, and Latvian republics and continues for several years.
1945 February Stalin meets with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt at Yalta.
May Red Army captures Berlin.
July-August Potsdam Conference attended by Stalin, Harry S. Truman, and Churchill, who later is replaced by Clement R. Attlee.
August Soviet Union declares war on Japan; Soviet forces enter Manchuria and Korea.
1946 March Regime abolishes Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Uniate); Council of People's Commissars becomes Council of Ministers.
Summer Beginning of "Zhdanovshchina," a campaign against Western culture.
1947 Famine in southern and central regions of European part of Soviet Union.
September Cominform established to replace Comintern.
1948 June Blockade of Berlin by Soviet forces begins and lasts into May 1949.
Summer Trofim Lysenko begins his domination of fields of biology and genetics that continues until 1955.
1949 January Council for Mutual Economic Assistance formed; campaign against "cosmopolitanism" launched.
August Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb.
1952 October All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) becomes Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU); name of Politburo is changed to Presidium.
1953 January Kremlin "doctors' plot" exposed, signaling political infighting, new wave of purges, and anti-Semitic campaign.
March Stalin dies; Georgiy Malenkov, Beria, and Molotov form troika (triumvirate); title of party chief changes from general secretary to first secretary.
April "Doctors' plot" declared a provocation.
July Beria arrested and shot; Malenkov, Molotov, and Nikita S. Khrushchev form new troika.
August Soviet Union tests hydrogen bomb.
September Khrushchev chosen CPSU first secretary; rehabilitation of Stalin's victims begins.
1955 February Nikolay Bulganin replaces Malenkov as prime minister.
May Warsaw Pact organized.
1956 February Khrushchev's "secret speech" at Twentieth Party Congress exposes Stalin's crimes.
September Minimum wage established.
November Soviet forces crush Hungarian Revolution.
1957 July "Antiparty group" excluded from CPSU leadership.
August First Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile tested successfully.
October World's first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, launched.
1958 March Khrushchev named chairman of Council of Ministers.
October Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Boris Pasternak; campaign mounted against Pasternak, who is forced to decline award.
1959 September Khrushchev visits United States.
1960 May Soviet air defense downs United States U-2 reconnaissance aircraft over Soviet Union.
1961 April Cosmonaut Yuriy Gagarin launched in world's first manned orbital space flight.
July Khrushchev meets with President John F. Kennedy in Vienna.
August Construction of Berlin Wall begins.
October Stalin's remains removed from Lenin Mausoleum.
1962 June Workers' riots break out in Novocherkassk.
October Cuban missile crisis begins, bringing United States and Soviet Union close to war.
November Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich published in Soviet journal.
1963 August Limited Test Ban Treaty signed with United States and Britain.
1964 October Khrushchev removed from power; Leonid I. Brezhnev becomes CPSU first secretary.
1965 August Volga Germans rehabilitated.
1966 February Dissident writers Andrey Sinyavskiy and Yuliy Daniel tried and sentenced.
April Brezhnev's title changes from first secretary to general secretary; name of Presidium is changed back to Politburo.
1967 April Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, defects to West.
September Crimean Tatars rehabilitated but not allowed to return home.
1968 June Andrey Sakharov's dissident writings published in samizdat.
July Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) signed by Soviet Union.
August Soviet-led Warsaw Pact armies invade Czechoslovakia.
1969 March Soviet and Chinese forces skirmish on Ussuri River.
May Major General Petr Grigorenko, a dissident, arrested and incarcerated in psychiatric hospital.
1970 October Jewish emigration begins to increase substantially.
December Solzhenitsyn awarded Nobel Prize for literature.
1972 May Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) result in signing of Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms; President Richard M. Nixon visits Moscow.
1973 June Brezhnev visits Washington.
1974 February Solzhenitsyn arrested and sent into foreign exile.
1975 July Apollo/Soyuz space mission held jointly with United States.
August Helsinki Accords signed, confirming East European borders and calling for enforcement of human rights.
December Sakharov awarded Nobel Prize for Peace.
1976 Helsinki watch groups formed to monitor human rights safeguards.
1977 June Brezhnev named chairman of Presidium of Supreme Soviet.
October New constitution promulgated for Soviet Union.
1979 June Second SALT agreement signed but not ratified by United States Senate.
December Soviet armed forces invade Afghanistan.
1980 January Sakharov exiled to Gor'kiy.
August Summer Olympics held in Moscow and boycotted by United States and other Western nations.
1981 February CPSU holds its Twenty-Sixth Party Congress.
1982 June Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) talks begin.
November Brezhnev dies; Yuriy V. Andropov named general secretary.
1983 September Soviet fighter aircraft downs South Korean civilian airliner KAL 007 near Sakhalin Island.
1984 February Andropov dies; Konstantin U. Chernenko becomes general secretary.
1985 March Chernenko dies; Mikhail S. Gorbachev becomes general secretary.
November Gorbachev meets with President Ronald W. Reagan in Geneva.
1986 February-March CPSU holds its Twenty-Seventh Party Congress.
April Nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl' releases large amounts of radiation over Russia, Ukraine, and Belorussia.
Glasnost launched.
October Gorbachev and Reagan hold summit at Reykjavik.
December Ethnic riots break out in Alma-Ata.
1987 January Gorbachev launches perestroika.
December Soviet Union and United States sign Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).
1988 Winter Ethnic disturbances begin in Caucasus.
May Soviet authorities stop jamming Voice of America broadcasts.
May-June Reagan visits Moscow.
June Millennium of establishment of Christianity in Kievan Rus' celebrated in Moscow.
June-July CPSU's Nineteenth Party Conference tests limits of glasnost and perestroika in unprecedented discussions.
October Gorbachev replaces Andrey Gromyko as chairman of Presidium of Supreme Soviet; Gromyko retires, and others are removed from Politburo.
December Supreme Soviet dissolves itself, preparing way for new elected parliament.
1989 February Soviet combat forces complete withdrawal from Afghanistan.
March-April Initial and runoff elections held for the 2,250 seats in Congress of People's Deputies (CPD); many reform candidates, including Boris N. Yeltsin, win seats.
April Soviet troops break up rally in Tbilisi, Georgia, killing at least twenty civilians.
May CPD openly criticizes past and present regimes; Gorbachev elected by CPD to new position of chairman of Supreme Soviet.
June Free elections in Poland begin rapid decline of Soviet Union's empire in Central Europe.
July Coal miners strike in Russia and Ukraine.
August Nationalist demonstrations in Chisinau, Moldavia, lead to reinstatement of Romanian as official language of republic. Russians and Ukrainians living along Dnestr River go on strike, demanding autonomy.
Soviet Union admits existence of secret protocols to 1939 Nazi-Soviet Nonagression Pact, which allotted to Soviet Union the Baltic countries, parts of then eastern Poland, and Moldavia.
Mass exodus from East Germany begins.
September Ukrainian Popular Movement for Perestroika (Rukh) holds founding congress in Kiev.
October Mass protests take place in Berlin and Leipzig.
November Berlin Wall falls. Bulgaria's Todor Zhivkov deposed. Communist party of Czechoslovakia falls from power.
December Violent revolution in Romania. Nicolae Ceaucescu arrested, tried, and shot.
CPD condemns Nazi-Soviet Nonagression Pact and secret protocols.
Lithuanian Communist Party leaves CPSU.
Latvian parliament deletes from its constitution reference to communist party's "leading role."
At hasty shipboard summit off Malta, Gorbachev and United States president George H.W. Bush declare Cold War ended.
1990 January Azerbaijani demonstrators on Soviet side of border with Iran dismantle border posts.
Gorbachev fails to heal rift with Lithuanian communists.
Anti-Armenian pogroms in Azerbaijan. Gorbachev sends troops to Baku.
February Central Committee of CPSU votes to strike Article 6, which guarantees leading role of communist party, from Soviet constitution.
March In elections for Supreme Soviet of Russian Republic, Yeltsin wins seat.
Newly elected Lithuanian parliament declares independence.
Estonian parliament declares itself in a state of transition to independence.
May Latvian parliament votes to declare independence after unspecified transition period.
Anti-Soviet demonstrations break out in and around Yerevan.
Yeltsin becomes chairman of Supreme Soviet of Russian Republic.
June Communists in Russian Republic vote to form Communist Party of the Russian Republic.
Russia, Uzbekistan, and Moldavia issue declarations of sovereignty. By October most of the other Soviet republics have done likewise.
July Twenty-Eighth Party Congress: Yeltsin quits CPSU; Politburo stripped of almost all meaning.
Meeting of Gorbachev and West German chancellor Helmut Kohl in Stavropol'. German unification within North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secured.
Soviet government and republics open negotiations on a new treaty of union.
August Russia and Lithuania sign agreement on trade and economic cooperation.
Armenia declares independence.
October Germany united; Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty) signed in Paris.
Parliament of Russian Republic passes resolution proclaiming that no Soviet law can take effect in the republic without republican parliamentary approval.
Parliament of Russian Republic approves radical economic reform plan, thereby undercutting all-union Supreme Soviet's economic reform package.
Gorbachev awarded Nobel Prize for peace.
November Violence breaks out in Moldavia between Moldavians and Russian and Ukrainian separatists.
Gorbachev proposes new union treaty.
December Eduard Shevardnadze resigns as minister of foreign affairs, warning of oncoming dictatorship.
Parliament of Russian Republic votes to contribute to Soviet budget less than one-tenth of central government's request.
1991 January Soviet crackdown on Lithuanian and Latvian independence movements.
Soviet Ministry of Defense announces plan to send troops to seven union republics to enforce military conscription and to round up draft dodgers.
Russian Republic and the Baltic republics sign mutual security pact.
February Baltic countries hold nonbinding plebiscites as demonstration of their people's will to secede from Soviet Union.
March Coal miners go on strike in Ukraine, Kazakstan, Arctic mines, and Siberia.
Mass pro-Yeltsin rallies in Moscow.
Referendum held on preservation of Soviet Union: 70 percent vote to remain in union, but Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia boycott.
Warsaw Pact officially dissolves.
April Georgia declares independence.
Russian parliament grants Yeltsin emergency powers.
May Yeltsin gains control over coal mines in Russian Republic.
Russian government establishes foreign ministry and internal security organization. Russian television begins broadcasting on second all-union channel.
June By universal suffrage, Yeltsin elected president of Russian Republic.
Last Soviet troops leave Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
Gorbachev and leaders of seven Soviet republics sign draft union treaty.
July Yeltsin bans political activity at workplaces and government establishments in Russian Republic; Gorbachev signs START I agreement in Moscow with United States president Bush.
August Hard-line officials attempt to unseat Gorbachev government; coup fails after three days, elevating Yeltsin's prestige.
Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldavia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyz Republic declare independence. Armenia and Tajikistan follow in September, Turkmenistan in October, and Kazakstan in December.
October Dzhokar Dudayev elected president of newly declared Chechen Republic.
November Russian parliament grants Yeltsin sweeping powers to introduce radical economic reform. Yeltsin cuts off Russian funding of Soviet central ministries.
Chechens demand independence. Ingush members of Chechen National Congress resign.
Russia gains control of Soviet natural resources; Yeltsin places Russian economy above that of Soviet Union, ending possibility of Russia remaining in union.
Gorbachev fails to win support of republics for new union treaty.
December Presidents of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia meet in Minsk and proclaim initial Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Yeltsin meets with Soviet defense officials and army commanders to gain support for CIS.
Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev asks United States secretary of state James Baker to recognize independence of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.
Gorbachev announces that at year's end all central government structures will cease to exist.
Eleven republics form CIS.
Soviet Union ceases to exist. Russian flag rises over Kremlin. Control of nuclear arsenal handed over to Yeltsin.
1992 January Russian government lifts price controls on almost all goods.
Beginning of rift between Yeltsin and speaker of Russian Supreme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov and Russian vice president Aleksandr Rutskoy.
February First United States-Russia summit.
International airlift of food and medical supplies to Russian cities begins.
March Fighting breaks out between Moldovan forces and Russian and Ukrainian separatists along Dnestr River.
Eighteen of twenty autonomous republics within Russian Federation sign Federation Treaty. Tatarstan and Chechnya refuse.
April At first post-Soviet session of Russian CPD, Yeltsin fends off vote of no-confidence in his economic program. CPD also changes name of Russian Socialist Federation of Soviet Republics to Russian Federation.
Yeltsin calls for a referendum on new constitution that would abolish Russian CPD.
May Formation of Russian armed forces. Army general Pavel Grachev appointed minister of defense.
Ten of the eleven CIS presidents sign mutual security treaty in Tashkent. Treaty acknowledges demise of unified CIS armed forces.
United States and all four post-Soviet nuclear states vow to comply with START agreement.
June Russia joins International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Russian Supreme Soviet establishes Republic of Ingushetia within Russian Federation.
Russian troops complete withdrawal from Republic of Chechnya.
General Aleksandr Lebed' takes command of 14th Army in Moldova.
July Yeltsin makes first appearance at Group of Seven (G-7) meeting.
Russian Supreme Soviet ratifies CFE Treaty.
August Black Sea Fleet evacuates 1,700 Russians from Sukhumi in civil-war-torn Georgia.
September Russia completes troop withdrawal from Mongolia.
October Russia launches privatization.
Last Russian combat troops leave Poland.
November Yeltsin declares state of emergency in North Ossetia and Ingushetia in order to halt outbreak of ethnic conflicts.
Russian troops attack Georgian forces deployed in Abkhazia.
Russian troops enter Ingushetia.
December Seventh Russian CPD opens. Yeltsin and parliament clash over economic reform and powers. Viktor Chernomyrdin becomes prime minister. Yeltsin and congress agree to hold referendum on presidential power. Part of same deal grants Yeltsin extraordinary powers.
Russia and China pull most of their troops back 100 kilometers along common border.
1993 March CPD revokes December 1992 deal with Yeltsin, who then attempts to impose special rule, but fails.
Russian troops deployed in Tajikistan as part of CIS peacekeeping operation.
April Referendum approves Yeltsin as president and Yeltsin's social and economic programs.
Yeltsin and CPD issue differing draft versions of new Russian constitution.
July Constitutional assembly passes draft Russian constitution worked out by conciliatory committee.
Parliament annuls presidential decrees on economic reforms.
Marshal Yevgeniy Shaposhnikov, having resigned as commander in chief of CIS joint forces, hands over his launch authorization codes to Russian defense minister Grachev.
Russian Central Bank (RCB) announces withdrawal from circulation of Soviet and Russian banknotes issued between 1961 and 1992. Yeltsin eases some of RCB's provisions.
Yeltsin counters parliament's suspension of privatization. Two weeks later, parliament again suspends privatization. Yeltsin issues decree continuing program.
August Yeltsin formally requests that parliament hold early elections.
September Yeltsin suspends Vice President Rutskoy based on charges of corruption.
Yeltsin dissolves the CPD and Supreme Soviet and sets date for elections in December.
Supreme Soviet votes to impeach Yeltsin and swears in Rutskoy as president; CPD confirms decisions.
Clashes in Moscow between Yeltsin and Supreme Soviet supporters.
October Church mediation of government split collapses; further clashes on Moscow streets.
Top leaders of opposition surrender. Sniper fire continues for several days.
Russia officially asks for revisions to CFE Treaty.
Yeltsin suspends Constitutional Court and disbands city, district, and village soviets.
November Russian troops land in Abkhazia.
December Parliamentary elections and referendum on new constitution are held. Constitution approved. Chechnya does not participate in elections.
Yeltsin and Turkmenistan's president Saparmyrat Niyazov sign accord on dual citizenship, first such agreement between Soviet successor states.
1994 January Trilateral agreement among Russia, Ukraine, and United States prepares for denuclearizing Ukraine's armed forces.
Chernomyrdin states that radical economic reform has come to an end in Russia. Reformers quit posts. Western advisers withdraw their services as advisers to Russian government.
February United States Central Intelligence Agency arrests Aldrich Ames on charges of spying for Soviet Union and Russia.
State Duma (lower house of parliament beginning with 1993 election) grants amnesty to leaders of 1991 coup against Gorbachev and leaders of parliamentary revolt of October 1993.
Yeltsin gives speech calling for continued radical restructuring of economy.
April Russia and Belarus agree to monetary union.
Central Asian republics, Georgia, and Armenia allow Russian participation in patrolling their borders.
Political leaders meet to sign Civic Accord, which calls on signatories to refrain from violence in pursuing political goals. Three of 248 participants refuse to sign, among them Gennadiy Zyuganov, leader of Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF).
June Yeltsin accelerates market reforms.
Foreign Minister Kozyrev signs NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) accord.
July Russian and United States troops conduct joint peacekeeping exercise in Orenburg, Russia. United States conducts maneuvers in Black Sea with Russia, Ukraine, and other Black Sea countries.
Russian government issues statement that situation in Chechnya is getting out of control.
August Last Russian troops leave Germany, Estonia, and Latvia.
September Fighting breaks out in Chechnya between Dudayev's and opposition forces.
October Ruble loses one-fifth of its value in one day.
Chernomyrdin and Prime Minister Sangheli of Moldova sign agreement on withdrawal of Russia's 14th Army from Moldova.
November Dudayev proclaims martial law throughout republic and mobilizes all men aged seventeen and older.
Yeltsin issues ultimatum to warring parties in Chechnya to lay down their arms.
December Kozyrev suspends Russia's participation in PfP.
Russian armored columns enter Chechnya.
1995 January Russia and Kazakstan agree to unify their armies by end of 1995.
April Human rights activist Sergey Kovalev estimates 10,000 Russian soldiers and 25,000 Chechen civilians killed in Chechnya since 1994.
June State Duma votes no-confidence in Government (cabinet). Second no-confidence vote fails in State Duma.
July Yeltsin hospitalized, returns to work in August.
October Yeltsin again hospitalized, reappears in November.
December In parliamentary elections, communists and nationalists gain strength, reformists split and in decline.
1996 January Yeltsin replaces Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev with Yevgeniy Primakov. Leading liberal reformists dismissed or resign.
March After slowdown in privatization and increase in government spending, Russia granted loan agreement worth US$10 billion by IMF.
Leaders of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus sign customs union treaty in Moscow.
April Russia and Belarus sign union treaty with substantial elements of reunification.
Dzhokar Dudayev killed in rocket attack in Chechnya.
May Chechens sign cease-fire agreement, whose terms are immediately violated; fighting resumes.
June Yeltsin and Zyuganov, candidate of KPRF, finish first and second, respectively, in first round of presidential elections, qualifying them for second round.
Yeltsin fires Grachev and other senior hard-line officials and appoints Lebed' chief of Security Council.
Yeltsin disappears from public view because of undisclosed illness.
July Yeltsin defeats Zyuganov in second round of presidential election, 54 percent to 40 percent.
Fighting in Chechnya intensifies.
Lebed' associate Igor' Rodionov named minister of defense, promises military reform; Anatoliy Chubays named presidential chief of staff.
Citing failure of Russian economic reform, IMF withholds tranche of 1996 assistance package.
Yeltsin creates civilian Defense Council.
Pravda, voice of communism since 1912, renamed Pravda 5 and begins more objective reporting.
August Yeltsin staff announces Yeltsin will rest for prolonged period to recover from election campaign.
Chernomyrdin confirmed for second term as prime minister; Yeltsin names new Government with reformists in key positions.
Chechen guerrillas recapture Chechen capital Groznyy, exposing weakness of Russian military; Lebed' achieves cease-fire in direct talks with Chechen leaders.
IMF resumes economic assistance payments.
Bellona Foundation report exposes mishandling of nuclear materials in Arctic regions.
September As cease-fire terms hold, first Russian troops leave Chechnya.
NATO offers Russia special terms of military cooperation.
Yeltsin announces he will undergo heart surgery; under pressure, he temporarily cedes military command and control of internal security agencies to Chernomyrdin.
Controversy continues over locus of government authority.
Election cycle begins in subnational jurisdictions, continues through March 1997.
October Lebed' dismissed as Security Council chief; negotiations with Chechnya continue under Ivan Rybkin.
United States secretary of defense William Perry rebuffed in attempt to gain passage of START II by State Duma.
Government establishes emergency tax commission to improve tax collection; collection rate remains poor in ensuing months.
Chubays begins campaign for compliance of regional laws with federal constitution.
October-December Escalating conflict between military and civilian defense officials over military reform methods.
November Russia's first bond issue on international market nets US$1 billion.
Yeltsin undergoes successful open-heart surgery.
Primakov visits China, Japan, and Mongolia to expand markets.
Third Kilo-class submarine sold to Iran.
Yeltsin remains out of public view until February 1997, his administration inactive; opposition calls for impeachment on health grounds.
December Four-person Consultative Council formed to smooth differences between Government and parliament.
Primakov agrees to negotiate charter giving Russia special status with NATO.
Federation Council (upper house of parliament since 1993 elections) claims Ukrainian port of Sevastopol' as Russian territory, reopening dispute with Ukraine.
1997 January Long-delayed new Criminal Code goes into effect.
State Duma passes 1997 budget after long discussions and amendments; experts call revenue projections unrealistic.
Opposing military reform programs issued by Ministry of Defense and civilian Defense Council.
Presidential and legislative elections in Chechnya; moderate Aslan Maskhadov wins presidency on independence platform.
Yeltsin approves Russia's participation in NATO's Bosnia peacekeeping force until 1998.
IMF withholds loan payment because of continued tax system problems.
February Last Russian troops leave Chechnya.
NATO talks with Russia bring modification of CFE Treaty demands on Russia, subject to ratification by members.
February-March NATO chief Javier Solana visits several CIS nations, which entertain closer NATO ties.
March Yeltsin reestablishes his leadership with vigorous state of the federation speech.
Government streamlining begins with appointments of Chubays and Boris Nemtsov to powerful positions; Chernomyrdin's power wanes.
Second issue of Russian bonds sold on international market; third issue scheduled.
Nationwide labor action gains lukewarm participation; uncoordinated local actions intensify.
At CIS summit, Yeltsin fails to reassert Russian domination as several members take independent positions.
Helsinki summit with President William J. Clinton yields some economic agreements, continued discord on NATO expansion.
Bilateral treaty reaffirms integration of Russia and Belarus.
April Moscow summit with Chinese president Jiang Zemin expresses disapproval of United States world domination, yields agreement to reduce troops along shared border.
State Duma postpones ratification of Chemical Weapons Convention following United States Congress ratification.
Government proposal to limit government housing subsidies brings strong political opposition.
Prompted by revenue shortages, Finance Minister Chubays submits budget revision to State Duma, cutting US$19 billion in spending.
May Peace treaty signed by Russia and Chechnya (Chechnya-Ichkeria); Chechen independence issue remains unresolved.
Igor' Sergeyev replaces Igor' Rodionov as minister of defense following Rodianov's open conflict with other defense authorities.
New privatization programs begin in housing, natural gas, railroads, and electric power.
Security Council issues new national security doctrine.
Terms set for new pipeline from Tengiz oil fields (Kazakstan) to Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.
Russia signs "founding act" agreement with NATO, allowing participation in NATO decision making; Russia agrees to drop opposition to NATO expansion in Central Europe.
Yeltsin and Ukraine's president Leonid Kuchma sign treaty of friendship and cooperation, nominally settling disputes over territory and ownership of Black Sea Fleet.
June State Duma recesses for summer without acting on budget-cut proposal, leaving determination of cuts to Government.
Yeltsin names his daughter Tat'yana Dyachenko an official adviser.
Yeltsin participates in Denver G-8 (formerly G-7) meeting as full partner for first time.
Government announces allocation of US$2.9 billion to pay long-overdue pensions.
Government announces sale of shares in six state-owned oil companies to increase revenues.
Under pressure from Yeltsin, Duma approves new tax code aimed at broadening government's revenue base.
June-July Mishaps aboard Mir space station reinforce international doubts about Russia's space program.
July Yeltsin declares Russia's economy has "turned the corner" toward growth and stability; statistics show some improvement.
New CFE treaty reduces arms in Europe, does not limit NATO movement into Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland as Russia had demanded.
Russia offers Japan new conditions for development of disputed Kuril Islands; bilateral talks address Japanese investment elsewhere in Russia's Far East.
Constitutinal Court rejects Moscow's residency fees as unconstitutional.
Yeltsin announces large-scale program for military reform and streamlining.
First meeting of NATO-Russia joint council establishes operational procedures.
Yeltsin vetoes law restricting activities of non-Orthodox religions, after both houses of parliament had overwhelmingly passed it, Russian Orthodox Church supported it, and human rights organizations condemned it.
Yeltsin's drive against official corruption thwarted as high officials refuse to divulge personal finances.
August Pro-Yeltsin party, Our Home Is Russia, shaken by resignation of parliamentary leader Sergey Belyayev.
NATO's Sea Breeze 97 exercise in Ukraine modified from military to humanitarian maneuver after protest by Russia.
Yeltsin announces ruble reform for January 1998, dropping three zeros from denomination of currency.
Government submits privatization plan for 1998 and draft 1998 budget to Sate Duma; budget calls for 2 percent growth in GDP and annual inflation of 5 percent.
Russia and Armenia sign friendship and cooperation treaty tightening military and economic ties.
September Duma reconvenes; atop agenda are tax reform bill and consideration of 1998 budget proposal.
Shakeups of military establishment continue as Yeltsin dismisses his Defense Council chief, Yuriy Baturin, and reorganizes Rosvooruzheniye, the foreign arms sales cartel.
Overdue tax payments by Gazprom reach US$2.4 billion.
Agreement with Chechnya sets terms for repair of Baku (Azerbaijan)-Novorossiysk pipeline through Chechnya, with October 1997 as completion deadline; negotiations continue on new pipelines from Central Asia westward.
Russia warns NATO against pressure on Bosnian Serb Karadzic faction.
Foreign trade figures for first half of 1997 announced; overall surplus US$18.5 billion, down 3.9 percent from first half 1996, including decrease of 11.7 percent in CIS trade.
Duma passes land code without provision for sale of land by owner, frustrating Yeltsin's long campaign for reform of land ownership.
Worker protests spread across Russia as wage non-payment continues, especially among coal, defense industry, and scientific workers.
Yeltsin signs revised bill on religious organizations after "Christianity" added to list of Russia's "traditional," unrestricted faiths; human rights and religious groups protest.
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:11 pm


