A Basic History of Russia
Russia has had a very troubled history, and at times it seemed as if it would crumble. There were lots of wars, unrest, assassinations, and tyranny.
Throughout these struggles, Russia has been very prosperous in many ways on the road to becoming a world power. It has come out to be one of the most successful nations in modern day times. Russian was founded by farmers, trappers, and traders known as the Eastern Slavs. They later formed a successful community called the ” Rus “. Seeing the prosperity of the Rus, raiders from Kiev in current day Ukraine, called the Kievin Rus came, and took over the land belonging to the residents. They started to expand their territory into the Eastern parts of Russia.
The Kievin Rus brought Christianity to Russia. The next invasion was led by Genghis Khan, the leader of the Mongol empire, which spread across Asia and Europe and took over many countries. Genghis Khan’s soldiers were called the Golden Horse Fleet because they were able to fire bows with great accuracy while riding a running horse. The reason they were able to fire from horses, because instead of having long bows, they had short bows, which allowed for more accuracy. Soon after they invaded, they successfully took over Russia. The next period in Russian history involves a monarchy of Czars.
Ivan the Great was the leader who took back Russia from Genghis Khan. After he reclaimed Russia, he instituted a tyranny of Czars. A Czar is basically a King. The Czar has power over everyone in his kingdom, and they control everything that goes on in the country. This system was bound to break sooner or later. After Ivan the Great died, his grandson, Ivan the 4th, most commonly known as Ivan the Terrible, crawled his way into power.
He was knows as Ivan the Terrible, because he controlled any resistance with force, and was merciless to anyone who opposed him or his beliefs. Ivan the Terrible died without a successor, so the power systems broke up. There was a famine, leaving Russia vulnerable. After Ivan the Terrible suffered a sudden death, and a new Czar came into power, Russia started modernizing. Peter the Great was only ten years old when he became Czar. When he grew older, he founded the city of Saint Petersburg, which is a key city in Russian history.
He had factories built to create weapons and goods to modernize Russia. Because of this modernization, Russia was able to ally with Poland and Denmark. Because of their alliance, Russia was able to capture Sweden. They wanted the land in Sweden. It is said that Peter the Great favored land owners over peasants.
He legalized serfdom, which is the buying of peasants as slaves. He also implemented high taxes on peasants, and implemented a system of education only for the nobles, not for the peasants. After he died, his wife, Catherine the Great is crowned Czarina, (a Russian term for Queen). She gave even less rights to Serfs, and handed over more rights to landowners. During this time, Russia was vulnerable to attacks. They hadn’t built up an arsenal of weapons yet, or an army.
Wanting to conquer Russia, Napoleon Bonaparte launched an attack of six hundred thousand troops. All was going well, and the French had captured most of Russia but then the brutal Russian Winter set in, and the French could not continue on. Out of the 600,000 troops, only 20,000-30,000 French soldiers came back alive. The people of Russia would not take such a tyranny. A group of insurgents known as the Decemberists attempted a revolt.
They tried convincing troops of the czar ‘s army to turn on the royalty and refused to sign an oath to Nicholas II, the current czar. This uprising however, was poorly planned and crushed soon after it was started. Even though they failed, the attempt created hopes that maybe the tyranny could end. Not all the czars believed in the enslavement of peasants. Alexander the second wanted the peasants to be free, so he abolished serfdom. however the peasants had to pay the landowners for freedom with money, few of them could make.
The anti czarists thought that Alexander II wasn’t bringing Russia in the direction they wanted it to go, so at The Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, one of them threw a bomb at him, killing him. Alexander II was one of the only czars who had mercy on the peasants. The Decemberists were not the only ones yearning for freedom. Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks were planning and plotting an invasion.
They used the same tactics as the Decemberists, except they were much more organized and their actions were well thought out. Before the revolution, Lenin had gone into hiding in Europe, but came back to lead the revolt. The revolt was won in 1 year. After it was won Nicholas II, the last czar, was assassinated, and a communist government was put into place. Little did they know that another tyranny would soon ensue. After the czars were defeated, the new government, The United Soviets Socialist Republic of Russia took power.
It was a communist government, meaning that everyone was in the same social-economic class. The system, however was faulty because many farmers didn’t want to give away their harvests, so they killed their livestock and burned their crops. These farmers were called Kulaks, and most of them were arrested and sent to camps in Siberia to die working. These camps were a model for Hitler’s concentration camps. The rest of the farmers were shot on the spot.
