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HIST 245- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 69 pages long!)


Department
History
Course Code
HIST 245
Professor
Ana Siljak
Study Guide
Final

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Queen's
HIST 245
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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HIST 245 - Imperial Russia, Week 1.1
Introduction to the Course:
-Study of Russian History from the era of Peter the Great until the October Revolution (1689 -
1917)
-This is a period of time where Russia starts out as being seen as a Eastern European
Backwater, but by the end of the course, it is one of the four most powerful states in the world
at the time
-This is the time period when Russian Culture grows —> literature, etc.
-Chronology course (will know the important dates, names and events)
-Russian culture blooms during this period
-There will be an overarching theme —> Is Russia an European country? —> Westernization
(the theme in one word) —> is Russia a Western Country?
-How does a country become Western?
-Prof loves ideas and culture (cultural and ideological history) (will mostly focus on this) —>
not so much about wars and royalty
-however, she will mention the wars, etc.
-Terms and names will be on the exams
-Outlines for lectures are given before each class
-Readings:
-are a mixture of literature, documents, etc.
-READ READINGS BEFORE LECTURE + YOU WILL BE TESTED ON THE
READINGS
-topics for paper will be given by prof
-There will be a midterm, Final Exam and a paper
-Office Hours: Wednesdays - 10:30 to 12:00 or by appointment
Background - Environment:
-Large Territory —> expands from the Western European border to the Sea of Okhotsk
-Russia is a cold country (typically compared to Canada)
-Major potions of Russian territory have freezing temperatures for over 200 days a year.
-Even in the warmer regions, winter lasts for 6 months
-During the beginning of our course 90-95% of the population is agricultural (they work the
land and live off the land for their substances)
-So cold means a struggle for the Russians at the beginning
-Planting crops was difficult as a normal European harvesting season is typically 9
months, Russia’s harvesting season is reduced to 4-6 months
-Partly because of the cold and other difficult geographical conditions, Russia has very difficult
soil for farming
-Crop yields are very low —> Europeans, at this time, are getting 9 seeds for every seed sowed
(9:1)
-This means that after each harvest, a typical European will get enough grain to eat, to plant
again and enough grain to sell on the market
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-While the ratio for Russians is 1:3 (they get 3 seeds for every seed sown)—> that means
that after eating and sowing a new crop (if you have enough for that), there is nothing left
over
-For Russians, Harvest season was a time of stress and the fear of starvation —> this
threat of hunger has cultural consequences (later on)
-For about half the year (during the winter months), the poor lived with their animals for
warmth in a very small hut
-This meant that the animals couldn’t graze as they would freeze outside, so this means you
had to share your limited food with your animals
-Therefore, animals were very small and didn’t produce much meat or milk
-Peasant life was very difficult during this time
-Most of Russia’s population spread out throughout the country in tiny farming communities
unlike Canada, where majority of the population lives near the border of the United States
-Agriculture can be associated with progress, modernization and industrialization as it is linked
to a good agricultural system
-EX: the British industrial revolution pigged backed on the British agricultural revolution
which caused a lot of prosperity in British agriculture
-Lack of good food production, lack of a good agricultural system was one of Russia’s barriers
towards Modernization and was seen as such by reformers at the time
-In Addition to being cold, Russia is mostly a very flat country —> this means that the barriers
to the expansion of Russian Territory were very few —> this allowed progress to happen quiet
rapidly
-At the beginning of our course, there are 15 million people living in Russian, Only 500,000
live in Cities and most people only live in places where there are only 10 people per square
mile
-On one hand Russia can expand quiet quickly, but on the other hand, how do you control a
massive territory like this, in a time when technology is limited?
-Travel is slow and in some places it is completely impossible —> winter time is the best
time to travel (as you just use sled), the worst time to travel is spring (muddy, wet)
-Postal service went 3 to 5 miles per hour on a good day —> difficult to control far portions
of Russia
-If they are rebelling against the Tsar, by the time the messenger gets there, the rebellion
could be done and the rebels have control
-The Peasants had a saying that God is in heaven and the Tsar is far away —> meant
you have time to get away with stuff
-According to some, Westernization was seen as the solution to these problems
Peasants:
-The conditions for the peasants were quiet poor in Russia
-Before our time period, the Peasants developed a support system to help them navigate the
difficult climate and geographical conditions they find themselves in —> this is known as the
Peasant Commune
-The Peasant Commune:
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