Early History

Many ethnically diverse peoples migrated onto the East European Plain, but the East Slavs remained and gradually became dominant. Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state, emerged in the ninth century A.D. and developed a complex and frequently unstable political system that flourished until the thirteenth century, when it declined abruptly. Among the lasting achievements of Kievan Rus' are the introduction of a Slavic variant of the Eastern Orthodox religion and a synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures. The disintegration of Kievan Rus' played a crucial role in the evolution of the East Slavs into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian peoples.

The Inhabitants of the East European Plain

Long before the organization of Kievan Rus', Iranian and other peoples lived in the area of present-day Ukraine. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians, who occupied the region from about 600 B.C. to 200 B.C. and whose skill in warfare and horsemanship is legendary. Between A.D. 100 and A.D. 900, Goths and nomadic Huns, Avars, and Magyars passed through the region in their migrations. Although some of them subjugated the Slavs in the region, those tribes left little of lasting importance. More significant in this period was the expansion of the Slavs, who were agriculturists and beekeepers as well as hunters, fishers, herders, and trappers. By A.D. 600, the Slavs were the dominant ethnic group on the East European Plain.

Little is known of the origin of the Slavs. Philologists and archaeologists theorize that the Slavs settled very early in the Carpathian Mountains or in the area of present-day Belarus. By A.D. 600, they had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The East Slavs settled along the Dnepr River in what is now Ukraine; then they spread northward to the northern Volga River valley, east of modern-day Moscow, and westward to the basins of the northern Dnestr and the western Bug rivers, in present-day Moldova and southern Ukraine. In the eighth and ninth centuries, many East Slavic tribes paid tribute to the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people who adopted Judaism about A.D. 740 and lived in the southern Volga and Caucasus regions.

The East Slavs and the Varangians

By the ninth century, Scandinavian warriors and merchants, called Varangians, had penetrated the East Slavic regions. According to the Primary Chronicle , the earliest chronicle of Kievan Rus', a Varangian named Rurik first established himself in Novgorod, just south of modern-day St. Petersburg, in about 860 before moving south and extending his authority to Kiev. The chronicle cites Rurik as the progenitor of a dynasty that ruled in Eastern Europe until 1598. Another Varangian, Oleg, moved south from Novgorod to expel the Khazars from Kiev and founded Kievan Rus' about A.D. 880. During the next thirty-five years, Oleg subdued the various East Slavic tribes. In A.D. 907, he led a campaign against Constantinople, and in 911 he signed a commercial treaty with the Byzantine Empire as an equal partner. The new Kievan state prospered because it controlled the trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and because it had an abundant supply of furs, wax, honey, and slaves for export. Historians have debated the role of the Varangians in the establishment of Kievan Rus'. Most Russian historians--especially in the Soviet era--have stressed the Slavic influence in the development of the state. Although Slavic tribes had formed their own regional jurisdictions by 860, the Varangians accelerated the crystallization of Kievan Rus'.

