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Lecture

326 - Week 1 – Lecture 1 - Introduction .docx

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Department
History
Course
HIST 326
Professor
Katrin Bozeva
Semester
Winter

Description
Week 1 – Lecture 1 History 326 – Russia from 1905 Introduction Why did the empire fail at the nationalism project – why could the dominant group of Russians not become nationalists? Differences between the legacy of Kievan Rus and the experience of Muscovite Russia - Muscovite Russia emerged after the Mongol period mid-16thC - Russia = not an idea: Berdyev speaks of the ‘Russian idea’but actually it is a place; a complete country with a very specific history o Because of the character of soviet bolshevism and was the first successful socialist regime, during most of the 20thC, when someone heard on the western side of the Iron Curtain, ‘Russian’it was the immediate demonstration of what political oppression could do Russian nationalist elite in 19thC wanted to sell the idea of Russian nationality = wanted to appear different and more original than the West for their own reasons Russia is a place and mixture of different historical ingredients that were incorporated throughout the centuries based on the different experiences of Russian states and polities - Kievan Rus - Russia under the Mongols – 1240-1480 - Muscovite Russia (Ivan I, Ivan III and Ivan the Terrible = ruthless empire building) - Imperial Russia – the Russia we will be focusing on - Bolshevik Russia – expanded into federation – USSR or Soviet Union – 1924-1991 - Post-communist Russia = contemporary Russia Kievan Rus - Historiographically contentious - hard to know if it was Ukrainian, Belorussia or Russian itself o after the collapse of the SU, it is hard to know as multiple nationalisms fight over the legacy of Kievan Rus - Kievan Rus – first Slavic polity  stands alone in Russian context  consequent Russia’s would never be so free as the people who populated Kievan Rus and the 300 cities in it’s territory o All of them had unique organs of self-government – veche  Strange and unusual organisation w. 3 elements • Monarchic element represented by the ruler • Aristocratic element – oligarchic element – council of boyars or noblemen who advised the ruler on matters such as war, peace  without the consent of the boyar duma, the grand prince could not execute his decisions = he had to work in conjunction with them • Democratic city council – veche  similar city councils in the German cities of the Hanseatic League after the 10thC and Italian Renaissance city states o Actual decision making was in the hands of all 3 men = a situation and a political reality that would not be reproduced during the times of Muscovite Russia – WHY? Kievan Rus = trading state; uniquely prosperous within Russian context also  even when an empire, Russia has remained confined to marginality and agrarian povery - KR was very different because of trade = merchants whose geostrategic position was between Scandinavia and Constantinople ▯ massive trading centre o KR tradesmen were middlemen supplying the Byzantines with goods from Scandinavia – e.g. hemp, furs, salt, silver  based around the power of Denmark in the 10thC w. the Vikings o KR formed partnerships with them along the rivers down to the Black Sea where goods were exported to the Byzantine Empire  On the way back, they bought things that they needed  BE andArabs were the centre of the world’s civilisation  the East was the West in economic and influential terms • Russians were baptised by the Byzantines and so brought books and religious goods back to their native lands  Kiev was rich and free – as much as they could be in the times – and designed as a system to block the concentration of political power in a single pair of hands i.e. the Grand Prince w. institutions that prevented this exclusiveness – stopped absolutism BUT – around the 1130s and 1140
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