History of Russia

By | April 28, 2022

According to historyaah, the most ancient traces of the habitation of primitive man on the territory of modern Russia date back to ca. 700 thousand years ago. In the Neolithic era (5-6 thousand years ago), agriculture and cattle breeding became widespread in the south. The beginning of the production of metal, bronze tools dates back to 2-3 thousand years BC. In the 1st millennium AD. hundreds of Slavic, Turkic, Finno-Ugric, North Caucasian, Tungus, Chukchi, Aleut and other tribes lived on a vast territory stretching from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean.

The first mention of the Slavs (Antes, Sklavins, Rosses or Russ) in Byzantine chronicles dates back to the 6th century. AD At this time, dozens of cities already existed on the lands of the Slavic tribal unions, incl. such centers of handicrafts and trade as Murom, Novgorod, Smolensk, and others. The army of the Ruses repeatedly undertook campaigns against the possessions of Byzantium. In 879, power in Novgorod passed into the hands of Prince Oleg. He conquered most of the neighboring Slavic tribal unions and proclaimed himself the Grand Duke of Russia. The capital of the new state was Kyiv, the southernmost of the East Slavic cities, from where Oleg and his successors repeatedly made trips to Constantinople (Tsargrad). Under Prince Vladimir, who sought to strengthen his state, in Russia, Christianity in its Byzantine (Orthodox) interpretation was adopted in 988 as a single nationwide religion. Yaroslav the Wise (Grand Duke in 1019 – 54, hereinafter the dates of the reign are given) adopted a code of laws, the same for all Russian lands – “Russian Truth”. For the first time, the principle of land ownership was recognized, the order of its inheritance was introduced, the inequality of various groups of the population was affirmed, which later became the basis of the estate, feudal organization of society. See ehistorylib for more about Russia history.

Under Vladimir Monomakh (Grand Duke in 1113–25), an attempt was made to streamline the system of succession to the throne, the vagueness of which caused numerous strife. Nevertheless, the strengthening of the specific principalities, which were ruled by the descendants of Monomakh, led to the disintegration of the Old Russian state into hostile possessions. In the 12th-14th centuries. especially strengthened the Novgorod Republic, Vladimir-Suzdal, Galicia-Volyn and other principalities. Prince Vladimirsko-

Yuri Dolgoruky of Suzdal (during his reign in 1147, Moscow was mentioned for the first time in chronicles) made claims to the throne of Kyiv. His son Andrei Bogolyubsky proclaimed himself the Grand Duke of Russia, moving the capital to Vladimir. The disunity of the Russian lands, internecine wars between them attracted the attention of conquerors from the west and east. The trading city-states of Pskov and Novgorod, which successfully competed in trade in the Baltic with the Hanseatic League of German cities, were attacked by Swedish and German knights. It was repulsed by the squads of Alexander Nevsky (later – the Grand Duke of Vladimir), who was elected Prince of Novgorod. In 1240, the Neva battle with the Swedes took place, and in 1242 – the battle with the German knights on Lake Peipus, known as the Battle of the Ice. The most serious threat was approaching Russian lands from the east. Mongols, conquered the Siberian and Manchurian tribes, part of China, the states of Central Asia and subjugated the Turkic peoples (in Russia they were called Tatars), forced them to put up troops for a campaign to the west. In 1237-42, most of the Russian principalities were ruined and conquered, 49 cities were destroyed, 14 of them were never revived. The conquered lands regularly paid tribute to the conquerors – the Golden Horde. A significant part of the Western Russian lands came under the authority of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and later – the Commonwealth. For almost 250 years, the Russian lands were ruled by the Mongols. In the victory over them, the Moscow principality played a special role, around which in the 14-16 centuries. formed a centralized state. Under Prince Ivan Danilovich (nickname Kalita, Grand Duke from 1327), Moscow became the religious center of the Russian lands, the residence of the metropolitan was transferred to it. Under the grandson of Ivan Kalita, Dmitry Ivanovich (nickname Donskoy), in 1380 the troops of Moscow and its allied principalities defeated the Horde troops on the Kulikovo field.

The dependence on the Golden Horde was finally ended under Ivan III (1462-1505), who refused to pay tribute to the Mongol khans. Horde troops did not dare to attack the army of the Moscow principality (Standing on the Ugra, 1480). Ivan III significantly expanded the Moscow possessions, adding to them the Suzdal-Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl and Vyatka lands, Perm, Rostov and Tver principalities. He conquered part of the western Russian lands from Lithuania, subjugated the Novgorod feudal republic. In 1485, Ivan III, retaining the title of Grand Duke of Moscow, began to be called the Sovereign of All Russia. Under his rule, a single national code of laws was adopted – Sudebnik, the former independent principalities became counties, which were ruled by the governors of Moscow. Under Vasily III (1505–33), Pskov, Smolensk, and Ryazan land became part of the Muscovite state.