The Golden Age of Kiev

The region of Kiev dominated the state of Kievan Rus' for the next two centuries (see fig. 2). The grand prince of Kiev controlled the lands around the city, and his theoretically subordinate relatives ruled in other cities and paid him tribute. The zenith of the state's power came during the reigns of Prince Vladimir (r. 978-1015) and Prince Yaroslav (the Wise; r. 1019-54). Both rulers continued the steady expansion of Kievan Rus' that had begun under Oleg. To enhance their power, Vladimir married the sister of the Byzantine emperor, and Yaroslav arranged marriages for his sister and three daughters to the kings of Poland, France, Hungary, and Norway. Vladimir's greatest achievement was the Christianization of Kievan Rus', a process that began in 988. He built the first great edifice of Kievan Rus', the Desyatinnaya Church in Kiev. Yaroslav promulgated the first East Slavic law code, Rus'ka pravda (Justice of Rus'); built cathedrals named for St. Sophia in Kiev and Novgorod; patronized local clergy and monasticism; and is said to have founded a school system. Yaroslav's sons developed Kiev's great Peshcherskiy monastyr' (Monastery of the Caves), which functioned in Kievan Rus' as an ecclesiastical academy.

Vladimir's choice of Eastern Orthodoxy reflected his close personal ties with Constantinople, which dominated the Black Sea and hence trade on Kiev's most vital commercial route, the Dnepr River. Adherence to the Eastern Orthodox Church had long-range political, cultural, and religious consequences. The church had a liturgy written in Cyrillic (see Glossary) and a corpus of translations from the Greek that had been produced for the South Slavs. The existence of this literature facilitated the East Slavs' conversion to Christianity and introduced them to rudimentary Greek philosophy, science, and historiography without the necessity of learning Greek. In contrast, educated people in medieval Western and Central Europe learned Latin. Because the East Slavs learned neither Greek nor Latin, they were isolated from Byzantine culture as well as from the European cultures of their neighbors to the west.

In the centuries that followed the state's foundation, Rurik's purported descendants shared power over Kievan Rus'. Princely succession moved from elder to younger brother and from uncle to nephew, as well as from father to son. Junior members of the dynasty usually began their official careers as rulers of a minor district, progressed to more lucrative principalities, and then competed for the coveted throne of Kiev.

In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the princes and their retinues, which were a mixture of Varangian and Slavic elites and small Finno-Ugric and Turkic elements, dominated the society of Kievan Rus'. Leading soldiers and officials received income and land from the princes in return for their political and military services. Kievan society lacked the class institutions and autonomous towns that were typical of West European feudalism. Nevertheless, urban merchants, artisans, and laborers sometimes exercised political influence through a city assembly, the veche, which included all the adult males in the population. In some cases, the veche either made agreements with their rulers or expelled them and invited others to take their place. At the bottom of society was a small stratum of slaves. More important was a class of tribute-paying peasants, who owed labor duty to the princes; the widespread personal serfdom characteristic of Western Europe did not exist in Kievan Rus', however.

The Rise of Regional Centers

Kievan Rus' was not able to maintain its position as a powerful and prosperous state, in part because of the amalgamation of disparate lands under the control of a ruling clan. As the members of that clan became more numerous, they identified themselves with regional interests rather than with the larger patrimony. Thus, the princes fought among themselves, frequently forming alliances with outside groups such as the Polovtsians, Poles, and Hungarians. The Crusades brought a shift in European trade routes that accelerated the decline of Kievan Rus'. In 1204 the forces of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, making the Dnepr trade route marginal. As it declined, Kievan Rus' splintered into many principalities and several large regional centers. The inhabitants of those regional centers then evolved into three nationalities: Ukrainians in the southeast and southwest, Belorussians in the northwest, and Russians in the north and northeast.

In the north, the Republic of Novgorod prospered as part of Kievan Rus' because it controlled trade routes from the Volga River to the Baltic Sea. As Kievan Rus' declined, Novgorod became more independent. A local oligarchy ruled Novgorod; major government decisions were made by a town assembly, which also elected a prince as the city's military leader. In the twelfth century, Novgorod acquired its own archbishop, a sign of increased importance and political independence. In its political structure and mercantile activities, Novgorod resembled the north European towns of the Hanseatic League, the prosperous alliance that dominated the commercial activity of the Baltic region between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, more than the other principalities of Kievan Rus'.

In the northeast, East Slavs colonized the territory that eventually became Muscovy by intermingling with the Finno-Ugric tribes already occupying the area. The city of Rostov was the oldest center of the northeast, but it was supplanted first by Suzdal' and then by the city of Vladimir. By the twelfth century, the combined principality of Vladimir-Suzdal' had become a major power in Kievan Rus'.

In 1169 Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy of Vladimir-Suzdal' dealt a severe blow to the waning power of Kievan Rus' when his armies sacked the city of Kiev. Prince Andrey then installed his younger brother to rule in Kiev and continued to rule his realm from Suzdal'. Thus, political power shifted to the northeast, away from Kiev, in the second half of the twelfth century. In 1299, in the wake of the Mongol invasion, the metropolitan of the Orthodox Church moved to the city of Vladimir, and Vladimir-Suzdal' replaced Kievan Rus' as the religious center.

To the southwest, the principality of Galicia-Volhynia had highly developed trade relations with its Polish, Hungarian, and Lithuanian neighbors and emerged as another successor to Kievan Rus'. In the early thirteenth century, Prince Roman Mstislavich united the two previously separate principalities, conquered Kiev, and assumed the title of grand duke of Kievan Rus'. His son, Prince Daniil (Danylo; r. 1238-64) was the first ruler of Kievan Rus' to accept a crown from the Roman papacy, apparently doing so without breaking with Orthodoxy. Early in the fourteenth century, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople granted the rulers of Galicia-Volhynia a metropolitan to compensate for the move of the Kievan metropolitan to Vladimir.

However, a long and unsuccessful struggle against the Mongols combined with internal opposition to the prince and foreign intervention to weaken Galicia-Volhynia. With the end of the Mstislavich Dynasty in the mid-fourteenth century, Galicia-Volhynia ceased to exist; Lithuania took Volhynia, and Poland annexed Galicia.

The Mongol Invasion

As it was undergoing fragmentation, Kievan Rus' faced its greatest threat from invading Mongols. In 1223 an army from Kievan Rus', together with a force of Turkic Polovtsians, faced a Mongol raiding party at the Kalka River. The Kievan alliance was defeated soundly. Then, in 1237-38, a much larger Mongol force overran much of Kievan Rus'. In 1240 the Mongols sacked the city of Kiev and then moved west into Poland and Hungary. Of the principalities of Kievan Rus', only the Republic of Novgorod escaped occupation, but it paid tribute to the Mongols. One branch of the Mongol force withdrew to Saray on the lower Volga River, establishing the Golden Horde (see Glossary). From Saray the Golden Horde Mongols ruled Kievan Rus' indirectly through their princes and tax collectors.

The impact of the Mongol invasion on the territories of Kievan Rus' was uneven. Centers such as Kiev never recovered from the devastation of the initial attack. The Republic of Novgorod continued to prosper, however, and a new entity, the city of Moscow, began to flourish under the Mongols. Although a Russian army defeated the Golden Horde at Kulikovo in 1380, Mongol domination of the Russian-inhabited territories, along with demands of tribute from Russian princes, continued until about 1480.

Historians have debated the long-term influence of Mongol rule on Russian society. The Mongols have been blamed for the destruction of Kievan Rus', the breakup of the "Russian" nationality into three components, and the introduction of the concept of "oriental despotism" into Russia. But most historians agree that Kievan Rus' was not a homogeneous political, cultural, or ethnic entity and that the Mongols merely accelerated a fragmentation that had begun before the invasion. Historians also credit the Mongol regime with an important role in the development of Muscovy as a state. Under Mongol occupation, for example, Muscovy developed its postal road network, census, fiscal system, and military organization.

Kievan Rus' also left a powerful legacy. The leader of the Rurik Dynasty united a large territory inhabited by East Slavs into an important, albeit unstable, state. After Vladimir accepted Eastern Orthodoxy, Kievan Rus' came together under a church structure and developed a Byzantine-Slavic synthesis in culture, statecraft, and the arts. On the northeastern periphery of Kievan Rus', those traditions were adapted to form the Russian autocratic state.
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:12 pm


The development of the Russian state can be traced from Vladimir-Suzdal' through Muscovy to the Russian Empire. Muscovy drew people and wealth to the northeastern periphery of Kievan Rus'; established trade links to the Baltic Sea, the White Sea, and the Caspian Sea and to Siberia; and created a highly centralized and autocratic political system. Muscovite political traditions, therefore, exerted a powerful influence on Russian society.

The Rise of Muscovy

When the Mongols invaded the lands of Kievan Rus', Moscow was an insignificant trading outpost in the principality of Vladimir-Suzdal'. The outpost's remote, forested location offered some security from Mongol attack and occupation, and a number of rivers provided access to the Baltic and Black seas and to the Caucasus region. More important to Moscow's development in what became the state of Muscovy, however, was its rule by a series of princes who were ambitious, determined, and lucky. The first ruler of the principality of Muscovy, Daniil Aleksandrovich (d. 1303), secured the principality for his branch of the Rurik Dynasty. His son, Ivan I (r. 1325-40), known as Ivan Kalita ("Money Bags"), obtained the title "Grand Prince of Vladimir" from his Mongol overlords. He cooperated closely with the Mongols and collected tribute from other Russian principalities on their behalf. This relationship enabled Ivan to gain regional ascendancy, particularly over Muscovy's chief rival, the northern city of Tver'. In 1327 the Orthodox metropolitan transferred his residency from Vladimir to Moscow, further enhancing the prestige of the new principality.

In the fourteenth century, the grand princes of Muscovy began gathering Russian lands to increase the population and wealth under their rule (see table 2, Appendix). The most successful practitioner of this process was Ivan III (the Great; r. 1462-1505), who conquered Novgorod in 1478 and Tver' in 1485. Muscovy gained full sovereignty over the ethnically Russian lands in 1480 when Mongol overlordship ended officially, and by the beginning of the sixteenth century virtually all those lands were united. Through inheritance, Ivan obtained part of the province of Ryazan', and the princes of Rostov and Yaroslavl' voluntarily subordinated themselves to him. The northwestern city of Pskov remained independent in this period, but Ivan's son, Vasiliy III (r. 1505-33), later conquered it.

Ivan III was the first Muscovite ruler to use the titles of tsar and "Ruler of all Rus'." Ivan competed with his powerful northwestern rival Lithuania for control over some of the semi-independent former principalities of Kievan Rus' in the upper Dnepr and Donets river basins. Through the defections of some princes, border skirmishes, and a long, inconclusive war with Lithuania that ended only in 1503, Ivan III was able to push westward, and Muscovy tripled in size under his rule.

The Evolution of the Russian Aristocracy

Internal consolidation accompanied outward expansion of the state. By the fifteenth century, the rulers of Muscovy considered the entire Russian territory their collective property. Various semi-independent princes still claimed specific territories, but Ivan III forced the lesser princes to acknowledge the grand prince of Muscovy and his descendants as unquestioned rulers with control over military, judicial, and foreign affairs.

Gradually, the Muscovite ruler emerged as a powerful, autocratic ruler, a tsar. By assuming that title, the Muscovite prince underscored that he was a major ruler or emperor on a par with the emperor of the Byzantine Empire or the Mongol khan. Indeed, after Ivan III's marriage to Sophia Paleologue, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, the Muscovite court adopted Byzantine terms, rituals, titles, and emblems such as the double-headed eagle. At first, the term autocrat connoted only the literal meaning of an independent ruler, but in the reign of Ivan IV (r. 1533-84) it came to mean unlimited rule. Ivan IV was crowned tsar and thus was recognized, at least by the Orthodox Church, as emperor. An Orthodox monk had claimed that, once Constantinople had fallen to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the Muscovite tsar was the only legitimate Orthodox ruler and that Moscow was the Third Rome because it was the final successor to Rome and Constantinople, the centers of Christianity in earlier periods. That concept was to resonate in the self-image of Russians in future centuries.

Ivan IV

The development of the tsar's autocratic powers reached a peak during the reign of Ivan IV, and he became known as the Terrible (his Russian epithet, groznyy , means threatening or dreaded). Ivan strengthened the position of the tsar to an unprecedented degree, demonstrating the risks of unbridled power in the hands of a mentally unstable individual. Although apparently intelligent and energetic, Ivan suffered from bouts of paranoia and depression, and his rule was punctuated by acts of extreme violence.

Ivan IV became grand prince of Muscovy in 1533 at the age of three. Various factions of the boyars (see Glossary) competed for control of the regency until Ivan assumed the throne in 1547. Reflecting Muscovy's new imperial claims, Ivan's coronation as tsar was an elaborate ritual modeled after those of the Byzantine emperors. With the continuing assistance of a group of boyars, Ivan began his reign with a series of useful reforms. In the 1550s, he promulgated a new law code, revamped the military, and reorganized local government. These reforms undoubtedly were intended to strengthen the state in the face of continuous warfare.

During the late 1550s, Ivan developed a hostility toward his advisers, the government, and the boyars. Historians have not determined whether policy differences, personal animosities, or mental imbalance cause his wrath. In 1565 he divided Muscovy into two parts: his private domain and the public realm. For his private domain, Ivan chose some of the most prosperous and important districts of Muscovy. In these areas, Ivan's agents attacked boyars, merchants, and even common people, summarily executing some and confiscating land and possessions. Thus began a decade of terror in Muscovy. As a result of this policy, called the oprichnina , Ivan broke the economic and political power of the leading boyar families, thereby destroying precisely those persons who had built up Muscovy and were the most capable of administering it. Trade diminished, and peasants, faced with mounting taxes and threats of violence, began to leave Muscovy. Efforts to curtail the mobility of the peasants by tying them to their land brought Muscovy closer to legal serfdom. In 1572 Ivan finally abandoned the practices of the oprichnina .