Many of the people did not agree with this new government. Lenin’s killing was only the start of the death toll. After Lenin’s death a new leader named Joseph Stalin, from current day Georgia, introduced five year plans to modernize Russia in a quick amount of time. These were to build weapons and goods to bring Russia into a world power. But Stalin was most known for his brutality.
He literally killed any other belief in Russia and dominated the country. When World War II came Russia was weak, so Stalin met with Hitler, the leader of Germany at the time, and made a peace pact that they would remain neutral. But Hitler soon broke this pact and invaded Russia, but the same fate that happened to Napoleon happened to Hitler and he had to retreat. Invading Russia was possibly one of Hitlers biggest mistakes. Russia can prove that bigger is better. This country is twice the size of the U.
S.A., it is also the largest country in the world. Russia spans two continents and 11 time zones with 25% of it in Europe and 75% of it in Asia. Even with its sheer size Russia only consists of three biomes:Tundra, Taiga and Steppe. The Tundra biome is one of the most treacherous places in the world, mostly due to the fact that most to all of this biome in Russia is inside the arctic circle, at the top of the world.
It is impossible to farm in the tundra for multiple reasons. First the ground in tundra is frozen from the cold. This is called permafrost. Second the permafrost stops worms from cultivating the ground. The cold also kills plants.
And last the conditions in the Tundra are not ideal for people to live in. All of these conditions make farmers not able to make a living in these places. Despite the tundra’s freezing weather, it is still a land full of surprises. The tundra is only a sliver of land on a map, but in the tundra there are many forms of life, such as lichen and moss or Arctic fox and Arctic seal. The tundra isn’t the most desirable place to be, but the life forms there have managed to flourish. The taiga biome is a much more desirable place to live.
Even thought there is still permafrost in the taiga its not nearly as deep and hard, allowing trees to grow. There are enough trees in the taiga to make it the largest forest in the world. Unlike the tundra, people are able to farm in the taiga, but most of the taiga is uninhabited. The taiga takes up the most part of Russia, and has a boreal terrain. Compared to the tundra the taiga isn’t so bad, but it still isn’t the best place to be. The steppe biome is by far one of the warmest and most comfortable places to live.
The steppe biome is a vast plains land, and unlike the tundra and the taiga. It is warm in the summer but very cold in the winter. In the steppe there can be long expanses without trees for miles. In the Steppe, agriculture flourishes because of the fertile land, and the weather makes the air perfect for growing crops. The steppe biome is one of the most successful places in Russia. A successful country must have a running government.
The Russian Government consists of three branches. The First branch is the Executive branch, which consists of the President and the Prime minister. The President is the Head of state. He/She can serve two 6 year terms. He/She appoints the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Also he is able to pass a law on his own without the approval from the cabinet.
The President has extreme power over the country. Russia’s current President is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. The former prime minister has served as president from 2000 to present. He is a former member of the KGB, an old soviet secret police. The Prime minister of Russia is the head of government, and becomes the president if said president leaves or dies.
Russia’s current Prime minister is Dmitri Medvedev. Putin has been in office for many years. Out of the three the Legislative Branch is the largest. It consists of the Federal assembly. Which is a Parliament that has of 166 members, representing 83 sectors.
These are known as the Federal Subjects. Each have two representatives, alike the U.S. Senate. The Duma is a council of 450 that approve or disapprove bills, rights, laws, etc.
Of course the Dumas disapproval of a law can be vetoed by the president. The Legislative branch is very large. The Judicial Branch is very much needed .This branch deals with criminal court cases. The highest court in Russia is the Supreme Court, this court deals with cases that have been bumped up to the highest level. They deal with Civil, administrative, criminal, etc. The Supreme court consists of 23 members. Under the Supreme court is the Supreme Court of arbitration, it has one chair and four deputy chairs. They are meant to keep the Government in check, such as making sure the President is keeping under the rules of his/her office. The Judicial Branch is very important for keeping justice in Russia.
Russia has endured much, and has had long periods of struggle. Whether its from tyranny to war. Even though the hard ships the Russian people and country have always found a way to make it out successfully. Russia has made it to be one of the most respected nations in the world, and will go much more.