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HIS102Y1 (449)

The Russian Empire between East and West

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Sutherland- Harris

← The Russian Empire between East and West ← Tuesday march 12 / 2013 ← What is Russia? • 1700- 1970 (the communist revolution) • Did the Russian empire belong to Europe or to Asia? o Not quite one or the other ← Russia’s Westward turn • Peter the great (1689-1729) was the one who wanted to westernize Russia • He moved capital to St. Petersburg and wanted it to be a window to the west • He required all the nobles to wear western type dress • Catherine the Great (1762- 1796) ruled because her husband was feeble minded o She was credited with bringing the European enlightenment to Russia o Was in correspondence with Voltaire o Made her courtiers speak French which indicated that they were interested in being part of high society o Sponsored arts o Yet she had a deep ambivalence towards western arts – wondered if Russia should assimilate completely to western ideals o She continued territorial expansion – took Ukraine which helped their food productions  Went down to central Asia  Took a share of Poland ← Russia’s Multi-ethnic empire • 1800 less than half people were ethnically Russian • The empire allowed and respected all other religious and cultural differences • Allowed some self rule just because it was easier to let the locals rule themselves like the Mongols on the steppes or the Germanic peoples o Could not have one single rule that applied to all the peoples • Had a large Jewish population from the acquiring of Poland o Originally tried to accommodate the Jews  But religious clashes with Christians causes government to crack down and restrict the freedom of Jews • Some of the non Russian elites were more educated and wealthy than Russians, and especially more than the Russian peasants
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