Despite the domestic turmoil of Ivan's late period, Muscovy continued to wage wars and to expand. Ivan defeated and annexed the Kazan' Khanate on the middle Volga in 1552 and later the Astrakhan' Khanate, where the Volga meets the Caspian Sea. These victories gave Muscovy access to the entire Volga River and to Central Asia. Muscovy's eastward expansion encountered relatively little resistance. In 1581 the Stroganov merchant family, interested in fur trade, hired a Cossack (see Glossary) leader, Yermak, to lead an expedition into western Siberia. Yermak defeated the Siberian Khanate and claimed the territories west of the Ob' and Irtysh rivers for Muscovy (see fig. 3).

Expanding to the northwest toward the Baltic Sea proved to be much more difficult. In 1558 Ivan invaded Livonia, eventually embroiling him in a twenty-five-year war against Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, and Denmark. Despite occasional successes, Ivan's army was pushed back, and Muscovy failed to secure a coveted position on the Baltic Sea. The war drained Muscovy. Some historians believe that Ivan initiated the oprichnina to mobilize resources for the war and to quell opposition to it. Regardless of the reason, Ivan's domestic and foreign policies had a devastating effect on Muscovy, and they led to a period of social struggle and civil war, the so-called Time of Troubles (Smutnoye vremya, 1598-1613).

The Time of Troubles

Ivan IV was succeeded by his son Fedor, who was mentally deficient. Actual power went to Fedor's brother-in-law, the boyar Boris Godunov. Perhaps the most important event of Fedor's reign was the proclamation of the patriarchate of Moscow in 1589. The creation of the patriarchate climaxed the evolution of a separate and totally independent Russian Orthodox Church.

In 1598 Fedor died without an heir, ending the Rurik Dynasty. Boris Godunov then convened a zemskiy sobor , a national assembly of boyars, church officials, and commoners, which proclaimed him tsar, although various boyar factions refused to recognize the decision. Widespread crop failures caused a famine between 1601 and 1603, and during the ensuing discontent, a man emerged who claimed to be Dmitriy, Ivan IV's son who had died in 1591. This pretender to the throne, who came to be known as the first False Dmitriy, gained support in Poland and marched to Moscow, gathering followers among the boyars and other elements as he went. Historians speculate that Godunov would have weathered this crisis, but he died in 1605. As a result, the first False Dmitriy entered Moscow and was crowned tsar that year, following the murder of Tsar Fedor II, Godunov's son.

Subsequently, Muscovy entered a period of continuous chaos. The Time of Troubles included a civil war in which a struggle over the throne was complicated by the machinations of rival boyar factions, the intervention of regional powers Poland and Sweden, and intense popular discontent. The first False Dmitriy and his Polish garrison were overthrown, and a boyar, Vasiliy Shuyskiy, was proclaimed tsar in 1606. In his attempt to retain the throne, Shuyskiy allied himself with the Swedes. A second False Dmitriy, allied with the Poles, appeared. In 1610 that heir apparent was proclaimed tsar, and the Poles occupied Moscow. The Polish presence led to a patriotic revival among the Russians, and a new army, financed by northern merchants and blessed by the Orthodox Church, drove the Poles out. In 1613 a new zemskiy sobor proclaimed the boyar Mikhail Romanov as tsar, beginning the 300-year reign of the Romanov family.

Muscovy was in chaos for more than a decade, but the institution of the autocracy remained intact. Despite the tsar's persecution of the boyars, the townspeople's dissatisfaction, and the gradual enserfment of the peasantry, efforts at restricting the power of the tsar were only halfhearted. Finding no institutional alternative to the autocracy, discontented Russians rallied behind various pretenders to the throne. During that period, the goal of political activity was to gain influence over the sitting autocrat or to place one's own candidate on the throne. The boyars fought among themselves, the lower classes revolted blindly, and foreign armies occupied the Kremlin (see Glossary) in Moscow, prompting many to accept tsarist absolutism as a necessary means to restoring order and unity in Muscovy.

The Romanovs

The immediate task of the new dynasty was to restore order. Fortunately for Muscovy, its major enemies, Poland and Sweden, were engaged in a bitter conflict with each other, which provided Muscovy the opportunity to make peace with Sweden in 1617 and to sign a truce with Poland in 1619. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the city of Smolensk from Poland in 1632, Muscovy made peace with Poland in 1634. Polish king Wladyslaw IV, whose father and predecessor Sigismund III had manipulated his nominal selection as tsar of Muscovy during the Time of Troubles, renounced all claims to the title as a condition of the peace treaty.

The early Romanovs were weak rulers. Under Mikhail, state affairs were in the hands of the tsar's father, Filaret, who in 1619 became patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Later, Mikhail's son Aleksey (r. 1645-76) relied on a boyar, Boris Morozov, to run his government. Morozov abused his position by exploiting the populace, and in 1648 Aleksey dismissed him in the wake of a popular uprising in Moscow.

The autocracy survived the Time of Troubles and the rule of weak or corrupt tsars because of the strength of the government's central bureaucracy. Government functionaries continued to serve, regardless of the ruler's legitimacy or the boyar faction controlling the throne. In the seventeenth century, the bureaucracy expanded dramatically. The number of government departments (prikazy ; sing., prikaz ) increased from twenty-two in 1613 to eighty by mid-century. Although the departments often had overlapping and conflicting jurisdictions, the central government, through provincial governors, was able to control and regulate all social groups, as well as trade, manufacturing, and even the Orthodox Church.

The comprehensive legal code introduced in 1649 illustrates the extent of state control over Russian society. By that time, the boyars had largely merged with the elite bureaucracy, who were obligatory servitors of the state, to form a new nobility, the dvoryanstvo . The state required service from both the old and the new nobility, primarily in the military. In return, they received land and peasants. In the preceding century, the state had gradually curtailed peasants' rights to move from one landlord to another; the 1649 code officially attached peasants to their domicile. The state fully sanctioned serfdom, and runaway peasants became state fugitives. Landlords had complete power over their peasants and bought, sold, traded, and mortgaged them. Peasants living on state-owned land, however, were not considered serfs. They were organized into communes, which were responsible for taxes and other obligations. Like serfs, however, state peasants were attached to the land they farmed. Middle-class urban tradesmen and craftsmen were assessed taxes, and, like the serfs, they were forbidden to change residence. All segments of the population were subject to military levy and to special taxes. By chaining much of Muscovite society to specific domiciles, the legal code of 1649 curtailed movement and subordinated the people to the interests of the state.

Under this code, increased state taxes and regulations exacerbated the social discontent that had been simmering since the Time of Troubles. In the 1650s and 1660s, the number of peasant escapes increased dramatically. A favorite refuge was the Don River region, domain of the Don Cossacks. A major uprising occurred in the Volga region in 1670 and 1671. Stenka Razin, a Cossack who was from the Don River region, led a revolt that drew together wealthy Cossacks who were well established in the region and escaped serfs seeking free land. The unexpected uprising swept up the Volga River valley and even threatened Moscow. Tsarist troops finally defeated the rebels after they had occupied major cities along the Volga in an operation whose panache captured the imaginations of later generations of Russians. Razin was publicly tortured and executed.

Expansion and Westernization

Muscovy continued its territorial growth through the seventeenth century. In the southwest, it acquired eastern Ukraine, which had been under Polish rule. The Ukrainian Cossacks, warriors organized in military formations, lived in the frontier areas bordering Poland, the Tatar lands, and Muscovy. Although they had served in the Polish army as mercenaries, the Ukrainian Cossacks remained fiercely independent and staged a number of uprisings against the Poles. In 1648 most of Ukrainian society joined the Cossacks in a revolt because of the political, social, religious, and ethnic oppression suffered under Polish rule. After the Ukrainians had thrown off Polish rule, they needed military help to maintain their position. In 1654 the Ukrainian leader, Bogdan Khmel'nitskiy (Bohdan Khmel'nyts'kyy), offered to place Ukraine under the protection of the Muscovite tsar, Aleksey I, rather than under the Polish king. Aleksey's acceptance of this offer, which was ratified in the Treaty of Pereyaslavl', led to a protracted war between Poland and Muscovy. The Treaty of Andrusovo, which ended the war in 1667, split Ukraine along the Dnepr River, reuniting the western sector with Poland and leaving the eastern sector self-governing under the suzerainty of the tsar.

In the east, Muscovy had obtained western Siberia in the sixteenth century. From this base, merchants, traders, and explorers pushed eastward from the Ob' River to the Yenisey River, then to the Lena River. By the middle of the seventeenth century, Muscovites had reached the Amur River and the outskirts of the Chinese Empire. After a period of conflict with the Manchu Dynasty, Muscovy made peace with China in 1689. By the Treaty of Nerchinsk, Muscovy ceded its claims to the Amur Valley, but it gained access to the region east of Lake Baikal and the trade route to Beijing. Peace with China consolidated the initial breakthrough to the Pacific that had been made in the middle of the century.

Muscovy's southwestern expansion, particularly its incorporation of eastern Ukraine, had unintended consequences. Most Ukrainians were Orthodox, but their close contact with the Roman Catholic Polish Counter-Reformation also brought them Western intellectual currents. Through Kiev, Muscovy gained links to Polish and Central European influences and to the wider Orthodox world. Although the Ukrainian link stimulated creativity in many areas, it also undermined traditional Russian religious practices and culture. The Russian Orthodox Church discovered that its isolation from Constantinople had caused variations to creep into its liturgical books and practices. The Russian Orthodox patriarch, Nikon, was determined to bring the Russian texts back into conformity with the Greek originals. But Nikon encountered fierce opposition among the many Russians who viewed the corrections as improper foreign intrusions, or perhaps the work of the devil. When the Orthodox Church forced Nikon's reforms, a schism resulted in 1667. Those who did not accept the reforms came to be called the Old Believers (starovery ); they were officially pronounced heretics and were persecuted by the church and the state. The chief opposition figure, the archpriest Avvakum, was burned at the stake. The split subsequently became permanent, and many merchants and peasants joined the Old Believers.

The tsar's court also felt the impact of Ukraine and the West. Kiev was a major transmitter of new ideas and insight through the famed scholarly academy that Metropolitan Mogila (Mohyla) founded there in 1631. Among the results of this infusion of ideas into Muscovy were baroque architecture, literature, and icon painting. Other more direct channels to the West opened as international trade increased and more foreigners came to Muscovy. The tsar's court was interested in the West's more advanced technology, particularly when military applications were involved. By the end of the seventeenth century, Ukrainian, Polish, and West European penetration had undermined the Muscovite cultural synthesis--at least among the elite--and had prepared the way for an even more radical transformation.
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:13 pm

Early Imperial Russia

In the eighteenth century, Muscovy was transformed from a static, somewhat isolated, traditional state into the more dynamic, partially Westernized, and secularized Russian Empire. This transformation was in no small measure a result of the vision, energy, and determination of Peter the Great. Historians disagree about the extent to which Peter himself transformed Russia, but they generally concur that he laid the foundations for empire building over the next two centuries. The era that Peter initiated signaled the advent of Russia as a major European power. But, although the Russian Empire would play a leading political role in the next century, its retention of serfdom precluded economic progress of any significant degree. As West European economic growth accelerated during the Industrial Revolution, which had begun in the second half of the eighteenth century, Russia began to lag ever farther behind, creating new problems for the empire as a great power.

Peter the Great and the Russian Empire

As a child of the second marriage of Tsar Aleksey, Peter at first was relegated to the background of Russian politics as various court factions struggled to control the throne. Aleksey was succeeded by his son from his first marriage, Fedor III, a sickly boy who died in 1682. Peter then was made co-tsar with his half brother, Ivan V, but Peter's half sister, Sofia, held the real power. She ruled as regent while the young Peter was allowed to play war games with his friends and to roam in Moscow's foreign quarters. These early experiences instilled in him an abiding interest in Western military practice and technology, particularly in military engineering, artillery, navigation, and shipbuilding. In 1689, using troops that he had drilled during childhood games, Peter foiled a plot to have Sofia crowned. When Ivan V died in 1696, Peter became the sole tsar of Muscovy.

War dominated much of Peter's reign. At first Peter attempted to secure the principality's southern borders against the Tatars and the Ottoman Turks. His campaign against a fort on the Sea of Azov failed initially, but after he created Russia's first navy, Peter was able to take the port of Azov in 1696. To continue the war with the Ottoman Empire, Peter traveled to Europe to seek allies. The first tsar to make such a trip, Peter visited Brandenburg, Holland, England, and the Holy Roman Empire during his so-called Grand Embassy. Peter learned a great deal and enlisted into his service hundreds of West European technical specialists. The embassy was cut short by the attempt to place Sofia on the throne instead of Peter, a revolt that was crushed by Peter's followers. As a result, Peter had hundreds of the participants tortured and killed, and he publicly displayed their bodies as a warning to others.

Peter was unsuccessful in forging a European coalition against the Ottoman Empire, but during his travels he found interest in waging war against Sweden, then an important power in northern Europe. Seeing an opportunity to break through to the Baltic Sea, Peter made peace with the Ottoman Empire in 1700 and then attacked the Swedes at their port of Narva on the Gulf of Finland. However, Sweden's young king, Charles XII, proved his military acumen by crushing Peter's army. Fortunately for Peter, Charles did not follow up his victory with a counteroffensive, becoming embroiled instead in a series of wars over the Polish throne. This respite allowed Peter to build a new, Western-style army. When the armies of the two leaders met again at the town of Poltava in 1709, Peter defeated Charles. Charles escaped to Ottoman territory, and Russia subsequently became engaged in another war with the Ottoman Empire. Russia agreed to return the port of Azov to the Ottomans in 1711. The Great Northern War, which in essence was settled at Poltava, continued until 1721, when Sweden agreed to the Treaty of Nystad. The treaty allowed Muscovy to retain the Baltic territories that it had conquered: Livonia, Estonia, and Ingria. Through his victories, Peter acquired a direct link with Western Europe. In celebration, Peter assumed the title of emperor as well as tsar, and Muscovy officially became the Russian Empire in 1721.

Peter achieved Muscovy's expansion into Europe and its transformation into the Russian Empire through several major initiatives. He established Russia's naval forces, reorganized the army according to European models, streamlined the government, and mobilized Russia's financial and human resources. Under Peter, the army drafted soldiers for lifetime terms from the taxpaying population, and it drew officers from the nobility and required them to give lifelong service in either the military or civilian administration. In 1722 Peter introduced the Table of Ranks, which determined a person's position and status according to service to the tsar rather than to birth or seniority. Even commoners who achieved a certain level on the table were ennobled automatically.