Ivan IV (1533-84), who went down in history as the Terrible, was married to the kingdom in 1547 and became known as the tsar. Russia conquered the Kazan and Astrakhan khanates, which considered themselves the successors of the Golden Horde. Russia included Chuvashia, Bashkiria, the Nogai Horde (a nomadic state located between the Volga and the Irtysh). Detachments of Cossacks under the leadership of Yermak, equipped at the expense of the Stroganov merchants and industrialists, began to advance into the territory of the Siberian Khanate, which was also annexed to Russia. It has become one of the largest states in the world. The country’s first printing house of the pioneer Ivan Fedorov appeared, and arms production expanded. Under Ivan the Terrible, a system of centralized government began to take shape. There was an all-Russian advisory body of class representation – the Zemsky Sobor.

At the turn of the 16th-17th centuries. Russia is going through the Time of Troubles. The desolation of many lands associated with the oprichnina, the unsuccessful Livonian War with the Polish-Lithuanian state and Sweden for access to the Baltic Sea (1558-83) weakened the Russian state. The response to the enslavement of the peasantry (in 1581–97, laws were adopted that attached it to the land and increased duties in favor of the landowners) were peasant uprisings (Khlopka, Bolotnikov). They were used to their advantage by part of the feudal nobility. The crisis of the dynasty (with the death of Ivan the Terrible’s son Fyodor in 1598, the tsar had no direct heirs left) opened a period of struggle for power, in which Poland and Sweden intervened. The capture of Moscow by Polish troops, the surrender of the boyar nobility to them and the threat of the occupation of the throne by a protege of Poland – a Catholic – all this caused in

Russia mass indignation, supported by the Orthodox Church. The people’s militia, headed by K. Minin and D. Pozharsky, liberated Moscow from the Poles in 1612. Assembled in 1613, the Zemsky Sobor elected Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov to the royal throne, this was the beginning of a new dynasty.

In the 17th century Russia gradually overcame the consequences of the Time of Troubles. Under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich (1645-76), the Council Code was adopted, which introduced a unified code of norms of state, civil and criminal law, the procedure for legal proceedings, and fixed the class division of society. Uprisings of townspeople and peasants were suppressed (the largest of them was led by S. Razin in 1667–71) against the tightening of serfdom and tax policy. After a series of wars with Sweden, Poland, the Crimean Khanate and Turkey, the Left-bank Ukraine became part of the Russian state. Russian explorers reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean. All this paved the way for reforms associated with the name of Peter I (1689-1725). The army was reorganized, the navy was created. Dozens of new manufactories arose, which used the labor of serfs. The system of public administration underwent a complete transformation, it became rigidly centralized, with a clear distribution of functions between collegiums (ministries), central and local authorities, and a strict system of subordination. The church became one of the state departments, the post of patriarch was abolished.

During the reign of Peter I, as a result of Russia’s victory in the Northern War (1700–21), the Baltic States, part of Finland with the city of Vyborg, passed to it. After the war with Iran, the western shore of the Caspian Sea was annexed. The capital was moved to St. Petersburg, founded in 1703 by order of Peter I, who in 1721 proclaimed himself emperor.

After the death of Peter I, who did not have time to appoint a successor, a time came in Russia that went down in history as a period of palace coups (2nd quarter – mid-18th century). Its completion is associated with the transfer of power to Catherine II the Great (1762–96), who, being a supporter of enlightened absolutism, patronized science, art, trade, and the development of manufactories. The first banks appeared. The principle of religious tolerance was declared, a judicial system was created, separated from the executive branch. Letters granted to the nobility and cities freed the nobles from compulsory service, recognized their estates as their full property, introduced the foundations of local self-government in provinces, counties and cities. At the same time, the peasantry, which constituted the majority of the population, remained completely powerless. This was the cause of one of the largest Cossack and peasant uprisings of 1773–75 led by E. Pugachev. Under Catherine the Great, as a result of a series of wars with the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate, the lands between the Dniester and the Bug were annexed to Russia, Moldavia and Wallachia recognized her patronage. After the partitions of Poland, Western Ukraine and Belarus, part of Lithuania and Courland became part of the Russian Empire.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire had become the largest world power. During the wars with Sweden, Turkey and Iran, she annexed Finland, almost all of Transcaucasia. Having repulsed the Napoleonic invasion in the Patriotic War of 1812, having liberated the countries of Central Europe from the power of Napoleon’s empire, Russia became one of the guarantors of the inviolability of the monarchical order on the European continent. It played a significant role in the suppression of the revolutionary-democratic liberation revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe in 1848–49. Conservative-protective tendencies also prevailed in the sphere of domestic politics. Under the emperors Alexander I (1801-25) and especially under Nicholas I (1825-55), attempts were made to prevent the spread of liberal-democratic and revolutionary ideas in the country. In fact, the deepening crisis of serfdom was ignored,

