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Russian History

  1. Nov 19, 2005 #1


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    The vast expanse of Russia means and proximity to so many cultures has meant a fascinating and dynamic history. Various tribes have crossed those lands over the last several millenia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia#History (a quick summary)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangians - interesting group of people
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2005 #2
    Adding on to what Astronuc said, here are a few more resources about early Russia, in particular Kievan Rus and Yaroslav the Wise..


    Also, there is an interesting, persisting question with regard to Russia's status with the rest of the world. Was it part of Western Europe? or Asia?

    Ever since the Tatar invasions of 1237-1240 and the Tatar yoke until roughly around 1480 (when Ivan the Great managed to drive the Tatars away), Russia has been politically backward as a result of the Tatar domination.

    However, efforts have been made to modernize and bring Russia closer to the rest of Western Europe.

    Peter the Great was one of the first modernizers. Under his rule, he moved the capitol to St. Petersburg, and made the French language fashionable to the landed gentry. The result of this is rather disputable.

    It seems like it only served to isolate the majority of Russians from the gentry, as the gentry acted very european and spoke French, and the other 90% of the Russian muzhiks still sported beards, despite Peter's attempt to have everyone clean-shaven.

    The Westernizing attempt created a split within Russian society in the 19th century, with some in the intelligentsia wanting to merge with the rest of Western Europe, and the others (known as the Slavophiles) thought that Russia's destiny was not with Western Europe, but rather with their own unique path. This is reflected in the works of Chadayyev, Khomyakov, and others in a collective thought known as the "Russian Idea".

    Slavophilism is also reflected in the Russian Orthodox Church, which held that there are three "Romes" and that the future of Christianity is dependant on the Church's success. The first Rome (which was Rome) fell, the second Rome (Constantinople) also fell, and so that leaves the third Rome (Moscow) which must not fall. This viewpoint was brought together by the intellectual Slavophiles, and also in other areas of the religious realm as well.

    The principle of Sobornost (I can't find any decent links online that are in English) is another viewpoint of the Slavophiles. Sobornost basically points out that Roman Catholicism has no freedom, but is united. On the same level, Protestantism is not united at all, but has freedom. Sobornost was an attempt to bring both elements together in order to create a new path for Russia.

    The answer to the question "Is Russia really part of the East or the West" is still being debated, but the above was a general overview of one of the key questions about Russian history.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2005
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