Peter's reorganization of the government structure was no less thorough. He replaced the prikazy with colleges or boards and created a senate to coordinate government policy. Peter's reform of local government was less successful, but his changes enabled local governments to collect taxes and maintain order. As part of the government reform, the Orthodox Church was partially incorporated into the country's administrative structure. Peter abolished the patriarchate and replaced it with a collective body, the Holy Synod, led by a lay government official.

Peter tripled the revenues of the state treasury through a variety of taxes. He levied a capitation, or poll tax, on all males except clergy and nobles and imposed a myriad of indirect taxes on alcohol, salt, and even beards. To provide uniforms and weapons for the military, Peter developed metallurgical and textile industries using serf labor.

Peter wanted to equip Russia with modern technology, institutions, and ideas. He required Western-style education for all male nobles, introduced so-called cipher schools to teach the alphabet and basic arithmetic, established a printing house, and funded the Academy of Sciences (see Glossary), which was established just before his death in 1725 and became one of Russia's most important cultural institutions. He demanded that aristocrats acquire the dress, tastes, and social customs of the West. The result was a deepening of the cultural rift between the nobility and the mass of Russian people. The best illustration of Peter's drive for Westernization, his break with traditions, and his coercive methods was his construction in 1703 of a new, architecturally Western capital, St. Petersburg, situated on land newly conquered from Sweden on the Gulf of Finland. Although St. Petersburg faced westward, its Westernization was by coercion, and it could not arouse the individualistic spirit that was an important element in the Western ways Peter so admired.

Peter's reign raised questions about Russia's backwardness, its relationship to the West, the appropriateness of reform from above, and other fundamental problems that have confronted many of Russia's subsequent rulers. In the nineteenth century, Russians debated whether Peter was correct in pointing Russia toward the West or whether his reforms had been a violation of Russia's natural traditions.

The Era of Palace Revolutions

Peter changed the rules of succession to the throne after he killed his own son, Aleksey, who had opposed his father's reforms and served as a rallying figure for antireform groups. A new law provided that the tsar would choose his own successor, but Peter failed to do so before his death in 1725. In the decades that followed, the absence of clear rules of succession left the monarchy open to intrigues, plots, coups, and countercoups. Henceforth, the crucial factor for obtaining the throne was the support of the elite palace guard in St. Petersburg.

After Peter's death, his wife, Catherine I, seized the throne. But when she died in 1727, Peter's grandson, Peter II, was crowned tsar. In 1730 Peter II succumbed to smallpox, and Anna, a daughter of Ivan V, who had been co-ruler with Peter, ascended the throne. The clique of nobles that put Anna on the throne attempted to impose various conditions on her. In her struggle against those restrictions, Anna had the support of other nobles who feared oligarchic rule more than autocracy. Thus the principle of autocracy continued to receive strong support despite chaotic struggles for the throne.

Anna died in 1740, and her infant grandnephew was proclaimed tsar as Ivan VI. After a series of coups, however, he was replaced by Peter the Great's daughter Elizabeth (r. 1741-62). During Elizabeth's reign, which was much more effective than those of her immediate predecessors, a Westernized Russian culture began to emerge. Among notable cultural events were the founding of Moscow University (1755) and the Academy of Fine Arts (1757) and the emergence of Russia's first eminent scientist and scholar, Mikhail Lomonosov.

During the rule of Peter's successors, Russia took a more active role in European statecraft. From 1726 to 1761, Russia was allied with Austria against the Ottoman Empire, which France usually supported. In the War of Polish Succession (1733-35), Russia and Austria blocked the French candidate to the Polish throne. In a costly war with the Ottoman Empire (1734-39), Russia reacquired the port of Azov. Russia's greatest reach into Europe was during the Seven Years' War (1756-63), which was fought on three continents between Britain and France with numerous allies on both sides. In that war, Russia continued its alliance with Austria, but Austria shifted to an alliance with France against Prussia. In 1760 Russian forces were at the gates of Berlin. Fortunately for Prussia, Elizabeth died in 1762, and her successor, Peter III, allied Russia with Prussia because of his devotion to the Prussian emperor, Frederick the Great.

Peter III had a short and unpopular reign. Although he was a grandson of Peter the Great, his father was the duke of Holstein, so Peter III was raised in a German Lutheran environment. Russians therefore considered him a foreigner. Making no secret of his contempt for all things Russian, Peter created deep resentment by forcing Prussian military drills on the Russian military, attacking the Orthodox Church, and depriving Russia of a military victory by establishing his sudden alliance with Prussia. Making use of the discontent and fearing for her own position, Peter III's wife, Catherine, deposed her husband in a coup, and her lover, Aleksey Orlov, subsequently murdered him. Thus, in June 1762 a German princess who had no legitimate claim to the Russian throne became Catherine II, empress of Russia.

Imperial Expansion and Maturation: Catherine II

Catherine II's reign was notable for imperial expansion, which brought the empire huge new territories in the south and west, and for internal consolidation. Following a war that broke out with the Ottoman Empire in 1768, the parties agreed to the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji in 1774. By that treaty, Russia acquired an outlet to the Black Sea, and the Crimean Tatars were made independent of the Ottomans. In 1783 Catherine annexed Crimea, helping to spark the next war with the Ottoman Empire, which began in 1787. By the Treaty of Jassy in 1792, Russia expanded southward to the Dnestr River. The terms of the treaty fell far short of the goals of Catherine's reputed "Greek project"--the expulsion of the Ottomans from Europe and the renewal of a Byzantine Empire under Russian control. The Ottoman Empire no longer was a serious threat to Russia, however, and was forced to tolerate an increasing Russian influence over the Balkans.

Russia's westward expansion under Catherine was the result of the partitioning of Poland. As Poland became increasingly weak in the eighteenth century, each of its neighbors--Russia, Prussia, and Austria--tried to place its own candidate on the Polish throne. In 1772 the three agreed on an initial partition of Polish territory, by which Russia received parts of Belorussia and Livonia. After the partition, Poland initiated an extensive reform program, which included a democratic constitution that alarmed reactionary factions in Poland and in Russia. Using the danger of radicalism as an excuse, the same three powers abrogated the constitution and in 1793 again stripped Poland of territory. This time Russia obtained most of Belorussia and Ukraine west of the Dnepr River. The 1793 partition led to an anti-Russian and anti-Prussian uprising in Poland, which ended with the third partition in 1795. The result was that Poland was wiped off the map.

Although the partitioning of Poland greatly added to Russia's territory and prestige, it also created new difficulties. Having lost Poland as a buffer, Russia now had to share borders with both Prussia and Austria. In addition, the empire became more ethnically heterogeneous as it absorbed large numbers of Poles, Ukrainians, Belorussians, and Jews. The fate of the Ukrainians and Belorussians, who were primarily serfs, changed little at first under Russian rule. Roman Catholic Poles resented their loss of independence, however, and proved to be difficult to integrate. Russia had barred Jews from the empire in 1742 and viewed them as an alien population. A decree of January 3, 1792, formally initiated the Pale of Settlement, which permitted Jews to live only in the western part of the empire, thereby setting the stage for anti-Jewish discrimination in later periods (see Other Religions, ch. 4). At the same time, Russia abolished the autonomy of Ukraine east of the Dnepr, the Baltic republics, and various Cossack areas. With her emphasis on a uniformly administered empire, Catherine presaged the policy of Russification that later tsars and their successors would practice.

Historians have debated Catherine's sincerity as an enlightened monarch, but few have doubted that she believed in government activism aimed at developing the empire's resources and making its administration more effective. Initially, Catherine attempted to rationalize government procedures through law. In 1767 she created the Legislative Commission, drawn from nobles, townsmen, and others, to codify Russia's laws. Although the commission did not formulate a new law code, Catherine's Instruction to the Commission introduced some Russians to Western political and legal thinking.

During the 1768-74 war with the Ottoman Empire, Russia experienced a major social upheaval, the Pugachev Uprising. In 1773 a Don Cossack, Emel'yan Pugachev, announced that he was Peter III. Other Cossacks, various Turkic tribes that felt the impingement of the Russian centralizing state, and industrial workers in the Ural Mountains, as well as peasants hoping to escape serfdom, all joined in the rebellion. Russia's preoccupation with the war enabled Pugachev to take control of a part of the Volga area, but the regular army crushed the rebellion in 1774.

The Pugachev Uprising bolstered Catherine's determination to reorganize Russia's provincial administration. In 1775 she divided Russia into provinces and districts according to population statistics. She then gave each province an expanded administrative, police, and judicial apparatus. Nobles no longer were required to serve the central government, as they had since Peter the Great's time, and many of them received significant roles in administering provincial governments.

Catherine also attempted to organize society into well-defined social groups, or estates. In 1785 she issued charters to nobles and townsmen. The Charter to the Nobility confirmed the liberation of the nobles from compulsory service and gave them rights that not even the autocracy could infringe upon. The Charter to the Towns proved to be complicated and ultimately less successful than the one issued to the nobles. Failure to issue a similar charter to state peasants, or to ameliorate the conditions of serfdom, made Catherine's social reforms incomplete.

The intellectual westernization of the elite continued during Catherine's reign. An increase in the number of books and periodicals also brought forth intellectual debates and social criticism (see Literature and the Arts, ch. 4). In 1790 Aleksandr Radishchev published his Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow , a fierce attack on serfdom and the autocracy. Catherine, already frightened by the French Revolution, had Radishchev arrested and banished to Siberia. Radishchev was later recognized as the father of Russian radicalism.

Catherine brought many of the policies of Peter the Great to fruition and set the foundation for the nineteenth-century empire. Russia became a power capable of competing with its European neighbors on military, political, and diplomatic grounds. Russia's elite became culturally more like the elites of Central and West European countries. The organization of society and the government system, from Peter the Great's central institutions to Catherine's provincial administration, remained basically unchanged until the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 and, in some respects, until the fall of the monarchy in 1917. Catherine's push to the south, including the establishment of Odessa as a Russian port on the Black Sea, provided the basis for Russia's nineteenth-century grain trade.

Despite such accomplishments, the empire that Peter I and Catherine II had built was beset with fundamental problems. A small Europeanized elite, alienated from the mass of ordinary Russians, raised questions about the very essence of Russia's history, culture, and identity. Russia achieved its military preeminence by reliance on coercion and a primitive command economy based on serfdom. Although Russia's economic development was almost sufficient for its eighteenth-century needs, it was no match for the transformation the Industrial Revolution was causing in Western countries. Catherine's attempt at organizing society into corporate estates was already being challenged by the French Revolution, which emphasized individual citizenship. Russia's territorial expansion and the incorporation of an increasing number of non-Russians into the empire set the stage for the future nationalities problem. Finally, the first questioning of serfdom and autocracy on moral grounds foreshadowed the conflict between the state and the intelligentsia that was to become dominant in the nineteenth century.
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:14 pm

Ruling the Empire

During the early nineteenth century, Russia's population, resources, international diplomacy, and military forces made it one of the most powerful states in the world. Its power enabled it to play an increasingly assertive role in Europe's affairs. This role drew the empire into a series of wars against Napoleon, which had far-reaching consequences for Russia and the rest of Europe. After a period of enlightenment, Russia became an active opponent of liberalizing trends in Central and Western Europe. Internally, Russia's population had grown more diverse with each territorial acquisition. The population included Lutheran Finns, Baltic Germans, Estonians, and some Latvians; Roman Catholic Lithuanians, Poles, and some Latvians; Orthodox and Uniate (see Glossary) Belorussians and Ukrainians; Muslim peoples along the empire's southern border; Orthodox Greeks and Georgians; and members of the Armenian Apostolic Church. As Western influence and opposition to Russian autocracy mounted, the regime reacted by creating a secret police and increasing censorship in order to curtail the activities of persons advocating change. The regime remained committed to its serf-based economy as the means of supporting the upper classes, the government, and the military forces. But Russia's backwardness and inherent weakness were revealed in the middle of the century, when several powers forced the surrender of a Russian fortress in Crimea.

War and Peace, 1796-1825
Catherine II died in 1796, and her son Paul (r. 1796-1801) succeeded her. Painfully aware that Catherine had planned to bypass him and name his son, Alexander, as tsar, Paul instituted primogeniture in the male line as the basis for succession. It was one of the few lasting reforms of Paul's brief reign. He also chartered a Russian-American company, which eventually led to Russia's acquisition of Alaska. Paul was haughty and unstable, and he frequently reversed his previous decisions, creating administrative chaos and accumulating enemies.

As a major European power, Russia could not escape the wars involving revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Paul became an adamant opponent of France, and Russia joined Britain and Austria in a war against France. In 1798-99 Russian troops under one of the country's most famous generals, Aleksandr Suvorov, performed brilliantly in Italy and Switzerland. Paul reversed himself, however, and abandoned his allies. This reversal, coupled with increasingly arbitrary domestic policies, sparked a coup, and in March 1801 Paul was assassinated.

The new tsar, Alexander I (r. 1801-25), came to the throne as the result of his father's murder, in which he was implicated. Groomed for the throne by Catherine II and raised in the spirit of enlightenment, Alexander also had an inclination toward romanticism and religious mysticism, particularly in the latter period of his reign. Alexander tinkered with changes in the central government, and he replaced the colleges that Peter the Great had set up with ministries, but without a coordinating prime minister. The brilliant statesman Mikhail Speranskiy, who was the tsar's chief adviser early in his reign, proposed an extensive constitutional reform of the government, but Alexander dismissed him in 1812 and lost interest in reform.

Alexander's primary focus was not on domestic policy but on foreign affairs, and particularly on Napoleon. Fearing Napoleon's expansionist ambitions and the growth of French power, Alexander joined Britain and Austria against Napoleon. Napoleon defeated the Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz in 1805 and trounced the Russians at Friedland in 1807. Alexander was forced to sue for peace, and by the Treaty of Tilsit, signed in 1807, he became Napoleon's ally. Russia lost little territory under the treaty, and Alexander made use of his alliance with Napoleon for further expansion. He wrested the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden in 1809 and acquired Bessarabia from Turkey in 1812.