The lag behind Western European countries in the development of industry and military equipment was especially clearly manifested during the Crimean War (1853–56) between England, France, Turkey and Russia, which ended in its defeat. Transformations in Russia began under Alexander II (1855–81) with the abolition of serfdom in 1861. Zemstvo self-government, jury trials were introduced, military reform was carried out. These measures contributed to the rapid growth of industry, trade, and transport. According to the main indicators of their development, by the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian Empire entered the top five leading countries in the world. Its territorial expansion also continued, in the 2nd half of the 19th century, the Bukhara and Khiva khanates entered the sphere of influence of Russia, and the Turkestan Governor-General was created. At the same time, due to the limitations of the reform, which left inviolable landownership, exacerbated the problem of peasant lack of land. The changes in economic life and the social processes associated with it (the growth of the stratum of entrepreneurs, the increase in the number of hired workers) were not accompanied by political modernization. Russia remained an absolutist monarchy with a class system. Due to the impossibility of a legal expression of opposition sentiments, a revolutionary movement operating underground grew, incl. and resorting to methods of terror (Narodnaya Volya, Socialist-Revolutionaries). The defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 aggravated the situation in the country, which led to the revolution of 1905–07. In the course of the revolution, Russia’s transition to a constitutional monarchy began: in 1905, the State Duma was established, and legally operating political parties were formed. From the reforms of P.A. Stolypin, the transformation of agrarian relations began: the exit of peasants from the community was allowed, the economic development of the lands of Asian Russia accelerated. However, the possibilities of peaceful, evolutionary development of the country could not be used.

Russia’s participation in World War I (1914–18) had catastrophic consequences. By 1917, the economy and transport were paralyzed, and the food supply to cities was disrupted. Mass discontent became the cause of the February Revolution of 1917, the autocracy was overthrown. However, it was not possible to create a stable democratic government under the conditions of war, and the crisis in the country deepened. It began to disintegrate into independent national-state formations. Subsequently, such states as Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia arose. Bessarabia was occupied by Romania. In October 1917, power in Russia passed into the hands of the bodies of power that arose spontaneously during the revolution, the Soviets, which were controlled by the Bolshevik Party and its allies, the Left SRs. The ideology of Bolshevism, developed by V.I. Lenin was based on Marxism and assumed that the conditions for a socialist revolution were ripe in the world as a whole. In January 1918, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was proclaimed. In 1918, the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II (1894–1917) was executed.

The Civil War of 1917–22 and the intervention contributed to the rigid centralization of all levers of economic and political power in the hands of the ruling Bolshevik Party (“War Communism”). All other political parties and movements were banned. In a completely ruined country in 1921, a new economic policy (NEP) was proclaimed, allowing private enterprise. In December 1922, the republics where the power of the Bolsheviks was established (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucasian Federation) formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In conditions when the idea of a “world revolution” did not materialize, and the policy of the New Economic Policy came into conflict with the ideology of Bolshevism, a struggle for power unfolded in the ruling party (from 1925 – the CPSU (b), from 1952 – the CPSU). I.V. became the winner in it. Stalin is a supporter of the theory of building socialism “in one, particular country.” Stalin’s ideas about socialism became the basis of political practice. Collectivization (socialization) of peasant farms was carried out, as a result of which significant human and material resources were placed under the control of the state, a centralized system of their distribution was created, which made it possible to industrialize the country. The policy pursued has led to huge human losses. Collectivization was carried out by violent methods, contributed to the emergence of famine in many parts of the country. A system of the most severe labor discipline was forcibly introduced. An atmosphere of intolerance towards any dissent was created in the country. All those who doubted the wisdom of I.V. Stalin and his entourage, were proclaimed “enemies of the people” and subjected to repression, which peaked in 1937-38.

1920s to early 1950s 18 million people passed Forced labor of prisoners was widely used in the process of modernizing the economy. The industrialization carried out ensured the victory of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. As a result, the lands of Western Ukraine and Belarus, Bessarabia (Moldova), and the Baltic states that passed to it in 1939–40 remained in the USSR. The Soviet Union also received part of the former East Prussia (Kaliningrad Oblast), South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. The price of victory was very high, the USSR lost about 27 million people in the war. Nevertheless, the decisive contribution made by the Soviet Union to the victory over fascist Germany and its allies, the rapid restoration of the national economy provided the USSR with a significant increase in influence in the international arena.