The Russo-French alliance gradually became strained. Napoleon was concerned about Russia's intentions in the strategically vital Bosporus and Dardenelles straits. At the same time, Alexander viewed the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, the French-controlled reconstituted Polish state, with suspicion. The requirement of joining France's Continental Blockade against Britain was a serious disruption of Russian commerce, and in 1810 Alexander repudiated the obligation. In June 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia with 600,000 troops--a force twice as large as the Russian regular army. Napoleon hoped to inflict a major defeat on the Russians and force Alexander to sue for peace. As Napoleon pushed the Russian forces back, however, he became seriously overextended. Obstinate Russian resistance combined with the Russian winter to deal Napoleon a disastrous defeat, from which fewer than 30,000 of his troops returned to their homeland.

As the French retreated, the Russians pursued them into Central and Western Europe and to the gates of Paris. After the allies defeated Napoleon, Alexander became known as the savior of Europe, and he played a prominent role in the redrawing of the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. In the same year, under the influence of religious mysticism, Alexander initiated the creation of the Holy Alliance, a loose agreement pledging the rulers of the nations involved--including most of Europe--to act according to Christian principles. More pragmatically, in 1814 Russia, Britain, Austria, and Prussia had formed the Quadruple Alliance. The allies created an international system to maintain the territorial status quo and prevent the resurgence of an expansionist France. The Quadruple Alliance, confirmed by a number of international conferences, ensured Russia's influence in Europe.

At the same time, Russia continued its expansion. The Congress of Vienna created the Kingdom of Poland (Russian Poland), to which Alexander granted a constitution. Thus, Alexander I became the constitutional monarch of Poland while remaining the autocratic tsar of Russia. He was also the limited monarch of Finland, which had been annexed in 1809 and awarded autonomous status. In 1813 Russia gained territory in the Baku area of the Caucasus at the expense of Persia. By the early nineteenth century, the empire also was firmly ensconced in Alaska.

Historians have generally agreed that a revolutionary movement was born during the reign of Alexander I. Young officers who had pursued Napoleon into Western Europe came back to Russia with revolutionary ideas, including human rights, representative government, and mass democracy. The intellectual Westernization that had been fostered in the eighteenth century by a paternalistic, autocratic Russian state now included opposition to autocracy, demands for representative government, calls for the abolition of serfdom, and, in some instances, advocacy of a revolutionary overthrow of the government. Officers were particularly incensed that Alexander had granted Poland a constitution while Russia remained without one. Several clandestine organizations were preparing for an uprising when Alexander died unexpectedly in 1825. Following his death, there was confusion about who would succeed him because the next in line, his brother Constantine, had relinquished his right to the throne. A group of officers commanding about 3,000 men refused to swear allegiance to the new tsar, Alexander's brother Nicholas, proclaiming instead their loyalty to the idea of a Russian constitution. Because these events occurred in December 1825, the rebels were called Decembrists. Nicholas easily overcame the revolt, and the Decembrists who remained alive were arrested. Many were exiled to Siberia.

To some extent, the Decembrists were in the tradition of a long line of palace revolutionaries who wanted to place their candidate on the throne. But because the Decembrists also wanted to implement a liberal political program, their revolt has been considered the beginning of a revolutionary movement. The Decembrist Revolt was the first open breach between the government and liberal elements, and it would subsequently widen.

Reaction under Nicholas I
Nicholas completely lacked his brother's spiritual and intellectual breadth; he saw his role simply as one paternal autocrat ruling his people by whatever means were necessary. Having experienced the trauma of the Decembrist Revolt, Nicholas I was determined to restrain Russian society. A secret police, the so-called Third Section, ran a huge network of spies and informers. The government exercised censorship and other controls over education, publishing, and all manifestations of public life. In 1833 the minister of education, Sergey Uvarov, devised a program of "autocracy, Orthodoxy, and nationality" as the guiding principle of the regime. The people were to show loyalty to the unlimited authority of the tsar, to the traditions of the Orthodox Church, and, in a vague way, to the Russian nation. These principles did not gain the support of the population but instead led to repression in general and to suppression of non-Russian nationalities and religions in particular. For example, the government suppressed the Uniate Church in Ukraine and Belorussia in 1839.

The official emphasis on Russian nationalism contributed to a debate on Russia's place in the world, the meaning of Russian history, and the future of Russia. One group, the Westernizers, believed that Russia remained backward and primitive and could progress only through more thorough Europeanization. Another group, the Slavophiles, idealized the Russia that had existed before Peter the Great. The Slavophiles viewed old Russia as a source of wholeness and looked askance at Western rationalism and materialism. Some of them believed that the Russian peasant commune, or mir , offered an attractive alternative to Western capitalism and could make Russia a potential social and moral savior. The Slavophiles, therefore, represented a form of Russian messianism.

Despite the repressions of this period, Russia experienced a flowering of literature and the arts. Through the works of Aleksandr Pushkin, Nikolay Gogol', Ivan Turgenev, and numerous others, Russian literature gained international stature and recognition. Ballet took root in Russia after its importation from France, and classical music became firmly established with the compositions of Mikhail Glinka (1804-57) (see Literature and the Arts, ch. 4).

In foreign policy, Nicholas I acted as the protector of ruling legitimism and guardian against revolution. His offers to suppress revolution on the European continent, accepted in some instances, earned him the label of gendarme of Europe. In 1830, after a popular uprising had occurred in France, the Poles in Russian Poland revolted. Nicholas crushed the rebellion, abrogated the Polish constitution, and reduced Poland to the status of a Russian province. In 1848, when a series of revolutions convulsed Europe, Nicholas was in the forefront of reaction. In 1849 he intervened on behalf of the Habsburgs and helped suppress an uprising in Hungary, and he also urged Prussia not to accept a liberal constitution. Having helped conservative forces repel the specter of revolution, Nicholas I seemed to dominate Europe.

Russian dominance proved illusory, however. While Nicholas was attempting to maintain the status quo in Europe, he adopted an aggressive policy toward the Ottoman Empire. Nicholas I was following the traditional Russian policy of resolving the so-called Eastern Question by seeking to partition the Ottoman Empire and establish a protectorate over the Orthodox population of the Balkans, still largely under Ottoman control in the 1820s. Russia fought a successful war with the Ottomans in 1828 and 1829. In 1833 Russia negotiated the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi with the Ottoman Empire. The major European parties mistakenly believed that the treaty contained a secret clause granting Russia the right to send warships through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. By the London Straits Convention of 1841, they affirmed Ottoman control over the straits and forbade any power, including Russia, to send warships through the straits. Based on his role in suppressing the revolutions of 1848 and his mistaken belief that he had British diplomatic support, Nicholas moved against the Ottomans, who declared war on Russia in 1853. Fearing the results of an Ottoman defeat by Russia, in 1854 Britain and France joined what became known as the Crimean War on the Ottoman side. Austria offered the Ottomans diplomatic support, and Prussia remained neutral, leaving Russia without allies on the continent. The European allies landed in Crimea and laid siege to the well-fortified Russian base at Sevastopol'. After a year's siege the base fell, exposing Russia's inability to defend a major fortification on its own soil. Nicholas I died before the fall of Sevastopol', but he already had recognized the failure of his regime. Russia now faced the choice of initiating major reforms or losing its status as a major European power.
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:15 pm

Transformation of Russia in the Nineteenth Century

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were times of crisis for Russia. Not only did technology and industry continue to develop more rapidly in the West, but also new, dynamic, competitive great powers appeared on the world scene: Otto von Bismarck united Germany in the 1860s, the post-Civil War United States grew in size and strength, and a modernized Japan emerged from the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Although Russia was an expanding regional giant in Central Asia, bordering the Ottoman, Persian, British Indian, and Chinese empires, it could not generate enough capital to support rapid industrial development or to compete with advanced countries on a commercial basis. Russia's fundamental dilemma was that accelerated domestic development risked upheaval at home, but slower progress risked full economic dependency on the faster-advancing countries to the east and west. In fact, political ferment, particularly among the intelligentsia, accompanied the transformation of Russia's economic and social structure, but so did impressive developments in literature, music, the fine arts, and the natural sciences.

Economic Developments

Throughout the last half of the nineteenth century, Russia's economy developed more slowly than did that of the major European nations to its west. Russia's population was substantially larger than those of the more developed Western countries, but the vast majority of the people lived in rural communities and engaged in relatively primitive agriculture. Industry, in general, had greater state involvement than in Western Europe, but in selected sectors it was developing with private initiative, some of it foreign. Between 1850 and 1900, Russia's population doubled, but it remained chiefly rural well into the twentieth century. Russia's population growth rate from 1850 to 1910 was the fastest of all the major powers except for the United States. Agriculture, which was technologically underdeveloped, remained in the hands of former serfs and former state peasants, who together constituted about four-fifths of the rural population. Large estates of more than fifty square kilometers accounted for about 20 percent of all farmland, but few such estates were worked in efficient, large-scale units. Small-scale peasant farming and the growth of the rural population increased the amount of land used for agricultural development, but land was used more for gardens and fields of grain and less for grazing meadows than it had been in the past.

Industrial growth was significant, although unsteady, and in absolute terms it was not extensive. Russia's industrial regions included Moscow, the central regions of European Russia, St. Petersburg, the Baltic cities, Russian Poland, some areas along the lower Don and Dnepr rivers, and the southern Ural Mountains. By 1890 Russia had about 32,000 kilometers of railroads and 1.4 million factory workers, most of whom worked in the textile industry. Between 1860 and 1890, annual coal production had grown about 1,200 percent to over 6.6 million tons, and iron and steel production had more than doubled to 2 million tons per year. The state budget had more than doubled, however, and debt expenditures had quadrupled, constituting 28 percent of official expenditures in 1891. Foreign trade was inadequate to meet the empire's needs. Until the state introduced high industrial tariffs in the 1880s, it could not finance trade with the West because its surpluses were insufficient to cover the debts.

Reforms and Their Limits, 1855-92

Tsar Alexander II, who succeeded Nicholas I in 1855, was a conservative who saw no alternative but to implement change. Alexander initiated substantial reforms in education, the government, the judiciary, and the military. In 1861 he proclaimed the emancipation of about 20 million privately held serfs. Local commissions, which were dominated by landlords, effected emancipation by giving land and limited freedom to the serfs. The former serfs usually remained in the village commune, but they were required to make redemption payments to the government over a period of almost fifty years. The government compensated former owners of serfs by issuing them bonds.

The regime had envisioned that the 50,000 landlords who possessed estates of more than 110 hectares would thrive without serfs and would continue to provide loyal political and administrative leadership in the countryside. The government also had expected that peasants would produce sufficient crops for their own consumption and for export sales, thereby helping to finance most of the government's expenses, imports, and foreign debt. Neither of the government's expectations was realistic, however, and emancipation left both former serfs and their former owners dissatisfied. The new peasants soon fell behind in their payments to the government because the land they had received was poor and because Russian agricultural methods were inadequate. The former owners often had to sell their lands to remain solvent because most of them could neither farm nor manage estates without their former serfs. In addition, the value of their government bonds fell as the peasants failed to make their redemption payments.

Reforms of local government closely followed emancipation. In 1864 most local government in the European part of Russia was organized into provincial and district zemstva (sing., zemstvo), which were made up of representatives of all classes and were responsible for local schools, public health, roads, prisons, food supply, and other concerns. In 1870 elected city councils, or dumy (sing., duma ), were formed. Dominated by property owners and constrained by provincial governors and the police, the zemstva and dumy raised taxes and levied labor to support their activities.

In 1864 the regime implemented judicial reforms. In major towns, it established Western-style courts with juries. In general, the judicial system functioned effectively, but the government lacked the finances and cultural influence to extend the court system to the villages, where traditional peasant justice continued to operate with minimal interference from provincial officials. In addition, the regime instructed judges to decide each case on its merits and not to use precedents, which would have enabled them to construct a body of law independent of state authority.

Other major reforms took place in the educational and cultural spheres. The accession of Alexander II brought a social restructuring that required a public discussion of issues and the lifting of some types of censorship. When an attempt was made to assassinate the tsar in 1866, the government reinstated censorship, but not with the severity of pre-1855 control. The government also put restrictions on universities in 1866, five years after they had gained autonomy. The central government attempted to act through the zemstva to establish uniform curricula for elementary schools and to impose conservative policies, but it lacked resources. Because many liberal teachers and school officials were only nominally subject to the reactionary Ministry of Education, however, the regime's educational achievements were mixed after 1866.

In the financial sphere, Russia established the State Bank in 1866, which put the national currency on a firmer footing. The Ministry of Finance supported railroad development, which facilitated vital export activity, but it was cautious and moderate in its foreign ventures. The ministry also founded the Peasant Land Bank in 1882 to enable enterprising farmers to acquire more land. The Ministry of Internal Affairs countered this policy, however, by establishing the Nobles' Land Bank in 1885 to forestall foreclosures of mortgages.

The regime also sought to reform the military. One of the chief reasons for the emancipation of the serfs was to facilitate the transition from a large standing army to a reserve army by instituting territorial levies and mobilization in times of need. Before emancipation, serfs could not receive military training and then return to their owners. Bureaucratic inertia, however, obstructed military reform until the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) demonstrated the necessity of building a modern army. The levy system introduced in 1874 gave the army a role in teaching many peasants to read and in pioneering medical education for women. But the army remained backward despite these military reforms. Officers often preferred bayonets to bullets, expressing worry that long-range sights on rifles would induce cowardice. In spite of some notable achievements, Russia did not keep pace with Western technological developments in the construction of rifles, machine guns, artillery, ships, and naval ordnance. Russia also failed to use naval modernization as a means of developing its industrial base in the 1860s.

In 1881 revolutionaries assassinated Alexander II. His son Alexander III (r. 1881-94) initiated a period of political reaction, which intensified a counterreform movement that had begun in 1866. He strengthened the security police, reorganizing it into an agency known as the Okhrana, gave it extraordinary powers, and placed it under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Dmitriy Tolstoy, Alexander's minister of internal affairs, instituted the use of land captains, who were noble overseers of districts, and he restricted the power of the zemstva and the dumy . Alexander III assigned his former tutor, the reactionary Konstantin Pobedonostsev, to be the procurator of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church and Ivan Delyanov to be the minister of education. In their attempts to "save" Russia from "modernism," they revived religious censorship, persecuted non-Orthodox and non-Russian populations, fostered anti-Semitism, and suppressed the autonomy of the universities. Their attacks on liberal and non-Russian elements alienated large segments of the population. The nationalities, particularly Poles, Finns, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians, reacted to the regime's efforts to Russify them by intensifying their own nationalism. Many Jews emigrated or joined radical movements. Secret organizations and political movements continued to develop despite the regime's efforts to quell them.