In con. 1940s – early 1980s The Soviet Union acted as the center of the system of alliances it created, which competed during the Cold War years with the United States and its partners in the struggle for global leadership. The USSR managed to take 2nd place in the world in terms of the main indicators of industrial production, achieve parity in military power with the United States, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. outrun them in space exploration. At the same time, the arms race and participation in local conflicts (participation in the war in Afghanistan in 1979–89 was the most difficult for the USSR) depleted the country’s resources. The need to move from an extensive to an intensive type of economic development, to release the country’s creative potential, fettered by a centralized management system, the final overcoming of the spiritual heritage of Stalinism (the beginning of its exposure was laid at the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956) determined the inevitability of perestroika. M.S. became its initiator. Gorbachev (since March 1990 – President of the USSR). Measures were taken to improve relations with Western countries, and the Cold War actually ended. The country embarked on the path of democratization, and a multi-party political system began to take shape. Freedom of the press (glasnost) was approved. However, the processes initiated by perestroika got out of control of the union center of power. Social problems and interethnic contradictions have become aggravated in the country. The international system of unions of the USSR collapsed. The country embarked on the path of democratization, and a multi-party political system began to take shape. Freedom of the press (glasnost) was approved. However, the processes initiated by perestroika got out of control of the union center of power. Social problems and interethnic contradictions have become aggravated in the country. The international system of unions of the USSR collapsed. The country embarked on the path of democratization, and a multi-party political system began to take shape. Freedom of the press (glasnost) was approved. However, the processes initiated by perestroika got out of control of the union center of power. Social problems and interethnic contradictions have become aggravated in the country. The international system of unions of the USSR collapsed.

June 12, 1990 The Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR adopted the Declaration on the State Sovereignty of Russia. In March 1991, the post of President of the RSFSR was established, B.N. Yeltsin. In August 1991, opponents of the perestroika policy attempted a coup, illegally removing the president of the USSR from power. However, the decisive actions of the leaders of Russia, the mass protests of Muscovites led to the failure of the putsch. The actions of its organizers finally discredited the union center of power and the CPSU, which was dissolved. In December 1991, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus signed the Belovezhskaya Accords, according to which the existence of the USSR was terminated and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was created.

Under President B.N. Yeltsin (1991-99), a transition to a market economy was carried out in Russia, a large-scale privatization of state property was carried out. The reforms were accompanied by an economic recession, rapid growth of inflation, unemployment, social stratification of society. The dissatisfaction of a significant part of the people’s deputies with the course of the transformations became the cause of the conflict between the legislative and executive authorities, which took the form of an armed confrontation in Moscow in the autumn of 1993. In September 1993, the president, by his decree, liquidated the system of Soviets. On December 12, 1993, during the referendum, the Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted, elections to the Federal Assembly were held. Nevertheless, the contradictions between the president, the government, and the opposition majority in the State Duma hindered the effective solution of society’s problems. His policies were increasingly influenced by opportunistic moments and the interests of self-interested pressure groups. The economic situation in Russia continued to deteriorate. In 1998, a default was declared, that is, the impossibility of repaying domestic and foreign debt. The country faced serious problems in the field of social and interethnic relations. The most painful was the conflict between R. and the separatist movement in Chechnya, which led to the first (1994–96) and second (1999–2003) Chechen wars.

A new stage in the development of Russia began with the end of the 20th century. The 1999 elections to the State Duma brought success to the pro-government parties “Unity” and “Fatherland – All Russia”. December 31, 1999 B.N. Yeltsin resigned from the presidency. The performance of the duties of the head of state was entrusted to the head of government (since August 1999) V.V. Putin. In the March 2000 presidential election, he won a landslide victory over the rest of the candidates.

The changed alignment of political forces made it possible to start correcting the course of reforms and taking measures to stabilize the situation in the country. It was possible to strengthen the vertical of executive power, strengthen the legal framework for reforms, and bring criminal and administrative legislation in line with the realities of a market economy. A reform of federal relations has begun, with the aim of achieving a clear redistribution of powers and jurisdictions between authorities at various levels. To stimulate entrepreneurial activity, taxes were cut, their level in Russia became one of the lowest in the world. Measures to combat the shadow economy, changes in customs policy also favored the encouragement of domestic producers. As a result, it was possible to reverse the trend towards an economic downturn, external debt stopped growing, the standard of living of the population began to rise. The degree of predictability and stability of foreign policy has increased. In the 1990s Russia’s diplomacy has managed to establish stable relations with most states of the world on the basis that none of them is a potential adversary. Partnerships were established with NATO countries, and agreements were reached on further strategic arms reductions with the United States.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Russia’s foreign policy became more pragmatic, less populist. The Russian Federation supported the campaign against international terrorism launched by the United States, reacted with understanding to the anti-terrorist operation undertaken by the United States in Afghanistan in 2002. Russia managed, advocating an increase in the role of the UN, to establish partnerships with the United States and NATO structures. Economic and political ties with the countries of the EU and the Asia-Pacific region have become closer. Specific agreements were reached with the CIS member countries (especially with Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan) on the development and deepening of integration processes.

History of Russia