Foreign Affairs after the Crimean War

After the Crimean War, Russia pursued cautious and well-calculated foreign policies until nationalist passions and another Balkan crisis almost caused a catastrophic war in the late 1870s. The 1856 Treaty of Paris, signed at the end of the Crimean War, had demilitarized the Black Sea and deprived Russia of southern Bessarabia and a narrow strip of land at the mouth of the Danube River. The treaty gave the West European powers the nominal duty of protecting Christians living in the Ottoman Empire, removing that role from Russia, which had been designated as such a protector in the 1774 Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji. Russia's primary goal during the first phase of Alexander II's foreign policy was to alter the Treaty of Paris to regain naval access to the Black Sea. Russian statesmen viewed Britain and Austria (redesignated as Austria-Hungary in 1867) as opposed to that goal, so foreign policy concentrated on good relations with France, Prussia, and the United States. Prussia (Germany as of 1871) replaced Britain as Russia's chief banker in this period.

Following the Crimean War, the regime revived its expansionist policies. Russian troops first moved to gain control of the Caucasus region, where the revolts of Muslim tribesmen--Chechens, Cherkess, and Dagestanis--had continued despite numerous Russian campaigns in the nineteenth century. Once the forces of Aleksandr Baryatinskiy had captured the legendary Chechen rebel leader Shamil in 1859, the army resumed the expansion into Central Asia that had begun under Nicholas I. The capture of Tashkent was a significant victory over the Quqon (Kokand) Khanate, part of which was annexed in 1866. By 1867 Russian forces had captured enough territory to form the Guberniya (Governorate General) of Turkestan, the capital of which was Tashkent. The Bukhoro (Bukhara) Khanate then lost the crucial Samarqand area to Russian forces in 1868. To avoid alarming Britain, which had strong interests in protecting nearby India, Russia left the Bukhoran territories directly bordering Afghanistan and Persia nominally independent. The Central Asian khanates retained a degree of autonomy until 1917.

Russia followed the United States, Britain, and France in establishing relations with Japan, and, together with Britain and France, Russia obtained concessions from China consequent to the Second Opium War (1856-60). Under the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Treaty of Beijing in 1860, China ceded to Russia extensive trading rights and regions adjacent to the Amur and Ussuri rivers and allowed Russia to begin building a port and naval base at Vladivostok. Meanwhile, in 1867 the logic of the balance of power and the cost of developing and defending the Amur-Ussuri region dictated that Russia sell Alaska to the United States in order to acquire much-needed funds.

As part of the regime's foreign policy goals in Europe, Russia initially gave guarded support to France's anti-Austrian diplomacy. A weak Franco-Russian entente soured, however, when France backed a Polish uprising against Russian rule in 1863. Russia then aligned itself more closely with Prussia by approving the unification of Germany in exchange for a revision of the Treaty of Paris and the remilitarization of the Black Sea. These diplomatic achievements came at a London conference in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. After 1871 Germany, united under Prussian leadership, was the strongest continental power in Europe. In 1873 Germany formed the loosely knit League of the Three Emperors with Russia and Austria-Hungary to prevent them from forming an alliance with France. Nevertheless, Austro-Hungarian and Russian ambitions clashed in the Balkans, where rivalries among Slavic nationalities and anti-Ottoman sentiments seethed. In the 1870s, Russian nationalist opinion became a serious domestic factor in its support for liberating Balkan Christians from Ottoman rule and making Bulgaria and Serbia quasi-protectorates of Russia. From 1875 to 1877, the Balkan crisis escalated with rebellions in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria, which the Ottoman Turks suppressed with such great cruelty that Serbia, but none of the West European powers, declared war.

In early 1877, Russia came to the rescue of beleaguered Serbian and Russian volunteer forces when it went to war with the Ottoman Empire. Within one year, Russian troops were nearing Constantinople, and the Ottomans surrendered. Russia's nationalist diplomats and generals persuaded Alexander II to force the Ottomans to sign the Treaty of San Stefano in March 1878, creating an enlarged, independent Bulgaria that stretched into the southwestern Balkans. When Britain threatened to declare war over the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano, an exhausted Russia backed down. At the Congress of Berlin in July 1878, Russia agreed to the creation of a smaller Bulgaria. Russian nationalists were furious with Austria-Hungary and Germany for failing to back Russia, but the tsar accepted a revived and strengthened League of the Three Emperors as well as Austro-Hungarian hegemony in the western Balkans.

Russian diplomatic and military interests subsequently returned to Central Asia, where Russia had quelled a series of uprisings in the 1870s, and Russia incorporated hitherto independent amirates into the empire. Britain renewed its concerns in 1881 when Russian troops occupied Turkmen lands on the Persian and Afghan borders, but Germany lent diplomatic support to Russian advances, and an Anglo-Russian war was averted. Meanwhile, Russia's sponsorship of Bulgarian independence brought negative results as the Bulgarians, angry at Russia's continuing interference in domestic affairs, sought the support of Austria-Hungary. In the dispute that arose between Austria-Hungary and Russia, Germany took a firm position toward Russia while mollifying the tsar with a bilateral defensive alliance, the Reinsurance Treaty of 1887 between Germany and Russia. Within a year, Russo-German acrimony led to Bismarck's forbidding further loans to Russia, and France replaced Germany as Russia's financier. When Kaiser Wilhelm II dismissed Bismarck in 1890, the loose Russo-Prussian entente collapsed after having lasted for more than twenty-five years. Three years later, Russia allied itself with France by entering into a joint military convention, which matched the dual alliance formed in 1879 by Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The Rise of Revolutionary Movements

Alexander II's reforms, particularly the lifting of state censorship, fostered the expression of political and social thought. The regime relied on journals and newspapers to gain support for its domestic and foreign policies. But liberal, nationalist, and radical writers also helped to mold public opinion that was opposed to tsarism, private property, and the imperial state. Because many intellectuals, professionals, peasants, and workers shared these opposition sentiments, the regime regarded the publications and the radical organizations as dangerous. From the 1860s through the 1880s, Russian radicals, collectively known as Populists (Narodniki), focused chiefly on the peasantry, whom they identified as "the people" (narod ).

The leaders of the Populist movement included radical writers, idealists, and advocates of terrorism. In the 1860s, Nikolay Chernyshevskiy, the most important radical writer of the period, posited that Russia could bypass capitalism and move directly to socialism (see Glossary). His most influential work, What Is to Be Done? (1861), describes the role of an individual of a "superior nature" who guides a new, revolutionary generation. Other radicals such as the incendiary anarchist Mikhail Bakunin and his terrorist collaborator, Sergey Nechayev, urged direct action. The calmer Petr Tkachev argued against the advocates of Marxism (see Glossary), maintaining that a centralized revolutionary band had to seize power before capitalism could fully develop. Disputing his views, the moralist and individualist Petr Lavrov made a call "to the people," which hundreds of idealists heeded in 1873 and 1874 by leaving their schools for the countryside to try to generate a mass movement among the narod . The Populist campaign failed, however, when the peasants showed hostility to the urban idealists and the government began to consider nationalist opinion more seriously.

The radicals reconsidered their approach, and in 1876 they formed a propagandist organization called Land and Liberty (Zemlya i volya), which leaned toward terrorism. This orientation became stronger three years later, when the group renamed itself the People's Will (Narodnaya volya), the name under which the radicals were responsible for the assassination of Alexander II in 1881. In 1879 Georgiy Plekhanov formed a propagandist faction of Land and Liberty called Black Repartition (Chernyy peredel), which advocated redistributing all land to the peasantry. This group studied Marxism, which, paradoxically, was principally concerned with urban industrial workers. The People's Will remained underground, but in 1887 a young member of the group, Aleksandr Ul'yanov, attempted to assassinate Alexander III, and authorities arrested and executed him. The execution greatly affected Vladimir Ul'yanov, Aleksandr's brother. Influenced by Chernyshevskiy's writings, Vladimir joined the People's Will, and later, inspired by Plekhanov, he converted to Marxism. The younger Ul'yanov later changed his name to Lenin.

Witte and Accelerated Industrialization

In the late 1800s, Russia's domestic backwardness and vulnerability in foreign affairs reached crisis proportions. At home a famine claimed a half-million lives in 1891, and activities by Japan and China near Russia's borders were perceived as threats from abroad. In reaction, the regime was forced to adopt the ambitious but costly economic programs of Sergey Witte, the country's strong-willed minister of finance. Witte championed foreign loans, conversion to the gold standard, heavy taxation of the peasantry, accelerated development of heavy industry, and a trans-Siberian railroad. These policies were designed to modernize the country, secure the Russian Far East, and give Russia a commanding position with which to exploit the resources of China's northern territories, Korea, and Siberia. This expansionist foreign policy was Russia's version of the imperialist logic displayed in the nineteenth century by other large countries with vast undeveloped territories such as the United States. In 1894 the accession of the pliable Nicholas II upon the death of Alexander III gave Witte and other powerful ministers the opportunity to dominate the government.

Witte's policies had mixed results. In spite of a severe economic depression at the end of the century, Russia's coal, iron, steel, and oil production tripled between 1890 and 1900. Railroad mileage almost doubled, giving Russia the most track of any nation other than the United States. Yet Russian grain production and exports failed to rise significantly, and imports grew faster than exports. The state budget also more than doubled, absorbing some of the country's economic growth. Western historians differ as to the merits of Witte's reforms; some believe that domestic industry, which did not benefit from subsidies or contracts, suffered a setback. Most analysts agree that the Trans-Siberian Railroad (which was completed from Moscow to Vladivostok in 1904) and the ventures into Manchuria and Korea were economic losses for Russia and a drain on the treasury. Certainly the financial costs of his reforms contributed to Witte's dismissal as minister of finance in 1903.

Radical Political Parties Develop

During the 1890s, Russia's industrial development led to a significant increase in the size of the urban bourgeoisie and the working class, setting the stage for a more dynamic political atmosphere and the development of radical parties. Because the state and foreigners owned much of Russia's industry, the working class was comparatively stronger and the bourgeoisie comparatively weaker than in the West. The working class and peasants were the first to establish political parties because the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie were politically timid. During the 1890s and early 1900s, abysmal living and working conditions, high taxes, and land hunger gave rise to more frequent strikes and agrarian disorders. These activities prompted the bourgeoisie of various nationalities in the empire to develop a host of different parties, both liberal and conservative.

Socialists of different nationalities formed their own parties. Russian Poles, who had suffered significant administrative and educational Russification, founded the nationalistic Polish Socialist Party in Paris in 1892. That party's founders hoped that it would help reunite a divided Poland with the territories held by Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia. In 1897 Jewish workers in Russia created the Bund (league or union), an organization that subsequently became popular in western Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, and Russian Poland. The Russian Social Democratic Labor Party was established in 1898. The Finnish Social Democrats remained separate, but the Latvians and Georgians associated themselves with the Russian Social Democrats. Armenians, inspired by both Russian and Balkan revolutionary traditions, were politically active in this period in Russia and in the Ottoman Empire. Politically minded Muslims living in Russia tended to be attracted to the pan-Islamic and pan-Turkic movements that were developing in Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. Russians who fused the ideas of the old Populists and urban socialists formed Russia's largest radical movement, the United Socialist Revolutionary Party, which combined the standard Populist mix of propaganda and terrorist activities.

Vladimir I. Ul'yanov was the most politically talented of the revolutionary socialists. In the 1890s, he labored to wean young radicals away from populism to Marxism. Exiled from 1895 to 1899 in Siberia, where he took the name Lenin from the mighty Siberian Lena River, he was the master tactician among the organizers of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. In December 1900, he founded the newspaper Iskra (Spark). In his book What Is to Be Done? (1902), Lenin developed the theory that a newspaper published abroad could aid in organizing a centralized revolutionary party to direct the overthrow of an autocratic government. He then worked to establish a tightly organized, highly disciplined party to do so in Russia. At the Second Party Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903, he forced the Bund to walk out and induced a split between his majority Bolshevik (see Glossary) faction and the minority Menshevik (see Glossary) faction, which believed more in worker spontaneity than in strict organizational tactics. Lenin's concept of a revolutionary party and a worker-peasant alliance owed more to Tkachev and to the People's Will than to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the developers of Marxism. Young Bolsheviks, such as Joseph V. Stalin and Nikolay Bukharin, looked to Lenin as their leader.

Imperialism in Asia and the Russo-Japanese War

At the turn of the century, Russia gained room to maneuver in Asia because of its alliance with France and the growing rivalry between Britain and Germany. Tsar Nicholas failed to orchestrate a coherent Far Eastern policy because of ministerial conflicts, however. Russia's uncoordinated and aggressive moves in the region ultimately led to the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05).

By 1895 Germany was competing with France for Russia's favor, and British statesmen hoped to negotiate with the Russians to demarcate spheres of influence in Asia. This situation enabled Russia to intervene in northeastern Asia after Japan's victory over China in 1895. In the negotiations that followed, Japan was forced to make concessions in the Liaotung Peninsula and Port Arthur in southern Manchuria. The next year, Witte used French capital to establish the Russo-Chinese Bank. The goal of the bank was to finance the construction of a railroad across northern Manchuria and thus shorten the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Within two years, Russia had acquired leases on the Liaotung Peninsula and Port Arthur and had begun building a trunk line from Harbin in central Manchuria to Port Arthur on the coast.

In 1900 China reacted to foreign encroachments on its territory with an armed popular uprising, the Boxer Rebellion. Russian military contingents joined forces from Europe, Japan, and the United States to restore order in northern China. A force of 180,000 Russian troops fought to pacify part of Manchuria and to secure its railroads. The Japanese were backed by Britain and the United States, however, and insisted that Russia evacuate Manchuria. Witte and some Russian diplomats wanted to compromise with Japan and trade Manchuria for Korea, but a group of Witte's reactionary enemies, courtiers, and military and naval leaders refused to compromise. The tsar favored their viewpoint, and, disdaining Japan's threats--despite the latter's formal alliance with Britain--the Russian government equivocated until Japan declared war in early 1904.

In the war that followed, Japan's location, technological superiority, and superior morale gave it command of the seas, and Russia's sluggishness and incompetent commanders caused continuous setbacks on land. In January 1905, after an eight-month siege, Russia surrendered Port Arthur, and in March the Japanese forced the Russians to withdraw north of Mukden. In May, at the Tsushima Straits, the Japanese destroyed Russia's last hope in the war, a fleet assembled from the navy's Baltic and Mediterranean squadrons. Theoretically, Russian army reinforcements could have driven the Japanese from the Asian mainland, but revolution at home and diplomatic pressure forced the tsar to seek peace. Russia accepted mediation by United States president Theodore Roosevelt, ceded southern Sakhalin Island to Japan, and acknowledged Japan's ascendancy in Korea and southern Manchuria.
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Re: Russia: A Country Study, edited by Glenn E. Curtis

Postby admin » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:15 pm

The Last Years of the Autocracy

The Russo-Japanese War was a turning point in Russian history. It led to a popular uprising against the government that forced the regime to respond with domestic economic and political reforms. In the same period, however, counterreform and special-interest groups exerted increasing influence on the regime's policies. In foreign affairs, Russia again became an intrusive participant in Balkan affairs and in the international political intrigues of the major European powers. As a consequence of its foreign policies, Russia was drawn into a world war for which its domestic policies rendered it unprepared. Severely weakened by internal turmoil and lacking leadership, the regime ultimately was unable to overcome the traumatic events that would lead to the fall of tsarism and initiate a new era in Russian and world history.

Revolution and Counterrevolution, 1905-07

The Russo-Japanese War accelerated the rise of political movements among all classes and the major nationalities, including propertied Russians. By early 1904, Russian liberal activists from the zemstva and from the professions had formed an organization called the Union of Liberation. In the same year, they joined with Finns, Poles, Georgians, Armenians, and Russian members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party to form an antiautocratic alliance.

In January 1905, Father Georgiy Gapon, a Russian Orthodox priest who headed a police-sponsored workers' association, led a huge, peaceful march in St. Petersburg to present a petition to the tsar. Nervous troops responded to the throng with gunfire, killing several hundred people and initiating the Revolution of 1905. This event, which came to be called Bloody Sunday, combined with the embarrassing failures in the war with Japan to prompt more strikes, agrarian disorders, army mutinies, and terrorist acts organized by opposition groups. Workers formed a council, or soviet, in St. Petersburg. Armed uprisings occurred in Moscow, the Urals, Latvia, and parts of Poland. Activists from the zemstva and the broad professional Union of Unions formed the Constitutional Democratic Party, whose initials lent the party its informal name, the Kadets.

Some upper-class and propertied activists called for compromise with opposition groups to avoid further disorders. In late 1905, Witte pressured Nicholas to issue the so-called October Manifesto, which gave Russia a constitution and proclaimed basic civil liberties for all citizens. In an effort to stop the activity of liberal factions, the constitution included most of their demands, including a ministerial government responsible to the tsar, and a national Duma (see Glossary)--a parliament to be elected on a broad, but not wholly equitable, franchise. Those who accepted this arrangement formed a center-right political party, the Octobrists, and named Witte the first prime minister. Meanwhile, the Kadets held out for a ministerial government and equal, universal suffrage. Because of their political principles and continued armed uprisings, Russia's leftist parties were undecided whether to participate in the Duma elections, which had been called for early 1906. At the same time, rightist factions actively opposed the reforms. Several new monarchist and protofascist groups also arose to subvert the new order. Nevertheless, the regime continued to function through the chaotic year of 1905, eventually restoring order in the cities, the countryside, and the army. In the process, terrorists murdered several thousand officials, and the government executed an equal number of terrorists. Because the government had been able to restore order and to secure a loan from France before the first Duma met, Nicholas was in a strong position that enabled him to replace Witte with the much less independent functionary Petr Stolypin.

The First Duma was elected in March 1906. The Kadets and their allies dominated it, with the mainly nonparty radical leftists slightly weaker than the Octobrists and the nonparty center-rightists combined. The socialists had boycotted the election, but several socialist delegates were elected. Relations between the Duma and the Stolypin government were hostile from the beginning. A deadlock of the Kadets and the government over the adoption of a constitution and peasant reform led to the dissolution of the Duma and the scheduling of new elections. In spite of an upsurge of leftist terror, radical leftist parties participated in the election, and, together with the nonparty left, they gained a plurality of seats, followed by a loose coalition of Kadets with Poles and other nationalities in the political center. The impasse continued, however, when the Second Duma met in 1907.

The Stolypin and Kokovtsov Governments

In 1907 Stolypin instituted a series of major reforms. In June 1907, he dissolved the Second Duma and promulgated a new electoral law, which vastly reduced the electoral weight of lower-class and non-Russian voters and increased the weight of the nobility. This political coup had the desired short-term result of restoring order. New elections in the fall returned a more conservative Third Duma, which Octobrists dominated. Even this Duma quarreled with the government over a variety of issues, however, including the composition of the naval staff, the autonomous status of Finland, the introduction of zemstva in the western provinces, the reform of the peasant court system, and the establishment of workers' insurance organizations under police supervision. In these disputes, the Duma, with its appointed aristocratic-bureaucratic upper house, was sometimes more conservative than the government, and at other times it was more constitutionally minded. The Fourth Duma, elected in 1912, was similar in composition to the third, but a progressive faction of Octobrists split from the right and joined the political center.

Stolypin's boldest measure was his peasant reform program. It allowed, and sometimes forced, the breakup of communes as well as the establishment of full private property. Stolypin hoped that the reform program would create a class of conservative landowning farmers loyal to the tsar. Most peasants did not want to lose the safety of the commune or to permit outsiders to buy village land, however. By 1914 only about 10 percent of all peasant communes had been dissolved. Nevertheless, the economy recovered and grew impressively from 1907 to 1914, both quantitatively and through the formation of rural cooperatives and banks and the generation of domestic capital. By 1914 Russian steel production equaled that of France and Austria-Hungary, and Russia's economic growth rate was one of the highest in the world. Although external debt was very high, it was declining as a percentage of the gross national product (GNP--see Glossary), and the empire's overall trade balance was favorable.

In 1911 a double agent working for the Okhrana assassinated Stolypin, and Finance Minister Vladimir Kokovtsov replaced him. The cautious Kokovtsov was very able and a supporter of the tsar, but he could not compete with the powerful court factions that dominated the government.

Historians have debated whether Russia had the potential to develop a constitutional government between 1905 and 1914. The failure to do so was partly because the tsar was not willing to give up autocratic rule or share power. By manipulating the franchise, the government obtained progressively more conservative, but less representative, Dumas. Moreover, the regime sometimes bypassed the conservative Dumas and ruled by decree.

During this period, the government's policies waivered from reformist to repressive. Historians have speculated about whether Witte's and Stolypin's bold reform plans could have "saved" the Russian Empire. But court politics, together with the continuing isolation of the tsar and the bureaucracy from the rest of society, hampered all reforms. Suspensions of civil liberties and the rule of law continued in many places, and neither workers nor the Orthodox Church had the right to organize themselves as they chose. Discrimination against Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, and Old Believers was common. Domestic unrest was on the rise while the empire's foreign policy was becoming more adventurous.

Active Balkan Policy, 1906-13

Russia's earlier Far Eastern policy required holding Balkan issues in abeyance, a strategy Austria-Hungary also followed between 1897 and 1906. Japan's victory in 1905 had forced Russia to make deals with the British and the Japanese. In 1907 Russia's new foreign minister, Aleksandr Izvol'skiy, concluded agreements with both nations. To maintain its sphere of influence in northern Manchuria and northern Persia, Russia agreed to Japanese ascendancy in southern Manchuria and Korea, and to British ascendancy in southern Persia, Afghanistan, and Tibet. The logic of this policy demanded that Russia and Japan unite to prevent the United States from establishing a base in China by organizing a consortium to develop Chinese railroads. After China's republican revolution of 1911, Russia and Japan recognized each other's spheres of influence in Outer Mongolia. In an extension of this reasoning, Russia traded recognition of German economic interests in the Ottoman Empire and Persia for German recognition of various Russian security interests in the region. Russia also protected its strategic and financial position by entering the informal Triple Entente with Britain and France, without antagonizing Germany.

In spite of these careful measures, after the Russo-Japanese War Russia and Austria-Hungary resumed their Balkan rivalry, focusing on the Kingdom of Serbia and the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which Austria-Hungary had occupied since 1878. In 1881 Russia secretly had agreed in principle to Austria's future annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. But in 1908, Izvol'skiy foolishly consented to support formal annexation in return for Austria's support for revision of the agreement on the neutrality of the Bosporus and Dardanelles--a change that would give Russia special navigational rights of passage. Britain stymied the Russian gambit by blocking the revision, but Austria proceeded with the annexation. Then, backed by German threats of war, Austria-Hungary exposed Russia's weakness by forcing Russia to disavow support for Serbia.

After Austria-Hungary's annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia became a major part of the increased tension and conflict in the Balkans. In 1912 Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro defeated the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan War, but the putative allies continued to quarrel among themselves. Then in 1913, the alliance split, and the Serbs, Greeks, and Romanians defeated Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War. Austria-Hungary became the patron of Bulgaria, which now was Serbia's territorial rival in the region, and Germany remained the Ottoman Empire's protector. Russia tied itself more closely to Serbia than it had previously. The complex system of alliances and Great Power support was extremely unstable; among the Balkan parties harboring resentments over past defeats, the Serbs maintained particular animosity toward the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In June 1914, a Serbian terrorist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, which then held the Serbian government responsible. Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to Serbia, believing that the terms were too humiliating to accept. Although Serbia submitted to the ultimatum, Austria-Hungary declared the response unsatisfactory and recalled its ambassador. Russia, fearing another humiliation in the Balkans, supported Serbia. Once the Serbian response was rejected, the system of alliances began to operate automatically, with Germany supporting Austria-Hungary and France backing Russia. When Germany invaded France through Belgium, the conflict escalated into a world war.

Russia at War, 1914-16

Russia's large population enabled it to field a greater number of troops than Austria-Hungary and Germany combined, but its underdeveloped industrial base meant that its soldiers were as poorly armed as those of the Austro-Hungarian army. Russian forces were inferior to Germany's in every respect except numbers. In most engagements, the larger Russian armies defeated the Austro-Hungarians but suffered reverses against German forces.

In the initial phase of the war, Russia's offensives into East Prussia drew enough German troops from the western front to allow the French, Belgians, and British to stop the German advance. One of Russia's two invading armies was almost totally destroyed, however, at the disastrous Battle of Tannenberg--the same site at which Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian troops had defeated the German Teutonic Knights in 1410. Meanwhile, the Russians turned back an Austrian offensive and pushed into eastern Galicia, the northeastern region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Russians halted a combined German-Austrian winter counteroffensive into Russian Poland, and in early 1915 they pushed more deeply into Galicia. Then in the spring and summer of that year, a German-Austrian offensive drove the Russians out of Galicia and Poland and destroyed several Russian army corps. In 1916 the Germans planned to drive France out of the war with a large-scale attack in the Verdun area, but a new Russian offensive against Austria-Hungary once again drew German troops from the west. These actions left both major fronts stable and both Russia and Germany despairing of victory--Russia because of exhaustion, Germany because of its opponents' superior resources. Toward the end of 1916, Russia came to the rescue of Romania, which had just entered the war, and extended the eastern front south to the Black Sea.

Wartime agreements among the Allies reflected the Triple Entente's imperialist aims and the Russian Empire's relative weakness outside Eastern Europe. Russia nonetheless expected impressive gains from a victory: territorial acquisitions in eastern Galicia from Austria, in East Prussia from Germany, and in Armenia from the Ottoman Empire, which joined the war on the German side; control of Constantinople and the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits; and territorial and political alteration of Austria-Hungary in the interests of Romania and the Slavic peoples of the region. Britain was to acquire the middle zone of Persia and share much of the Arab Middle East with France; Italy--not Russia's ally Serbia--was to acquire Dalmatia along the Adriatic coast; Japan, another ally of the entente, was to control more territory in China; and France was to regain Alsace-Lorraine, which it had lost to Germany in the Franco-Prussian War, and to have increased influence in western Germany.

The Fatal Weakening of Tsarism

The onset of World War I exposed the weakness of Nicholas II's government. A show of national unity had accompanied Russia's entrance into the war, with defense of the Slavic Serbs the main battle cry. In the summer of 1914, the Duma and the zemstva expressed full support for the government's war effort. The initial conscription was well organized and peaceful, and the early phase of Russia's military buildup showed that the empire had learned lessons from the Russo-Japanese War. But military reversals and the government's incompetence soon soured much of the population. German control of the Baltic Sea and German-Ottoman control of the Black Sea severed Russia from most of its foreign supplies and potential markets. In addition, inept Russian preparations for war and ineffective economic policies hurt the country financially, logistically, and militarily. Inflation became a serious problem. Because of inadequate matériel support for military operations, the War Industries Committee was formed to ensure that necessary supplies reached the front. But army officers quarreled with civilian leaders, seized administrative control of front areas, and refused to cooperate with the committee. The central government distrusted the independent war support activities that were organized by zemstva and cities. The Duma quarreled with the war bureaucracy of the government, and center and center-left deputies eventually formed the Progressive Bloc to create a genuinely constitutional government.

After Russian military reversals in 1915, Nicholas II went to the front to assume nominal leadership of the army, leaving behind his German-born wife, Alexandra, and Rasputin, a member of her entourage, who exercised influence on policy and ministerial appointments. Rasputin was a debauched faith healer who initially impressed Alexandra because he was able to stop the bleeding of the royal couple's hemophiliac son and heir presumptive. Although their true influence has been debated, Alexandra and Rasputin undoubtedly decreased the regime's prestige and credibility.

While the central government was hampered by court intrigue, the strain of the war began to cause popular unrest. In 1916 high food prices and fuel shortages caused strikes in some cities. Workers, who had won the right to representation in sections of the War Industries Committee, used those sections as organs of political opposition. The countryside also was becoming restive. Soldiers were increasingly insubordinate, particularly the newly recruited peasants who faced the prospect of being used as cannon fodder in the inept conduct of the war.

The situation continued to deteriorate. In an attempt to alleviate the morass at the tsar's court, a group of nobles murdered Rasputin in December 1916. But the death of the mysterious "healer" brought little change. Increasing conflict between the tsar and the Duma weakened both parts of the government and increased the impression of incompetence. In early 1917, deteriorating rail transport caused acute food and fuel shortages, which resulted in riots and strikes. Authorities summoned troops to quell the disorders in Petrograd (as St. Petersburg had been called since 1914, to Russianize the Germanic name). In 1905 troops had fired on demonstrators and saved the monarchy, but in 1917 the troops turned their guns over to the angry crowds. Public support for the tsarist regime simply evaporated in 1917, ending three centuries of Romanov rule.
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